Celebrate Often and Be Peppered with Possibilities!

Many parents experience difficulties with children having ‘picky’ eating habits. This challenge is often magnified for Autistic children because of the increased probability of sensory processing complications. Whether the food overstimulates or underwhelms the senses, it can be a quick and easy refusal of food on sight or smell alone!

Of course there are Autistic children who enjoy a variety of vegetables and fruits. However, many parents – including myself – find it difficult to persuade our Autistic child to voluntarily and consistently consume the most healthiest of foods.

One minor solution to help increase vegetables/fruit intake is to hide these items among food that your child already enjoys. For example, try adding a purée of carrots to spaghetti sauce if your picky eater loves spaghetti. One may conclude that ‘hiding’ fruits and vegetables is a good start. However, the ultimate goal is finding the right healthy foods that your child will be eager to eat!

For more ideas about boosting meals with purées, check out this book.

The Right Super Food Made it to the Table

I admit that I have not been the best at preparing and eating vegetables. I recognized that changing my eating habits could directly influence the habits of my son. This thought, along with some unexpected weight gain, helped guide my decision to participate in a Reset and Rebalance Program. The “Reset” included a week of all the vegetables that I could stand. So when it was time to dice all those vegetables to make some easy and filling soup, I had my seven year old son sitting at the table with me. To my surprise, he picked up a piece of a bell pepper and took several bites!

I must admit that when he first tried bell peppers, he only chewed then (which got messy). But my “Celebrate Often” excitement of knowing that he chose to opened his mouth and try peppers overruled my concerns over the mess. Now, whenever I chop and dice vegetables, I try to have my youngest son sitting with me, leaving every type of vegetable within his reach.

Small Change, Great Reward

You might think that adding bell peppers to a diet is not much to celebrate, but you would be wrong. There are many amazing benefits of bell peppers. They are high in vitamin A, supporting eye health. They are a great source of vitamin C, which supports tissue health and immunity. The folate in peppers supports the functioning of red blood cells. The lycopene, in red bell peppers fight free radicals that are acquired from natural exposure to environmental toxins. Are you celebrating yet? All these benefits are great, but there are a couple more benefits, or possible benefits, that really causes me to celebrate!

The high sources of potassium and the good source of fiber helps keep fluids and minerals balanced and can help regulate digestion. Since my son regularly suffers from constipation, these combined benefits are greatly reflective of his nutritional needs. Lastly, and perhaps more importantly, consumption of bell peppers may help lower the risk of certain cancers, such as colorectal, breast, and prostate. Although my son is only a young seven, his Autism is thought to be a symptom for a rare disease, PTEN Hamartomous Tumor Syndrome (PHTS), which can increase the risk of cancers such as colorectal, breast, and prostate. Amazing, right?!

The Not Mad. Motivated. Mindset

When it comes to a picky eater, just like in life, it is important to create new paths and possibilities to success. We all come across difficult situations, some more difficult and more traumatic than others. These situations are ours to overcome! Whether we have the support of a community, or we are in our “corner” alone, it is ultimately our decision to use all the strength within and around us to survive and seek success.

Not Mad. Motivated. was created to be a reminder to use current and past difficulties and challenges as motivation for forward movement toward positive change. Help us spread the Not Mad. Motivated. mindset by purchasing your Not Mad. Motivated. shirt today!

Not Mad. Motivated. short sleeved t-shirt in Royal Blue with white print.

Coming this week: New Not Mad. Motivated. merchandise!

The Mindset of Motivation

Your attitude,  not your aptitude, will determine your altitude.

When I was younger, I remember seeing a motivational poster with an eagle soaring in the sky. The poster featured the phrase “Dream Big” along with the above Zig Zigler quotation. Throughout my life, I thought about that eagle and the freedom that it represented. With the right mindset, I was able to use that visual input as motivation to achievement goals.

The Tales of Two Mindsets

Do you realize that there are two main mindsets that helps determine our personal drive? Someone with a fixed mindset believes that aspects such as intelligence, characteristics and skills, and perhaps circumstances, are unchangeable or static. According to Carol Dweck, psychologist and author of Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, a fixed mindset “leads to the desire to look smart and therefore a tendency to”:

  • Avoid challenges
  • Give up easily due to obstacles
  • See effort as fruitless
  • Ignore useful feedback
  • Be threatened by the success of others

This type of mindset can be extremely danger to not only the individual and their family, but also to society in general.

Conversely, someone with a growth mindset believes that they can develop their intelligence, characteristics, skills, and circumstances. A growth mindset “leads to a desire to learn and therefore a tendency to”:

  • Embrace challenges
  • Persist despite obstacles
  • See effort as a path to mastery
  • Learn from criticism
  • Be inspired by others’ success

Encouraging a Growth Mindset

If you have a growth mindset and you are a person of influence, such as a parent, teacher, caregiver, or other type of leader, make the effort to encourage others, especially children, to embrace their ability to grow and develop themselves with hard work, planning & goal setting, and accepting help from others. Be an example by asking them to critique how YOU are doing as a person of influence in their life, and use their comments to demonstrate positive change. Teach others to discuss their challenges using positive, reaffirming statements instead words of defeat and discouragement. Also, use visual input as reminders of what they can achieve, and that which they have already achieved!

Need more information, see 10 Ways to Teach Kids to Have a Growth Mindset, which includes suggested books and additional resources!

Embracing Visual Input to Increase Motivation

With a growth mindset, the concept of dreaming big is completely rational since there is an acceptance that one’s abilities and situations are not limited by what one is experiencing today. Seeing hard working parents or leaders creates a visual example which can help inspire the work ethics of a younger generation. When you plan your day, or week, and you are able to check off tasks, you can established a visual that is encouraging you to recognize your efforts and your successes, while motivating you to continue toward additional goals. Get out into nature and be inspired the always changing world that sustains us all! Create a vision board using pictures that reflect your goals and words to elevate your passion and commitment! Make time to be creative and remind yourself that your success is for you to develop and foster!

The Not Mad. Motivated. Mindset

The Not Mad. Motivated. brand was conceptualized from a growth mindset! Being Not Mad. Motivated. represents the decision to grow and succeed despite challenges and obstacles. Living among negative elements with a fixed mindset of hopelessness and anger is a quick way to a life of misery and pain. Not Mad. Motivated. wants to be a reminder of the fact that current difficulties are only temporary if you use them to motivate you into the necessary movement toward positive change. To help us spread the mindset of Motivation, purchase your Not Mad. Motivated. t-shirt today!

Coming soon: New Not Mad. Motivated. merchandise!

You Inspired . . . A Not Mad. Motivated. Poem

You inspired me to grow

by trying to make me feel small.

You inspired me to know

by acting like you knew it all.

You inspired my voice

by telling me to be silent.

You inspired my choice

by you being violent.

– A Not Mad. Motivated. Poem

This poem is not about accepting [domestic] violence; instead, it is about accepting one’s experience of it. This poem is about realization of strength, determination to thrive, and turning someone’s hateful acts into acts of self love because. . .

Photo by Bich Tran on Pexels.com

No one deserves to be abused! If you are in an abusive relationship, please find the strength to leave it. It is easier said then done, but you are worth it! If you need help, call your local domestic violence hotline, or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) for support, resources and advice.

Happy Day, Mothers!

On the second Sunday of every May, many people in the United States, and around the world, take the day to celebrate mothers.  As Mother’s Day approached this year, I wanted to write something to commemorate this special occasion.  I sat down several times but could not find the proper sequence of thoughts and words to satisfy my desired message.  With time running out, and with severe writer’s block, I decided to wait.

Ironically, waiting to celebrate mothers on a day other than Mother’s Day became the very essence of this current expression of love and appreciation, since the importance of a mother could never be contained to just one day.  No matter your opinion of her, or your relationship with her, your mother shared her whole self for you to be in this exact moment reading this opinion.  Whether you view your mother as your best friend, whether you have never seen her face, or whether you two argue every time you speak, she has successfully fulfilled the unspoken promise for you to have this moment of time.

No mother is perfect.  Although some mothers make it look easier than others, being a mother is hard.  Being a good mother is even harder.  As children, we can impose unrealistic expectations on our mothers.  These expectations may be unrealistic because of lack of experience, lack of knowledge, lack of support, lack of mental capacity, lack of education, etc.  However, with compassion, forgiveness and unconditional respect, children may find themselves healthier and more productive adults.  Imagine a home, a community, a state, a nation, a world where children grow up to respect their mother for the gift of life, if for nothing else.  Since the Mother-Child relationship is our first relationship, imagine the lasting impact that this unconditional respect would have on our relationships with others.

Whether you think fondly of your mother, or not, please find the need to have respect for her – even if that respect comes with boundaries, which we should learn to expect in all healthy relationships.  So, celebrate each day by being your best self.  And honor the role that your mother played to get you here by excepting and learning from her best self.

Have a Happy Day, every day, Mothers!