Hello, It’s Me… Monica Auslander Moreno, a Miami mom and RD!
Sorry, I’m not sorry. I REALLY enjoy food puns and rhymes. I’m thrilled to be a content contributor to Miami Mom Collective, as I sip hot coffee (it took a year before I had the time to actually sit and drink warm coffee with a baby) from “my” (my husband’s) work-from-home office, that also doubles as my Pilates studio/geriatric spaniel dormitory nestled in Miami Shores.
I’ve found that in life, you can always bring your own sunshine and bring your own snacks. (My purse is perpetually Mary Poppins style stuffed with snacks because hunger is my worst fear.) I grew up in Pinecrest and earned my undergraduate degree from the University of Florida. Then I migrated back south to Florida International University for my master’s in dietetics and nutrition, matched into their dietetic internship program, and worked for a couple of years at a large academic hospital before opening my private practice. Food is dear to me. I respect it for what it does in the kitchen, in the clinic, but most saliently for our souls.
My favorite foods are almond croissants, Mushy Monica Meals (peep my Instagram for more on this ), Nutella crepes (I studied abroad in France, as I was a French minor/linguistics major), mint chocolate chip ice cream, thick crust pizza, nut and seed butters, frosting (not the innards of the cake), extremely dark chocolate, Bircher muesli, Japanese whiskey, and Honeycrisp apples. I do not like anise, licorice, cumin, corn (love popcorn, though), gratin, and cucumbers unless they are in sushi. Oh, did you not ask for an encyclopedic list of my loved and loathed foods? My b.
As the owner of Miami’s largest multidietitian practice, as a mom, as a dog mom, a wife, a home chef… as a Pilates devotee, a constantly evolving online grocery delivery cart, and as a woman trying to keep up with a steady reading and streaming show queue and Timothee Chalamet’s whereabouts, I need to be reminded to slow down. I am most at peace when I am so engrossed in a book (usually medieval history — I have eclectic interests) that hours pass without me even noticing I have to pee. This is probably a form of meditation — when the mind is so focused that it hears nothing, sees nothing, and feels nothing besides its immense focus on a task/activity. I experience immense joy from holding my snoozing 14 month-old son, cuddling my snoring spaniel, and impulse purchasing organizational containers in the wee hours.
All foods fit and all bodies are good bodies. “Unhealthy” foods (moralizing/labeling foods as such is silly; ALL foods have merit!) is offensive. Food is meant to be joyous and enjoyed in the pursuit of health, happiness, and the liberty to even EAT. (Some people have to be tube-fed!) All foods, even those which you may have demonized as “unhealthy,” can be a moderate and comfortable part of a sustainable healthy lifestyle. Otherwise, it would be an UNsustainable healthy lifestyle. Food is a source of pleasure/happiness/social gathering/religion for us humans. We should honor that with intent, trust, and balance.
Indulgent meals should be truly savored and enjoyed, and then disintegrate into nothing but a joyous memory. Not something to ruminate or harp on. When food becomes traumatizing or stressful, that’s how we know psychological intervention is needed to tease out these powerful mental forces and cope with them. That’s why my practice has enlisted licensed mental health professionals as part of our disciplinary team. It became quite clear that so many people were suffering from disturbing and upsetting mental intrusions surrounding food when food (all foods, healthy and unhealthy) should be a source of nourishment AS WELL as pleasure.
Our worth as humans is much more than what we eat. That one food/meal does not deliver someone into the realm of poor health.
Health is global and holistic. And relative to VERY long-term patterns of intake, movement, spirituality, socialization, and mental health. Elect yourself as the CEO of your own body. Would you fire an employee because they slipped up a teeny bit (and enjoyed it, as you should when you mindfully indulge)? Would you yell at a puppy? No! Be a kind and benevolent CEO who employs mindfulness (presence in the moment) with all decisions related to food.
To your health/happiness/mushiness/mommyhood–