Interview with mother and founder of @mindfullymommy, Shoshi Amselem
In today’s fast-paced world, maintaining a healthy diet can be a daunting task, especially for busy parents who often have to juggle multiple responsibilities. However, with the advent of social media, it has become easier than ever to discover and try new meal ideas and snack suggestions from like-minded parents. Social media platforms have transformed the way we approach food and offer a wealth of easily accessible meal inspiration that cater to different tastes, cultures, and dietary requirements. Moreover, with the availability of grocery services, you can now order ingredients for your recently discovered Insta recipe within clicks and have it delivered directly to your doorstep, saving you time and making healthy eating even more possible! For growing families, eating well can provide the physical and cognitive development your children need. By finding and ordering recipes that have been vetted by caregivers and approved by children, busy parents can more easily incorporate healthy meals into their weekly rotation.
Meems Monday had the pleasure of learning from Shoshi Amselem, the mastermind behind @mindfullymommy. She has made it her mission to use food as a tool for wellness, not only for herself (even at 9 months pregnant), but also for her son and family. Shoshi understands the impact of nurturing your family’s health and is dedicated to making food choices that support her goal. Join us as we learn about her tips for healthy living!
Can you tell us about yourself and how you became interested in creating an online presence for mothers, wellness, and recipes for growing families?
Prioritizing a healthy lifestyle has always been important to me, even before becoming a mom, whether that healthy lifestyle meant being active, eating a healthy diet, or practicing ways to self-regulate day-to-day stress. When my son was born, I nursed him for almost eight months. When obstacles started to arise and I wasn’t producing enough milk while pumping at work, I knew I had to start transitioning my son to formula. I was in utter shock when I saw the first ingredient in countless formula brands was corn syrup. I refused to give it to my son, especially after nursing him with the purest, cleanest, most healthy nutrients for his growing body. After a lot of frustration, conversations with the doctor, and my own personal research, I finally found Bobbie baby formula. It is the only organic infant formula that is both EU and USDA approved, made with no corn syrup or filler oils.
As I began sharing my journey with Bobbie on my personal Instagram page my online presence started. I shared with friends that when they have babies they can subscribe to Bobbie. I was conducting extensive research, speaking to experts, and preparing healthy and delicious purees for my son, when finally, my husband suggested that I share my knowledge and experience with others. Once my son started eating purees and solids, this passion totally consumed me because I knew my choices now would greatly impact his health and development systems in the long term. Of course, mothers want to set up their children for success in every possible way, so I felt this huge responsibility for the trajectory of my son’s health and wanted to help other families who felt the same.
How do you come up with new recipes that cater to both mom and babies? And what inspired your creativity in the kitchen?
The goal is to create meals that cater to everyone’s nutritional needs in the family. As Stephen Covey states in his book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, begin with the end in mind. Once I knew where I wanted to end up, it allowed me to make those beginning decisions that would best benefit my baby and myself.
My son is my inspiration and my husband is my creative soundboard. Although I was never a waffle or pancake eater, I discovered they make the perfect food to save time and teach my son self-feeding skills. This realization inspired me to create a variety of healthy waffle and pancake recipes that are easy to store, pack for school, and make a hearty breakfast for the whole family! We add fruit and nut butter to load them up with healthy fats and proteins, which is essential for all of us. Watching my son enjoy the food I make inspires me to continue feeding him well thought-out, nutritious meals.
As a mother of (almost two!) how do you manage to balance self-care?
They say an empty cup can’t be poured, so it’s important as mothers to make sure we fill our own cup before we start pouring into other’s cups. That being said, I prioritize letting the little things I do for myself fuel me. Whether that’s grabbing a fresh veggie juice in the middle of my work day, taking an evening bath, getting a massage, going to a yoga class, or taking a walk. Caring for myself and investing in my well-being enables me to have enough to invest in my family’s well-being. I believe self-care gets more important with each kid a mother has because the bigger a family grows, the less time she has to herself. Finding ways to prioritize self-care early on is extremely important in order to be able to show up as our best selves, which benefits the whole family.
Ultimately, I wouldn’t say I balance self-care, but I truly make it a priority, and let that one small act be enough to fuel me moving forward.
How can parents encourage their children to try new foods and what are some of your son's favorite meals?
It can be really frustrating when a parent tries to get their children to like certain foods, and the child absolutely resists. I recommend first exposing your child to that same food over 10 times and get creative with it. Introduce it in different ways and with other foods they like. My followers know that my son did not like fish for a very long time. He didn’t like the texture or the taste. He wanted no part of it until a few months ago. Meanwhile, salmon is one of my favorite foods and what I love most to make for dinner. It was challenging for my son not to eat it.
I’ve learned in my experience the way to encourage new foods is to not encourage at all. Put the food on your child’s plate and leave it at that. You’ll see your child begin to have the curiosity and space to explore on their own when they don’t feel pressured and each time, they’ll be a little more open to trying it. My son used to hate salmon, and now it’s one of his favorite meals and he can’t eat it fast enough. I make coconut salmon with orzo that my son absolutely devours.
Another example of successfully trying new foods is asparagus. You want your child to see you eating the foods that you are encouraging them to eat because, essentially, they always want what mommy and daddy are eating. Seeing you eat that food automatically piques their interest. I have tried so many times to feed my son asparagus and it ended up on the floor immediately. Now, we're at the phase where I put it on my son’s plate and he’ll pick it up, hold it, look at it, sometimes he’ll put it in his mouth for a small bite, and then he’ll place it back onto his plate. It’s all a process that takes time and we have to be patient with them.
You are pregnant with your second baby (congrats!), how are you preparing for your growing family?
We are very excited to be expanding our family. I am preparing my son and myself in the process. Children thrive on routine and the expected, so I try to prepare my son by talking to him about a new baby and being a big brother. We read books together and I show him my belly to emphasize that there’s a baby growing in mommy’s belly. I also have made changes the last few months that I hope will make this transition both easier for my son and myself. I transitioned my son from sitting in my lap with a morning bottle to sitting independently with a straw cup for his milk. I wanted to do this ahead of time to make my son feel more independent, and also on the flipside, I didn’t want him to feel replaced when I’m nursing the baby in the morning and my arms are full and he’s sitting beside us. I have made a conscious effort towards redirecting my son in a way of telling him what he can do instead of telling him what he can’t. I can imagine with a newborn there will be many times where I would tell my son, don’t do that, don’t touch, no that's not for you etc. That being said, I am trying to correct that way of speaking and thinking, making adjustments now for myself. So, if I see my son doing something that I don’t want him to do, I will redirect him by saying go get the book, here you can have your water while you play this game, or let’s go play with your toys (instead of playing with mommy’s kitchen utensils).
What future plans do you have for your account @mindfullymommy and how do you hope to continue to inspire and support new moms in their journey towards better nutrition and self-care?
Motherhood, from my almost two years of experience, has proven to be this ever-changing way of living. The kind of energy I have during one month might very well be different the following month and that in turn impacts how I am as a mom. I know this is true from child-to-child and each time a woman has a new baby, she becomes a new mom. I hope that as I evolve and learn as a mother, @mindfullymommy can continue to be a space where I can share my experiences and have other moms find comfort, peace, and a space to continue asking questions, and collaborating with me. I hope to grow this space from social media and make it into a much larger community where all Mommy’s can come for support and that they’ll do the same with me. Whether that’s making personal meal prep plans for moms or for babies, having discovery calls with mom’s who may be struggling in certain areas where I feel I can help, or simply providing tips, product recommendations, and personal experiences - that’s what it’s all about!
Thank you to Shoshi, as she prepares for her second child, for taking the time to share her insights and tips for wellness. We hope her approach to healthy living inspires you to make positive changes in your own family’s habits. Follow @mindfullymommmy to get all her wellness, recipes, and kid friendly meals!
Remember, small changes can have a big impact on your family’s overall health and wellness.