It is my pleasure to introduce Natalie Smith today as our Smarty Mom this week. She is a dedicated wife to Doug, mother of three boys and very smarty when it comes to healthy living. She is the one who recommended Dr. Jessica Stadtmauer to me! I often see Natalie in Earth Fare and she always has wonderful recommendations. Natalie once told me this story. One night, her oldest son Connor, was in bed and called for her, saying he was hungry. She thought he wasn’t really serious so she thought he would call his bluff and offer him some broccoli. She really would have gotten him a banana but tried this first. So here is his response. “Oh Mama, I would really like some broccoli.” Okay, Natalie is sooooo super smarty. I can’t even imagine the day when my kids ask for broccoli at bedtime in such a polite manner. This is the same boy who eats sushi. I am just a bit jealous. 🙂 I figure I have a lot to learn from Ms. Natalie! Natalie is able to juggle a Connor, 4 years old, almost 2 year old twins, Jed and Charlie, and maintain a healthy environment at home. Great job and Happy Holidays to you and your beautiful family!
What sparked your interest in more natural ways of living?
I have always been mindful of the environment, but it wasn’t until I was pregnant with my oldest son, Connor, that I became really interested in eating and living more healthfully.
What recommendations do you have for other parents interested in natural, eco friendly lifestyles?
Small changes may make a big difference so start small, be proud of your efforts and don’t get overwhelmed. My motivation in changing our lifestyle was eliminating as many toxins from our lives as possible. Luckily, living a healthy lifestyle is not only beneficial to us, but it also helps the environment. My main suggestion is to pick an area of interest, whether it is eliminating toxins from your home, eating healthy or alternative medicine and then research, research, research (google is very helpful). Unfortunately, we live in a pretty toxic world and many people mistakenly assume that the FDA or EPA has the consumer’s best interest at heart. There are a lot of standard practices (Bovine Growth Hormone, flame retardant chemical requirements, over use of antibiotics both in animals and in humans, to name a few) that have been proven to be harmful that are not only allowed, but are financially rewarded by the government and/or are actually required by law (many of these practices are prohibited in Canada and Europe). In our country, lobbyist and big industry take precedence over consumer well-being. The more that people are educated about these harmful practices, and change their buying patterns, the more big industries will see a demand for healthy alternatives. Obviously, this shift has started to some degree. We do, however, have a long way to go.
Why do you like about naturopathic medicine?
Our family uses a combination of alternative medicine practices and western medicine practices. Over the past couple of years, I have found that my traditional doctors have become more open to alternative medicine. I like the fact that practioners of naturopathic medicine try to figure out the cause of symptoms and seek to treat the underlying problems that have triggered the symptoms, rather than trying to eliminate or mask symptoms with prescription drugs. Symptoms are your body’s way of saying that something is wrong. I don’t want to disable that communication system. I want to know what is going on so that I can fix it, not cover it up.
How do you get your kids to eat so well?
I think that the earlier you start, the better results you have with healthy eating. When children are young, they don’t know anything other than what you have introduced to them. Unfortunately, junk food can taste good, so from the start I try to offer only healthy foods. Actually getting children to eat healthy is easy, the difficult part is that it takes longer to prepare healthy foods. Fortunately, the return on that time is huge – children who eat healthy are typically very healthy and well-behaved.
What is your favorite family activity?
What is your favorite place to eat out with the kids?
We love The Counter – they have lots of delicious, healthy options and it is very kid friendly.
What is your idea of a perfect date night?
An early sitter is key (having someone else feed, bathe and put the kids to bed is a real treat) – we like to go to Dolcetto Wine Room to transition from the chaos at home to the real world and then go somewhere for a nice dinner.
What is your favorite family vacation spot?
We have two – The Outer Banks of North Carolina and Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
Best park in Charlotte?
Sharon Road Baptist Church
Best kept secret in Charlotte?
Laughing Buddha Yoga!
Best birthday party?
That is a tough question because there are so many, but I would have to say that all children seem to love Monkey Joe’s.
Minivan, SUV or car?
I’d love to say car – preferably a small convertible, but with three young children I must profess my admiration for the minivan.
Best place to buy boy’s clothes in Charlotte?
My perspective changed when I had twins and I now rely on the sales and Gym Bucks at Gymboree. I also like Looby Loo Kids, The Milky Way and Shower Me with Love.
Smith holiday traditions?
My mom started two that I have carried on – the first is that we make cranberry bread for teachers and friends. The cranberry bread tradition started as a way to make me feel more connected to our new community in Virginia (we moved from Texas when I was six and I was very homesick). The second tradition my mother also started when I was young and for that tradition my mother always gave my sister and me matching pajamas on Christmas Eve. At 35, I finally said “Please, no more winter pajamas.” I had winter pajamas coming out of my ears. Luckily, about that time I had my first son. Although we passed the tradition onto my children it has recently been reinstated for my sister and me.
Best way to keep your sanity after having twins?
Yoga, yoga, yoga!
I could not live without my (mom or kids related) ..
Best thing about raising a family in Charlotte?
Wow – there are so many great things to say…Charlotte is such a clean, easy city with a lot of family friendly activities. The weather is phenomenal! And the support system here is really wonderful. A lot of people reached out to us when I became pregnant with our twins and those people have continued to help us. The church where my children are in pre-school, the Charlotte Mothers of Multiples and local friends were all great. We wouldn’t be doing so well without all of the support. I also love how accessible everything is – from local, organic produce to professional sporting events (Go Panthers), great restaurants, live music, the outdoor whitewater rafting center – really, I could go on for a while – I love Charlotte!
Thank you Natalie for sharing so many great tips and your family with us. If you have a Smarty Mom “momination” or a Smarty Dad, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.