If you follow this blog, you know I am a rabid fan of the Balanced Bites podcast with Liz Wolfe and Diane Sanfilippo.  I have about six podcasts I regularly download but this one always gets first priority.

I love Liz and Diane for their wisdom about nutrition but also for their authenticity and warmth.

They are the last people I would expect to get “caught up” in the latest “diet” fad or craze.

So it was with some skepticism that I began Episode 76 featuring JJ Virgin of The Virgin Diet fame.  I didn’t know anything about JJ Virgin, but I hate “diets” and I really, really hate flashy people who promote them.

I’m glad I gave it a listen, because not only does JJ have some very solid things to say about how we eat, she also has some amazing lessons to offer caregivers.

I’m going to set aside the food part of the podcast today, although I urge you to give it a listen, in favor of JJ’s caregiving story.  It started when her son was hit by a car.  You can read the message she sent to her blog followers in this post.  (It’s a quick read, and you will want the context.)

In the Balanced Bites podcast, JJ shares the amazing story of ushering her son, Grant, through his recovery.  He had orthopedic, coronary and brain damage as a result of being hit and, by all accounts, should not be alive today.

Liz and Diane ask JJ how she managed to cope with the stressful task of caregiving for her son.  JJ makes no bones about it – she made caring for herself a huge priority.

She found a Whole Foods near the hospital in Los Angeles where she knew she could get solid, well-balanced meals.  She located a nearby gym where she worked out.  She made it a priority to get seven to nine hours of sleep every night.  She reached out to her friends in the integrative and holistic health fields for adrenal support and other wellness modalities.  JJ knew that she could not care for her son nor manage his recovery if she wasn’t at the top of her game.

All the while, she was still managing her business and launching a book.

We tend to think of caregiving as a time of self-sacrifice, martyrdom even.  When you hear the word, don’t you think of images or words like “haggard,” “worn down,” “worn out,” “life on hold,” and such?

On this blog, I am all about skeptical examination of cultural and social norms surrounding health and wellness. And, I am all about shifting the paradigms that need to be shifted.

The ideal of the self-sacrificing, martyr-like caregiver is one paradigm I’d like to see shifting.  I put JJ’s story out there as a great example.  She knew how important it was for her to be at the top of her game in the wake of incomparable stress.

Listen to the podcast and you’ll hear how fiercely JJ advocated for her son.  He is functioning today because of her ferocious mama-love.  You’ll also hear from a wise, wise woman who knows how to manage stress even in the most traumatic of stressful situations.

(In case you’re interested, JJ posted this newscast about Grant’s recovery on her Facebook page today.  Wow.)

One Response to “The Caregiver Series : Lessons from JJ Virgin”

  1. […] yesterday’s post, The Caregiver Series : Lessons From JJ Virgin, I shared my initial reluctance to listen to a woman who had a flashy new “diet” book […]

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