Health Foodie: Iron Deficiency Myths

Health Foodie: Iron Deficiency Myths

About a year ago I finally dragged myself to the doctor.  I was blacking out, having heart palpitations, concerning exhaustion, and muscle cramps like you wouldn’t believe.  After a few vials drawn and a few days later, I got a call everything was normal, just my iron was low.  Let me tell you, there was nothing normal about what I was experiencing.  I was given a three month prescription of iron and miralax.  Then I was sent on my way.  Since I absolutely cannot stand miralax and it’s dangerous chemicals,  I dove into various studies, organizations, and more for more options.  I found a supplement to match the dosage.  Then I became violently ill from that. Scratch that.   I also don’t eat very much meat, which was the best dietary option given to boost iron.  That’s a problem.  

There had to be other options.  I was horrified at what I found as I kept digging.  I wasn’t going to be monitored as I should, unless I forced the issue myself with the doctor but I didn’t know at the time.  It takes months to level out our iron levels, as somewhere around six months mark.  That is if supplements and diet work. It doesn’t for everyone.   For some, this is all you need.  This sudden arrival of winter and constant need of all things fleece, I am reminded of this personal wellness issue.  When you aren’t well,  it infiltrates you more than body, your mental state and soul take a hit too.   It’s important when you aren’t well  investigate (with caution) and get answers. In all of it, follow your instinct, inner voice, gut.  

I am not a doctor and information shared is intended for informative purposes only. 

JRiley

Myth One: It’s a Simple Disease

No.  Iron deficiency/ Anemia ranges from headaches and fatigue to fainting, black outs, constantly cold, muscle spasms, nerve damage, difficulty breathing, severe fatigue, and more.  Testing may be simple but dealing with it is anything but.  Testing is important as the symptoms over lap with many other diseases and conditions.  If you suspect, before treatments or supplements, seek professional diagnosis. 

Myth Two: One solution works for everyone

My deficiency is different than yours.  There are so many reasons as to why your iron or red blood cells (anemia) are low.  It fluctuates.  Stress, sickness, menstruation, cancer, pregnancy, digestion issues are among many reasons it happens. Changing diet, reducing stress levels, or taking supplements may be all your need. It may not.  Find out where you are in your levels.   More testing, specialist, and treatments may be needed. The changes I made in my lifestyle and diet were based on the levels I had and maintained over time with success in those changes.  Some adjustments, like more rest and increasing certain foods may temporarily be needed.  However, without that success, I would be pursuing different professionals for more answers.  

Myth Three: Eat More Chicken. Beef. Liver. 

 If you are a vegan or vegetarian- you aren’t screwed.  This is where I get warm fuzzies as I personally love food as medicine and food chemistry.   You can change your food relationship to help with iron without ever eating chicken, beef, liver, or any meat.  These are the top iron rich Vegetarian/Vegan friendly foods: 

  • chard
  • bok choy
  • broccoli
  • lentils and beans
  • Pumpkin seeds, pepita seeds, chia seeds, and hemp seeds
  • Almonds
  • Figs
  • Dried apricots
  • Brussel Sprouts

But then iron isn’t the only part to this equation….

Myth Four: When Changing Diet- iron, iron, iron, iron

Nope.  And yes.  Yes you need to add in iron but some parts of your food relationship may be blocking iron and others may boost absorption.  Beets, chocolate, tea, wheat bran, rhubarb, strawberries, and spinach release oxalates, which can reduce iron absorption. Calcium rich foods inhibit your bodies ability to take in iron.  Black teas and coffee release tannins which may block iron absorption as well.  Walnuts, apples, blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries release tannins.  So does cocoa, chocolate.  As a matter of fact cocoa/chocolate releases three different chemicals that can impair iron absorption.  All of these foods are needed and great for you, especially some dark chocolate.  The lesson is: love your iron and chocolate separately.  About two hours apart from iron rich/iron boosting foods and those known to inhibit.   You may be able to eat some of not so iron absorbing friendly foods in small doses in a meal when you are eating for iron and red cell boost if your levels are in the normal range.  

Iron with vitamin c is a great food connection.  It increases your absoprtion significantly. Iron also needs beta carotene (Vitamin A) and magnesium.  There is two for one deal often in the iron/magnesium/Vitamin A food list: swiss chard, kale, avocado, figs, pumpkin seeds, almonds, and bananas.  Beta Carotene (vitamin A) can be found in iron rich foods too: dried apricots, peas, dark leafy greens, and broccoli.   Its important to understand how your food relationship pairings work.  Everyone plays a role.

The Final Myth: All Supplements are Safe

Oh hell no.  Especially Iron and Vitamin A.  If you are aiming for Vitamin A.  Just eat it.  I meant it, don’t supplement.  Eat it.  Vitamin A is stored in your liver and doesn’t dissolve easily.  This makes it easy to over dose and make it a toxin. A.K.A. poison.  Iron in too small doses is detrimental; doses too high are toxic .  This is why getting testing for iron levels is crucial.  Make sure your levels are known and monitored if you have anemia or difficulty maintaining iron levels.  What I started with my supplements to get my levels up to speed is much higher than what I need now. 

I love experiencing how food can heal.  However, it isn’t the end-all-be-all.  Bodymind health tampers with everything.  Stress, prolonged or frequent,  messes with your body chemicals and blood flow ability.  The best investment we can make is mental health practices: prayer, meditation, breathing exercises, rest, and mindfulness.  Check out last weeks post “Hit. The. Breaks” for more ideas.  Stay warm.  Be kind to your body.  Care for your mind.  

Namaste and Keep Your Warm Fuzzies

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Hit. The. Brakes.

If you are following my Facebook page (link) then you may have caught the theme. A Giant, gargantuan passion in becoming an integrative wellness coach is mental health. One of the barely mentioned importance of getting, maintaining, and individualizing a “health nut” life-style is YOUR MIND. Yes. The one that your are about the loose or has already walked right out the door. That one.  Your and my activity, food relationship, self care, boundaries, spiritual/ritual practice immensely impact our minds. Good or bad. 😇 😈 There isn’t a one and done cure that applies to all. We are created uniquely with common threads. It may work for a few, many, or one. The following goes in the “many” box with the “one” options for you. 

It is more than put on your mask first. Mask first is survival. Yes, put on the mask first and then take a deep inhale. And let it go. The goal is to gain ground past survival to joy.

The basics of braking 

  1.   STOP    I mean press hard so everything slams to the front.  It might hurt at first.  Yet, this gives you the option to see what is before and make step two simpler.  
  2.  Prioritize  Name it. Write it.  Chant it.  Sing it.  Whatever it takes.  What are the Top Five of Right Now?  Then that’s all that matters.  Your list will shift and change over time and through out the day.  Continually prioritize.
  3. Draw Boundaries  When priorities are set, it  becomes clear lines need to be drawn.  When is TRULY,  I mean truly your responsibility and in your realm of control.   Can you do it? Yes. No.  Can you do it right now? Yes. No.  Can it wait? Yes? Yes! When the lines are drawn, don’t go preschool scribble.  Stay in the lines as long as they serve you and other’s within reason.  Not an eh or maybe.  I mean say there’s the line and that’s the way it is. Right now my line is: kids have their work and I’ve mine.  For the next thirty minutes, if you, the dog, or the house isn’t on fire or dying- deal.  

Putting the wheels back on and stay in neutral

The basics are grasped.  Every thing is on hold.  My kids are freaking out. Your life is freaking out.  Inhale allllllllll the way down to your hips.  I mean deep AF.  Then push slowly until you are empty.  What is it you need? Pick it. Rotate it.  Make your “in neutral” yours.

Re- prioritize

Break from tech

Be there with loved ones as in pure engagement and nothing else

Binge watch, Netflix and chill, or recapture fav classics

Read! Book, magazine, or article

Sleeeeepp or veg

Do nothing

Color, paint, sew, draw, tear paper

yes. tear paper. try it. 

Write.  Everything. Prompts. Bullet. Dear diary. Dear inner child. Jibberish.  

Walk. Run. Ride. Hike

Dance. Listen to music.  

Warm bath

Bake.  Cook. With in reason Comfort Food.

Scream

Make your joy intentional and pick something just for funsies.  You don’t need to be productive every second of the day. 

U turn and get back to basics of  Fundamental of self care

  • Bath regularly
  • Take time for hair and face as whatever that may look like
  • Clean, not intentionally torn clothes
  • Mindfulness practice.  So many apps- mindfulness and meditation. SO. MANY. APPS. Find one and take five minutes daily for your mental well being. 
  • Eat breakfast tech-less.  No T.V. No Phone. No tablet. No Google home. Etc.  Bless it and eat it.  
  • Eat lunch dinner tech-less.  Talk to those around you or yourself.  Don’t talk.  Have a chat with your cat.  My crazy won’t judge your crazy.
  • Exercise frequently.  A few days a week. Yoga, Walk. Zumba. Step in place.  Kick-boxing.  It’s necessary. 
  • Read something for growth a few times a week or daily.  A few minute article counts!

My self worth was and sometimes is tied up in productivity and perfection.  My floors need to be swept.  Eh.  Yoga pants today? They’re clean.  Meet all my goals and to-do-list.  Not exactly.  Hit the Brakes. Prioritize. Lines Drawn. 

Namaste and watch your head

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The Art of Letting Go

There is always something to let go. 

Sometimes it’s a thin thread of irritation of long lines, traffic, or a thoughtless action.  Other times it reaches the catastrophic level.  Then there is all in between.  When we do not let go, any where on the scale, it builds up.  It infects our mental health and manifests itself in our physical health. Stomach ache, fatigue, headaches, indigestion may all be emotionally driven.  Anxiety and worry may be fueled by a need to let something go.  The great news is that simple steps is all you need to arm yourself.  Not so great is that it is a process and it can be messy.  For the larger issues in life it takes multiple acts and time.  Trust that process and trust yourself to find ways to cut the cords.  Make your masterpiece of release and peace.

photo of multicolored abstract painting
Photo by Free Creative Stuff on Pexels.com

  1. Never suppress the emotion or issue.  Always acknowledge it.  It’s important to note what you are feeling, why you are feeling it, and it’s trigger.  Noticing and dwelling are two different actions. Noticing is as an objective description by you.  Dwelling is nose dive into the emotion with fingers pointed, often in many directions.  Note the feeling  Note it’s cause and it’s trigger. Write it if it helps.
  2. Say it. Breathe it. Release it.  You can say out loud or in your head, ” I release _______________ as it no longer serves me.” Inhale then exhale it out. When it’s something small, like your child says momma a million times,  acknowledgement and a good breath out is generally enough.

 Then again, sometimes it’s not.  

Even one is different and digging in deep to release looks different for everyone. 

Pick what jumps out at you. This is what you need at this moment.

  • Make it a ceremony.  Most happy moments in life are marked ceremoniously; by party, pictures, commemorative dates, etc.  Letting go can be one of those moments of joy for you to make space and unburden yourself.
    • Make a bonfire, I am all for setting – environmentally safe- things ablaze.  You can use an object or write what you want to release on a paper then throw it in the pyre.
    •  Light a candle. Its is a bit less dramatic; however, it is effective in marking this moment of letting go.  Repeating the statement in step two, reciting a mantra, saying a prayer are ways to enhancing your candle ceremony.
  • Write it out.  Write a letter to your younger self, future self if the letting go centralizes on you.  Journal or write a letter to a person to unload.  If you have letting go of a person or something between you and them, write to them.
  • Make literal art.  Coloring pages may help.  Create an abstract of what you feel.  Use your favorite medium and symbolism in an artwork.  Or create art that has nothing to do with it at all.  The act of creating aids in processing emotions and thoughts.
  • Confide or confront.  Sometimes a coffee or tea meeting helps to unleash those bottled thoughts and emotions.  A trusted and honest friend may help you process through all of them.  You may need to confront a persona and feeling ready to respectfully and firmly do so.  Do so.  You are not responsible for their actions but are in control of appropriately expressing yourself.  You might want to write it out first.
  • Meditation and prayer.  Clearing the junk in your head and heart are essential.  In one or several sessions, meditation and prayer give you the opportunity to process, organize, and offer your burden to the heavens.  My favorite is under moonlight. It is one of the closest settings I feel to my creator.  Put yourself in that literal space and head space to let go.

UntitledIn everything in your art of letting go find grace and love for yourself.  It’s important to know that you are in control of you and no one else.  You are worthy to be respected and other people are worthy to be respected.  When you meet at this intersection of kindness for yourself and others, it makes creating your masterpiece of release easier.  Inhale your comfort and exhale your complication, worry, irritation, etc.  Take up your brush and design your letting go.

Namaste

Find your masterpiece of peace

Next week may be what you need in your food life.  I and #thecalmRiley certainly did.  Say “YES” to leveling out the pH in your food relationship with new recipes and quick tips.

I want to say this sharing is because of recent events.  In honesty, these losses are indicative of a pervasive reality.  Mental illness is tucked in many corners of humanity, no one is immune.   In a little more than a week I am sharing the story behind my tattoo.  My story has much to do with my mental illness and my victory in my journey.  However, yesterday in the physical pain, fatigue, and mental frustration, I know all too well how quickly I could slip.  Therapy, chemical stability aid, inspiration, and reminders are necessary.  My tattoo is my permanent reminder.

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The largest part of my tattoo is a Lotus.  This flower is unlike many others, its survives in a wide range of temperatures and muddy waters.  I am a wife, mom, advocate, friend, artist, writer, sister, daughter.  Roles built over time and ones that I cherish.  With that I am a survivor of abuse and the social taboo it comes with.  I’ve been told that I shouldn’t share that part of my life because it would make others uncomfortable.  Then I became further isolated.  Anxiety and depression were the roller coasters of much of my life.  Panic attacks and withdrawn.  I felt voiceless.  I am a medical illness hurdle jumper with stumbles here and there.   I am an ADHDian.  It’s been a wide range in my life.  As a conqueror, I am not just blooming.  I am changing.  The butterfly right up on my shoulder symbolizes that crucial mindset of transformation.  I can and do choose to change how my past and current situations are used.  They do not wholly define me.  Written below all of this is 2 Corinthians 5:17.  Those are words I have held dear to for years.  Those words remind me that my Creator designed me for a great purpose and, like a lotus, my roots are deep to thrive despite the mud.  The act of creating is a process.  It takes time, effort, and there are mistakes.  Through the transformation and healing in mental illness, it is a similar process. My creation is flawed, but valuable all the same.

Here’s the thing.  There was a time the darkness was deep.  I didn’t believe in the value of my life and my silence festered the wounds.  It was baby steps, but I found that last shred of strength and sought help.  In the battle we need allies and professional ones.  If you are in that darkness, keep one foot in front of the other with hands out.  We need you.  There’s isn’t another you.  Seeking help isn’t weak, it’s boldness.  You have it in you.  To take it further, I have taken medication in the past to help me.  I found a natural path that works best for me.  It doesn’t matter the means: talking, breathing, medication, supplements, or do all of it.  Grab a hold of your life line.  My hope is that one day your story will become a tattoo, artwork, song, writing, oral story that will empower you and empower others.

Additionally, we need advocates.  Our perceptions on people with mental illness need to change. Perceptions on the illnesses themselves need to change.  The health care system needs to change.  Our interactions with each other needs change.  A simple start is giving grace, checking in with those around us, and be present.  Compassion and deeper connections are imperative.  Become aware of yourselves, others around you, and share resources for help. Be that shoulder.  Make that call.

As always, my soul honors your invaluable soul

Life Lines

National Suicide Hotline 

  • 1- 800- 273- 8255 Hotline
  • 1-800- 799- 4889 TTY Hotline
  • Suicide Prevention Website (online chat option and specific areas of help)

Crisis Text Line

  • Text Home to 741741

Domestic Violence

Sexual Assualt

Postpartum Support International

 

The Health Foodie: Coming to a Loving Place in Her Relationship with Food.

The Health Foodie: Coming to a Loving Place in Her Relationship with Food.

I am a girl who loves to eat.  Protein shakes are great for on the fly and nutrition punch in the gut/ for the gut. However, I want real food.  For so long I either mindlessly ate and neglected the attention it deserved or hated food because we didn’t understand each other and how to work together.  From leechy junk food who hangs around- in undesirable places- to that empty feeling calorie, I struggled.  After years of the love/hate tango we have finally come to healthy terms.

 

Our arrangements go like this:  I sit to eat and no longer eat on the run.  I was horrible about not taking my time and being thoughtless.   Now we have a time to be present in choices and time to be present at the meal.  This gives me the power to keep negative and unhealthy foods are under my control.   I have the right to be choosy in who shows up to dinner, lunch, breakfast, and in between. Especially salt and fats. I can say no and send them packing. Now herbs and spices provide the excitement in the relationship without the regret.  Protein, fruit, and veggies have an open door policy.  Except Brussels sprouts.  They are banned for life.  I won’t do it.  I just won’t.  No longer is the misguided goal to be skinny which brings resentment in my diet and to myself.  We agreed on nutrition with flavor to maintain a healthy body and mind, while feeding the soul.  Soul food is a real thing my friends. Cantina salsa and dark chocolate are what feeds mine.  Seriously, salsa on everything from taco to eggs.

 

 

 

Salsa and chocolate aside, one of my food loves is lo mien. Unfortunately, gluten and I are no longer are on speaking terms.  A lot of my favorites had to be re-imagined.  Thus pork with veggie lo mien is born.  Simple and flavored pack protein and veggies. Warning: soy sauce is involved.  It’s that salt thing. Low sodium is on the invitation list.

 

 

Ingredients and prep

 

 

Pork: lean/low fat cuts, about 4-5 ounces per adult person

Cabbage (green and purple): sliced or buy pre shredded

Carrots: diced or if you do it like I do, it comes with the pre shredded cabbage

Onions: sweet/vidalia- sliced thin   OR Green onions chopped small

Mushrooms: sliced thin

Ginger: powdered

Soy: remember, low sodium

Canola oil or extra virgin olive oil

Minced garlic: pre-bought or DIY

Optional: bok choy diced, kale sliced

 

 

 
We are totally normal.  No fancy kitchen and short staff.
Get cooking:
1. Get a skillet and turn the stove onto a medium heat.  Add a tablespoon of canola oil or extra virgin olive oil (either oil in a spray works too).  Lightly sprinkle ginger and minced garlic on one side of the pork.  Cook the pork in the pan.  I am looking for browning on the outside and no pink showing.  About 10-15 mins on each side- the thinner the cut the less amount of time each side takes.  Suggested inside temp for pork is 145 degrees Fahrenheit if you have a meat thermometer handy. Let it rest 3-5 minutes and you can slice and dice it how you want.
2. While the pork is cooking-  add a tablespoon of canola oil or evoo (thank you Rachel Ray) to a wok, skillet, or whatever will hold the veggies.  Some of us lack the gourmet kitchen but make it work.  Not all veggies cook equally.  Start mushrooms and onions (not green onions).  If you are cooking bok choy, add it in with the mushroom and onions.  Cook for 10 minutes or so.  Then add carrots, cabbage or that bag of pre shredded stuff and if you are doing kale or green onions, throw it in too.  I usually find the total cooking time for veggies is twenty minutes. Slightly soft veggies is the goal.   Those last couple of minutes sprinkle some low sodium soy sauce and some ginger powder to taste.  If you like a lot of either, let someone else add and taste it.  Keep it light.

 

Pork and Veggie Lo Mein

 

 

That’s it. Step one and pork done.  Step two and veggie lo mein done.  Constructive suggestions in how to improve our relationships in this specific area are welcomed.  Raving reviews are encouraged. You know, for the the food.
 

 

Namaste and nourish love

*originally published on September 17, 2017

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Seeking Warm Fuzzies Part Two

Certain senses will have more of an impact on your body and mind than others when in sensory seeking endeavors. For me it’s all about smell and food.  Naturally.

Smell it

My sense of smell is insane. When something is pleasant, it’s amazing. If it smell bad, it’s everything I have not to vomit.  Smell is powerful.  I’m ever grateful my children are potty trained.

Make use of the oil popularity.  A couple of days ago I was walking in a store and noticed a section dedicated to essential oils.  It’s not for parties anymore.  What you buy is important and needs to be a pure form.  However, the more readily available essential oils make scent seeking easier.  Rarely is an essential oil on it’s own safe.  For safety sake, mix oils and blends (more than one oil) in a carrier oil.  Grapeseed oil is my favorite choice but fractioned coconut, almond, jojoba oils all work too.  Putting these oils in a diffuser or a few drops in running water for a bath are excellent ways to disperse the scent quickly.  In a bath it will absorb in your skin for more potent results.  A few oils I blend with oil in a dark glass roller bottle.  A 10 mL bottle 80-85 % filled with carrier oil and few drops of each essential oil will do.  When needed, I roll the blend on the palms of my hands then rub hands together.  Then I cup my hands over my mouth and nose then breathe.  From hand to brain, it does the job.  Take this quick guide to a few essential oil options and make the most of your smell sense.

essential oils and benefits

Before we leave the sense of smell there are a few incredibly simple ways to find the warm fuzzies.  It’s as simple as a memory.  Find your comforting scents from the fall arena to floral,  woodsy, coffee, or clean.  Whatever it is that promotes a positive moment past or now, have it on hand.

From Mouth to Brain

Food! Yay!   There is so much my mouth can do other than a sarcastic or off color comment.  From taste bud to texture to temperature, our oral senses can be an amazing way to find those fuzzies.

Like your sense of smell, your taste buds have memories too.  Feeling down or any similar emotion, comfort foods are not called comfort foods for nothing.  It’s okay to indulge in indulging every once and awhile.  Bring those memories to the plate, bowl, or cup to trigger happy moments.  I would encourage you to create new moments and invited friends and family in those culinary endeavors.  Your taste buds will associate with that gathering time for a powerful multi-sensory punch you can draw upon later.  Don’t let those comfort foods sabotage you.  If your comfort food involves high fats, over processed, too much sodium, and not enough nutrition- eating it more than a day within a week or two  it will back fire.  They impact your brain and emotions along with nervous system in dreadful ways.  Then your comfort food becomes your enemy.

When feeling heavy emotionally go for lighter meals.  Less or barely cooked.  Reduce your fats.  Your fats should primarily focus on monosaturated fat, polysaturated fat, and omega 3 fatty acids on a daily basis.  In food forms this is coconut oil, avocados, eggs, fish, nuts, nut butters to name a few.  These fats help you but take in just what you need.  Cool foods and drinks help wake up the brain.  So does caffeine, but too much can over work the nerves.  Careful, please.  Bitter and spicy tastes aid in uplifting and stimulating your nervous system and brain as well as crunchy foods.  An nut has great brain fats, crunchy plus with a spicy seasoning, it will be an alarm system to your senses.  A warm fuzzy of the jolting variety.

When finding it difficult to calm, anxiety, or an unsettling condition go the opposite direction.  Padded in a couple extra servings of the good fats.  Avocado, egg, and a high protein cheese is my breakfast.  I have difficulty waking up but quickly switch to jitter mode.  I need my nourishment to help out.  Warm foods and drinks soothe and give literal warm fuzzies.  Sweet in its appropriate forms lend a hand too.

Days and moments are vary so should finding those warm fuzzies when using your senses.  Mix it up.

Namaste in your sensory seeking endeavors.

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Health Foodie Seeking the Warm Fuzzies

I am a sensory nut. I need to see, smell, taste, and touch. Then, I birthed two sensory seeking, sensory repulsed people. When we love a taste, it’s on until we absolutely hate it. Except tacos. Never touch our blankets. Tag are out. If it’s too loud, forget it. What is that smell??!!! May I touch that? I probably should’ve asked before touching it. We are seekers of a sensory buzz.

Finding the warm fuzzies is a fairly universal desire for us human beings. Most often we do it unconsciously, being categorized as preference or like.  Some of us are more aware of sensory issues by living with exceptional needs. We are looking for the balance of avoidance versus those warm sensory fuzzies. But what if your awareness in positive sensory behavior could enhance your daily wellness? From mental acuity to de-stress plus possible weight help, social bonding, and more- our sensory endeavors have potential benefits for everyone.

Before we submerge our senses we need to precede with caution. If therapy or medical care is a part of your life or someone in your care, then these may help as “in addition too.” However, ask your professional first.

For your eyes seek bright or soft colors, which one depends on what you need

Most of us have a favorite color and there may be reasons as to why, it’s color psychology.   Companies use the study colors to know how to entice your consumer brain.  For the purpose here, it’s a tool that may help engage your brain and mental well being.   In the general sense, bright/warm colors stimulate your brain.  If you feel sluggish, pick one bright color you like and wear it.  If you love it, paint a room with it.  Or, less commitment option is to paint a piece of furniture.  On the other end, if your are stressed, over stimulated, etc then aim for wearing, obtaining, painting with cool/soft/pastel colors.  Even a light pink can soothe and brighten.   Work towards an array in your closet and mix them up in your living space, different days or hours call for different colors.

Seek soft, weighted, warm, or cool to touch

Feeling sore or stressed? Find warmth  in a blanket; in my case, multiple blankets. Texture is important so go with that “gut feeling.”   If you tend to heat easily then go light and soft.  Personally, it’s fleece.   Light compression can be calming.  A heavier, but not necessarily warmer blanket may be of benefit.  A quilt can have some weight or as I discovered recently in a Yin Yoga class, that a tightly woven blanket (“Mexican Blanket,” “Yoga Blanket”) has a fair amount of weight.  There are weighted blankets that can be pricey and a professional would be the one to tell you what weight ratio you need.  A quilt or woven blanket have some weight but not enough to require a consultation for most people.  Another inexpensive option to calm is simply taking a bath.  Water is therapeutic.  Hot water with the door locked and kids on the other side is life altering.  On the other end, being active in cool water can help workout those nerves and add to positive stimulation.   It’s a great option for joint problems and children with lots of energy.

When you need to hear it

If your auditory sense is seeking those chills there are a few simple options.  To calm the nerves, slower (classical, jazz, etc), sound of nature, white noise are ear massage options.  Listening to a guided meditation can be an option too.  If heavy or dull is the feeling then go upbeat.  Then add dancing or something similar too it.  Movement and music are a powerful combo.  Another way to uplift is finding or recording affirmations that are meaningful to you.  It repeats to become a memory.  You may replay that “track” later when it’s not available but needed.  

From a “pick me up” to chill out, sensory seeking can go a long way to help.  Look for part two in the near future.   Subscribe for your convenience.  We still need to address our olfactory sense and of course, food! Check that out in Seeking the Warm Fuzzies Part Two

Namaste in your warm fuzzy endeavors 

It’s Okay to Slow Down: an Affirmation for Winter. | elephant journal

It’s Okay to Slow Down: an Affirmation for Winter. | elephant journal

I want to tiptoe into stillness. I want to learn what the trees know about seasons, about phases, about the steely force of change. Affirm. Affirm. Affirm the need to slow down and find balance.
— Read on www.elephantjournal.com/2018/11/its-okay-to-slow-down-an-affirmation-for-winter/

Health Foodie: Messing with a Classic Side dish

Health Foodie: Messing with a Classic Side dish

And just like that Thanksgiving was here. We are incredibly fortunate as my husband and I’s may be far from our families, they are close to each other.  This made our long awaited ten day, Southern Thanksgiving tour much easier.  Less care time and more face time. It still left room for lots of traveling stories (one captured at the end of this post).  

As we created new memories on old traditions, new dishes came to the table.  No one messes with the green bean casserole.  We love it just the way it is.  My mom made these delicious avocado deviled egg with an egg bar.  Avocado + Bacon = Love   .   I couldn’t leave the mac and cheese alone this year.  Since gluten free is the name of our game, it would seem a simple pasta switch out is all one needs.  Not really.  I do have my fav ancient grain gluten free pasta; however, I wasn’t taking chances with crunchy or sticky.  Yes it happens alot with the g free pasta. Ew.  I opted with a caulimac that is creamy and more bacon.  This “side dish” started out as a main dish with some veggies.  Then I was in love.  It made its Thanksgiving debut.  The best part of this relationship- easy.  Put it together.  Bake or crock.  Stir and done.    

Notjusthealthnut among other nuts
#archieR and #cobycoby waiting for the drop.  Messy food love.  

Gouda and Bacon Caulimac

⚠️ Warning ⚠️ Addictive

Serves 6-8 as a main dish

Ingredients and Prep

36 oz of frozen cauliflower

2 8 oz of Neufchâtel cream cheese, cut into cubes

3 8 oz of Gouda cheese, cubed

1 16 oz package of bacon (cooked and cut)

Cooking

Oven

1. Take one baking dish (size) throw in frozen cauliflower

2. Throw in cubed cream cheese and Gouda

3. Bake on 375 for 15-20 minutes.

4. Remove from heat and stir. Add bacon on top

5. Cook for 15-20 minutes until melted and bubbling. Stir again

Crock pot

1. Dumped it all together in 7 quart slow cooker or crock pot

2. Cook on high for 2-3 hours and stir half way between

You know it’s done when all the cheeses are melted together and a bubbly personality.  

Make your food relationship deliciously easy with out skipping out on the nutrition you need.  

Namaste #notjusthealthnut

One of many adventures in my parent hood. Follow me @realaparentyogi on instagram for more
Health Foodie: Messing with Iconic Dishes Part One

Health Foodie: Messing with Iconic Dishes Part One

As my love affair with all things spicy cools off, I have to find ways to live in between.  I am between my love of food relationship exploration and the need for it not to kill my stomach.  Creole food is one of those perplexing situations for me. About a year ago on a pinning spree I took on gumbo and LOVE it.  I love the earthy and fiery flavors with the simple base.  Recently, a more palatable version found my bowl as tweaking to remove shellfish allergy and reduce reflux triggers.  This reworking of a Creole icon reduces the spice, lowers fat content, and switches to a low acid tomato.   Make your shopping list, grab your pots, and find the zydeco music.  It’s time to channel that not so spicy but spiced up food encounter.

Gumbo/Stew

Ingredients and Prep

Roux

  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • 1/4 cup of all purpose flour or all purpose gluten free flour

Gumbo

  • 2 garlic cloves diced
  • 1 tsp of Creole Seasoning (cayenne will do in a pinch)
  • 1/4 cup of fresh parsley (1 tbsp dried parsley can be substituted)
  • 1/2 red bell pepper diced
  • 2 stalks of celery sliced
  • 1 lb of chicken cooked and diced
  •  oz of smoked turkey sausage (if you can handle the spicy go for chicken andouille sausage)
  • 2 cups of vegetable broth or chicken broth
  • 9 ounces of cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • Optional add ins: crawfish or shellfish

Cooking

  1. Roux: this mystical beast is the wonderment base.  The key is to never leave it alone and constantly stir.
    • Heat skillet to medium heat then add in oil.  Gentle stir in flour with a whisk and keep stirring.  The goal is a medium to medium dark brown.  Once you reach the desired color, give your arm a break and head to step 2.
  2. Add in: garlic, red bell pepper, celery, and tomatoes.  Cook for 10 minutes
  3. Add in broth, meat, and spices
  4. Simmer on low for about an hour

How you address or dress this dish when it’s done is up to you.  The classic is with rice.  We went for corn polenta (pictured), but it’s up to you and any idea you dream of.  Classics like this have staying power as it carries tradition, memories, and iconic flavors.  It doesn’t mean you can’t mess around a little in your food relationship.

Namaste

Check out part two next week!