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Health Foodie, the Moody Eater

Your mental health to function at it’s best requires a multi-faceted care routine.  Physical activity is one essential part.  The input of human connection is another.  Your brain needs creative exercises.  Self care is important.  Proper sleep is crucial.  Professional support may become part too.   Our food relationship plays into our mental well being too.    At times our emotions start to over ride the food choices we make, “eating your feelings” or “moody eating.” This can lead to body and mental harming decisions.  Or it could be telling us something important we need.  What if you could flip your food life and eat for your moods?  Give your brain and nerves what they need ahead of time and enhance their function.

When you eat for your brain,  think “whole rainbow.” If it doesn’t require an ingredient list or has very few ingredients, eat it.  Avoid chemical, dyes, etc as much as possible.  They can harm your physical body then affect your mental health.  Then aim for variety in fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and whole grains.  Super food is a gimmick.  There are some foods like avocados, spinach, kale, berries that are dense in nutrients.  More bang for your buck.  But their impact on your health is limited if you limit what you eat with them.  The variety doesn’t have to be daily and balance is key.  Eat seasonal or rotate.  For us this week it’s mangoes, pineapple, tomatoes, carrots, cauliflower, green lettuce.  Next week will be a different story.  Go “whole rainbow.”

This is where my food life gets serious.  I LOVE herbs and spices. Recently, a well meaning comment was made on a food item not having any flavor because it didn’t have salt.  No salt doesn’t have to mean no flavor. We have much work to do in our food life if we believe that.  Seasoning is more than flavor.  Just as your food is rich in brain and nervous system nutrients, herbs can do the same.  The herbs used in the recipes/ideas below have a variety of key nutrient players for mental wellness.  We will cook with chives, parsley, ginger, dill, and garlic.  These offer magnesium, iron, choline, potassium, calcium, vitamin C,  copper, and zinc.  All of these are important for your mental functionality.   I come across magnesium and zinc often as natural options people use for mental wellness.   Three out of six of our household members take magnesium for mental focus and help with migraines as a part of our medical conversations and care routines. Do caution with mixing with other meds and zinc should by food digestion only; just because it’s on a OTC shelf doesn’t mean it’s safe.  Other herbs and spices help with brain and nerve function: rosemary, basil, cinnamon, peppermint, lavender, bay leaf, etc.

Let’s start with the A.M.  Eggs and I have a love hate/relationship.  I love eggs, the yolk hates me back.  Pictured are egg whites due to this relationship but this works with scrambled eggs/omelet too.  It’s as easy adding a teaspoon of dill/ teaspoon of chives to your eggs while cooking.  You can do fresh herbs.  In this case I did dried dill and 3 chive stalks chopped.   Chives give a onion taste (similar to a green onion)  with dill adding lively flavor.  Another way to take your A.M. lightly.

This dish can go so many ways.  The base consists of lightly cooked veggies such as zucchini, carrots, mushrooms, onion, bok choy, etc.  I cooked them in a tablespoon of butter with two cloves of garlic chopped and 2 teaspoons of ground ginger.  Not all veggies require the same amount of cooking.  Carrots, onion, mushrooms take longer.  After cooking five to seven minutes, add in things like zucchini and bok choy to cook a few minutes more.  You can add rice, I chose rice noodles.  Often I leave meat out of this part of the food relationship.  However, meat can be added.  I broke the routine by adding teriyaki marinated chicken in this case.

In all honesty, I thought all my children would hate this following meal.  Redreignofterror did not disappoint but the feedback I got wasn’t half bad.  The adults loved it.  This adult loved the simplicity and cheese.  Watching fats and getting in the good fats are important.  This was part of a day with very low fat.  A creamy, cheesy meal was well deserved.  Herbs make the encounter interesting with a balanced, light flavor.

A couple of notes about the recipe.  Dried herbs can replace fresh ones. I seriously did put in a packaged food.  I truly did not feel like cooking and chopping bacon, I don’t like grease or touching grease.  However, bacon can be cooked and chopped instead of the suggested ingredient. Dealers choice.

cheesy herb cauliflower and blt salad

I am currently glued to culinary videos and trying out new recipes.  Look out for more recipes and ways to liven up your food life soon.

Namaste in your mental health and food life journey

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A Collective Deep Breath…

Feel like you’re under water? Not even head above water, but under it?  Keeping track of news on all fronts and watching social media, a lot of you are right with me.  Over that past month we have been hit with curve balls dodge ball style.  The latest developments are experiencing new aspects to ghost child’s disorders and handling them.  We still have a bunch of children with ever expanding needs and change to their growth.  My husband was in a car accident that has developed increased anxiety (once managed) with migraines.  Redreignofterror pulled on my neck and pulled out a pre-existing condition that has taken over a month to be pain free and we are finally on the road to managing that. In our lifestyle readjustments we are starting to discover stable ground even among the rough days.

There is one technique we are using that is a common thread is all of this: Breathe! We are digging deep and finding those deep breaths In my early twenties I will be ever grateful to the professionals that linked me with biofeedback.  It started a path in realizing how nature can heal and modern medicine is more than pills for pain management. She was a professional who looked beyond the symptoms.  We discussed various aspect of my life to deal with the migraines and anxiety I had at the time.  The take aways for me was food as healers and the importance of breathe.  This has grown to a food relationship beyond just food and a journey to meditation.  Minus this neck deal recently, my migraines the past few years went from 25/30 days of pain to just a few a year.  It took time and trials but it was well worth the effort.  My husband is working on new habits with breathing techniques.  Our children, some more than others, are reminded to breathe.   Ghost child has taken to exploration in meditation.

Below is a basic breathing exercise with suggestions for individuality.  I am not affiliated with any company and have experimented with all options, if not use some of them daily.    Learning to control your breath and mind is an individualized journey with common threads.   Play around with it to find your niche.  It does take time and consistency.  You are learning a new habit.  In experimentation, give it a few days to see if its a good fit.   Time and commitment increase success and benefits. If you are frustrated, stressed, overwhelmed these can benefit you greatly.  It’s important to note that this is not a total sum treatment.  I take natural supplements and have sought professional help in the past.  My breathing and meditation is a continuation of management and healing.  My husband takes anxiety medication to level out chemical imbalances and has further medication for the really bad moments.  This is a growing practice to manage his anxiety plus daily medication.   If you feel like you cannot function in daily life or barely are, please seek professional help and ask about adding these to your treatments.

What does controlled breath actually do to your body? Immediately your body is taking in more oxygen which is great for concentration.  Your nervous system begins to get under control.  Regular practice increases these benefits.

The best benefit is that there is a lot ways to do this.

Techniques, Apps, & Ideas

There are lots of approaches to creating this habit.  Controlled breathing can look like guided imagery, meditation, breathing exercise/pranayama,  and more.  

These options were carefully chosen to keep it basic and simple.  

Four, Seven, Eight Breath

Breathe App

This is an app I have experimented with (not affiliated with) and liked it best among many.  It gives visuals to guide breathing and options to personalize your practice.  There are other apps and don’t be afraid to experiment.  

Headspace App and Website

Another app that offers areas of individual needs. There are a lot of apps out there but this is my favorite because of ease of use and personalization.

Insight Timer App and Website

The app is used almost daily on my phone.  If a lot of options overwhelm you then this may not be the best fit.  It’s versatility is a huge plus for me.  Most of the options are free, but there are courses on beginning meditation among many others.  I love the guided options, music options, nature sounds.  The timer was updated recently and I am hooked.  I can change sounds,  time, bells/chimes/bowls plus set intention of yoga, breathing, prayer, meditation, etc.  

 Meditation for the Distracted: How an ADHD Mom Declutters her Brain

This is a personal resource sharing how I found meditation obtainable with ADHD.  There a variety of reasons staying focused in breathing or meditation, this isn’t just for ADHD. 

Setting a breathing exercise routine or meditation habit can give relief in a stressful situation, provide clarity,  or a means to control your mind.  It’s helpful in the negative moments.  It’s better as a habit.

It starts with two simple steps: Inhale. Exhale.

Check out in the coming weeks.  Food relationship explorations have been happening and food as delicious healer ideas are to come!

 Breathe with me

Namaste 

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