Aside

Health Foodie: For your Heart

A lot comes through my media and email with shockers like “number one killer” or ” this could kill you.” Yes death is a reality and even a fear.  Matter of the heart are serious and, seriously, when your heart is cared for, it does much to amplify the quality of your life.  What if we shift our focus to finding habits to enhance our heart health?

A lot of the following suggestions of physical habits are general preventative measures or maintenance.  Everyone is different and a sit down with your doctor, nutritionist, health coach, etc for individual guidance is important.  Especially if you are seeking treatment for heart or blood conditions.  According to American Heart Association, the best heart diet is one full of fruit, veggies, whole grains (think ancient), lean meat, low fat dairy, and nuts.  Across the board, for most this is a great guideline for any one.  What any heart and food relationship needs restraints in are limited: saturated fat, red meat, sodium, sweets, and sugar sweetened beverages.  Kick trans fat to the curb. Period.  Why these guidelines? Fiber and Omegas found in many veggies, whole grains, and lean meats are important for gut thus heart function.  Too much processed foods, sugar, fats can damage your gut, build up in blood vessels, then affect your heart.  Your food relationship is your daily healer.  Physical activity is important and looks different for everyone.  The important thing is to find something you enjoy.  There are lighter ends like Qi Gong, Tai Chi, Yin/Restorative Yoga to walking, Hatha Yoga, Pilates, biking, zumba, Refit, and more.  If you want to run, run.  If you want to box, box.  If you like the gym and it holds you accountable, then make time for it. Take a class.  Find an app or youtube at home.  Find what you like and take limitations into account.   I am rarely in the mood for the gym.  Yoga in its many forms is my thing and other than an relished and occasional class due to time constraints, my practice is at home.

What you do for your physical health impacts your mental well being.  Your mental care habits affect your body and heart.  It’s a never ending circle to represent the whole you.   There isn’t solid study evidence to date on the link of mental to heart health. Yet.  However, many professionals support this link as found on heart.org.  Prolonged stress effects many things from gut to brain to your heart.  Since stress is a natural part of life and many times can’t be avoided, you need stress busters.

Ways to bust

  • hobby
  • journaling
  • physical activity (two for one!)
  • time with loved ones
  • coloring/ creative activity
  • play dough (its for adults too)
  • prayer/meditation
  • water feature or sounds
  • Essential oils: peppermint and lavender
  • Practice mindfulness
  • Practice or journal gratitude
  • Breathing apps
  • Self care: baths, massage, reiki, spa day, nails
  • Find your limitations and stick with them.  Yes is potent. No is potent. Listen to yourself to know when to use what and when.
  • Community service

This isn’t a pick one and done list.  And you have the freedom to rotate, pick a few, or pick many.  Your inner voice and preferences are powerful.  Listen to them and begin building those stress busting habits.  Your food relationship, activity level, and mental care are essential for your heart health.

Your heart matters

Namaste

I am not affiliated with above link to the American Heart Association.  Their website is wonderful, check it out at Heart.org

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Health foodie: Finding the (pH) Balance in Your Food Relationship

Health foodie: Finding the (pH) Balance in Your Food Relationship

Spicy foods and I have had a long time love affair in our food relationship.  It seems that now we are at least on a separation if not headed for limited contact relationship.  Our relationship literally burns my heart, among other things.  Heart burn, acid reflux, and bile reflux are serious conditions that do more than irritate.  Due to high acid production, it can erode your digestive system from mouth to intestines.  It can be painful and may even cause esophageal spasms.  Not being able to use your esophagus sucks at the very least and scary at times.  To find balance in your food relationship, you need pH balance- acid vs alkaline.  This doesn’t mean acidic food are bad all together, many have amazing nutritional value and for some people, acidity is needed.  For us fiery, acidic bellies- we need to tone it down and tailor our relationship.

It’s starts with “we’re on a break.” For some time or all the time or on a limited basis you need to quit these foods: caffeine, citrus fruits, cocoa beans (coffee/chocolate), tomatoes, spicy, hot temps, high fats, processed, fried foods.  A relationship with a medical professional may help you decide what that relationship will look like.  These foods are either high in acid or cause more stomach acid production.  If you are extra sensitive then avoiding most fruits, gluten, dairy, and onions may be of benefit.

So now what do I eat?  I truly did have a spicy food addiction.  In treating and making new relationship routines I have become a humongous fan of oats.  I like oats before, but it’s a whole new love now.  Oats are excellent for regulating blood sugar among many things but for the sake of stomach acid- it absorbs acid and helps regulate the guts.  Every morning I have oatmeal with raw honey and sliced bananas.  Every. Freaking. Morning.  Raw honey, it HAS to be raw, has amazing healing properties and bananas are on the helpful with the acid list.  Ginger in tea or added to a meal is another pH balancing friend.  Probiotics like yogurt, kefir, and kombucha will tip the pH scale in your favor.  And veggies.  Veggies are alkaline which is the yin to acid’s yang so to speak, especially those greens and carrots.  Avocados, herbal teas, nuts, seeds, tofu, amaranth, and legumes are other alkaline options for daily contacts in your food relationship.

Love red sauces.  Me too! What do I do with tomato based sauces to combat acidity? Carrots.  These handy veggies in a puree aid in leveling out tomato’s acidity.  Cooking time is important too.  It need to be limited and I do not cook my sauces over thirty minutes.  More cook time, more acid.  Spices and herbs can contribute to raising the pH level.  An example is enchilada sauce.  I either eliminate the chili powder completely or reduce it, the up the cumin by half more.  This can be applied to any enchilada sauce recipe or pin you see.  Below I have included how I make my carrot puree plus a recipe for a reduced acid pasta sauce.  The carrot thing really does work.

Carrot Puree

2 carrots peeled and diced in 1 cup of water.  Cook until soft and blend or food processor until smooth.  You can double to make extra to store or freeze for later use.

Reduced Acid Pasta Sauce

  • 2 ( 29 oz) can of Tomato Sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup of carrot puree
  • 2 bay leaves (cue 90’s kid in school lunchroom memories)
  • 2 tablespoons basil
  • 1 tablespoon oregano

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Cooking: measure it, dump it, stir it, and cook on medium heat for about 30 minutes.

You can cook longer if you can stand higher acidity.  TBH- I love longer cooked sauces; however, they are not loving me back at the moment.  Care for your gut as it cares for the rest of you.

Please like share or pass along!

Namaste

Health Foodie: Using Nature and Nutrition to Subdue the Head Monkeys

Health Foodie: Using Nature and Nutrition to Subdue the Head Monkeys

 

 

Here me now- I am not claiming total head monkey control.  However, there are ways to quite them and get them mananged.  This has been HUGE for my daughter and I.  We have monkey riots in our heads often and they just needed to settle the hell down.

When the head monkeys are out of control they need to be fed.

First in a head monkey’s diet is sleep.  Lack of sleep makes them louder or controlling them harder. I am not sure which. Either sucks.  Set a iron clad routine.  For adults, around 10 P.M. and up around 6 P.M. following the rhythm of nature. If that time frame not possible, seven to eight hours where you are able.  Uninterrupted.  My kids and I are still in negotiations on that part.  Settle into a non engaging activity thirty minutes before bed time.  I absolutely CANNOT read  before bed.  Book are engaging and insomnia inducing for me. My daughter it’s the opposite effect. As a  matter of fact it can put her to sleep in the middle of the day, so she claims.  Find a relaxing activity you can walk way from.   Listen to your body. I have been sleeping in an extra when possible due to my iron deficiency and children.  I need the extra sleep.  I am not against sleep aids and if you need them use them with care.

Head monkeys love food.  What you feed them either fuels crazy or appeases them.  Avoid high fats, sugar, dyes, chemical/processed foods.  It reeks havoc on your nervous system and incites head monkey riots.    Caffeine needs to be on a short lease.  There are some studies showing restrained amounts of coffee in the A.M. help rev those brain engines, possibly- POSSIBLY- helping those with ADHD.  It’s not conclusive.   However, in small amounts I find it helps.  The best thing you can feed yourself is water. HYDRATE. Don’t give them a fighting chance.  Head Monkey grub should rely on protein and not just meat protein.  Even  good-for-you lean meat protein in high amounts taxes your kidneys.  Nuts, beans, lentils should be mingling with your chicken, turkey, and lean beef. Frequently. YOU NEED CARBS. Actually, the head monkeys do.  But carb responsibly.  Whole grains like oats, amaranth, brown rice, quinoa, barley are the bread/pasta ingredients to look for.  Avoid processed, refine, and white flour.  Especially bleached. Saying “bleached flour” out loud just literally tasted nasty.  Bleached?! Whole fruits and veggies are smart head monkey carbs and nutrients. Eat them. In abundance. Then watch those head monkeys quiet down.

What you eat is as important as how and when.  Breakfast needs to be a protein punch and the afternoon follows suit.  Afternoon is when you start to drop in your energy rhythm and wish for those kindergarten naps.  Eat a light protein snack.  Small meals space about two to three hours apart regulate your blood sugar, showing those head monkeys who’s boss.  Drink water all in between.

You may want to consider supplements depending on your head monkey issues. LISTEN CAREFULLY KIDS AND HEAD MONKEYS.  Supplements are not for all ages and can negatively interact with other medications.  Check and double check with professional input.  Vitamin Bs (“S”-plural) in a multivitamin for kids, multi or just B complex form for adults is great. The Bs work the nerve system with magnesium, its a head monkey massage.  Omegas are for all ages, stages, and reasons.  We are plant based omega takers but cold fish omegas are VERY helpful in head noise reduction.  If you deal with anxiety, depression, focus issues, etc safely used and effective supplement can help your extra head monkeys. Even if you take medication.

Now that the head monkeys are rested and fed.  Give them a run.  You need to get active- daily and through out the day. Simple stretches, standing up and down a few times when you have desk duty makes a difference. Commit to getting that heart pumping.  It doesn’t matter how you do it, just do. Then get hands on.  Head monkeys like creativity.  Everyone is creative and not everyone is a Picasso.  Coloring books are just as effective as a Pollock inspired endeavor.  Cooking is creative. Yay food! Working on cars. LEGOS! Just be open and get something in your hands.  If the monkeys are especially loud then meditate while hands on- shameless previous post plug on meditation .  A daily meditation practice is a great preventative for crowd control.  You need to empty the junk drawer but you may worry about the ability focus for so long.  Take five minutes as a starter and if you can go longer great, if not, that’s great.   It’s all about being intentional to help you focus on what you are creating for animal head control.

As of now my head monkeys are on a leash.  While I embrace their quirks and noise at times, the clock is ticking so I am going to go cook something.

My head monkeys namaste your head monkeys.  Find mental peace friends.

That Gut Feeling: Recipe Add Ons

That Gut Feeling: Recipe Add Ons

Summer time is our busiest; however, for many this is the reverse when school starts.  To keep that amazing gut feeling in your food life we have a couple of recipes to add to the food relationship.   These recipes at substance, healing power necessary to sustain you, but not weigh you down either.   I find veggies and herbs are an excellent way to get the nourishment without a heavy gut discussion afterwards. These recipes of my favs in the food relationship, nourishes well and not complicated.

Mediterranean Inspired Pasta Dish- aka “I’m obsessed with olives and herbs”

Feed approximately 4 people

Ingredients

  • Pasta or “Pasta”: (pictured) g-free linguine or zoodles, linguine, fresh pasta, etc.  12 oz pasta or 2 zucchini
  • Olive oil 2-3 tbsp
  • Garlic cloves: 3 cloves, diced
  • Fresh parsley: about 1/2 cup chopped (optional add in dried parsley 2 tbsp)
  • Green olives: 1/2 cup diced
  • Roma tomatoes, 3 diced
  • Shredded parmesan cheese

Cooking

  1. For packaged pasta cooked as directed and set aside.  For zoodles, saute in 2 tbsp of butter for about 5 minutes or soft and firm.
  2. In a skillet pour in olive oil, garlic and cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes
  3. Add in diced tomatoes, green olives (if using dried parley add here) and cook for 3-5 minutes.
  4. Add in pasta or “pasta” and fresh parsley.  Cook for about 3 minutes
  5. Plate and mix in parmesan cheese in preferred amounts (I love cheese, no judgement from me)

Pasta and veggies are a favorite combo but I love tzatziki like none other, that with grilled veggies and flat bread, it’s an upbeat gut feeling.

Grilled veggies with Rosemary Flat Bread, Tzatziki Sauced

Feeds 4-5 people

Minus picky veggie eaters

Ingredients

Rosemary Flat Bread

  • Gluten free all purpose or Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 flour (g free),  all purpose flour (for g)
  • Dried Rosemary  2 tbsp
  • Garlic, 2 cloves diced
  • 1 egg
  • Baking powder 1 1/2 tsp
  • 2 1/2 cups of flour
  • 1/4 cup of milk
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • Olive oil

Cooking flat Bread

  1.  Preheat oven to 400ºF
  2. Mix dried ingredients first (flour, rosemary, baking powder, garlic)
  3. Stir in egg and milk
  4. Slowly pour half the water in to mix.  Each flour is different and some absorb water more that others.  As you mix, slowly add in the rest of the water.  Stop when the ingredients are mixed well but the dough isn’t sticky.  If it does’t become sticky, add a touch more flour.
  5. Drizzle olive oil on a baking sheet (it can be placed on a baking stone with no oil)
  6. Take a 1/2 cup size portion, roll into a ball and press flat.  All of this can be done with your hands.  No other tools required.
  7. Bake flat bread for 8-10 minutes on each side.

Just the Basics Tzatziki Sauce

Ingredients

  • plain Greek yogurt 5 oz
  • Dill, dried  1 tsp
  • lemon juice 1 12 tsp

Cooking

  1.  Mix all ingredients together and let it sit in the fridge for a couple of hours

“Grilled” Veggies

Ingredient

  • Zucchini  2, sliced long ways
  • Yellow squash 2, sliced long ways
  • Tomatoes on the vine 4, cut into quarters
  • Mushrooms 8 oz
  • Fresh oregano  1/2 cup chopped
  • Fresh parsley 1/2 cup chopped
  • olive oil
  • Optional addtions: olives (yes plz), red onion, eggplant, bell peppers, carrots

Cooking

There are two options here.  Throw it on the grill or bake.  Since our grill is O-3 (out of order) these directions are for baked.  I know the ultra professional tip is to give temperatures but if I’m honest-  I forget half the time (ADHD). Much of our relationships don’t have measuring tools, cooking veggies can be one of those instances.

  1. Oven preheated to 375ºF
  2. Drizzle olive oil on a baking sheet then lay out veggies on baking sheet(s).  Zucchini and squash cook the fastest, place them together.  Place tomatoes and mushrooms together as well.
  3. Sprinkle chopped oregano and parsley over veggies.
  4. Put in tomatoes and mushrooms first.  They need a good 15 minute head start.
  5. After 15 minutes place zucchini and squash. Cook an additional 10 minutes.
  6. Check veggies to make sure they are soft but firm to touch with a fork.  Or knife. Please don’t use your fingers.  Trust me.

Now.

Throw it all together in any combo you like.

Cooked veggies are easy to digest.  With herbs, vegetables reduce inflammation from gut to brain.  Grain sustains and adds fuel.  It’s a food relationship to satisfy and provide great gut feelings.  Come back next week for simple ways to deal with the aches and “pains in the neck.”  Subscribe and then your tools for an exceptional life comes to you. 🥘💌

Namaste 🥙🥐🍽

P.S. I am not a fan of spam- the “meat” or email.  Pinky-promise for only the good stuff- no email, app, or phone invasions.

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I Didn’t Mean too, but I Mean Too

What do I mean by this? I am not trying to purposefully overuse that word,  maybe I am.  There are a lot of things we just say but don’t necessarily mean.  There are things we do and do so unintentionally.  This is part of being a human being; however, at what point do we let our actions, words, and life become so accidental? I know I have phases where I fee like a pinball bouncing around.  Recently, as I listen and observe around me, this phrase, “I didn’t mean too,” is spoken.  A lot.   Especially from my children.  As their eyes roll from the mom lessons about being mindful, I realize how important setting intent is to our lives.  This hit me the hardest in a grocery line this past week.  I had the #redreignsofterror and #ghost child, which is distracting at the least. Tons of groceries. I was at the finish line and just done.  The cashier was kind and friendly.  However, the bagger was overly friendly and we began to converse as our mounds of purchases were being loaded.  As the three of us said our good byes a sinking feeling set in.  I wasn’t as open with the cashier.  There was the obvious barrier as this person is a foreigner.  Was there a language barrier? Was she shy? Were my kids too much noise?  I don’t know!!  This is all simply because I did not have the intent to reach beyond awkwardness to engage this gracious person.  I didn’t mean too, but I needed to mean too.  The power of intent is immense.  I need to become intentional in my every day community connections. How does one move from accidental to on purpose?  Start with core of you.


Know

  • What is core to your beliefs? About you? People? How do you treat people? How you treat yourself?

“How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours.”

Wayne Dyer

  • What do you want to accomplish? Talents? Life goals?
  • What wellness issues do you need to tackle?
  • How do you handle stress? What is your mental health like?

Use Resources and Community to Help You


Prioritize

Pick top three and start there.  As new habits take hold  then go back to your list and pick a few more. You can pick a long term, short term, and now.  As the now and short term are mastered, replace them.

Make it easier to accomplish with a few


Realize

It takes time. It takes grace.  Be aware of the moments you are in as they are happening now.

“…Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy- think of such things.”

Philippians 4:8

Have grace and be here now


Commit

Write it everywhere. Set reminders on phone. Think or meditate about it.  Let it sink in your core.  It is a continual effort to be intentional.


 

Intent is changing your future by adjustments you make now.

I am not designed to live an accidental life.  I want care for my body to be on purpose.  Care for my mind to be on purpose.  Care for my soul to be on purpose. I set intents to change my life, how I respect others, and react in all situations. I am in continual transformation.  You are too.  Set your intents and journey with me as we live an “on purpose life”.  

My intentional addition

I intend for my connections with others to be given full effort and meaningful.

What are your intentions? Please share in the comment section

Namaste and Mean Too

 

Aside

#Internationalselfcare day for the Caregiver

I had it all set. Gut healing ideas with delicious recipes.  Something was holding me back, what was it I truly needed to say? Those recipes are meant for next week.  It started in my A.M. routine with a celebration of #internationalselfcareday and it hit the hardest after leaving #ghostchild weekly speech therapy appointment as #redreignofterror was screaming over a perceived wrong of seating in the car.  Lots of deep breathing as I parent and process our new information.  We will not be able to complete therapy in the short term with the addition of further testing and, hopefully, the additional of occupational therapy.  Being a parent or caregiver is serious work.  Being one with people with disabilities, disorders, syndromes, etc is over whelming.  Finding balance between extraordinary needs, family dynamics, and just life is over whelming.

I have to put my mask on first.

Self care is crucial to my survival and my family’s gears moving.

For us and for those we care for. You need to make a commitment for yourself so you can make the most of you and your caregiver self.   It takes intention, creativity, and setting priorities.  It’s not impossible.

Care for your body.  The physical toll affects more than the physical self. Sleep is priority one. Best case is sleeping a good eight hours or more as needed.  If that doesn’t happen, naps. They are not just for preschoolers. Sleep deprivation infiltrates EVERYTHING- from how your body functions to brain functions.  EVERYTHING.  You need as much sleep as you can get.  It may mean no’s to extra activity, committing to a set routine, back ground noises, and more.

What you eat is priority. Low fat and sugar, high protein and veggies. Unhealthy fats and unhealthy sugars negatively impact your ability to function- body and mind.  There are good fats that are imperative like avocados, coconut oil, olive oil, eggs, etc. Those in appropriate amount give your body and brain the boost it needs.  You need the right sugar from complex grains. Quick energy. A small cup of coffee is life changing. Add that too.  Sleep and good nutrition is better for your overall health and will be a major contributor to your success as a caregiver.

…Your mind. Sanity may be in short supply or non existent some days. Or all days.  We need to be intentional in care for our minds as equally as we are with our bodies.  In pouring to your physical body enhances your mental health.   It affects our decision making, emotions, and stamina. Your mind is immensely powerful. When not cared for, it can be your enemy. Your pact to your mind is to declutter it. Meditation, prayer, coloring, journaling, support group or friend. You need at least one of these things. I use all of them! We need some where to exhale our love, frustration, exhaustion, victories, and so forth. We need a safe place to inhale grace, comfort, strength, and pebbles of sanity. Release and renew your brain. Part of this pact is acknowledging and setting limitations. We are humans. Super humans, yet very human. We have limitations. A rubber band can only go so far. It does snap. Ask my family when my rubber band snapped. And who did it. Know and advocate your limitations.

Honor your spirit or soul. Whichever you choose. We are designed to be connected and caregiving has a way to isolate us. We must be intentional to connect for our health and caregiving. Seek and accept help then take opportunities outside of your caregiving space to connect with community(ies). Share the burden. When you are isolated your head has a way of getting stuck. It takes effort and strength to get out and connect. Gives you perspective.   It is possible to do something. Especially if you are accepting help. We must connect ourselves to other selves. The more you connect, the more support you find and discover value in your unique purpose.

Set a self care intention.  A few minutes a day on prayer and meditation is often what I have and I take it.  Grooming is efficient but a necessary part of my morning to tell my brain and body I matter.  I choose my food carefully most days.  I am active within my limitations.  In all my self care, I am working on grace the most.  That’s the hardest.  When things like today hit, I feel so small and never enough.  Am I giving enough? What could I do better? Feel me?  Inhale. Exhale.  I need to allow grace and affirm I am doing everything within my means.

Acknowledge your fear.  Find grace.  Affirm yourself.

Namaste and celebrate self care everyday