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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 on Those Pains in the Neck.

It’s my birthday!! 🎂 At one time I thought 35 was really, really old. But here I am. Old. Ish. 🤣😉. It’s not so bad and most days are great. I have more wisdom and proud battle scars. Plus a deep appreciation for fuzzy blankets, time with loved ones, warm tea, and sleep. There are some realities of adding another year. Horrible knees since my teens, iron deficiency that impacts my muscles, and my spine is a degenerate. It creates some literal pains in the neck. Ouch. My lifestyle of wellness is to prevent as much as possible, to heal as much as possible, and to manage as much as possible.   For those pains in the neck, literal or not, we do have tools  in nature to cope, manage, and heal.  It is important to note as we continue that seeking a medical professional may be necessary.  In the case of my spinal degeneration, I sought a diagnosis and treatment plan.  My doctors works with my desire for a natural path and diminishing needs to for prescriptions.  With a tweaked food relationship, active lifestyle, and continuous at home therapy- I am slowly finding my groove again.

Food. It’s always been food.

Painless eating requires a dedication in intention and deliciousness.  Antioxidants, lowering inflammation, good fats are among the goals in your food relationships.  Whole veggies and fruits are the potent antioxidant providers.  Get lots of them and mix it up.  They all play a role in providing  your body is missing and reduce inflammation. Green tea is amazing in your daily routine for LOTS of reasons.  For the sake of this topic- its another antioxidant in the battle. Omega rich foods help increase best body function all around. Cod, Tuna, Salmon, Olive Oil, Flax seed, and Chia seeds are all the right Omegas you need in your food life.   The spicy in your food relationship is rather easy and it takes two.  Cayenne and Ginger.  Cayenne added to recipes is a powerful anti inflammatory especially to joints.  Ginger tea and in food is a stomach soother, muscle and joint relaxer, and head massage.  Drink and eat for ache healing.

It’s Essentially In Your Hands

Essential oils are an excellent way to utilize your largest and most absorbent organ for pain reduction.  There are companies that offer ready made oils for pain. However, you may want to customize with these basics.  One of my favorite essential oil blends right now for cramps and tight muscles is Vetiver and Eucalyptus with carrier oil in a roller bottle.  About 3 drops each does the trick.  Eucalyptus is potent and should be taken with caution if you have high blood pressure.  Other excellent options for tight muscles or cramps or painful joints are lemon grass, ginger, peppermint, and cayenne.  Cayenne is a fantastic for joints in food and oil. But it brings some heat, take caution.  Sore muscles and headaches/migraines benefit from similar essential oils as those for pain.   Some times a migraine/headache cause sensitivities to scents.  Test them one at a time to be sure one scent doesn’t irritate you.

Get Active. Sort of.

If your able, activity is beneficial to aches.  A light walk at any time, any length that you can handle is an excellent way to boost blood flow for reducing inflammation and working out kinks.  This increases oxygen, increases cell growth, and removes waste.  Adding a warming pad can have a similar benefit if you are not able to move.   It’s important to note that inflammation needs cooling like an ice pack (no more than twenty minutes).  Under medical care, get a consultation on what is best for you.  Light stretching is an gentle way to pull oxygen into your muscles.   Yoga is my favorite way to do this. Largely because yoga is so versatile and can be individualized with no equipment or lots of accessories. It’s up to you. A studio offering yin yoga or restorative yoga would be of benefit.  Yin yoga is the slowest – less poses being held longer with props to support your body.  Restorative is my constant to heal and build muscle that isn’t strenuous.   Yet, getting to a studio may be difficult.  There are plenty of yin videos on YouTube and the Down Dog app has a restorative option.  I am not linked to either of these companies;  however these are easy at home options.

My hope and prayer is that you find healing in these simple daily changes for a healing lifestyle.  Certainly throwing in a massage or acupuncture further the benefits.   Lots of love in your journey to healing and growing wisdom.

Please share. It would be a great gift!🙃

Namaste 💕🧘🏼‍♀️

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That Gut Feeling: Basic Healing & Recipe

This week offered an excellent reminder of the importance of my food relationship being in balance.  When your stomach isn’t right, nothing is right.   My gut was hateful, largely due to my mindless choices and long term damage.  I am in gut healing, asking for forgiveness mode now.  It seems we are coming to an agreement.  That gut feeling affects everything, from mood to physical mobility.  When you can’t move because of your gut dysfunction, its real.

When you eat for your gut, you eat for the rest of your body.

Self care for your tummy starts with two basics: prebiotic and probiotics.  You need fiber, greens, whole grains- prebiotics.  It’s counter part or twin, is probiotics.  One isn’t complete without the other.  Probiotics are more than yogurt in it’s many forms. Kefir, sauerkraut, sour dough bread, kombucha (my fav!), tempeh, miso, cottage cheese are just a few sources of probiotics.  The twins need to be a daily part of your food relationship along with proper hydration.  Your gut needs water and you don’t need to carry a gallon around,  the fluidity in your food life  can be in a cup or on a fork or hands.  I will join you in all three methods.  Water cleanses and with many tea options, it can heal.  Get pre, pro – biotics with hydro for an much improved gut feeling.

When adding flavor with a gut boost there are quite a few herbs and spices to choose from.  Ginger is a potent to food and drink.  It’s awesome for bloating.  Parsley, Bay leaves, and Oregano specifically speak to your tummy as well.  Whispers of soothing, anti-inflammation, and healing.  Using these herbs like in the recipe push the good gut vibes with zest.

parsley 2
Parsley
bay leaf
Bay leaves
oregano
Oregano: fresh and dried

Braised Chicken with Veggies/Chunky Veggie Stew

Ingredients

  • Large Crock pot
  • chicken thighs 2 lbs or whole chicken cut into 8 pieces
  • Olive oil
  • Canned crushed tomatoes 28
  • 2-3 carrots- 2 inch thick slices
  • Onion quartered
  • Green beans (I opted for frozen this go round)
  • Chicken or Vegetable broth 15 oz
  • Oregano: 1/4 cup chopped or 2 tbsp dried
  • 3 Bay leaves
  • 3 cloves of garlic, diced
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Optional add in veggies: brussel sprouts halved, mushrooms halved, kale, spinach, radishes, diced bell peppers

There are two paths: meat with veggies or total vegetarian. For vegetarians skip the long step one.

Cooking

  1. Braising chicken: drizzle about 2 tbsp of olive oil in a medium-hot skillet.  Place chicken in skin down first and cook for about 3-4 minutes.  You want each side brown.  Then place cooked chicken in a skillet.
  2. In a crock pot:
    1. Vegetarian: place all veggies then pour enough vegetable broth to cover 2/3 of veggies.
    1. With Chicken: pour enough chicken broth to cover chicken, then add desired veggies on top
  3. Then place herbs, salt, and pepper
  4. IMG-0615
  5. Chicken in, broth in, veggies loaded
  6. Cover and cook on a low setting for 6-8 hours with chicken, 4-6 hours with just veggies.
IMG-0628
Additions: roasted potatoes, crumbled goat cheese

You can add topping as you like. It’s hearty with tender chicken, veggies, and flavorful herbs.  I love simple as we have so. much. going. on.  Are you with me?  I want wellness with ease and a food relationship that speaks to good gut vibes.

Another recipe or two will follow shortly with more herbs for that best gut feeling. When you subscribe you get more in your food relationship! Please! Please feel free to comment on favorite dishes with any kind of herbs.  I love new additions in my food life!

Namaste and Loving Gut Feelings

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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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The Other Ghost Children When You Have a Ghost Child

We have been in a steady uphill push for the last few weeks.  The winter break is out temporary finish line and it’s a mad dash.  So much is poured into a child with special needs- from testing to doctor visits to therapies to extra work at home to extra work from us. Each experience is unique but “extra” is the common thread.  The “extra” is bearing down on us.

The past two Thursday mornings we have had the pleasure of company in the waiting room.  My fellow waiting room veteran mom and I are ecstatic to let our three year old boys impromptu play-date while getting to converse with an adult.  Yay! Today we dealt with the common thread of  the “others.”  We have at least three other children plus some transient bonuses.  Each week therapy is two hours by the time we travel and complete a session.   Two hours is a significant amount of time and we integrate/build in extra time during the week.  That’s just therapy.  There is time to teach, deal with melt downs, hugs, tackle problems, victory dances.  Not all time consumed is a challenge.  Our Ghost child can over shadow and make other ghost children.  How do we find a balance of one who needs more and all of our children’s needs?

One simple solution I found in the waiting room.  This was our time- Red and I.  That hour he had my attention and we read book after book after book.  It’s easy to check out because I am way over stretched.  There has been many times I have dropped whatever to listen to a cheer practice, listen about football, read a book, discuss legos.  Being mindful of opportunities that pop up then taking advantage of it helps them see their value while making the most of my precious energy.  Very precious, minute energy.

Opportunities may not pop up. In that case be intentional and it doesn’t have to be costly. Extra time in presence goes a long way for siblings- from reading, talking, playground, etc.  Simple is best and less taxing on everyone.  Build in whole family events too.  This is a great time of year for most towns and cities to have a variety of family bonding activities.

One thing I love about the center we are at is when a client celebrates a victory, the WHOLE family does too.  Including prizes and affirmations.  We all sacrifice and that needs to be recognized with attitude “we are in it together.”  When a ghost child celebrates, everyone has a stake in that victory.  Celebrate together.

Just as a growing family needs to communicate about a newborn, so does a family with a ghost child.  I have lost track of the talks with our older two about why there are different expectations and handling of things with ghost child.  Plus why it’s fair to be different. There is communication on how they can help their sibling ghost too. Like allowing extra swing time because it helps calm her.  They help with speech goals and using self regulation tools.   I have amazing kids. They are understanding most days and take to heart in helping her.  There are times it’s understandably much and they need grace in that too.  Age appropriate talks with siblings of a ghost child is imperative.  You must do this.

Hug and love on all your little loves and bonus loves.  You have a lot to give; please remember your pact as a caregiver to care for yourself.

Balance is possible most days and grace is necessary all days.

Namaste

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Health Foodie: Taking A.M. Lightly

I have food infatuations. There are several items that are my staples, several in rotation, and an obsession of the moment. Egg plants and sweet potatoes have been it. At some point our relationship will cool a little and they will become part of the fridge stock.

Except salsa. We are always hot for each other. I love the substance of the sweet potato and avocado to fuel with the lightness of egg white and salsa.  It comes with a variety of nutrition which goes beyond the fuel. Antioxidants, vitamins, minerals are a few things that fight disease, enhance bodily functions, and reduce aging. It is gluten free with “make it gluten options.”  An incredible balance to get us going.

A. M. Sweet Potato Gnocchi

Ingredients:

  • 2 sweet potatoes cooked and peeled
  • 1/2 cup of flour
  1. Mash sweet potatoes and flour together- start boiling water20180223_1019541067962792.jpg
  2. Spread out on a flour surface and shape a square
  3. Cut into 1 inch squares
  4. Place a few squares in boiled water- wait for it to float then let it ride the waves for about a min
  5. Pull out and let cool
  6. Continue for the rest of the squares

In picture it is topped with egg white, avocado, and pico.  Walnuts and raw honey would be a great option for a sweet tooth and omega brain boost.  Some whole fruit with yogurt or kefir is great. Tomatoes, oregano, chopped garlic, and chopped spinach are an amazing combo too.

Simple Pico de Gallo

Ingredients

  • One medium onion
  • 4 Roma tomatoes
  • 1 lemon or lime
  • 1 table spoon of cilantro
  • Sea salt
  • 1 jalapeño dice
  1. Dice tomato and onion and jalapeño  then mix
  2. Squeeze in lemon or lime on mixture
  3. Stir in cilantro with add salt to taste

This is food satisfaction from the start that doesn’t have to be overly complicated.  The gnocchi recipe can be halved for a smaller amount or the full recipe offers leftovers for the next day.

Namaste and Start Your Day

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