Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Presto! It's Power Pesto!

Oh, Pesto!  How I love thee!

I mean, really, is there a better way to get your greens on?

You can put your pesto on top of chicken or shrimp, you can use it as a spread on a sandwich, you can top your garden tomatoes with it, you can mix it in with your pasta...the uses are endless and it it gives a nice POP of lemon and garlic flavor! 

Plus, this particular Pesto is nutritionally fabulous.  Here's why:

Power Greens
  • Baby kale, spinach, chard, and basil are nutritional powerhouses!
  • Most people eat their pesto raw, so those wonderful greens retain all their nutrients
  • You usually pair your pesto with something you need to chew so your digestive juices kick in with the chewing action and it's better for your tummy (unlike when you eat your raw greens in a smoothie--not as fabulous for those with compromised digestion)
  • Did I mention leafy greens are good for you?  LOL!  In case you didn't know, they are not only filled with essential Vitamins like A, C, E, and K, but they are also high in antioxidants so they're one of the BEST foods to help prevent cancer!
Lemons
  • Lemons are high in Vitamin C--good for fighting infections, heart disease, and stroke
  • They help fight cholesterol build up, aid digestion, and combat kidney stones
  • Good for detoxifying the liver too!
Walnuts
  • Rich in antioxidants
  • High in Omega 3
  • Can decrease cholesterol levels
  • Good for brain health!

Brazil Nuts
  • Packed with nutrients (especially selenium, which is good for your thyroid, immune system, and cell growth)
  • Rich in antioxidants that reduce inflammation

Garlic
  • Good for fighting the common cold
  • Can lower cholesterol
  • Has antioxidants that may help prevent Alzheimer's and Dementia

Olive Oil
  • Rich in healthy monounsaturated fats
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Can protect against heart disease and stroke
  • Can lower blood pressure





Power Pesto!

Equipment:
  • Food processor (or blender)
  • Spatula
  • Knife and cutting board
  • Lemon squeezer (citrus juicer)

Ingredients:
  • 2-3 Cups of a mixture of Power Greens (baby spinach, kale, and chard) and Basil
  • 3-4 garlic cloves (peeled)
  • 2 Brazil Nuts
  • 4 Walnuts
  • 1/2 lemon (juiced...juice only!)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4-1/2 cup olive oil (approximate)
Directions:

  1. Add your Power Greens and Basil to the food processor, and pulse until you get a nice, even consistency. 
  2. Peel the garlic and add it to the food processor along with the nuts. Give it a few more pulses until it's fairly smooth.
  3. Add the lemon juice and salt.
  4. Run the food processor again, and slowly add the olive oil (adding more or less depending on your taste). Periodically scrape the sides down with the spatula.
  5. You're done!  Use that Power Pesto wherever you like! 

Thursday, April 16, 2020

How to Kick Your Nighttime Snacking Habits Right Off the Couch

So, work is over.  Everyone has been fed.  Pots and pans are scrubbed.  Dishes are in the dishwasher.  The house and all the people and pets in it are finally taken care of.  Whew!  It's time to just flop down on the couch, kick up my feet and watch a little mindless TV.  


But that's when the munchies kick in.  


I start to crave things like popcorn and chips. Or sometimes the sugar cravings tap me on the shoulder and I start to wonder if there's any chocolate or ice cream left hiding somewhere in the house?   



Bitmoji Image  chocolate


Even when I'm on one of my famous (or some would say infamous) "health kicks" I start craving things that have that amazing combo of sweet and salty--like sliced apples with mounds of almond butter.  Mmmmmm.  


"Seriously?  I JUST ate, like two hours ago!  There's no way I'm hungry!!"

Bitmoji Image

And I'm not...really.  It's just habit for me.  

Sometimes I eat to stay awake.  Sometimes I eat cuz I'm bored.  Sometimes I eat because, well, heck, I DESERVE a treat and this is the best time to get one without interruptions. 

Regardless of WHY I get the nighttime munchies, I KNOW eating 2-3 hours before bed is not a good idea.  Why?  Because...


  • I'm not really hungry, so I'm eating a bunch of calories, sugar, and fat for no reason.
  • I don't NEED food for energy.  I mean, I'm not going to suddenly jump up from the couch at 10PM and decide to go for a run or something!  So any calories that I ingest right now are just going to be wasted and stored as fat. 
  • I'm not reeeeeally paying attention to WHAT I'm eating (cuz I'm watching tv) so it's mindless eating.  I'm not enjoying that snack as much as I want to be and I'm not noticing HOW MUCH I'm eating either.  So...zero increase in satisfaction and +100 on the "I'm probably going to gain weight if I keep doing this" meter.  
  • It's nighttime, and by eating food right before bed, my digestive system (which was just settling in for the night) is now fully awake and hard at work rather than resting as it should be.  This can totally cause restless sleep, indigestion, acid reflux and weird dreams (which is fine, if it's that weird dream where Ryan Reynolds drops by for lunch, but it's never THAT dream, right?  It's usually me showing up panicked for a final exam that I didn't study for or finding myself getting chased by some kind of invisible psycho killer!  Where is Ryan Reynolds during THOSE dreams?  (Probably at his own house sleeping soundly...I bet HE doesn't eat snacks right before bed!)

OK, I digress. And I'm blaming it on Ryan...  

Ryan Reynolds explains the reason why his daughter is called James ...

Sooooo.  Now I've made up my mind to kick my nighttime snacking habit right off the couch. 

You Go Girl


How am I going to do this?  

I've got strategies, kids!  It's important to have tricks up your sleeves!  LOL!  

So here they are...in no special order....


Instead of snacking on the couch, I'm going to....

  • Drink herbal tea (cuz if you drink the right KIND of tea, you can also get some extra deep sleep or added health bennies!) 
  • Have little sips of warm lemon water (good for your liver!)
  • Soak my feet in some warm water and epsom salts (good for sleep too!)
  • Give myself a mani/pedi.  Cuz you can't eat popcorn with wet nails.  It WILL stick.
  • Do some stretching--get rid of some of the day's stress and move stagnant energy
  • Do a little self-massage routine (great for easing sore muscles!)
  • If I knew how to knit, I'd totally knit!  But I don't.  I'd get all tangled in that yarn.
  • Hop into bed--cuz I won't eat in bed, but I CAN read, meditate, or chill out to some relaxing music and aromatherapy
  • Have a soak in the tub--very good for a pre-sleep routine...and more relaxing than TV (Plus no blue light!)
  • Slather on some moisturizing lotion!  If my hands are too slippery to hold a spoon, I can't eat ice cream, right?  LOL!  Plus...good for my skin!
  • Do a little acupressure or reflexology to promote sleep and relaxation (you can learn little tricks right on the internet!)
  • Brush and floss my teeth.  'Cuz there's no way I'll snack after that.  I'm too lazy to brush my teeth twice in 2 hours!  

OK.  So I've got my tricks.  I'm gonna try 'em out.  

Who's with me?  

LET'S DO THIS!!

Here's to kicking the nighttime snacking habit off the couch and getting a nice restful sleep!

Sending Hugs!

Dorothy

PS

Do you have other tricks you use to kick nighttime snacking off the couch?  Feel free to share!  I'd looooove to hear them!!  I'll take all the tricks I can get!

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Working From Home? Dress the part...IF it suits you!

So hubby and I are both lucky enough to be working from home.  A few days ago,  as I was getting ready for my work day, I noticed that my hubby was looking rather dapper.

"That's a nice outfit," I said to him, smiling.  (Knowing darn well that he thinks it's dorky when I call his pairing of jeans and a shirt an "outfit"). 

"It's not an outfit." he said rolling his eyes.  "But I'm trying something."

"What are you trying?" I asked.

"I think for work, I'm going to wear shirts with collars and when I'm not working, I'll change into t-shirts and hoodies.  And I'll wear different shoes on the weekend."  he answered.

I smiled.  I liked the sound of this.


Bitmoji Image


I know a lot of people who work from home who LOVE wearing sweats and PJ's all day long.  It totally works for them--it makes them feel relaxed and comfortable and puts them in a mood where they can feel creative and at ease during their work day.

But...I know my hubby (and myself).  We're on the other side of the coin where if we don't get up, shower, and get "dressed" for work, it feels like the day never started.  Our brains go into "hang out" mode and motivation goes out the window!

Plus, dressing for work gives us boundaries...especially when working from home and spending all our free time there too.  If we don't create clear lines between work time and personal time, then it's really easy for work to seep into everything we do and give us no time to rest and recoup!  And we need that time...especially with the crazy stress creeping in from Covid. 

So, work clothes on...it's time to buckle down and get things DONE!  Boom! Comfy clothes, PJ's or workout clothes on?  It's totally time to relax, have fun, and unwind!

What do YOU think?  What works for you? 

Do you prefer to get comfy and cozy when you work from home, or do you like to "dress" for work?

What suits you?  

Regardless of which way you prefer to dress for work, I hope you find what feels right.  I hope you feel creative, energized, and productive during your work day and that you can settle in and relax when the work day is done.

Sending hugs and wishing you all health and happiness!

--dorothy

working from home

Friday, April 3, 2020

I'm Quarantined and Can't Stop Snacking! (A funny trick that just might work!)

So yeah, I keep finding myself sneaking over to the fridge during work time and nibbling.   A little here.  A little there.  You know how it is, right?  Next thing you know, you've eaten a bag of cashews, 3 rice cakes, a giant handful of raisins, beef jerky, and 4 spoonfuls of Almond Butter.  And that's on a GOOD day.  

Strangely enough, I was on my way back from an afternoon fridge drive-by and a post popped up on my Facebook Feed.  It was meant to be a joke, but when I saw it, I thought...
Bitmoji Image
"That's just what I need!"


I'll tell you about what I saw in a second, but first I want to tell you WHY I think I need it!  

Snacking is ok now and then, but constant snacking is not a good thing.  You rack up extra calories, your digestive system doesn't get a chance to go into "rest mode", and if you're just snacking 'cuz you're bored/procrastinating/tired/lonely or whatever, you never truly scratch the itch so you always feel "unsatisfied"!

The problem is, most of us don't stop to think about it!  (Myself included.)  So this post I saw on my Facebook feed was perfect!  And I'm gonna try it out. One of these signs is in the fridge, the other is in a cabinet.  I think it will give me just enough pause for me to be mindful and be able to re-direct myself!



What do you think?  









Ha ha ha!

I know...it seems a little crazy, but I really DO think the reminder will help!


air hugs



Sending hugs and wishing you health and happiness!

--Dorothy



PS

Here are the signs if you want a copy for yourself!  

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1A5lhgDD5E-v5R6uxx8mVQJDM6H3nyLnLksLTqPDZOXI/edit?usp=sharing


https://docs.google.com/document/d/1zk_JxARLgkhNgOeUXKQczMlczFzJbfSWhQNud-0l4gg/edit?usp=sharing

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Taking Action! Building a Routine to Crush Your Stress and Get Your Body Into Balance

So...like many of you (hopefully ALL of you) hubby and I are doing the quarantine/social distancing thing. 

 Social Distancing Corona Covid-19 - Free photo on Pixabay

We are working from home, sharing space and internet bandwidth, and trying to figure out how to make this "always at home" thing work. 

After the first couple of weeks, I began to notice that my work/play lines got blurred, my late afternoon snacks led to me eating WAY later at night, and that led me to going to bed later, which led to me getting up later the next morning.  And then getting up later the next morning made me feel stressed that I didn't have enough time in the day to get everything done. I started feeling really off kilter.  And grumpy.  I knew I had to do something about it. 

 Bitmoji Image
So for those of you who know me, you know I like to experiment.  I do a lot of health experiments on myself. I do some research and then try something out. It's kinda fun to learn about your body and what works for you and what doesn't.

At this point, I figured the most important thing would be to get back into a good sleep cycle and I had remembered that there was a chart in TCM that had recommended hours for sleeping/waking according to the rhythms of our body.   

BTW, did you know your body has a rhythm?  You probably know a bit about the Circadian Rhythm, but did you know that many systems in your body follow rhythms that are responsible for your overall health?  Your brain, your adrenals/hormones, your gut...they all have times when they are supposed to be active, times when they should be restful, and times when they are washed/rejuvenated/detoxified.   

So I thought back to a TCM chart I had seen.  I remembered that it showed how the Meridians (Energy Channels) and Organ Systems in the body correspond to particular times of the day/night.  Here's an example of the chart:

This chart was borrowed from a website that had great examples of
how symptoms can be decoded using this TCM Body Clock.  You can
find it here
Pretty neat, huh?  

So my thought was, create a routine at least loosely based around the TCM Body Clock (which corresponds closely with the Western Med perspective of when your brain, gut, and hormones should be active/inactive) and go from there.

So this is my experiment. 

I made a schedule--I wrote in when I would get up, when I would eat, when I would work, when I would work out, and when I would relax...and wrote specific tasks for each section.  This way my sleep schedule and eating schedule would get back on track, and there would be a clear line between work hours and play hours.  ('Cuz when you work from home and you don't write in your "play hours" ALL hours become work hours...OR you feel guilty when you take "time off"...and who needs guilt right now?  No one.).   

My plan is to have basically the same schedule Mon-Fri and then make the weekend different by making work time into other tasks--planting, organizing, going for walks, playing games, playing an instrument, doing art, doing laundry, meal prepping, exercising, socializing via zoom...whatever! 

So here's a rough WEEKDAY schedule (which then becomes a detailed schedule--I DO write in my work tasks, exactly what my workout will be, and what my "relax" or "fun" tasks will be).

6:00 AM     Wake up, Drink warm lemon water, Workout/Meditate
7:15 AM:    Shower, Feed/Walk Dog, Eat Breakfast, Tidy the Kitchen
9:00 AM:    Work (I would list each task here! Water breaks as needed!)
12:00 PM:   Lunch Break, Walk the Dog (if needed)
1:00 PM:    Work (Tasks go here!  Don't forget!  More water/herbal tea at 3:00!)
5:00 PM:    Make Dinner, Feed/Walk the Dog, Eat dinner, light exercise (probably just a                       little walk), clean kitchen
7-9  PM:     Relaxation/Fun Time!  (Write in what that means, or else you're likely to do                     more work!)
9:45 PM:    Bedtime Routine (Write in what calms you down!)
10-11 PM:  Go to BED!

Bitmoji Image

That's it! I've only been doing the schedule for two days.  So far, so good.  I feel less stressed, for sure...mostly because routines make things feel "normal" and lately, as you know, life has been far from "normal" for most of us.  So routines are good.  Also, I am happy getting up earlier as it makes me much more productive.  And being productive makes me feel good.  And when I feel good, I'm much less grumpy.  So again, so far, so good!  

I will keep you updated!

Let me know if YOU try a routine/schedule!  I'd love to hear your observations too!

Sending hugs!
Dorothy

PS
A little advice...if you decide to create a schedule/routine, please don't beat yourself up if your schedule gets thrown off.  Life happens!  We do the best we can with the time we have!  If things get goofed up a little, it's ok!  Tomorrow is a new day!!


Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Breakfast Balls! Nutritious and Delicious!

OK, so I'm calling these "Breakfast Balls" cuz they're made with oatmeal, but I kinda eat them in place of sweets like cookies (because they're better for you than most cookies...you can click on the ingredient links to see the health benefits).  

These are easy to make (you don't even need to turn on your oven), they taste yummy, and you can store them in your freezer and have them on hand for...whenever!





Breakfast Balls!


Ingredients:  


  • 1 Cup Organic Gluten Free Rolled Oats 
  • 1/2 Cup Organic Flaxseed Meal (I used store bought cuz I was lazy, but for better nutritional value, grind your own from seeds!)
  • 1/2 Cup Creamy Organic Almond Butter
  • 3 T Honey (Raw, Organic, and Local Preferred!)
  • 1 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
  • Pinch of Sea Salt

Directions:

  • Put all ingredients into a bowl and mix well.
  • Roll into 1 inch balls using your hands. 
  • Place CAREFULLY into a bag or freezer-safe dish and freeze until set...about 1 hour.
  • You can eat them frozen, but I think they're best when they thaw a little and get a little soft.  (Sometimes I just keep them in the fridge...)
Be aware...these ARE addictive!  







Sunday, March 22, 2020

Need Chocolate for Stress Relief? Eat This, Not That! Chocolate Pudding Edition

Stressful times, right?  

How many of you out there are stress eaters?  

Did you totally stock your cabinets with cookies, chips, and CHOCOLATE in anticipation of a quarantine?  

As much as it's comforting to stress eat, undoubtedly, you'll eventually start to feel crappy filling yourself with foods that lack nutritional value, are overloaded with lots of empty calories, contain boatloads of sugar and salt, and are chockablock full of artificial colors, artificial flavors, and bad-for-you preservatives that you can't even begin to pronounce.  

The answer?  Have a treat that you make yourself--one that won't leave you feeling guilt-ridden and bloated. 

Ready?


Here's an example....

You could make a well-known, store-bought instant chocolate pudding snack containing this: 


Image result for jello instant chocolate pudding



OR....

You could make a chocolate pudding snack containing this:

AVOCADO, COCOA POWDER, PURE MAPLE SYRUP, MILK OF CHOICE (OAT/COCONUT/ALMOND, ETC.), PURE VANILLA EXTRACT


Image result for AVOCADO



Now I'm not saying Chocolate Pudding made with Avocado is a "health" food (you'd be BETTER off eating a piece of whole fruit for a treat), but we all know that once in awhile, when under stress, chocolate is necessary and good for the soul!  

What can I say?  It's true!  Right?

 Bitmoji Image


So, if you wanna try out some Chocolate Avocado Pudding that's got no artificial thickeners, flavors, anti-foamers, and colors...here you go!


Chocolate Avocado "Pudding"


Ingredients:
  • 1 Soft, ripe avocado (flesh only!)
  • 1/4 C Cocoa Powder
  • 2T Pure Maple Syrup
  • 1/4 C Milk of Choice (oat, coconut,  or almond)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Directions:
  • Stick all those ingredients into a food processor.
  • Process until smooth and creamy.
  • Unplug processor and taste--If you like it thicker add more avocado, more chocolatey add cocoa powder, more sweet add maple syrup...you get the picture.  Make it how you like it.  Plug the processor back in and blend again.
  • You can eat it right away, but I think it's best after it's been refrigerated for at least 30 mins.  
  • Enjoy, guilt-free, knowing you're not putting any weird chemicals/ingredients into your body!
PS
If you wanna go even healthier, sub out the Cocoa Powder for Cacao Powder (a little more bitter, but nutritionally superior!)

Yes, I DO eat my Chocolate Avocado Pudding with a Minnie Mouse spoon!
Don't YOU?
LOL!