Tag Archives: ADD

Welcome All! Let Our Journey Begin!

Welcome to the growing family of foodtalk4you.com readers! By signing up either here, on our site, or as the result of talking with me at a recent book signing, you will never miss a new post full of ideas on how to improve your health one bite, one breath, or one movement at a time.

Whether it’s a new recipe featuring nutrient-dense foods, a reminder about how to survive the flu season, or some thoughts about finding your “word of the year” to guide your life intentions, there’s always something valuable to read and apply to your life.

We are always growing and changing.  A good “stretch” in our comfort zones never fails to strengthen our souls.

At a recent luncheon sponsored by the local chapter of the American Association of University Women, I was honored to be one of their ten featured authors. In addition to the book signing venue, we were treated to a great lunch and then were given the opportunity to give our “story” in five minutes to the 100 in attendance. What we said might inspire those listening to take a look at our book and buy it.

No pressure.

Do you know that the number one thing people fear – even more than death – is public speaking?

It was interesting how each of us ten author’s responded. If ever there was an opportunity for self- growth and “stretching” this was it.

To the best of my recollection, every one of us had notes. Leaving nothing to chance, we authors wanted to put our best foot forward.

What was so interesting to me was the vast array of public speaking skills that were presented. Clearly many had done this before, myself included, but those less skilled at speaking to groups were still effective in telling their story.

One author used breathing techniques to help himself. He blew through his lips after each page he read, as if he were saying, “Whew, that’s over!” It was beautiful watching him grow and stretch! After a while, he looked up more at the crowd as he described the passion behind his story.

That’s what we need to do. Find our passion and share it. It may require some stretching. If we aren’t pushing our comfort zones just a little bit, we are stuck in a rut.

Learn. Grow. Stretch.

Explore your passions and include a stronger relationship with your body. We expect our bodies to always be on duty for us, doing what we expect of them, expecting perfection.Are we doing our part? It’s a two-way relationship. What are you feeding your mind, body, spirit? Is it good food?

Ask yourself every day if what you are doing, eating, or thinking going to do your body good.

In health-

Deidre

Author, Toolkit For Wellness

 

 

 

 

It’s Not Your Normal (Fattening) Dessert – It’s Chi-Chi-Chi-Chia!

Dessert? I want!

But wait. That’s not good for me. RIGHT?

 

 

 

You’re not going to give me a stick of celery and call it dessert are you?

No way!  Instead, I’m going to share some options with you that revolve around some pretty amazing seeds.

If you’ll permit me to review a short segment from my book, Toolkit for Wellness, I’d like to reintroduce you to:

Chia Seed Secrets

Chia seeds. Possibly the 8th wonder of the world!

Consider this nutritional profile for 2 tablespoons of chia seeds:

  • Protein keeps you full and decreases appetite, two times the protein of other grains or seeds
  • Calcium, calming and beneficial to bones, 5 times the calcium of milk with 18% of the RDA
  • Omega-3 fatty acids, very anti-inflammatory and beneficial, 5 grams
  • Fiber, essential for smooth functioning bowels, 11 grams; 40% fiber by weight
  • Net carbohydrates, which we do not want in abundance, 1 gram
  • 30% RDA of manganese, magnesium, and 27% RDA of phosphorus
  • Full of anti-oxidants
  • Slow absorption which keeps you feeling full and satisfied

If you are just starting to “do your body good” with each meal, you may have some sense of a lack of fulfillment – or downright panic -with no added sugars. Dessert seems to be a thing of the past.

You can rest easy!  All you need to do is incorporate a modest amount of chia seeds into your cuisine.

It’s amazing what you can do with just one tablespoonful of chia seeds, one-half cup of near boiling water, a half-cup of unsweetened applesauce, and six minutes! Just watch as I share with you some chia seed magic!!

One tablespoon of chia seeds in bowl-

 

Add one half cup of near boiling water-

 

 

Seeds are swelling a bit at 1 minute 30 seconds –

 

 

It will be thicker at 5 minutes-

 

 

 

Now stir in your favorite unsweetened applesauce-

 

 

Voila! She won’t win a beauty pageant, but she’s good!

In the recipe section of Toolkit for Wellness, I included a few ideas to dress up these seeds into what I call a jam. If you add berries and cook them in on the stove, you can get a bowl of chia goodness (that will be prettier).

I had some unsweetened strawberry applesauce I used the other day, so the color and texture is a nice shade of seedy looking dark pink. And just remember, this has natural sweetener – no added sugar!

What this chia seed, pudding-like mixture is doing for me is providing satiety through its protein and high-fiber content. That little gnawing feeling that can creep into your tummy around eight o’clock at night will go right away with a bowlful of chia seed pudding.

Your constipated bowels will love you. Regular ingestion of chia seeds can be a great part of assisting in normal bowel function.

No guilt! The seeds are flavorless in and of themselves; what you add creates the flavor. A small handful of dried fruit works well, too.

By the way, this can make a great snack any time of day, and has often been my quick breakfast if I was short on time or didn’t want to eat a lot first thing in the morning.

Chia seeds check ALL of the boxes for “doing a body good.”

In health and EMBRACING all of the goodness chia seeds provide-

Deidre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Embrace Your Word!

And the award for the Word of the Year goes to…”

No, it’s not that kind of thing, even though this is awards season.

Have you ever been directed in a yoga class to think of your intention for that session? I have; and it really helped me color what I was releasing with an exhale, and what I was absorbing when I was inhaling.

Sometimes my mind would drift to calm – worthy – flow … or other concepts that reflected my needs at the moment. We never shared our intentions … It was just something that helped us enrich our yoga experience, and something to carry with us as we walked out the door of the studio and back into the world.

Recently, I stumbled upon a book that promised to guide the reader through the process of selecting their own “Word for the Year.” The author’s website extolled the benefits of doing this, and how they were going to lead the reader through a process of questions and reflections in order to find that perfect word. Testimonies of readers praised the author and her process; they had been doing this for years and had experienced personal growth and achievement.

Okay. With my yoga experience as my own personal testimony, I could hang my hat on this idea. But in spite of being a self-help author myself, I just did not want to spend $14.99 to find my word … and I did not want to go through pages and pages of exercises to get one.

I just filed all this information away in my brain and heart.

Then, after ten days of being home bound due to snow and ice and a lack of caregivers for my husband, I was gratefully out and about once again, sitting at a favorite breakfast spot, sipping coffee.

Embrace.”

The word just came to me out of nowhere. Well, I know where due to my personal faith.

Embrace is my word for the year. My personal intention for my inner self.

  • Embrace the day, this moment, and give to it my best.
  • Embrace myself, accepting myself as I am – warts and all.
  • Embrace others with good intentions and actions.
  • Embrace my gifts and use them.
  • Embrace my weaknesses and find a way to improve them or get help to do so.
  • Embrace even the hard situations in life; lean into them, and learn from them.
  • Embrace the beauty of the world and absorb it into my very being.

Every day I am finding new ways to embrace. I have been somewhat energized with this experience. It is improving my outlook and my take on each day’s activities, and I’m excited to share this concept with you, too.

Maybe you can ponder on this idea of creating your own Word of the Year.

If your life seems to be stuck, maybe you need a word such as reach, or grow, or discover.

If you are starting a long stretch of schooling, maybe words such as steps or empowered, or learning, would meet your needs.

Sorry, but I can’t offer a questionnaire nor probing exercise to plow through to get to your word. This is something you must find by your own journey!

Just ponder on it, and it will come.”

Embracing my day-

Deidre

 

 

 

 

Superbugs – The New Super Villians

Tag. You’re it!

Let’s talk about disease transmission!

Yawning yet?

Better not. Your life could depend on it!

Oh, sure. Hopefully, you have mastered not sneezing into someone’s face…but there’s more!

While this flu season has not been declared and epidemic – yet – the numbers are staggering, and not only are the seniors succumbing to the flu, but healthy young children – and even young athletic adults are DYING! I can’t wipe the faces of the recent healthy victims from my mind.

It’s so sad when I think about it.

At this point, it’s important to share this challenging flu season is expected to last another 13 weeks! It is NOT too late to get your flu shot. While this year’s vaccine is reported to be approximately 30% effective, it can still be helpful in reducing your symptoms if you fall victim to a flu strain not specifically targeted by the shot. It does take two weeks to achieve full protection from the shot, so time is of the essence.

Additionally, many of my friends are actually experiencing more than one infection – simultaneously! Running to the bathroom with a Norovirus and thinking it’s the flu, then going to the ER only to find out they also have double pneumonia – with no symptoms!

Contrary to what you might think, a virus or a bacteria’s sole mission in life is NOT to kill you. Think about it. You are the host – their home – and they don’t want to burn down their home. What they want to do is MULTIPLY – pure and simple. Keep their species viable; alive and well. As long as you are alive, they are pretty happy feeding off of you.

If you can assist them in spreading their whereabouts, all the better! Go ahead. Sneeze. Cough. Touch a doorknob a sick person touched. Put your contaminated hand to your nose, eyes, or mouth and… Tag! You’re it!

These micro-organisms do all kinds of crazy things to stay alive. When conditions become unfavorable for their survival, for instance, some form spores. Spores are like time capsules full of DNA instructions and materials that – some day or century – when conditions once again become favorable to grow, multiply, and flourish, they will spring back to life. Presto!

What to do?

Citizens in Asia understand the importance of wearing paper face masks. While both my husband and I are healthy, I am going to buy a box of face masks on my next trip out to the store, just in case. I’ll wear one to prevent spreading disease to my husband – sure. Out in public? Well… Maybe we can start a trend in America. It’s only a matter of time before we wise up in the face of an epidemic.

What we need to do is wear dog cone collars to stop us from touching our eyes, nose, or mouth! As ridiculous as that seems, hold that vision in your mind for a minute.

Just count the number of times you touch your face. Better yet, count the number of times someone else touches his/her face. I don’t know what it is; but just why do we do it? Making sure we haven’t lost our face?

It’s a terrible habit. Our faces contain the three most important portals into our bodies: our eyes, nose, and mouth.

Door knobs, elevator buttons, table tops, electronic devices, gym equipment…the list goes on. Anything we touch can be the temporary residing place for the micro-organisms someone else put there through their touch, cough, or sneeze. We touch that contaminated surface and what is it we do all the time with our hands? Touch our faces. Eyes. Nose. Mouth.

Tag. You’re it.

The norovirus that attacks digestive systems, is particularly determined to find a fresh host. Even though you have stopped throwing up or having diarrhea (or both) and you think you are out of the woods – think again.

You are like a walking Typhoid Annie.

You are CONTAGIOUS for at least TWO WEEKS. These little noroviruses are still living inside your intestines and colon even when you feel “better.”

You may have been extra careful washing your hands after hanging over the commode, puking your guts out, but now? How about after a round of diarrhea? Of course  you scrubbed your hands! But now that you are well?

There is no other way to say this: our poop is STILL contaminated after we get well! If the “stomach flu” is racing through your family or through your child’s classroom, it’s because of germ-filled poopy hands touching things. Those things get touched by those who, not wearing a human version of a doggy cone collar, are touching their faces. It’s what people tend to do.

Stop it!

SCRUB your hands after visiting the restroom EVEN when you are well, and stop touching your face!

Well, how are we supposed to wash our hands you ask? I was waiting for that question. Let me cut and paste a segment from my up-coming book about tips for home caregivers of loved ones:

We all think we know how to wash our hands. In a caregiving environment, extra attention needs to be given to hand washing techniques.

Here are the steps:

  • Turn the water on to a comfortably warm temperature and wet your hands
  • Apply a squirt of hand soap onto your wet hands
  • Start humming the “Happy Birthday“ song at a normal tempo two times through during the washing phase; that should translate to 20 seconds which is how long you are supposed to be rubbing those soapy hands
  • Rubbing the palms together, create a good lather
  • Continue rubbing, moving to the back side of the hands, around the wrist, and between your fingers
  • Scrape your fingertips along the palm of the opposite hand, driving the suds under your nails. Repeat for the other hand.
  • You have finished humming “Happy Birthday” twice by now
  • Rinse hands under the running water while continuing to rub all areas of the hands, wrist, fingers
  • Dry with a clean paper towel.
  • Turn off the faucet with a dry paper towel to prevent contamination of your clean hands”

So there you have it. Preventing the spread of disease is up to each of us. Scouring the house with Clorox wipes is helpful, but proper hand washing and not touching our faces will go a long ways in avoiding not becoming the next victim and in not spreading the bad news around to others.

I just made another vat of Chicken-Ginger-Garlic-Lemon soup and some more Ginger-Honey-Lemon Tea today. Yum!

Deidre and Virgil Edwards

 A great discovery from using the leftovers from the last vat was the addition of a can of minced clams! Oh, my goodness! That was so good! The lemon and dill perfectly complemented the clam addition! Make sure to check out last week’s post to grab the original recipes!

In health-

Deidre

PS:  For some reason, I’m going to wash my hands again!

 

 

A Little Bit of T.L.C. To Calm The Winter Storm

Have you noticed?

Can you hear that?

People whimpering… Aches, pains, and just feeling bad are all around.

After maintaining stable health and immune systems through the fall and early winter, folks are dropping like flies to bronchitis, strep, sinus infections, colds that travel through the entire family and even to the pets, (a Chihuahua sneezing is a sad state of affairs), flu, and pneumonia. I have friends on Facebook with tender bodies who even complain their hair hurts.

That’s bad.

Forget the New Year’s party hats. Where’s the chicken soup?

If you or your loved one fall into the category of the “whimpering needy,” then some serious TLC is headed your way! With minimal energy, you can fix these soothing, nutrient-enriched recipes in a jiff! With a few basic ingredients, you can go a long way to body-friendly comfort measures.

One is a healing and strengthening tea, and the other is soup. While others are dashing to the store for peanut butter, bread, milk, and eggs in the face of winter storm advisories, make sure you grab: lemons, fresh ginger, fresh garlic, honey, chicken, quality broth, and green tea.

Background information:

Fresh ginger, lemon, and honey tea is a tried-and-true standard for throat therapy and protection.

Ginger is often referred to as a universal medicine and dates back to ancient Chinese and Ayurveda traditions. Ginger tea contains high levels of vitamin C, amino acids, and trace minerals. As an anti-inflammatory, ginger calms down unhappy tummies and helps to open airways.

Lemon is also a good source of vitamin C and has long been touted as a benefit to daily detox, get-your-body-started-for-the-day, and a help for regularity. My spry grandmother was a firm believer in daily lemon water; she lived a healthy 100 years. So, there you go!

Honey is not only a good source of energy, but packs a powerful load of antioxidant, has antibacterial and anti-fungal properties, and is a natural cough suppressant.

Hot or cold, ginger-lemon-honey tea can be just what the doctor ordered. Given the current freezing temperatures, hot is preferable.

Here’s what you’ll need to do for a quick healing brew:

GINGER LEMON HONEY TEA

In a saucepan, assemble:

About 1 to 1 1/2 inch of peeled, sliced fresh ginger

Juice of 1 lemon – And a few extra slices of lemon to float around, if desired

Honey to taste

5-6 bags of green tea

6 cups of water

Heat all ingredients on medium heat and let steep awhile.

Strain and serve. Refrigerate leftovers to reheat.

This can be a bit tangy thanks to the ginger and lemon; vary the amount of honey to balance the sweet-to-tangy ratio.
__________________________________________________________________
That wasn’t too hard to do! Now you have something helpful to sip on while you prepare this gentle, healing, and easy-to-prepare meal.

Background information:

Garlic is rich in allicin, which has powerful antioxidant properties and is beneficial to blood pressure and blood sugar regulation (See my book, Toolkit for Wellness for more information about garlic and other allicin-containing foods.)

Chicken soup – aromatic and therapeutic – just ask Grandma. It works!
__________________________________________________________________
GARLIC LEMON HERB CHICKEN

Any cut of chicken will do. Today I used a chicken breast, semi-frozen and chopped into small pieces. Other times, I have used thighs with bones in to stew a long time. Whatever cut of chicken you have around will do.

About 5-6 cloves garlic, smashed and chopped (do this at least 10 minutes prior to cooking to release the good things – allicin – that make garlic good for you)

About 1 inch to 1 1/2 inches of peeled, sliced fresh ginger

One lemon, rind ends removed, sliced and seeded

Some onion, chopped (Do this 10 minutes before cooking, as well)

Salt

Pepper

Dill weed – The dill weed pairs very well with the lemon

Chicken Broth – free range, if possible

Optional, rice-based, gluten-free noodles

Sauté the onions, garlic, ginger, and lemon slices in butter and olive oil until onions are translucent.

Add chicken. If cubed, stir until all sides lose their pinkness. If whole pieces, brown on each side.

Add broth and seasonings to taste. Simmer until meat is done and flavors have incorporated.

Optional: Before serving, add some Thai, thin rice noodles if your tummy will allow. These cook in a couple minutes.
___________________________________
The good thing about this soup is you can eat it in stages as your constitution allows:

Savory broth first.

Broth and a few noodles next.

There is nothing like Mama’s TLC and chicken soup, to be sure, but this comes in at a close second- especially if you are the source of your own TLC!

Cuddles to my friends in need. Sorry you have whatever version of the “crud” you have. Nurse yourself back to health with this healing tea and soup. Don’t try to get back onto your feet too fast or your body will let you know who is boss for sure. Relapses are usually worse that the first round!

Be safe!

In health-

Deidre …  Healing from a sty that has made me feel like I had a cold.

Now, where’s my tea?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peace on Earth 2017 or Coconut Ganache 101

Peace on Earth may well come from a heart that’s attached to a stomach that just ingested a bit of the divine … that is … a spoonful of Coconut Ganache.

There is no way to remember a past wrong, a past injustice, or slight while Coconut Ganache still lingers on the taste buds. You will radiate that “Ahhhhhh” moment you’ll  want to shout to the world. Worst enemy? Share the peace that comes from Coconut Ganache. No need for a cake to spread it on  … just a spoon …

For my one post this Holiday Season, let me share this little bit of Heaven. It will challenge you to dish out this goodness with all you meet.   Spread the love and possibly heal a past hurt by sharing the healing “salve” of Coconut Ganache!

While this Coconut Ganache adds to the final touches on a layer cake or a simple scoop of vanilla ice cream, it can best be enjoyed by the spoonful! Forget Christmas cookies … just give them a tub of Coconut Ganache! Spread the JOY!

Here’s the simplest of recipes:

COCONUT GANACHE

16 ounces of good quality dark chocolate, chopped. (I use Ghirardelli mini morsels. If using dark chocolate bars, make sure to chop into equal, small pieces.)

1-15 ounce full fat coconut milk

½ tsp. vanilla

____________________________________________________________________

  1. Put chopped chocolate into medium bowl
  2. Put coconut milk into small saucepan on medium heat. Warm, stirring, until bubbles form at edge and steam rises.
  3. Pour hot milk over chocolate. DO NOT STIR for five minutes.
  4. After five minutes, stir with a whisk until smooth and glossy; about 2 minutes.
  5. Add vanilla; stir to combine.

Use warm or cooled.

To make truffles, double the amount chocolate, and form into even-sized truffles, rolling in the palm of your hand and setting onto parchment.

For excellent gifts, pour into small containers, top with a bow and a spoon!

In this Season of Peace, be a part of sharing the love where ever you go.  Share some Coconut Ganache along with a hug and a listening ear to the one you choose to bless.

In Love-

Deidre

COCONUT GANACHE

 

 

 

 

 

 

Can You Hear Me Now?

Your body knows best.  Are you listening?

Many of us have bodies that are screaming at us; but we aren’t listening. Instead, we grab another Tylenol and hope for different results. Right?

How’s that working for you? Doing the same things and hoping for different result.

Come on, folks!

Case in point is my Great Oatmeal Experiment.

For many years, I have followed the anti-inflammatory style of eating as described in my book, Toolkit for Wellness. The part I was particularly careful about was no gluten-containing grains; no wheat, barley, or rye grains. But other grains such as corn, rice, oats, and others could be problematic because of their lectin and phytate components.

Lectins can mess with the hormone that tells us we are full and satisfied. Phytates can make the minerals we eat bio-unavailable for proper absorption and use by our body.

Each of us has different levels of tolerance.  We won’t know what our tolerance levels are unless we LISTEN.

Listen to what?

Our body talking to us! Do we feel energized? How are those muscles and joints feeling? Headaches again? Unhappy belly? More bloating, gas, constipation, or diarrhea?

Once your body is “cleansed” for a while by removing inflammatory foods, reintroducing potential offenders has to be handled very carefully.

Just like introducing one new food at a time, not unlike that of a baby learning to eat foods, we have to be careful to reintroduce only one new previously eliminated food at a time, to identify something that is going to cause a bad reaction.

I have corn-based food every once in a while. When corn-on-the-cob “comes in” during the summer, I do indulge. Corn tortillas for tacos? Sure.

Still steering away from gluten.

Enter “Gluten Free Oatmeal.”

I needed to shake up my husband’s breakfast menu a bit; provide more fiber – you know – good for you oatmeal?

I even posted on Foodtalk4you’s Facebook feed about how I had ramped up oatmeal’s “goodness” factor by adding chia seeds and coconut oil. I created another oatmeal recipe by adding collagen hydrolysate and coconut oil. Ramped-up protein and brain healthy fat! What could be better?

I was pleased as punch in making double recipe “vats” of this so I could easily nuke a bowl of goodness for EACH of us in the morning.

Or so I thought.

There are so many factors affecting how we feel. Sometimes it’s hard to tease out the one offending element.

I was still sitting way too much at home while I spent time in my husband’s room (he is confined to a hospital bed at home). On top of that, I am currently writing another book, “Caregiver’s Handbook for Caring for the Bedridden,” which requires more sitting at the computer. Efforts to go to the gym once or twice a week are being met, along with home stretches to break up sitting sessions, and almost daily planks.

But something was WRONG.

Everything from my waist down hurt. Heels first. Then hips. Then legs. Is it possible to get that old so fast? Is this my life forever?

Didn’t seem natural. Certainly, I am living under unusual and stressful circumstances – but, I was falling apart. Grabbing two Ibuprofen, for heaven’s sakes.

We are “Designed for Health”. That’s my mantra. Geez! That’s the name of the classes I teach!

“Can you hear me, now?”

Could it be my “super-healthy-ramped-up-gluten-free-oatmeal?

Only one way to find out.

Stop the oatmeal.

Well, I did.

After just seven days with no more oatmeal, I can get up and start walking with feet and hips that are not screaming.

I listened, and I did something about it.

Yes, I miss my hot, steaming bowl of healthy comfort food, but I LOVE not hurting.

Goodbye oatmeal. Hello happy body!

It’s a choice.

Are you listening? Your body will love you for it.

In health-

Deidre

 

 

Watermelon-Mint Summer Salad!

Espousing coping skills, and actually using them, are two different things. As my beloved continues to slumber more than 15 hours a day now, it would be easy for me to just ‘spin in place’ as I watch his winding down. The three rounds of planks that energized me on Tuesday, are just not motivating me today. My yoga mat is not calling to me.

Today’s coping skill is in shifting focus away from me and onto sharing something good with YOU my dear readers!

I have clipped out and saved so many nifty-sounding recipes for salad dressings; and yet have used virtually none of them. If you are like me, then I even hesitate to share a recipe. Rather, I am sharing a concept instead.

Necessity being the mother of invention, an idea came to mind this week that answered several needs:

  • Something to moisturize some dry leftover baked chicken that was destined to be chopped up into a salad.
  • Something that would use at least a part of my over-abundant supply of mint. Note to self: plant less mint and more basil.
  • Something that would ‘smile’ at me from the salad bowl and lift my spirits.
  • Something that would use up this watermelon that I am the only one eating now.

Voila!

Watermelon Mint Salad Dressing

Remember, this is a concept, not a ¼-teaspoon-at-a-time recipe!

The first step is to smash-up some watermelon.

For my solo serving, I used half of an inch-slice of watermelon taken from one of those mini bowling ball-sized melons. An old fashioned potato masher does the job and leaves some small chunks.

Add some chopped up fresh mint leaves. I generally use the leaves from a 12-inch stem.

Salt

Pepper

Splash of EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil)

Splash of white wine vinegar

That’s it! Stir and pour over your salad!

Having made this three times this week, my salad contents have varied with the addition of leftover sautéed okra, avocado, mango, blueberries, steamed broccoli, and of course that chicken.

Salads are a wonderful way to keep soaking up all of that fresh summertime vegetable goodness. Cooking pretty much for one now, I tend to cook more than I need for one meal.

Just convert most leftovers to salads in the summers!

This Watermelon-Mint Summer Salad Recipe concept has revitalized my flagging spirits and has given me fun nutritional meals.

We’ll be needing this added aspect of cooling, as yet another heat wave is in progress!

Thanks for reading-

Deidre

 

 

 

 

 

 

Staying Balanced

Are you feeling like you need to come up for air? Gasping and gulping in fresh air before taking another dive? That’s me, too! Taking vacations can definitely help, but we need to “breathe” more often than that.

I am already seeing some leaves changing color. Yesterday, a couple yellow leaves skittered across the still verdant and rapidly growing lawn. A quick look around at some sassafras saplings showed speckles of orange leaves.

Where’s the ‘pause’ button? Summer’s half over and there are already signs of fall in mid-July! Yikes!

One thing I’ve gleaned from our daughter’s successful completion of residency in family medicine – is how to survive and thrive. She had, very carefully, selected a residency program that ensured plenty of coping skills with all of its residents including:

  • Weekly group, how-are-you-doing, sessions of sharing the good/bad/ugly happenings, which became spring boards for processing their intense experiences.
  • Every-other-week meditative sessions with the entire group of residents took mental processing into the physical and spiritual realm.
  • Naturally, there was regular exercise emphasizing outdoor experiences … often in groups.
  • Frequent and spontaneous group meals, featuring nutritious whole food.
  • Their group was ever-vigilant to ‘pick up a brother’ when they fell into difficult times.
  • Lots of hugs. The real ones that last for at least three breaths. The healing kind.

What’s the ‘take away’ from all of this?

We cope and heal on so many levels, that a multifaceted approach is best.

In my case as a 24/7 caregiver, just getting away several times a week has helped – but only so much. Solo trips to the gym or walks around the waterfront answered only a part of my needs.

A quiet lunch with a friend or two is helpful; but sharing a meal with several friends meets needs you might not know were there.

What is the dynamic of a larger group?

Perhaps it’s because the conversation is not just about us.

We pour our hearts out to a friend — and that has its place.  Usually in group conversation, however, the talk bounces around; others throw thoughts into the mix, and more diverse news is shared.

There is so much more inner balance to be experienced when we participate in groups of 5-6 or more. Our perspective broadens and, quite frankly, it is so refreshing to have the focus on someone else for a bit. Additionally, we may be just who someone else needs to provide a different thought or a helping hand.

I am seeing that the scope of my ‘balancing needs’ is much broader than I had thought.

  • Improved nutrition- check
  • Time away from responsibilities- check
  • Gym 2-3 times a week-check
  • Meals with a friend or two- check
  • Personal meditation and prayer- check
  • Small group activities — need to do this more

Life is like a multifaceted gem. We need to move it around to let the light shine into all of its angles in order to appreciate its full brilliance.

Coping and balancing are the same. Are you shining light into all of your facets to achieve that inner balance?

I’m still learning … and that’s the best part!

Always learning.

Deidre

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lessons From a Gardener’s Promise

If by recent post we have inspired you to take in the “pulse of life” at a local nursery, maybe you are wondering how so many people are gushing with optimism and hopefulness? How can holding a little six-pack of plants instill such anticipation and confidence? Are there bigger lessons for us to absorb and to apply in other aspects of our lives?

How does the gardener approach … well, gardening?

Soil prep. This step is essential for a plant to thrive. Can’t grow in rocks. Think about it. Are we expecting our bodies to thrive while we ‘plant’ them in rocky soil filled with added sugars, unpronounceable chemicals, or ingredients that are incompatible with digestion?

Plant selection. What’s the goal for the plant? Beauty, crop yield, or an attractiveness to butterflies, bees, or hummingbirds? What are our goals? What is the effect of our actions today? Are we being true to ourselves? Are we adding beauty, yield, and attractiveness to the world around us?

Care. This is where the “Gardener’s Promise” comes in. The gardener knows, by doing the right things consistently, the results will come … in time. Water. Pull a few weeds. Prune as needed. Fertilize regularly. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

Will the desired results come in a day… a week … or even a month? Often not! Why do we expect instant results for ourselves?

One kind word to an unfriendly acquaintance will not yield a bosom buddy. Relationships are built over time. Generally, a consistent effort to reach out in friendship will break down barriers.

Launching any self-improvement program will need careful and patient tending as well.

Case in point. I wanted to build upon my at-home exercise efforts which always include 2 minutes of daily planks and Super Brain Yoga with Power Poses. I started going to a gym in January that features a 30-minute circuit, along with its other activities. Twice a week. Like clockwork. Hadn’t gotten a swimsuit look; but if I skipped, I could tell a difference.

I wanted more. More results. Is it possible to really have a tighter tummy? I’ve seen videos about grannies who have turned things around. Why not me?

Time to apply the “Gardener’s Promise.” More sunshine (more effort and a wider variety of exercises), fewer weeds (sugar and carbs), better fertilizer (fortified protein shake for lunch), and patience. If you are doing the right things, keep at it day-by-day, and the results will come.

My morning plank routine is now twice a day. I have added 15 minutes of cardio before hitting the machines and doing other exercises. Still not ready for that swimsuit quite yet.

But I am standing taller. I am stronger. When my abs hurt a bit the next day, I know that I am making a difference. Some recently acquired winter bulges are disappearing.

I am remembering the “Gardener’s Promise.”

Happy “gardening”-

Deidre

PS- Cardio exercise today will be 5 minutes longer. Smoothie already enjoyed for lunch. (Primal Protein, frozen cantaloupe, frozen banana, ground flax seed, collagen hydrolysate).