A Change of Plans

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As you can tell by the picture, we are definitely not skiing. Or if we are, navigating down this hill is going to be a bit of a challenge, to say the least.

Let’s back up a bit, so I can explain.

Yesterday morning started out as planned. We got up, grabbed a quick snack, and headed down to the exercise room.

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After our workout, we quickly showered, and packed up. So far, so good.

Breakfast was at Panera. I had quinoa oatmeal with almonds, and yes, another soy latte. I’m on vacation. (The quinoa oatmeal was pretty good, btw.)

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This is when we started discussing our plan of attack for the rest of our vacation. After checking the weather forecast for Killington, we began questioning the whole skiing thing. Rain was heading in, and we would be lucky to get in one good day of skiing. That, plus the fact that Reed had tweaked his back the previous day, had us thinking we should opt for plan B. Which we didn’t have.

Now the ironic part. I love irony. We had not made any reservations for our entire trip. We were winging it. And we are not wingers. We are planners. To a fault. Almost obsessively. For the first time ever, we did not have a plan. Perhaps this was a God thing.

We threw a few ideas around…NYC, Boston, South Carolina. Our only limitations were time, money, and the fact that we had our Thule on the roof (making parking in any type of parking garage impossible.) I was just being sassy about the limitations part. Don’t know if you caught that or not.

After quite a bit of thought, we decided to head south! I had always wanted to visit Charlottesville, Virginia. Several of my favorite food bloggers are from the area, and they rave about the food and the hiking. The thought of warmer weather was somewhat appealing as well. And yes, I know we were suppose to go skiing, and skiing involves snow, and snow requires cold, BUT it was spring skiing. You know….unzip your jacket, take off your mittens type of skiing.

So anyway…Charlottesville, it was.

As we left Panera, we grabbed some oatmeal and a caramel roll for Kristin, and swung by her apartment to pick up some things she wanted us to bring home. Then, we headed to the BU Bookstore to pick up a new window cling, and “browse” the t-shirts and coffee mugs. Alli was just finishing up her last (and only…college life is so tough) class of the day, so we took her to lunch at Wegmans. Wegmans is ALMOST as good as a Whole Foods. Almost.

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I love that they have all their food clearly labeled as vegan or vegetarian, PLUS they list the ingredients as well! I wan’t that hungry, but I had absolutely no problem eating all of this: sautéed kale, roasted butternut squash, zucchini and green beans, udon noodles, a couple of chunks of tofu, fried plantains, and a dumpling thingy stuffed with veggies and accompanied with a spicy sauce.

After dropping Alli off, we were on our way!

The drive to Charlottesville was absolutely gorgeous. The chocolate snack was pretty good too. By the way, this was shared. Equally. Honest.

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Dinner was average at best. I couldn’t find any fun restaurants in the cities we passed through. So Jimmy Johns it was. Again. This time I asked for extra guacamole. I ate 1/2 of my sandwich and all of my chips. Meh.

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Reed was actually pretty excited as there was a Sweet Frog next door. Sweet Frog was our introduction to the world of fro-yo. We first discovered it when Alli was on a college visit in North Carolina. I instantly became hooked. Unfortunately, there weren’t any fro-yo establishments near us at home at the time. But then, Cherry Berry came to town! Or at least a neighboring town. A trip to Cherry Berry became a weekly occurrence.

When I eliminated dairy from my diet, my fro-yo choices were limited…and all of them were fruit based. Hate to say it, but I’m not a fan. Ice cream should be vanilla. And the toppings should be chocolate, peanut butter, cookie dough and caramel. So, fro-yo became a thing of the past. Then I developed a thing for eating real food. Enter banana ice cream! (Which, as odd as it seems, does not taste like bananas at all.)

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Pink lemonade, pomegranate, and pineapple with fruit. Tasted fake. My tastebuds have changed.

We finally rolled into Charlottesville at 8:00 “ish”. It was dark, but we attempted to do a little sight seeing before calling it a day. It’s funny. It wasn’t anything like I expected! I anticipated a small town…not a sizable college city!

After a good night’s rest, we headed off for breakfast! I had spent much of the trip down planning our activities and meals. Kerf (Kath Eats Real Food) had a lot of great recommendations!

First up…breakfast at Bodo Bagels. Natural peanut butter (CRUNCHY) and preserves on a whole wheat bagel with green tea! This was incredible! The bagels did not disappoint, and I love the fact that they didn’t skimp on the PB. You can never have too much peanut butter!

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And then we were off! I was excited to spend the day hiking. We headed out of town and found the Monticello Trailhead. We didn’t know what to expect, but since our plans were pretty flexible, it really didn’t matter. We were just happy to spend the day outdoors.

The trail was beautiful and well maintained…crushed gravel and boardwalks. Before we knew it, we “outhiked” the trail map, and found ourselves entering the grounds of Thomas Jefferson’s home…Monticello. Bonus.

They have a rather nice visitor’s center. I had to laugh. (Not at the visitor’s center…just hold on.) There were quite a few school groups there, and I was entertained watching the adult chaperones trying to corral excited students. I know the feeling all too well. And I found it laugh out loud funny watching.

Anyway, we bought our tickets, and continued our climb up to Monticello. Along the way we passed by the cemetery and saw Thomas Jefferson’s grave. We had a guided tour of the home. I was awed by the complexity of the house and surrounding grounds. Incredible.

By the time we got back to the trailhead it was 3:00! Turns out we hiked over 7 miles. 7 hilly miles. To say we were starving would have been an understatement! We had a late lunch or an early dinner…your call…at Zinburger. I had the veggie burger (made vegan by omitting the bun), some onion rings (shared), and WINE (NOT shared). Heavenly!

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After “linner” we stopped at Barnes and Noble and researched local hiking trails. Then, we checked out the pedestrian mall in historic downtown Charlottesville.

Finally, we stopped at Whole Foods (you knew I had to do this) to pick up some necessities like fresh fruit, juice, and ice cream! This served as supper. Sad, but true. Let’s think of it as a salad and dessert. That makes it seem less naughty.

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Plan B is turning out to be a lot of fun!

 

So…What Do You Eat When You Travel?

I have been asked that question numerous times over the past few years, and at least 3 times this past week. And while it’s not always easy, it is always possible to eat vegan on the road. Plus, we’ve discovered some awesome restaurants along the way. 

Hmmm….

What a great idea for a post! Or at least I think it’s a great idea. You may think differently, but I’m going with it. Because #1, I’m traveling. And #2, turns out it’s a great way to kill some time in the car. AND, #3 it allows me to procrastinate (I’ll just take a little “break” from working on my teacher effectiveness plan…it’s not due until May 1st, anyway).

So, as we travel out east to visit our two girls, and do a little spring skiing, I thought I would document my eats. What a great excuse for me to take pictures of my food. (Which is kind of an obsession for me.) So…if this isn’t your gig, I understand. Come back next week.

We got off to a rather late start Friday (hubby said he would be home by 5, hubby actually got home close to 7:30). I had been super excited for dinner at Whole Foods in Milwaukee, but given the lateness of the hour, we nixed that plan. Pretty sure the hot bar would be closed. Plus, it’s a bit of the beaten path, and we were looking for quick and easy.

So, Jimmy Johns it was. I had a veggie sandwich on wheat bread, no cheese, no mayo. This filled me up, but they were a little stingy with the guacamole. I ate 1/2 of my bag of regular chips. I’m pretty impressed with the number of ingredients for the potato chips. Potatoes,  oil, salt. I could pronounce each ingredient. (I’m not going to split hairs with the whole po-ta-to po-tah-to thing.)

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A Starbucks was conveniently located next door, so we stopped in and loaded up on caffeine. A soy latte for me, a soy chai for the hubby. And the barista promise is true, as she remade mine after failing to use soy milk the first time around.

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I have to tell you, the caffeine worked. We drove until midnight (or 1 am, depending on what time zone you’re in), and I didn’t experience the typical “eyelids sticking to eyeballs” sensation I usually experience. We spent the evening in South Bend.

After an extremely short night of sleep, we were on the road by 6:00 am…that’s 5:00 am Wisconsin time. The hubby grabbed a couple of bananas from the dining area as he was checking out of the hotel. We made it to Ohio before stopping at a service plaza. (‘Cuz Indiana, your service plazas suck.)

Starbucks again…oatmeal with dried blueberries, nuts, AND the banana from the hotel. I love bananas stirred into my oatmeal. If you are a volume eater, this is a great way to fill up your belly! (And yes…more coffee.)

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My husband was wearing one of his Binghamton University sweatshirts, which served as a great conversation starter for a lady waiting for her java. Turns out she was familiar with the Bing. Plus, she graduated from UW-Milwaukee and still had relatives living in the area. We talked briefly about her love of the Pack, the Badgers, and the Brewers. When she discovered I was a teacher (a Wisconsin teacher), she offered her condolences. She was also a teacher.

Lunch was at Chipotle in Erie. I had a salad with brown rice, black beans, grilled veggies, pico de gallo, corn salsa, and guacamole. Let me tell you what I’ve discovered about salads vs. bowls at Chipotle–same exact thing EXCEPT for the lettuce is on the bottom instead of falling off the top and all over the table. Plus, I get more lettuce and less beans and rice. (Which means I can actually eat the whole thing…dang, they are generous with the amount of rice and beans they put in their bowls.)

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And now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to…rant.

Know what drives me insane?

No? Tough, I’m going to tell you anyway.

Let’s say you are at Chipotle when it’s really busy. I’m talking at least 2 dozen people waiting in line to order. Plus, the dining area is full. The only spots available are the little buffer zones between groups sitting at the long tables. Anyway, let’s just say that you snag a spot to sit in the middle of two groups (still maintaining a buffer, but sitting next to a purse)…only one of the groups is just one person with 2 purses sitting on chairs across from and next to this said person. As I sit, single person looks frantically at group of women standing AT THE BACK OF THE LINE. I put that in caps, ‘cuz I wanted to emphasize this a bit. Rest assured I am not yelling at you.

Once one of the women in line makes eye contact with frantic looking woman sitting at table, she quickly hurries herself over and places her purse next to me. Meanwhile, there are two parties who have received their food and have no place to sit.

REALLY PEOPLE?! How rude.

Anyway, we actually finished our meal before the said group even made it to the cashier. 

Rant done. Thanks for listening. Or I guess thanks for reading would be more accurate.

Had a little mid-afternoon snack at a gas station. Slim pickin’s my friends, slim pickin’s. Kind bars are a good choice for me…I just watch the amount of sugar in them…5 grams or less is pretty good. I also had a bottle of water which I drank s-l-o-w-l-y…I have this fear of desperately having to go to the bathroom when driving.

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After driving through snow (yes, snow…even had to change out of my sandals in an effort to avoid looking like a complete idiot), we finally rolled into the Bing at 5:00 ish. We quickly checked into our hotel, and headed over to campus. We had made plans with the girls to eat at Alli’s restaurant of choice…Crepe Heaven. This was her birthday dinner, as she celebrated the big 2-0 on St. Patrick’s Day. She invite her suitemates/teammates along, and Kristin brought one of her good friends along. I ordered a veggie plate, but that’s not quite what I was served. The owner has a rather thick Greek accent, and I had misunderstood what she said, but I made do. Sorry…forgot the picture. You can see my cup of chamomile tea though!

Alli was served a Happy Birthday crepe...strawberries and nutella...her fave!

Alli was served a Happy Birthday crepe…strawberries and nutella…her fave!

After supper we dropped the girls off, before heading to the grocery store to stock up on fruit, wine, and dark chocolate. My supper did not tide me over, so I had grapes and chocolate when we got back to the hotel. I was so hungry, I forgot to stop to capture the moment.

The next morning, we worked out in the rather impressive looking exercise room at the hotel, and then picked the girls up for breakfast. We dined at a place called Nezüntoz (knees and toes) Cafe. Love the name. Loved my sammy too-A Jack and Straw panini…mushrooms and onions sautéed in garlic olive oil on multigrain bread. Plus a soy latte…’cuz I’m on vacation.

Jack and Straw Panini sans parmesan.

Hold the parm!

Then we headed up to Syracuse to go to the mall. We had a great day…I absolutely love hanging out with my kids! They turned out awesome despite our parenting.

We had a late lunch at a Mexican restaurant at the mall. I can’t remember the name, but the salsas were to die for, as was the guacamole they make table side. I had spinach and artichoke enchiladas in a spicy green tomatillo sauce! Delicious!

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On our way back to Binghamton we stopped at Strong Hearts Cafe. I made this discovery a few years ago, and we stop every time we are in Syracuse. I dream about this place…and I am sad that we don’t have anything remotely like Strong Hearts near us. All vegan! I get pretty excited about vegan desserts that I don’t have to make. Perhaps that’s why I ordered a cookie AND a shake.

This little “snack” served as supper. And no judging…I’m on vacation.

This cookie was the size of my head. And I ate it ALL.

This cookie was the size of my head. And I ate it ALL.

Nothing wrong with this  Farm Sanctuary shake either.

Nothing wrong with this Farm Sanctuary shake either!

We ran a few errands with the girls, and then dropped them off at their respective dorm and apartment. That’s the hard part for me…I hate saying goodbye!!! You’d think it would get easier, but it doesn’t.

But, on the bright side, we are off to Killington for some spring skiing tomorrow!

 

“Pick Your Berry” Muffins

Happiness is…a warm muffin.

There's nothing wrong with these muffins!

Nutrition in a tasty little package!

This muffin?

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Not as nutritious.

See what I mean?

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And unfortunately, these are the muffins being sold at the snack cart at school.

I struggle with the snack cart.

Want to know what else they sell?

Poptarts. Cheerio’s cereal bars. French Toast Crunch cereal bars.

I bet you can already guess that I felt compelled to research these.

Look what I discovered:

  • There are over 50 ingredients in each of these “snacks”
  • Few of the 50 ingredients can actually be recognized as food
  • Sugar is the number two ingredient in the cereal bars
  • Forms of sugar can be found several more times
  • Partially hydrogenated oils make an appearance
  • As does high fructose corn syrup

And we (and when I say “we”, I don’t actually mean “me”) are offering these snacks to our kids to help fuel their growing bodies and expanding minds. Just think about what they could do if they were fueled with nutrient dense foods!

Like these muffins, for instance!

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And as a bonus, they are totally adjustable to individual tastes! Like blueberries and coconut? Done! Strawberries and pecans! Yes! Raspberries and almonds? Yep!  The possibilities are endless!

Dry ingredients...

Dry ingredients…

wet ingredients...

wet ingredients…

A little banana for good measure.

A little banana for good measure.

Trilogy: banana, coconut, and blueberries!

Trilogy: banana, coconut, and blueberries!

Stir it up...gently.

Stir it up…gently.

Place in muffin pan...top with coconut.

Place in muffin pan…top with coconut.

I wish you could smell this!

I wish I could make this into a scratch and sniff!

Pick Your Berry Muffins (adapted from Kathy Patalsky of Happy.Healthy.Life)

(Makes 6 jumbo muffins or 12 regular size muffins.)

1 3/4 c. spelt flour

1 T. baking powder

1 T. ground flax seeds

1/2 t. salt

1/2 c. coconut oil, melted

1/2 c. maple syrup, room temperature

1/2 c. almond milk, room temperature

1/2 t. vanilla

2 T. citrus juice (lemon, lime, orange-your choice…match to your berry)

1 banana, ripe and mashed

1/4 c. coconut flakes or chopped nuts

1 c. berries, frozen

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray muffin tin with nonstick spray. I usually make 6 big muffins, but you could certainly choose to make 12 normal size muffins. Combine flour, baking powder, flax seeds, and salt in large bowl. Combine coconut oil, almond milk, maple syrup, and vanilla  in a small bowl or large measuring cup. Add wet ingredients to dry. Stir until combined.Add citrus juice and stir. Add mashed banana, berries of choice, and nuts of choice. Gently stir until combined. Spoon batter into muffin tin. Bake for 20 minutes (normal size muffins) to 28 minutes (big muffins). Let muffins cool before removing from tin, as they are quite delicate immediately after coming out of the oven. Eat!

 

So What Does Your Husband Eat? (Or the Best Sauce EVER!)

Remember my post “What do your kids eat?” If that was before your time, you can catch up on that here.  At the time, I promised my husband’s eating habits would be the topic of a future post. Looks like it’s taken me a while. But his time has come.

My Honey

My Honey and I hiking in the Adirondacks last summer.

Let me start with this. I am a very lucky woman. My husband kiddingly tells me this frequently. Truth is…he’s right. I don’t want to turn this into a mushy post (especially since we are talking veggies…and I hate mushy veggies), but I really am fortunate. We are coming up on 25 years of marriage and he still sends me roses on our anniversary, AND on the anniversary of the day he proposed, AND on the anniversary of our first date.

Each day he tells me he loves me. He tells me I’m beautiful when I’m not wearing makeup and  my hair is messily pulled back into a ponytail. He encourages me in all that I choose to do, and is there by my side as I do it. Family is very important to him, and he works so hard to provide a good life for the kids and me. Yep, I am a very lucky woman.

But what does the man eat? Well…

he has taken to this whole veganism thing very well. He no longer drinks milk and only eats meat, eggs, and cheese when we dine out. He doesn’t even put those things in the grocery cart when we shop. (Yeah…he grocery shops with me…because he says he enjoys spending time with me.) He’s also been known to order a black bean burger by choice. And as often as not, he skips the dairy and meat on his burrito bowl at Chipotle. He willingly goes to vegan restaurants and even tries raw vegan food. Eating at Whole Foods excites him as much as it excites me. Never has the man complained. Plus, he eagerly tries everything I make. And sometimes he lies about liking it. You can read about that unfortunate event here.

This says a lot about a man whose favorite casserole is made out of potato chips, canned tuna, and cream of mushroom soup. Yeah…couldn’t make that up if I tried. Curious? You can read more about that here.

Anyway, when I ask him what meals he would like for the week, roasted veggies and pan fried tofu are always on the list. He has actually said he could eat this several times a week. And so could I!

Yum!

Yum!

1

Roasted veggies….

1

and more roasted veggies…

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Tofu before...

Tofu before…

and after!

and after!

The Magic!

The Magic!

Roasted Veggies and Tofu with Anti-Inflammatory Turmeric Tahini Sauce

Another day, another meal of roasted veggies, tofu and Anti-Inflammatory Turmeric Tahini Sauce

Roasted Veggies with Tofu and Anti-Inflammatory Turmeric Tahini Sauce

(serves about 4 people)

veggies of your choice, washed, and cut into bite size pieces (broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms, carrots, onions, brussels sprouts, peppers, etc.)

coconut oil

sea salt

1 block of super firm tofu (pressed and cut into 1/4″ thick pieces)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Prepare vegetables. Place on baking sheet. Drizzle with coconut oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Bake for 30 minutes or until veggies are starting to brown.

For the tofu, press by wrapping the block in paper towels, and then a dish towel. Place between two plates and set a couple of books on top. Do this for a minimum of 30 minutes. Then cut into pieces 1/4″ thick. You may cut these in half. I did. Heat a frying pan on high. When hot, place tofu in pan and cook for 3-4 minutes, pressing down on the tofu with a spatula. You may need to turn the heat down. Sprinkle with sea salt. Then flip to other side and repeat the process.

Gena Hamshaw of Choosing Raw’s Anti-Inflammatory Turmeric Tahini Sauce

1/2 cup tahini

2 T. apple cider vinegar

2 T. tamari or coconut aminos (I’ve used both)

1 t. fresh ginger, finely chopped

2 t. turmeric

1 t. maple syrup

3/4 c. water

Place all ingredients in blender (I use my individual size cup) and blend until well combined. This thickens up when placed in the refrigerator.

Assemble ingredients in a bowl, pour on the sauce and enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Treadmill: Friend or Foe (Or Why I’m an Idiot When I Exercise-The Final Chapter)

I’ve been procrastinating. Big time. Not sure why, but this particular post most certainly has not written itself. And believe me, I’ve tried letting it.

My motivation for finally getting this done? I have some recipes I am dying to share, and I won’t let myself move forward until I’ve wrapped this up. I’m kinda funny that way.

(In case you missed it. This is the final segment of a three part series. You may want to read this first. And then this.)

The treadmill.

(Take note. I’m also talking about the elliptical. And the stationary bike. And if there were any other piece of exercise equipment that I used, I would list it here as well, but there aren’t, so I won’t.)

So…friend? Or foe? 

Well, to be honest, it really doesn’t have anything to do with the piece(s) of equipment. Rather, it has everything to do with the user—me.

And for me, what it boils down to, is competitiveness. Being competitive isn’t necessarily a bad thing, mind you, but it can become a bad thing when it overrides common sense. You know…when you stop listening to your body. And of this, I am definitely guilty.

Thankfully, I came to this understanding a while ago. It was a gradual process for me. And one in which I am still evolving. 

So now, as embarrassing as this may be, let me share my past treadmill issues.

When walking into the fitness center at the Y, I always looked for the most athletic person to work out next to. Even though they didn’t realize it, we were in competition. It may have meant speed, it may have meant distance or it could simply could have been the length of the workout. Whoever stayed on the longest won. Whoever had the fastest pace won. Whoever ran the farthest won. You get the picture. And yes, I totally get that I am not painting a very pretty picture.

Now, if for any reason (removal of sweatshirt, tying of shoes, stretching of tight hamstrings) my competition hopped off the belt, and placed their feet on the side, I automatically won. And no, I didn’t jump up and down and yell, “Yes! I win!” I do have some semblance self-control.

The elliptical is a tad bit more interesting, as I couldn’t alway see the screen of my competition, so I wasn’t always aware of the type of workout they were doing. Personally, I tend to do intervals on the elliptical. So, what I resorted to was arm movement. My arms needed to be moving faster than their arms. And if they didn’t use their arms? Well then, no competition. Or worse yet, if they locked their arms on the handrails? Ha! They were DQ’d. 

Competing on the bike? Who does that? Not me, that’s for sure. And I really didn’t. See, on the bike, I’d already won. Or at least that’s what I told myself, because I had lifted before hopping on the bike.  I didn’t compete, because my legs were shot. Very mature of me, I know, but I really didn’t like losing.

But, like I’ve said, I’m past all of this now, Yep, that’s right. I have gotten a whole lot smarter.

These days? I compete against myself.

How long can I sustain a certain RPM? How high of an intensity level can I maintain for a minute? How many calories can I burn in a minute? (And YES…I know the calorie count is totally inaccurate, but that’s not what I am talking about here, people! I gave up exercising for calorie burn YEARS ago. Or maybe a year ago…something like that, anyway.) The possibilities of playing with numbers are infinite! (Where’s the winking emoji when I need it?!)

Pandora’s also great for personal competition. Let’s talk about that for a minute, shall we? I listen to the Spin station on Pandora and match my cadence to the rhythm of the music. I’m feeling all kinds of awesome, and then the resistance and the incline increases. How long can I maintain the same cadence?

Good times, good times! But healthy?

I can honestly say yes, because now I am listening to my body. Workouts are no longer set in stone. I am conscious of how I feel, and I am okay with switching things up if need be.

You are probably wondering how I managed to accomplish this. What made the difference? Well, it certainly wasn’t experience. I had years of exercise experience and that didn’t help me one iota.

What helped was learning the science behind exercise. I became intrigued with how a workout affected my body. I now know why more isn’t always better. I understand the role of cortisol in my body.

Cortisol (lovingly called the stress hormone) is crucial in the body’s effort to carry out its processes and maintain homeostasis. It is secreted in higher amounts when stressed. Exercise stresses the body. Small increases of cortisol are good. Among other things, a quick burst of cortisol can increase memory, and immunity, and it can lower sensitivity to pain.

Higher and prolonged increases? Well, these are not so good.

Unfortunately, higher and prolonged levels of cortisol create problems like an imbalance of blood sugars , decreased bone density and muscle tissue, elevated blood pressure, and lowered immunity and inflammatory responses in the body. Elevated cortisol levels correlate with higher levels of “bad” cholesterol (LDL) and lower levels of “good” cholesterol (HDL), in the body. Plus elevated cortisol levels increase abdominal fat.

Not good at all.

Bottom line? I understand the importance of balance when it comes to exercise. I realize that my body is a whole lot smarter than my brain (thank goodness), and all I need to do is listen to it.

I am happy to say I now exercise for my health instead of against it.

So…treadmill. Friend or foe? My newfound friend.

(If you are curious about whether or not you may have too much cortisol in your body, check out this article by Dr. Lissa Rankin.)

Treadmill: Friend of Foe (Or Why I’m an Idiot When I Exercise Part 2)

If you haven’t already done so, you should probably take a look at this before reading any further. If not, what follows will probably leave you wondering “Huh?”

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First question out of my mouth after surgery: “When can I work out?”

Doctor: “What do you mean by working out?”

Me: “Running.”

Doctor (sensing a meltdown coming depending on how he answered): “Well… you need to take it easy for a few weeks…”

Me: “???!!!!?” (That’s what my eyes were saying.)

Doctor: “You can walk. You just need to be careful…” (Voice trails off.)

Me: “But when can I run?”

Doctor: “We’ll talk about that when you get your cast off.” He glanced at my husband, looking for support.

Yep. That went especially well.

Surgery, on the other hand, actually did go well, and we arrived home shortly after noon. The pain killers were doing their thing, and the ice packs were doing their thing.  And I did my thing. I kept my arm elevated and resting on a pillow. Everything just as the doctor ordered. Best patient ever! I drifted in and out of a drug induced sleep the rest of the day.

Unfortunately, but not surprisingly,  a miserable night of sleep followed…sleeping on my back with a pillow on my stomach, and my arm, in a cast resting on the pillow not only made it impossible for me to shift positions, but it also made for an incredibly long night. For both of us. (Me and my husband, not me and my arm.)

Despite the lack of sleep, I awoke Saturday morning ready to conquer doing everything with my left hand and embark on my path to healing. First on the agenda: ditch the painkillers. Because I am tough, and I don’t need painkillers. 

As I’m sure you can guess, that was an incredibly bad idea. I was in so much pain by noon that all I could do was lay in the chair and cry. I couldn’t even curl up in fetal position because of my arm. And with that realization came more tears. At this point, the husband took charge and “encouraged” me to take the painkillers. (In other words, he brought them to me with a glass of water and told me to take them.) I did.

The rest of the weekend was as uneventful as a weekend could be while becoming accustomed to doing everything with only my left hand. (Have you ever tried putting your contacts in with only your non-dominant hand? Try it sometime. Brushing my teeth didn’t go a whole lot better.)

Monday morning I was on my own, as my husband went back to work. And me? Well, I was not able to go to work. So, for a lack of anything more constructive to do, I created my new workout plan: squats, lunges, abs, and arm. Notice no “s”. Arm.

At night, I would go for a walk with my husband under the cover of darkness. Typically we would cover about 4 miles. Weekends allowed for longer walks.

This was the routine until my return visit to the doctor, about 3 weeks later. At this point, my soft cast was removed. I was left with gauze pads, an Ace bandage, and a sling.

This is what an arm looks like after being in a cast for 3 weeks...a little shrively looking.

This is what an arm looks like after being in a cast for 3 weeks…a little shrively.

On the bright side…I was cleared to return to school earlier than planned AND I was cleared to ride the bike at the Y! The old person bike at the Y. You know, the one that feels like you are sitting in a chair instead of riding a bike. Funny thing? I didn’t even care!

Fast forward to Saturday morning.

I woke up thinking today was the day! I was finally allowed to exercise. Real exercise. I eagerly (but slowly) put on my workout clothes. I hadn’t anticipated how difficult it would be to put my jog bra on, so I was sweating profusely before we even left the house. Tying my shoes with only my left hand was pretty exciting too. (Not that my husband didn’t try to help…I blame my German and Norwegian ancestry.)

I was filled with excitement (as well as high expectations) as we walked into the Y. I had my whole workout planned. After shedding my sweats and hanging them in a locker, I headed for a bike, adjusted the seat, and programmed my workout: 60 minutes, hills, level 12. Rather ambitious, I know.

About half way into my ride, I felt like I was pedaling with flat tires. Through mud. And uphill. So I backed off to level 10. I tried (unsuccessfully) to finish strong by returning to a level 12. That lasted for maybe a minute. I accepted the fact that I was going to limp across the finish line. Fine. Whatever. I got off the bike, feeling “a bit” lightheaded, and very, very sweaty.

And like any intelligent human being, who hasn’t had any strenuous exercise in the previous month, I headed to the weight room. I did make a compromise with myself, however. I was only going to do one set (as long as I was maxing out before 12 reps). Squats, lunges, flies, bent over rows, and bicep curls. Lighter weight for my right arm—‘cuz that was the SMART thing to do. I plugged along feeling less than wonderful. But, I did it!

As headed out of the weight room to grab a mat and do some abs, I started seeing stars, and then everything went black. Then I  felt my heart go into overdrive. I have a history of PAT (paroxysmal atrial tachycardia)-another story for a different time. I grabbed for the wall, and started to panic. I did NOT want to pass out in public.

And then suddenly, I heard my husband’s voice, and felt him grab hold of me. Fortunately, he had been keeping an eye on me. And he was not happy. Nope, he was not happy at all.

He walked me out to the track area, and I laid down on a mat. And didn’t move. Not the ending I had planned.

Yep, just another fine example of what happens when you don’t listen to your body.

Stay tuned for part 3, the final segment, where you will finally hear about my relationship with the treadmill, and more importantly you will understand why I have become a lot more intelligent about exercising. 

Hmmm….

Treadmill: Friend of Foe (Or Why I’m an Idiot When I Exercise Part 1)

To be honest, I don’t think we are going to come to a definitive answer on that one. You know, the part about being an idiot (definition: lacking common sense) when I exercise. I do think I can come to a decision about the treadmill, however.

But let’s back up, and address the “being an idiot” statement.

Hmmm…so many options of stories to share to make this statement really come to life.

Let’s start with this one. We will call this Example 1. Because, yes, I am a slow learner, and I have many more examples that will really drive my point home. This first example, has a certain amount of irony involved. I love irony. (And sarcasm—I love sarcasm, too.)

October 2nd, 2013 was an absolutely gorgeous day in Neenah, Wisconsin. So gorgeous, in fact, that I knew I just had to skip my scheduled workout at the Y, and take advantage of the uncharacteristically mild weather. After all, who wants to be lifting in a weight room surrounded by a bunch of smelly, grunting men, noisily dropping their weights on the floor, when it’s sunny and 70 degrees outside? Not me, that’s for sure.

Now this is a big deal, folks. The fact that I was able to alter a workout is by no means a simple decision for me. (This is the part where you should be very impressed.) I mean, how absolutely mentally healthy of me to get in tune with the idea of exercising for a reason other than elevating my heart rate, building muscle, or burning calories. (Ouch…had to be honest about the calorie thing…just remember I’ve gotten smarter since then.)

This was progress! I sent a quick text to my husband suggesting a change in workout plans. He was totally on board.

As soon as we each got home from work, we changed into our biking shorts and short sleeve shirts, (a little foreshadowing for you) and jumped on our road bikes. (You know, the ones that require you to connect your shoes to your pedals—more foreshadowing.)

We headed out of town, and into the country. Road construction (I know, I know. Road construction? In Wisconsin? Shocking, right?) caused us to detour from our regular route, and we soon found ourselves on an enchanting narrow, winding country road, complete with picturesque farms, and woods just on the cusp of full fall foliage.

Could it get any better than this?

Well, the answer to this is no. It got a lot worse, real fast.

We came to a T in the road, and since we were in the country, and since there weren’t any cars coming, I didn’t apply a whole lot of brake as I turned wide to head left. Before I knew it, my front tire slid off the road, and since my bike is built like, …well, a bike…my back tire soon followed.

Now this wouldn’t have been the worst situation in the world IF I hadn’t panicked, and tried getting back on the road before looking at the situation carefully. Had I taken my time, I might have noticed that there was a rather substantial drop off from the road to the gravel shoulder I was riding on.

In my anxiousness to get back on the road, I quickly steered left. My front tire, not quite able to make the jump, abruptly turned, stopping me dead in my tracks. The next thing I knew, I was falling backwards onto the road, shoes still connected to the pedals.

While this all happened suddenly, the next part truly felt like I was moving in slow motion.

My husband, who was ahead of me, must have heard me scream, as he looked back just in time to see me go down.

I vividly remember bracing for the impact of my head on the asphalt, and then being surprised when my head bounced back up without any pain whatsoever. This is why we wear bike helmets! My helmet now has a rather nice crack, but thankfully, my head does not.

He biked back to see if I was okay, and was a little concerned when I didn’t move. Or speak. At this point, I think I was mentally assessing the damage.

As soon as I ascertained I was okay, I removed my feet from my pedals, and quickly stood up, wanting to minimize the embarrassment of being sprawled out on the road. You know the feeling.

Upon closer inspection, my knees, my hip and my right elbow were pretty scuffed up. My husband insisted on going home to get the Explorer and then come back to pick me and my bike up. But I wasn’t having any of that. So he straightening my handle bars on my bike, and we headed home.

It didn’t take long for the pain to kick in. Within a few minutes, I felt pretty confident that there was something “not quite right” with my right arm, as I couldn’t move it. This definitely made the 5 mile bike ride home seem like it was taking forever, despite the fact that we were traveling at 18-20 mph.

And why is this an example of being an idiot when I exercise?

Here, I’ll give it to you again…

I felt pretty confident that there was something “not quite right” with my right arm, as I couldn’t move it. This definitely made the 5 mile bike ride home seem like it was taking forever, despite the fact that we were traveling at 18-20 mph.

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So, lesson learned? You know, the lesson that says LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. Nope. Not yet.

Stay tuned for Treadmill: Friend of Foe (Or Why I’m an Idiot When I ExercisePart 2). I promise, I will get to the treadmill and to the good stuff…the what I now understand about exercise.

This is my 100th Post! (Or a Piece of my Past)

Today I am celebrating the writing of my 100th post! 100 posts! Dang…and to think I worried about not having enough to write about!

Cheers! Here's to me!

Cheers! Here’s to me!

The idea for this post transpired this past week, as I shared with my students the importance of writing for themselves. In other words, I didn’t want them to write for a grade and I didn’t want them to write to please me. (Or anyone else for that matter.) I’ve been imploring them to take pride in their writing, and worry only about pleasing themselves. It is important to me that they  feel good about what they have written.

After all, writing can be so subjective. And just because someone doesn’t like your writing doesn’t mean that it isn’t good.

Did you know

  • Chicken Soup for the Soul was rejected 33 times?
  • Carrie  by Steven King was rejected 30 times?
  • Gone with the Wind was rejected by 38 publishers?
  • A Wrinkle in Time was rejected 26 times?
  • The Diary of Anne Frank was rejected 16 times?

You get the picture!

So now, I am taking my own advice. I’m sharing a piece that I wrote for myself. Be warned: no recipes, no valuable nutrition information, no pictures of food. Just a chance for me to write, and to share my writing with others.

Rock Canyon (A Childhood Memory)

The journey is long.

The destination? Rock Canyon— a location unbeknownst to those who brush their teeth without being told.

On a sultry, summer day, the journey requires a half hour of navigating through woods and field. (Longer if you’re trying to lose a little brother or sister along the way.)

We gather—Jenny, Kelly, Scott, Bob, Dan, and I, in my backyard.

The woods behind my house are dark and uninviting; the sun is obscured by a thick canopy of oak and hickory leaves.

“Do we have everything?” questions Scott, our self proclaimed leader, and at eleven, three years my senior.

“I brought the Kool-Aid!” I eagerly reply, anxious to please.

The rest of the group glances around, with quizzical “what else could we possibly need” looks on their faces. Backpacks are empty (except for mine, as I am the official Kool-Aid carrier), but are ready to hold any newfound treasures gathered along the way.

The journey begins.

We enter the woods, scrambling under half fallen trees, precariously resting against stronger, sturdier trees,  and clambering over fuzzy, moss covered rocks. Tree roots hinder our progress, tripping each of us at seemingly scheduled intervals. Occasionally, an utterance of “ouch” or “dang” permeates the silence, as knees and hands come in contact with rock and ground.

The air is stifling. 

“Wait up, you guys,” Dan pants, only moments into the journey. He is promptly ignored, although I notice that Jenny catches his eye and smiles sympathetically.

The journey continues.

The pungent smell of decaying leaves assaults my nose, and the buzz of swarming mosquitoes sends a shiver down my spine, despite the heat of the day. I begin to feel itchy. Occasionally, we pause to swat the mischievous insects.

“Go faster!” Scott demands, waving his arms around his head in desperation. “Who was in charge of the mosquito repellant?”

A long silence…followed by the sound of a hand making contact with skin. And then, a muffled childlike obscenity.

“Not me,” Dan meekly replies. (Making me think it actually was him.)

Soon we arrive at an old, abandoned dump site, hidden deep in the woods. We imagine its origination.

“Maybe a robber stole all of this and dumped it here,” Dan suggests.

“Or maybe it’s from a pioneer family that use to live in the woods,” Jenny fantasizes. “You know, like Laura Ingalls!”

I like Jenny’s idea better than Dan’s, and daydream about the family who lived in the woods and surmise the reason they left. Visions of hostile Indians (politically correct in the mid 70’s) fill my mind, much like a recent episode of Little House on the Prairie I had recently watched.

The dump site is small, covering a space no larger than a child’s swimming pool. We carefully scour through the leaves and dirt with sticks. Jagged edges of rusty beer cans protrude from the ground. Dirt covered mason jars, and chipped pieces of “china” are plucked from the pile. We carefully stow our treasures in the backpacks we carry.

We trudge on, the added weight in our backpacks taking their toll. Soon we come to a dried up creek bed. Despite the fact that there isn’t any water in sight, we use the bridge created from sticks and rocks to cross.

“Remember when we built this?” I ask.

“Yeah! That was so much fun! Jenny enthusiastically replies.

“Well, it wasn’t so fun the second time I fell in,” I reply, remembering returning home for the second time within one afternoon to change out of muddy, wet clothes.“My mom wasn’t happy with me at all.” The memory fills me with shame.

As we near the edge of the woods, the roar of a nearby tractor interrupts my thoughts. Instantly, we drop to the ground and wait for it to pass. We’ve been through this before. We cannot be seen. The farmer does not want us trespassing on his land. This knowledge makes the journey that much more exciting.

Once the danger has passed, we stumble out of the relative coolness of the woods, and into the blazing summer sun. Shading our eyes with our hands, we squint into the brightness of the day, inadvertently leaving traces of dirt on our faces. We watch as in the distance, the tractor disappears around a bend in the road.

Gathering our bearings, we start heading down the dusty, dirt road. Within minutes, small streams of sweat begin to trickle down my neck, before being absorbed by my t-shirt.

“I’m hot,” Dan whines.

“We all are,” Bob counters.

“We’re almost there,” Jenny encourages. Jenny is always nice. Even to whiners.

“All right. Let’s take a break,” suggests Kelly, as she brushes a wisp of hair out of her eyes, and tucks it behind her ear.  She is truly Scott’s equal—not only in age, but in authority as well.

“Okay,” I eagerly agree.

“Hey! Guys! Over here,” Dan shouts.

He has located a shady spot in the tall grass along the side of the road. Ceremoniously, he plops himself down, pulls a blade of wheat from the ground, and promptly places the pale, tender end in his mouth. We quickly join him.

Kneeling down I clasp my hands behind my back, shrug my shoulders and my backpack slides to the ground. I am feeling quite important as the big kids surround me. As I am trying to get the Kook-Aid out of my backpack, a string gets caught in the zipper. Sweat runs into my eyes as I struggle to unzip it. Giving the zipper a huge tug, it finally budges. I pull the thermos out of my pack.

“Hurry up,” Scott says  impatiently.

He grabs the thermos out of my hands. Everyone laughs as he struggles to remove the top. At least everyone but me.

“Relax,” Kelly says as she authoritatively snatches the thermos away from him.

Placing the thermos between her knees, she grips the handle of the outer cup, and is surprised when it gives. We laugh some more. This time I join in.

“I loosened it,” Scott mopes.

As Kelly unscrews the inner cap, the sugary sweet smell of grape Kool-Aid rushes out. We pass the thermos from person to person— oldest first, youngest last. I am the youngest—only by a few short months, but the youngest nonetheless.

After guzzling our sugary drink, and wiping our mouths with the back of our hands, we survey the cornfield that lies between us and the rocky, tree covered fence line fondly named Rock Canyon.

I place the empty thermos back in my pack. Everyone is eager to continue. Even Dan.

Scampering through rows of sweet corn,  leaves and tassels reach out and tickle our dust covered legs and arms. I could easily get lost, as the corn is taller than I am, so I stick close to Bob who is directly ahead of me. Jenny and Dan bring up the rear. I can hear them talking about Dan’s dog, Mitzi.

The hum of traffic, from a not so distant highway, provides background noise. As we reach the edge of the field, the sweet flowery smell of clover entices us. We scramble to find the purplest flowers, and pluck the tendrils. Then, we suck the warm sweet nectar out. Revitalized, we continue.

We are almost there.

Finally, we reach the entrance to our secret fortress. Green ivy winds its way around rock and tree. Off come the shoes and socks, and our hot, sweaty feet are welcomed by the cool, damp earth floor.

We enter and appraise our surroundings. Everything looks just as it did when we left the previous afternoon.

We hop (me), skip (Jenny), and jump (Dan) down the flat, sparkly gray rocks that serve as a majestic staircase leading down to the main living quarters. The older kids follow behind. Walking.

The trunk of a decaying elm tree is our couch, and several flat, gray stones provide additional seating. Piles of rock and trunks of trees provide an exterior barrier, and a canopy of sumac leaves serves as our roof.

To the right of the living area is the kitchen. Kelly, Jenny and I wander in. Water from a previous rain fills a deep impression in a gigantic, gray rock. This is our sink. Tiny insects scurry across the water leaving a small wake. Spider webs glisten with dew and we shiver as the wispy strings entangle us. Several neat piles of wilted dandelions and sweet clover cover our rock table.

“Let’s get the plates and glasses!” Jenny says excitedly.

We remove the china and glassware from our packs, carefully placing them on the table next to the “silverware”, meticulously crafted out of branches.

“We need to go hunting,” Dan says.

Bob, typically quiet, finally speaks. “I’ll get the bow and arrows!”

He locates the curved branch with a piece of string tied between the two ends, and Scott grabs the “arrows”, pointy sticks made from rubbing one of the ends against a rock.

The boys leave the confines of our fort to hunt for “food”. We putter around the kitchen while they are gone, making a leafy salad, and a dirt cake. When they return, we prepare the food, by cooking it over our fireless firepit. Soon we are all sitting around the table for our meal. Afterwards, we clean up the dishes and head to the living room.

As we get comfortable in our chairs, we gaze through the tree branches searching for uninvited younger siblings. Nothing. Occasionally, a warm breeze blows through, rustling the leaves overhead.

In the distance we see an old white washed barn. Beside it, a tall stone silo. It is weather beaten and crumbling to the ground. We discuss the possibility of making a fort out of it, but quickly decide against it. 

We could never leave Rock Canyon. After all, it is our home.

Eat Food (Or Advice from Michael Pollan or What’s in Your Bread?)

This past weekend my husband and I visited my son in St. Paul. It was a delayed celebration of his 21st birthday. Every kid’s dream, right? 

Logan typically has an itinerary planned for when we visit. He is quite adept at finding great places to eat (even making sure there are plenty of vegan options for me), and for finding fun, out of the ordinary places to hang out.

Friday night he had a track meet, so after watching him compete, the Hubby and I dined sans Logan at a place called Shish, just a block or two off of campus. Best portobella burger ever. And the fries were quite yummy as well.

Saturday morning we picked him up and had brunch at the French Meadow Bakery (vegan waffles, fresh fruit, and a soy latte). Afterwards we ran some errands, and wrapped up the afternoon at this quaint little bookstore near his school. I absolutely love bookstores, and could literally spend hours browsing through books.  As could Logan…the hubby? Not so much, but he’s always a good sport about this sort of thing.

This bookstore came complete with a squeaky wood floor, books piled high to the ceiling, tiny little signs marking the genre or subject of the books in the vicinity, and the smell of, well, the smell of an old bookstore. Very comforting. Plus, the wall behind the cash registers was painted with the chalkboard paint, and filled with creative writings/poems. Very fun!

In typical Karen fashion, I migrated toward the “Health and Wellness” section. After digging through stacks of books, I came across this book:

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It has been on my “list” of books to read for quite a while now. So I bought it.

Guess what I did on the car ride back home Sunday?

Yep. And I finished this with an hour to spare, giving me lots of time to reflect upon all that I read.

I couldn’t even begin to share all the information in the book (at least not all in one post), but I can share Pollan’s advice on how to eat for optimal health. You may have heard it before.

“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”

Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Well, it should be. Unfortunately, despite all of the research and advances we are making, Americans are “fatter, sicker, and more poorly malnourished” than we were thirty years ago. Something is not right. Pollan points his finger at nutritionism. (Nutritionism being the belief that the key to understanding food is in the nutrients.)

According to Pollan, “while nutritionism has its roots in a scientific approach to food, it’s not a science.” It’s an ideology. And Pollan holds the food industry, journalism, and the government accountable.

“All three helped amplify the signal of nutritionism: journalism by uncritically reporting the latest dietary studies on its front pages; the food industry by marketing dubious foodlike products on the basis of tenuous health claims; and the government by taking it upon itself to issue official dietary advice based on sketchy science in the first place and corrupted political pressure in the second.”

Preaching to the choir, Mr. Pollan, preaching to the choir.

Anyway…

let’s get back to Pollan’s simple advice.

First…eat “food”. And by food, he means food that would be recognized by your grandparents (or great grandparents, depending on your age). Specifically, he recommends avoiding food products that contain ingredients that can’t be identified as food, ingredients that aren’t pronounceable, and any food product containing more than five ingredients.

You would think that would relatively easy to do. But, unfortunately, not so much. Let’s take a look at bread. Your grandparents ate bread, right? But they certainly would not recognize the following products as food given Pollan’s criteria.

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After reading this list, there may be many people who don’t like Sara Lee.

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Yum?

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Pepperidge Farm? Nope…not food.

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Bimbo Bakeries…with that name, who would have expected it to make the cut?

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Brownberry…at least it has a shorter list of ingredients.

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This shocked me! Bread made in the bakery at the grocery store…HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP?! (Caps AND an exclamation mark…dang.)

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My favorite bread!

And one of my favorite ways to eat my favorite bread!

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Avocado Mash on Toast

2 slices of your favorite bread (I LOVE One Degree brand)

1/2 ripe avocado

2 slices tomato

1/2 T. hemp seed

sea salt

Make toast. Please don’t make me give you directions on how to do this. Smash avocado on toast with fork. Layer on tomato. Sprinkle with hemp seed and salt. I’ve also been known to put a layer of kale/spinach on the toast before the avocado. Warning: this makes it very messy to eat…slides all over the place. So, if you want to try this, make sure you are eating alone, or with people who love you regardless of what you look like while eating food.

Go ahead…check to see if your bread qualifies as food.

 

What’s Your Life Purpose?

Excuse me?

No “How’s it going?”, or “Hi. How are you?”

Who needs trite conversations like that anyway? Let’s save those interactions for the people standing next to you in the checkout line at the grocery store, shall we?

You and I? We are on a totally different level.

Wondering where that “life purpose thing” came from? I can assure you, there IS a method to my madness. (Insert evil laugh here.)

You see, I am currently taking part in the Wellness Council of America’s “The Road to Wellness”. The school district in which I work, is offering this program to all of its employees. Pretty cool. All I needed to do was sign up, which I did, and then a book magically appeared in the school mail.

I am now on a quest to find my “path of health and well-being”!

I can’t wait. And I say that with complete honesty, because this is totally my kind of thing.

The book (more like a fancy magazine), is written by Dr. Brian Luke Seaward, who just happens to be an internationally renowned expert in the field of stress management and mind-body-spirit healing. It (the book, not Dr. Seaward) is composed of seven chapters, each focusing on a different component of wellbeing. At the end of each chapter, wellness exercises encourage self-reflection and assist in goal setting.

Again, totally my thing. (Reading AND writing..win, win.)

Before diving into the book, I was asked to think about my “Life’s Purpose”. Then, if I chose, I could share my purpose with all other participants in the program via a social networking platform.

Hmmm….my life purpose.

Easy! My life purpose is to positively impact the world. You know—I want to leave the world a better place than when I arrived some 47 years ago. Pretty straightforward. Pretty generic too.

Ho-hum…

I just could not leave it at that—maybe because I’m a teacher. Or maybe because I think way too much (…not saying that’s a good thing…just saying.) Or maybe because I was stuck in the car for 4 hours and I didn’t have anything better to do with my time. (Let’s face it, correcting papers was not what I was feeling at 5:00 on a Friday evening.) I felt compelled to make it more personal.

So, I slouched down in the passenger seat, put my stockinged feet up on the dash, and thought.  And then thought some more. As soon as a thought popped into my head, I pulled my phone out of my pocket and made a few notes using my note app. This went on for many, many miles.

Phone in pocket. Phone pulled out of pocket. Make notes. Put phone back in pocket. Phone pulled out of pocket. Yeah…you get the idea.

When suddenly…

I had my “aha” moment.

Ready?

In all honesty, I’m willing to bet my life purpose is similar to yours. People, for the most part, are good…and want to “do” good things. However, chances are, we are going about achieving our life’s purposes in a way uniquely our own. Chances are, the way we go about achieving these purposes change as we acquire life experiences. 

As it should be.

So, how was I going to do to ensure that my “life purpose” came to fruition? How was I going to have a positive impact on the world?

Well, I needed to be more specific!

So…I broke it down a little.

As a Christian, my life purpose is to accept others, to make meaningful connections, and to trust that God’s plan for me is better than anything I could have conjured up myself. He has proven this to me time after time.

As a wife, my life purpose is to love my husband with my whole heart, to share my life experiences with him, and to be there with him, and for him, through the good times and the bad.

As a mom, my life purpose is to offer experiences for my kids, which provide opportunities for them to practice the skills they will need to be successful in life (how to deal with disappointment, how to treat others— especially how to get along with people whose views are not the same as theirs, and how to find their own purpose in life), and to be a role model in all that I do.

As an educator, my life purpose is to do exactly what I do with my own children. (Plus share my passion for reading and writing!)

As an eating disorder survivor, my life purpose is to give hope and encouragement to those who are struggling to make peace with food and their bodies by sharing my experiences, and my passion for health and wellness. I hope to accomplish this through my writing.

As someone who cares about the earth and all of its creatures (except for snakes-I hate snakes, and spiders-not a fan of them either), my life purpose is to make sure the choices I make, regarding the food I eat, and the products I use, do not harm the environment.

Okay…your turn.

What’s your life purpose?