Categories: Kristin's Earlier Blogs, About Kristin
I woke up late this morning, quickly gulped down a bowl of homemade granola and organic cow’s milk, grabbed two plums and raced out the door late for an early morning meeting. As I was at this meeting, I noticed myself becoming tense and uneasy. Then I remembered that I have a stress management plan! So I first checked in with my breathing and sure enough, I had abandoned healthy belly breathing and was trying to squeeze air into my constricted upper body. Some conscious release of muscular tension and my breathing began to flow naturally again. I ‘checked in’ with my breathing several times throughout the meeting and was able to relax each time with conscious effort. As the meeting wore on, I noticed my blood sugar begin to fall. I ate my two plums, but knew I really needed protein as I often do mid morning. Instead of sticking it out, I decided I was more important than the meeting and left the meeting early, honoring my commitment to my stress management plan. I don’t think I could have left the meeting if I hadn’t made that commitment to myself first.
Back at home, I quickly heated up some leftover lamb stew with basmati rice, and a couple turkey hot dogs. Then I went for a vigorous walk with a friend to help dissipate the residual tension and mental agitation from the morning. We hiked around on the beautiful trails of a nearby nature center. I returned home later that afternoon relaxed, centered, and in sync with myself. Usually, I carry stress from meetings with me for a long time. This was such a welcome change.
Who ever is out there doing a rain dance for me, you’re my hero! We have had rain for not one, not two, not even three, but FOUR days in a row! Liquid gold falling from the sky. Of course, this would be the week that I had planned to catch up on some over due gardening and other outside chores. But I’ll take the rain... I could do without the hail though.
Yesterday was one of those days that I feel lucky anything at all made it into my mouth. I vaguely remember some fresh fruit, lot’s of yogurt, some leftover wild caught salmon (thank goodness for leftovers) and lightly sautéed chard, leeks, and garlic, and... I was so frazzled I don’t remember what else I ate. Well I wouldn’t call it eating exactly, more like ingesting. Or robotic fueling. Definitely not healthy.
While I was in the midst of this, I remember pausing briefly thinking, “this is not good” and felt that I needed a plan to help me cope with stressful/frazzled days. Maybe you are like me and are derailed by busyness too. I often feel that when I am out of kilter, it takes me a long time to find my way back home (centered and balanced) again.
So, here is my plan for me and maybe you too will find something useful in it:
1. The first sign that I am experiencing stress is a change in my breathing; it shifts from belly breathing into chest breathing, my shoulders and chest are tense and I feel like I can’t catch my breath. Paying attention to my breathing patterns is the number one key for me in being centered. Relaxing my abdominal muscles and consciously breathing into my belly brings me back into balance.
2. Having my meals planned in advance and always having healthy snacks with protein is essential when I am on the run. Food deprivation is a HUGE stress for me and has been my entire adult life. You’d think I’d know that one by now. Some of us it takes longer, I’m afraid.
3. This is the hard one for me: to not let myself get caught up in other people’s dramas or in situations I cannot control. I do have that tendency to feel other people’s feelings and to be outraged at the injustices perpetrated on others, especially by large institutions and organizations. I often feel a need to champion the underdog and there are times I just need to let.. it.. go.
I am most definitely going to try this plan in the days ahead... I’ll let you know how it works.
Last night, to “celebrate” my husband’s birthday, we all, boys included, spent the evening helping a friend with her dance school’s annual ballet performance. If you’ve never worked backstage in a theatre before, it is a given that something will ALWAYS go wrong, the surprise is that there is no way of knowing or anticipating what that will be. In this particular theatre, the light board has shorted out during a performance, but we were assured that that had been fixed. Fortunately, lights and sound went off without a hitch last night. It was the lovely bubble machine that I was in charge of that decided to act up, spewing bubble juice (which I think is an avoid for all blood types) all over the stage and can present quite a hazard for a dancer in pointe shoes. Luckily, no one was injured except a prop that got mangled by the curtain closing. Coulda been worse.
This morning, after a breakfast of millet cooked with carrots, garlic, and ginger, plus an egg and Ezekiel toast, I decided we needed to do at least something resembling a birthday celebration. Since my husband does not enjoy eating in restaurants (really!!), we went to see the new Harry Potter movie with our youngest son. Now I know for the most of you, going to the movies is par for the course but not in my family. I have never really enjoyed going to the movies and usually get quite bored about twenty minutes in, wondering when this will end and I can go home. In fact, I only went to two movies the entire decade of the 90’s - Ghost and Apollo 11, or, 9, or whatever it was. Now, if I go see a flick it is usually a foreign film with subtitles or an independent film. But... I must confess... I do love all of the Harry Potter films, even in all their Blockbuster, Hollywoodized genre. I have read all the books and never tire of the same old story line; I think it is wonderful fun and the movie was exceptional. So there you have it. Maybe I am a simple-minded sappy American after all.
I was quite compliant with my lunch today: a salad of romaine lettuce, goat feta, sardines (packed in olive oil), rice bread croutons, and buttermilk/feta dressing. Quite filling too.
After all that sitting earlier in the day, some exercise was definitely needed. I made sure I ate a snack before exercising (yogurt with a plum and a nectarine) and dragged my family off for a long hike in the cañon. It was gorgeous there, as always, but quite hot, especially on those evil switch backs. The stream was still flowing well, always a good sign of decent snowpack this year. We still so desperately need rain though...
It was our “watering day”, we are on water restrictions and are permitted to water lawns two days a week for 45 minutes. So back at home and watering lawn and garden, hoping now that at least our trees will survive the drought. I’ve about given up on the lawn.
Any one know of a good rain dance??
Today I am writing with a heavy heart. One of my teenage son’s friends was killed in a roadside accident two days ago. He was struck while assisting a motorist push a stalled vehicle by an 18 year old driver who had momentarily glanced away from the road to adjust the tuning on a radio station. Although my son did not know this boy well, the reality of how life can change in an instant hits home hard.
In talking with other parents of sons, I notice that one of our biggest hopes is that they just survive the teenage years. Just survive. Make it through. We’ll all feel blessed if they just survive. I often think how teenagers are given some of the responsibilities of adulthood without the experience in life to back it up. I know this is crucial for learning but I just wish they could know everything first. I know, I know, I have to let go and let the world have its way with them, whatever that may be. Parenting tears at one’s heart like nothing else.
My father-in-law stopped in for an impromptu visit. We went to a Mexican restaurant and I resisted the corn tortilla chips, although I did deeply inhale the wonderful scent of these freshly made corn beauties - can you tell corn is one, well, OK, my most difficult avoid food to truly avoid? I do love corn, and it is so obviously toxic to my system. Ironic, isn’t it? So not having one, I repeat, not one morsel of a corn chip was an accomplishment. My burrito meal had a couple of avoids, mainly guacamole, which I hardly ever have, and some tomato chunks which I easily picked out. The rest was neutrals with maybe a beneficial or two ( shredded beef, a few beans, wheat tortilla, cheese, green chili). When we go out to eat, I feel lucky if I can find a meal that has mainly neutrals and few avoids. Fortunately, I don’t eat out often. The real test is how I feel afterward and this time I felt OK with no digestive distress.
The rest of the week was stressful, school board meetings, committee meetings, task force meetings, I’m about meeting’d out. And next week it’s more of the same. So right now I’m going to relax, take a couple of big breaths, give my boys great big hugs...
...and thank my lucky stars.
Making the switch from a wheat diet to non-wheat grains can be daunting at first. Especially in the pasta department. We use spelt pasta and rice pasta in our house; it works with all the blood types we have living here. But let me tell ya... all rice pasta is not created equal! When we first started experimenting with rice pasta, we were very disappointed with the results. Most brands had a grainy, unpleasant texture or disintegrated in the cooking water. We finally settled on a brand that remained al dente if cooked in a very precise amount of time, one second past the timer and... ooops, mush for dinner once again.
And then that fateful day while shopping at my favorite whole foods store, I saw a new brand of rice spaghetti on the shelf... Tinkyada. I thought that it might be an Asian import but when looking at the package I saw that it was made in ...Canada??? Hmmm. That’s interesting. The store owner saw me looking at the box and came over to say what a marvelous product it was. And they advertise on the box that it is not mushy. I had to try it.
Well, I tell you, when I tasted this wonderful al dente pasta I almost heard angels singing. It is really that good! The only ingredients are stone ground brown rice, rice bran, and water. I don’t know how they do it. It really tastes and has the texture of semolina and other wheat pastas. And it does not get mushy. It does have a tendency to get sticky as it cools after draining so it is important to plate it while it is still hot or toss with some oil. You will have a gooey mass if you don’t.
Tinkyada makes all types of pasta: spaghetti, spirals, penne, fettuccine, small shells, jumbo shells, etc. We did have to experiment with the cooking times a little bit, but that is always the case in high altitude. Pasta takes longer to cook up here and with the “grand shell” (marvelous for stuffing), I cook them almost twice as long as recommended.
If you can’t find Tinkyada products in your local health food store, ask them if it can be ordered for you. We order several varieties by the case. Pasta stores well in a cool dry place, and then you always have some on hand when you need a quick meal. And maybe you too will enjoy rice pasta bliss.