Categories: Kristin's Earlier Blogs, About Kristin
Today began like any other summer day, waking at 4 AM and not being able to fall back asleep because it is too hot. Got hubby to open the bedroom window to the delightful aroma of strong skunk scent. Shut the window and lay in bed ruminating. I finally took a couple cal/mag caps which helped me and my over tired legs relax enough to fall back asleep.
The previous evening, my family and I went with a friend on a hike up North Cheyenne Cañon along a ridge with stunning views. Although it was gorgeous up there with the wildflowers and even columbines nestled in amongst the rocks, the trail begins with vicious, monster switch backs that turned my legs immediately to jelly. Our friend is a little mountain goat and can scamper up any cliff face with ease but us long-legged folk have a little more difficulty with steep climbs.
I did finally awaken and began my day with a breakfast of homemade granola with sliced nectarines and cow’s milk. After about 45 minutes of delicious yoga, I sat down to respond to a couple of reader’s questions. Time for lunch and I heated up some turkey hot dogs for me and the boys. Thank God for turkey, we gotta maximize those universal neutrals in our house. We were out of hot dog buns (probably a good thing) so I substituted a spelt tortilla which worked quite well.
The rest of the day was spent puttering around in a relaxed, aimless fashion. Did a few errands, watered the garden... you know the routine. Very much needed though because next week is going to be both busy and stressful. I do much better with stressful situations if I can rest in advance.
It actually rained in the afternoon and if you used your imagination, you could come close to saying there were puddles on the sidewalk. I almost went out to dance in the rain (I have been known to do that) but it was over soon and out with the blistering sun again.
I made salmon for dinner and hubby made rice pasta with steamed veggies. We often share dinner making, that way there is something for all 3 blood types in our house.
Yes, now I am feeling ready for the upcoming week.
Since it is now June I can officially say that I have reached a new milestone in my overall health: I have not had one upper respiratory infection for an entire year. Zero. Nada. Zip.
This is a huge event in my life since just a few years ago I suffered from chronic sinusitis and frequent sinus infections. Every single cold (and there were many) ended up in a sinus infection. At about the time I started the BTD I also purchased the book “Sinus Survival” by Robert S. Ivker. Dr. Ivker is a D.O. and part of the American Holistic Medical Association. In his book, Dr. Ivker relates his own struggles with chronic sinusitis and how he healed his sick sinuses. And as of the writing of the book, he had been free from chronic sinusitis for almost 8 years and for almost 5 years had not had one cold. When I first read that information I thought to myself , “That will never be me. Never.” And now here I am on that same path; I can’t remember when I last had a sinus infection and its been at least a year since I had my last cold. I began to reflect on the past year to see if there were any significant lifestyle changes that could have played a factor.
Some background information: I live in a geographical region where it is difficult to have healthy sinuses. We have what is known as an ‘inversion season’ during the winter months where warm air aloft traps colder air and pollutants close to the earth. My city also uses coal for its energy source which creates a higher level of particulate matter in the air. And I live in an arid or semiarid climate that makes for very dry air to breathe. It is no wonder that sinus infections are the number one reason for seeing a doctor out here.
Certainly, following the BTD has played a crucial role in my overall immune system health, but what else? I do use a saline nasal spray and occasionally nasal irrigation to keep those mucous membranes healthy. And we have a hydrometer to measure humidity levels in our house. But I have been doing that stuff for years. There are only a couple of things that I did differently, but I think they are keys for me, and perhaps other B’s as well.
Firstly, I started following more closely the exercise recommendations for type B’s, which for me meant letting go of some of my strength training beliefs. When I trained for 4 days a week, for an hour to an hour and a half a session, I was too exhausted to do anything else. I feel much better at 3 times per week for about 40 minutes a session. And I also increased the cardio and exercised with others which played a significant factor in “mood control”; I just feel happier when I exercise with others.
Next, I rested. A lot. It was a priority. I did not allow myself to get overtired. On those rare occasions when I did recognize I was doing too much, I dropped everything and hit the bed. If I knew in advance that a stressful week was coming up, I would get extra rest in preparation.
But lastly, and most importantly, I challenged myself in ways that I hadn’t before, taking on new tasks, trying on new roles out in the world and, in a sense, reinventing myself. One such example is participating in this blog project. I submitted my application on a whim, and afterwards thought “What am I doing, I don’t journal, I can’t write!” I can sing, I can dance, I can do the hokey pokey, but I always viewed myself as a non-writer. And then it hit me, I needed to challenge that long held belief.
Sooooo... here I am. Challenging that belief with every blog I write. I know that not only nurturing the creative part, but also stretching my self concept in new and exciting ways is vital to my overall health and wellness. I bet it is for you too.
Woke up, rolled outta bed, dragged a comb across ....
Yes, I did wake up but rolled out of bed? ah...no on that one. Creaked and groaned was more like it. Lot’s of aches and pains this morning and to top it off my foot was aching more than ever. We went hiking up in the High Country yesterday and I chose to ignore the pain in my foot which increased with every step. I can’t even figure out what I did to injure it in the first place! Man, this getting older sure does bite sometimes. So, now I have to scratch my exercise plans for today and let my body tell me what it needs.
I started with one of my favorite breakfasts: fresh fruit topped with yogurt and freshly ground flax seed and a big pot of red raspberry leaf tea. My husband made his famous breakfast millet, which is my favorite way to eat millet: millet cooked with carrots, garlic, ginger and tofu and topped with tamari. I had a bowl of that as well, only without the tofu.
Next, off to the living room to do some much needed stretching. I did a little meditative movement and tuned into what my body was needing today. I decided to take time throughout the day to stretch and move in a way that felt nourishing until I felt better.
Now, off to the garden to water my feeble attempt at a vegetable garden this year. We are so so so dry, I am not hopeful that my plants will even survive, let alone bear fruit.
Inside, more stretching and then off for my harried morning commute - a whole 15 steps from my kitchen to my office. Having survived the traffic jams, I settle down to work on preparing contracts for our upcoming season. Realizing I need a little more protein this morning - you know the feeling - foggy, tired, sapped of strength - I head to the kitchen for half a can of sardines. Back at my desk a few minutes later with renewed strength I work tirelessly until lunch: leftover lamb chop with prune/cranberry chutney, and a large salad with snow peas, rice croutons, and way too much buttermilk/feta dressing. I’m feeling much better now.
Before heading off to a committee meeting down at Citizen’s Project I have a cherry Larabar, a new energy bar made from dates, almonds and unsweetened cherries all mushed together and shaped into a rectangle - very good! I was focused and relaxed during our meeting even when discussing and problem solving distressing events occurring in our community, something that can be difficult for me. I think my food choices and body tuning earlier in the day played a large part in my staying centered.
Back home and baked vanilla scented halibut with hollandaise sauce, boiled potatoes and steamed cauliflower with snow peas for dinner. By now I have even forgotten that I felt awful when I awoke. In fact, I only remembered when I sat down to write this blog.
Maybe tomorrow I WILL be able to roll out of bed.
I don’t know if you are like me but my body just will not tolerate flour products for breakfast, especially those perennial favorites: pancakes and waffles, even when made with grains other than wheat. This has posed quite a problem for me because I love making brunch on Sunday mornings, and one thing my family likes to eat best for brunch is pancakes. I was beginning to mourn the loss of this pleasure when I stumbled upon a fabulous pancake recipe: Norwegian Pancakes, and yes, it actually is a recipe from "Kitchen of Light" by Andreas Viestad mentioned in my previous blog.
What makes this recipe friendly for my body I can only guess but my sense is that firstly, it is mainly eggs and milk with very little flour, and secondly, it has no leavening which I really think is the key. As I get older I have noticed that food made with baking soda and baking powder just don’t seem to metabolize well in my body. I, of course, modify the recipe so as to make it friendly for B’s. The ingredients are:
3 large eggs
1&1/2 cups milk (I use cow’s milk)
2/3 cup flour (I use white spelt)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar or honey (sugar mixes better)
1&1/2 tablespoons melted butter
Blueberries or strawberries for serving
This recipe is quite easy to make: beat the eggs with a whisk and add the milk; beat well. Add the flour, salt, and sugar and whisk until the batter is smooth without lumps. The batter will be thin, somewhat like crepe batter. Mix in the melted butter after all the other ingredients are well combined. Let the batter sit for 30 minutes. While the batter is resting, make yourself a nice pot of herb tea, red raspberry leaf is my current fave. Take a minute to tune into your body and see what it needs this morning; perhaps putting on some music and doing gentle stretching exercises or maybe dancing around the room in delightful abandon. Next, go find a family member and tell them how much you love them and appreciate their presence in your life, it’s part of the recipe. And before the 30 minutes is up do remember to preheat a cast-iron or other heavy skillet.
When the skillet is heated to medium heat, add about a third of a cup of batter and tilt the skillet so that the batter covers the entire pan. If you do not have a lefse spatula (who does?), then leave a space near the edge of one side of the skillet for sliding a spatula under. The pancake will be ready to flip when the top is shiny and mostly dry, and there are small pinpricks from bubbles. You will not need extra butter for the skillet if your skillet is well seasoned.
Now for the flipping: without the lefse spatula it can be a little tricky. Lefse is a Norwegian staple, a flat bread made from potatoes and flour, similar to a tortilla. My family and I helped to make lefse with my husband’s family this past Thanksgiving, and without that spatula, lefse would be difficult to cook properly. But do not despair, the pancake batter is quite resilient and is easily flipped with a regular spatula. Insert the spatula under the reserved edge and loosen the entire pancake before flipping over in a rolling motion. See, that wasn’t so bad. It will get better with practice.
Serve the pancakes with berries and a little sugar or other sweetener, if desired. I like to eat them like a crepe, with berries down the middle and the sides folded over. My sons roll them up burrito style. Add some yogurt or a dollop of ricotta cheese for more protein heft. You just might enjoy them as much as I do.
My favorite latest find is the cookbook from Andreas Viestad entitled “Kitchen of Light”. Andreas is the host of the PBS cooking show "New Scandinavian Cooking with Andreas Viestad", and this book is the companion volume to the show. The pictures alone are worth the price of this book.
I know this may sound strange but my youngest son loves to watch cooking shows. And he loves anything associated with Norway. He has Norwegian and Swedish bloodlines from his father, and his grandfather , strongly aligned with the Viking heritage in his family, spent a summer living at a Viking “camp” in Sweden where they practiced the arts and craftsmanship of the Vikings, such as metallurgy and ship building. Grandpa even began a journey to recreate one of the early Viking voyages to North America. (I don’t think he made it beyond the Baltic Sea, however).
So when this new cooking show appeared on PBS that featured ‘Norwegian Cuisine’ , my son insisted I watch the show with him. I did not even know there was such a thing as Norwegian Cuisine. I was intrigued. I was even more delighted with the format of the show, which is part travelogue, part cultural history, all through the making and preparing of food. But I think the book is even better.
The book contains all the recipes of food prepared on the show and then some. And if you have access to fresh fish (you lucky dog) you are in for a wonderful treat. Since Norway has a long coastline in cold, northern seas, the cornerstone of Norwegian cuisine is fish. Lot’s of it. And there is an abundance of fish recipes in this book! OK, some of the recipes are for seafood but there are many that are B and other blood types friendly or can be easily adapted with a few substitutions. How about Slow-baked Salmon with Soy(tamari) Sauce and Ginger? Or Pan-Seared Cod with Garlic Puree?
But along with all that fish, there are several lamb recipes, which are often difficult to find. And beef. And venison! Need I say more?
I do! ! There are some interesting vegetable recipes, many using wild mushrooms, a whole section of potato recipes... and desserts. The desserts are light and fresh, often featuring fresh fruit or berries with few adornments. I want to try Wild Blueberry Parfait, Strawberry Snow, and especially Summer Berries with Bay Leaf Custard...doesn’t that sound interesting!
Have I mentioned the pictures? The photographs in this book are very beautiful, stunning in their simplicity, and a delight to the eye. If you don’t want to purchase the book, at least check it out from your local library. I think you’ll be glad you did.
And if anyone is daring enough to try the Gravlaks recipe, please let me know how it turns out.