I work for an organization that is run by a volunteer board of directors, most of them retired women, or women who have spent their lives as community activists. They are a great group of brassy women who are just a hoot to be around.
These are ladies who LOVE to LUNCH. They have elevated lunch to its own art form, it is the central focus of their day... where to eat lunch and with whom. Every meeting, every activity without question, must be considered around the lunch question... and I am most often their intended target.
They LOVE to take me out to lunch. And it is almost always an establishment laden with avoids at every turn. Now, if there was one meal I could go without eating, it would be lunch. I often wish that I didn’t have to eat at that hour. It is a disruption to my day. But my body DOES need to eat at that hour, and meeting my body’s needs is a priority for me.
Now, I know that this is an act of kindness and generosity on their part and I do appreciate their need to indoctrinate me into the high art of lunching. But I do have difficulty meeting my own food needs within this framework and frankly I have plum run out of ideas on how to cope. They know I am on some sort of crazy diet and I did make the mistake of eating a main dish of chicken once. So now I often hear, “Well, we know you’ll eat chicken, dear” which they serve me at every opportunity. Oy! I won’t make a mistake like that again.
My usual tactic is to try to dodge the lunch hour... which is anywhere from 10:30 to 2:00 by their standards... if we have a meeting in that time frame I know I will have to deal with the Lunch Ladies, too. Sometimes I can prepare myself by eating a large breakfast and having a substantial snack mid morning and just a salad for lunch, and it is quite easy to pick out tomatoes, olives, and other avoids from a salad. But sometimes I am caught unawares by the Lunch Ladies, thinking I have dodged a bullet with an early morning meeting and, Oh no!!! It’s 10:31!! Now they are goiing to take me out for lunch!! And I am not prepared!!! Which means a salad is just not going to cut it.
The worst is when they want to treat me to a “nice” lunch and the “Oh, you MUST try the Chicken Cacciatore, it has the most excellent tomato sauce”, and I find myself struggling with meeting my own needs as best I can and, well, trying to please them. They are a bit older than me, you see, and, remind me alot of my own mother and grandmother. So I feel the need to “eat” in their presence... clean my plate, as it were, as if I was a child and not the grown woman that I am. Funny, huh. Issues with food often run deep.
So, I will keep plugging away at this one, forging ahead to find the clear space at the end. And maybe just grow up a little bit more in the process.
Lately, I’m having to live with a lot more stress than I would like in my life. Some of it is good stress... my office is moving to a beautiful location where there is opportunity to network with other arts organizations, we’re receiving more funding and are quite busy with many new programs and developments on the horizon. My husband’s business is on the rise once again after several years of barely surviving in the depressed economy of our region plus he has several performing gigs coming up. But our family is going through some rough spots - our recent bout of sickness, both boys facing major transitions in their school lives next year and all the fears and anxieties that accompany that, my father is coping with major health challenges, plus the everyday stresses of raising a family... any of this sound familiar? I bet it does.
All together, it just feels like too much.
So how does one cope? The first thing I do is to take a look at my eating habits. Even when I am stressed, it is still quite easy to avoid the avoids. Where I fall apart is in getting the right proportions and have a tendency to eat too many carbs and not enough vegetables, and looking for fast meals rather than taking the time to prepare a balanced meal. Making a commitment to schedule time each day for food preparation is a must. This can be difficult for me as I enjoy being more spontaneous and really enjoy food when it is something I feel like eating/preparing, rather than following a prescribed schedule. But scheduling does work best when I am over-extended and crunched for time.
I also increase my vitamin/ mineral intake, and look at incorporating more of the stress protocols. I find magnesium to be a key mineral in many ways, and certainly beneficial during stressful times.
And exercise... these are times when I must do yoga several times a week, and incorporate time away from family and responsibilities, even if only a few minutes a day, and try to squeeze in larger chunks when I can. I find my need for aerobic activity actually decreases when stress mounts, and I do not have the stamina I normally do. Going light on the cardio is quite beneficial.
Although seemingly paradoxical to the desire for alone time, I also need to find time to connect one on one with others. Today, I took my teenager, who is navigating some rough waters in his life, on one of my favorite hikes. I enjoyed it immensely... and even though I did this “for him” to have time with his mother, I realized I equally needed this “for me”. Funny how that works sometimes. We also went way too far on this trail, a total of 6 miles up and back with a elevation gain of over 1000 feet. But it was just sooo beautiful and we were having a wonderful time together. OK, I’ll work on letting up on the cardio next week.
We took some pictures from the trail of some of my favorite views, plus a couple of myself and my son, click here and then click on the links on the page for the pics.
Here’s hoping there is smooth sailing ahead... and enough coping skills for the inevitable rough waters.
We honored a family tradition this past Sunday. On the afternoon of the Superbowl, come rain, snow, or shine we always go hiking. This tradition started almost 20 years ago when I noticed that it is one of the few days that the trails are predictably vacant from almost all human visitors. Living in a state that has an NFL team is also helpful and I rejoice the years that the Bronco’s are doing well. On those wonderful years, it is the whole season that is blissfully free from crowds anywhere on game days.
So, I dragged the whole fam out to “celebrate” and yep, there was nary a soul out. I was the only one who actually hiked though. The menfolk romped through the snow like a pack of wild dogs... such is life with boys. The cañon was pristine in its stillness, still lots of snow in the shaded northern areas while the southern exposures skirting the hogback I was on were almost bare of snow. Typical Colorado sun influence... and the reason why all the ski resorts have their ski runs on north facing slopes.
OK, so I DID make chili on Sunday... consider that my contribution to the Superbowl! I use ground turkey and cannellini beans - one of the only compliant beans for all blood types in my family - sans tomatoes, of course. I also like to add onions, carrots and bell peppers (green and red) to my chili - too bad for the A’s, I guess. I figure they can pick out the peppers if they don’t want them.
I also was able to see some wonderful Afro-Cuban drumming this weekend at two separate performances. Attending live performances is the part of my job that I love the most. Both shows were excellent and reminded me once again of the incredible talent I am so fortunate to be able to bring to audiences of children.
There is something tangible in the air now... the faint suggestion of a Spring to come.
The trees have begun pollinating... I noticed the crocuses poking up in the garden today... the birds have gone crackers around our bird feeder...
And, about this time of year, I start craving greens... spinach, chard, watercress, mustard, kale... steamed, raw, in casseroles, you name it.
As my green craving approached this year, I tried having greens for breakfast - not something I do very often except as leftovers. The suggestion of sautéed greens was from a member at the forum, and it sounded so delicious I just had to try it. I am so glad I did! I had sautéed greens for either breakfast or lunch every day this week. My current favorite combo is Bright Lights swiss chard - oh so pretty - chopped stems and leaves lightly sautéed in olive oil with shitake mushrooms and sprinkled with Herbamare - an organic herb seasoned salt. What a delectable, and beneficial, treat it is! I highly recommend experimenting with greens and other veggies for breakfast.
Today was such a gorgeous day, and being that I haven’t spent much time outdoors lately, I decided to go on a short hike around Garden of the Gods. We recently had a very heavy, wet snowfall, but I reasoned that most of the snow would be melted by now and I was anxious to feel the uneven ground beneath my feet once more. Wrong on that one! The trail was a morass of slush and sticky thick mud. I slipslided my way along as best I could, having to do more bushwhacking than I feel comfortable with in a heavy-use park. My legs turned to jelly and I soon was covered in sweat.
But to be out in nature again... ah, such bliss. The arroyo’s were filled with snowmelt and the sound of trickling water was everywhere. Such a welcome treat in the high desert. The crystal blue sky, red rocks, white snow, and the lovely, lovely green of the juniper, piñon and ponderosa pine. What a feast for the eyes and lift for the soul.
I have been trying to write this blog for almost two weeks now. You see, that Frankenvirus that took my family down finally got to me too. I thought I had mastered my escape but noooooo, it was not to be. I had a much easier time with it than the O and A’s did ~ a short-lived head cold but the tiredness seemed to last forever. I am feeling much better now, thankfully, but missed out on a long stretch of fabulous hiking weather. C’est la vie!
OK, now where was I?... oh yes, writing about a trip to the dentist...
I just love it when I receive an unexpected health benefit from the ole blood type diet. This one came from routine dental check-ups for myself and my sons.
Recently, we all visited the dentist. I am usually quite good about getting dental check-ups/cleanings for the family. But it had been two years since our last visit. In the past, a wait of several years between cleanings usually meant extra dental work was needed. So I was a little anxious and somewhat anticipating bad news in at least one of our mouths.
How pleasantly surprised to hear that all were dental caries free! Even the boys! Wow, when I was their age I always had cavities. Now, as a secretor, I am supposed to have somewhat more protection from cavities than non-secretors. But, that certainly isn’t true for me. And certainly not when I was growing up. I think all the sugar and soda consumed when a youngster wreaked havoc in my own mouth, and probably my immune system as well.
I remember a colleague many years ago telling me about this most interesting study that had come out on the relationship between dental cavities and sugar consumption in children. In this study, there were 3 experimental groups: one group consumed sugar, another group did not eat sugar, but received sugar intravenously, and the third group received no sugar whatsoever. The group that received no sugar had lower rates of dental cavities than the other two - no big surprise there. But the group that consumed sugar and the group that received sugar through intravenous injection had almost identical rates of dental cavities. The results of this study point to the possibility that perhaps it is a weakening of the immune system that leads to the development of dental caries, and not the sugar coming into contact with the tooth enamel itself as had been previously believed. I have no idea where this was published, but I would love to get my hands on a copy of this study. Not just from the results produced but, gosh, how the heck did they carry that out!! How intriguing to find out how the researchers managed this one.
My sons do not come by cavity-free naturally from either side - my husband has many dental problems as well, some of it, alas, from poor dental hygiene as a teenager and poor quality repair as a result. Almost every dentist he has seen as an adult takes one look in his mouth and says, “You must have lived in California in the seventies”. Yes, the proof is in his mouth. Back then, there was a popular new repair technique that, as time would soon tell, weakened the structural integrity of each tooth repaired. My poor husband has several such “repairs” that have cost him several teeth.
For my sons to need no dental work is truly a joyous occasion. My oldest has had only one or two cavities in the last several years, my youngest none. And they have never had the “coating” dental caries prevention therapy, nor use fluoride toothpaste, nor drink unfiltered fluoridated water. It is all in their diet, in eating and living right for their type.
The proof is in their beautiful, dental cavity-free mouths.