Yesterday, to celebrate my son’s birthday, we decided to go out for breakfast. Realizing too late that it was Father’s Day we soon discovered that all the good restaurants were already taken. So... we ended up at a notorious chain restaurant. Hoo boy... what to eat here. I decided on the Denver omelet, after all, I do live in Colorado. It was passable, fortunately not much ham in it. But even when eating mainly compliant foods there is a BIG difference between organic and mass-produced food in the quality of the meal. I didn’t have any digestive upset after but sure felt like I had consumed inert matter instead of food.
Went for a long hike up a new ridge that mainly mountain bikers use. Quite lovely views of the foothills and even hiked high enough to clearly see Cheyenne Mountain behind the hills. Lot’s of black clouds out over the plains though. There were a couple tornadoes on the plains as well. We stopped for awhile to watch a Black-Chinned hummingbird soar quite high and plummet into a death defying nose dive and then actually perch on a dead branch.
There is a saying in these hills that if you have gone on at least 20 hikes, then chances are you have been watched by a mountain lion. I wonder how many times we’ve been watched. I have never even seen lion tracks, well, that I have recognized as such as they do resemble dog tracks without the claw marks. Nor have I seen a bear and they are quite prevalent here.
Since we were celebrating my son’s birthday, of course we had cake. I substituted with spelt for the flour but the rest was the usual less than healthy ingredients. But that’s cake for you.
Today is another(!) day of clouds and rain. It would be nice if we didn’t get our rain all in one go. I am so used to the sunshine that I feel sleepy and lethargic without it.
I have again agreed to speak before our district school board on a ridiculous policy change the administration is proposing and I am already beginning to feel butterflies. Although I have been told that I speak well, public speaking is not something I enjoy. But I do like challenging myself and this is one more way I can stretch beyond my self-imposed limitations of who I think I am.
Always a good thing to do.
Unfortunately for my children, this is what their mother turns into during summer vacation. Patrolling the rounds of snack refuse, looking for gross displays of non-compliance. One would think that it is harder to monitor their eating during the school year - not so! They both are creatures of routine, and eat quite compliantly during the year; O son has eggs, turkey sausage, and cinnamon raisin sprouted grain toast for breakfast, A son usually has homemade granola with soy milk, and occasionally turkey sausage or an egg. Lunches are typically almond/peanut butter sandwiches on spelt or sprouted bread, fresh fruit, organic corn chips/spelt pretzels, multigrain bars, etc. Of course, they could always ”trade” at lunch but since we have always eaten weird food by typical American standards, I have never worried about that much. I remember my oldest boy on his first day at a new elementary school telling his classmates that his family eats seaweed. “First of all, dear, it is ‘sea vegetable’ and not ‘seaweed’, and secondly, you might want to think twice before telling your friends about the food we eat.” Nothing like branding yourself as a weirdo on the first day of school.
Ever since finding out my sons blood types, I realized that the BTD would be very difficult for us as a family to adhere to. We do keep a myriad of food choices available at all times but, alas, one person’s bene is another person’s avoid. Sigh. So I have always thought that the best I can do is educate them about what foods are healthy for them and why, as well as emphasize the universal neutrals in meal preparation.
Until summer vacation comes. Until mother sees what food choices they make when they have the time and inclination to do so. And they are at both ends of the extremes with this one. My sweet, darling, youngest one is hyper compliant, not letting one tidbit of honeydew melon (a favorite) cross his lips, while the big, grumpy teenager says, “Mom, I just need food!” OK. What to do. With my O teenager, since we do tend to grow them tall in our household, I understand the “just need food” scenario. But I do strongly encourage him to add more animal protein to his food choices and need to remind him to lay off the carbs. My A son needs a different approach. I do encourage him to eat a little more broadly than I think he would normally choose, letting him know that it is OK to eat honeydew melon once in awhile, just not all the time. He could stand some loosening on many levels and I think enforcing strict dietary guidelines is not at all healthy for him.
I do frequently have a plate of attractively arranged raw, sliced vegetables and fruits placed in a prominent place in the kitchen, so when they come a’grazing, it is the first thing they see. And it does always get eaten. Another strategy is to make the choices for all meals, not just dinner, and to enlist their help in the preparation.
And lately, I have noticed them looking up info in ER4YT, and also asking questions about what is healthy and what not for their blood type. Just today, my type O son asked, “If Grandpa is a type O, why is he a vegetarian?”
Maybe this is all sinking in after all. Perhaps it is time to retire the police uniform.
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??