Wednesday, May 22, 2013

What to Eat, What to Eat...

A couple of weeks ago, my daughter decided she didn't feel any different when she was eating wheat, so while she still would turn to some gluten-free things now and then during the week, she didn't restrict herself from eating wheat the way she had been.

Then she had a weekend that had a lot of wheat.

And her stomach ended up with two days of stabbing pains.

So, now we're back to no-wheat/gluten-free (except one or two meals per week).

And on top of trying to adjust back to wheat-free, we're both sick.

And she's super stressed with school and therefore, combined with not feeling well, gets very super stressed with something as simple figuring out what to eat for lunch.

I've made her lunch two days in a row. A kind of chicken fried rice yesterday and then I created a teriyaki bowl (with quinoa--first time using quinoa!) today. (I have a picture of the broccoli and yellow pepper cooking with a garlic clove in the pan, but forgot to take a picture of the rest!)

I've tried two new things in two days. I'm beat. lol.

Now I have to figure out a supper. And I'm so tired, I just can't even think and nothing sounds appealing.

I'm not in the mood for beef; we had chili with beef (and noodles) yesterday. I had chicken two lunches in a row. The supper needs to have at least some wheat-free food for me and my daughter (I've gone back to wheat-free although am not going to freak out about tasting to see if wheat noodles are ready or not). And it has to have a dairy-free element for me.

It would be much simpler if we were all accustomed to eating a raw vegan diet, wouldn't it?

But that kind of change for tonight requires energy and thought capacity, both of which I'm lacking.

I have a bunch of leftover cooked quinoa from lunch. Might be able to find something to do with it.

I saw that we have frozen hash browns. (Can hash browns be turned into a supper?)

We have ground beef and frozen chicken in the freezer. I don't want either one.

We had kidney beans yesterday and I'm not in the mood for more beans today.

I don't have any potatoes left--other than the frozen hash browns.

I don't have any tomatoes (neither canned nor fresh) left.

Maybe my real problem is not what to eat for supper but that I need some groceries.

I could have a each-to-their-own supper evening, but I know what that will lead to with my 15yo: "I don't know what to eat..."

I think I'll go rummage through the fridge, freezers and cupboards, see what I might come up with.

What do you do on days where you're just not up to snuff and don't feel like anything (and have food sensitivities to deal with!)?

(Did I really just write a post where most of it is made up of one-sentence paragraphs?)

Monday, May 20, 2013

Lessons in Self-Acceptance--from the Mountains

Have you ever seen the Rocky Mountains?

 Taken while we drove through Jasper National Park

Again, Jasper National Park

My husband and I drove to them this weekend, a little getaway before the final craziness of the school year. It's our third year in a row to do this; we find Jasper so beautiful and peaceful, it just a nice break.

As we drove toward Jasper this year, I was really noticing the mountains in some places, the different strata that got shoved up at an angle so many years ago when the tectonic plate got shoved up above another one.

Part of a line from the movie "Can't Buy Me Love" came to mind: "...and broke the moon." I saw these mountains as part of a broken Earth, and yet its brokenness is why we find these mountains so fascinating and beautiful. This thought connected me to a thought about our own self-acceptance of our bodies. Each one unique and we wouldn't want it any other way. I soon found myself writing this (as of yet title-less piece) while my husband drove:

We look at the mountains
and don't see:
they are the Earth

We see beyond that to their 
and beauty
in all their shapes and sizes.
Wondrous things to behold
filling us with awe.

What would happen if
we could look at ourselves
in the same way:
instead of fixating on
our brokennes
we could see beyond to 
our majesty
our beauty
in all our shapes and sizes,
and see that we, too, 
wondrous things to behold
and be in awe of ourselves?

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

5 Tips to Get Through Super Busy Times

I haven't been posting much lately, I know. Life seemed to bring so much more my way and I had to make a decision about what to do with everything I try to do, so some things went temporarily by the wayside.

This past while has taught me some good lessons, however, that I would like to share with you. Perhaps you, too, will find yourself at a point where there are many demands on your time and energy and you are overwhelmed and my tips will help!

  1. Be wary of your coping mechanism. Electronics were a huge coping mechanism for me:  Playing computer games, watching TV and movies, chatting online... I thought it was a reasonable way to wind down, destress. It could very well be--in moderation. My use of electronics for a while was not in moderation. I found myself obsessively playing certain Facebook games and refreshing online chat sites to see if new messages were there to reply to and watching a lot of TV--which I kind of did before, but I would actually do something else while watching, at least for a part of it. I found myself very sick one day a couple of weeks back, still obsessively playing FB games (while watching TV) because I wasn't really mobile and felt like I couldn't do anything else, and it hit me that these things weren't really helping me relax. What about your coping mechanism? Do you feel more relaxed? Sometimes the coping mechanism is just an avoidance tactic and isn't really helping. The answer? Take charge! I had to set myself a rule of no games until such and such time and with a time limit. It was hard at first, but I really did feel better finding other things to do.
  2. Assess if you've dropped helpful routine things. I had, up until some point during all the life chaos, had a routine of reading religious and/or inspirational things daily. Usually at least a little in the morning and then some later on in the day. It wasn't long, maybe 5-15 minutes each session, but that little routine ended up disappearing as I fell under the weight of, "Oh my gosh, there is so much going on." It wasn't so much I didn't think I had the time, but it somehow just disappeared from my thoughts. When I realized I had stopped, this was the same day I was sick and realized I had been spending way too much time glued to electronics, I turned off the TV, closed the laptop, grabbed my books and read for probably a good hour and some. It was the most re-energizing thing I had done in weeks!

    For you, it might be a simple exercise routine or meditation or writing in your journal. If it's something that brought calm and balance to your life, bring it back in, even minimally. It can do you a world of good.
  3. Think of other things you enjoy that you've pushed aside. Working on my websites is something that I do really enjoy and yet, up until today, I somehow felt I couldn't afford the time. I was thinking about it just this morning about how, with the demands on my time right now and probably for the next month and a half, I don't have the time I used to to blog. A wise voice piped up in my head: "You still have time each day to do something." Downtime at lunch hour. With fewer demands on me this week in the evenings, I surely have even 30 minutes each evening to work on some sort of post. Things like that.

    Before today, my main focus with things I enjoy has been reading and fitting in some card-making. I sometimes only have about 15 minutes but those 15 minutes of enjoyable time go a long way.
  4. Focus on the essentials. It's easy to put a long list of to do's in our minds, but not everything has to absolutely be done. Focus on what really has to be done today. The toilet isn't going to melt if it's not cleaned today, for example. Take care of the scheduled items (appointments and lessons and work hours and such) and things you might need to do for those things and if that's all you do in a day, well, that's great! You've gotten all the essentials done! If you get through that and have more time, then you can tackle the other things and know that it's all bonus stuff. DON'T do as I did for a bit of getting through my "must be done" items and dropping the ball and turning to electronics for the rest of the day! It truly was not relaxing. This may be a personality thing, but I know that when I started doing that something extra that I had clearly chosen to do (rather than feeling "Oh, there's so much I have to do!"), even just one thing, rather than "relaxing", the stress eased up. I was no longer hiding from it all in the electronics: everything that had to be taken care of was and I had even gotten something extra done. It put things in better perspective, I suppose. Part of stress is a lack of a sense of control over circumstances. By taking back that sense of control, the stress has no choice but to go down.
  5. Meditate. Seriously. I pooh-poohed meditation for a long time. Didn't "get it", thought my prayer time was sufficient, heard strange things about it. I had, however, too many sources at once point me to simple meditation and so I started doing that every morning (okay, a couple of mornings missed due to sleeping in and having to get going, but otherwise done). Started with just 7 minutes. One weekend morning with quiet in the house and I was awake long before everybody else would be, I ended up meditating for something like 45 minutes. I don't usually have that kind of time, but even just 5 minutes, sitting in quiet on the closed toilet seat while others are up if need be, makes a difference.

    My meditation is nothing fancy: I count backwards from 20, relaxing my body with every count. The simplest meditation is to just focus on your breathing after that and let the thoughts go when/if they pop up and you recognize that they are there. I added in a Christian element (bringing my thoughts to "Be still and know that I AM" after I've finished counting down, then focusing on my breathing and bringing my thoughts back to that quote when I find they wander) which helps me even more. That's it. It's not some "wacko" practice or an attempt to get in touch with the supernatural, just a quieting of the mind and body for a time. It really makes a difference.
 Of course, there are probably many other things that help people during super busy times and may depend on each person. Exercise and eating well are often recommended, yet I find them the hardest things to stick with when I'm super busy (probably because of the mentality of I "should" exercise--a lack of sense of control again!). Whatever it is, when you catch yourself being overwhelmed, start doing something a little different--it really can change everything!