Don't forget to BREATHE
The need to breathe cannot be overstated. Of course I'm not talking about the obvious need to breathe! But the need to take time out, have some alone time, or just a little down time or time to do something that feeds your soul a little. Everyone has a different set of demands, a different kind of hectic life with different responsibilities and obligations but everyone has the same need to slow it down, take a break and just breathe. If you don't recognize this in yourself, or maybe you've just written it off as "oh, wouldn't that be nice!" or "what's me time?" or "someday when the kids are grown I'll take time for me", I strongly encourage (ok, I beg you) to reevaluate that train of thought. Being healthy, has many meanings, not just being free from illness or disease. To me, it means having the energy to keep up with life's demands, being happy, being able to maintain a healthy weight, having goals and dreams to aspire to, feeling calm, having friends and good relationships with the people around me , enjoying nature, having alone time, being physically able, sleeping well, eating well, enjoying good food, the list goes on. I might not have all of these things all of the time, but hopefully I have most of these things most of the time. My sense about many of you busy moms, is that you try to focus on getting some exercise in and watching what you eat....but please, don't forget to breathe.
So tell me, what does healthy mean to you? How close to your vision are you? Where can you improve things?
One of my favorite parts about writing this blog each week is talking about what we've been eating! I love to eat!
Monday- Swordfish, brown rice, mixed veg- If you've done any program or workshop or reading of this blog, you know that fish/rice/veg is a staple for us. We have some version of it almost every week. Often, like this week, we don't use a recipe. Garlic, lemon, olive oil and in this case a few capers go a long way in the flavor department. Giving the veg (yellow squash, zucchini, spinach and carrots) a quick saute in the same pan the fish was cooked in, also gives it good flavor.
Tuesday- Chicken thighs and Lemon and Asparagus Pasta- (And I added spinach). What a mess I felt like this dinner/evening was going to be. Hayden was supposed to have a track meet but something absurd was going on with the weather, nothing new there. It was definitely really cold and snowy and I'm thinking we were anticipating an ice storm. Seriously, these things are so common lately it's hard to keep track. Either way, we had an unexpected free night so that was good. My dinner was OK. I thought I over cooked the chicken thighs but they actually came out pretty good. The pasta was rather sticky and I could've added more lemon but otherwise pretty good. I left you the link, you decide. Sometimes those pasta's that are thickened with flour will do that. I'd use less if I were to make it again.
Wednesday- Drip Beef Sandwiches and salad- This link has two versions of drip beef (basically a slow cooked shredded beef sandwich), I made the one with the pepperoncinis. We bought some little ciabatta rolls and toasted them up a little. This was served with a nice big salad...because it's all about balance am I right? This was a nice easy dinner, made in the crockpot and perfect for a night with a track meet.
Thursday- Pork and Vegetable Lo Mein- Another crockpot dinner and another shredded meat. OK, that could've been planned a little better but no biggie. I really like the flavor of this recipe! A word of warning though, I had this turned off after 8 hours or cooking and when I added the veggies to it later the crockpot was too cold to cook the veg and so that step took at least twice as long as it should have. So either throw the veg in right after the 7-8 hours is up or make sure you turn it back on in plenty of time to heat up enough for the veg (OR just steam the veg in the microwave and add them in after). You'll notice in the picture there's an egg on it. Not part of the recipe. My kids want to put an egg on everydamnthing.
Friday- We went out to eat!- That's a little unlike us to go out two weeks in a row, but I love going out to eat so no complaints here. I did make an effort to eat something a little better for me than the Buffalo City Burger (wing sauce and blue cheese on that baby) that I love, so I got a grilled chicken sandwich with chimichurri and roasted poblanos. It was ok. I didn't finish it. Over all definitely a healthier option (I ate it open faced, so only half of the bun). Next time though, I'm getting my favorite burger. Whenever that might be.
Saturday- This dinner (for me anyway...I left the rest of the family to fend for themselves) was more of a snackfest. It started with fresh blueberries and strawberries and a croissant at a lovely wellness event I attended and ended with sharing a charcuterie plate (salty meats and cheeses and mustard...Mmmm) with three friends from my book club. Some might call that a fail, or a cheat day. I don't call it either. I made a conscious choice to just enjoy some fabulous cheese. Nothing to be ashamed of. And I'm not cheating because I never agreed to being monogamous with healthy food. Life (and by that I mean food) is to be enjoyed, as long as you can keep it under control, it's nothing to feel bad about.
Sunday- Chicken Piccata- This is one of Nelsy's specialties! My parents recently returned from wintering in FL (apparently too soon since they drove through a series of blizzards to get back home!), so we had them over for a nice Sunday supper complete with spinach tagliatelle, green beans and of course salad. Of course when you mix Nels and my parents there is dessert involved. He whipped up some strawberry rhubarb crumble something-or-other. I don't touch the stuff. They think I'm lame. What are ya gonna do?
My exercise situation remains pretty much the same. I'm doing 2-3 (usually 3) more intense days which means a rowing circuit that takes about an hour. The other days I mix it up with weights and stretching and body weight exercise. Now that spring finally arrived, I'm throwing walking into the mix on the non-intense days. I've got a thing going on with my hip so I can't go on walks longer than a few miles though. Time to get that checked out. Anyway, I'm very pleased with myself for keeping a steady schedule for eight weeks (and going strong). I feel good (minus the hip at times) and I wore skinny jeans this week (without feeling like sausage in them!).
I started something new last Monday that fits right into the breathe category, Qigong. If you're not familiar, it's a type of Tai Chi (if that even helps!). It's a combo of slow movements, chanting, meditation and surprisingly a little physically challenging at times (holding poses for long periods). There's so much to learn (only had one class so far) but I'm thinking it might be my answer to meditation. What I mean by that is, meditation is something I try to do, and want to do, but find it so hard to not get distracted. Qigong (at least in my first impression) has you focusing inward, being present but with the poses it keeps you focused. I'll keep you posted. I think it's super important to keeping seeking out new things, ways to grow, ways to slow down, ways to just be. I'd love to hear what you do to just chill or take time out for you.
If you're a local mom (Syracuse area), let's chat about it in person! I'm hosting a workshop on this very topic coming up on 5/3/2018 and I'd love to have you come.
As always, I'll be back next week and I will try to give a progress report on my original goal. I definitely have some interesting insights to share. See you then!