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100 Blocks January 9, 2017

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Health & Wellness, Life Balance.
34 comments

Big-BenA few months back (about 7400 blocks ago), Tim (@ Wait But Why) did an interesting post on time allocation ~ 100 Blocks A Day.

Definitely worth a read if “better time management” is one of your resolutions for 2017.

While I appreciated his approach, two thoughts occurred to me as I considered his analysis:

(1) When deciding whether to cook dinner (3 blocks) or order in (0 blocks), the time used that day doesn’t take into consideration the hours given up to earn the money to buy food vs. paying someone else to do the cooking.

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We save time by hiring others to do stuff we don’t want to do for ourselves . . . but we’ve already spent time to earn the money needed to pay them.

Perhaps we need to factor in those hidden costs in deciding whether to cook or hire someone to cook for us.

(2) We might also want to take into consideration the blocks of time lost down the road by ordering in “junk food” instead of preparing healthy food.

If we get diabetes or heart disease, we may lose years of blocks off our grid.

I think we’ll cook for ourselves tonight!

Aah . . . that’s better!

 

Gluten Free Brownies December 27, 2016

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Health & Wellness, Vegetarian Recipes.
16 comments

Want a gooey good-for-you brownie . . . without the flour, eggs, etc.?

Try Julie’s recipe for Lentil Brownies.

Aah . . . that’s better!

On Patrol December 17, 2016

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Health & Wellness, Humor.
26 comments

The Longboat Key News shares actual police reports in its weekly paper.  One that caught my attention:

October 29

Illegal Donut Dumping

Officer Cooper made contact with the complainant in the 7100 block of Gulf of Mexico Drive who stated sometime during the night unknown persons dumped several boxes of donuts in the parking lot.  Nothing further to report.

My guess?

220px--Lena_Horne_conserves_fuel_(gas).-,_ca._1941_-_ca._1945_-_NARA_-_535820Someone’s wife found and trashed Someone’s secret stash of donuts which Someone had vowed to give up in order to comply with his wife’s edict that he:

(1) lose weight;
(2) lower his blood sugar;
(3) lower his cholesterol; or
(4) honor his wheat free resolution.

I also expect that Officer Cooper took the evidence into “custody” for safe-keeping.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Mystic India November 21, 2016

Posted by nrhatch in Health & Wellness, Meditation, Music & Dance.
25 comments

In the midst of the holiday hustle and bustle, taking time to press the “pause button” is important.  Here’s one of my favorite calming soothing mantras from the Mystic India CD:

To  further calm and soothe yourself:

Take a deep breath, expanding your belly. Pause. Exhale slowly to the count of five. Repeat four times.

Congratulations. You’ve just calmed your nervous system.

Controlled breathing, like what you just practiced, has been shown to reduce stress, increase alertness and boost your immune system. For centuries yogis have used breath control, or pranayama, to promote concentration and improve vitality. Buddha advocated breath-meditation as a way to reach enlightenment.

Science is just beginning to provide evidence that the benefits of this ancient practice are real. Studies have found, for example, that breathing practices can help reduce symptoms associated with anxiety, insomnia, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and attention deficit disorder.

To read more: Breathe.  Exhale.  Repeat. (NY Times)

Aah . . . that’s better!

A 21 Day Happiness Challenge November 17, 2016

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Health & Wellness, Life Balance, Mindfulness.
16 comments

Tigger-Looking-At-His-TailJulie (@ the Flexi Foodie) is leading a 21 Day Happiness Challenge starting December 3rd.

Just in time for the holidays!

What better gift to give yourself this holiday season than the joy of happiness?

From her site:

Get weekly emails with simple challenges and activities to help you say YES to your health and happiness during the hectic holiday season.

Happiness is healthy.

After 21 days you’ll have increased energy, you’ll sleep better, you’ll feel healthier, and you’ll feel happier. Just in time for the holidays.

10 minutes a day is all you need.

Each week I send you a challenge activity to do every day that week. Do the activity anytime during the day – whenever you can find a spare 10 minutes. The activity will boost your mood, your energy, and your health and will only take 10 minutes.

You will feel transformed from the inside out! Get ready to see how prioritizing small moments of self care can lead to a healthier, happier, you.

For all the details:  Join the FREE 21 Day Happiness Challenge

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“Praise and blame, gain and loss, pleasure and sorrow come and go like the wind. To be happy, rest like a giant tree in the midst of them all.”
~ The Buddha

Aah . . . that’s better!

 

Fire And Rain October 25, 2016

Posted by nrhatch in Health & Wellness, Humor, Mindfulness, People.
35 comments

At Bridge one afternoon, the fire alarm in the Church Hall went off.  I looked up from my cards to assess the situation.

Inside:  No flames.  No smoke.  Exit doors just steps away.

Outside:  A torrential downpour.  A real gully washer.  Thunder. Lightning.

220px-Lightning_striking_the_Eiffel_Tower_-_NOAA

After raising inquisitive eyes toward the blinking alarm box on the wall of the hall, no one moved from their seats.  Everyone seemed content to “wait and see” what the rest of the players planned to do.

The alarm rang out for about 30 seconds, then went silent.

After it stopped blaring, we issued a collective shrug and returned to playing cards, sensing it was a “false alarm” triggered by the staccato lightning strikes that had punctuated our play all afternoon.

Five minutes later, three burly firefighters in full regalia burst into the room.

They seemed as surprised by our presence as we were by their arrival.  After all, it’s not every day you see a dozen card players playing cards.

Regaining their composure, they strode across the floor and went straight to work checking the alarm boxes.

Glancing at the huddled trio, I sensed palpable displeasure that we hadn’t evacuated the building at the sounding of the alarm.  Waves of disapproval emanated from them.  They couldn’t understand why we were inside playing cards rather than huddled outside dodging raindrops and lightning bolts.

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Sure enough, as they turned to leave, one stopped to ask, “Did any of you hear the fire alarm go off?”

All nodded.  (Even those few who had left their hearing aids at home on their dressers.)

“And none of you exited the building?  You just kept playing cards?’

All nodded again.

Hearing no apology and sensing no sign of remorse, he turned from us in disgust and followed the other firefighters down the hall.

Figuring they had a handle on the situation, we returned our calm and concentrated attention to the cards in our hands.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Before And After October 17, 2016

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Health & Wellness, Vegetarian Recipes.
41 comments

Before I began the wheat-free experiment mid-September, we ate delicious meals of this and that:

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Thai Noodles with Peanut Sauce * Steamed Broccoli & Carrots * Black Bean Salsa * Sliced Apple * 1/2 a Bagel

Since going wheat-free, we still eat this and that . . . I just don’t eat that other thing.

Here’s an example of an impromptu mix & match wheat-free lunch thrown together from “fixings” in the fridge and pantry:

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Carrot & Celery Sticks * Pepperocini * Hummus * Fritos * Black Bean Salsa * Broccoli Florets with Italian Vinaigrette

I do a bit more planning for dinners, but not much.  Here’s an example of a fresh from the oven wheat-free dinner:

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Twice Baked Potato * Roasted Asparagus * Roasted Cauliflower * Roasted Carrots * Mashed Sweet Potato * Pushcart Onions  & Peppers

Update: I’m still enjoying numerous benefits from eating wheat-free (better sleep, less neck pain, better digestion, less inflammation, better mood, less mental fog, better energy, less hunger) so I haven’t been tempted to add wheat back into my diet.  Yet.

Aah . . . that’s better!

You Can’t Beat Beets! October 13, 2016

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Health & Wellness, Vegetarian Recipes.
28 comments

Mr-RossiThe Farmer’s Market started up again on Saturday, October 1st, after a summer hiatus.  The Market, which runs from October to May (instead of May to October), includes artisans, musicians, bakers, butchers, fishmongers, and farmers.

I love seeing how far our veggie dollars go at the Market. Last visit, we spent a grand total of $18 and came home with this:

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kale * cucumbers * iceberg lettuce * broccoli * romaine * green peppers * zucchini * baking potatoes * sweet potatoes * beets * beet greens

What bounty!

Once home, I process the produce so that it’s ready to use at a moment’s notice:

* Wash and spin the lettuce
* Chop and sauté the beet greens and kale
* Steam or blanch the broccoli (or just cut it into florets for roasting)
* Store the potatoes and sweet potatoes in our “root cellar”
* Stash most of the cukes, peppers, and zucchini in the fridge

Last week, before leaving the kitchen, I made a pot of wheat-free Minestrone soup, using millet instead of macaroni.

By the time I finished chopping and dropping, the robust and hearty harvest soup included onions, peppers, zucchini, beets, beet greens, broccoli, carrots, celery, and tomato sauce.

Aah . . . that’s yummy!

Do you frequent Farmer’s Markets in season?

Just Breathe October 3, 2016

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Health & Wellness, Life Balance, Mindfulness.
24 comments

Green-Yin-YangThe Yin and Yang of our nervous system are the sympathetic and parasympathetic.

When we are stressed, the sympathetic nervous system activates the fight-or-flight response.

In contrast, the parasympathetic nervous system governs the rest-and-relaxation response.

To recover from excess stress, we need only remember to press the “pause button” . . . by taking a deep breath.

Donald-DirectorBreathing triggers the relaxation response by signaling the vagus nerve to initiate a healing waterfall of hormones.

Once activated, those hormones calm us.  They also reduce cortisol levels, boost brain function, reduce inflammation, and lower heart rate and blood pressure.

So breathe.  Just breathe.

Aah . . . that’s better! 

A Wheat-Free Experiment September 29, 2016

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Happiness, Health & Wellness, Less IS More.
54 comments

Donald-DuckaPerhaps more than any other food, wheat permeates our diet.

We find wheat in breads, bagels, baguettes, rolls, muffins, biscuits, cereals, granola bars, cakes, cookies, brownies, pies, puddings, pizza, pasta, tabbouli, crackers, pretzels, beer, chips, veggie burgers, etc.

As a vegetarian, my diet centers around fruits, veggies, beans, nuts, seeds, grains . . . and chocolate.

Giving up wheat was the furthest thing from my mind.

Woodstock-&-Snoopy3Or it was until I heard Dr. William Davis during a PBS Fundraising Special ~ Wheat Belly, Total Health.

At first, what he was saying flew in the face of “truths” I had assumed to be true about “heart-healthy whole grains.”

I laughed at his concerns while munching on a bagel.

But his comments stayed with me.

I requested a copy of his first book, Wheat Belly ~ Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, from the local library.

I read with resistance.

I.  Did.  Not.  Want.  To.  Give.  Up.  Pizza.

Donald-Duck-Lazy

What would life be like without wheat?

No Bagels for lunch. No Grapenuts cereal for breakfast. No Triscuit Crackers with peanut butter as a snack. No Macaroni & Cheese.  No Lo Mein.  No Thai Noodles with Peanut Sauce.  No Minestrone Soup.  No Spaghetti.  No Lasagna.  No Grilled Vermont Cheddar on Toscano Pano.

No Pizza.

Donald-Duck-BaseballIn spite of my resistance to his message, I kept reading, wondering if there was even a wheat berry of truth to his claims.

He provided a number of anecdotes about people barely able to walk into his office due to excess weight, joint pain, and lack of energy, who (after giving up wheat) bounded into the office at their next visit.

Hmmm . . .

I decided to conduct a Wheat-Free Experiment to see what changes, if any, I noticed in the Health and Wellness department.

Donald-Duck-MadI assumed the first thing I would notice was anger and annoyance at being deprived of some of my favorite foods.

Nope.  My mood got better, not worse.

I assumed that without the adjunct of bread with lunch and dinner that I would be ravenous between meals and go to bed hungry.

Nope.  My appetite dropped without the appetite-stimulating effect  wheat has on the brain.

Mickey-In-HammockI assumed I would toss and turn in bed at night, with visions of sugar plum pudding dancing in my head.

Nope.  Instead of sleeping in 2-3 hours stints, I began sleeping for 3, 4, and 5 hour stretches.  I stopped waking every 2 hours for a pee break.  Once a night is now enough.  (I’ve also noticed fewer “pee prompts” from my bladder during the day.)

For the past week, I’ve woken feeling rested, awake, aware, and ready to face another Wheat-Free day.

The number on the bathroom scale has dropped a couple of pounds ~ this morning I weighed less than at any time in the last 10 years.

Mickey-OKLong-standing neck pain has improved ~> after just one wheat-free week, my neck is pain-free for the first time in at least two decades!

Afternoon headaches spiraling up from my neck have also disappeared.

The “mental fog” is lifting.  When I sit down to a task, I do so with greater cognitive clarity.

My youthful “can do” and “do it now” attitude has returned after an extended hiatus, allowing me to get things done today (e.g., writing this post) rather than putting them off until tomorrow . . . or the day after tomorrow.

Mickey-SurferIn a nutshell, I feel more like the “old me” ~> younger, more enthusiastic, more motivated, more alive.

That said, it’s still “early innings.”  I’m not ready to swear off pizza for the rest of my life.  Yet.

But, if these changes become the new norm . . . giving up pizza would be a small price to pay.

Aah . . . that’s better!