I Am My Own Lab Rat

Intelligent, adaptable, enjoys dumpster diving, has a small nose and wiry hair...the similarities are uncanny.

In my quest for my own health and well-being over the years, I have used myself to experiment with different diets,  supplements, foods, and exercises.  Don’t worry, no one is mistreating me in these experiments.  In fact, most of these trials are fun and educational for me, and are helping me make sense of the incredible amount of sometimes contradictory nutritional information.

I’ve already done quite a bit of research.  For example, as a vegetarian, I felt often weak and without energy, and I even started dreaming about tired, hungry wolves.  The next day, I tore into a juicy hamburger and felt incredibly energized and powerful afterward.  On my version of the low-carb diet, higher protein diet, I felt more grounded, but my body also felt thicker.  I noticed that I was ravenous an hour after eating a small bowl of cut, fresh fruit for breakfast, but discovered that an egg atop a piece of gluten-free, brown rice bread at 7 a.m. sustained me until about 11.  After researching natural remedies for constipation, I began drinking 2 glasses of room temperature water in the morning upon waking, an hour before eating breakfast, which has helped keep me regular.  My doctor prescribed iron supplements to combat borderline anemia, but found that I got the same effect by adding foods with the necessary vitamins and minerals into my diet.

I read or heard about these different diets and health practices in books,  in class, from friends, doctors, on the internet, or on T.V. However, the only way I knew whether they worked for my body was only by experimenting on myself and noting carefully how I felt before, during, and after each trial.   I, then, discarded or added these practices or foods to my daily or weekly rituals based on my experience.

My inner-rat is still alive and kicking as I tweak my daily health regimen.  As I age–gracefully and stylishly, of course–I will continue to modify my nutrition and daily rituals to suit my body’s ever-changing needs.  Things I learn in my health coaching program, or interesting suggestions from books, articles, and speakers are constantly being filed away in my brain’s “To Try in The Near Future” box.  As long as I am realistic about my abilities and limitations, these experiments are fun, create new challenges and experiences, and prevent boredom with my usual health routine.

Do you have some nutritional or self-care experiments you want to try? Maybe it’s as simple as waking up earlier to sneak in 20 minutes of exercise before work?  Or maybe something as exotic as Thai massage, or as pampering as a lymphatic drainage massage?  Or maybe you’d like to try a non-artificial sweetener, or play in the kitchen with a new vegetable or grain?  Whatever you choose to do, have fun, and keep the following in mind:

  • Remember that your goal is always your  health and well-being.
  • Accept who and how you are at this moment.  Be aware of your current mental and physical limitations. Your body’s needs and tolerance level as a 20-year-old were most likely different from what they are now as a 30, 50, or 70-year-old.
  • Have a support system.  Inform your family and/or friends about your health experiment.  Ask for your doctor’s opinions, or talk to your holistic health coach.
  • Keep a list of things you want to try or have tried.  Note the effects on your body.
  • Always remember that  YOU and your intuition are the authorities when it comes to your body.  If something is feeling not-quite-right to you, listen to yourself.  No matter how many scientists, doctors, or nutritionists say something is good for you, YOU are the expert on how that activity, food, or supplement affects your body.

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Thanks, and have a Soulful Day!

Contact me at:

SoulfulLiving Health and Wellness

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Learning to be Imperfectly Perfect in the Kitchen

Since I started studying to be a Holistic Health Coach, I’ve been getting into the kitchen more.  For those who know me well, this is quite a feat.  Some women seeem to breeze through the kitchen, shake a few herbs into the pan, give it a few stirs, and, magically, it turns into a finger-lickin’ feast.

I am SOOOO not one of those women.

I stress.  I plan for days for a dinner for two, agonizing over ingredients that aren’t available, and working up a sweat if there are more than 5 ingredients.  In short, I’m a perfectionist at a discipline I KNOW I have never had the discipline to perfect.

To top that off, I am easily distracted.  Yesterday afternoon, I put a pot of lentils and a pot of adzuki beans to cook for some veggie burritos.  The direction said that lentils cook around 35 minutes, and the adzuki would need about 50.  Lotsa time, right?  I’m a modern woman who knows how to multitask, right? So,  I went back to the computer to continue working on developing and editing more projects.  Before I knew it, I heard popping in the kitchen.  The lentils had exploded, and the adzuki beans were sizzling at the bottom of the pot because the water had almost entirely evaporated.

Not so long ago–try, last month– I would have gotten angry with myself and thrown both the beans AND the pots away, and gone to take out my frustration on a plate of pad thai.  Who wants to dine on mushy lentils and scrub pans with burnt bean residue?  Instead, after I unleashed a stream of my favorite curse words, I took a deep breath and calmly dumped out the mushy lentils into the strainer, and added more water to the pot of adzuki beans.  There was no need to be my overly-dramatic, highly-reactive self. They’re only burritos; I’m not performing brain surgery.

Mixed in with the marinated onions, red peppers, celery, cabbage, chipotle powder, and sea salt, topped with some guacamole, and wrapped up all snug in some warmed brown rice tortillas, the overcooked lentils and slightly crunchy adzuki beans weren’t even noticed with all the veggie burrito goodness going on.   I made it work.  I turned lemons in to lemonade…or mushy lentils and undercooked beans into a lovely feast for two, imperfectly perfect humans.

Here’s the recipe for Imperfectly Perfect Veggie Burritos (Feeds 2 with leftovers for lunch the next day!

Equipment:

1 skillet or wok

1 timer with loud alarm, if you have problems with time management and are easily distracted like I am.

Ingredients:

2 flour or gluten-free (corn or brown rice) tortillas

Avocado or fresh guacamole

1 onion, sliced

2 cups total of any left-over veggies you can find in your fridge that you need to get rid of, cut or sliced anyway you want

1 cup total of your favorite bean and lentil

Sea salt

Black pepper

Your favorite spices (I like chipotle and onion powder.)

Balsamic vinegar

Extra virgin olive oil

Directions:

Prepare your beans and lentils according to the directions on the package (OR add 20 more minutes to cooking time for the lentils for that mushy je ne sais quoi, and make sure you undercook your beans to achieve that delightful crunchiness that one always expects when eating beans.)

Marinate all your veggies in some olive oil, balsamic vinegar, sea salt,  pepper, and preferred spices for 1-2 hours.  Adjust amount of marinade ingredients to your liking.

When beans and lentils are sufficiently cooked, take them off the heat and dump out all the water. Put them aside.

Add olive oil to your pan.  When it gets  hot, add your chopped garlic, if you have them.  Don’t let them get brown.

Add your sliced onion, along with a little bit of the olive oil and balsamic marinade. Cook until transparent.

Throw in the rest of your veggies and marinade with more spices to taste.  Cook until the colors become vibrant.  Keep the veggies slightly crunchy.  Don’t overcook them, or you’ll lose all the nutrients.

Add your beans y lentils in to warm them up for a few minutes.

Dump everything into a bowl.

In the same skillet or wok,  heat a little more olive oil.

Place a tortilla in the pan to heat up both sides, until it’s hot and pliable.

Serve the veggie, lentil, and bean mix on top of the tortilla.  Add guacamole or avocado, if you have it.  Roll up like a burrito, and enjoy!

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Thanks, and have a Soulful Day!

Contact me at:

SoulfulLiving Health and Wellness

Welcome to SoulSnacks, The Official Blog of Soulful Living Health and Wellness!

Wecome to SoulSnacks!  So glad you could stop by for a bit.

SoulfulLiving Health and Wellness emerged out of my own search for health and wellbeing after experiencing strange ailments and symptoms and being diagnosed with low-grade Hashimoto’s disease (hypothyroidism).  To read more about my journey toward wellbeing, please click on “About Me”.  You may find that we have some things in common!

SoulSnacks was conceived as a supplement to the monthly newsletters subscribers and clients of Soulful Living’s services receive.  SoulSnacks is a weblog that will include links to different published articles on health and wellness, book reviews, my culinary experiments, recipies, and other articles about living well and fully.

So, welcome, and have a SoulSnack!

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Or send me an e-mail at:

soulfullivinghealthandwellness@gmail.com