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Wellness Series: Let’s Get Physical: Eating Well

In my last blog post, I introduced the seven aspects of wellness… a well-balanced person will care for their physical, emotional. spiritual, social, occupational, environmental, and intellectual needs.  This week, I’m going to begin to tackle physical wellness.

What constitutes physical well-being?  If we are able to create healthy habits that allow us to have a healthy diet, quality sleep, and regular exercise, and avoid unhealthy amounts of things like sugar and alcohol, chances are pretty good we achieve physical wellness,  and can function without feeling fatigued or experiencing a high level of physical stress in our activities.

But how do you get there?  It can be daunting, trying to change habits.  That is why I always suggest to folks to chance one thing at a time.  Let’s talk about healthy eating.

I’ve been a vegetarian most of my life.  I grew up in a meat-eating household, and at the tender age of 14, decided I was done eating red meat.  I had to learn how to cook, because as my mother said”I’m not a short-order cook.  If you don;t want to eat what I cook, you’re going to have to learn how to cook for yourself.”  I bought a couple of cookbooks, made some really bad meals at the beginning, but over time, I started making better meals that my dad even wanted to try.

By the time I was 21, all meat, including fish, was gone from my diet.  I now go in and out of veganism…which means no dairy or eggs, either. I do this because dairy is my gateway drug…if I start eating cheese, then along with it comes crackers, chips, a lot of eggs (think omelets for breakfast every morning), and all of a sudden I’m 20 pounds heavier.  And so, I do my best to eat dairy in moderation, and if it gets out of control, it’s not in my refrigerator.

A lot of my clients ask me about my diet on a regular basis.  I’ve had clients say they wished they could see into my kitchen, to find out what I cook.     Newsflash:  While I like salad, I eat so much more than that, which is what many folks used to think when they heard I was a vegetarian.    When I do salads, they generally have beans or nuts in them to add protein.   I will chop veggies to make enough salad to get me through several days, and bring it to work for lunch.  

 

When I prepare meals, I try to make enough to give me leftovers for a few other meals,  That way, when I get home from work and feel too tired to cook, I’m not eating tortilla chips and dip for dinner.   Instead, I have something yummy, like a tasty vegetable and bean soup, curried tofu and vegetables, or beans, rice, and greens.

    

 

 

 

 

If I have a super busy week, on Sunday, I will do massive food prep….chop lots of veggies, cook a few meals, package up stuff for lunches and snacks at work, so I can just grab something out of the fridge in the morning, pop it in my bag, and head out the door.  My lunches and snacks usually consist of fresh veggie salads, a rice salad like the one pictured below, apple slices and nut butter, veggie sticks and hummus, and other things that can easily be eaten between clients.  

 

What about breakfast? In the winters, I like a hot breakfast.  While some mornings I like to eat oatmeal with fruit and nuts,  I tend to make something on Sunday that I can heat up a few mornings a week.   As a huge fan of vegetables, these breakfasts tend to be veg-heavy.

 

 

 

 

 

Eating a lot of vegetables fills me up, so that I tend to not want to eat as much junk.

I’d like to encourage you to consider doing some meal prep on Sunday for the week’s lunches that incorporated lots of vegetables, healthy fats, and lean proteins.

 

The Holiday Season is Quickly Approaching…

The Holiday Season is quickly approaching, and the massage elves are busy getting ready with something extra special this year!  They’ve been scurrying around Raleigh, NC  in order to provide local,hand-made, local  items to give you a new option this year!

Metamorphic Massage For Women offers gift baskets in additional to traditional gift certificates.  You’ll find a vast array of handmade items for relaxation and stress management. These locally-made items support small women-owned cottage businesses in the Raleigh area.

Gift baskets are available for purchase separately, as well as in combination with the purchase of a massage gift certificate.  They’re a great way to give her a unique gift that will allow her to stretch the benefits of the massage session.

 

 

 

Small Business Saturday

Support the little people!

The Saturday following Thanksgiving is known as Small Business Saturday.

Small, local businesses often get overlooked during the holiday season, because they don’t have the advertising budget of the big chains.  Do your best to support your friendly neighborhood businesses!

Do all your holiday shopping locally and help support an independent business owner!

Family Fun…Hoop Jam…Drumming and Hula Hooping!

Every Wednesday night from 6:30-8:30, from the beginning of April until it gets really cold in the fall, Hoop Jam happens at Pullen Park in Raleigh.  It truly is fun for the whole family!

If you don’t have one, there are extra hula hoops available, and people willing to show you how to use one.  There’s some great drumming, with extra drums and other hand percussion toys if you want to get into the groove and be part of the rhythm.

Often, there’s even a man with a giant bubble-making wand to delight for children and adults alike!

Even better…the event is FREE!!!!

Enter Pullen Park at the Ashe Avenue entrance.  Hoop Jam is located at the event stage, near the carousel.  For more information, check out the Raleigh Drum Circle on facebook.  https://www.facebook.com/RaleighDrumCircle.

The Benefits of Regular Massage

There’s no denying the power of bodywork. Whether we look at it as pampering, rejuvenating, or therapeutic, massage can be a powerful addition to your healthcare regime.

Experts estimate that over ninety percent of disease is stress related. And perhaps nothing ages us faster, internally and externally, than high stress. While eliminating anxiety and pressure altogether in this fast-paced world may be idealistic, massage can, without a doubt, help manage stress.

 
Getting a massage can do you a world of good. And getting massage frequently can do even more. This is the beauty of bodywork. Taking part in this form of regularly scheduled self-care can play a huge part in how healthy you’ll be and how youthful you’ll remain with each passing year. Budgeting time and money for bodywork at consistent intervals is truly an investment in your health.

Here are some of the ways you can benefit from regular massage:

  • Relaxes muscles and helps ease stress and tension.
  • Relax and soften injured, tired, and overused muscles.
  • Tones the body keeping it supple by exercising and stretching weak, tight, or atrophied muscles.
  • Helps flush out wastes from the body.
  • Stimulates and tones the skin.
  • Increases energy and vitality.
  • Reduces fatigue and improves sleep.
  • Decreases inflammation, swelling and pain in joints, & increases joint flexibility.
  • Decreases anxiety and depression.
  • Reduces chronic pain, including migraine pain.
  • Contributes to healthy Blood Pressure levels.
  • Enhancse immunity by stimulating lymph flow—the body’s natural defense system.
  • Pumps oxygen and nutrients into tissues and vital organs, improving circulation.
  • Reduce spasms and cramping.
  • Release endorphins, which act as natural pain regulators, increase feelings of euphoria, and regulates appetite.
  • Improves concentration.
  • Makes you feel good!

Remember:  just because massage feels like a pampering treat doesn’t mean it is any less therapeutic. Consider massage appointments a necessary piece of your health and wellness plan, and work with your practitioner to establish a treatment schedule that best meets your needs.

Stress Management Tip of The Week ~~ Focused Muscle Relaxation

When I am feeling stressed, I notice how tension builds up in my muscles.  Over the years, one of the best methods I have found to reduce this stress (besides getting a massage) is through Focused Muscle Relaxation.

Beginning at your feet, tense up your muscle groups one at a time, holding them tight for 10 seconds, and then releasing for 20 seconds.  Tense up and relax your feet, then your calves, thighs, buttocks, back, stomach, hands, arms, shoulders, neck, and end your face.  Remember to breathe deeply while you are doing this exercise.  This progression will only take about five minutes, and should leave you feeling relaxed and at peace.

Its also a great technique to practice if you are having a hard time falling asleep at night. 

Sleep, Glorious Sleep….

Sleep…it sometimes feels like we never get enough of it.  There always seems to be something that needs to get done that keeps us up just a little bit later than we intended, or a show on television that we just have to watch that keeps us up past midnight.  When the alarm clock goes off at 6:30 a.m., we drag ourselves out of bed and into the kitchen for that jolt of caffeine that we are sure will give us the energy we need to make it through the morning.

Lack of sleep takes its toll on our bodies in more ways than we imagine.   Studies have shown that lack of sleep contributes to cancer, heart disease, obesity, and a weakened immune system.  Not to mention the fact that it makes us less alert during the day, and contributes to a higher level of grumpiness.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, Adults need 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night.  Does that seem unrealistic to you?  Stop and think about how you feel when you get a full, good night’s sleep.  You awaken with more energy, in a better mood, and feel you can conquer the world, or at least that huge pile of work on your desk or those heaps of laundry gathering in the laundry room.

Why can’t you get a full night’s sleep?  Stimulation in the latter part of the evening can make it harder to fall asleep.   Avoid watching television or using your computer an hour before your planned bedtime.  Yes, watching the Late Night show while in bed can make it so it takes longer to fall asleep once you shut the tv off.  And while regular exercise does contribute to better sleeping patterns, it is best left for the earlier parts of your day…in other words, don’t exercise within 3 hours of going to sleep.  This also includes avoiding things like household tasks such as vacuuming and spending 1/2 an hour picking up dirty clothes and toys off the floor.

So what can you do to ensure abetter night’s sleep?  Perhaps grandma was right when she suggested drinking a glass of warm milk before bed…Ayurvedic texts suggest that this ritual promotes a sense of well-being in your body, helping you to relax and fall asleep easier.  Other activities that can help relax you, such as taking a hot bath, reading a chapter of a good book, deep breathing exercises, or dimming the lights and having some lovin’ time with your mate are all great ways to help encourage sleep. 

You can also try using some essential oils to help relax your body and mind to insure sleep.  Just one drop of lavender or jasmine on a tissue, or the corner of your pillow case can contribute to a deeper, more relaxing sleep.  Just don’t overdo it with these oils, as too much of the scent can be stimulating.  Less is more when it comes to using essential oils as sleep aids. 

Do something good for your health, and get a good night’s sleep every night!

 

 

 

Vegetarian Recipe~~ Split Pea Soup

It is COLD outside!!!! What better time to make a nice big pot of soup.  One of my favorite winter-time soups is Split Pea Soup.  It is hearty, warming, inexpensive, and very tasty.  Most recipes have ham, sausage, or some other icky pig parts in it.  (The vegetarian in me speaks out here)

Here is a very yummy vegetarian version of pea soup.  Start it about 6 hours before you want to eat.

In a large soup pot, bring to an-almost-boil, and then turn down to the lowest possible setting, skimming off any foam that may have formed, simmering for 3-1/2 hours:

  • 3 cups dry split peas
  • 8 cups water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons salt

At the 3-1/2 hour mark, in a separate pot on medium heat, place 2 tablespoons of oil, and add, in this order:

  • 2 descent-sized onions, minced
  • 4 cloves chopped garlic
  • 4 large stocks celery, diced
  • 6 large carrots, diced
  • 2 large potatoes, quartered and sliced thinly (I like red potatoes, scrubbed, with the skins on)

After the onions begin to soften, add 1/2 cup water, cover, and simmer until all vegetables are tender (about 20 minutes), then add to the pot of peas.  Continue to simmer for another hour.

 About 15 minutes before serving, add:

  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground thyme

***This soup will thicken when it refridgerated, so if you have leftovers, add a little water to the pot when you reheat it to desired consistency.

 

Body Scrubs

Our skin takes a lot of abuse, with exposure to the sun and wind, toxins in the air and the products we use, perhaps use of tanning beds, and improper water intake. Dry skin can make us feel years older than we are.  A Body Polish helps slough off dry, dead skin cells, and leaves your skin feeling softer, healthier, and much younger.  It also helps to improve circulation.

Remember—your skin is the largest organ of your body, and is the first defense system in staying healthy. Take care of yourself in every way possible.

Product Recommendation ~~ Apple Peeler

I am not a fancy kitchen gadget person.  I like to cook the old-fashioned way.  I chop all my vegetables with a knife, mix a lot by hand, I even have a manual can opener.  The fanciest thing I have in my kitchen at home is a food processor, which I finally broke down and purchased after I burned out my blender while making huge amounts of pesto with an overabundance of basil from my garden last summer.

But, I have to admit, I am having a blast in my sister’s kitchen while I am visiting her.  She is the kitchen-gadget queen.  I just made an apple pie with one of her tools, an apple peeler, also known as the  Back To Basics Apple and Potato Peeler.  It was the most fun I’ve ever had (Okay, maybe that is a slight exaggeration).  I think I could even make a few art-projects with it.  It not only peels and cores the apple, it also turns it into an accordian (without the music, of course).

It made a project that would normally take nearly an hour, what with all the peeling and slicing of the apples, take about 15 minutes.  I’d probably make pie every day if I had one of these things at home.

So if you like apple pie, but don’t make it as often as you would like to because peeling the apples takes so long, get one of these things.  It makes the process so simple, you can make pies for everyone you know and still have time left over in your day.

If nothing else, it can entertain the children…