Tag Archives: health

reclaiming health where to start

Welcome! Today is the first installment of a 5 part series entitled "Reclaiming Your Health: Where To Start."  Besides my own journey, I find myself in the path of so many others who are suffering from chronic illness or pain. It is a frustrating road and at times can feel so isolating but there is a wide community of people who are making their way through illness, learning together, supporting each other.  I want to welcome you to that community and encourage you to keep seeking wisdom.  Don't give up, help will find you!

Let's journey on together, shall we?

1deepbreathin

 Reclaiming Your Health: 1- Deep Breath In, Let It Out Slowly

Some of you will find this first step incredibly freeing.  Calming.  Peace in the storm.  Others of you are secretly yelling at me, "I want answers now!"  I've been on both sides of that coin.  I've been on the side that wants to curl up in fetal position with my blankie and have someone tell me that everything is going to be ok.  I've also been on the side that is angry, sick & tired of being sick & tired and just wants the magic pill or magic blood test that will finally fix everything.

Either way, you need to stop and take a deep breath.

If you can I would like you to physically do this, but at the very least, in your imagination I want to you to close your eyes, take a deep breath in through your nose and then let it out slowly through your mouth.  Do it a few times.  Let your shoulders relax, rest your heart and your mind.  Feel the hope and encouragement sink into your soul like a healing balm.

This journey is not a sprint.  I wouldn't really call it a marathon either, although it can feel that way, for sure.  It's more like a wandering, maze of an adventure that you didn't sign up for but are now trying to find a way out of.  At times it's a walk down a well laid path with lots of water and food along the way to refresh you.  Other times its a hike through the wilderness where water is scarce and you are a little scared you might not make it over the next hill.  At times the way to go will be clear and other times you will feel a little lost.

You've been through so much already, it's ok to recognize that.  It's important to recognize it.  Some of you need to give yourself permission to have a good cry over the unfairness of it all.  You were used to "doing it all" and now you're reduced to doing the bare minimum.  You may have to learn a new "normal."  Your old life is just that, old.  Wave goodbye to it as you set out on this new journey.  Blow it some kisses and say thank you for the years it got you through.  Then embrace the new season that you are in today.  It may not be what you had planned, but I promise it can teach you so many wonderful things and bring so many amazing people your way.

Attention perfectionists and control freaks: let it go. You will not be able to control this journey.  If you could, you would have healed yourself by now.  Your dedicated, persistent nature will serve you well on this long journey, but now you need to adopt patience and the ability to accept the things you cannot change. You might get off course and that's ok.  When you're ready, just get back on the trail. If you find yourself up against a road block, instead of fighting it stop and reflect what you can learn from it.  Take it as a signal to stop and rest.  Refuel.  Deep breath in, deep breath out.

Make a pact with yourself right now that you will pace yourself on this journey.  There will be times of fast and furious learning, researching, testing and seeking.  But there will also be times of rest, healing, listening and community. They are both important but our tendency is to want to push, push, push towards the goal.  That's a shortcut to disaster.  Your body will give you cues when it's time to trudge forward in search of the answers.  It will also alert you to when you need to rest and it will not be put off.  Rest is not weakness.

Rest is not weakness.

Lastly, I want to caution you from going into a deprivation mindset.  You will be making some changes along the way: dietary, medical, relationship-wise, etc.  You may have to stop eating things you enjoy in order to give your body a chance to heal.  Or maybe you will have to limit your social calendar to allow for quiet rest at home.  Instead of focusing on these as deprivations, see them as opportunities to thrive in other ways.  Just because you are sick or in pain does not mean that you can't still have a full life.  A life that is full of joy.  A life that thrives in the wilderness just like an oasis in the desert.

Seek out the things that bring restoration, hope and love into your life.  Open your heart up to new ways to grow.  When you set your mind towards an attitude thriving, you might be amazed at the adventures you can have.  You might still be sick or in pain, but that doesn't mean you can't still find beauty all around you.  That beauty will refresh you.  Drink it in and thrive.

Are you ready?  Deep breath in...


Thanks so much for stopping by and following with me on this series.  Part 2 will be available soon!  Oh, and if you know someone who is suffering with chronic illness that needs some encouragement, please share this series with them.

1deepbreathin

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carrot potatoes

Today is Day 13 of 31 Days of Surviving Chronic Illness.  You can read Day 1 here.

For the last few days we have been talking about nutrition and feeding our bodies healing foods. For some of you this is a welcome challenge or a return to the healthy lifestyle you used to have.  The rest of you are having a panic attack.  You can't cook, you don't know anything about nutrition, you don't have time.

Don't freak out, you can do this.

I'm not proposing that you immediately clear out your fridge and pantry of all suspicious foods, run out to Whole Foods and restock it all with seaweed chips and mushroom burgers.   What you need to do is start small.  Just one little lifestyle change at a time. Start reading the labels of the foods already in your pantry; if you come across an ingredient you don't recognize, look it up.  Next time you run out of Cool Ranch Doritos, don't replace them. Add a fresh salad to your weekly meals.

Salad are a great way to start adding fresh vitamins and minerals into your diet, no cooking involved.  Every grocery store in America now carries pre-chopped and washed lettuces. Pick up an extra veggie for your salad, something colorful like yellow bell peppers. Toss in some cherry tomatoes, add your favorite dressing or just a drizzle of olive oil and squeeze of lemon juice.  You, my friend, are now eating your colors.

As for cooking, it can be intimidating but I assure you, there are shortcuts. Once you get a "method" under your belt, it can be the springboard to lots of quick, easy and nutritious meals.  I'm going to share with you one of my all time favorite methods for cooking a pile of veggies quickly and most deliciously.

All you need to remember is this: 425 for 25

Here is the general method: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. cut up some veggies (I'll explain that further below) and drizzle them with some olive oil. Sprinkle in salt and pepper then toss it all together with you hands.  Spread the veggies in one even layer and roast in the oven for approximately 25 minutes.

Now, let's apply this method to a real recipe, roasted carrots and red potatoes.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Take 2 handfuls of baby carrots (the ones in the bag) and place them on a rimmed baking sheet. Take about 7 small red potatoes and cut them into quarters, place them with the carrots.  Drizzle the veggies with 2 tablespoon of olive oil then sprinkle with 2 teaspoons of kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper.  Using your hands, toss the carrots and potatoes lightly to evenly coat them all with oil then spread out in 1 layer in the pan.  Roast in the oven for 25 minutes, or until the potatoes are just lightly browned.

The beauty of this method is that you can use it for so many vegetables: carrots, potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, parsnips, Brussels sprouts, mushrooms, asparagus, squash, onions and more.  Just adjust the cooking time as needed, up or down.  I like my veggies tinged with crispiness on the edges (blackened, actually) so I usually cook them for 35-45 minutes.  But feel free to cook them less if you like them more firm or only lightly toasted. I will roast 1 whole pan of vegetables on Sunday night and end up with about 3 days worth of delicious vegetables for lunch or dinner. All I have to do is warm them back up.

You can experiment with seasonings, too. Along with the salt & pepper you can add Italian seasoning, chile powder, herbs de Provence, lemon pepper, grill seasoning, etc.

Don't let "heath food" scare you, it's not rocket science.  Just start exploring the delicious possibilities.