Pleasant Surprises Happen

Life brings pleasant surprises when we least expect them. All we have to do, is be open to seeing them. Practice being open to pleasant surprises happening for you!  

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Sleep Sound Like a Baby

Baby gorilla having a sleep on his mother

Consistently getting a good night of sleep is one of the best things to do for healthy digestion, and everything else too. For some of us this is one of those things that’s easier said than done.

It’s fairly common for digestive concerns to coincide with stressful life events, significant changes or losses, or challenges at work, school, or home.  These experiences make for extra things to do and think about, and that can mean losing valuable sleep. If you’ve noticed a negative loop happening where stress of the day moves into the night, and stress of the night adds more stress to the day, and your body is sending SOS signals, then it’s time to consider your options for a better night of sleep.

Close the Kitchen
Finish eating, including snacks, 3 hours before bedtime. That gives your body time to digest before you go to sleep, otherwise when you’re trying to sleep, your body may be busy working. Synchronize with your digestive system for a good night of sleep, think Team Work!

Consider a Bedtime Routine
If a bedtime routine can settle kids with a lot of energy, it might do the trick for you too. Think of quiet things that relax you… music, meditation, a good book, a bath, stretching, or a combination of your favorite quiet activities. Be creative… color, draw, read a comic book, or sing quiet songs you love.

Light Candles
Turn off the lights, and while you’re at it, all the buzzing electronics in your home. Then light a candle or two or three. I love this one, it’s like going on vacation in the mountains.

Express Gratitude
Make a list of everything you’re grateful for in life, and for life itself.

Surrender your worries and efforts to figure things out. This is one of my favorites. I say something like, “I don’t know the answer, I need an answer, even just a next step. I’m listening.” I usually write it down, and in the morning often get an answer… at least a next step.

Pray for the good of everything and everyone. Imagine the good.

If you tend to nod off as soon as your head hits the pillow, enjoy, but if you need a little down time to switch gears before you can fall sound asleep, then consider your options…. like this little gorilla!

I’d say more, but I’ve got to get to sleep now!

Sweet dreams!

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Fresh and Ready When You Are

Fresh & Ready, medium green text - JPEGHave you ever bought fresh organic vegetables thinking they’d last a few days in the fridge, only to find they wilted over night? I have, and here’s what I’ve learned to do about it…

  1. Put the fresh veggies in an airtight container.
  2. Fill the container halfway with water.
  3. Place the container of vegetables in the refrigerator.

Your vegetables will stay fresh over night and throughout the next day. Maybe even two days. I pushed that limit once, and my veggies were good 36 hours after I set them in the fridge!

If you have the time, wash and slice your veggies before you tuck them into that container, that way they’ll be Fresh and Ready When You Are!

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Springtime in the Kitchen!

Simple Spring Trio - JPEGIf eating healthy is on your list of things to do, then I’ve got some vegetable dishes to share with you! This one is a Simple Spring Trio.

Spring is my favorite time of year, and I love to prepare vegetable dishes that bring spring colors right into my kitchen! This is an easy recipe for a snack, side dish, or the main part of your meal.  All it takes is 3 ingredients:

Yellow Squash

3 Simple Steps

1. Wash then slice the vegetables into whatever shape you like.

2. Place the vegetables into a pot, with enough water to cover the bottom of your pot, at least 1/4″, or more if you’d like to have a broth when it’s done.

3. Bring the water to a boil, then turn the heat down to medium-low and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Adjust the cooking time to suit your palate and digestion.

That’s it! Simple! You can add a small dollop of ghee, a smidge of sea salt, your favorite herb, or simply enjoy the fresh taste of your Spring Trio just the way it is!

Bon Appétit!

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Stress and The Cumulative Effect

Stress & The Cumulative Effect - Ollie MurphyDo you ever feel out of sorts and wonder how your got off track? If you can’t pinpoint any one thing that threw your system off, it might be your body is reacting to The Cumulative Effect.

Falling behind on basic self-care, such as eating healthy, getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, and staying hydrated, can lead to what Dhiren Patel, Ayurvedic MD calls, “The Cumulative Effect.” You won’t necessarily feel the effects of one off-night of sleep, a serving of your favorite probably-shouldn’t-eat-that food, or a couple of days off from exercise, but in combination you might notice a reaction. The body is most likely to speak up when these minor infractions become the rule rather than the exception in your routine. That’s when you may find yourself dealing with The Cumulative Effect.

Stress is often an underlying factor
Hopefully you’ve just been out having fun too many nights in a row, but often stress isn’t anything we choose. When a loved one needs extra care or attention, for example, or the car breaks down, we may have to set routine priorities aside to deal with immediate concerns. Hopefully, once again, the situation is remedied easily, but sometimes life presents longer lasting challenges that require adjustments. That’s when falling behind in self-care essentials is most common, and most likely to leave you feeling out of sorts.

It happens.

Last year I went through a challenging time as my mom made her way toward the great transition. She passed on as the year closed. I’m grateful for the time I could be with her, and grateful I was able to take care of myself enough too… well, almost. Life was definitely upside down, and my body let me know clearly, that to maintain my stamina, I had to take care of myself. Nothing perfect mind you. Here are a few things I did to take care, pretty consistently…

  1. I took long walks, in nature whenever possible. These quiet strolls were my saving grace.
  2. I cooked a lot of warm comforting pots of chicken soup, full of vegetables of course; ordered Chinese take-out for more meals full of vegetables; and made frequent trips to my favorite organic markets for fresh fruits, vegetables, and already prepared meals.
  3. I carried my ocean blue PBA-free water bottle, and my tall travel teacup, with me everywhere.
  4. As for sleep… I’m still catching up with that!

It’s a process. Everything we do and go through in life, is a process.

If you haven’t been feeling your best, and basic self-care has taken a back seat to other priorities in your life, it’s understandable. Just notice, be aware of the cumulative effect, and do the best you can.

Day by day, our choices make a difference.

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Take a Moment to Breathe

Breathe in Serenity - JPEGTake a moment to notice your breathing.

Notice that life is breathing you.

Feel the breath of life flowing into your body.

Let it, welcome it, receive this gift of life.

Now let it go, releasing that breath in gratitude for this moment, and welcome another.

Breathe in Serenity.

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Know Your Best Food Temperature Range

Let's Go Play in it!To ease your digestion, and those pesky uncomfortable energy draining symptoms, get to know your best food temperature range!

Have you noticed a difference in how you feel after a warm home cooked meal, versus a grab-it-quick snack from the refrigerated section of the market? Oh wait, that’s me… I notice a difference! My best range is between room temperature and very warm. Not burning hot, and not cold, especially in the winter months.

Notice how you feel
Meals and snacks from the refrigerated and prepackaged food sections of the market are convenient, but notice how you feel after you eat them. Notice how you feel if you have cold leftovers or drinks from your own fridge. If you eat raw vegetables, notice if there’s a difference between eating them cold versus at room temperature or slightly warmed up in a pot.

Notice when foods are particularly hot also. Piping hot food, including soup and tea, can irritate the lining of the mouth. Just notice the temperature of your food, and how you feel after you eat.

If food temperature is important to your digestive system, then bring your Tender Loving Care to food choices and meal prep, and you’ll soon see a difference!

Adjusting the temperature
If your best food temp is in the moderate range, of course cooking will make the difference. But if you don’t want to cook everything, or you tend to grab a cold bite in a hurry sometimes, then the temperature challenge may arise. Adjusting the temperature of your food can be easy. Here are a few simple things I do to keep meals and snacks just right!

1. Add a little hot water
When I buy a green juice at the local juice bar, where all the vegetables are fresh from the fridge, I take it home and add a little hot water before indulging. Yes, I take a couple of sips cold on the way, but that’s it. Then I warm it up to room temperature and enjoy. Works like a charm.

In the morning, if I have a protein shake with cold almond milk and frozen blueberries, I add hot water to warm it up, mm.

With leftover fruit from the fridge, I place the fruit in a cup and pour hot water over it. The fruit warms up in a minute, and the water takes on the taste of the fruit, like a fruity tea! This morning I had leftover papaya and papaya tea. Yum!

2. Warm it up in a pot
Recently I went to my favorite sushi bar for a couple of vegetable rolls and, since I was paying attention to food temperature, noticed the rolls were refrigerator cold! Turns out sushi chefs are required to maintain the bar food at 41°F, even the rice. Burr! Something must have changed, because I don’t recall the rice ever being cold before. Maybe I just didn’t notice. Anyway, I asked for a container and brought my yummy snack home for a bit of warming up in a pot. It took a minute, and voila… no problem!

3. Adjust to the season
Temperature sensitivity may vary with the seasons. For example, warmer foods may digest best during the colder months, even if this is not an issue other times of the year. Notice if your favorite season mirrors your food temperature preference!

If you tend to be temperature sensitive, a few minor adjustments can make a big difference. See what temperature range feels best, and experiment with ways to make meals and snacks just right for you!

Day by day, our choices make a difference.

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Are You Tired? Don’t Snack, Rest!

Rest for CalmAndSense.meWhen you’re hungry, eat.

When you’re thirsty, drink.

And when you’re tired, rest to restore yourself.

That list of Things To Do will get done faster and more efficiently if you are rested and feeling healthy. If you’re tired, taking a break is the next best thing to do!

If you’re tired from a late night, an early morning, or over doing it in general, then instead of reaching for your favorite snack to keep you going… those sugar or caffeine laden energy boosters, or anything else you aren’t nutritionally in need of, step back for some basic TLC.

Whether you need 20 minutes of shut-eye, a walk in the sunshine, or a good laugh with a friend, taking care of your physical well-being will make a difference overall. To regroup, give yourself a moment to consider what you need. Take another moment to imagine how you might meet that need. Be creative, be flexible. If you need a 2 week vacation,  go if you can, but at least take a few hours to do something vacation-like. Whatever you do, don’t snack on useless food and drinks that will challenge your digestion and deplete your vitality. Missing out on an opportunity for self-care will only perpetuate the digestive blues and leave you feeling tired again tomorrow.

Do you need permission to take care? You have my permission! I know you’ll be your best after a little rest. I know you’ll be sharper and your mood will be brighter if you take a break when you need one.

Move in the direction of relaxation best you can. As you respond to your body’s need for rest, your body will respond in kind with more vitality and digestive ease. And remember, if it’s good for your health, then it’s good for everything you do and every relationship you have! Rest and restore. You’ll be glad you did!

Day by day, our choices make a difference.

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Be Patience, Wait Until Your Fruit is Ripe!

English: Fruit stall in a market in Barcelona,...

English: Fruit stall in a market in Barcelona, Spain. Français : Étal de fruits dans un marché à Barcelone (Espagne). Deutsch: Obststand auf einem Markt in Barcelona, Spanien. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

To ease your digestion, and those pesky uncomfortable energy draining symptoms, practice patience when you’re hungry. Wait until your fruit is ripe!

Eating fruit in the morning or for a snack is a great idea, unless that banana you peel isn’t quite ripe, the pear you slice into isn’t “like butter,” or the berries are super tart. Then those potentially yummy treats can turn a sensitive digestive tract on it’s heels, saying, “I don’t think so!”

Instead of wondering why you can’t eat unripe fruit, say “Thank You!” to your very intelligent digestive system, because fruit is meant to eat when it is ripe!

If you’re not sure how some fruits should look, feel, smell, or taste when they’re ripe, ask a produce specialist at your market. You are likely to get all the answers you need, and if the fruit is in season, you may be offered a sample to taste!

Having fruit ready when you are can take some planning and practice, so be patient with the process. And don’t feel too badly about tossing a few mis-takes out along the way. It’s part of the learning curve, and way less expensive than feeling bad for hours, buying over-the-counter remedies, or worse yet, ending up at the doctor’s office for salvation.

A reaction to unripe fruit is not really a problem, it’s just your digestive system telling you what makes good sense. The best remedy is simple, be patience, and wait until your fruit is ripe before you eat it. It will be easier to digest, and taste delicious too!

Day by day, our choices make a difference.  

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Eat Less, More Often!

Metronome 3

Metronome 3 (Photo credit: nigel_appleton)

To ease your digestion, and those pesky uncomfortable energy draining symptoms, pace your intake. Eat less, more often!

Instead of the usual 3 big meals a day, enjoy 6 half-size meals instead! If you’re a snacker, you’ll love doing this!

It’s easy: Prepare your meal as you normally would, and place half the serving in a storage container for later. If you make enough for a few meals, you’ll be set for the day!

Keep a selection of small containers (Pyrex, BPA free plastic, and hot food) handy to suit your needs, and give it a try.  As you pace your meals with a rhythm that supports your body’s digestive tempo, your symptoms may diminish or magically disappear!

Day by day, our choices make a difference. 

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