I’m Not Dead Yet

Soooo.

It’s been a week since I last posted, which, considering that I love y’all, is rather unlike me. I’ve been on the fence about whether or not to write about my continued medical misadventures — will they think it’s TMI? Will they hate me forever for talking about this stuff? Oh gaaaawwwwd! — but I figure that honesty is the best policy, so here goes nuthin’.

You may recall my earlier references to some epic, heinous lady troubles, as well as my (hopefully incorrect) potential diagnosis of premature ovarian failure. It turns out that my innards are having a veritable par-tay, as I also have a uterine fibroid that feels like it’s the size of Wisconsin. It may have torn into a blood vessel, which is why things have been very, very gnarly on the lady-troubles front.

At least once a day, if not more, I get a wave of cramps and, shall we say, “associated events” (now that’s a polite euphemism if I’ve ever used one) that leave me like this:

 

All this nonsense comes and goes, so sometimes I’m all kinds of happy to be pain-free, productive, and normal!

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And then suddenly this happens:

 

All this means that I have to fit in normal life — cooking, talking with Brandon, calling my parents to let them know I’m not dead, and y’know, the wee task known as my job — during the windows of time when I’m actually a functional human being.

This, as you can imagine, hasn’t left much time for blogging. (Or, um, anything outside the bare necessities of life.)

So, that’s the bad news.

The good news is that I’m getting surgery a week from today to remove the offending fibroid. Exactly one week from now, I’ll be on the road to recovery — a road which, I’m told, is actually fairly short and sweet. Two weeks from now, I’ll hopefully be back in my routine of working out (a no-no for now, since it really aggravates things), blogging, and general normalcy.

And, speaking of general normalcy, I’ve never wished for my normal routine more than I do now. There’s nothing like even a relatively minor wrench being thrown into your life to make you crave normalcy and routine. I miss the gym, I miss yoga, and I miss being able to do my usual schtick.

So, hopefully, I’ll be back to my old self soon enough. Until then, I’ll probably be posting more sporadically than usual, but I promise that I’m not dead and that I’ll start posting more regularly once the surgery is over. In the meantime, maybe I’ll try the Black Knight’s approach:

 

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WIAW: When Horoscopes Fail

Confession: I enjoy reading horoscopes. I take them with a huuuuuuuuuuge grain of salt (ok, more like a block of salt), but they’re right up there with the People Magazine crossword puzzle on the list of “Generally Insipid Things That I Find Really Entertaining.”

It’s a good thing I take them with a huge grain of salt, because they’re often totally off base. To wit, here’s today’s Aquarius horoscope from Elle Magazine:

Fairy-tale romances might not be your schtick, but don’t dismiss them altogether O’ Cynical One. Today’s auspicious alignment between the sun and Jupiter could deliver a dashing soul on a modern-day version of the white steed. This cosmic duo gives you an extra serving from the cup of courage. If your heart’s been beating a little quicker when a certain someone is near, this is the day to nudge the attraction to the next obvious level. Ooh la la!

Um. Since I’m married and all, this makes me extra, super-duper inclined to be O’ Cynical One (well ok, O’ Skeptical One is more accurate, but whatevs). I will, however, slather gratuitous hugs on my unassuming husband. The poor dude will probably think I was possessed by an overly exuberant puppy.

Or, as another case in point, today’s Aquarius reading from the Washington Post:

Right now, whatever you’ve got up your sleeve should stay there — party plans, juicy gossip, insider information, whatever. Avoid over-sharing at all costs, when it comes to your ideas, plans and hopes — especially in front of people you don’t know very well. Mum is the word for you today, so keep your mouth shut and just let everyone else around you assume whatever they want to assume. Become a person-of-mystery and you will succeed in creating quite a buzz around yourself!

Ok, so here’s the thing about me: I never hear about gossip or insider information. I’m incapable of having anything up my sleeve, because I don’t gain access to anything that might be sleeve-worthy. Secondly, the last time I wanted to be a woman of mystery was, like, circa 1990. I’ve since learned that I’m one of the least mysterious people on the planet — Lillian’s the name, embarrassing levels of transparency are the game — so, I can’t think of anything short of having to join the Witness Protection Program that would compel me to become a woman of mystery.

Horoscopes, you fail.

You know what doesn’t fail, though? Food. And, more specifically, the foodie cyber-potluck of What I Ate Wednesday, hosted by the lovely Jenn over at Peas & Crayons, which is incredibly reliable.

Peas and Crayons

And I, friends, am a big fan of reliability. 🙂

So, without further ado, I’d like to introduce some of my meals and snacks from the past week. (They’d like the record to reflect that they also don’t like lame horoscopes.)

 

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Aaaaaand, there you have it. So, tell me…

Do you ever read your horoscope?

What’s on your list of generally insipid things that you actually find really entertaining?
(Please tell me I’m not the only one who has one of these?)

What was your favorite meal from the last week?

I Am My Own Lab Rat

Back in my undergrad days, we ran all our psychology experiments on lab rats.

Our lab rats were ugly bastards: ginormous, mangy, and sporting beady red eyes, they also had a tendency to bite. (However, one rat redeemed himself when he bit one of the meanest, almost-certainly-a-sociopath people I’ve ever met. I thought about slipping that rat an extra food pellet as a reward for a job well done, but then I realized that it might reinforce the biting behavior overall, not just the biting of probable sociopaths, and that this would be a very bad thing. But I digress.)

Anyways, although I’m neither mangy nor sporting red beady eyes (at least I hope I’m not), I’m going to be my own lab rat for the next few weeks.

 

 

You see, I’ve been feeling spectacularly unwell for the last couple of years: despite having gone gluten-free, I still often wind up with some fairly gnarly stomachaches. My joints often hurt. My soft tissue aches. I have that “Who, exactly, is responsible for filling my sinuses with concrete and then driving the truck over the length of my body?” feeling with fairly alarming regularity.

I suspect that part of this is stress and a lack of sleep — after all, I often feel a bit better during the weekends — but I’ve also long wondered if other food sensitivities might be lurking in the murky deep of my immunological system.

Then, because sometimes the stars align, while doing more research about autoimmune diseases I found a recently-published book by a doctor who, wouldn’t ya know, just happens to focus on autoimmune diseases.

The Immune System Recovery Plan, by Dr. Susan Blum, is one of the most scientifically sound books on autoimmune disease that I’ve encountered. Many people have theories about so-called miracle cures for autoimmune disorders, but a) they often tend not to be doctors or scientists, and b) as such, they tend not to back up their claims with actual, y’know, science. They instead tend to rely entirely on anecdotal evidence, which, while important and powerful in its own right, probably shouldn’t be the entire basis of a book about medicine.

 

 

Fast fact: while I was studying at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition last year, my all-time favorite class modules focused on functional medicine. Functional medicine is slightly different from conventional medicine in that conventional medicine focuses on treating the symptoms of any given condition, whereas functional medicine focuses on treating the causes of the condition itself.

Dr. Mark Hyman and Dr. Andrew Weil were two of my favorite IIN speakers because of their commitment to — and scientific understanding of — functional medicine. Dr. Hyman (seriously dude, call me if you ever need an intern!) perfectly explains the difference between functional and conventional medicine:

 

 

Anyways, Dr. Blum is the founder of the Blum Center for Health, where she practices full-time functional medicine. In her book, she uses both data-driven scientific evidence and anecdotal evidence — and I appreciate the combination of the two (after all, statistics can only do so much without a key illustration or two to drive them home).

In her book, Dr. Blum strongly recommends trying a 3-week allergen elimination diet to see if symptoms improve while one is living sans what she identifies as the big 4 allergens: gluten, dairy, soy, and corn.

I read this over the weekend, and decided to embark on that 3 week experiment myself. Then — because like I said earlier, sometimes the stars align — I was visiting MindBodyGreen, and I saw this article: 5 Signs a Hidden Food Sensitivity is Sabotaging Your Health. I have every single symptom, y’all. When I shared the link on Twitter, my comment just about sums it up:

 

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Story of my life, indeed. This only reinforced how much I need to try the 3-week elimination diet, even though it’s going to be a bit of a pain in the ol’ tuchus.

Why might it be a bit of a pain? Because virtually everything has soy or corn in it. Tea? Soy lecthin. Salad dressing? Soybean oil. Most GF products rely on corn starch and soybean oil, so despite having been strictly GF for over five years now, I could still be ingesting loads of other possible problem foods.

This means…I’m going to have to cook everything from scratch.

Y’all. I have no time for this. I’d need, like, an entire day off of work in order to cook allergen-free bread, soup, granola, etc. from scratch. (Now, if I were, say, a freelance writer and had all sorts of scheduling flexibility, then I’d be golden. Alas, I have no such luxury.)

So, I’m torn. Part of me really hopes that the 3 weeks of allergen-free eating go a long way towards helping me feel better, part of me is like….”Noooooooooo! Already pressed for time! Cannot handle any added responsibilities or tasks!”

 

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Soooo…we’ll see how this pans out. Here’s to scientific experiments!

Have you ever done an allergy elimination diet?

Do you have specific food sensitivities?

How do you find the time to cook things from scratch?

 

MIMM: Wonderful Weekend Recap

The time-space continuum and I have a weird relationship.

To wit, I find that it slows down during the week, only to launch into warp drive during the weekend. How is this possible? Isn’t E = MC2 an immutable law of physics? Listen up, Father Time: I’m pretty sure Einstein would be displeased by the realization that you’ve been messing with his equation.

I always find that because the work week is so jam packed, the weekends wind up having that go-go-go motif as well. There are errands to run, chores to do, and because there’s always so much traffic here, it takes aaaaages to run errands. That said, we always try to slip in the occasional leisure activity while we’re out and about.

This weekend’s marvelousness (as always, thanks to Katie from Healthy Diva Eats for hosting Marvelous in my Monday!) came in two forms: movies and my wee little urban herb garden on our deck. Since it’s an urban herb garden, let’s go ahead and call it my herban garden. I thank you. (I’m here all week, folks! I also do Bar Mitzvahs!)

MiMM MIMM with Date Night, Bump Update, Baby Shower, and Fathers Day!

First, the movie: Brandon and I had been wanting to see Man of Steel since the previews first made their debut, and we were determined to see it this weekend. It doesn’t disappoint, y’all — it’s a really good movie. I’ve generally been unimpressed by remakes of superhero movies, but this one absolutely lives up to all the hype.

 

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And then there’s the matter of my herban garden, which I’m seriously excited about. I’ve been wanting to plant fresh herbs for aaaaaaaaaages, but our old place got almost no direct sun — so my initial attempts at this, circa 2010, were a huge fail. Imagine, if you will, a bunch of sad, wilty plants that withered and met their demise within a week of being placed on our deck. I basically perpetrated a floral genocide. Knowing that, I decided to wait to try it again until we had a place with more direct sun.

Now, happily, we have such a place — but our deck is teeeeeeeeny, so I needed to be creative about saving space. Enter the stackable pot concept:

 

I found this genius contraption on Amazon, and I immediately knew that it was the solution to my space problem.  Step two involved getting organic potting soil and herb seeds, but I quickly realized that seeds aren’t the way to go for me: as it turns out, the seeds are designed for in-ground flower beds that get a lot of vertical sun exposure (as opposed to the diagonal rays on our porch).

False start, lane one! Everybody out of the pool and back into the starting blocks!

Once I figured this out, we made an emergency trip to Whole Foods (ok, insofar as a trip to Whole Paycheck can ever be an emergency) for some organic potting herbs. Said trip was successful, and I’d like to introduce my new homies, basil, thyme, oregano, and mint:

 

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I got to work, pouring dirt and planting getting these babies set up in their new home, and soon had a finished product on my hands. While running around this weekend I also picked up a bright pink Gerbera daisy — one of my favorite flowers — which I added to the mix as sort of the crowning glory.

Behold!

DSC01021I love using fresh herbs in my cooking, and I’m incredibly excited to have my own supply on hand. I had a pretty extensive potted herb garden when I was in grad school back in the Motherland (Colorado), and I used it almost every time I cooked. Eggs with fresh basil? Mos def. Chicken with lemon and fresh oregano? Don’t mind if I do. Ice water with fresh lemon and mint? Hit me. (That last one is something I picked up in Israel — the Israelis have this wondrous concoction called limon-nana that mixes lemonade, fresh mint, and ice, and it’s amazeballs. I drank that stuff like it was my job when I was in Jerusalem.)

 

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And, with that, I’m off to work (le sigh). Here’s to getting through Monday, y’all — soon we’ll be one day closer to Friday. 🙂

Did you do anything fun this weekend?

Do you like cooking with fresh herbs?

What’s your favorite flower?

Weekly Article Round-Up: June 9-15

Y’all. I slept in until almost 11. Considering that I’m usually wide awake at 0700 on Saturday mornings (since I was 15, I’ve referred to the 7-7:30 time frame as “sleeping in”), this is virtually unheard of for me.

That said, though, my gawd does it ever feel amazing to get a metric ton of sleep. I feel like a different person when I’m able to get so much rest, and I’m always amazed by how big of a difference it makes. Sleep FTW!

Anyways, all that is by way of explanation for why I’m a wee bit late in posting this week’s article round-up. Grab some beverage and enjoy!

 

Health & Fitness:

NYT: An “Up” Outlook Can Improve Our Health

Greatist: 52 Healthy Meals in 12 Minutes or Less

NYT: How Accurate Are Fitness Monitors?

MindBodyGreen: 10 Things I Wish Every American Knew About Health

NYT: Nestle Adds Premium Brand in Still Water Arena (This one is my personal favorite, purely due to the unintentional comedy of this whole marketing campaign)

 

Stress Relief, Happiness, and Well-Being

How to Find Balance, No Matter How Chaotic Your Life Is

HuffPo: 10 Things To Stop Tolerating, Because Life is Too Short

Greatist: #WTF is a Vision Board?

Regret-Free Life: Getting Back Your A-Game

MindBodyGreen: When Did It Become Cool to be Busy?

 

Gender Issues:

HuffPo: Debenham’s ‘No Photoshopping’ Pledge: Company Promises to Never Adjust Women’s Body Sizes

Atlantic: The Distinct, Positive Impact of a Good Dad

Slate: Triumph of the Bronies: Hasbro Turning My Little Ponies Into Sexy Human Characters. Neigh.

Atlantic: The End of the Battle of the Sexes: The Rise of Women Doesn’t Have to Lead to the Downfall of Men

Slate: Turns Out We Don’t Stereotype Female Politicians. We Just Don’t Get Them At All.

 

Humor and Warm Fuzzies:

HuffPo: Cheerios Parody: Hilarious Spoof of Bi-Racial Ad Responds to Haters

BuzzFeed: Feminist Taylor Swift Twitter Feed is Hilarious

Happy Place: 5 People Who Totally Ruined This Week for Us

BuzzFeed: Your Entire Workday, Explained by Dogs

Here Comes the Sun

Good morning, y’all!

Yesterday’s storms wound up being a total bust, which was good in terms of not getting snatched up by a sneaky Hamburgler-like tornado (see yesterday’s post to understand what I’m referencing with that — it’s weird, I know!), but still kind of disappointing, because I was hoping to see some hardcore thunderstorms. Alas, we had 15 minutes of wind and torrential rain, and in my neck of the woods, none of the storms lived up to their hype. I’m pretty sure this should be the official motto for DC weather, especially after this winter’s epic snowstorm that never happened:

 

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Speaking of all things meteorological, though, here’s a random fact: did you know that today is the earliest sunrise of the year? (I had no idea, but I read it today as part of the weather report. Whoda thunk it?)

One of the many reasons why I love the month of June is the fact that there’s just so much sunlight. I’ve always been a sunshine junkie — I don’t lie out and tan, but I love going outside and getting a bit of photosynthesis. (I realize that I’m not a plant, but hey, a girl’s gotta get her Vitamin D. That windowless office of mine is almost certainly going to give me Rickets.)

Anyways, I’d originally planned to do a big ol’ nerdy, quasi-scientific post about The Autoimmune Epidemic by Susan Nakazawa, but things have been really hectic this week — which means I didn’t have time to sit down and write what will be a more time-intensive post.

With that in mind, instead I’m going to do one in a similar vein as yesterday’s post. It’s random, it has virtually no substance whatsoever, and…that seems about right for a Friday. 🙂 (Does anybody else feel like their brain is fried?)  So without further ado, here’s a series of random reasons why I looooooooove the sunshine:

 

  • One of the many things I love about this time of year is the fact that it’s light out when I wake up. The fact that it’s not pitch black out when my alarm goes off makes it approximately eleventy thousand times easier to crawl out of bed. In the depths of winter, it looks like this:

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But during the summer, when it’s getting light out before six, it looks more like this:

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  • When it’s sunny out, it automatically puts me in a substantially better mood than when it’s all gloomy and gray. When it’s rainy and gray, I’m all:

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But when it’s sunny and warm out, I’m all:

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  • Growing up in Colorado means that I was raised on a steady diet of sunshine; Colorado gets over 300 days of sunlight per year, and we never went more than a day or two without sun. The East Coast, by contrast, gets — and this is a hard, scientific number, backed up by loads of empirical data — at least 80 million fewer days of sunshine per year than they do out West. Living here has made me become really hardcore about going outside on the days when it is nice out. I could be sick, incapacitated, or generally on the brink of death, but as soon as the sun appears, I’m ready to run outside.

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Brandon and I have talked about how much we miss the West and how much we’d like to someday move back there. If we ever do, I can guarantee that this is what I’ll do almost every day:

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With all that in mind, I want to know:

What type of weather do you like most?
(I may be a sunshine junkie, but lots of people love rain!)

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

What to Do When Natural Disasters Strike

When I was a little kid, I had an irrational fear of tornadoes. Some of my earliest memories involve an unshakeable fear that a giant twister would creep up in the night (because obviously tornadoes are totes known to be quiet, sneaky things), possibly while looking like the Hamburgler, and suck me out of my bed. I’d be tossed into an oblivion, probably with a lot of airborne cows. (Tornadoes always involve flying bovines, right? RIGHT?) As I got older, that irrational fear morphed into a general wariness of Mother Nature. Imagine me standing next to Mother Nature while doing this:

 

 

Anyways, back to the present day: DC is expected to get a round of hardcore thunderstorms today. It’s not supposed to be like the derecho we experienced around this time last year, but these storms are supposed to be some gnarly beasties that will involve a lot of wind, torrential rain, flooding, hail, and possible tornadoes.

Soooo…given my irrational fear of tornadoes, I figured I’d illustrate my extensive understanding of disaster planning efforts (by which I mean “the stuff I hear people say about disaster planning”) and what I fully expect will be my reaction if, God forbid, we encounter any sort of imminent threat from a tornado. Obviously I am a mature, capable adult who remains calm and focused in the face of meteorological danger.

 

Tip #1: Watch or listen to the local news to keep apprised of the situation.

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Tip #2: Make lists of the things you’ll need if you have to shelter in place.image

 

Tip #3:  Prepare for power outages by ensuring that all your devices are charged, while also stockpiling batteries and flashlights. If the power goes out, grab a flash light and stay cool.

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Tip #4: Most imortantly, it’s critical that you stay calm. Panic is contagious, but so is calm — so, if disaster strikes, lead by example and remain calm, cool, and collected.

 

Obviously, I’m precisely the sort of person you want to have around in the event of a tornado. I’ll be the calm, uber-prepared one, chillin’ in the basement…by which I mean, I’ll basically be doing this:

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WIAW: Collages of Delight*

*This is the cheesiest title I’ve ever used. Oy vey. Do I need more sleep?

So, I’ve alluded to this before, but I love collages. When I was a wee lass, I had big dreams of becoming an artist — only to have those dreams dashed when I realized that I’m spectacularly lacking in artistic ability. My attempts to draw a beautiful tree consistently resembled a deformed giraffe, and my flagrant inability to render any sense of perspective to my drawings led to them being flat and distorted — and not in an innovative, Salvador Dali-esque way, either. It was a sad state of affairs.

As I got older, though, I realized that I love making collages. They don’t require me to draw anything (thank you, oh 6 pound, 8 ounce, sweet newborn baby Jesus) but they still allow me to do something artistic. For a creative but desperately-lacking-in-artistic-ability person like me, this is the best of both worlds.

With that in mind, I’ve started creating food collages for What I Ate Wednesday, hosted by the lovely mama-to-be Jenn over at Peas & Crayons — they save space, and I have a grand ol’ time putting these together…it’s a win-win, no?

 

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Sooooo…behold the foodie collages!

Sweet, Glorious Caffienation:

Along with my morning toast, I spend some quality time with my beloved java while my brain joins the world of the living. I’m always amazed when I hear people say that they’ve given up caffeine, because I’m fairly certain I’d turn into a raging banshee if I did that. I once tried to switch from coffee to tea, and I had to use tremendous self-control to keep from becoming clinically insane when I saw people walking down the street with steaming cups of Starbucks java.

 

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Breakfasts:

Breakfasts usually consist of a smoothie with protein powder or a banana and juice, which I love. I keep hearing all these self-proclaimed fitness and weight loss gurus carrying on about the importance of never, ever, EVER drinking your calories, but whenever I hear that nonsense, I’m all:

 

 

That’s right, y’all. I have serious Chris Bosh-like side-eye for these ridiculous edicts. Clearly the folks making these proclamations have never encountered fruit and kale smoothies, kombucha, or superfood juices. Bob Barker, you’ll have to pry these things out of my cold, dead hands! (And yes, since we’re dealing with stuff like smoothies, my hands will be very, very cold. You’ll have an epic task before you. Insert diabolical laughter here.)

In the mix: a Drink Your Greens smoothie from Whole Foods (they were kind enough to add a banana and a packet of Vega French Vanilla protein powder to the mix for me), a home-made smoothie with kale, strawberries, banana, mango, and almond milk, a GT’s Synergy Kombucha, and an Odwalla Super Foods Red Rhapsody.

 

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Lunches:

When my schedule gets hectic, I rely on soup cups to get me though the middle of the day. Dr. McDougall’s is my jam here – they’re gloriously easy, and as instant soup goes, they’re pretty darn nutritious. Dr. McDougall’s also has a decent selection of gluten free offerings, so I stick with the black bean, spring onion, and pad Thai flavors.

 

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Dinners:

Our dinners have run a wide gamut lately, since things have been a bit out of whack after last week’s upheaval. We’ve had grilled Southwest chicken with romaine and guacamole, spring mix with shredded rotisserie chicken and papaya poppy seed dressing, a BBQ chicken salad, and one of my fave insta-dinners: Thai cole slaw with peanut sauce. (*Drools*)

 

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Desserts:

Now, I’m not one to advocate a full-out sugar fest, but a girl’s gotta have some sweets in her life. With that in mind, my desserts have been nutritious to the point of being saintlike oh, who am I kidding? I’ve been chowing down on fro yo like it’s my job.

 

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So tell me, dear readers:

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Do you have any hidden, random artistic talents?

Drinking calories (and I’m talking about this a healthy context, not daily margs…although daily margs do sound pretty awesome): yea or nay?

The Health Benefits of Gratitude

Good morning, y’all, and happy Tuesday!

As I wrote last week, my goal of late has been to focus on — and be grateful for  — the things I do have. That’s not to say that I want to ignore or not deal with the sadness of my preliminary diagnosis, but rather to acknowledge and process the bad stuff while focusing on the good stuff.

After all, the practice of cultivating gratitude has some pretty profound effects on both physical and emotional health. Some of those benefits include better sleep, improved mood, greater social connectedness, a greater tendency to exercise (!!!), deeper relationships, increased longevity, increased productivity…the list goes on.

According to a growing body of research on gratitude (some of which was cited in a recent article published on HuffPost), “those who view life as a gift experience a boatload of benefits, from a better mood to stronger relationships to better health and resilience. Gratitude, in a sense, is a muscle and as such requires exercise to stay fit and functional.”

In that same article, the author delves into some of the details on the research:

  • A daily gratitude intervention (self-guided exercises) with young adults resulted in higher reported levels of the positive states of alertness, enthusiasm, determination, attentiveness and energy compared to a focus on hassles or a downward social comparison …
  • In an experimental comparison, those who kept gratitude journals on a weekly basis exercised more regularly, reported fewer physical symptoms, felt better about their lives as a whole, and were more optimistic about the upcoming week compared to those who recorded hassles or neutral life events (Emmons and McCullough, 2003) …
  • Participants who kept gratitude lists were more likely to have made progress toward important personal goals (academic, interpersonal and health-based) over a two-month period compared to subjects in the other experimental conditions …
  • Grateful people report higher levels of positive emotions, life satisfaction, vitality, optimism and lower levels of depression and stress. The disposition toward gratitude appears to enhance pleasant feeling states more than it diminishes unpleasant emotions. Grateful people do not deny or ignore the negative aspects of life.

I started keeping a gratitude journal in college, and it made a world of difference. Even though I don’t always write things down any more, I still have a nightly ritual of choosing five things from my day to be thankful for before I go to sleep. There are certainly bad days when it’s a struggle to come up with five new things — and when that happens, I have no trouble relying on gratitude for what I refer to as my Big Five: my family, my husband, my friends, books, and coffee. (Priorities, amirite? Basically, relationships, books, and coffee form the Holy Trinity of my life.)

While I have plenty of practice with a basic, baseline level of gratitude, I’m trying to kick it up a notch in order to help deal with the stress of these recent medical shenanigans. I’ve been making a concerted effort to focus on the things I do have — so, with that in mind, here’s a wee list of things I’m diggin’ and for which I’m thankful:

  • I said this yesterday, but it bears repeating: I’m so very grateful for all the kind comments, emails, and messages we’ve gotten from people in the wake of our news. Old friends from high school and college have come out of the woodwork on Facebook to tell me their own similar stories, and peoples’ kindness has been overwhelming.
  • Summer thunderstorms: I loooove me a good thunderstorm, and last night didn’t disappoint. We’re also due for another round of storms tomorrow night, and I might be just a tad excited (and by “a tad,” I mean absurdly) about it. Yet another awesome thing about our new apartment is that we have a great view of the westward sky, so when thunderstorms blow in, I’m able to stand at the window and giddily watch the lightning show outside.
  • Vitamin and probiotics gummies! Y’all, I’m a child at heart…and apparently in my taste buds, too. I saw Li’l Critters calcium and vitamin D gummies at Costco, and I ordered some Rainbow Light probiotic gummies from Amazon — and they’re the bomb diggity. I’m a goner when it comes to sweet, chewy candies, so the fact that these things taste candy-like while also being healthy as all get-out is a major win in my book.
  • The fact that one of my orchids is blooming: I love the sight of a happy plant, and this orchid is happy indeed.
  • My upcoming urban gardening project: I have 90% of the necessary supplies to set up my little herb garden on our deck! Now all I need are the seeds (they should be arriving from Amazon this week), as well as a plant stand. We’re scouring the ends of the earth for a reasonably priced, 4′ or higher plant stand; while I found a perfect one on Amazon, it’s a whopping $75…and we’d rather not shell out that much dough if we don’t have to. This weekend could very well involve a trek to Wal-Mart, Lowe’s, and Home Depot in search of the right thing, but I don’t mind dealing with the crowds in the name of setting up my wee herb garden.
  • There was an unacceptably long period of time (by which I mean about  one week, but it my gawd, did it ever feel like aaaaaaages) in which I ran out of my beloved Toasted Almond java from Le Target. Oy gevault, did I ever miss it. It was horrible, y’all.  I finally made it back to Target to re-stock, and each morning I find myself thanking the coffee gods that this wondrous stuff is back in my possession.
  • My dad happened to have a long-standing plan to visit DC this past weekend, and it was wonderful to see him — especially since it was at a time when I needed a little bit of extra bolstering. On Sunday morning we took a long walk on the Mount Vernon Trail and talked for hours about my possible diagnosis, my job, my hopes for the future, and a bajillion other things. I feel incredibly lucky to have such a wonderful family — the fact that I can spend hours having honest, open, and supportive talks with my parents and my brother is hugely awesome.

So, with all that in mind, I want to hear from you lovely people:

What are you thankful for?

Have you ever kept a gratitude journal?

What element of  the health benefits associated with gratitude do you find most compelling?

MIMM: Verklempt.

Y’all. I’m positively overcome by all your kind comments, emails, and messages in the wake of last week’s news. I’m verklempt!

Seriously, though, I feel so very, very lucky to have y’all as my bloggy-friends. I can’t even begin to tell you how much your kindness and support means to me — and how much it helps.

Thus, my dearies, that’s the crux of this week’s MIMM post (thanks, as always, to Katie over at Healthy Diva Eats for hosting!): my tremendous gratitude for you, my readers — and all the people who came out of the woodwork to support Brandon and me in the wake of our not-so-awesome news.

 

MiMM MIMM with just Some Marvelous Tidbits

 

 

First, your comments meant the world to me. I was bowled over by your kind words, support, and prayers, and I can’t put into words how much it helped. It makes me feel better — by leaps and bounds — and it made (and continues to make!) a huge difference. Thank you!

I spent the last few days cocooning in an effort to soothe my jangled nerves and saddened soul; this involved, of course, ice cream. Cold Stone dark chocolate ice cream with caramel and pecans? Yes, please. I’m pretty sure ice cream is one of  the most therapeutic substances known to the human race.

 

 

I’ve also been burrowing into a ton of books, since reading is tied with ice cream on my list of therapeutic activities. since my doctor thinks that my possible diagnosis is autoimmune related, I dove into some research on that very issue. That’s how this nerdy gal rolls, y’all. On Wednesday morning I hit up my neighborhood library and checked out a copy of The Autoimmune Epidemic, by Donna Jackson Nakazawa. I then proceeded to devour it. (It’s a good thing I don’t confuse books with ice cream, given my tendency to devour both. Ok, ok, that was horrible.) I read the whole thing in under 48 hours, and it’s a fantastic book — I learned a tremendous amount by reading it, so I’ll be delving into some of the really key points later this week. (Y’know, soooo…nerd alert.)

 

With all that being said, I hope you all had a fabulous weekend and a truly marvelous Monday!