Quick Nutritional Fixes for the Kitchen Weary

When there’s an increase in stressful events, it’s easy to find yourself on the edge of a health neglect catastrophe. When I feel the threat of stress coming on and my energy dwindling, meal planning and grocery shopping fall to the wayside. For a quick nutritional fix with minimal prep, I usually turn to one of these easy options:

  • Can of tuna or hummus or goat cheese with rice crackers
  • Rice cake with almond butter and banana (or avocado)
  • Miso soup (all you need is boiling water, miso paste, green onion, and tofu)
  • Green smoothies (great for breakfast or with a light meal)
  • Baked, whole sweet potato or sweet potato fries
  • Boiled eggs or veggie and goat cheese omelettes
  • Rice cooker recipes (throw brown rice, veggies, and seasoning into the rice cooker and voila!)
  • Veggie pizza with goat cheese on a rice wrap
  • Lots of fruits, veggies, seeds and nuts as sides or snacks (no prep required!)

I’ve been feasting on these fast foods quite a bit lately, slowly inching myself towards my cookbooks and grocery lists. As I leisurely complete that journey, I will leave you with a quote from my yin yoga instructor: “Discomfort allows for growth.” I suppose the challenge of finding and sustaining health is very much like holding an excruciatingly long yin yoga pose – you breathe, you modify, and you don’t give up.

Taming the Treat Monster: The Chocolate Purge

I am a self-proclaimed treat monster.  Some people are specific kinds of treat monsters:  Cookie monsters, fast food fiends, cheesecake addicts, soda pop junkies, the list goes on.  Me?  My heart (and tummy) is much too big and welcoming for just ONE kind of treat.  I am proud to say that my co-workers have crowned me “The Queen of Treats,” known for never refusing an offer of edible sweets and initiating a long history of “team treat-runs” to liven up a workday.  The importance of treating one’s self has never been lost on me and food always made sense as the pick-me-up of choice.  It’s cheap compared to other material goods you could treat yourself with, it tastes good, it brings satisfaction, and you can share the experience with others.  A little bit of chocolate can go a long way.

Bye-bye, my chocolate love!

My definition of what a “treat” is has changed over the years and now include healthier options, which I’ve been happy to find are just as satisfying, but chocolate has always been a top player on my list of go-to treats.  Unfortunately, I’ve also seen chocolate listed as one of lupus’ most likely “trigger” foods.  Everyone is different, of course, so the only way to find that out is through an elimination diet: Go off chocolate completely for a period of time and then re-introduce it to see how the body reacts.

Yes, it’s pretty dire, but I’m feeling the itch to experiment and to know once and for all if this little treat monster has to leave the chocolate factory for good.  The verdict could go either way and even if I did get the bad news that chocolate encourages the wolf to come out and play, at least I’ll be able to make informed decisions on when, if, and in what amounts I would choose to indulge in it in the future.

My last piece of chocolate was eaten last Saturday, so I’ve been chocolate-free for a week already.  I haven’t found myself craving chocolate very much in the last little while, so I figure this is the time to do the purge.  I just need to remember that knowledge is power and that it’s important to understand what certain foods do to my body.

As for the rest of you, feel free to swim in your chocolate fountains on my behalf and to send your steely, will power vibes of chocolate-free courage over here to me!