Thursday, October 14, 2010

Practicing Extreme Self Care

It's been an uber crazy month so far and not without some stressors. Fall is my favorite season but it's also the time when work gets really busy and includes evening and weekend hours. As a result, my food plan generally goes south this time of year. But the more hectic the work schedule, the more important it is to practice what life coach Cheryl Richardson calls "extreme self care." There are various components that contribute to our well being...cultivating and fostering meaningful and healthy relationships, nurturing our physical/emotional/spiritual/mental selves, and creating a harmonious living space and living within our means. For now, my focus has been on maintaining physical health...through food and fitness.

Staying late at the office always had me craving greasy or sugary comfort food...and coffee. When the pumpkin spice flavor would come in I'd be all over it. It actually came early this year...and I consumed it daily (with other pumpkin spice lovers) until it was gone.

Now I know what you're thinking. Everything in moderation. Unfortunately I don't have the will power to do that. I end up drinking one cup of pumpkin spice coffee. The next day I'm adding cream to it (stuff I shouldn't be drinking). Coffee seems to be my gateway drug. Next thing you know, I'm eating a cheese sandwich or grabbing a cappuccino once or twice a week (for the first time ever I watched someone make it and had no idea they put so much milk in it - damn). I am not supposed to even be eating dairy but when the going gets busy at work I find excuses for these foods...foods that are not part of my regular diet.

Luckily these digressive phases don't last long and I quickly get back into the routine of a clean diet. But I'd prefer to never get off track because I tend to go to extremes (even if it's only for two weeks at a time) and then suffer the consequences (breakouts, headaches, and lethargy). So I gave myself a clean slate and re-committed to doing a clean diet during one of the busiest work weeks of the year...partly because I wanted the week to be as stress-free as possible (and a clean diet goes a long way with that) and because I have a super fun event next week that I want to look good for.

Aside from clearer skin, I'm motivated to maintain a clean diet because it keeps my energy levels high (good if you must work long hours) and lessens the amount of stress I put on my body (ie no caffeine, mucus-producing dairy, and acidic effects from sugar, salt and processed foods). Yum!

So what did I consume this week?

* Daily probiotic
* Hemp, banana, honey, peanut butter, almond milk, and cinnamon shakes
* Black bean burritos with salsa, quinoa, onions and roasted red peppers
* Brown rice pasta with artichokes, tomatoes, onions and peppers
* Braised carrot soup
* Brown rice with pinto beans, corn, and sauteed onions
* Panang curry with tofu from Chabba Thai
* Yummy sweet potato lentil and minestrone soups from Couch Tomato
* Peanut butter and banana sandwiches (on days I didn't do the shake)
* Two 16 oz green juices daily (romaine, mint, grapes, apple, celery, cucumber, broccoli stems)
* Caffeine-free herbal teas
* Exercise (weekend runs and bike rides; 20 minute yoga or circuit training)
* 7-8 hours of sleep

And I still found a way to have some comfort food this week...inspired by this rainy day in Philly. I recently found an online recipe for a peppery grilled cheese and made some vegan tweaks with new add-ons for a super scrumptious treat.

Grilled CheesusIngredients:

*1/2 organic red bell pepper
*2 thin slices of yellow onion
*2 tbsp Vegenaise
*1/2 tbsp minced garlic
*1/2 cup Daiya cheddar style shreds
*4 slices whole wheat bread

Saute onions in a little olive oil until golden. In a blender combine the pepper, garlic and mayo. Brush a little olive oil on bread slices and add the cheese, onions and pepper mayo. Grill until you see the goods in all their glory. Wonder where Daiya has been all your life.

Side note on the green juices - I recently bought some Ball mason jars, inspiration courtesy of Kris Carr, at my hardware store. They are inexpensive, super cute, and nifty for bringing your juice with you wherever you go! I got the 16 oz jars...the perfect portion size with an air-tight lid to keep the juice fresher longer. I typically juice around 32 oz at a given time and store them to have as snacks the next day.

What do you do to practice extreme self care?