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“Diet May Be As Important To Mental Health As It Is To Physical Health”

Article Link

This February 24, 2015 Huffington post article talks about information that seems to point to the importance of a healthy diet for mental health as well as physical health.

“Foods to Improve Your Mood”

Article Link

This undated article by Emily Waters and found on the Psych Central website talks about various foods that the scientific community is finding could be beneficial to improving our mood.  Many of the foods they list are inexpensive though some are a tad higher priced, most should be affordable to a lot of people at a variety of income levels.

“A short film about Mental Wellness through Peer Support” [Video]

Video Link

This video was uploaded to YouTube on February 5, 2012 by Martin Haythorne and offers some thoughts on how something as simple as having a cup of tea with friends in the middle of nowhere can be a form of Peer Support that promotes mental wellness and recovery.

Money Monday – “How to feed your family from a food bank”

Article Link

This November 13, 2013 CNN – Eatocracy article talks about ways that people relying on food banks or other Nutrition supplement

Nutrition • Vegetables • Peas

Nutrition • Vegetables • Peas (Photo credit: Living Fitness UK)

programs can try to improve the nutritional value of the food they acquire by doing things like purchasing items that have been marked down and other practical tips.

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“The Benefits of Cooking with Your Kids”

Amazing Cooking Kids

Amazing Cooking Kids (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Article Link

 

This March 14, 2014 article on the AETNA Intellihealth website talks about ways that parents can teach their kids to eat healthier by including them in meal planning and preparation.

 

 

 

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Some Fun Things to Try

Hair dryer

Hair dryer (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

I haven’t tried any of these ideas personally, but they seem like they would work so I thought for something fun I would share 2 links with you 🙂

 

Both links are found on NPR: The Salt

 

How To Build an Indestructible Gingerbread House” offers some tips on building a gingerbread house that is both sturdy and edible

 

The second link is

 

“Hair Dryer Cooking: From S’mores To Crispy Duck” which offers some creative uses for a typical hair dryer in the Kitchen

 

Enjoy!

 

 

I’m Blogging for World Mental Health Day October 10

I have worked on developing and enhancing my list of items I use as personal medicine.  For those who aren’t familiar with the term “personal medicine” let me explain it a bit.  Pat Deegan describes personal medicine as things we do that make us feel better, and reminds us that medication prescribed by our doctor is not the same as personal medicine.  Medication or pills are something you take.  personal medicine is something you do.

Here’s a list of some of my personal medicine items and how I benefit from doing them.

  • Bicycling
    • Riding my bike helps me manage my anxiety by giving me an outlet for some  of the anxious energy
  • Blogging
    • Blogging helps me feel connected to the world around me and at the same time gives me a sense of purpose
  • Playing video games
    • When I play video games, I am able to take a step back from things that may be overwhelming me, and I get an opportunity to regroup before trying to face whatever is overwhelming me again.  I also use gaming as a way to practice social skill in an environment that is less threatening to me then face to face encounters with other people tend to feel.
  • Knitting
    • Knitting helps me in a few ways
      • gives me a creative outlet
      • helps me quiet my mind by doing something that doesn’t need lots of thinking, and I can sort of meditate a bit
      • allows me to do something nice for other people and when I see people smile when I give them something I have knit, I get a sense of accomplishment and a feeling of warmth that helps take the sting out of the rough patches I may be experiencing in my life.
  • Researching
    • Researching or learning more about whatever I happen to have as a pressing question on my mind, helps to quiet my mind, and satisfy my hunger for information.  I will often have a question or idea on my mind that seems to almost take over my brain and make it tough to think about anything else, and I found that simply taking a little time to do a little research into the question  or idea helps me settle my mind by giving me information to satisfy the thoughts.  It’s kind of like if you have a baby that is hungry who is crying and fussy because of being hungry.  Once you feed the baby and satisfy the baby’s hunger, the baby will generally settle down and be more content overall.  In many ways that’s what my mind is like but instead of being hungry for food,  my brain gets hungry for information, and the questions or ideas are like the fussy baby.  I feed my mind information and the fussiness dissipates.  So while I do realize that most people don’t do research for fun, it is something that I not only enjoy, but am able to use to quiet my often noisy brain.
  • Journalling
    • Journaling helps me sort and organize thoughts, feelings or ideas, and gives me a second option for handling the questions and such that often become overwhelming to me if left unchecked.  If I don’t have time to do research right then, sometimes just the act of writing down the question, topic, idea or whatever it is that seems to be taking over my mind, it allows me to in a sense say ok, I recognize that this is on my mind and needs to be further considered, but I’m going to table it and deal with it later when I have more time.  In short, it’s like I’m emptying my brain a little so I can focus on the thing I need to be focused on at that moment.
  • Walking
    • Walking, like bicycling helps me manage my anxiety, my weight, and helps me kind of clear my mind by getting out and enjoying nature a bit
  • Interacting with my Service Dog
    • Interacting can be playing, training, working, or simply cuddling, but the thing all these forms of interaction do for me, is divert my attention off myself and help keep me from dwelling on things.  I also get to explore the world around me much easier than I could on my own.  The world is a very scary place for me, but using my service dog helps me manage the fears and anxiety I have about the world around me that pretty much paralyzes me if I’m left to handle things on my own without my Service Dog’s help.  I get a sense of joy, accomplishment, and am more likely to interact with people around me then I would on my own.  My service dog bridges the gap between  my world and the world around me in a way that in some ways is almost magical, as well as being very difficult to put into words.  She has the ability to make me laugh or smile at times when no human has been able to succeed, she gives me comfort, bolsters my braveness, and even though she is the one being trained, our training sessions give me a sense of accomplishment and pride when I see her begin to master a skill I’ve tried to teach her.  She’s learning to help me, and I’m learning to reach beyond myself.

All the things I listed above are things that help me in many ways, but they all are able to have a positive impact on my mental health and even my physical health and by doing things that impact both my mental and physical health, I feel more like a complete or whole person who is better equipped to face the world around me and everything it has to offer.

Image I'm Blogging for World Mental Health Day on October 10

I’m Blogging for World Mental Health Day on October 10

 

Recipe #5

This month’s recipe is one I got from a friend who had also gotten it from a friend and she doesn’t know where her friend got it.  So, I’m hoping this isn’t copyrighted material, but if it turns out to be from a copyrighted cookbook, please let me know so I can update this post to include proper citation.

The recipe I made is a Zucchini Quiche.  It is one of those things that I’ve eaten and enjoyed, but was always afraid to try making because the name looked like something that would be extremely difficult to make.  In this case though, this zucchini Quiche was so easy and yummy I plan on making it again.

Here’s the recipe as I received it from my friend

Recipe is from a friend…no idea where she got it from…

3 cups zucchini slices (2 med. zucchini)
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup oil
1 cup Bisquick
4 eggs (or Eggbeaters equivalent)
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
shredded mozzarella cheese
salt & pepper

Beat eggs
Add oil, parmesan cheese, and onions
Stir in Bisquick
Fold in zucchini slices
Put in a greased 9×13 baking dish
Top lightly with some shredded mozzarella cheese
Bake at 375 for 20-30 minutes (edges start to brown)

May add ham, bacon, broccoli, or mushrooms

(I sometimes add a little more Bisquick and oil because I like my Quiche ‘fluffier’ and less “eggy” if that makes sense)

My notes …..

It turns out I don’t have a 9×13 cake pan, so I tried making it in a round cake pan which worked great … not sure of the exact size of the pan, but I would estimate it at about 8 to 10 inches across.

I also went with some of the optional ingredients when I made this here’s what I used

1/2 can of mushroom stems and pieces
1/2 of a ham steak cut into small cubes that were about 1/4 of an inch or less in size

Other then the pan change and the addition of mushrooms and ham, I followed the recipe as written.

The recipe doesn’t specify what kind of oil to use, so I tried Olive Oil which worked great.  I also used the Heart Smart Bisquick

Recipe #3

Cover of "Taste of Home Comfort Food Diet...

Cover via Amazon

To continue meeting my goal of picking out and preparing a new recipe each month this year to both expand my cooking skills, and maybe find some new dishes I can make that are healthy and offer me a little variety in food.

This month, I picked “Chicken and Rice Dish” found on page 177 of the Taste of Home Comfort Food Diet Cookbook (Available on Amazon.com for under $15)

Ingredients

  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups cut fresh asparagus (1 inch diagonal cut pieces)
  • 1 package (6 ounces) long grain and wild rice mix
  • 1/4 cup reduced-fat butter, divided
  • 3/4 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch strips
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 medium carrot, shredded
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel, optional

Directions

  • In a large saucepan, combine the water, asparagus, rice mix with contents of seasoning packet and 2 tablespoons butter.  Bring to a boil; reduce heat.  Cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the water is absorbed.
  • Meanwhile, in a large skillet, saute the chicken, garlic and salt in the remaining butter until the chicken juices run clear.  Addthe carrot, lemon juice and lemon peel if desired; cook and stir for 1-2 minutes or until heated through.  Stir into rice mixture

Nutrition facts

  • serving size 1-1/4 cups
  • calories 247
  • diabetic exchange 2 lean meat, 1-1/2 starch, 1 vegetable

My thoughts about the recipe

  • Very tasty, but seemed to taste kind of salty. So, I’m inclined to not include the 1/4 teaspoon of salt if I make this in the future, since the rice mix season packet has salt in it already. I think a recipe that doesn’t call for a prepackaged box of rice with its own seasoning would probably be a lot better in terms of salt content since I could season to taste.
  • degree of difficulty for me I would say that it was a little harder then making a box of mac-n-cheese, but still not so difficult that I feared messing it up because of complexity.
  • I do feel that using the mix probably simplified the recipe since it cutout the need to measure seasonings, so for prep time it’s a really good recipe think it took me about 30 minutes to get everything prepped and started cooking including cleaning/chopping the asparagus, and gathering the ingredients needed.
  • The cost of the ingredients wasn’t too bad
    • the bunch of asparagus cost me $3.29 (I only used about half the bunch maybe a little less)
    • chicken was $6.49 for 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts (I only used 1 in the recipe)
    • long grain and wild rice mix, I used a store brand which cost me $1.99, but I did see that Uncle Ben’s had it as well and it was marked at $2.99 on sale.
    • minced garlic, I had a couple garlic on hand but I think I paid about $1.29 for 2 whole garlic and for this recipe I used 1 clove
    • carrots I paid $1.37 for a bag of them, and used 1 carrot from the bag (my stores don’t sell individual carrots I’ve heard that someplaces they do, I just don’t happen to be in one of those places so I have to buy them by the bag)
    • I used Smart Balance butter and since I bought it last month I have no idea how much I paid for it, but I think it might have been around $3-$4 for a large tub of it.
    • Lemon Juice was $0.98 for a large bottle of it, I got it from the reduced section. I left out the lemon peel since my lemon juice came from a bottle and not a fresh lemon.
    • I think a rough estimated total spent on the entire dish I would estimate it at about $6  for everything needed to make a single batch of this recipe which serves 4.

Would I make it again … I have to say yes, but I’ll explore ways to decrease the saltiness of it.

When I served myself, I included 1/2 cup of fresh grapes and a bottle of water which brought me in at about 299 calories for the entire meal and I felt stuffed after eating it, so it rates high on my list of filling meals.

Recipe #2

July's Tomato Haul

July's Tomato Haul (Photo credit: statelyenglishmanor)

Some readers may have some may have seen my list of goals for this year, and among them I had the goal of cooking one new recipe each month that I have never made before.  This is to both expand my cooking skills and maybe eat a little healthier by cooking from scratch and getting away from processed foods.

On February 3, 2012 I made Grilled Herbed Tomatoes the recipe can be found in the Everything Calorie Counting Cookbook on Amazon.com

  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Calories: 56
  • fat: 2 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 11 grams
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
  • Ingredients
    • 4 Large tomatoes
    • 2 teaspoons Italian Seasoning
    • 1 teaspoon olive oil
    • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
    • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
    • coarse salt and pepper to taste
  • Directions
    • Cut tomatoes into slices 1/2″ thick
    • Mix Italian seasoning, olive oil, garlic, and vinegar in a large bowl.
    • Marinate tomatoes in mixture for at least 1 hour.
    • Pre-heat the broiler.  Arrange tomato slices on a baking sheet and place under broiler. Broil until tops are slightly crisp or warmed through.  Flip over and broil underside of slices.

My thoughts on this recipe ….

The balsamic vinegar was a little pricey at $2.99 for a 16 ounce bottle, and since tomatoes aren’t in season they were a little pricey as well at $2.99 per pound.  Probably not an ideal recipe for making in the winter due to cost, but as for flavor, and difficulty,  I have to say it was easier than I thought it would be to make.  I’ve never marinated anything in my life so I was a little nervous about getting everything measured right, but that part wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.  Broiling food is something I’ve also never done in my life. and I think I can count on one hand the number of things I’ve used my oven for in the 6 years I’ve lived in this particular place, so using the oven isn’t something I do a lot of.  My oven and broiler are in the same part the broiler just has the heating conduit on top of the oven that it uses as opposed to the conduit in the bottom of the oven that gets used when the oven is on.  This recipe went great with a tuna wrap and a bottle of water for lunch, but later on that night I had another serving as one of my snacks and it was very fulfilling for a snack as well.   I have bookmarked this recipe  on my Kindle, and plan to try it again.

As a side note, I hated to waste the marinate after I was done soaking the tomato slices in it, and since it didn’t taste too bad when I tasted a little on my finger, I opted to put it in a jar and will be using it as a salad dressing over the next few days, so I am pleased I didn’t have to throw out the marinate due to a lack of other use for it.  I was able to soak the tomatoes and have a nice vinegar dressing for my salad all with one recipe, so even though the balsamic vinegar was a little pricey, it is very tasty and worth the money.

I won’t swear by it, but I suspect that if you put foil on your outdoor grill, you might be able to cook these tomatoes on there as well, which might give it an extra nice flavor, but having not tried it, I can’t say for sure it would work, but it is an idea that crossed my mind as I was eating them.  We all know everything is better when cooked on the grill or campfire … well almost everything …. I’m not a huge fan of coffee over a campfire but that’s a whole different story 🙂

 

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