Tuesday, January 31, 2012

How Do You Take Care of Yourself?

I've had a difficult few weeks.  I had the foot surgery which was a bit more limiting to my mobility than I thought it would be.  Worse, my mother had a horrible accident and the doctors gave her a 50/50 chance for recovery.  Thankfully they are much more positive now.  In the midst of this I am at the end of my school year and have my final test this week.  It was very difficult to focus on much of anything during this time. 

And yet, I still have to take care of myself and make sure I stay healthy and strong.  I really wouldn't be any good to anyone if I am sick or rundown.  For me this means continuing to eat well, exercising and doing little things to boost myself when I am overwhelmed.  I increase my superfoods during this time as well.  I make sure that I am getting as many nutrients and energizing foods because, quite frankly, I get exhausted.  I don't sleep well when I'm worried and during the day I'm trying to stay busy.

It's easy to neglect yourself when things are tough or when you are busy.  You need to make yourself a priority as well.  We are better able to help others when we are at the top of our game as well.  It may seem selfish to spend time on other things when someone is ill, when your trying to build a business, or raising your family but you will have much more energy and patience when you also take care of yourself.  

What things will make you feel energized?  Definitely eating better foods boosts energy and exercise will also give you a lift.  Exercise is as much for your brain as it is for your body.  There are also other things you can do to soothe yourself.  Maybe you need to soothe with a bath, a dry brushing session or a good massage.  It could be that you just need some time to breathe and be still.  I like to get outside, feel the sun on my face and watch the dog play.  A manicure also makes me feel good.  It's quick, it's nicer than what I can do at home and I like to see that little flash of color on my nails.  It's not something I do often so it's a treat.

The point is to do what feels good for you that's going to continue to leave you feeling good.  It lets you be the best possible you under the circumstances.  You deserve it and so do the people in your life.

What do you do for self care?

I am happy to help support you on your health journey. For more information contact me at janinemchale@empoweredplate.com. You can also visit my website at http://empoweredplate.com/.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Recovering and Impatient

I had minor foot surgery last week.  Between pre-op, the operation and recovery I really wasn't in the frame of mind to write much.  I had the fascia in my foot released, looking for some relief after the last 6 months.  I hope it worked, I can't tell yet since my foot is still sore from the operation.

My husband was lovely and took the week off to go to my appointments with me and then take over dog care while I recover.  I didn't quite realize that I wouldn't be able to do the walks and so I'm glad he did!  I took the doctor at his word that I'd be walking around the next day.  What he left out was I would be in a surgical shoe and really not wanting to walk around more than the length of my house.

To calm my brain before going to the hospital I did some yoga.  I wanted to work out more but realized that not being able to drink anything was going to be a problem if I worked out harder.  Yoga was probably the better choice anyway; I felt calm, grounded and wasn't focusing on not being able to eat or drink anything.  (I'm not good at fasting and ten hours without water seemed an eternity).

It's kind of maddening for me to be inactive for any real length of time. I want my foot to recover though so I have stayed off it for the most part. I got antsy after a few days of sitting and lying around so I explored my video options and decided on pilates and upper body workouts.  I've been doing beginner's pilates with Kristen McGee and upper body strength with Kathy Smith.  They have been keeping me sane and mostly off my feet.  Since I'm allowed to walk around and can wear my sneakers standing during upper body workouts are fine.  Plus it's good to get all the muscles stretched, I have to stretch the foot and calf so all heals properly.

I did go out yesterday with Paul and I was very glad by the time we got home to rest and ice the foot.  I'll still be taking it easy for a few days but at least I can move around some.  I'll see how it goes when he returns to work tomorrow and I'm on dog walking duty again...

Friday, January 6, 2012

Giving Yourself a Break: the 80/20 Rule

Did you sent an intention or make a resolution to eat better?  Maybe you want to lose a few pounds this year.  You might want to employ the 80/20 rule or the 90/10 rule.  To lose weight eat well 90% of the time and you can eat whatever you want for that other 10%.  To just eat better in general make sure 80% of your food intake is healthy and the 20% can be less healthy.

Staying on a strict diet only works for so long.  When you are told you cannot have something it makes you crave it all the more.  Think about if you're fasting for a religious reason, all of a sudden the foods that are forbidden become the exact foods you want.  Generally when the fast is over you don't give those foods another thought.  Or you have a little and then you don't eat it again for a while.  When you can have something you crave it loses some of its charm.

I don't like to think of foods in term of bad or forbidden.  There are everyday foods, sometime foods and once in a while foods.  Everyday foods are your healthy staples, such as:  whole grains, lean proteins, fruits, legumes, nuts, and vegetables.  Sometime foods are the less healthy foods that we enjoy, such as:  heavier pasta dishes, cookies, alcohol, and pizza.  Once in a while foods are the foods you know to be a splurge, such as a cream laden dish, a fried and cheesy dish, or a rich dessert.  They can be delicious and you love them but you know they're really not great for you. 

If the holiday is the only time your mom makes that pecan pie or the fried eggplant parmesean that you love, go ahead and have it.  Denying yourself is going to make you resentful and you'll end up eating more of what you don't really want as a result.  Or a few days later you're going to dive into a carton of ice cream and not come up for air.  When you have what you really want on occasion then you'll eat better the rest of the time.

I had the fried eggplant parmesan for Christmas dinner and it was delicious.  The meal before that consisted of some turkey breast with a large serving of cauliflower and broccoli.  The meal after it was oatmeal with some nuts and fruit.  It's all a matter of balance.

I am happy to help support you on your health journey.  For more information contact me at janinemchale@empoweredplate.com.  You can also visit my website at http://empoweredplate.com/.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Foods to Soothe and Heal

Happy New Year!  I hope you are armed with intentions, a plan and support.  And, if you're in the northeast, a warm coat!  New Year's Day had temperatures in the 50's, a truly lovely day.  Today, it's in the 30's and windy.  I'm also fighting a cold and I feel chillier than usual.  Days like this call for warm, soothing and healing foods.

There is comfort in soups and stews this time of year.  They're filling, delicious and make us feel cared for.  But did you know soups and stews also help our immune systems and fight infections?   There is a reason our mothers and grandmothers made us chicken soup when we were sick.  Onions and garlic are great fighters and help our immune system kill bacteria.  Carrots provide a good dose of vitamin A which helps keep the immune system strong.  The broth itself is full of minerals and are easily absorbed by the body in this form.  If you add in a dark leafy green (such as spinach or escarole) you get a powerhouse of antioxidants, immune boost and relief for congestion.  You'd have to take an awful lot of pills to achieve the same result...

I made a quick stew for lunch today.  I kept looking at the ingredients for a smoothie but it was really just to cold to drink one for lunch.  Instead I took stock of my fridge and found that I had some andouille chicken sausage, zucchini, greens, mushrooms, chicken broth and, from the freezer, a brown, red and black rice medley.  It all cooked pretty quickly on the stove top and I had a warm filling lunch with foods that would boost my immune system.  Pretty good for a dish that took less than 15 minutes to make.

A little side note:  when you buy sausage, bacon, and other cured meats look for meats that do not contain MSG and other nitrates.  There are arguments that the nitrates lead to cancer and to heart disease.  I know there are arguments that say this is not ture but you don't need to take that risk.

If you would like to work with me to improve your health, stamina or vitality send me an email at:  janinemchale@empoweredplate.com.  Together we will create a plan that is fun, effective and designed specifically for you.  I can also be reached at my website:  http://empoweredplate.com/.