I’m not going to sugar-coat it; life is difficult right now. Sure, I have many reasons to smile, but truth is, I also have many reasons to stress. As I manage this newly single parenting thing while going back to school and running the airbnb in a house that is falling apart*, I can often become overwhelmed by the amount of responsibility that falls solely upon me. And rather than finding a middle ground between the emotional swings of excitement for a life ahead that is full of mystery and surprise and overwhelming stress and grief that comes with loss for the life I thought I had, I am often just jumping from one extreme or another, finding a balanced healthy life difficult to achieve.
While there is little I can do to change the circumstances that are causing the stress in my life, I have made some significant changes to be as healthy as possible which, in the end, make me better equipped to handle the stress.
One of the easiest and most powerful changes I have made to my health is drinking water. For the first time in my life I am completely hydrated. After 34 years of not believing it, I finally have come to understand the importance of water. For the past several weeks I’ve been drinking at least 12 cups of water a day and friends, let me tell you, this is the secret to life-long youth. Nothing can compare to this new level of energy and the uninterrupted night of sleep the way that true hydration has. If I can give you once piece of advice it would be this: hydrate yourself.**
I have also found relief by doing a morning yoga routine and a nightly meditation. These simple practices remind me to breathe, stay present, and stay focused. With this as part of my daily routine, I am more easily able to come back to a centered self when the stress of life becomes too much.
And, most importantly, I have become increasingly aware of the food I put in my body.
I have returned to the 30 day challenge, filling up on whole, nutrient-packed foods and saying goodbye to all gluten, soy, and sugar, as more of a lifestyle rather than what it aways has been, a short-term challenge. With this shift I am noticing my relationship to food change. What I put in my body can either harm or heal, playing an important part in my overall physical and emotional wellness. This is also true with how I choose to use (exercise) my body and mind and the simple choice of staying well hydrated.
It has been an incredible transformation to see in the midst of a crazy, stressful season. And, while the stress will be gone as my circumstances allow it, these life-giving adjustments towards holistic health and care for my body on this new level will have lasting effects. For that, I am able to feel gratitude (at times) that I have gotten to the point that pushed to learn this invaluable lesson.
This Thai Cashew Salad has become one of my go to meals recently. It is fresh and flavorful, packed with protein and nutrients, and easy to throw together for a quick meal. The Sesame Peanut Sauce is a variation of this one, one of my all-time favorites.
So to springtime and health, dig in!
*This isn’t true; the house is standing strong. It just doesn’t always feel like it when things start breaking down.
**This is also not true, it would actually be to go vegan and after that I would probably say vote for Bernie Sanders.
- Thai Quinoa Salad
- ½ cup (uncooked) quinoa
- 1 red bell pepper, sliced thin
- 1 large carrot, shaved or sliced thin
- 1 cup fresh pineapple, chopped
- 1 cup kale, massaged
- ¾ cup edamame
- ½ cup roasted cashews
- ¼ cup basil, chopped
- 3-4 green onions, diced
Sesame Peanut Sauce
- ½ cup peanut butter
- ½ cup sesame oil
- ¼ cup rice vinegar
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, chopped
- 2-3 teaspoons agave nectar
- Bring quinoa and 1 cup water to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to a simmer for 20 minutes or until all the water has absorbed. Once ready, fluff cooked quinoa with a fork and set aside to cool.
- While the quinoa is cooking, prepare all the salad ingredients. Set aside.
- In a blender combine the Sesame Peanut Sauce ingredients and process until smooth.
- When quinoa is cooled, toss all salad ingredients together. Stir in Sesame Peanut Sauce.
- Top with extra green onions, basil, and cashews and serve.