Making Changes

One other thing I did was to start cooking my own dinners again.

For years I had an old regular oven that had to be cleaned using oven-cleaner cans.

The fumes were toxic. It was a chore to use the cleaner.  Food got caught underneath the burners.

In any number of “green cleaning” books there are alternatives to using oven-cleaner cans.

Try The Modern Organic Home by Natalie Wise for starters. It might be able to be checked out of the library.

It might seem extreme yet my solution was to buy a self-cleaning oven.

I’ve cooked my own dinners three or four times a week so far.

I find that when you have a disappointment or two in your life it pays to focus on something else temporarily.

My goal of publishing a career handbook will not happen any time soon.

While I wait to make this happen I want to devote the blog to health topics.

In terms of the mind-body connection food is fuel for your body. Your body is a workhorse that can help you achieve goals.

Without health what does a person really have? Life is difficult when you don’t have your health.

Which is why compassion needs to be given to those of us who aren’t shiny happy people with photogenic Instagram feeds.

My fitness level is linked to my efforts. Yet for a lot of people it can seem like the luck of the draw that they become ill.

We shouldn’t blame each other. We shouldn’t judge each other.

All in all in this Flourish blog I want to talk about mental health and physical health to educate, empower, and entertain readers.

Today’s lunch just might be a Table 87 margherita pizza 🙂

Making Fitness My Priority

I’ve come to make fitness a priority.

Health equals wealth. The true definition of wealth is abundance.

With health you have what you need to achieve your life goals.

Being ill makes it that much harder to succeed.

Over the years through a series of events I’ve come to prize having a fit mind and a strong body.

The mind and body work together to give us optimal health.

I’m 54. Two years ago when I was 52 and started menopause my energy tanked. Would I have to accept that my old energy was gone for good?

My body is getting older. My mind is still youthful.

Could bridging this divide help me get back my energy?

At about the time I turned 52 and started going through “the change” of life as a woman other things happened.

I stopped taking any kind of vitamin or supplement. I had wanted to believe I could satisfy my nutritional needs solely through food choices alone.

This is also when I stopped cooking my own meals for dinner. I relied on boxed frozen food packages that were supposed to be healthier choices.

Folks, I ate a lot of this prepared junk for too long. To compensate, I started ordering food to be delivered to my apartment for dinner.

The restaurant food was healthful yet way more expensive every week.

The remedy came on in April of this year 2019 when on a whim I hired the health coach.

After scrambling eggs and veggies for breakfast for the last six months my mood improved.

By exercising in the morning in my living room 2x per week my body got fitter too.

Last week I wondered if perhaps I could use other help. I ordered Vitamin D tablets from the FullScript link my health coach had sent me online.

I’ve started to take one Vitamin D pill in the morning with breakfast.

Would I see a return to my old energy level or at least an improved energy level?

I was motivated to resume taking a Vitamin D pill after reading the Eating Well special edition magazine Eating for Energy.

This book is a common-sense guide to doing what it says: eating for energy.

I also changed one other thing for the better. I’ll talk about what I did in the next blog entry.

My intent is to give readers hope that making positive changes is possible at any time in your life and your recovery.

You might not be in such great health. As always I recommend the book Changeology: 5 Steps to Realizing Your Goals and Resolutions.

I’ve achieved numerous goals in the last year by using the 90-day action plan detailed in this lifesaver of a book.

In coming blog entries I’ll continue to report on the results I’m achieving by making these small, consistent, incremental changes.

Making positive changes isn’t easy. It’s natural to resist doing what’s in your best interest when it’s easier to adhere to the status quo.

Only I tell you readers: the status quo wasn’t working in my life.

It was time to do things differently. I’ll tell you how things turned out: better than I expected.

Read on for the results.

Butternut Squash Soup

butternut soup

I have modified this recipe from the original version offered at another website. Owing to length and copyright issues.

The version I created is quicker and easier. A plus as not a lot of us have the time or energy to labor over a hot stove for hours on end.

Ingredients

1 large butternut squash halved vertically and seeded (about 3 pounds)

1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for drizzling.

1/2 cup chopped shallot (about 1 large shallot bulb)

4 garlic cloves, pressed or minced.

1 teaspoon maple syrup

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

3 to 4 cups vegetable broth, as needed (24 to 32 ounces)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Drizzle each half of the squash with just enough olive oil to lightly coat on the inside (about 1/2 teaspoon each.)
  2. Turn the squash face down and roast until tender and completely cooked, about 40 to 50 minutes. Let it cool about 10 minutes. Then scoop the butternut squash flesh into a blender.
  3. In a medium skillet, warm 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add the chopped shallot. Cook, stirring often, until the shallot has started to turn golden on the edges, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook about 1 minute, stirring frequently.
  4. Transfer shallot and garlic to blender. Add in maple syrup and nutmeg. Pour in 3 cups vegetable broth.
  5. Use blend function on the blender if it doesn’t have a soup pre-set.
  6. Heat the soup in a saucepan.

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The butternut squash I used from the CSA box was medium-sized.

Thus, it might have been better to decrease the amount of liquid I used to only 1 1/2 cups for a creamier soup. I had used 3 cups like the recipe called for.

Also, I should’ve decreased the cooking time for the shallots and garlic. They got burnt so I had to add more and re-do for a shorter time.

I prefer to use the FreshDirect vegetable stock instead of regular broth. This is because the stock has no natural flavors just real ingredients.

You can use vegetable broth if you’d like. Either way it should be fine. Just lower the amount of liquid should you want a creamier soup and have a smaller squash.

 

 

Falling in Love with Food

The early fall is my favorite time of year.

It’s where I’m falling in love with the food offered at the Greenmarkets and via the online groceries vendor in New York City.

I’ve taken to ordering an organic CSA box every week. The box is chock full of produce. For only $30 you get enough vegetables to last for three or four days of cooking.

The Hepworth Farms cornucopia features a carrot, tomatoes, potatoes, broccoli, hot pepper, Lacinato kale, an ear of corn, garlic heads, an onion bulb, shallots, two apples, and scallions. And oh—mint leaves, celery, hot peppers and a green pepper, and butternut squash.

If you ask me $30 isn’t a heck of a lot of money for this assortment. Ordering groceries online and having them delivered right to your front door beats the hassle of going to a food market.

Who wants to dodge shopping carts  and have to wait on line to pay for the  mostly unhealthful food and drink options?

Plus, I can’t reach any of the items I want to get. A market employee has to be called on to bring the organic lettuce down from a high shelf.

I’ve given up on going to a food market for major weekly shopping.

Plus the last time I bought scallops from a market I thought I was going to get food poisoning after cooking and eating them.

If you live in New York City and want the only superb seafood, go to a Greenmarket vendor that sells fish and other catches of the sea during market season.

At other times of the year go to a standalone seafood storefront where all they sell is fish.

In the second blog entry for today I’m going to feature a recipe for Butternut Squash Soup.

Pure joy can be had when you eat healthfully eighty percent of the time and break a sweat at least twice a week.

This is my mantra: eat well to live well.

Though I can’t resist having a honey-lavender macaroon or a scoop of ice cream here and there : )

FreshDirect online grocery shopping here.

Eggs and Avocado Sandwich

By chance I spotted on a shelf at the library a great recipe collection: Ziggy Marley and Family Cookbook.

Twelve years ago, a friend and I saw Ziggy Marley in concert. Everyone was on their feet dancing and swaying to the reggae.

I’ve collected a number of cookbooks over the years. After checking this one out of the library I bought it for my apartment.

The Marley livet (diet) uses whole, organic food. It’s called ital. You can call me an Italian because I buy fresh, organic food too.

In New York City you can use SNAP benefits (food stamps) to buy produce at GrowNYC Greenmarkets around town.

The Rastafari performer echoes in his book my manifesto: that the food you eat can impact your mood. My body feels better when I eat better.

Losing just 4 pounds made a great difference.

Owing to copyright I can’t reproduce the specific recipes in the Ziggy Marley cookbook. Instead I’ll offer you a modified version that’s irie in its own right. As well, quicker and easier.

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Rise and Shine Eggs and Avocado

1/ 2 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 eggs

2 slices sourdough bread, or other favorite bread

2 butter lettuce leaves

2 slices heirloom tomato (you can use beefsteak or other)

2 avocados

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, or to taste

Salt and pepper, to taste

 

Toast bread.

To make avocado spread: Mix and mash avocados with lemon juice and salt and pepper.

Fry eggs in butter and olive oil

Apply avocado spread to bread, top with lettuce, tomatoes, and eggs.

Serves 1 person.

It occurs to me that you can insert a slice of Swiss cheese if you wanted to.

Changeology Step 3 Perspire Update

It’s been 8 weeks since I hired the health coach.

In the 8 weeks or 56 days I’ve scrambled eggs and veggies for breakfast.

For only 4 days I had to buy an egg wrap at a coffee shop.

So I’ve completed Step 3 Perspire of the Changeology 5-Step method for realizing goals and resolutions.

Step 4 is Persevere and Step 5 is Persist.

I’ve recommended the Changeology book often because it’s a scientifically proven method for achieving goals and resolutions.

Step 3 Perspire takes 30 to 60 days to execute. The 5-Step method is a 90-day action plan.

So I have completed the action plan.

My story is living proof that the Changeology book is effective.

Greenmarket season has arrived in New York City.

In coming Fitness Friday blog entries I will be giving recipes.

Plus talking about healthful snacks you can take on the go.

There are better options than the standard high sugar natural flavor-laden protein bars.

I’ll talk about these portable options next.

Getting Support for Your Goals

The one small act of scrambling eggs and veggies for breakfast has whirled into action other goals in a snowball roll.

The health coach services end in two weeks. This 2-month health coach service was well worth the money.

This is why I tell readers to get the support you need to plan and prepare for the new goals you want to take on.

One of my ideas is to go back to school for a writing degree.

It can be scary to make changes even though the changes might be positive.

That’s why I say: create a support team of individuals you can talk with.

Lastly: to remember that with health you have everything you need.

What I write I would like to educate, empower, and entertain readers.

To give followers the idea that it’s not as hard as you think to make changes.

I’ve been scrambling culinary sunshine for 6 weeks so far.

I say Go for It: risk change.

You don’t know until you try what’s possible.