Be Bold. Eat Buddha Bowls. 

I ate well last week. Buddha Bowls were my meals for the week, portioned into single serving containers for quick grab and go. The inspiration for these Buudha Bowls came from my son. During a conversation he mentioned that he makes them, stores them in the refrigerator and eats them throughout the week. I asked him a few questions about how he prepared them, checked a few online ideas and I was inspired to create my own.

Buddha Bowls are my new favorite lunch. I plan on making more today to get me through this coming week. The most common way to create a Buddha Bowl starts with a base, which is generally a dark green vegetable. Next there’s a grain, a protein, a complex carbohydrate, something sweet, some crunch and some fluff (this would be toppings like chives, cilantro, sesame seeds, etc). All this goodness is topped with a fantastic sauce which is key for a superb bowl.

I adapted my Buddha Bowls to what I had on hand. I am definitely making it with chicken instead of beef when I make more today. Beef is delicious but I think a different sauce would compliment the meat more. The nutty asian-inpired sauce I made will be more ideal with chicken.

I also used some frozen and some fresh veggies. I very rarely buy frozen vegetables. My local grocer had 50% off on a brand I favor and their frozen vegetables were so inexpensive I bought several packages. I’ve found it difficult to get enough raw, fresh veggies in me lately so I decided to take a temporary different direction. It certainly worked!  In addition to the vegetables in my Buddha Bowls, I’ve enjoyed a couple fresh made juices and delicious fresh green salads. I’m planning more of the same for this week, too.

I encourage you to check out some ideas online and come up with your own unique version of these delicious, healthful meals. Here’s how I prepared my Buddha Bowls:

My base was spinach, then I added brown jasmine rice. My frozen veggie combo consisted of green beans, multiple colors and cuts of carrots, sweet peas, corn, broccoli and cauliflower. I tossed them together on a baking sheet, sprinkled a bit of granulated garlic and roasted them in the oven. My protein was thinly sliced grass fed sirloin steak, browned to medium rare in my cast iron skillet. I added roasted yams, cut into bite sized chunks, skipped the sweet and used chopped romaine as my crunch. I topped it with grated ginger, chives and black sesame seeds. Now, the best part-the sauce!  I looked up a few versions and then made up my own. My measurements are rough and I adjusted to taste, but here’s a good base recipe to start:

3 Tbsp creamy sunbutter

1 Tbsp low-sodium tamari

Juice of 1 lime, freshly squeezed

1 tsp rice vinegar

1 Tbsp honey

1.5 Tbsp sesame oil

1 small garlic clove, minced

1/2 tsp ground ginger (I also added ginger juice)

1/2 tsp granulated garlic

I added all ingredients, gave it a quick zap in the microwave to thin the sunbutter then whisked it until everything was evenly combined. I divided the sauce between my containers then topped some with chopped chives & black sesame seeds.

Although Buddha Bowls were the highlight of my week, I did make a two other cassoulets I ate for dinner. These were made with grass fed ground beef, more of the same vegetable combination I used for the Buddha Bowls, spiced with garlic, parsley, cumin, salt and pepper then topped with leftover biscuit dough. Lastly, I managed to get in more fresh produce by making mason jar juice!

I certainly ate healthful food that made my body feel good. Taking a few hours to prepare meals for the week keeps me from wanting to grab unhealthy foods like the little bag of fritos in the convenience market near work that becomes lunch or spending money on the many food carts that line the downtown streets. Homemade meals are always best. My body feels better, my mind is positively focused and my spirit is calm. Eating well makes me happy. I encourage you to try make ahead meals. It’s a great way to be assured you’ll get proper balanced nutrition. I guarantee that will motivate you to be your best every day. Now, who doesn’t want that? 

Advertisements

When Professional & Personal Worlds Merge

I attended the most fascinating workshop this week.  This FREE event, a workshop entitled “Too Much Stuff” was sponsored by our county task force on hoarding.  Throughout the day we were encouraged to tweet  #pdxstuff  to call awareness to hoarding disorder.

I wanted to attend this all day seminar after recently having direct experience in my work with a hoarding resident who was at risk of eviction.  My goal for attending was to leave with a better understanding of brain functioning in people living with hoarding behaviors.

I certainly walked away with what I intended and so much more.  I had some surprising personal insights that shed light on behaviors I witnessed with my ex, “M”.  I was reminded of our last conversation before she told me to leave.  It really wasn’t a conversation; more like “M’s” inner monologue leaking outward because I made a feeling statement about something that was bothering me.  In the usual off topic ranting, what I heard from the babble was “M” didn’t like seeing my things around the house.  I remember being hurt and confused.  Simply put,  I lived in the house.  That’s why my things were there.  Additionally,  as in countless times of the past I attempted a real conversation about something that was bothering me and in the usual way,  I was left bewildered by the behaviors of “M” with no real resolve to the original concern.  I understand now why I let so much fall to the wayside,  but what I didn’t understand until I sat in that workshop was how much the fear of hoarding played a role in “M”‘s behavior throughout our relationship and was ultimately the catalyst for the demand that I move out.

By “M”‘s own admission, her family of origin has hoarding behaviors.  So much so that it led to decisions “M” would make in her own life.  It was the subject of many conversations.  I heard story upon story of hoarding tendencies that thread through the family lines.  Me,  person of stuff–not even close to the true definition of hoarding,  had sufficient belongings that “M” was well aware of when I moved in.  We had a room we called “the office”.   Essentially, it was an unused space with furnishings and a bunch of, well…clutter; “M”‘s things.  That clutter was different from mine though because it was hers (the illusion of having control)!  Really,  it was “M”‘s ironing room and a place to dump paperwork.   I moved in with craft supplies, taking over said “office”.  Multiple times I listened to “M”‘s complaints of the “cluttered” office.   Multiple times I asked to help me create space for my things so it didn’t look that way.   That never happened.

From the general obsessive behavior and the need for perfection to the constant concerns that the house had too much stuff (it didn’t),  I learned in this workshop that “M” displayed nearly every characteristic of a person with hoarding tendencies.  However, what I determined was that the deep seeded fear of hoarding is what kept “M” from the actual act of it, almost!  Lest I mentioned the shed full of rocks in boxes that weren’t mine!  It was truly a mind blowing day for me.  I found myself saying “wow” under my breath on numerous occasions as I had “ah-ha” moments.  Do you ever have those?  Suddenly something makes sense, it “clicks” and things all come together in your mind like a wave of instant awareness.  I have had so many of those surrounding my past relationship.

Although the demand for me to move out was on the heals of an issue “M” saw as borderline hoarding on my part, that demand truly had nothing to do with my belongings and had everything to do with the boundaries I set for myself in how I allowed her family members, specifically her adult daughter to treat me.  That is where the truth lies.

I moved, getting rid of nearly all those belongings “M” complained about.  I let them go with relative ease by the way, because I do not have a hoarding issue.  I now have a lot more knowledge of this widespread issue and I had some amazing insights that helped remind me I was not the problem in that relationship, as “M” would have wanted me and likely everyone else to believe. That workshop was another reminder that “M” really did (likely still does) have some serious mental health concerns that were not being addressed.

Since I blog mostly about food, let me not forget: we were on our own for lunch and because it is safest for me to eat my own food, I brought an amazing salad that was simple yet hearty and filling.  salad

The workshop was walking distance from the house I shared with “M”, who no longer lives there either.  I was compelled to go by because I was in the neighborhood and hadn’t been by that place since I left.  I was curious.  It looks the same.  I had no twinge of missing it or the neighborhood as I wandered by.  In fact, I found myself being grateful for right where I am and so glad that part of my life is in the past.  All this from one workshop!  My love of learning, professionally and personally will never end.

 

 

 

Dip. Dip. Depression.

I really enjoy a good dip.  I define that as one containing protein, veggies and is substantial enough (for me) to sustain me like a meal with the addition of raw veggies and/or rice crackers.  I tend to forget to eat, under eat or eat the wrong foods for my body when things get hectic.  As I’ve shared in some recent posts, my life has become crazy hectic.  I have been coping with plenty of chaos these days as I adjust to my surprising life changes.

I do admit some of that chaos happens in my head.  However, I do not want to minimize the difficulties and stress I’m experiencing and I want to acknowledge that sometimes, well….I just need to breath because it will be okay.  I am up against some huge challenges and frenzied thoughts zoom through my mind when I think about the senseless cruelty of it all.  I am working to calm the crazies in my mind by staying connected to people and keeping focused in the present.

I have debated how much I want to share about what is going on to cause me so much stress these days.  I realize that I have already shared such a deep part of my life in telling the story of my mom’s illness and death.  I decided this is no different.  What I am currently experiencing is much like a sudden death.  It came as such a shock and complete surprise.  I am grieving plenty right now.  Just a few days after Christmas my sweetie, who I will now refer to as M, told me to move out then refused to have any conversation about what caused such an extreme action for no apparent reason.  There had been nothing negative between us of any significance that would result in this bizarre behavior.  I have been completely ignored since that day with the exception of one robotic, unemotional email that honestly just felt like an additional “slap”.  There have been just a few texts about practical things and that is it.  It is truly surreal.  My sweetie has abruptly become a complete stranger.

I left what could have been a career job just a few months ago to stay home and explore some creative endeavors while seeking work in my degree field.  This was a difficult and serious decision for me that involved many weeks of discussion with M.  Never did it include anything about unhappiness in our relationship or suggestions of any trouble; only complete support and encouragement for my decision.  This, adding to the bizarre behavior that was yet to come.  I am currently employed very part time at a local kitchen store at just above minimum wage.  I have little savings since I had just contributed most of it toward our household.  I don’t use credit cards.  You can imagine why I have chaos in my mind, I’m sure.  It’s enough to cause anyone some depression.

As I chopped the veggies and whipped up this dip in my food processor, depression was the very topic I was processing in my mind.  I had such an incredible realization the other morning so significant it has created a lot of churning thoughts.  The feeling is so profound I cannot ignore it.  I have spent months thinking that the death of my mom had triggered a depression in me so deep I was considering seeing a doctor to discuss prescription anti-depressants; something I never have considered at any point in my life regardless of the circumstances I faced.  I take a holistic and natural approach to everything I do.  I know there are plenty of options that are just as effective and much healthier for me than anti-depressant drugs.  Yet, I was feeling stuck in a depression I had never experienced before and all my usual “go-to’s” for feeling better rarely worked their usual magic.  I just felt so heavy and engulfed in angst.  What I have to say about that now is, I am so glad I was having issues with my new health coverage, keeping me from finding a new doctor to make an appointment with.  Because that profound feeling I woke up to just recently was the feeling of enlightenment that I am not depressed.  It was such an incredible feeling so penetrating I laid in bed, relishing it for a while. I felt so light.  I felt like me again. I am sad and I am struggling with the loss of my relationship and my home.  I am devastated that the person who said they loved me and wanted to share in life with me could treat me so horribly.  I am still sad about the loss of my mom, but I am not depressed.

I am very sensitive to peoples’ energies and I know that statement raises a questioning eyebrow for some, but to those who know what I mean, you understand what this feels like.  There is a general apathy about my sweetie, who is prone to inertia.  By M’s own admission, it is more comfortable to sit in misery than to work on moving out of it to a better feeling place.  I have lived under the roof of a home filled with darkness and I did not realize it until I was forced out.  For me, it is like a dark cloud that has been hanging over me suddenly dissipated and I see the light.  I find it interesting that the house had so many avenues for light with great windows, including skylights yet the house always felt so dark to me.  My physical and emotional energy was being consumed by M’s general despondency toward life.  I realize now that most of my time spent living under the same roof has been while my mom was sick and dying.  In my own grief I did not grasp the severity of what M was experiencing.

I had no idea how much this was bringing me down.  To date, this is my most significant realization.  I am deeply grateful for this and if it took this tragedy to come to my realization I will (eventually) accept it.  Even in the midst of all this mess, one would think I am depressed.  I am struggling with circumstances beyond my control and that creates a lot of feelings, but I am not depressed. It feels really great to say that.  I move through each day now with a feeling of hope that I thought was lost in me.

I am grateful that I am able to find the strength and resilience I need to take care of my physical and emotional health.  I actively work on my thoughts and emotions every day.  I use the tools I have to create joy daily.  I am gaining a deeper understanding of enjoying each moment.  I definitely get stuck and I sometimes make unhealthy choices.  I can somehow find the courage I need to pull myself from my own dark places.  Part of doing that is taking the time to make food that nourishes me and helps me feel my best.  When my body feels good, my mind feels good. This bean dip will help keep me on my path to the healthiest me I can be, in all ways.  I hope you will find it delicious and satisfying, too.  Enjoy with your favorite vegetables or crackers.

Cumin Lime Black Bean Dip

1 15 oz can black beans

1/2 diced yellow onion

1 Tblsp cumin

1 tsp garlic/salt

juice of one lime

1/4 c cilantro

1 large carrot

process all in food processor.  serve with veggies or crackers

IMG_3125 IMG_3127 IMG_3128