In the haze of the political climate right now, my head is spinning too much to be able to control my emotions enough not to write about what’s going on.
But I’m not going to do that.
Because as a good Canadian girl who may or may not have just gotten her American citizenship, well, I plead Canadian. I don’t live my life by the views of a political party. I lead by example: by being kind, by respecting everyone, no matter their race, ethnicity, religion, sexual preference, gender, dietary choices or even if they like me or not. There is room for us all on this planet (unless you’ve read Dan Brown’s Inferno, in which case, well…let’s just say some of us don’t feel that way), but what there is no room for is disrespect. We are all human, and Republican, Democrat, Liberal or otherwise, we all deserve to be treated and to treat others with respect, and I dare say even kindness. Because for all the ways that we may be different, there are more ways that we are the same. None of us is better than anyone else, and we all deserve to be treated equally.
So on November 8th, can’t I just vote for Justin…and ice hockey…and maple leaves….and maple syrup….(somebody stop me)?
Lead with love, people. Lead with love.
To take a break from these political shenanigans and the mockery of our democratic system, I’m doing what politicians seem to do so well:
I’m a bit of a health nut (have you noticed?), so I get approached a lot about how to eat healthy. I also happen to be a former (ok, current) sugar addict, so I specialize in making healthy food taste really good.
A few weeks ago, my friend asked me if I could put together a list of healthy snacks for busy people on the go who really want to eat healthy, but who always seem to find themselves reaching for the most convenient, not-so-nutritious food.
“I was just listening to an NPR interview with Frances Moore Lappe who wrote Diet for a Small Planet. She was one of the pioneers of the environmental vegetarianism movement.
Anyways, I have been experiencing a lot of tension surrounding being held accountable. We get told to be and do so many things throughout our day. The stress of the world leads (in my case) to stress eating. This is how my stress eating happens. I think: “I am told to be ‘x’. ‘y’ and ‘z’, can’t I just enjoy eating and just eat what I want?!” Then I stress eat (something high in sugar – you know me), THEN I feel terribly guilty because I have the societal demands of being thin, perfect and beautiful. ARGH.
Then on top of it all, I have this huge guilt of not bettering the planet, my wallet, my health and my life by not eating healthy.
I’ve just explained to you a horrible a process, so why do I let it continue? And why am I so resistant to change? Why do we resist change so much? Are we all demanded so much of that we see food as one of the few things we can actually enjoy or one of the few things we actually have control over?
In this busy and crazy world, how do we make healthy eating sexy, fun and not another thing to-do? I think there may be a need to for a “top 10 must-have recipes”; “top 5 must have utensils”; “top 10 must-have foods in the kitchen” for a busy individual who wants to eat healthy. Or a “beginners guide on how to cook healthy”; “beginners guide on the most cost-effective healthy shopping.”
I hear you, sweet friend. I hear you.
(I literally just stress ate an entire jar of roasted pumpkin seeds as I was writing this post. Trying to get it done before the baby wakes up! Notice I said pumpkin seeds. See? There is such a thing as guilt free stress eating!)
Apropos to my aside, let’s start with healthy snacking, so you can stress eat the heck out of the following list of food items not only without feeling guilty about it, but also, and even better, while feeling darn good – and I dare say even smug – about your choices.
10 HEALTHY SNACK IDEAS FOR BUSY STRESS EATERS
1. Almond butter and dark chocolate
You can buy it at the story, or you can try this homemade almond butter recipe. As for the chocolate? Get 85% Green and Black’s organic dark chocolate. It’s the best – velvety, rich and not too bitter. Keep these two items in your office or in your kitchen at all times and you will thank yourself (and me) forever.
2. Apples and pecan butter
Make a trip to the Farmer’s Market for your favorite variety of apples, and pair it with your store bought or homemade (like this one) pecan (or other) nut butter. Done.
3. Celery and almond butter
Same deal (only I’m pretty sure there is only one variety of celery).
4. Roasted mixed nuts
I make these for my husband all the time. You can buy them from the store, of course, but if you make them yourself, you can add any kind of spice you want, and you control the salt content too. Score! To make your own mix, simply pour your favorite nuts and seeds into a big bowl. Sprinkle with your favorite spices (I like a little bit of cayenne, sea salt and pepper), drizzle with a small amount of extra virgin olive (EVOO) or coconut oil, roast at 350F for 20 minutes or until browned. Be warned: let them cool before handling them. I’ve burned my mouth on many a hot nut in my time (…hehe…).
5. Roasted pumpkin seeds
Buy these from the store, or – if you’re celebrating the wondrous fall holidays this October, carve yourself a pumpkin, save the seeds and make them yourself! If making them from a pumpkin, rinse off the slime, dry them off in the oven at 375F for about 5 minutes, take them out, drizzle with your favorite spices (I like a bit of cumin, garam masala, sea salt and pepper) and some EVOO or coconut oil, bake for another 10 minutes or until browned.
6. A Spoonful of any nut or seed butter
Yup. Keep a jar of your favorite nut or seed butter in your office or kitchen. Keep a spoon nearby. Take a big ol’ spoonful of that butter when you feel the urge to eat something. It’s delicious and nutritious!
7. A half an avocado with lemon juice, EVOO, sea salt and pepper
This one is easier if you’re at home, but if you’re in an office, you can prepare it ahead of time and just bring it in a tupperware.
8. Up the ante on #7 and add an egg (hard boiled or poached) to the mix – you’ll be full for hours!
9. A protein shake
Who says protein shakes are just for the morning? Certainly not me! But don’t go for any of those crappy brands. I used to be a big fan of Vega, but more recently I’ve become enamored with Shakeology (vegan chocolate is my jam). I usually add goat milk kefir, coconut oil, hemp milk and water, blend it up and carry the shake with me on the go. You can also make it heartier by adding some fruit (like a banana) or some nut or seed butter….or even half an avocado. You can also make it simpler by just adding protein powder to milk or non-dairy milk and water, shake it up, and be on your merry way.
10. A coconut milk latte
There’s so much good fat in coconut milk that it’s likely to keep you full for awhile…at least until you can get yourself a real meal – see this recipe to quench your thirst – and hunger!
Ok, let’s keep going. Why stop at 10 healthy snacks when I could tell you about dinner too?
Want to have a healthy dinner when you get home?
Just make sure you always have some kind of organic salad in the fridge (arugula or spring mix or spinach). Stock your cupboard with hemp seeds, chia seeds, sesame seeds, walnuts, any nuts and seeds you like, quinoa (if you eat grains) balsamic vinegar (without caramel coloring), EVOO, sea salt and pepper.
Make sure you have some cooked quinoa prepared in the fridge. And be sure to have avocados on hand. And if you like cheese, have some goat or feta cheese in the fridge.
Great. Now put a nice meal together for yourself. Add a handful or two of lettuce, followed by a tablespoon of any or all nuts and seeds (I usually do hemp, chia, sesame, sunflower seeds and walnuts and sometimes slivered almonds). Add half an avocado, cheese, and quinoa, drizzle with EVOO, vinegar, sea salt and pepper, and you have a meal.
Want it to be heartier?
Add a few hard boiled eggs. Or if you’re a meat or fish eater, pick up an already cooked piece of fish/meat from the market on your way home from work and put it on your salad.
Don’t eat meat or eggs? Add some tempeh or tofu.
Done and done.
Want another idea?
It’s winter squash time, so go grab your favorite squash (I’m equally obsessed with Acorn, Butternut, Kabocha and Spaghetti). Preheat your oven to 400F. Poke some holes in your squash. Put it on a pan. Put that bad boy in the oven for about 40-60 minutes or until it’s tender (you’ll know it’s done when you stick a fork in it and the fork slices right through like butter). Cut it open. Remove the seeds. Save one half for tomorrow, and drizzle the other half with EVOO, or even your favorite store bought pesto or whatever sauce you like. Add salt and pepper to the party. Add cheese to the party if you want. And sprinkle some seeds or nuts onto it too. Great. Put that bad boy on a plate, grab a fork, and eat.
Then grab yourself a scoop of almond butter and dark chocolate, and stress eat yourself into oblivion – without the side of guilt.
(And maybe next time we’ll deal with uncovering why you’re stress eating in the first place. Until then…eat on, sweet friend. Eat. On.)
Love, love, love,