Monthly Archives:

January 2017

Mindfulness Practice/ Other Anxiety Tips

Mindfulness in the Kitchen

Practice Mindfulness While Cooking

The cooking process itself is extremely helpful and therapeutic for dealing with anxiety. Don’t look at cooking as a chore or something you have to do. Look at cooking as a fascinating and beautiful process. Be mindful. When you are cooking, focus on:

  • The way things smell.
  • How does the ingredient you are using smell?
  • Is it strong? Do you like it? Do you not like it?
  • How does peeling the onion feel between your fingers?
  • Feel the texture of the ingredient you’re using.
  • Observe the way the food/ingredient looks when it’s cooking.
  • Fully immerse yourself in the way the ingredients look when they hit a hot pan.

Fully immerse yourself in the way the onion and garlic sound when they hit the hot olive oil. Use all of your senses so you can be fully present in the moment. Every moment you are in the kitchen, every sound you hear, or smell that wafts towards you, take the time to experience and enjoy it.

Often when you have anxiety, you get caught up in your fears, worries, and thoughts all the time. You forget what it’s like to actually experience things as they are happening around you. Taking the time to practice mindfulness while cooking can train your brain to focus on small things you would typically not notice so you can distract yourself from your thoughts and focus your attention elsewhere…to something positive and fun!

It will be completely natural for your mind to wander around when you first start this practice, but this is normal. Don’t get frustrated and give up on yourself. When you notice your mind starting to wander, gently bring your focus back to the cooking task you’re doing at the moment. You’re not necessarily trying to stop any bad or anxious thought that comes to mind. Rather, you are trying to let that thought be, acknowledge it, and then simply move on from it, focusing on the task at hand.

For your convenience, I have made a graphic you can print out and keep in the kitchen to always remind you of being mindful in the kitchen.

Breakfast/ Eggs/ Single Serve

Kale & Sausage Whole Wheat Biscuit & Egg Cups

eggs cups

The Perfect Savory Make-Ahead Breakfast

I love myself a yummy egg breakfast. Sometimes I love to make fresh eggs in the morning and other times I want something super quick that can literally just be reheated in the microwave. So, the perfect solution? Make-ahead egg cups!

These are really special because they are filled with nutrient rich kale – which is great for combating anxiety – yummy sausage and the wheat biscuits are made from scratch. A healthy and wholesome breakfast is one of the easiest ways to start off your day on the right foot, especially for anxiety sufferers.

Gather your biscuit ingredients

Add the flour, baking soda, and salt into the food processor. Pulse until combined. I used pink Himalayan salt since it’s filled with super healthy minerals.

Cut butter into small pieces and add to the flour in the food processor. Pulse the butter into the flour until it resembles coarse sand/small pebbles. If you wind up taking it too far, don’t worry about it too much! It will still come up buttery and flakey. Aim for it to look something like the picture above.

Add in your milk of choice and let the food processor go to work. It should start pulling away from the side and begin forming into a ball. The dough may appear pretty sticky at this point. If it is too sticky and having trouble getting to this point add a tablespoon of flour at a time until it comes together better.

Once it comes together like pictures above, turn out on a floured surface. My dough was still pretty sticky, so I added a tablespoon of flour at a time until the dough wasn’t sticky and became smooth like pictured above!

Divide your dough into 12 equally sized balls and press each one into the muffin pan. Make sure the dough comes all the way up the sides so you have a good vessel to hold all those yummy ingredients.

Now it’s time to gather your ingredients for the egg part of these egg cups. These steps aren’t pictures but, mix your eggs and milk together, add salt and pepper to taste. Chop up the kale into small pieces and the sausage into small circles. Add the kale and sausage to the biscuit cups than evenly pour the egg mixture into the 12 cups. Top with cheese if desired!

I did 6 with a raw sharp cheddar and 6 without. Garrett hates cheese…that weirdo…I ALWAYS give him a hard time about it, because seriously, who hates cheese??

Put cups into a preheated oven ay 400 degrees for about 30 minutes. All oven cook a bit differently so start checking on them at 20 minutes or so. You’re looking for the eggs to fully set and turn slightly golden brown around the edges.

Anxiety Fighting Ingredients

 

 

Kale & Sausage Whole Wheat Biscuit & Egg Cups

Print Recipe
Serves: 12 Cooking Time: 30

Ingredients

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup milk (I use Silk coconut milk)
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • _________________________________________
  • 5 eggs
  • 1/2 cup any milk
  • 1 cup finely chopped kale
  • 1 package of sausage (I used Applegate natural pork sausage ~ 9 sausage links)
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Instructions

1

In a food processor, add the flour, baking powder, and salt. Pulse a few times until the dry ingredients are incorporated.

2

Cut butter into smaller pieces and add the food processor. Pulse together until small crumbs form. It should have the appearance of small pebbles.

3

Add milk. Let the food processor combine the milk into the dry ingredients fully and the dough starts pulling away from the sides and creates a ball. The dough may be pretty sticky, but that's ok.

4

Turn out onto a floured surface. If your dough is pretty sticky this is your time to add flour so it fully comes together and you can handle the dough without it sticking everywhere. Knead in about 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough is the right texture.

5

Spray your muffin tin with cooking spray. Divide dough into 12 balls and press the dough into your muffin tin - make sure it comes up along the sides all the way!

6

Chop the kale and slice the sausage and distribute evenly into the biscuit cups.

7

In a medium sized bowl, whisk the eggs and milk.

8

Add salt and pepper to taste - about 1/4 teaspoon pepper and 1 teaspoon salt.

9

Pour egg mixture evenly into the muffin tin.

10

Bake at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes or until the eggs are slightly golden brown and there is no raw egg on top.

Notes

*You can customize these any way you'd like! Remember, always be creative in the kitchen and use the ingredients you have on hand. You can make them vegetarian, add any combo of veggies you have on hand, add some gooey cheese, use bacon or turkey sausage...anything you want 🙂 *Use organic ingredients whenever possible *Practice mindful cooking! See this post to learn how to use mindfulness while in the kitchen and how it's such an awesome way to help calm anxiety. Print out my handy "Mindful Cooking" guide to always keep in your kitchen. The guide is a great reminder for how to use cooking to ease your mind and keep your mind focused on the task of cooking.

Breakfast/ In a Mug/ Muffins/ Single Serve/ Vegan/ Vegetarian

Coconut & Mixed Berry Mug Muffin

mug muffin

Oh, muffins. So fluffy, cakey, and delicious. Muffins make the perfect quick and on-the-go breakfast. It is always a better idea to make your muffins and baked goods at home because you can control the quality of the ingredients, sugar level, and customize them any way you’d like!

I love making a batch of muffins on the weekends to eat throughout the week, but sometimes I find myself craving one for breakfast with a hot cup of coffee, but don’t have a batched made. When that happens, a mug muffin is the perfect solution. It’s quick and simple, taking less than 5 minutes to prepare.What I also love about this recipe is you can even make it the night before and just do a fast reheat in the morning – voila, a hot, fresh muffin!

Another thing I love about this mug muffin? It is SO light and fluffy. We don’t have any of that weird rubbery and tough mug muffin/cake here. Gross.

There are also no fancy ingredients, no butter, no egg, no dairy, (making it vegan) and not a lot of sugar. It’s a win all around.

This is an extremely easy and versatile recipe, so get creative with it and use any ingredients that you have on hand. If you don’t have coconut milk, use regular milk or another milk substitute. Use olive oil or vegetable oil if you don’t have coconut oil. Use fresh fruit, or make it a chocolate chip muffin by replacing the berries with chocolate chips!

Add your dry ingredients to a large mug and whisk well. Add wet ingredients directly to the dry and stir until just combined. Don’t stir too much, otherwise, you risk a tougher muffin.

Add in your mixed berries or other add-ins of your choice!

Microwave for about 60 seconds or until all the batter is cooked on top. If it’s not done after 60 seconds, microwave in 15-second increments until done.

Enjoy!

Anxiety Fighting Ingredients

  • Blueberries/berries – rich is antioxidants and vitamin C, which can help fight rises and spikes in cortisol levels within the body. Preventing cortisol spikes is important for anxiety sufferers because it’s also known as the “fight or flight” hormone. Too much cortisol causes feelings of nervousness and fear, makes your heart beat faster, and contributes to muscle contractions. This makes your body feel as though there is an eminent threat, and low and behold – anxiety rears its ugly head. Adding these super berries to your breakfast can help start your day off on the right foot by helping cortisol levels return to a healthy level.

Want to learn more about cortisol levels? Read this awesome and informative article: https://draxe.com/cortisol-levels/

 

Coconut & Mixed Berry Mug Muffin

Print Recipe
Serves: 1 Cooking Time: 1 minute

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • Healthy pinch salt (I always use pink Himalayan salt)
  • 1.5 teaspoons sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons unsweetened coconut milk (like Silk)
  • 1/2 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • Handful of mixed berries (I use often use frozen!)

Instructions

1

Add the dry ingredients to a large mug - the flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder and mix well.

2

Add the wet ingredients - the coconut milk, coconut oil, and vanilla into the dry ingredients and stir until just incorporated. Don't overmix or you'll end up with a tougher muffin.

3

Gently fold in the mixed berries.

4

Cook in the microwave for 60 seconds. If you can still see any raw batter on the top pop back in for 15-second increments until the top is dry.

5

Let cool for a minute or 2 and enjoy!

Mindfulness Practice/ Other Anxiety Tips/ Uncategorized

The Art of Mindfulness: Retrain Your Mind

When you have anxiety your mind is always cluttered with a million different thoughts at any given time. Sometimes the thoughts are fleeting, triggered by something you saw on the news or as you scrolled through your Facebook feed – that article about a deadly car crash has you marveling in fear that can happen to you or a family member, right? But often, anxiety sufferers have the same fears, worries, and scary thoughts on a day-to-day basis for long periods of time.

We become so tangled in our own minds and thought patterns we find it a never-ending battle to free ourselves from the dark and dismal nooks and crannies of our mind. Anxiety becomes a habit and we all know that habits can be extremely difficult to break.

So, what can YOU do to help gain some control back over your own mind? When you break anxiety and anxious thoughts down to its core, it’s your own mind creating these terrifying and uncomfortable thoughts. It’s not your fault that you created these thoughts, but one must take responsibility for letting those thoughts control them. Once you admit your own mind is feeding the anxiety, you take back your power and realize you have complete and total control over your mind.

In this post, we will explore what mindfulness is, how it will help your anxiety, the basic beginner steps to practicing mindfulness, and how it will retrain your brain.

What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is the practice of being, well…mindful! But what does that mean exactly? An anxious mind wanders all over the place, uncontrollably. The mind has absolutely nothing to tether itself to when you don’t give it something productive and healthy to focus on. When you’re floating around outer space with your deepest and darkest fears and you’re not living in the here and now, your anxiety will spiral out of control.

To combat this issue, practice the art of being mindful. That means turning total focus on the present. What are you doing right now? Reading this blog post of course. How are you sitting and how does sitting feel? Are you comfortable? Do you feel any aches? How do the words look on the screen? Is your computer screen bright? These are all things you would never take note of unless you are being mindful and living fully immersed in the present.

Why is Mindfulness Helpful?

Mindfulness is so helpful for people who deal with anxiety disorder for 2 reasons:

1) It helps train your brain/mind that it has the ability to focus on something other than anxious thoughts
2) It distracts your mind from those anxious thoughts instantly so you can give your poor head a break from all that worrying you do!

Is Mindfulness Easy?

It’s very important to remember practicing mindfulness will likely be quite challenging in the beginning. It’s not something you are going to master and excel at in the first day. You have to retrain your mind and that is going to take some practice, consistency, and dedication.

When you first begin practicing you may find it hard to remain focused on being fully present and stopping your mind from wandering, and that’s normal and okay! Be patient and gentle with yourself, always softly bringing your attention back to the present. Don’t judge yourself when you fall off course or you struggle to keep your mind focused on the present. Mindfulness is less about stopping bad and anxious thoughts, and MORE about letting those bad thoughts come and go without judgment and dwelling on them for too long.

If you are dedicated and consistent with your daily mindfulness practice, you will see results and it will become easier. I promise. This may feel like a big undertaking as you sit here and read this for the first time, but take baby steps and don’t let yourself become overwhelmed. Remember…always be gentle and patience with your mind because you owe it that ☺

Your 1st Steps to Practicing Mindfulness:

1) Start with small “sessions” at any time throughout the day. Maybe you will start with once a day, or maybe you want to take a crack at it in the morning, afternoon and night. Do as much as you feel comfortable. Try to be mindful for 5 seconds at a time, if you can do more, awesome if you can only do 2 seconds, still amazing! Everything is an opportunity to be mindful. Practice while typing, walking, cleaning, cooking, watching TV, listening to music, etc.
2) Slowly build up how long you can successfully immerse yourself in the present. For instance, maybe you will add 5 seconds onto your time every week. Building gradually we help train that mind of yours without feeling too overwhelmed.
3) When you are feeling comfortable with your mindfulness practice try and incorporate the practice into the moments when your anxiety starts flying high and you begin to lose your mind. Stop, take a deep breath and focus on the immediate world around you. Where you are, how your breath feels, what you can see, feel, and taste. Ground yourself in the present so your anxious mind can remind itself it is in the here and now, and not in tomorrow, 3 months from now, or worrying about something that will probably not ever happen.

Suggestions for How to be Mindful:

• When you wake up in the morning, before you get out of bed lay there for a minute or two. How do you feel? How does your body feel? Are your eyes heavy or dry? Do you have a taste in your mouth?
• When taking a shower, how does the water feeling running down your skin? What is the temperature and how does it make you feel? How does the water feel when it hits your body? Are you calm?
• Sweeping or vacuuming the floors, cleaning tables and counters, etc. – notice what sounds you hear when you’re sweeping, notice the dirt pile up as you sweep it into the dustpan, what does it look and feel like when you wipe down a table or counter? Notice every movement you make, notice the rhythm you feel in your body when cleaning.
• When idle, notice all of the sounds, smells, touch sensations around you. Let everything in the space come to you, feel everything with all of your being and senses.
• When working out, notice how the muscles feel when you’re lifting weights or running. Imagine those muscles contracting and getting bigger and stronger. How does your entire body feel? Does anything hurt or feel uncomfortable? How is your breathing pattern? Are you out of breath or comfortable with your breath? What are the people around you doing? Feel the sweat all over your body. Enjoy the sensations of your body in movement and pushing itself. Appreciate your body.
• Go for a walk. Feel the sunshine on your skin. Hear all of the sounds around you. Smell everything that comes to you. Notice how it feels when your feet hit the ground. Count the houses or the trees that you pass.