Got stress? “It’s always somethin’!”

The big tent is coming to town and it’s due to land on our house in one week.  Termites! Moving out of the house for three days isn’t so hard, but the preparation has me feeling strained.  Packing up food, medication and vitamins, making arrangements for the pets, and all the houseplants imperiled as they leave the safety of indoor temperatures and move to the not so friendly outdoors, all has me making lists and trying to figure out how far in advance we need to jump into high gear.

While still checking out the termite damage we discovered major floor damage of another kind—not from critters, but from an accumulation of water.  Major floor repair is now added to the mess and as I start to feel the strain I can almost hear the SNL Gilda Radner bit, whiny Roseanne Rosannadanna—“It just goes to show ya!  It’s always somethin’!” Stress is experienced on a sliding scale, and this certainly isn’t one of the dreaded “big ones” but it doesn’t do me any good to pretend it doesn’t add a layer of complexity that changes routines and adds a measure of chaos to an already pretty full schedule.

The challenge for this short season will be to stay focused, maintaining a good balance of diet and exercise when time-challenged and away from home base.  When under stress, I, like many, indulge in the habit of nervous and unconscious eating. I know from experience that preparation is the only way for me not to fall into that temptation.  Preparation this week means I’m concentrating on the easiest of super foods.  Blueberries! I feel better and maintain a more optimistic sense of well-being when my diet remains balanced.  And blueberries are power packed and come close to being a miracle food.  One cup of blueberries has just about 25% of the daily-recommended allowance of vitamin C, and vitamin C helps fight free radicals, keeping us healthy and able fight the buildup of stress.  How handy is that?

So this week blueberry smoothies, –just throw them in the blender with some yogurt or milk, and add whatever else sounds good to you. I like frozen blueberries in smoothies. Sliced apples and blueberries simmered on the stove for a tasty compote is almost like dessert, and just eating them out of hand is fine by me.  The best thing about blueberries when you’re on the go is that they are easily portable.  Take them with you! This isn’t a particularly novel or exciting suggestion, but maybe this is in part my own accountability measure.  And maybe, too, you also know better but reach for the empty calorie granola bar when you’re on the go, and this may just remind you that there are easy and healthier alternatives.

If you want a fun project, grow your own blueberries. There are even warm climate varieties available for the southern California garden.  I have one and plan to purchase a few more after the BIG TENT is removed.  For those of you in the Pasadena area I heartily recommend purchasing some healthy and well-loved blueberry plants from one of the growers at the Saturday farmers market.  We are all so far removed from our food sources, and growing a blueberry bush couldn’t be easier; very little effort for a modest, organic crop of homegrown berries. They are even container friendly and survive nicely on a porch or patio. If you have any little people in your life, this is a must-do growing project!

It’s a new week, and fresh opportunity to reconsider stress in your own life.  Stress is everywhere, and maybe choosing a few mood modifying foods will make a small shift in behavior with  a larger reward.  Trying something new is always good for your well-being!

For those who want to explore more healthy food topics:

www.cancerproject.org

www.bluebrry-recipe.org.

www.3fatchicks.com

…Debra

6 thoughts on “Got stress? “It’s always somethin’!”

  1. Thanks, Debra, for reminding us all that eating something fresh or frozen will help us to survive even being ‘displaced’ from the comforts of our homes!

  2. Yes, thank you!!! I have never really thought too much about the food I put in my mouth when I get stressed, it is too easy to reach for that chocolate, but yet, if I think about it then I would have to change. I now plan on going out and buying blueberries because I love smoothies! I will be chekcing out the websites!!

    • Something cool and smooth– and tasty!! I like to freeze the berries also so I will not need as many ice cubes. Trader Joe’s has very affordable protein powder to add if that would be good for you!

  3. Here in Maine, I can testify there is nothing near as flavorful as Maine’s famous cash crop, low-bush blueberries. They’re smaller than the cultured variety, but packed with flavor and goodness. Plus, naturally pest-resistant, they are pretty darn clean — even the ones not certified organic. If you can find Maine blueberries in your supermarket out there in the Golden State, spring for them at least once. You won’t be disappointed!

    I stock up on four or five pints to freeze for the winter, thaw them a serving at a time for a grand yogurt dessert, which keeps me away from all the bad stuff that I’m wanting when it’s cold here. I also fill the holes of cored apples with a frozen handful and bake with a cinnamon stick–those bluebs add a tasty sauce to the low-cal and most-satisfying treat.

    Next month when they start showing up on the roadside stands, it will be blueberry pie, blueberry grunt, and just plain blueberries and cream for the weeks they are fresh. Yum! Thanks for getting me ready for them!

    And good luck with those termites, boy is that something I don’t miss . . . :-)

    • Welcome, Kathryn. I don’t doubt for one moment that a TRUE Maine blueberry trumps our SoCal variety. I’m sure for years that’s all I even knew of blueberries, and it would be good to taste them again! They are so expensive on our coast that I cannot even imagine having enough to freeze for winter, but how fabulous would that be!! Roadside stands! Wow! Thanks, too, for the recipe ideas. They sound wonderful! Yes, termites and our warm weather…best buds!! :-)

    • Oh one of the great wonders of your area huh? Also when I visit Canada that is what my friends do there. Freeze enough now on cookie tins in the freezer, place in air-lock bags and yummmmmm anytime later until they are used up!! I must ask — what is ‘blueberry grunt’ ? Post the recipe if you wish! :-)

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