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: