RELEVANT!

By Katie, 8:12 pm

I have some exciting news to share! :-)

RELEVANT magazine is both a print and an online magazine whose tag line is “God. Life. Progressive Culture.” It features stories and information on a wide array of topics: commentary on current events, reviews of music, movies, and books, and personal essays on spirituality.

If you go to RELEVANT’s homepage and scroll down to “Columns” on the left-hand side, you’ll see a short essay called “Prayer is a Two-Way Conversation” – written by yours truly! Or I can make it even easier: Prayer is a Two-Way Conversation. I’m so excited to see my name in print, even if it’s just online. :-D

I’m not sure how long it will stay on the website, so check it out soon!

Minutes Not Miles

By Katie, 3:27 pm

I’m one of those people who has a really hard time giving myself a break.

Somewhere along the road I developed an unfortunate habit of demanding perfection from myself, and then considering it unacceptable when that perfection was not attained.

Not surprisingly, this attitude has led to some unnecessary (and sometimes ridiculous!) disappointments: frustration at receiving a 97% on an exam (why didn’t I get 100%???), annoyance with myself when I’m five minutes late for meeting a friend for lunch (I should have been five minutes early!!!), things like that. I know, I know…I’m rolling my eyes at myself right now too! :roll:

That little voice inside that demands perfection also encourages an unhealthy amount of self-competition. And in all of my prior flings with running and road races, it was that overly competitive spirit that forced us to break up in the end. For some people, competing with themselves is invigorating; for me, it’s utterly draining.

Here’s an example. Let’s say, years ago, I went for a 4-mile jog on a sunny, calm afternoon and completed the workout in 36 minutes. I felt strong and energetic the entire time, and the 4 miles were a total breeze. Two days later, I headed out on the exact same loop, but on this particular day the wind was blowing against me, my muscles were a tad sore, and overall I felt pretty sluggish. I looked down at my watch and realized I was on pace to run the 4 miles in 40 minutes. At that point my inner dialogue went a bit like this:

Perfectionist Katie: Pick it up, slow poke!
Realistic Katie: I don’t know if I can, I’m tired and sore and this wind is a killer!
Perfectionist Katie: Stop making excuses! You have to push yourself.
Realistic Katie: But if I do, I’ll feel miserable!
Perfectionist Katie: No pain, no gain, sweetheart! If you could do it two days ago, you can do it today. In fact, I think you should try to finish in 35 minutes.
Realistic Katie: Ugh! Alright, here I go. :-x

And so I went. Sore muscles, poor weather conditions, cramps, lactic acid – in my mind, these were never valid reasons not to outdo myself each and every workout. If it sounds exhausting, that’s because it was. No wonder I soon ended up on the couch, with no desire to exercise at all.

(Source)

When I decided to start running again, I vowed that this time would be different. This time I would listen to my body and be flexible in the face of various conditions and circumstances. This time I would be my own ally, rather than my own opponent.

It is for this reason that in my current training program for the upcoming 5-mile race, my workouts are based on minutes instead of miles. For example, my spreadsheet never says the run for the day is 3 miles; it says 30 minutes. Depending on how I’m feeling that day, I might run a little more than 3 miles, or a little less. To me, at this point, it doesn’t matter. I honestly don’t even pay attention to mileage, out of fear of re-kindling that competitive spark.

I realize that, while this method is fine for shorter distances, if I ever decide to train for a longer race I will need to make sure I’m hitting a certain number of miles per run and per week. And I think someday that will be doable; someday Perfectionist Katie will be suppressed enough that each workout need not be a competition with myself. But for this race – the first one I’m technically “training” for – I’ve decided to play it safe.

Come February 6 we’ll see how this method of minutes over miles worked for me physically. But I know it’s already working for me mentally and emotionally.

When it comes to exercise, are you a perfectionist? Do you compete with yourself? Do you find self-competition motivating or discouraging?

Obama Foodorama! And Other Hot Links

By Katie, 9:48 am

Here are some interesting links I came across recently. Check ‘em out! :-)

Obama Foodorama

The tag line of this blog is “White House Food Initiatives…And Other Bipartisan Bytes of Food Politics.” It features the food initiatives of the Obama administration, recipes and menus from the White House kitchen, information on the White House garden, and more.

The Facts about Bottled Water

This diagram was posted on an online health and fitness forum I frequent, and it stirred a lot of interesting debate. I do wish the sources cited at the bottom were directly connected to the points made in the flow chart, to make it a little more verifiable. But it definitely gets you thinking! What are your thoughts on the use of bottled water?

Chowhound

Chowhound is an online community of foodies with a “voracious devotion to hyperdeliciousness!” Choose your local board to get insider tips on the best food and restaurants in your area.

The Body Image Project

“Imagine a world where we aren’t so preoccupied with how our bodies look, but focused instead on how they function. Imagine being one healthy whole… in both mind and body.” The Body Image Project is a movement to promote healthy, positive celebrations of our bodies and ourselves. The site features stories from real people discussing their struggles and successes with body image. Share yours!

Have an interesting link to share? Send it my way!

Woodberry Kitchen

By Katie, 9:05 pm

My husband Dave has achieved some important accomplishments at his job recently, and we’ve been meaning to go out and celebrate his success for quite some time. Friday night we finally had the opportunity to do so, at a restaurant we’ve both been really anxious to try: Woodberry Kitchen.

We’d heard some great reviews of Woodberry Kitchen, which is located in the historic, renovated buildings of Clipper Mill. It’s catch phrase is “from farm to table,” as it emphasizes organic, sustainable, seasonal fare from local/regional growers and suppliers. In other words, right up our alley. :-)

I tried to get a little spruced up for my handsome hubby. ;-)

Totally irrelevant, but I just have to share this close-up of my necklace. It was a Christmas gift from my aunt, and I just think it’s so beautiful!

The honoree of the evening!

Ok, onto the good stuff!

First I have to rave about Woodberry Kitchen’s decor and atmosphere. The exposed brick, the open kitchen and brick oven, the open second level – it was all very chic, yet rustic and fitting for the “farm to table” philosophy. No photo of mine could do it justice, so here are some I snagged from the restaurant’s website.

We were seated on the second level, so our view was a little bit like this.

Nice bar area.

Of course we began with a bread basket. There were two options – wheat and sesame seed – so I sampled half of both.

Since the night was all about Dave, we ordered the appetizer that caught his eye: Martha’s Vineyard Sizzlin’ Bay Scallops, which were literally sizzling on the plate.

Served with herb butter, sea salt, pepper, and lemon. They were cooked perfectly!

For his entrée Dave got the Rockfish Out of the Oven, which came with creamy leeks, parsnips, pea-shoots, and pickled mushrooms.

Dave’s report: the rockfish was perfectly flaky and went well with the leeks, and the parsnips were tender and sweet. But the pickled mushrooms were a little…odd. Just not up his alley. But overall the dish was great!

I went with a Flatbread of Smoked Chicken, Onion, Spinach, Cheddar, and Honey.

This was really delicious! The honey (which was from a local place called Cybee’s – the same kind I have in my pantry!) was just drizzled over the top, which added just the right amount of sweet to balance the saltiness. In addition to being quite delectable, this pizza was also huge; I ate half and saved the rest for lunch the next day.

My only critique of this dish is that as soon as I took a bite I realized there were little pieces of bacon on it. I didn’t think to ask our server about it because I thought it was a tasty addition! But when I was enjoying my leftovers Dave made a good point that the bacon really should have been included in the menu description, for the sake of those who do not eat bacon for religious or other reasons. So if you go here and have any kind of food restrictions or allergies, I would just be certain to ask your server before ordering.

At this point we were reasonably full, but not getting dessert was simply not an option, all because of this man:

(Source)

Perhaps you’re familiar with Chef Duff Goldman – baker, food artist, and owner of the famed cake shop Charm City Cakes. Duff is the star of the popular Food Network reality show Ace of Cakes, and his bakery is literally less than 10 minutes away from Woodberry Kitchen.

If you’re a Food Network fanatic, then you’ve also probably heard of this fun little show called The Best Thing I Ever Ate, where the network’s beloved chefs discuss their favorite foods. In the episode called “Sugar Rush,” Duff went wild over his best-loved dessert: the C.M.P. at…you guessed it…Woodberry Kitchen! So of course we had to try it! ;-)

C.M.P. stands for Chocolate, Marshmallow, and Peanuts. Basically it’s malt ice cream mixed with chocolate ganache, marshmallow fluff, and wet peanuts (they’re wet from being coated in honey!).

A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! And I’m not even a big fan of marshmallow! Oh, and that film on top that looks like ice? That would be crystallized sugar that you literally break through to get to your dessert. Then you mix it all up until it looks like a sloppy mess and enjoy!

(If you want to see Duff discuss this small piece of heaven, or hear Woodberry Kitchen’s pastry chef explain how it’s made, you can watch this video.)

Needless to say, we left Woodberry Kitchen with very full, very happy bellies. :-D

Question of the Day: Is your mouth watering right now over the C.M.P? :lol:

Superfoods!

By Katie, 12:51 pm

It’s no secret that healthy eating can be difficult. If it were easy, then we’d all eat flawless diets, have no nutrient deficiencies, and have no need for nutritionists, dieticians, or even healthy-eating bloggers. But that’s simply not the case.

I think one reason healthy eating can be so challenging is that we usually focus on the negative, on what foods we shouldn’t eat. The task becomes less daunting, however, when we embrace a more positive perspective, one that emphasizes the wholesome, nutrient-rich foods we should be eating regularly. In other words, we should stop worrying about what foods to avoid and start focusing on the ones we should enjoy.

The January 2010 issue of Health magazine includes an article about the ten healthiest “superfoods” for women. These are foods that are full of vitamins and nutrients; they fight disease, increase energy, and can help keep us lean. The article focuses on women because some of the health concerns addressed are more prevalent in females – things like breast cancer, bone loss, and iron-deficiency. But I think the list is relevant to all of us, regardless of sex.

So instead of focusing on what not to eat, let’s try focusing on what we should be filling up on, starting with these ten superfoods! :-)

1. Wild Alaskan salmon

Wild salmon offers a good dose of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, which can help lower “bad” cholesterol while increasing “good” cholesterol. Omega-3s are also good for our brains; they can fight depression and may protect against Alzheimer’s disease.

2. Wild Blueberries

The article calls wild blueberries “nature’s ultimate anti-aging food.” That’s because they’re rich in antioxidants, can help lower blood pressure, and can even prevent memory loss.

3. Oats

Oats are chock full of fiber, meaning they make us feel full, which helps us maintain a healthy weight. They can also help lower cholesterol. Try steel-cut oats to get the most fiber.

4. Broccoli

Broccoli has vitamins and nutrients galore! Vitamin C, Vitamin A, fiber, folate, calcium, iron, potassium…whew! If you’re not a huge fan of the green stuff, try finding fun ways to prepare it (perhaps topped with some reduced fat cheese) or mix it into other dishes like pastas.

5. Walnuts

Of all the many healthy, nutrient-rich nuts out there, walnuts are king. They’re filled with protein, fiber, tons of vitamins and minerals, and omega-3s. The Health magazine article claims that “eating just a handful of walnuts a day can help you lower cholesterol, boost brain power, sleep better, cope with stress, prevent heart disease, fight cancer, and more.” Eat up!

6. Avocados


Yes, I know, avocados have a lot of fat. But it’s the good kind of fat, the kind that your heart needs to stay healthy. Avocados are also full of potassium, magnesium, folate, protein, and Vitamins E and K.

7. Red Beans


Red beans are full of antioxidants, protein, folate, minerals, and fiber. They also have what’s called “resistant starch,” which can help our bodies burn fat, feel full, and control blood sugars.

8. Greek yogurt


Greek yogurt – which is yogurt that has been strained or filtered to remove the whey – has a wonderfully thick, creamy texture. It’s also loaded with calcium, and has twice as much protein as regular yogurt. It’s delicious sweetened with fruit, honey, or agave nectar, and the plain varieties make a great substitute for sour cream and mayo.

9. Olive Oil


Substitute olive oil for other kinds of fats, such as butter. The fat in olive oil is again the heart-healthy kind. Use it for cooking, or drizzle the very-flavorful extra virgin variety on bread, pastas, and salads.

10. Dark Chocolate


Again with the antioxidants! Dark chocolate is also loaded with magnesium, copper, zinc, and phosphorus (which helps build strong bones), and it can help reduce the risk of stroke and heart disease. And, really, it’s CHOCOLATE! :-D

Which of these foods do you already eat regularly, and which could your diet use more of? Which are your favorites? Do you find it easier to focus on foods you should be eating, rather than on foods you shouldn’t be?

What I Ate – 1/20/2010

By Katie, 8:35 pm

Quick recap of Wednesday’s nourishment. :-)

Breakfast

Upon waking I enjoyed a bowl of Puffins cereal with skim milk and strawberries.

FYI: What you see here is technically two servings of cereal. Unless I’m eating it with another substantial item, I almost always eat 1.5-2 times the official serving size of cold cereal. Because, honestly, 3/4 cup of cereal is just not enough fuel for me!

This bowl kept me filled and fueled through my morning workout and beyond. It was an off-day for running, so to mix it up I did a Living Room Boot Camp Circuit from Bobbi McCormick at nhershoes, followed by an amazing yoga session from Yoga Download. It felt so good to stretch my muscles!

Speaking of yoga, another FYI: this Saturday, January 23 is officially Yoga Day USA. Check it out; you might be able to find a free or nearly free yoga session in your area!

Lunch

This sandwich hit the spot!

Canned salmon (sustainable, wild-caught Alaskan, of course!!!) with cream cheese and leaf lettuce on pumpernickel. Delicious combo!

Plus this rather large, rather ripe pear.

All together. :-)

Afternoon Snack

Around 3:30 I got hungry again and realized I was lacking in the veggie department for the day. Carrot and celery sticks to the rescue!

I love the satisfying CRUNCH of fresh, raw veggies! 8-)

Of course, the snack wouldn’t be complete without two huge globs of chunky peanut butter for dipping.

You should know that I’m a little obsessed with all kinds of nut butters. I mean, what’s not to love? They’re chock full of protein and the heart-healthy types of fat, meaning they keep me full for hours. They add bulk and substance to otherwise-light meals and snacks. And they taste so good!

I love to try different types and brands, but for the most basic, most natural peanut butter Dave and I both prefer this brand:

And not just because we love the name! :lol: We love the ingredients.

Just. Peanuts. Love it! Maybe someday I’ll own a fancy food processor so I can grind up my own nut butters!

Dinner

Dinner was quite delicious!

Pork chop with sautéed apples – GREAT sweet/savory combination!

Steamed green beans with toasted almonds.

And roasted red potatoes with rosemary.

The only issue I came across with preparing this dinner was TIMING. :-? I find it rather challenging to ensure that my protein, carbs/starch, and veggies are all ready to go at the same time! Maybe that just comes with more practice and experience?

But it all tasted delicious! It was also extremely filling; I ended up leaving a few bites of my pork chop because I was stuffed!

Evening Snack

I wasn’t all that hungry later in the evening, but I still wanted a little something sweet. I had a bowl of cherries and a small piece of very dark chocolate.

Isn’t that bowl adorable? :-) It was a present from one of Dave’s co-workers and his wife. I’m very “into” fun bowls and dishes right now. It’s the little things in life, right? ;-)

Any tips or suggestions for improving my timing in the kitchen? I generally don’t like my food luke-warm, so I often end up microwaving my whole plate for a few seconds before sitting down at the table!


Hit the Hay!

By Katie, 11:06 am

Could you stand to be doing a little more of this?

If so, you’re not alone! A Harvard Medical School survey found that almost 75% of us experience some kind of sleep difficulty at least a few nights a week. And WebMD reports that 1 out of 5 Americans gets fewer than 6 hours of sleep per night. (The recommended amount of sleep for most adults is 7-8 hours per night.)  We are not getting enough shut-eye, plain and simple!

This probably doesn’t surprise you, though, does it? I mean, why sleep when you live in a “go-go-go!” society filled with plenty of reasons to stay awake and do more – watch television, surf the web, read your email, check blogs. ;-) And yet I’ve rounded up some pretty compelling evidence for why sleep deserves to be higher on our priority lists.

I should say upfront, I rarely experience any kind of sleep difficulties. I fall asleep quickly, I barely move during the night, and I usually pop out of bed in the morning. Some days I feel like a fine-tuned machine. I attribute this to the fact that I insist on 7-8 hours of sleep per night, no exceptions. (What are the chances that someday I’ll be blessed with a baby who is a really, really good sleeper? :lol: )

But the research shows that most Americans are not like me, so I think it’s worth exploring this issue a bit further.

Why aren’t we sleeping enough?

There seem to be a couple of reasons. First of all, as mentioned above, our society doesn’t exactly value rest and relaxation. We’re expected always to be “plugged-in” or “connected” through our many electronic devices. Let’s be honest: how many of us (myself included!) both begin and end our days using some kind of technology – be it our televisions, our cell phones, or our computers. Sleep becomes secondary when we have so much other stuff going on.

Stress also plays a big role. Who can sleep soundly when plagued with worries and anxieties? You can’t fall asleep, stay asleep, or go back to sleep when your mind is like the Energizer Bunny…it just keeps going and going and going…

(Source)

I can personally attest to the connection between stress and sleep. One of the first red flags for me that I am experiencing too much stress - or at least not managing it properly – is that I begin to have extremely vivid dreams, ones that are so detailed, intense, and realistic that I wake up feeling exhausted instead of rested.

Some people have trouble sleeping not because of stress or anxiety, but because they suffer from a medical sleep disorder. These include chronic insomnia, sleep apnea, and restless leg syndrome. These kinds of sleep disorders affect millions of Americans, and yet most are left undiagnosed and untreated.

What are the consequences?

If you think sleep deprivation isn’t a big deal, consider this list of possible health consequences:

  • heart disease
  • impaired memory
  • weight gain
  • decreased immune system/increased chances of getting sick
  • high blood pressure
  • depression
  • inability to concentrate
  • mood issues, such as irritability and impatience

This is not to say that a lack of sleep directly causes all of these health concerns, but there are definitely correlations and links. For example, while sleep deprivation does not automatically lead to weight gain, it does inhibit the body’s ability to regulate appetite and impairs the mind’s ability to make sensible dietary choices. Meaning it’s no coincidence that when you’re feeling exhausted you tend to reach into that bag of chips a few more times than you would otherwise.

How can we sleep better?

First and foremost, if you believe you’re experiencing one of the sleep disorders mentioned above, you should definitely see your doctor. But if you think your sleep routine just needs a little tweaking, here are some possible strategies to try.

1. Maintain a consistent sleep schedule.

This is where I shine! :-D My body is like clock-work when it comes to falling asleep and waking up. This is only a problem when I’m with my in-laws, who are night owls; the family gathering fun will just be starting when – BAM! – 10:00 p.m. hits and my body totally shuts down.

So instead of skimping on sleep during the week and trying to “make it up” on the weekends, try going to sleep and waking up at consistent times (yes, even on Saturdays and Sundays!).

2. Create a regular, relaxing evening routine.

Read a book for pleasure, listen to calming music, enjoy a cup of (decaf!) tea, take a warm bath – anything that will slow you down and prepare both your body and your mind for sleep.

3. Keep gadgets out of the bedroom.

If you want your body and your mind to associate your bed with sleep, then your bed cannot also be a place where you do work, surf the web, watch television, or (dare I say it!) eat food. Now I have nothing against surprising your special someone with breakfast in bed every now and then (hear that, Dave? ;-) ), but the point is that when we get into bed we should be going to sleep.

4. Exercise regularly.

Yet another reason to make friends with your sneakers! Not only does exercising regularly give you more energy during the day, but it also helps you to sleep more soundly at night.

Sweet dreams! :-D

What kind of a sleeper are you? Do you experience any sleep difficulties?

Dealing with Disappointment

By Katie, 8:01 pm

Last week I received some rather disappointing news.

As some of you already know, I’ll be graduating from Towson University with my master’s degree in May. I do not, however, have a full course load this semester (because of the credits I earned over the summer), so I am already applying for full-time positions. As you’re well aware, this is no easy process in today’s economy.

A few weeks ago I applied for a position that seemed perfect for me. Although it was a little bit of a stretch in terms of my experience, I still felt I was a great candidate, and the job seemed like it would have been both challenging and personally fulfilling.

Unfortunately, last week I received notice that the employer is “unable to offer me a position at this time.” I was – and this is an understatement – extremely disappointed. :cry:

There is no way to avoid disappointments; life is full of them. There are, however, some ways that we can make these disappointments more manageable. I thought I’d share with you some of the steps I’ve taken to deal with disappointing experiences such as this one.

1. Face the Disappointment

Because I used to have significant trouble showing any kind of vulnerability (and sometimes still do), I developed a bad habit of feigning indifference in the face of disappointment. But now I know that there is no use pretending I don’t care when I really do! It’s much better to acknowledge and embrace the fact that I’m hurting, and allow myself to feel that pain. Because for me, pushing aside painful feelings often means they’ll pop up later in some undesirable form, like eating emotionally or even lashing out in anger. It’s healthier – and just plain more effective – to face the disappointment head-on in the first place.

2. Allow Myself to be Comforted

If you’re like me in that you have difficulty expressing your own vulnerability, then you might also struggle to accept comfort. I’ve found that it’s much easier to deal with disappointment when I open myself up to sympathy and compassion. I realize that seems like simple common sense, but the truth is that it doesn’t always come easy!

Who can I turn to for comfort? I think there are three important sources – God, others, and myself. Psalm 55:22 reads, “Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you.” God is ready and willing to provide comfort if I just take my disappointment to him. The same goes for my family and friends; if I open up to them, they are always there to give consolation and encouragement.


I also try – although it’s difficult – to comfort myself. I have a tendency to be my own worst enemy and my own worst critic. I’m tougher on myself than I would ever be on someone else. So when faced with disappointment, I try to remember to treat myself the same way I’d treat a friend - with compassion and understanding.

3. Trust That It Just Wasn’t Meant To Be

This one is not easy, is it? Even though deep down I believe what it says in Romans 8:28 – that “in all things God works for the good of those who love him” – it’s still hard to accept that this disappointment is just a curve in the road, just a part of the process. But it’s easier to deal with disappointment if we trust that even though this door has been closed, another one will surely open.

Just because this job seemed like a perfect fit for me, it obviously was not. And perhaps not getting the position will leave me free to accept an even better opportunity (maybe even one that will allow me to pursue my dream of being a writer ;-) ). You never know, right?

4. Take One Concrete Step Forward

Sometimes disappointments can be debilitating; they leave us feeling stuck, immobile, unable to act. To pull myself out of this stagnant state, I try to take one small, specific step forward. In this case, my step will be to re-work my resume and prepare just one job application TODAY.

Sometimes it takes time to reach this step, so I try not to beat myself up if it takes a few minutes, hours, days, or whatever to reach the point where I’m ready to move forward. But eventually, we must pick ourselves up and take that step.


I also want to share with you that I received the news about the job shortly after I wrote the post about fostering gratitude. I think this was no coincidence. I was meant to start a gratitude journal – to remember to say thank you – on a day when I was disappointed in my circumstances, on a day I didn’t feel like being thankful, on a day I could have easily focused only on what went wrong and not on what went right. Purposefully cultivating gratitude helped me to revel in my blessings more and dwell in my disappointment less.

The truth is, I’m still disappointed. And a bit scared and discouraged, too. But I’m also optimistic and excited about the future. Maintaining that kernel of hope is what dealing with disappointment is all about.

What are your thoughts on the subject of disappointment? How do you handle life’s let-downs?

Health Care or Disease Care?

By Katie, 9:00 am

“Health is a large word. It embraces not the body only, but the mind and spirit as well…and not today’s pain or pleasure alone, but the whole being and outlook of a man.” James H. West

We can’t really talk about healthy living without talking about health care. But instead of discussing the traditional aspects of the political debate – who’s covered, what’s covered, who pays – I want to explore the connections between health care and a comprehensive approach to healthy living. What does a “health for the whole self” philosophy mean for a health care system?

I’ve been thinking about this ever since I read the February 2010 issue of Body + Soul magazine. The issue featured a great article called “The Best Medicine” (not yet available on the website), which examines the health care debate in terms of the underlying philosophies of American medicine.

I was hooked when the article quoted several experts (including Dr. Andrew Weil and Dr. Mini Guarneri) as saying that in the United States today we do not have health care; we have disease care. We do not have a health care system, but rather a disease-management system. What they mean is that our health care system does not focus on prevention, healthy living, or caring for the whole person; it focuses on treating illness once it occurs.

Consider this quote from Guarneri: “Prevention isn’t just having a mammogram. Prevention is eating an anti-inflammatory diet rich in greens and whole grains and exercising.”

Or this statistic: 95% of U.S. health-care funds go toward treating illness, the other 5% goes to prevention.

That just doesn’t seem right, does it?

Of course, all of this begs the question of responsibility. In suggesting that health care should focus more on prevention, am I saying that it is the job of doctors and health care providers to ensure that Americans live healthy lifestyles? I don’t think so. I think we all are responsible for the well-beings of our own bodies, minds, and spirits, and that we are mistaken if we expect any health care system to simply “fix us.” Perhaps what is needed is for both doctors and patients to embrace a more comprehensive definition of what it means to be healthy, one that goes beyond the mere absence of disease. Because the truth of the matter is that you can be illness-free but not be healthy.

Also, a greater focus on prevention might help health care providers see patients as whole people, rather than body parts or symptoms. This means that a standard conversation with a doctor wouldn’t be limited to physical symptoms; it would also include “check-ups” for mental and emotional health, which contribute to the overall well-being of the patient.

I’m sure some doctors and health care providers already embrace this kind of “health for the whole self” philosophy, focusing on prevention and healthy living as much as disease-management. But it seems like those doctors are the exception rather than the norm. At the same time, we can hardly blame the doctors when the notion of health care as disease care is ingrained into our cultural/societal understanding of health. And I’m sure there’s something to be said about the role of insurance companies too.

I’m no expert on health care, so I’d love to hear your comments and reactions! Do you think our health care system focuses too much on disease care/management and not enough on prevention/healthy living? What do you think about 360HealthcareStaffing.com (view website)? Have you used their services? Does our health care system – and our society as a whole – need a new definition of what it means to be healthy?


What I Ate – 1/18/2010

By Katie, 2:13 pm

In honor of the amazing life and accomplishments of Martin Luther King, Jr., Dave had the day off from work yesterday, so we were actually able to spend some quality time together. :-D

Breakfast

Since the weather was GORGEOUS, we planned to begin the day with a 40-minute run. 8-) My pre-workout fuel was a whole wheat English muffin topped with natural peanut butter and banana slices.

Oh, excuse me, it wasn’t an English muffin, it was a British muffin.

Ha! :lol:

Mid-Morning Snack

Last weekend I made this amazing purchase at the farmers’ market.

This one was called a “Harmony Ball,” made out of organic brown rice, dried cranberries, chocolate chips, peanut butter, brown rice syrup, and sesame seeds.

And this one was called a “Poppy Power Ball” (nice name, huh?), made from puffed brown rice, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, golden raisins, peanut butter, and brown rice syrup. I ate this one in the car after our run and saved the other for later.

It had a rice krispie-like texture from the puffed rice, which I’m not a huge fan of, but the pumpkin seeds and golden raisins were yummy!

Lunch

I asked Dave how he’d like to spend his day off, and he said he wanted to check out Red Emma’s, a local, collectively-owned bookstore in the Mount Vernon neighborhood (is this man my soulmate or what? ;-) ). I can’t believe we’ve lived in Baltimore for a year and a half and have never been there! It was a lot smaller than we were expecting. :-( I got a veggie sandwich.

Spinach, tomatoes, onions, capers, and house-made hummus on a sesame seed bagel.

I wasn’t expecting this to fill me up, but for some reason it did! Maybe because bagels are more dense than regular sandwich bread?

Afternoon Snack

Nothing fancy – apple slices sprinkled with cinnamon and a string cheese.

Dinner

Here was the star of dinner.

In case you can’t see it in my terrible photo, it’s a blend of Israeli-style cous cous, orzo, baby garbanzo beans, and red quinoa. I mixed it with shrimp, edamame, and a soy sauce-based dressing for an easy, one-bowl dinner.

Evening Snack

Dave and I concluded the evening with an episode of Anthony Bourdain’s “No Reservations” (it was a good one – he was in Egypt). During the show I enjoyed some of this highly-addicting tea. We’ve seriously been downing this stuff like camels!

Enjoyed in a mega-sized, initial-bearing mug.

Plus a delicious bowl of pumpkin yogurt!

To make such a lovely little treat, I just mix vanilla or plain yogurt (preferably Greek) with some canned pumpkin and a touch of pumpkin pie spice. It’s like pumpkin mousse! I had it with some Kashi Warm Cinnamon Heart to Heart cereal and two cinnamon graham crackers. Delicious! I love finding new ways to consume pumpkin. :-)

All in all, a lovely day. I hope you also enjoyed a nice, long weekend!

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