Friday, October 7, 2011


Ahhh! So that's what it feels like! I don't know how long it has been, probably not as long as it seems, but feeling happy like I do today is like a distant memory. It's amazing how we can somehow cope, and frame our challenges in a way that we can just keep putting one foot in front of the other. It's not that I have been unhappy, just more like a nervous wreck. Living with stress is a life sentence for mothers, but we need to understand that managing it is imperative to our health and well-being.

I'm not the best at stress-management, so the recent stress has, indeed, taken a toll. Long-time MLV readers might remember that, 18 months vegan, I had my first MRI ever which showed no additional MS plaques on my brain in two years! I really can only thank the vegan diet for this result, since nothing else had changed during the timeframe. But with the recent stress, I lost the use of my left hand for one morning -- something that has never happened before. The hand has come back, but is tingly most of the time.

Knowing how crucial stress-management is to my health, I do take certain steps which I believe have helped. Here they are:
  • Go to bed as early as possible.
  • Exercise almost every day.
  • Eat greens every day - more than once if possible.
  • Keep the "spa" channel playing on the stereo all day long (this helps the mood of all the others around here too, which further lowers my stress).
  • Keep the Kindle charged and filled not only with"self-help" books, but also vegan and macrobiotic books, and most surprisingly, "escape" fiction (not trashy romance novels - I never liked those - just good fiction. It's such a relief to get lost in someone else's life. I just recently enjoyed "How to Be Good" by Nick Hornby) You may wonder, if I'm so stressed, where do I find the time to read? The answer -- in the middle of the night as I'm not sleeping because of my racing mind.
  • Meditate -- so much easier said than done, and I'm not as regular with it as I should be, but everything is always better on days when it happens. Some days I don't know where to start, so a guided meditation is appreciated. My favorites are from "The Life Program" I put them on one of my hand-me-down ipods I got from the kids as they upgraded.
When I am stressed I have no appetite, so creativity in the kitchen goes away. Some days I am reduced to standing at the kitchen island, in front of a bag of dill-pickle flavored potato chips for sustenance. Those days are rough. Instead, if I can pull it together enough to feed body and soul, like I did last weekend, I can come up with something wonderful like the early autumn stew in the photo above. I simply cleaned out the crisper. I boiled a piece of kombu in filtered water and added five chopped cloves of garlic, a yellow onion, a sweet potato, four small organic carrots, a couple of organic celery stalks, a big handful of shredded kale, a can of garbanzo beans and about half a cup of dry orzo. I found a few grape tomatoes in my garden and threw those in too, and added a little organic veggie broth as the orzo swelled and made the mixture thick. Finally, once everything looked cooked, I turned off the heat, added some sherry and a couple of scallions. I squeezed a little lemon over each bowlful, which made it taste like sunshine, and we ate it in front of a crackling fire outdoors. Happy!

Today I can only be grateful for this happy feeling. Everything is not perfect, it never is, right? But it is fine, I am fine . . . no . . . blessed! I'm going out now to smile at everyone I see so I can spread the happy around. I hope you have a happy day too!


  1. On my stress days, all I want to do is eat - and eat all the worst foods imaginable as quickly as I can. Cookies, pies, ice-cream, cheese - everything but veggies and fruit.

    But you're so right. If I just get in the kitchen and force myself to take the time to cook even something simple, it brings so much happiness and I feel better. Far better than when I'm stuffed with 12 cookies :(

  2. Yep - the relief from "junk" is over in 30 seconds, and then everything is much worse!

  3. Finding simple happiness can be complicated, and I'm smiling with you in your good day.

    I left an award for you on my blog :)

  4. Thanks Colleen! You are amazing, and way too kind!

  5. Love the post Cheryl! I have an award for you on my blog! Have a great week! :)

  6. Thanks for your stress management tips! They are things I think most of us know will help, but we get so busy in our lives that we don't make it a priority. This was a good reminder for me today.


  7. Thanks vegantummy! You are a good sport -- I've not been nurtuting this outlet as of late. I'm hoping to turn it around and get back in balance soon.

  8. Mary -- Thanks so much for reading. Only a few days have gone by, but I'm already forgetting my own tips . . . It's so easy to get lazy and stop thinking. Let me brush up again on what I already know . . .

  9. You have just received a Liebster Award at :)

  10. Thanks Farrah! I'm so glad to have found your blog!