Going Back to Simple: Body & Mind

I began my “Going Back to Simple” series prior to my allergy and eczema flares, but now more than ever, that is exactly what I have been doing with my meals : simple ingredients and preparation.

Oatmeal with Raspberries & Walnuts

I’m a few weeks into my elimination diet and I’m more convinced that there’s a link between my environmental allergies and food. An upcoming allergist appointment will hopefully shed more light on this. For now, I’ve been avoiding most raw fruits and vegetables that may cause cross-reactions with things like ragweed (currently in season) and being very careful about which body products and soaps come into contact with my skin. I’m trying to see if I can minimize reactions, while simultaneously working to calm overall inflammation through supplements and anti-inflammatory foods. Something happened with that juice cleanse, or maybe it was the high levels of pollen, stress that comes with big life changes, some other factor or a combination of those things. Regardless, my body felt totally unstable.

I’m happy to say that it’s calmed down significantly since then. Part of that, I’m certain, is because I am actively trying to relax my mind. When I think back on the last handful of years, there is this one period that always stands out to me as a really happy, balanced time. Not balanced as in I ate salads, went running most days, and indulged in a square of dark chocolate for dessert at night (is that even balanced?). More like I loved my job, had just been promoted after months of hard work, socialized with people I genuinely liked most days, and had moved into a new apartment in walking distance to my office (side note: never underestimate the power of a brisk walk over taking a cramped, unreliable train). Aaron was also in a really exciting place work-wise, we had a brand new, adorable puppy, and we were both so energized by our day-to-day, that our 5am gym runs (even on dark winter mornings) didn’t seem so bad. Our relationship, and life as a whole, felt exceptionally positive and exciting. I had zero health issues.

The migraines started when that job I once bounded out of bed for in the morning became like a pressure-cooker. The digestive problems started when I traded my walk to work for an hour sitting in traffic and nine hours in a grey cubicle with no windows. The rashes started when we moved to San Francisco. And the fatigue I constantly pushed through crept in all along.

Did you ever have the experience of being in college and cramming for finals, only to get home for break and come down with the flu? This happened to me every winter. I think my quitting SEO was my finishing finals, exacerbated by the stress of a juice cleanse and seasonal allergies that kept me from getting a good night’s rest.

I had a vision of quitting my job and getting this surge in energy, going to the gym every single day, maybe even twice a day, for high intensity workouts, making more elaborate dinners to greet Aaron, cocktail in hand, when he walked in the door in the evenings,  and checking all of my home improvement projects off an ever-expanding checklist. I’m not saying that’s not possible, but maybe not all at once. And in order to do those things, I’m going to need to give my body and mind some time to recover from the years of cramming and pushing through.

I’m on the cusp of another happy, balanced time in my life, I can feel it. And this time, I know myself well enough to have the wisdom to make it last.

Going back to simple: dinner

Going Back to Simple: Dinner

Local heirloom tomatoes, sliced and sprinkled with sea salt and pepper, then topped with freshly torn basil.
Red cabbage, sautéed with extra virgin olive oil, minced garlic, and coconut aminos.
Pinto beans, warmed and tossed with nutritional yeast, black pepper,  a splash of apple cider vinegar, and a drizzle of pure maple syrup.
Acorn squash, lightly coated in coconut oil, and roasted until soft with crispy browned edges.

Enjoy at the table, in good company, with candles lit and technology turned off.