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Folks, how we doing this week?
I feel like this past week is when we collectively ran out of steam. Like in the beginning it was like, ooooh, crisis! Let's get ready! Let's stay inside! Drinks with friends on Zoom! And now the mood has shifted to what the f*ck do we do now? For how f*cking long will this continue?
I miss going to my office and socializing with colleagues. I miss wearing work clothes. I miss putting makeup on my face. And yes, I do realize I could put on work clothes and put makeup on my face at home, but I don't want to.
I miss not feeling worried. I miss planning trips. I miss having stuff to look forward to. I think that's the biggest thing, right? Having stuff to look forward to. What is that like, now?
I really wish I had the answers. I do, however, have an excellent article to share from the Harvard Business Review that suggests the state of collective discomfort we are all feeling is, in fact, grief. It doesn't solve anything, but it's a good read.
Sweden is still playing it cool with its business as usual strategy. While Paul and I are working from home, our schools are still open and yes, our kids are still going. Well, Niko is, but Odin had a runny nose so had to stay home for a few days because they have a zero tolerance policy for even the slightest whiff of sickness right now. I mean, fair enough.
Restaurants and bars are still open, although they've limited it to table service (i.e., no crowding around the bar). I don't know if Sweden knows something the rest of the world doesn't know, whether they're being smug about their socialist medical system, or whether they're being reckless and stupid. I guess time will tell.
Some notes on listening to your body: remember how last week my body was like, "please eat half a tray of Nordy Bars!" and I, like a responsible body owner, obeyed? Well on Sunday evening my body sent me a new message. It said, "Please stop eating food. Please go to bed."
And so I did.
I've been in bed by 8:30pm most nights this past week, after I get Niko tucked in and BEFORE Paul goes to bed, which is basically unheard of. I've had zero energy at the end of the day, and zero appetite. My stomach has been in knots, and the smell of my apartment is making me queasy. Honestly, it kind of reminds me of morning sickness, except that I'm 100% for sure not pregnant.
I've heard that a good number of folks have been feeling the same, energy-wise, and many of you have also been struggling with upset stomachs, too. I'm planning to write a post on how to care for your gut during times of stress, but since you're my people, I'll give you a sneak preview here.
1. Listen to your body. If it's telling you to take a pause from food, then do that. I know that in my case, I likely overwhelmed my gut with comfort food in the preceding week, and a combination of that, stress, and considerably less movement than my body is accustomed to, lead to the whole system going down.
2. Eat when you're hungry. I mean, wait until you feel actual hunger before eating, and then consider what you should eat. Digestion uses up a lot of resources, and when you're constantly throwing food into your system and not giving it much of a break, your gut gets stressed out.
3. Eat foods that are easy to digest. Consider that cooked vegetables are much easier on the gut than say, throwing a kale salad into the equation. Don't get me wrong, I love a kale salad as much as the next nutrition lady, but when you're trying to settle a cranky gut it's not the way to go. Blended foods, like smoothies, are also easy to digest.
4. Take a probiotic supplement. Normally I recommend getting your probiotics from fermented foods (like yogurt, sauerkraut, miso, etc) rather than a supplement. In my opinion, probiotic supplements are a total crapshoot and finding a good one that provides actual living bacteria in sufficient quantities rather than just flushing your money (and dead bacteria) down the toilet is tough.
Also, the efficacy of probiotic supplements versus probiotics from living food is somewhat questionable. However, if you're not necessarily feeling up for eating spoonfuls of kimchi and / or if your guts are very distressed, a supplement may be helpful as a stop-gap.
5. Move your body. I know that's tough for many of us right now. Do what you can, whether it's a walk around the block or an online yoga class.
6. Get enough sleep. Also easier said than done lately, although my body has been demanding it this past week in no uncertain terms. Kind of amazing how little sleep I normally function on when 10 hour nights are just barely cutting it these days.
By Thursday this week my stomach was starting to request more food, and was fairly specific about it. For lunch (which was my only meal on Thursday) I had a bowl of Veggie Ramen Noodles. It was instant ramen with a handful of broccoli florets and spiralized carrots thrown in, plus an egg for some protein. My body really appreciated the salty broth, too.
On Thursday night I had a Maca Latte for dinner. That's it. I really didn't feel like eating but got the sense that I could use the calories and might benefit from having something warm in my stomach. Plus, I was hoping that the maca and ashwaghanda, both of which are adaptogenic herbs, might help to settle my gut.
On Friday I had this Carrot Apple Smoothie with Ginger for breakfast. My kids requested a carrot smoothie and then, surprise surprise, did not drink it, so I jacked it up with extra ginger (a great tummy tamer) and drank it slowly.
I also had these Banana Overnight Oats, which are great for the gut since the oats are soaked overnight and are very easy to digest, plus the yogurt adds some probiotics to the equation.
After eating those "welcome back" meals, I more or less went back to normal eating, but in smaller portions just to make sure my stomach was ready for it, and waiting until I was well and truly hungry before eating again. I tried eating a Nordy Bar from the freezer last night but was given a firm no from my body, so put it back for another time.
How about you guys? How are your digestive systems handling this situation? Are you able to listen to your bodies right now?
So, this week in "learning to be an adult the hard way" I discovered that there's a filter in your dishwasher that needs to be cleaned out every once in a while.
For some time now we've been trying to figure out why our dishwasher is so stinky, and finally, when I googled "how to fix a stinky dishwasher" I came across this hot tip. You know what a dishwasher filter that hasn't been cleaned in the 3.5 years since we installed it looks and smells like? Grosssssss! Gross, gross gross!
But riddle me this - why did none of our previous dishwashers get stinky like this?
I actually can't remember whether our apartment in Vancouver had a dishwasher or not. Our previous place in Stockholm definitely did, however, due to my husband being weird about using the dishwasher (don't get me started) we may not have used it enough to build up the stink.
This one did, though, and once I read on Bob Vila's website that the number one culprit of a stinky dishwasher was a dirty filter I was like ohhhhhmg what?? as I reached my hand into the putrid recesses of our dishwasher and pulled this thing out.
I scrubbed the shit out of all of the filter parts in hot soapy water to get the nasty off, and then ran our dishwasher on hot with a bowl of vinegar on the top rack, followed by throwing a cup of baking soda around the bottom and running on hot again. I repeated that cycle twice, then replaced the filter, and now we are stink free.
Lesson learned. You're welcome. Or did you already know this?
Paul gave Odin his first haircut this week (without talking to me first, don't get me started) and I was so not ready for it. Yes, his hair was getting incredibly long and shaggy and did need doing. But, my baby! First haircut! I wasn't ready!
He did, thankfully, leave his little baby mullet intact, which is the cutest thing and goes with his destroyer personality perfectly.
I considered fishing the wispy baby hair out of the garbage bin (ok, the diaper bin), but stopped myself because, why? What would I do with a handful of hair? Also, because it was already in the diaper bin and I've had enough grossness in my life this week.
When we do trim the baby mullet I suppose I could keep some of that, but, once again, why?
I have so many questions.
Guys, thank you for so many sweet comments, emails, and messages after I posted about losing my job last week. I know many of you are in the same boat, and we're riding through this shit storm together.
This blog, as the most easily-neglected thing in my life right now, has accordingly been pretty neglected this week. Normally I work on the blog from 8-10pm (or more realistically, 9-11pm) most nights, and since I haven't had the steam to even crack my laptop open once the kids are in bed, not much has been happening lately. I haven't even had energy to read, it's just been work-->kids-->sleep-->repeat.
But I want you to know how grateful I am for YOU, dear reader. Even if I don't know you by name, I appreciate you being here. I appreciate the comments you leave on my posts (and those star ratings! really appreciate those!) and the shares on social media, the pins on Pinterest, the Facebook comments, and the funny conversations on Instagram. I appreciate it always, but now more than ever.
ON HEY NUTRITION LADY THIS WEEK
This week I updated and re-published a gem of a post, because I know everyone's snacking game has been super strong lately. These Peanut Butter Oat Bars are one of my favourites for a healthy-ish after school (or whatever) snack.
WHAT’S TRENDING ON HNL
Yeah, yeah, we all know that Mung Bean and Coconut Curry is in number one. So let’s look at what else is trending.
1. Slow Cooker Chickpea Curry. I feel you, world. I feel you.
2. Turmeric Latte Mix. Boosting those immune systems like, woah, hey?
3. Red Lentil Dal. This baby is climbing the ranks with Google right now.
4. Indonesian Black Rice Pudding. Staying at home, trying new things.
5. Peanut Butter Oat Bars. Yup, yup.
COMMENT OF THE WEEK
Alice left the following comment and 5-star review on my Vegan Carrot Ginger Soup with Red Lentils recipe:
I may have reviewed this a couple of years ago, but here I am again. This soup is amazing – real stick-to-your-ribs soul food. I feel like this soup fortifies by body and immune system, as well as feeding my soul. Awhile ago, I grated a quantity of fresh ginger and froze it in 1 tablespoon globs on wax paper. That saved time and bloody fingertips now. Thanks, Katie. All the best to you and your family.
That is one hot tip with the ginger grating, Alice. Thank you!
WHAT’S GOOD AROUND THE WEB
1. Food safety and the current situation: a comprehensive guide.
4. Really helpful advice from former food writer and current therapist, Melody Li, on staying mentally healthy and connected to community.