Well-Blog

Two Questions to Get You from Wallowing to Wellness

Choosing wellness over wallowing is not always easy.

IMG_7094Especially when we look out our bedroom window in the morning, and it seems like overnight the backyard filled up with a deep, dark, slurry of all the challenging emotions we aren’t quite ready to face without a strong cup of Starbucks in our hand.

It’s what was happening to me these past couple of days as I was adjusting to life after a big passionate project wrapped and I arrived home to cats and their litter boxes, boys and their laundry, and my teen de-planing from an overnight flight from Japan with summer homework still left to type before the first day of school—-TODAY!

Jumping in with Both Feet

I’ve gotten much better at recognizing when life hooks me and draws me into thoughts and patterns of activity that don’t serve me. But sadly, that’s where my skillfulness ends. The lure of jumping into the mud with both feet and splashing around in the mess for a while is still too tempting.

Let’s face it. Wallowing feels good.

For a moment the mud is refreshing and there are people to blame and situations that aren’t our fault, and a whole host of other ways to feel good about being the only human on the planet who is right and sane. It’s even kind of energizing to get all worked up about it.

But today, I didn’t want to wallow.

I know that wallowing never ends well, because at some point you have to climb out of the mud to cook dinner—-and then it can take days to get all the dirt off. You keep finding it behind your ears, and under your fingernails—-even in your belly button. You keep stumbling on reminders of what sent you tumbling, and for a long while, nothing of substance gets done.

Getting to the Bottom of It

So this morning, just as the mud was cresting my knees, I decided to get out.

“What’s going on?” I asked myself. “What is really going on?”

Fear, uncertainty, follow up phone calls, pieces of my life that needed to be put into place, holes I was not sure how I would fill. Feeling overwhelmed. Kind of alone. Weighty. Wallowing.

“Ahhh! I get it. You’ve got a lot going on right now. I get that it doesn’t feel good, and going back to bed seems like a really good idea.”

Simply acknowledging my feelings—-being able to put my finger on what was bothering me—-created space and gave me something to work with. It also gave me just enough energy to be open to the next big anti-wallowing question:

“What can I do right now to feel just a little bit better?”

Of course, my ten-minute walk came to mind, even though I had no faith it would help me out of the pit today. But I gave it a shot, and by the time I reached the other side of the pavement, I felt . .  just . . .  a little . . .  bit . . .  better.

I had my phone, so I began snapping pictures of the walking path and my view up to the mountains. Looking through the lens at the Sycamore trees shedding their late summer leaves, I felt a hint of fall. I was reaching, but in that moment, I convinced myself that my favorite season was here.

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Then I remembered my best friend from Georgia called yesterday. I’ll call her back as I walk, I thought. We always laugh.

She picked up, and told me that she was on her computer typing with her golden retriever, Jonesy, sitting in her lap. What did I tell you? I imagined Jonesy slobbering all over the keyboard, trying to convince her to play instead of type. It made me smile.

We began to talk about our businesses.

I make people feel good about wellness, she has an amazing product called YogaKnees™  that makes people (and their knees) feel good while practicing yoga! How cool is that? We’re both going through growing pains, but we discussed how we could help each other. She’s a forever friend. The feeling of aloneness I had earlier eased.

And then she said, “Meg. We have a choice not to fall prey to our day. If we go with our spirit, instead of our brains, we’ll be much happier. We’ve got to do this!”

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Wellness Feels Good!

And there it was.  Wellness in all its glory. The exact message I needed to hear to stop wallowing and step back into the magnificent messiness of my day and my life.

Later, a funny e-mail from my sister and an offer of help from my brother. Then some time to write the rest of the way through all this wallowing, and a triumphant first day of school for my kids.

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Baja inspired dinner.

By 5 o’clock, the sludge in the backyard was gone and I had enchiladas in the oven for dinner.

Wellness Always Wins

Sometimes we have to wallow. In fact, if you don’t get destructive about it, a good pity party while binge watching your favorite series on Netflix can provide some much needed relief from always manning up to life.

But when you’re ready to get productive again—when you’re sick of wallowing and want to feel well—-two simple questions can get you there:

1.  “What is really going on?” (Take a moment and feel for the answer. Acknowledge what’s going on using the compassionate voice of your best friend and their slobbering dog.)

and then . . .

2.  “What do I need to do right now to feel just a little bit better?” (Be patient. It will come to you.)

Trust me, I still have a ways to go with my anti-wallowing practice, but today was a reminder that wellness trumps wallowing every time—-and there’s no messy clean-up afterwards!

Feel good. Be well. Meg

Is anybody else out there taking a mud bath over something going on in your life? What do you do to step out of the pit? I’d love to know!

. . . or try this week’s wellness prompt on your own:

IMG_7108Wellness Prompt: Try answering the two anti-wallowing questions on paper so you have them handy when you’re knee deep in sludge. Think of something that gets you hooked and makes it difficult for you to lighten up. Then write a go-to list of simple things you can do to feel . . . just . . . a little . . . bit . . . better. Tape it up on your office wall where you can see it and use it to walk your way back to wellness. 10-minute write . . . go!

Seeds of Self-Compassion

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My summer obsession.

Earlier this summer while on vacation in Minnesota, I became obsessed with these beautiful seed globes I encountered on my early morning walks. After the wildflower named Goat’s Beard is finished blooming, these shining orbs sit just off the side of the road and patiently wait for their seeds to be dispersed by gentle breezes and passing cars. I agree with one nature writer I stumbled upon, these golden spheres may be even prettier than the flower itself.

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Yellow Goat’s Beard

During my vacation, I also watched “Pretty Woman” for the millionth time, on a rainy morning when there was nothing else to do.

Do you remember that scene at the end when Vivian turns to her best friend and says, “We think you got a lot of potential, Kit De Luca?”

It was really a ‘best friends’ kind of moment. We’ve all had those.

But what if you said that to yourself today? (I know, it’s a bit of a stretch.)

What if you launched yourself into the week ahead feeling like you had unlimited potential to do whatever it is you want to be doing?

Wouldn’t that change everything?

There’s so much wellness in that scene between Vivian and Kit, that we can’t let it go by unnoticed. And there’s also no reason why we have to wait for our best friend to say it to us.

Let’s just say it to ourselves and get on with it. It’s what I plan to do for the week ahead and beyond.

Self-compassion. It’s a wellness practice we could all practice more often.

Feel good. Be well. Meg

What’s up with your wellness this week, and what would it take for you to support your efforts wholeheartedly and without reservation? I’d love to know!

. . . or try this week’s wellness prompt on your own:

IMG_6713Wellness Prompt: Practicing self-compassion is not always easy, but it always leads to wellness. Think about the words you say to yourself when things don’t seem to go your way, or you don’t “measure up.” Write them down so you recognize them when they come up. What would you say to your best friend in that same situation? Write that down also. Practice replacing your BFF voice with your go to mean girl voice and then connect with how that feels. Much better, right? 

For the Love of Zinnias: Gardening, Heirloom Seeds, and a Tribute to the Dads in My Life

Note: I wrote this essay about the dads in my life a few years ago, after listening to a radio program about the struggling D. Landreth Seed Company. I’m happy to report it is still in business. Check out and “like” their Facebook page —–it will be like getting a delivery of fresh flowers on a daily basis. I highly recommend it!

I’m not the gardener in my family. That honor goes to my husband.

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Just love this guy . . . and those shoes!

While he wasn’t born with a silver spoon in his mouth, he was born with a green thumb. His father had a wonderful store on the main street of a college town that sold fresh fruit, homemade muffins, cold drinks and the daily New York Times, among other things. It also had buckets of fresh cut flowers for sale outside the entrance, just like a sidewalk market in a quaint european town.

Before his dad knew that he would pass away from cancer at too young an age, he designed and planted a beautiful contemplative garden in the courtyard of a local hospice. He knew the healing power of flowers.

I know my husband’s three sisters were gifted with green thumbs too. Each spring I watch them fighting it out on Facebook, posting the latest and greatest pictures of flowers flowing out of their gardens into gigantic vases on their kitchen tables—-bushy blooms of purple lilacs, buttery yellow cups foraged from behind the house, and other magnificent flowers I could only name if I looked them up on the internet. Even in the context of social media, I get a warm feeling and a smile on my face following this dance of the dueling daisies.

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What did I tell you? Amazing!

As I mentioned earlier though, talent of the gardening sort, did not stop with the women in the family. Recently, I came through our backyard gate and rounded the corner of the house. I immediately noticed my husband had taken his pre-season trip to local garden store.

Sitting on the side of the pathway was a wagon piled high with bags of top quality garden soil. Just beyond that were beautifully fragrant sage bushes I could smell even before I got within sniffing distance. Beyond those, two dwarf sized citrus trees—-one orange and one lemon. Seed packets fanned out on the porch table—-seeds for parsley, cherry tomatoes, and butter soft lettuces that would find their way into our salad bowl in just a few short weeks. And at the end of this trail of overindulgence (if there is such a thing when you’re dealing with a gardening fanatic), was something that made me smile.

Zinnias.

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Shopping accident at the local garden store!

Lining the edge of the patio, waiting to be replanted in the colorful pots we brought home from Mexico years ago, were zinnias in every zany color of some weird psychedelic rainbow; brilliant yellows, pinks, purples, and reds. This annual gift of love from my husband has become a sort of unspoken validation of the connection we’ve shared for over twenty years.

My husband knows how much I love this robust and brightly-colored flower, and he makes sure that they find their way into our garden each year. When I look at their amazing blooms with hundreds of spiraling petals, I see that soft spot in his heart he shares more easily by planting flowers or doing dinner dishes late into the evening, than gazing longingly into my eyes during a candle-lit dinner for two.

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Lunch break.

But my love affair with zinnias goes back even further than my twenty year marriage. Zinnias were one of the few plants my father was able to grow in our sun starved New Jersey backyard. My dad was definitely a gardener of the more humble sort. In fact, he never called it gardening. To him it was “yard work,” and it consisted mostly of mowing, raking and taming the wild hedge that grew around the perimeter of our yard.

But there were flowers and a few vegetables too. Impatiens on the back patio because it does really well in the shade, he used to tell me. Asparagus going to seed over by the swing set, and a row of tomato plants growing close enough to be able to call this corner of the yard a bonafide “garden.”

And always, zinnias.

I know that experts say zinnias need direct hot sun to thrive, but somehow my dad managed to farm a small plot of them in a patch of sunlight that appeared for a couple of hours each day, when the sun climbed high enough in the sky to find a small hole in the maze of tree branches that formed a rainforest like canopy over our backyard. Whenever I see zinnias, I remember the joy I felt running through the garden sprinkler or playing catch in that ragtag backyard while my dad puttered around with his rake and big pair of hedge clippers.

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“Love is all you need.”

Well, all these heart warming memories came flooding back to me the other day, while I was driving the busy California I-15 listening to talk radio. The radio host was interviewing Barbara Melera, the owner of the D. Landreth Seed Company, an heirloom seed company known as the “Oldest Seed House In America.” They were talking seeds, and gardening, and also about how there was a very real possibility that this historic company, established in 1784, could be out of business by the end of the month.

Do I really care, I thought? (Remember, I’m not the gardener in the family.) I listened as she shared the importance of preserving heirloom seeds. I thought about the debate raging over genetically-engineered plants and how we’re splicing and dicing seeds into unrecognizable species that could benefit the world’s burgeoning population, but may also cause irreparable harm to our farm and food system in the future. Yes, that concerns me.

I thought about the passion she and others share for preserving a piece of history through the maintenance of these seed lines. Yeah, my antennae was hovering a bit higher now.

But then, Ms. Melera shared a little-known fact about her company. She explained, “Many people don’t know that the very first zinnia seed was offered to the United States by the D. Landreth Seed Company back in 1798, over two hundred years ago.” Okay! Enough! You had me at “zinnia!”

I know the world is changing and sometimes small companies are unable to grow and thrive in this competitive big box culture. I’m sad that newspapers may not be around someday to read on Sunday mornings. My father wrote for a newspaper for over forty years. And I am upset that I may not be reading books with pages that turn to my grandchildren. But the threat of losing the historical path of the zinnia to some massive seed conglomerate hits me hard and deep in that space right behind the breastbone, where memories and feelings and love all live together and make this life the gift that it is.

Ms. Melera is trying to save her company one five dollar seed catalog at a time. She knows it’s a longshot, and perhaps it is. But I went online this morning to do my part. I ordered six catalogs. One for my husband, one for each of his three sisters, one for my dad, and one that I will give as a gift in memory of my father-in-law. Each of these people, in their own unique way, taught me about flower power.

And I bought zinnias.

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Yep! Olde Fashion.

I went for the “Olde Fashion” collection because, as you may have guessed, that’s sort of what I am. It also crossed my mind, that if I buy Ms. Melera’s seeds and share them with my dad, the zinnia flowers blooming in our garden, will be cousins to the one’s blooming in his, three thousand miles away. And because of that, when I feel that soft spot in my husband’s heart bursting forth from all those brilliant colors of that zany zinnia rainbow, I will also be feeling my dad’s.

 

Feel good. Be well. Meg

Zinnias have always been my favorite flower in the garden. I think because they’re so simple, and just showy enough–not overly boastful of their beauty. What’s your favorite flower and can you pinpoint why? 

. . . or try this week’s wellness prompt on your own:  

IMG_6364_2Wellness Prompt: Writing this essay led me to discover a common thread that connected the important men in my life . . . something I had never considered until I saw the story forming on the page. Why not write about the dads in your life for a few minutes and see where it takes you? Don’t be afraid if everything doesn’t come up roses. Writing can be healing too. 10-minute write . . . go!

Lemons and Lemonade: A Summer Pep Talk and Three Stress Less Tips

Hi Wellness Peeps! I had my first ginger lemonade of the season recently, and it reminded me of a wellness post I wrote a few years ago after a visit from my adorable nephew from New Jersey. After chatting with him one evening, I realized that when you need the answers to life’s big questions . . . just ask a kindergartener!

“Look at a day when you are supremely satisfied at the end. It’s not a day when you lounge around doing nothing; it’s when you’ve had everything to do, and you’ve done it.”  Margaret Thatcher

My 5 year old nephew was visiting from New Jersey last week, and we were chatting one evening while I made dinner. At one point, he looked at a big bowl of lemons I had sitting on the counter, and said to me in his wise little kindergarten voice, “You could make lemonade out of those lemons.”

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“You could make lemonade out of those lemons, ya know!”

I remember looking at this sweet little buddha nephew of mine and thinking, “Wow! At five years old, he has already figured out one of the keys to a happy life!”

Turning lemons into lemonade is a life lesson we’ve all used at some point to navigate the chronic stress and anxiety that often greets us in the morning when the alarm clock sounds.

But I’ve made homemade lemonade before, and I know that it doesn’t taste good if it’s overly sweet. Add too much sugar, and you end up with a syrupy slurry minus that zing of great citrus flavor. Fresh squeezed lemonade tastes best when it has some POP! That tart edginess that makes you smack your lips when you reach the bottom of the glass.

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My favorite, Ginger Lemonade!

Most of us would agree that a life well lived is like that. Sure, we love to cast stress as the villain. If only things would run more smoothly with no big surprises, we’d be happier and more content. When I ask my workshop participants what wellness feels like they often reply, “No stress!”

But let’s be honest. We really aren’t happy unless we’re living slightly on the edge—-just a tad bit out of our comfort zone. Tackling big projects at work, challenging ourselves with new experiences, or overcoming unforeseen obstacles are things that motivate us and give us an opportunity to become our best selves.

Stress, for better or worse, gives life the ZEST! POP! and PING! that makes us feel alive and engaged in the world.

The problem is, stress can also kill. Managed poorly, it can follow us through our days zapping our energy, robbing us of sleep, and leaving us feeling anxious and overwhelmed.

Yep, stress is the #1 thing that gets in the way of our wellness. And it’s one of the biggest reasons why we turn to unhealthy behaviors like overeating, skipping the gym, or zoning out in front of bad reality TV (that last one is me).

So, Back to the Lemonade

We don’t always have a choice about how much “sour” creeps into our lives. Stuff happens, as they say. But countless studies suggest that making healthy choices in the way we eat, breathe and move our way through adversity can help us not only manage, but truly embrace this unpredictable, imperfect life of ours. It’s like stocking the pantry shelves with plenty of sugar, so that we’re ready for the big day when the lemon tree out back comes into bloom.

Here are my favorite strategies for striking just the right balance between “sweet” and “sour:”

Nourish: We all know that eating is often our “go to” coping strategy when things get a little out of hand. Eating gives us something to do and can be comforting when we’re feeling overwhelmed. But eating the wrong things, or eating too much, never turns out well. In fact, the guilt and shame we feel after a stress binge just adds to the discomfort.

Recently, I heard an intuitive eating expert share the importance of making all foods “equally accessible.” She suggested making stress busting foods like calming teas and already cut up fruits and veggies just as easy grab as the cookies and caffeine sitting around the house. Make these foods your first stop, and then if you need something more, allow yourself a small indulgence—-or better yet, go for a 10-minute walk!

Breathe: Breathing and meditation are proven ways to ease the uncomfortable thoughts and feelings that accompany stress. But many people, myself included, are not natural meditators.

I love this tip for us “stillness challenged” folk: Start by choosing an activity you do often throughout the day–for me it’s driving the car or working on my computer. Each time you do this activity, take three or four deep cleansing breaths. This simple practice encourages the breath to be the calming influence you turn to when you feel your anxiety level rising.

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Taking a spin around my Glen Ivy Labyrinth mousepad works every time!

Move: Make time to move, and don’t wait until you’re ready to throw something before you do! Even a brisk walk can ease anxious feelings or boost your energy when you’re feeling down.

And while 10 minutes of light activity is a valid prescription for easing your anxiety, a workout that pushes you to sweat and challenge your limits can get the feel good hormones flowing, giving you a powerful sense of accomplishment at the end.

Living the Sweet Life

As Margaret Thatcher says, we feel most satisfied with life when our head hits the pillow at the end of a busy day, and we have a story or two to tell about how we got through it.

But like those fresh lemons sitting in the bowl on my counter, that crazy busy life of yours needs balance. Taking care of yourself by making healthy food choices, learning to breathe through stress, and moving your body on a regular basis will all help make your life, lemons and all, that much sweeter.

 

Feel good. Be well. Meg

I’d love to know what “good” stress you have in your life—-the things you do that make your life POP! And also your fun easy tips for managing the “not so good” stress. We all could use some good ideas!

. . . or try this week’s wellness prompt on your own:

IMG_1563Wellness Prompt: Let’s try making a few lists this week. List A is the sweet—the things in your life that bring you passion, purpose, and energy. Look down at your list and smile—that’s where the wellness is! List B is the sour–activities or commitments that cause you to feel anxious, fearful, or just plain stressed out. List C is a list of simple, doable, stress busters that you know can bring you back into your wellness zone—like taking a daily walk, connecting with a friend, or removing the stressful task. I think you have a plan! Let me know how it goes!

Chile Cheese Pie: A Spa Story, a Recipe for Comfort Food, and a Few Healthy Eating Tips

“Food is memories.”

When I heard those words during the movie, “The Hundred Foot Journey,” I broke all the rules of movie theatre etiquette. I reached under my seat and rummaged noisily through my backpack for my iPhone, turned it on with the brightness set at 100%, and tapped the quote in my notebook app so I wouldn’t forget it.

It sums up precisely why I don’t jump on board with current healthy eating trends like gluten free, dairy free, fat free, vegan, Paleo—-and now up for consideration, the Bone Broth Diet. (Even with its promise of shinier hair.)

I have not had one worthwhile memory around eating foods that are missing ingredients from major food groups. Well, actually, I take that back. My son and I recently discovered Raw Vegan Cookie Dough Balls. They are truly amazing—-and memorable.

Memories around food make me smile. They make me feel good. When something in my day pops up and triggers one, it sends me tumbling back in time to the wonderful experience as if it were happening all over again.

A Spa Story

Just last week, I was in my office struggling to find the motivation to get down to the business of doing whatever I do each day. I was feeling distracted and out of sorts—-nothing a scroll through my Twitter feed wouldn’t remedy, I thought. So, I typed in #SavorTheRanch because it always takes me to tweets filled with pictures and shares from my favorite wellness place on earth, Rancho La Puerta.

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#SavorTheRanch

My husband and I lived and worked there for eight years, and images of the Ranch always remind me of that foot-loose, fancy free time of our lives—no kids, no mortgage, and best of all—-free daily maid service.

As I surfed through the tweets and looked wistfully at the photos of the trails we hiked, the beautiful Mexican casitas we lived in, and the amazing guests looking so happy and well, I began to wonder what we were thinking when we left the Ranch and decided to add to the population of the planet. Sure we have two nice kids, but daily maid service, and three organic meals served to you with no clean up afterwards—was it really worth it?

Then I saw a tweet from a guest chef, Virginia Willis that read:

My #recipe for Vegetable Gratin #SavorTheRanch.

The picture underneath was a perfect stack of layered vegetable goodness, sitting in a shimmering pool of savory sauce. It bore a striking resemblance to former Ranch Executive Chef Bill Wavrin’s infamous “Ranch Casserole.” Prompted by less than 140 characters, I was teleported back to the Ranch 20 years earlier, walking up the brick pathway to the dining room with my husband, just before noon on a Friday.

Friday lunch was ALWAYS Ranch Casserole, my husband’s favorite. After leading hikes and teaching classes all morning, a savory plate of vegetables nestled in a soft eggy custard was the perfect way to refuel. We were always first in line, and my husband would step up to the server sporting a big smile and say, “Tres, por favor.” The servers, who he conveniently befriended over the years, would respond favorably by piling three generous helpings of casserole onto his plate. Taking your “seconds” the first time around was a must because even guests splurged on Chef Bill’s Ranch Casserole.

Those were the days, I reminisced. Good times. Good friends. Wonderful memories.

And then my phone rang, jolting me back to the business of doing whatever I do each day. But I noticed I felt better. In fact, I was smiling at the thought of that amazing chapter of my life, so rich with wellness.

A simple food memory turned into a wellness moment and changed the whole tenor of my day. Life is good, I thought, and I’m going to make Ranch Casserole for dinner!

A Recipe for Comfort Food

Later, I rummaged through my stash of cookbooks and found Bill’s masterpiece, The Rancho La Puerta Cookbook. Sadly, it didn’t include the casserole, but I found a close second: Chile Cheese Pie, another staff favorite.

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Found it! Along with the perfect baking dish.

I’m sharing it with you, with permission from Bill, our good friend and spa comrade. He and my husband have continued to work together over the course of their long and notable spa careers. They’ve made quite a team.

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Chef Bill (with me) in his signature chile apron.

The beauty of this recipe is that within just a few minutes, with ingredients you probably have on hand (add whatever you have in your vegetable drawer), you’ll have healthy comfort food of the highest order, ready to serve to your family with no fuss and minimal clean-up. (because we all know who washes the dishes afterwards!) Add a salad like I did, and you’re good to go.

Chile Cheese Pie
with Chef Bill Wavrin

This dish is always a huge hit. Anaheim chiles are mild and sweet, making them the perfect introduction to chiles for anyone who can’t stand much heat. Whole chiles are up to six inches long, and they are layered into the casserole like floppy leaves. For my taste, I jazz it up with a pinch of red pepper flakes. 

6 large egg whites
2 1/2 cups low-fat cottage cheese
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano (dried works fine too)
4 garlic cloves, minced
Pinch of hot red pepper flakes (optional)
Freshly ground pepper
12 Anaheim chiles, roasted and seeded, but left whole
(Note: A 14 oz. can of Ortega whole chilies can be substituted)
1 medium onion, chopped
4 scallions, sliced
1 cup corn kernels
1 1/2 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, shredded

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. In a large bowl, mix the egg whites with the cottage cheese, Parmesan, soy sauce, cumin, oregano, garlic, red pepper flakes, and pepper, and set aside.

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I actually used a few whole eggs too.

3. Spray a 9 by 12-inch ovenproof dish with vegetable oil spray and lay half of the chiles in it. Sprinkle the onion, tomato, scallion, and corn evenly over the chiles and pour the egg mixture over the vegetables. Layer the remaining chiles to cover the pie completely and sprinkle with the shredded cheese.

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Any veggies will do.

4. Cover the dish with a lid or foil and bake in the center of the oven for about 1 hour, until hot and bubbling. Remove the lid or foil and bake 10 minutes longer to brown the top. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving.

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It’s ready!

And A Few Healthy Eating Tips

So, is there a wellness lesson in this story? Maybe so.

Food memories are feel good moments that buoy our spirits and gift us with a moment of joy in the midst of our crazy busy lives. But more so, there’s something inherent in memorable foods that make them good for our health and wellness too:

  • Foods grown well, close to the source, and with minimal intervention. (Buy the best you can with the budget you have.)
  • Foods that are bright and full of color. (Eat from the rainbow, as the saying goes.)
  • Foods prepared by real people with time, effort and love. (Time to head back into the kitchen!)
  • Foods thoughtfully plated and pleasing to the eye. (Get out your nice china every now and then.)
  • Foods shared by friends and family sitting down around a table. (I love family dinners.)
  • Foods eaten in just the right proportions. (Smaller plates work great for this!)
  • Foods so good you want to savor each bite. (Slow down and enjoy, then sit back and remember.)

And there’s more good news. Creating memorable, healthy foods doesn’t have to be hard or time consuming. As Denise Roa, Executive Chef of Rancho La Puerta’s famed cooking school, La Cocina Que Canta, said with a laugh during one of her classes, “I sometimes feel foolish, in my position, saying that good cooking means taking the freshest ingredients you can find, and then doing as little as possible to them.”

Why not remember that next time you’re hungry?

Feel good. Be well. Meg

I love conversations around food. What is one of your fondest food memories? 

. . . or try this week’s wellness prompt on your own:

IMG_5984Wellness Prompt: What food memories to you have? Maybe it’s a specific dish someone in your family makes, an unforgettable food experience you’ve had, or perhaps a meal you shared with your partner in a far away place. Write about it. What other thoughts, details, and emotions are triggered by that memory? How does it make you feel to reminisce about good times around food? 10-minute write . . . go!

P.S. I’ve been having some fun posting my Dinner Prep on Instagram @wellnessacts. Let’s follow each other and see what we can do to get #backinthekitchen cooking healthy food for our families!