CORONAVIRUS: I’M ECSTATIC ABOUT………WHAT???

As I’m adjusting to this new normal, it’s hard to believe what I’m now feeling ECSTATIC about.

The other day I visited my local mini mart, which has been stocked, surprisingly, with gettyimages-502997738-612x612wonderful staples. As I went to reach for the thin, non-absorbent paper towels, I looked up and saw (HOLD ON), a two-pack of BOUNTY. BOUNTY PAPER TOWELS!  REAL PAPER TOWELS!  It seemed like a mirage. I swear, when I reached up for them, I heard the music from “Rocky” buzzing in my ears.

My local super market started implementing social distancing from the onset of this pandemic. Every time I went to the store, I had wait on a long line, and shop in a store with empty shelves and panicked faces. It was so depressing. I hated the experience so much that I started going every 3 weeks and doing a giant shop. Recently, the supermarket started  posting shopping times on (HOLD ON) Open Table. Now, I simply sign onto Open Table, book my shopping time, and off I go. When I get to the store, even if there is a line, I get to go right in.  Cue in “Rocky”.

I called my podiatrist yesterday. My foot has been bothering me and I wanted to make a telehealth appointment. Vanessa, the receptionist, told me that the doctor was also taking (HOLD ON) regular appointments. REGULAR APPOINTMENTS?? You mean the kind of appointment where I can SEE the doctor IN PERSON??? ECSTATIC.

If anyone had told me three months ago that I would feel this passionately about Bounty paper towels, shopping at my local supermarket through Open Table, or seeing my podiatrist, I would have told them that they needed serious help.

Oh, this  new normal!

 

 

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CORONAVIRUS: THE STYLISH BANK ROBBER  

As many of you know, this epidemic is making us feel like we’re on a giant roller coaster. For me, when this first hit I felt all over the place—anxious, moody and exhausted. My friend sent me a link to zoom—she told me that I could start training people virtually. Training virtually?  Zoom? NO THANK YOU!  Virtual training was NOT or me! A week later, I was training my clients virtually.

Virtual training is fine. It is far from ideal but it keeps us connected and my clients maintain some level of fitness. In the process, I’ve learned  how to be more creative. Often times people have no equipment—I still want them to have a good workout so I had to figure that out.   When there is equipment, I worry about injury, so I’ve learned how to accurately describe the right way to pick up weights.   It’s a lot more work but worth it.

As things have improved here in NY, on Monday, I started seeing a few people outside, on my patio. I moved some equipment  into the sunshine. My table was filled with hand sanitizer, Clorox wipes, sunscreen and water. When I got too close, I put on my mask. To protect my boxed-colored hair and face, I wore sunglasses and my signature red, floppy hat. One of my clients laughed so hard at this getup. She said that I looked like a stylish bank robber.

I was overcome with joy seeing people face to face. What I missed so much was the little nuances that I can’t see on zoom. I was able to accurately assess when something wasn’t right, or when I needed to tweak an exercise. It was sublime.

I was one VERY happy,  stylish bank robber!

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MEDITERRANEAN CHICKPEA SALAD

Look at the colors in this salad!! Now that it’s getting warmer, this can be the perfect side dish for any time you fire up the BBQ.  You can also have this for lunch or even sprinkle this on a green salad, if you prefer more greens. Delicious AND packed with nutrition!

ingredients for the salad  (serves 6-8) mediterranean-chickpea-salad-1526077481

2 (15-oz.) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 medium cucumber, chopped

1 bell pepper, chopped

½ red onion, thinly sliced

½ c. chopped kalamata olives

½ c. crumbled feta

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

ingredients for the lemon-parsley vinaigrette  

½ c. extra-virgin olive oil

¼ c. white wine vinegar

1 tbsp. lemon juice

1 tbsp. freshly chopped parsley

¼ tsp. red pepper flakes

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

ingredients

Make salad: In a large bowl, toss together chickpeas, cucumber, bell pepper, red onion, olives, and feta. Season with salt and pepper.

Make vinaigrette: In a jar fitted with a lid, combine olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, parsley, and red pepper flakes. Close the jar and shake until emulsified, then season with salt and pepper.

Dress salad with vinaigrette just before serving.

(recipe found on https://www.delish.com/)

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CORONAVIRUS: FEELING TRIGGERED??

During this pandemic, I’ve been doing virtual training sessions and nutritional counseling. While it’s far from ideal, I am still able to connect with my clients and watch them make progress and for that I feel extremely fortunate and grateful! For me, feeling connected is what’s keeping me sane.

During these connections, my clients and I have been able to talk and share—we’ve shared our fears, frustrations, and how our new “normal” way of life is wreaking havoc.

One of my clients, let’s call her Maggie, suffered with bulimia, in her early 20’s.  Now, downloadalmost 50 years later, Maggie’s eating disorder is re-surfacing. The other night, she had a binge—something she hasn’t done in a very long time. While she didn’t purge, she overloaded on sugar. The next day Maggie could barely hold her coffee cup because her hands were stiff and arthritic. (Sugar is extremely inflammatory—a topic for another blog for sure.)  She is not alone. Other clients and family members are experiencing similar things. Past traumatic events are suddenly knocking on the door wanting to come back in for a visit.

To get more clarity, I spoke with a friend of mine, who is psychologist. I wanted her professional take. She said that in our current situation, the loss of control over various aspects of our lives may bring up earlier traumas involving the same sensation of losing control. The previous trauma could be anything from an acute illness to living with an abusive parent or spouse. Previous negative coping habits, like drinking, drug use, or over eating, may re-emerge. That’s exactly what was happening to Maggie.

The silver lining to Maggie’s story is that instead of self-loathing, she responded with self-kindness. She didn’t beat herself up. Instead, she paused and realized the reality of this pandemic. We are experiencing something that happens once every 100 years. We all are suffering with some form of anxiety and many of us will be triggered from past trauma and will regress.  We have to acknowledge it for what it is, forgive ourselves, and remember that tomorrow is another day.

Often, we hear about random acts of kindness. People doing lovely things for friends, neighbors and/or family members. In this very difficult time, we also have to make sure that we have non-random but DAILY acts of kindness towards ourselves. We need as much self-nurturing as possible.

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CORONAVIRUS: OVERREACTING???

Life has been stressful living with the coronavirus. Most days, I feel alright but I’m download.jpgnoticing that when the slightest thing goes wrong, I’m REACTIVE. Yes, this is my  nice way of saying I am overreacting in an unrecognizable way. Let’s face it–we all are because we’re all stressed. Today I witnessed someone else overreacting and to be honest, it made me feel a heck of a lot better.

A few miles away from my house is a farm where they sell produce. I’ve been going to the farm a few times a week and loving the convenience and the fact that I don’t have to go to a supermarket. They also sell flowers, plants, condiments and baked goods. My husband’s favorite treat at this farm is the homemade apple cider donuts. (Oh the smell of them being made!!) His dream would be for me to pick up donuts every time I go. No such luck, but I do cave in every now and then. In our pre-covid life, the donuts were in a case where you could reach in with tongs and pull out a donut or two and put them in a small wax paper bag. That system no longer exists but they do sell the donuts, much to my husband’s delight, in a pack of eight.

This afternoon I was at the farm buying produce. As I was checking out a woman came up to the register and asked about the apple cider donuts. The farm-worker told her “no more donuts”. The woman shouted “NO MORE APPLE CIDER DONUTS???? NO MORE APPLE CIDER DONUTS?? ARE YOU SURE???” The farm-worker told her that there would be more tomorrow. “TOMORROW??? ARE YOU SURE THERE ARE NONE LEFT?” The farm-worker was sure. The woman was distraught.

Yep, overreacting!  I completely get it….

 

 

 

 

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ROASTED CAULIFLOWER SOUP

The only good thing about this CHILLY Spring that we’re having is that it’s perfect weather for soup!  I never made cauliflower soup before! I added a dash of cayenne pepper to give it little “pow”.  If you like cauliflower, you’ll LOVE this soup! Thank you, New York Times Cooking!

ingredientsmerlin_149765442_1974b603-81dd-448c-bcbe-456066c12f53-articleLarge

1 large head cauliflower (about 2 pounds), stem discarded, florets cut into 2-inch pieces, leaves reserved (if available)

2 medium white onions, halved and thinly sliced

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin

1 ½ teaspoons ground coriander

Sea salt and ground black pepper

2 tablespoons salted butter

4 garlic cloves, crushed

1 large potato (about 14 ounces), skin on, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

1 quart vegetable or chicken stock

2 tablespoons sliced almonds

Coarsely chopped fresh parsley leaves, for serving

directions

Heat the oven to 400 degrees F. Arrange the chopped cauliflower, any cauliflower leaves and the onions on a large baking sheet. Drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with cumin, coriander, 1 teaspoon salt and  ½ teaspoon pepper. Use your hands to mix everything together, then arrange in an even layer. Roast until the cauliflower is browned and cooked through but still has some bite, about 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large saucepan over low heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Stir in the potato and turmeric, add the stock and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cover and cook until the potato is soft, about 10 minutes.

When the cauliflower is done, reserve about 1 cup cauliflower for the topping (including leaves, if you have them) and add the remaining cauliflower and onions to the soup. Return the soup to a simmer and cook until flavors meld, about 5 minutes. Blitz with an immersion blender until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

Toast the almonds in a dry skillet over low heat, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 4 minutes. When you are ready to serve, ladle the soup into warmed bowls. Top with the reserved roasted cauliflower and a scattering of almonds and parsley.

 (recipe found on cooking.nytimes.com) 

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CORONAVIRUS: THE HIGHS ARE HIGHER

In a recent post, I mentioned that for the first time in my life, living in these new set of circumstances, I’m feeling moody. I’m noticing that my lows feel lower and my highs feel higher.

Yesterday I discovered that my local cosmetic, health, and beauty aid store, Harmon, was open. I felt giddy.  Armed with my mask and gloves, I ventured out. I needed things like toothpaste, toothbrush heads, disinfectant wipes and (gasp) more boxed hair color.

I always go to Harmon with a list–this way I can stay focused and just stick to the items on my list. This is virtually impossible to do at Harmon. I always get sucked in and wind of leaving with at least ten extra items that I didn’t need. In the past, I would get into the car and scold myself. NOT YESTERDAY. Yesterday, the extra sponges, cleaning products, cotton pads,  and dark chocolate delighted my soul. I can’t believe that I’m saying this but the one item that brought the most bliss was a cuticle nipper. That’s right, I splurged and imagesbought a Tweezerman spiral spring cuticle nipper so that I can give myself a manicure without making a mess of my fingers. JOY.

Leaving the house now is challenging. You have to be armed with a mask and disposable gloves in order to stay safe. Going into any store can be soul crushing when you see empty shelves and panicked faces. Harmon was an uplifting outing for me–the shelves were stocked and I was able to experience a higher high from a simple cuticle nipper. Who would ever have imagined……

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