Paleo Sandwich Wrap

For those of you who have followed along you have witnessed my dipping in and out of the paleo world on occasion.  In fact my paleo recipes (the couple that exist on here) are my most searched recipes.   I have found some useful recipes but I can’t say I stick to eating Paleo all the time…or even most of the time for that matter.   We are on a gluten free kick right now, for the third time, but this time I’m trying to limit the starchy gluten free fillers like muffins, pasta, chips, crackers, etc.  Since my son is allergic to lots of things, he’s lucky to get anything he’s not sensitive too….so he still gets the rice crackers and other goodies.  My daughter does not have any food allergies, but does have a sensitivity to dairy.  While she can tolerate gluten, I noticed her mood and behavior are better on a gluten free diet.  I can tolerate gluten as well, but feel much better off of it.   Anyways, coming up with lunch ideas is difficult to say the least. I have a couple of pretty picky eaters.   My daughter will not eat any meat….lunch meat, chicken, whatever.  She will for dinner, but it’s a no-go at lunch.  I’ve tried it many times and it always comes back home.  She hates the gluten free bread unless it’s toasted, and toasted bread doesn’t taste good after it has been sitting for a few hours.  She can’t have any nut products in her lunch because she sits at the “nut free” table with her best friend.   My options are very limited.   One weekend I made some “paleo pancakes” for us and thought that they would make a good “sandwich” bread or wrap for lunches.  It ended up being more of a folded flat bread than a wrap, but she ate it….so I count that as a victory!

I found the original recipe for Traditional Pancakes at fastpaleo.com.  These are by far the best paleo pancakes I have had, and I’ve tried lots!  I followed the recipe for the most part, but used maple syrup in place of the honey and for milk I used Flax Milk.  The flax milk may not be strict paleo, but it’s all we have in this house due to allergies.  Anyways, the pancakes were awesome!…and there are no nut flours involved which is also a plus.  So, I made another batch to use as wraps, but left out the maple syrup.  You can also probably cut back or eliminate the salt if you’re leaving out the sweetener.  I would say probably 1/4 to 1/2 tsp would be better.  Once I made them I let them cool them placed them in a sealed container in the fridge.  They lasted through the week.  I used one pancakes (which was pretty large…maybe 5-6 inches across) put sunbutter and jelly on it, folded it half and cut in half.  Perfect for lunch.  She liked it until we got towards the end of the week and my last pancake was a little burnt.  Oh well!  This week we’ve moved onto rice cake sandwiches with sun butter and jelly.   I’ll switch back to the  pancakes/wraps next week to mix it up a bit.

My food photography leaves much to be desired and for that I apologize.  My last minute iPhone shots aren’t cutting it.   You can see from the first pic that the batter spreads out into a perfect circle.  Unfortunately when I flipped it, I lost my perfectly shaped pancake (sandwich bread).   It still tasted good though!…even a few days later.

Paleo pancake (or sandwich bread)
Paleo pancake (or sandwich bread)

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Posted in bread, breakfast, Dairy Free, easy, Gluten Free, healthy, Nut Free, paleo | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Anxiety and Stress

I think many people focus on the obvious tangible aspects of health when working towards improving overall health, the most obvious being diet and exercise, the main focus of much of this blog.   As I get older I am increasingly noticing the impact of anxiety and stress on my overall health.  I am admittedly a very anxious person by nature.  I saw an article about Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) on yahoo the other day and after reading it I of course googled and took a “test” (answering a series of questions) to see if I qualified (because I love taking medical tests online and self-diagnosing…it’s oh so fun!).  Of course based on my responses I totally have GAD (so the internet says).  Not a bit surprised about that though since I worry about virtually EVERYTHING, and always wake up in the middle of the night contemplating horrible things that “could” happen.

From what I gather (and this is not scientific by any means), stress is the physical manifestation of fear, worry, or pressure that is the result of an event or a particular occurrence.   Anxiety is a reaction to stress which is a more prolonged fear or worry that exists even after a stressful event has passed.  Generalized anxiety is a near constant fear or worry about something that could possibly happen even if there is no indication that it will, while stress is usually tied to a specific event.  The physical manifestations of both stress and anxiety can be similar.  Stress causes an increase in cortisol resulting in physical reactions such as fatigue, headaches, irritability, muscle tension, shortness of breath, trembling, etc.  Stress typically subsides when the event causing the stress has passed.  Anxiety can linger long past the event and result in more lasting effects if left unchecked.  Chronic anxiety continues the stress response for a prolonged period of time resulting in sleep disorders, digestive problems, and an overall weakening of the immune system.

Being an introvert, adds to my anxiety I believe.  I recently read a post from one of my new favorite blogs and made me realize I am not alone in my anxious tendencies.  Things that may seem like everyday simple things to most can cause an extra level of anxiety for me.  Even simple things like volunteering in my child’s classroom for the day.   I know it has become popular to label oneself an introvert, just because you may need a little down time, but on the scale of 1 to 10, 10 being extrovert, I’m solidly planted on a 1.  Introversion combined with shyness is a big old recipe for fun, let me tell you.   I don’t know how I ever held down a full time job and the thought of re-entering the work force scares the hell out of me for many reasons.  We’re supposed to be moving this summer.  Something that can be stressful, but something I look forward to.  However, with this move I would likely have to start working again, which causes great anxiety after being home so many years.  I’ve applied to a ton of jobs, but the thought of actually working causes extreme anxiety.  Mostly because I will be away from my children and that always makes me nervous because I think something terrible will happen.  The compounding stressors of moving, not knowing when or where, and the thought of working, sends my stress levels through the roof.   Despite these stressful events on the horizon, I feel like I have a low-level general anxious feeling all the time.  Luckily it does not keep me from doing most things, but it does often keep me awake at night and I believe compounds my physical reaction to stressful events.

I think people display physical symptoms of stress and anxiety differently.  For me it causes pain….back pain, shoulder/neck pain and sometimes headaches.   For several years (while I was working) I also clenched my jaw and would grind my teeth while sleeping.  I recently started doing that just before the holidays (right around the time we found out about the move) and had severe jaw pain for weeks.  After it seemed to subside, it move to my neck shoulders.   This was very uncomfortable and left me awake much of the night in pain.  My husband on the other hand seems to get nosebleeds at times of high stress.   I had very  bad lower back pain years ago when I was working, to the point where it was just a daily thing I learned to accept.  It lasted for years.  Within a week of quitting my job it was gone.   I knew for me that the anxiety and stress surrounding me always manifests itself in some kind of physical pain.  It is amazing the effects the mind can have on the body!  If it can affect it negatively then surely it can affect it positively as well.

Last week I dedicated myself to working out regularly (something I always strive to do, but in my overly ambitious plans, fall short) to help deal with my anxiety.  Nothing stressful, just walking and a bit of yoga.  The yoga really helped in releasing the tension in my neck and shoulders and walking got my body moving and blood pumping and overall felt great without the pressure of running to meet an arbitrary goal I usually create for myself.  The biggest impact has been limiting my time online.  I could spend literally hours trolling the internet reading pointless stuff most of the time.  I got of Facebook, and limit my online time significantly and only if I have a need or purpose to be online.  Instead of watching tv at night on the iPad I’ll listen to a podcast meditation on my phone while I lie in bed. (Meditation Oasis….one of my faves.) It relaxes me and always helps me get to sleep.  (My son (5 years old) listens to the children’s sleep meditation every night….and love’s it!).   I think getting away from the computer screen has had the biggest impact on lowering my stress levels.  I’m trying to slow down and focus more one what I’m doing in the present.  I know it is something that everyone is always preaching but it really does take practice, but the benefits can be rewarding.  I hear coffee is also bad for people with anxiety and I’m cutting back a bit, but probably won’t be going cold turkey on the caffeine anytime soon.

My anxiety is far from extinguished, and I still have plenty to stress about, but I’m working on controlling it through exercise, meditation, and being more present in my life than online.  If it can help limit my aches and pains and improve my health, then I’m all for it.

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Whaley

This really has nothing at all to do with food or health, but I thought I’d blog about it anyway.  Maybe one of the three people reading will find it useful.  : )

Now that all of my kids are in school full time, and I’m turning up no leads on the job search, I figured I’d at least try to learn some new skills.   Sewing is something I have wanted to learn since….um…forever.  I bought a machine back in 2004 and it sat for years because I couldn’t figure out how to thread it and get it going and it just frustrated me.  In 2007 I brought it back out and started to make some simple tote bags and leather/fabric bracelets.  Basically I could only sew a straight line…nothing fancy.   Anyways, my sewing machine has been in hibernation lately, so I decide to bring it back out and try something new.  I have tons of fabric scraps including some minky fabric left over from a blanket I made my son a couple years ago.  Since his birthday was coming up I figured I’d try and make something out of the same fabric to match his blanket.  I found an adorable whale stuffed animal tutorial on pinterest and decided to give it a try.  I figured I’d have to actually make a couple before they turned out decently, but to my surprise it actually worked the first time!

Here’s the finished product:

Stuffed Whale
Stuffed Whale

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I believe the fabric on the belly is an amy butler print I had on hand which just happened to coordinate with the blue perfectly.  I also added some additional fluff to the fins which the tutorial doesn’t call for, but I wanted to “fluff” them up a bit.  The last step called for hand sewing the tail up with a slip stitch, and was probably the most challenging for me.  For the eyes I cut out a small black felt circle and kind of stitched around it with embroidery floss.  While it may not be perfect, my five year old loves it so that’s good enough for me! (Oh, and he named it Whaley.)

The tutorial can be found at GoogieMomma.

 

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