LIBBY’S GUIDE TO TAKING CARE OF YO SELF + FAVORITE FOODS (WHAT I EAT EVERY DAY)

I would like to think that I take pretty good care of myself – I make almost all of my own meals, I eat ridiculously healthy (with a cookie here and there), I do yoga, take walks with Winnie, and try to limit my beer/wine intake. However, my stress meter is often off the charts. I take care of everyone except myself and it is not until I have had one too many 14-15 hour days, that I have to take a moment and remember what is important. Am I able to be my best self if I am stressed out and overwhelmed? Nope. So, while a lot of this article is common sense, it is a great reminder to take care of yourself everyday. It doesn’t really take any more time and you’ll be healthier (emotionally, mentally, and physically) in the long run.

Here’s the checklist – I would also add cooking and baking to this list. I stress bake like no other and everyone I have ever worked with has figured this out. Three kinds of cookies on a Monday? Not good!

  • Drink water
  • Eat something
  • Work out
  • Go outside
  • Take a shower

The author explains that if you still feel bad after doing the things on the checklist, then something might actually be wrong. I’ll also add time with my dog or any dog instantly improves my mood. Luckily we have an office dog, Hank, the golden retriever. A bubble bath, my favorite music, yoga/riding my bike, dancing like a fool in my kitchen, reading, even cleaning improves my mood and takes my mind off whatever stress is currently taking hold of me. Another guaranteed mood buster for me is to do something nice for someone else. Mailing cookies, writing a letter to a friend, or checking in with friends always make me happy. I encourage you to make your own checklist and think about what makes you happy when you’re down. Ice cream, your favorite tv show, finding the perfect pair of shoes – nothing is too frivolous.

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I love barre – it makes me so happy and that hour is time for me to let out some stress.

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Writing is also therapeutic for me, which might be one reason I blog. It’s one of the easiest ways for me to communicate how I am feeling and I have so much to be thankful for – the good and the bad – that I hope this serves as a small record of life in my late twenties. It hasn’t been perfect, but I have learned a lot along the way, enjoyed some great food, and shared my life with some amazing people. It’s also a great reminder that you are the only person in control of your own happiness. It is a choice you make everyday and as long as I can still have fun doing mundane tasks, see the bright side in daily interactions, and count my blessings, then I think happy will far outweigh the sad.

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It would be a little silly for me to include a recipe in this self care post that calls for a pound of butter (although butter can = happiness), so here are a few of my favorite foods that I eat almost every day. I like to change it up, but I am guilty of getting into a routine – especially for breakfast (peanut butter is always included).

BREAKFAST (one of the following)

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LUNCH (I am blessed to work at a place that feeds us a lot and has an impressive snack cabinet and fully stocked kitchens, but I also live across from the office, so I run home if I can)

  • eggs (3 eggs scrambled or in an omelet and I always include cheese – brie, feta, goat, even string cheese)
  • avocado toast (I know, I know. Even I am over the amount of avocado toast instagram photos out there)
  • cucumber, tomato, feta, olive salad with fig balsamic
  • lox and toast – try cottage cheese instead of cream cheese!
  • leftover rotisserie chicken in a salad (peppers, white beans, cheese, etc)
  • a loaded baked sweet potato (I don’t remember eating sweet potatoes until college and now I eat them at least once a week) – add a little butter and cinnamon. Top with plain greek yogurt too!
  • Lentils – buy them cold at Trader Joe’s and add them to salads or eat them straight up. They are great warm with salmon. The Progresso lentil soup is also one of my favorites. I had my first lentil experience in Paris six years ago with a poached egg on top.

These are all on rotation right now, but I also eat leftovers of whatever I have recently made for dinner. Soups are especially good the second day.

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SNACKS (my favorite part of the day)

I have a rule that a handbag needs to pass the snack test. Can it accommodate a few Kind bars, an apple, and some pistachios? I do have some tiny purses that hardly fit a pack of gum, but for the most part, I never leave home without a snack. Hangries are real and I try to avoid them at all costs.

  • Hummus – I used to eat it every day and now it’s more of an after thought if I have it in the fridge. It got me to eat radishes though and Trader Joe’s is my favorite – Sabra in a pinch.
  • Celery and peanut butter
  • Apples – I eat one almost every day – Granny Smiths are consistent and usually the cheapest. Fiji or honeycrisp if they are not more than $2 a pound.
  • Pistachios – un-shelling them will make the snack last longer
  • Babybel cheese
  • Oloves packs – the best olives to go (Sometimes I eat a pack while I am making my dinner)
  • Kind bars – I like the ones with only 4 grams of sugar

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DINNER

My go to formula for dinner: protein + veggie + grain (If I ate my body weight in carbs for lunch, I do two veggies + the protein for dinner. I like for my meals to make sense, but I also don’t beat myself up if I have a really indulgent out of control ate myself silly day)

  • brussel sprouts! Steamed in the microwave and then browned in a cast iron or in the oven.
  • Sugar snap peas – steam them in the microwave for two minutes. Add a little sea salt. Also, really good with feta!)
  • Roasted salmon with thai peanut sauce from Fresh Market
  • farro, cous cous, risotto, quinoa, or brown rice
  • Rotisserie chicken or roast chicken – add to tacos and salads – the possibilities are endless
  • Pot roast – go to Trader Joe’s for a roast, put it in the crockpot and you will eat for a week
  • meatballs have been my go to lately – ground turkey, salt, pepper, parm, and handfuls of fresh basil. Top with marinara. YUM!
  • Baked sweet potato or slice into sweet potato fries and bake in the oven – olive oil and sea salt
  • Spinach! I always have spinach for my favorite smoothie and for adding to omelets and for sautéing down a GIANT mound into a pile of nothing. It’s like magic. Add chicken broth and some garlic and let it go. Sometimes i even add a Laughing Cow cheese wedge to make it like a creamed spinach dish.
  • Roast portobellos, different color peppers, and sliced red onion in the oven at 400 – top with balsamic
  • Other veggies always in my freezer: peas (for spaghetti), broccoli (add cheese), edamame (shelled and unshelled), asparagus, brussel sprouts (although fresh is where it’s at), and corn (for corn chowder).

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Meal time with Winnie. He thinks he likes everything – including leafy greens.

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Jesus helps too

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