Brain Food: Almond-Crusted Salmon

Brain Food: Almond-Crusted Salmon

It's rare that I post recipes on my website. It's also rare that I make food that I like so much that I feel I MUST share it with the world. The preamble here is brief because I get annoyed when I look up a recipe on a website and have to scroll past a ton of narrative I'm not interested in, and that has no impact on my life when I'm only on the page because I want the fucking recipe.

frustrated child

Brain-boosting nutrition dominates this salmon dish. Read about how the brain bebefits from this dish on page 2 this post. There's a lot of info there.

After I ate this salmon dish for dinner, I took my dog for a walk and suddenly got clarity on a professional challenge that I'd been grappling with for over a month. There's one task that's been on my to-do list for weeks because although I thought I knew how I wanted it done, and although I could see in my head how it could look, it didn't seem quite right, and I just couldn't get the task out. Something was missing. After a piece of almond-crusted salmon and a dog walk, I received the answer in my mind  As I tweeted, “#brainfood & #exercise #FTW.” (And possibly some of the EFT that I did earlier.)

Now, here's the fucking recipe:

[Jump to recipe notes and nutrition notes.]

Almond-Crusted Salmon

Makes 2
(It's easy to increase or decrease serving size)

Ingredients

1/4 cup raw almonds
1 tbsp hemp seeds
1 tbsp pumpkin seeds
1 tbsp sesame seeds
The Zest of 1 lemon [works for 1 or 2 servings of salmon] Salt and pepper to taste – or a few grinds of pepper and a couple of pinches of salt

1-2 tbsp coconut oil

Instructions

  1. In a food processor or food chopper, chop the nuts and seeds until they are fine. This is the coating. The finer you get the mixture, the more likely it is to stick to the fish.
  2. Add the lemon zest and give it another pulse to mix
  3. Rinse the salmon and pat dry
  4. Put some coating on a plate
  5. Dredge each side of the salmon, patting the coating on if that helps it stick
  6. Heat 1-2 tbsp of coconut oil or olive oil in a pan over medium heat (amount depends on the size of the skillet you're using)
  7. Cook the salmon for 4-5 minutes per side.
  8. Serve over greens, such as spring mix, that's been drizzled with juice from the lemon you zested (1/2 a lemon should be enough, but you decide how wet you want it). You can also add a drizzle of sesame oil.

(Click images for full size)

Recipe notes:

  • You could start with almond meal or almond flour. I didn't have any.
  • You could use whatever seeds you'd like. Chia seeds and/or sunflower seeds would probably work. My intuition guided me to hemp and pumpkin.
  • You could replace the almonds with pecans or other nuts of choice (not peanuts).
  • I ended up with enough coating for two servings, even though I'd only thawed one piece of fish, so I've got some leftover coating for the next time. If you end up with more coating than you need, you can use it on salmon in the future, or use it as a topping for salad or yogurt. If you're not going to use the ground nuts and seeds in the next couple of days, freeze the leftovers. They could go rancid.
  • I didn't use the best quality salmon (it was a frozen fillet from a box, bought at a grocery store) but the execution was nearly perfect. I say “nearly” because I didn't chop the nuts finely enough.

(more…)

ADHD and the Job Hunt

ADHD and the Job Hunt

(or, why I am not a liability)

I talk a lot about my upcoming programs, but what I've never mentioned is that I'm also looking for a  job for stable income. If I have stable income I can be a better coach because I'll have the income to invest in myself and my business, and I'll be able to give back by investing in other peoples' programs so I can keep learning and helping. I only apply to roles that appear to be a cultural fit with pay that matches my experience and cost of living. I want a position that's engaging with the right amount of challenge, where I'll be able to get feedback but also have autonomy. I like working with teams and collaborating, but also being able to do my part on my own. I want to be a rock star. I want to shine. I want to help. I recently posted this to LinkedIn:

I want a space where I either have cubicle walls OR a space I can go when I need to work alone if I'm in an open-concept office. A window seat for natural light would be nice, but not necessary. I need these things because I'm easily distracted, and I experience sensory issues. I prefer a physical barrier between myself and co-workers. I like to put calendars and other visual aids up on walls. It helps my productivity. I'm capable of hot-desking if my laptop is lightweight.

Something like this looks nice but can cause me anxiety:

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

One of the reasons for this post is that I've directed potential employers to this site as a writing example. It could be a risky move. I don't want potential employers – or clients – to worry that I'm a liability. ADHD isn't a red flag. It has benefits!

Here are some of the benefits of ADHD

Hyperfocus

One common characteristic of people with ADD/ADHD is the ability to hyperfocus. Many scientists, artists, writers and entrepreneurs have been very successful because of their ability to focus for hours. See examples below.

Bright and creative with different perspective

We tend to be intelligent and creative. We look at things differently than others do. We spend a lot of time in our heads. We're persistent. I think entrepreneurship appeals to people with ADD/ADHD because we're full of ideas and prefer to create our ideal work environment without burdening employers. I suspect that writing is often a career choice because of our creativity. We spend a lot of time in our heads. We create stories. We work out problems.

Albert Einstein is said to have had ADD, although this label that didn't exist during his lifetime.

Compassion and empathy

We tend to be compassionate and empathetic. These are useful when collaborating with co-workers or stakeholders and when communicating with clients. I'm certainly empathetic.

empathy

Hard work to maximize potential

We work hard to compensate for our “weaknesses,” and we've found ways to do so. For example, while “attention to detail” is one such weakness, people whom I've worked with and for have observed that I have an eagle eye for editing. I notice when the font face is inconsistent and when there's an extra space. As long as I take my editing work to a quiet place with no distraction, I edit well. To me, editing is like a fun puzzle. Find all of the errors! I'm extremely organized because I need to be. Everything gets written down. If it's not on my calendar, it doesn't exist. I have friends with ADD who share this experience.

Self-awareness

We're self-aware. We're aware that we're different than others. Some of us understand that we're neurodiverse, even if we don't know that word (I only recently learned it).

In the last year, I stopped fearing being a burden. I've taken it upon myself to help fight the stigma. Creating awareness is why I changed the mission of this website. When my previous full-time job made my ADHD flare up after it had laid dormant for months, I discussed it with my manager. It was the first time I had ever raised the issue with a manager. In the past, I chose to “suck it up.” My manager was sympathetic and unsuccessfully advocated for me. Because I was under contract with an agency, the system wasn't on my side. I accepted the job offer because I was qualified and needed income, but I quickly discovered that it was a poor fit.

Lessons learned while working for that company are helping me in my current job search. I have a better understanding of my own needs, which allows me to maximize my productivity and value. I'm an asset because I know what works for me and what doesn't. Being honest about it benefits my (future) employer and me.

I also picked up some new experience and skills. For example, I learned how to plan and host a Twitter chat.

Famous people with ADD or ADHD

In addition to Albert Einstein, famous, successful people with ADHD include:
Richard Branson, journalist Lisa Ling, winning athletes Michael Phelps and Terry Bradshaw, several musicians and politicians, plus more entrepreneurs.

It seems that people choose careers for reasons related to ADD (or, their careers choose them).

On side-gigs, side-hustles and the like

I am fully confident that I can support a small (4-6) roster of 1:1 clients and/or a couple of client groups while managing a 40-hour/week job. SO many people have side hustles these days, and if anyone can do it, it's someone with Attention Deficit Disorder. I have systems in place. I have multiple calendars. I can prioritize. For years I freelanced as a social media specialist while I had a full-time job. I collaborated with one or two clients at a time. I always preferred to keep my client roster small so that I could devote more attention to each. I think that that's beneficial for relationship management, ADD or not.

side hustle

Photo credit: “InvestmentZen” on Flickr.

So, if you're here because I've applied for a job at your company, let's chat! I determined that you and I were a good fit based on what I knew about the role and the company. I'm a good judge of such things. If you're here without me having applied to your company, let me know if you've got anything. I'm looking for either a transit-friendly job in Toronto or remote work.

Featured image on homepage by Nick Morrison on Unsplash

The Reset Diet

The Reset Diet

This post is a continuation of the previous post, which I felt was getting too long.

Reset Diet

Finally, the reset diet…

I recently posted this to Instagram:

At last, the series of posts that I tried to post previously: 📷📷📷 Sunday's poached eggs on kale with grain-free almond bread. I didn't set out to make a dish for Instagram, but it was beautiful. 🍳🍳🍳🍳 I seasoned the kale with garlic, turmeric, salt and pepper. I use a lot turmeric in winter. ❄❄❄❄ I've been choosing what I eat by intuition recently. I'm currently eating for body reset (some would call it a detox), so I've been eating lots of vegetables, light protein, anti-inflammatory spices and minimal allergens. I've eliminated all nightshades except for a small bit of black pepper. I've removed grains and legumes. 🍴🍴🍴🍴🍴 It's not forever, but when my reactions to certain foods become uncomfortable, I listen to my body and let it rest and heal. Otherwise, I mostly eat what I want, first asking myself if it's worth the potential consequences. I don't mind a bit of gas or a bit of itching. . . . . #instalove #glutenfree #yeastfree #instayum #healthyeating #wheatfree #poachedeggs #instalove #healthyliving #nutritious #foodporn #whatsforlunch #certifiednutritionist #instagood #candidadiet #tastytuesday

A post shared by Andrea Toole, ADHD Coach (@findinghealthwellness) on

“I've been choosing what I eat by intuition recently. I'm currently eating for body reset (some would call it a detox), so I've been eating lots of vegetables, light protein, anti-inflammatory spices and minimal allergens. I've eliminated all nightshades except for a small bit of black pepper. I've removed grains and legumes.

It's not forever, but when my reactions to certain foods become uncomfortable, I listen to my body and let it rest and heal. Otherwise, I mostly eat what I want, first asking myself if it's worth the potential consequences. I don't mind a bit of gas or a bit of itching.”

I was having candida issues and while I've done full on multi-week candida cleanses in the past, I decided to do something different this time. For the first two days I consumed nothing but smoothies and vegetable broth, followed by a couple of days of nothing but liquids and vegetables with a few herbs. I cut out coffee. During this time I noticed an improvement in cognitive function and decision making, and I wasn't hungry at all.

Check out this broth in the making, which I cooked and strained:

vegetable brothAnd the next batch…

vegetable broth closeup

Details on Instagram

I've continued to eat in the way I laid out above. Intuitively. Lots of vegetables, light protein including a lot of eggs, anti-inflammatory spices and minimal allergens. Minimal nightshades. I've removed grains and legumes. I'm back on coffee, dairy-free. I've been consuming a lot of coconut milk and made cashew milk yesterday. I've read about the 80/20 rule of dieting, which is where you eat healthy (or on diet) 80% of the time. I seem to be doing a 90/10 or a 95/5. The bigger number is when I eat at home. When I'm out I still adhere to some guidelines and strive to avoid what my immune system would perceive as the worst invaders.

The two times I've had tomato, I've reacted to it, so it's out. I haven't touched beer in a few weeks.

I've been getting meal ideas from The 21 Day Sugar Detox, the 21 Day Sugar Detox cookbook and Practical Paleo, all books by Dianne Sanfilippo.

I've been eating a lot of greens and eggs, like this:

poached eggs with kale

The grain-free almond bread kicks-ass. There's a photo series on Instagram.

Eating intuitively is really good for health. I know what’s “good” for me and what’s “bad.” I pick my poison, so to speak. I ask myself if it’s worth it. As I said in my last post, I ate a couple of slices of birthday cake in the middle of this. I didn’t get sick. I didn’t die. The sugar bomb did not upset me emotionally or physically. I did notice a slight immune effect.

And that cold that I discussed two posts ago? It did get worse after I stayed up late for two consecutive nights, one of which was spent working on that blog post, and ate one more piece of cake. I had ONE day on which I was blowing my nose a lot. One day of chest congestion. Then it was gone.

Questions? Comments? I might have one more blog post in me on the topic.

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