This is a very different post than the one I initially conceived, but sometimes as I write, words pour out and take on a different trajectory.
Kelly Brogan, M.D.
I’ve been a fan of Dr. Kelly Brogan and her work for years, and so I was happy to find that she was a recent guest on the Adulting podcast in an episode that they called, “Is Medication Bullsh*t? A Non-Conventional Approach to Mental Health.”
Why am I a fan?
First of all, podcast titles such as that one.
Secondly, Dr. Brogan challenges the existing system in ways that would intimidate me if I did it publicly. We live in a world where people think in black & white, for & against. We get shamed if we agree with something that a disagreeable politician says. It’s expected that we be for or against entire categories of issues rather than allowing room for nuance, or agreeing with some aspects of that issue but not others.
It’s not uncommon to see Facebook posts that say, “If you don’t agree [with me on this issue] then unfriend me now.”
We seem to have lost our ability to respectfully disagree and also to have conversations that might change the way we think. People are afraid to change the way they think.
Take that podcast episode title, for example. It’s slightly clickbait, but it’s accurate. It’s the discussion topic. The idea that medication might be bullshit is enough to trigger people – anger them, put them on the defensive, and make them stand firm.
Professionals such as Dr. Brogan are constantly slandered.
Oh boy, another blog post inspired by the monologue ramblings of one Marc Maron in his podcast. WTF, WTF?
I’ve been listening to this podcast for years, but for some reason, it’s been resonating with me in new ways recently. Maybe that’s an example of what I’m about to discuss. Perhaps it’s an example of how we tend to pick out the messages we need from something we read or hear. We somehow tune in differently, whether it’s a song lyric that we suddenly feel connected to after several listens, a book that we’ve read once or more than once, or a podcast.
Maron’s monologue before his interview with Aaron Sorkin stuck to and with me. Like previous podcast monologues in the last four weeks, I transcribed a part of this one. Like other interviews, some part of me connected with what the guest said.
In talking about luck and timing
He talks about having bad luck. He’s self-deprecating. However, then he states,
I think the only luck that I really had, to be honest with you, was the timing of this podcast.
But what is “luck”? According to Google, “luck” is “success or failure apparently brought by chance rather than through one’s own actions.” But what is “chance”? According to Dictionary.com, “chance” is “the absence of any cause of events that can be predicted, understood, or controlled: so “luck is a randomly” caused success or failure.
We all have “luck”
We all have “luck” of some sort. Sometimes it’s not so much luck as our own doing, without us realizing it. Sometimes we don’t realize how much our thoughts and actions are creating our situation. Sometimes the timing in the world is just right.
Some would say that everything happens when it’s meant to.
…when you think about people have helped you along during the way, why would they do that? It’s weird that most of the time the things that change your life are just people that choose to show up for you somehow, or to give you time, to give you attention, to give you some sort of lesson, but they don’t have to do that.
(Emphasis mine.) I love this statement. “People who choose to show up for you…give you time… attention… lesson… they don’t have to.”
Just ‘showing up’ is a significant act.
Time is a precious resource. The decision to give someone time, and the action of it, can be significant to another human being. The lesson need not be direct as in, “I’m going to teach you something”. The teaching doesn’t need to be in the form of a tutorial. The lesson can be an experience that you learn from.
Everyone you meet is a potential teacher.
Sometimes people feel compelled to help others. Maybe they have a specific reason for wanting to help — e.g. they identify with the person they’re helping, empathy — other times, they might not know why they feel guided to help. Maybe that’s an example of chance as well.
About “bookstore owner Gus”:
I don’t know why he chose to talk to me, but he did and it changed my life.
This hits me in the heart. Choosing to start a conversation can change a life. I mean, really.
If you really look at these moments in your life…the fortuitous moments are usually relationships, they’re meetings. They’re people that change your life and they don’t have to but sometimes they do. Yeah, you should have gratitude for that.
Get out there.
These are reasons to get out there and meet people. As I’ve been saying for years regarding networking events: You never know if you’ll meet your new best friend, your next business partner or the love of your life. I wrote that in a blog post in 2013 and I’d been saying it verbally and in written pieces for several years prior.
Also, gratitude is so important. Appreciate those people and be aware of their impact.
…you can do all the work, you can put all the work in and it might not manifest, man, because you need someone to go “Let me help you out.” “Let me give you a leg up”. Or, you need that weird bit of timing where you just sort of like if you got in the pocket.
Sometimes you need that nudge or that bit of help. Sometimes you need some information or a connection from someone.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Never be afraid to ask for help. If you’re in the position to help someone else, do it. There are exceptions to this, and you don’t need to help everyone. There are people who will take advantage and who will suck the energy out of you. Only help people if it feels right. You’ll know when it does.
Help for the sake of helping
One of my favourite quotes is one that I read on the side of a box of tea when I worked at a chain coffee shop when I was 19, 23 years ago:
To love for the sake of being loved is human, to love for the sake of loving is angelic.
To me, this is a distinction between ego and love. We’re all human and we all have the capacity to be angelic in this way.
Don’t help for the glory. Don’t help people because you believe that it’s good for your reputation (think inauthentic “corporate responsibility”). Don’t help someone you don’t want to help because you feel the need to be a martyr or to get Good Place points. (If you watch The Good Place, you know how that goes. If you don’t currently watch it, start as soon as you’re done reading this.)
Help because you have something to contribute. Help because you see someone in need.
Of course, there are other many other reasons to take an action that might change someone’s life, but I’ll leave those up to you consider.
And then we come close to Maron’s conclusion. Although I edited a bunch of his words out (I transcribed 5 minutes of speaking), a lot of this was in the context of getting his podcast made. He began podcasting at a time when podcasts had been around for a while, but there weren’t many of them. “The best luck we ever had was we put this podcast up when the landscape was pretty sparse. It was still sort of the wild frontier.”, he said.
Maron carved out a niche. The timing was right in the podcast space. The timing was right.
The Venn diagram of idea and timing worked out and numerous elements collided to make it the ideal communication platform for him. Furthermore,
The cosmic timing of my incredible bottoming out financially and emotionally just happened to coincide with amazing opportunity of getting this thing [blog] out there. That was fortuitous. but, there’s also those relationships… lot of times those are work relationships. A lot of times you have belief in each other and you know, you want to work together, but sometimes there’s just some people that drop into your life.
It’s funny — Maron stutters and changes direction often enough that I don’t know if the above is meant as, “You know you want to work together” or “you know, you want to work together”, with the “you know” in the second version being a filler phrase. I say this as an observation related to interpretation, rather than as a judgment. But yeah, people drop into your life. It might sound too spiritual for your taste (or not), but I’ve long believed that people come into ourselves for a reason, at the right time.
There’s even a song in Wicked about it, called For Good.
They don’t have to help you. They don’t know that they’re helping you and they changed the entire fucking direction of it. thank those people if you know who they are and you still can.
All of that was relevant to Maron’s previously recorded interview with Aaron Sorkin. Sorkin talked about various people who influenced him, including the late writer William Goldman, who wrote the original screenplays for “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” and “All the President’s Men”. He also wrote The Princess Bride — both the novel and the screenplay. Upon reading the novel, it surprised me to discover that the film had almost exactly replicated it, complete with the sick boy played in the movie by Fred Savage.
One of my favourite movies.
Of one example of Goldman’s help, Sorkin and Maron had this exchange:
AS: “If that’s all that he would have done…”
MM: “That would have been enough”.
AS, in the Jewiest moment of the interview: “What do we say? Dayenu. It would have been sufficient.” (Those are video links. Read more on Wikipedia.)
Who’s touched your life?
Thank those people and be those people. Pay it forward. If you have something to give, give it. And if you don’t think you have something to give, you probably do.
You can have a profound impact on someone else, whether you’re aware of that impact or not.
I’ve been mulling this post over in my head now for a couple of weeks. When it was still a draft in my head, I thought that very little would be devoted to the past, but that the past deserved some attention. Then I started typing, and now it’s clear that I was working through shit. As long as it is, large chunks of Draft 1 were axed.
Feel free to stop reading here. I won’t mind.
This is a 12-minute read. Honestly, if you’re not into other people’s self-reflection, or mine specifically, skip this post or jump around the table of contents.
A note to those reading this on Finding Health & Wellness:
The most significant part of this post for this audience is the section in which I make an announcement about my coaching program.
I drafted this in Google Docs and on Medium first.
With stories/posts that appear on Medium and my website’s blog, I often start on my site and import to Medium. However, the latest WordPress release is a c*nt that causes me rage, and it doesn’t play nicely with Grammarly.
Spoiler alert: In 2019 I’ll be writing blog posts on Medium or in Google Docs first. For long posts like this, the advantage of WordPress is the ability to create bookmarks.
2018 — Work/career
The relief of a job loss with the leftover scraps of shitty feelings
I spent much of 2018 obsessing over the job contract that ended in December 2017, earlier than its original end date.
The loss of income while moving from apartment to house with double the rent was stressful. At various times I’ve been annoyed because my old employer kept my personal property. Losing the job itself was a relief because by the end of the first month it was clear that it wasn’t the place for me.
The job was terrible for my mental health and was one of the reasons that my depression and anxiety returned.
This wasn’t entirely a bad thing.
It was this job that inspired me to create my ADHD coaching program, a program that had been inside me for years. My ADHD symptoms came back, and I had to deal with them, and so I was inspired to help myself and others.
→This is an example of an uncomfortable situation being an opportunity for learning and growth.←
I’m grateful for that.
What I obsessed over, about the job, was less the job loss and more what lead to it. I gave it way too much energy in 2018. I spent way too much time reflecting on it.
I keep wavering about how much to stay publicly and with each draft of this post, it gets whittled away. I will say a little bit:
Depression and anxiety leave you vulnerable, with little energy to fight.
Manager issues. I use the “Jekyll & Hyde” analogy in private conversations.
Depression and anxiety leave you vulnerable, with little energy to fight. Now knowing what my manager's mood would be like on any given day kept me on edge for several months, which is horrible for mental and physical health. It taxes the immune system, for example. One indication of his mood was that if I overheard him in a stressful situation, it was time for me to duck and run.
There was gaslighting.
When facing off against my boss I often yelled at myself inside my head, watching myself surrender rather than assert myself as if I was viewing someone else’s life.
When faced with the options of a “Fight, flight or freeze” response, which happened regularly, I nearly always chose the latter two. This was no way to live.
I would take it day-by-day.
The final situation where shit hit the fan came after I made a decision that I still believe was the right one based on the information I had. For that, I have no regrets.
So, there was that, and I’ve finally made peace with it.
In 2018 I remembered how awesome I am, how qualified I am, how skilled I am.
After I left my day job, I devoted much more time to help build a restaurant. A few months ago I finally put that on my resume. I suppose that I’d previously thought that it didn’t count because it was my partner’s restaurant.
It very much counts. Here’s something that I’ve put on my resume and mention in job interviews for digital marketing roles: “Bums in seats” as the result of social media, newsletters and event planning. Real diners, people who spend money in exchange for food and drink, validate my experience more than metrics such as likes, comments and shares ever could.
I learned lots of lessons in 2018.
THE ELDER, DYING AS OLD PEOPLE DO
Almost a year ago, my grandmother died. She was months from turning 99. She had a good run. It was sad but not tragic, as her quality of life had been drastically reduced. It was undoubtedly her time. We thought it would come sooner. She completed the cycle of life. She was a fantastic woman. I loved my grandparents very much.
THE YOUNG WOMAN WHO COULD HAVE HAD A LONG LIFE
On May 31 I watched my niece on life support after her suicide attempt. She would have turned 23 in August. In my memory, I can see her face and her shoulders. I touched her and made a focused effort to memorize that moment. It wasn’t one that I wanted to forget.
Yes, I tried to help. Sometimes I wish I’d said or done more, although I don’t think that it would have resulted in a more favourable outcome.
She died amid the celebrity suicides. On the morning of her funeral on June 6, I learned that Kate Spade had similarly ended her life the day before. Anthony Bourdain’s suicide happened on June 8. I shared some thoughts at the time.
A short time later she appeared to me in a dream. Depending on your belief system, this was “just a dream,” or it was “a visit” from her spirit. Either way, she laughed joyfully and with amusement and told me that we were all overreacting. I said, “I love you.”
The next day, what amused me about the dream was this: In the dream, my niece tried to relay this message by phone, but the connection was poor. If there is an afterlife and she’s in it, no cell phone provider would provide coverage, especially mine.
I mentioned the suicide on Medium, never on Facebook. I told friends as part of a general life update rather than a huge piece of news. At the time, I didn’t want it to seem like I was only calling because of the death, even though that would have been acceptable.
My reasons for how I handled communicating the news included these:
-Everyone’s got their own feelings about suicide. Those feelings are personal. They might be controversial
-It wasn’t about me. When I imaged posting the news to Facebook, I envisioned an outpouring of condolences. While this might sound nice, I didn’t want that attention. I didn’t want it to be about me.
THERE’S NO “RIGHT” WAY TO PROCESS DEATH
I want to emphasize here that there are my own experiences, thoughts, and feelings. Everyone should communicate news of a death in a way that they feel is right for them.
I chose not to share the incident on Facebook because I didn’t feel that I needed support or expressions of sympathy. I didn’t want to read about other people’s experiences with death. It didn’t seem helpful at that time. My niece being at peace is was felt — and still feels — important. It’s not about me.
Furthermore, I had experienced well-meaning words of support when someone close to me accidentally died when I was 20 and he was 21, when “social media” meant special interest “newsgroups” with names such as alt.tv.buffy. Many expressions of sympathy made me angry.
When supporters shared statements such as, “I know how you feel.” I wanted to tell them to go fuck themselves because they didn’t know how I felt and to say so sounded presumptuous to me. My feelings were mine.
I’ve since given this advice to people who have lost people close to them:
The grieving process is yours and yours alone
“Well-meaning people will say what sounds like stupid shit. It’s okay to want to tell them (including me) to go fuck themselves. It’s less okay to say it. The grieving process is yours and yours alone, and everyone experiences it differently.”
That said, I did appreciate those sentiments, and I was thankful for the gesture, and I know that there’s no “right” thing to say. Maybe acknowledging that there’s no right thing to say IS the right thing to say. With my niece’s death, I wanted to give little opportunity for people to say anything.
In retrospect, I think that I was afraid of having my feelings (my grieving process) and opinions (about suicide) judged, even by friends.
Of course, I know this is ridiculous.
I didn’t want to put friends in the position of not knowing what to say to me. I didn’t want them to feel awkward, so I took that on myself. This is what I often do.
I very much put other people’s feelings before my own, except for when I impulsively don’t. I’m learning to protect myself, though. More on that later, and enough talk of death!
The last thing I say here about my niece is that two and a half months later, three days before her birthday, she became an aunt. Her brother became a father. Her parents became first-time grandparents. They’re my family, and I still can’t imagine what it’s like to lose and gain like that. I do know that the baby is loved and that the baby’s parents will give him the best possible life. They live in another province, so I haven’t met the little man, but I can’t wait.
2018: A time of personal transformation
THE ENERGY SHIFT
In the last few months, I felt an energy shift. In late November I wrote this on Medium:
As I lay in a Restorative Yoga class on a Sunday night, two evenings after hanging out with a couple of friends that I met at my last “day job,” the following came to me with the noted emphasis: “I’m a leader. I’m a warrior. I’m a fucking leader.” I also “heard” the advice to step out of the shadow and into my greatness, to stop hiding myself and step into the light.
Impostor Syndrome is an ongoing challenge in my life.
→Late November really kicked off some transformation in my life.←
DISCOMFORT AS A TOOL FOR GROWTH
Days later I wrote pieces on my website blog and Medium blog about allowing discomfort. The post began as a flow of thoughts on Instagram, moved to Finding Health & Wellness, and then got imported and slightly altered for Medium.
The general idea: Discomfort isn’t bad. We shouldn’t fear it. Fighting against discomfort can lead to suffering, which we don’t want. Discomfort helps us navigate the world and helps us improve our lives.
Being sick with a cold became a metaphor for other areas of life.
BOUNDARIES & FRIENDSHIPS
I had an incident in late December that reminded me of my boundaries. This incident was the gift that kept on giving, in a good way. I consider it a turning point.
Like leftovers from meals, I found multiple ways to repurpose that lesson into other lessons. I gave that incident a lot of brain space for a couple of weeks — and especially in the first few days — but now, nearly a month later, it pops up only when relevant.
I am grateful for this.
Someone recently read my energy and such. She told me that I’m good at setting boundaries and always have been. I questioned it for a moment until she clarified it with, “You’re over here, they’re over there.” with accompanying gestures. I realized what she meant; I’ve always compartmentalized the people in my life. I don’t know why.
As a child, I found it weird when my “camp friends” mingled with my “school friends”. That’s changed in adulthood, especially as some of my work friends became personal friends. There might still be some separation, though. Everyone has “friends groups”, right?
I’ve always seen friendship as a continuum. Acquaintances at one end, besties on the other. That might be a boundary.
I think that Facebook sometimes encourages people to believe that they’re closer to the “friend” end of the continuum when they’re really on the “acquaintance” end. The label “friends list” is wildly inaccurate. If a user has hundreds of “Facebook friends” there’s no way they can be personally connected with them all. And this is one of the reasons I’ve mostly left Facebook.
Truthfully, I spent a lot less time on Facebook in 2018 than in other years. I gave my attention to other activities, and then the number of notifications overwhelmed me. Time away from Facebook is more productive and has other positive effects. The link at the end of the previous paragraph explains more.
→Strutting Into 2019←
I’m bringing new energy and new self-awareness.
1) I’ve stopped trying to get coaching clients
I’ve finally acknowledged that I don’t want to coach people 1:1. I never wanted to. I knew this when I pursued my nutritionist certification. I knew this when I created my program. And yet, I offered personal coaching on my website and social media because I felt that it was the best way to help people.
I couldn’t fake it until I made it because I didn’t really want to make it.
I didn’t take the necessary actions to get clients because even when I thought that I “sort of maybe” wanted clients, I really didn’t. It would be inaccurate to say that I was half-assing my client acquisition activities, but maybe “73%-assing”?
→Acknowledging what you don’t want is huge and awesome.←
I haven’t abandoned my ADHD coaching program. I still very much believe in my system. I’m still going to work on written materials. I’m still going to teach the process. Writing and teaching are my strengths! I have ideas. After I’m done this post, which is taking several days to write, I’m going to create an action plan. I’m also in the process of creating a day planner.
I’m looking for a full-time job. I’ve recently had a bunch of interviews. I won’t reveal any more about that.
2) Multiple income streams
I know this will continue. I look forward to it. I need to be engaged in numerous activities. I need to be creative. Side hustles are necessary for me.
Big changes are coming. I feel inspired in a new way. I feel lighter. I feel the shift.
Also in late November, inspired by the birthday of one of my best friends, I acknowledged on Facebook that I don’t think I’m good at being a friend. “My brain tends to function as “out of sight, out of mind” and it is NOT deliberate,” I said. “ I feel that I don’t reach out to people enough,” I shared.
I assured my friends that I love them. I encouraged them to make plans with me.
I say this here rather than sharing it above because recently I’ve been making friends. I feel like at age 42 I might finally be getting the hang of this friendship thing again.
I suddenly feel more strongly tied with people whom I’ve known for years.
One friend moved closer, one invited me out, I went into semi-retirement with Facebook, and I feel more open.
I’ve also been talking to strangers more often. This is new to me, the shy one. I feel braver in social situations. I feel less socially awkward or don’t care if I am. Years ago I started verbally acknowledging when I felt awkward or very introverted, but recently I’ve experienced some breaking through it.
Once, in my mid-30s, I chatted with a stranger on the subway as she chaperoned a bunch of children on a school field trip. She used the phrase, “Fuck you forties.” Maybe this is it.
It’s all connected
This brings me to my 2019 “word”.
I wasn’t going to do a “word of the year” or any variation thereof. I didn’t want to engage in an exercise of trying to discover it.
However, it discovered me. It kept bashing me over the head, metaphorically of course.
This word kept coming up in my posts on Medium, in my website blog and personal Facebook posts.
When a word or concept keeps coming up, one must pay attention!
My goals for 2019 include more personal connection & shifting my energy and time towards productive activities. I will givemy fucks (time, attention) to what and whom I choose.
I will strive to have more offline play dates, like the days before the internet.
Books. Remember those?
Also, like the days before the internet, I will read more books. I’m currently reading The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck by Sarah Knight. The book was recommended by a friend. Before that, it was Think and Grow Rich.
I will continue to be grateful for the rough patches and lean into the discomfort, asking myself what I can learn from it before grabbing sweet relief. I want to listen to my body.
These aren’t “new year’s resolutions”, they are ongoing life skills.
I’m really looking forward to this year. There’s so much to do and learn. Fewer fucks to give, more attention to give to those things and people that matter. More meaningful moments, fewer empty moments.
If you’ve read this far, congratulations! I feel like I owe you a prize, but I give you lots of gratitude. 12 minutes out of your day is half of a sitcom.
My to-do list currently has “blog January brain dump” on it.
I've been wanting to write, but had writer's block and, if I'm being honest, so many other excuses. It hasn't been about time. It's been about lack of motivation, lack of discipline, or putting too much pressure on myself to have something to say. Does that happen to you? Habits are easy to make and easy to break.
The new year is usually full of content ideas, mostly involving self-improvement. However, I've decided that this year I'm NOT going to focus on self-improvement in January. It's felt freeing to delete emails without reading them when the subject line indicates that it's a variation on “new year, new you”. Delete. No courses. No challenges. No webinars. Few self-improvement commitments. I feel lighter for not over-committing and not reading every offer. My daily meditation practice is back on track and my yoga is near-daily now but they don't feel like obligations. They're self-care.
2018 Focus words
A couple of weeks into 2018 created my focus words for the year, and they have stuck: “Ease & flow” (two words, presented as one concept) and “surrender”. “Surrender” to me means doing things rather than avoiding them out of fear – not letting the fear of looking silly or fear of lacking approval stop me. When I meditate, I'll chant the loudest “sat nam”. When I'm out someplace people are dancing, I'll dance like no one is watching. When a song comes on, I'll sing a little louder than under my breath. The other day at Walmart, another woman walked by me singing along to the song that was playing. It's not just me that sings in public.
Some years the focus words come easily to me, some years they take longer. This year it took a couple of meditation sessions before they spoke to me.
I can talk about gratitude, introspection and my path for 2018 but I feel that's been done year after year. I can talk about what I did or didn't do in the past year. Regrets, what I'm looking forward to. I don't want to rehash. I don't want to judge myself. I want to live like each moment is full of possibility and each day is a reset.
2018 will be a year of change and it might be the year I distribute all of the educational materials that I've created. It will be the year I start filling my client roster. It will be the year of making dreams come true.
I've been finding inspiration in podcasts. Not in self-improvement podcasts, but podcast hosts who successfully work on several projects. I listen to a lot of nerdy entertainment podcasts. For years I've listened to The Nerdist – celebrity interviews but not in a fluffy sort of way. These are the sorts of conversations that anyone would have with a friend that they're getting to know. What inspires me: A lot of working actors create their own projects and opportunities. I do a lot of contract work. TV and film projects are like contract work (granted – some run for many years but it's never guaranteed). It's another perspective and another kick in the pants to create my own opportunities.
Genuine Health fermented organic gut superfoods+. Prebiotics help to improve gut health and this formula is made from 21 fermented organic plant-based superfoods. A word of caution: While it didn't cause bloating (as the packaging boasts), the first few times I used it I had wicked flatulence.
Roasted chicory root. We recently moved and bought a coffee maker, and we've been making coffee at home every day. After hearing my partner suggest adding chicory root to our coffee, I included some with my last iHerborder. Chicory root contains inulin – a prebiotic, polyphenols – antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, among other benefits. After trying chicory root in coffee and then on its own with cream (like a coffee substitute), I'm wondering where it's been my whole life. It tastes roasty and chocolatey. Maybe this will work for my chocolate cravings.
Not a new discovery, but this winter, in particular, I'm appreciating my Living Libations Rose Glow face cream. It's on sale right now, which I didn't know until I went to their website to get the product link.
What I've been reading, what I'm currently reading and what's next on my reading list
(Contains affiliate links):
Finding My Virginity by Richard Branson. I enjoy memoirs and autobiographies because I like to get inside people's heads (or in the case of autobiographies, the version they want to present). I like to learn about people. Human psychology fascinates me. Branson interests me because he has dyslexia and ADD and he's built what he's built. I had a copy from the library and had to return it before I was done, but will be giving it another read in the upcoming months and perhaps I'll share some nuggets of wisdom.
Year of Yes by Shona Rhimes. I downloaded this to my Kindle recently. The current Kindle price is $1.99. It's one of my next reads.
The UltraMind Solution by Mark Hyman. I picked it up from the library this week and I'm going to try a new method of taking notes as I read. I highlight and flag books I own but I can't highlight a library book.
I recently watched the show 13 Reasons Why on Netflix. It's too dark to binge too much at a time but I found that watching 2 episodes at a time was perfect.
Also on Netflix: The new season of Grace and Frankie was released last week. This season's cast includes Talia Shire and Lisa Kudrow.
If you're not watching The Good Place (NBC), you should. Ted Danson and Kristen Bell. Need I say more? Some episodes are better than others, but that's TV for you. Is there anything Bell can't do?
Not recent, but I watched the award-winning mockumentary What We Do in the Shadows from 2014 last year and was pleased with this week's announcement that it's being turned into a series. I don't like horror, but I'm down with comedy horror and vampires in a Real World setting end up being hilarious when written and performed well. It sounds like a concept that could have begun with a stand-up comedy routine. Watch the movie trailer.
The movie Ingrid Goes West, starring Aubrey Plaza, Elizabeth Olsen and Wyatt Russell is a good commentary on social media fame. The premise sounds like the movie could be the latest Single White Female plot, but it's not at all. It won a Screenwriting award at last year's Sundance Film Festival and has been nominated for a bunch of other awards. Hulu is currently streaming it. I don't watch a lot of movies.
What I've been listening to:
In November I became hooked on two musicals: Dear Evan Hansen and Come From Away. The latter originated in Canada. For about 6 weeks I listened to them regularly.
Podcasts, wellness-related: Sivana podcast and YogaHacks, both hosted by yoga teacher Brett Larkin, whom I adore. The Yogahealer podcast hosted bt Cate Stillman. Balanced Bites with Diane Sanfillipo. The Brain Warrior's Way with Dr. Daniel Amen and Tana Amen. These are just a few of the podcasts I'm subscribed to and I don't listen to every episode. Generally, I listen while I'm walking my dog and sometimes while making dinner.
Podcasts, business: Sometimes I listen to The Fizzle Show, The Tim Ferriss Show, Side Hustle School (hosted by Chris Guillebeau, author of Side Hustle, The $100 Startup and other books) and the Foundr Magazine Podcast
Podcast, entertainment: I recently discovered Inside of You with Michael Rosenbaum, another podcast with an actor interviewing actors. I was going to share my favourite interviews from this one but when I looked at the list I realized that there were a half dozen or so. I haven't listened to every episode.
If you're reading this, give me your recommendations of movies, TV, podcasts and books.
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Recently I had one of those instances where I looked in the fridge and cupboards and they all seemed bare. I didn't want to order in or go out, so I decided to make one of my “clean the pantry” meals. It was either going to be rice and beans, or some other sort of grain and beans. I had lots of buckwheat even though I don't like buckwheat. I chose the buckwheat.
Beans are full of protein and fiber.
I'm still on a turmeric kick. Turmeric has been a repetitive presence in my blog and Instagram posts. I credit it for me not getting sick when my partner was sick, and then when I did get that cold it was mild and short. I bought new boxes of Kleenex (really the Kleenex brand – I'm loving the “Ultra Soft 3-ply”) thinking that I'd run out of my 2 open boxes at home quickly, but the nose blowing was less frequent than expected. It was mostly a chest cold, with sinus pain and some nasal congestion.
Here's my rationale behind the rest of the ingredients:
The mixed vegetables were for variety and crunch. You can use them, or not.
The wakame was added 1) because I really like wakame and 2) Because wakame is said to mitigate the gas problem caused by beans. You know how the rhymes go: “Beans beans are good for your heart, the more you eat them, the more you fart.” and “beans beans the magical fruit, the more you eat them the more you toot.”
I ate this salad twice and the first time the wakame defense failed miserably. The next day my ass was like a wind machine. However, I added tuna to the leftovers and farts were minimal so either my stomach was used to all that fiber, or the added tuna helped. The nutritional benefits of wakame were secondary to me, but here they are:
Wakame is a good source of magnesium, which I've been trying to get enough of. Every cell of the body relies on magnesium and people tend to be deficient. Magnesium is integral to hundreds of biochemical reactions across all bodily systems and it's depleted every 12 hours so it needs to be constantly replenished. If you're feeling “off” try increasing your magnesium intake.
Wakame is a good source of iodine, essential for strong metabolism of cells, and also iron, manganese, folate and bioavailable calcium.
It's rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, essential for brain health.
It's a good source of a number of vitamins including A, B2, C, E, and K and vitamin D, which isn't a vitamin, but a hormone.
It's got a ton of health benefits including boosting immune function. Combine wakame with immune boosting turmeric, plus pepper and fat to maximize the benefits of turmeric, and you've got an immune system powerhouse. Turmeric might play a role in thyroid health. For more information about thyroid health, check out The Thyroid Secret, a documentary series that runs from March 1 – 10.
I really wanted apple cider vinegar, lemon juice and turmeric together. If you prefer a sweeter dressing you could add maple syrup or honey, but I prefer my dressing unsweetened.
Here's the recipe:
Recipe: Almond-Crusted Salmon
This salmon dish is packed with brain-boosting nutrition.
Recipe: Almond-Crusted Salmon
This salmon dish is packed with brain-boosting nutrition.
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.
Add the lemon zest and give it another pulse to mix.
Rinse the salmon and pat dry.
Put some coating on a plate.
Dredge each side of the salmon, patting the coating on if that helps it stick.
Heat 1-2 tbsp of coconut oil or olive oil in a pan over medium heat (amount depends on the size of the pan you're using)
Cook the salmon for 4-5 minutes per side.
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.
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 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.