Friday, February 27, 2009

Hummus, a haven

Well, friends, I am SICK TO DEATH of talk about the economy and the bailout- BLAH! I wish they would just admit that they don't really know what to do, there is no guaranteed fix, and that they are scared out of their pants because it took a major world war to get out of the last huge economic depression. But no, they will play the theoretical confidence game and Obama will get standing O's and I'll keep losing more and more college money.

In an effort to divert my attention, I made a couple batches of hummus yesterday. Perhaps doing the same will help you divert your attention as well. Hummus is cheap to make and amazing to eat. Here is one of the interesting recipes I tried:

Tahini-Free Black Bean Hummus
-1 can garbanzo beans (chick peas)
-1 can black beans
-2 minced cloves of garlic
-1 T olive oil
-2 T lemon juice
-2 tsp cumin
-1 T parsley (it calls for dried, but I used fresh, chopped & it was awesome)
-S&P to taste

--> Just combine it all in a food processor, gradually add some of the reserved garbanzo bean liquid if you want to modify the texture. It is really think and beany- more of a spread- and it is excellent and doesn't have the fat (or expensiveness) of Tahini Sauce.

So that was random. The lengths I go to in order to avoid the economy! :)

Monday, February 23, 2009

Good Things

Well, I had a great rugby tour this weekend, but last night on the way home we were all incredibly stiff, sore, and bruised while cramped in a 15 passenger van for about 13 hours which was, shall we say, hellish. Then I got back to an Inbox full of depressing Times reports, undone assignments, and I was exhausted. So today in class, to help me keep from falling asleep, I wrote a list of things I have recently decided I appreciated or that I think are great. Here they are:

-fruit leather
-reusable grocery bags
-LDS hymns as literature
-NPR
-free WiFi
-slippers and fuzzy socks
-public drinking fountains, especially the clean ones
-very high quality cheese
-nonprofits
-INGOs
-farmer's markets
-deadline extensions
-airplanes
-Sunflower Market
-digital cameras
-my family

Well, now I feel better. Thanks.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Smile

Haha- I just had to put up this photo. Thank you Robert Nickelsberg, I love this. It's not the best quality reproduction, but this is a laughter club in India where women go to help prevent and treat depression and other medical issues. The practice is called "hasyayog" and I think it is awesome. People who have the resiliency to be able to laugh at problems that come their way are, I believe, much better off as far as their psychological health. This seems like a strange thing to talk about, but I guess I am being given a degree in Clinical & Developmental Psychology in a couple of months, so maybe I should try to share some things I have learned. Having a positive outlook, positive social support, and general hardiness have been clinically found to improve health- even significantly improving one's chances of recovering from cancer in a study done on US women with breast cancer! (Sorry, I can't remember the name of that researcher off the top of my head- its driving me crazy- but if you are interested, let me know and I'll look it up.)
I have also studied a lot about the pressure that stress puts on the body and the psychological and, believe it or not, physical harm that ruminating over your problems can do. Take home message: do something that is relaxing for yourself everyday. I am a huge fan of nighttime rituals, they can really help abate the stress of the day and prepare for a repairing and restful sleep. Get into the habit of listening to Enya, stretching, or reading something positive before going to sleep. Give yourself plenty of time to get ready for bed, begin to relax and de-stress as you wash your face, brush your teeth, etc. so that your mind can be prepared to sleep as soon as your head hits the pillow.
Again, I know this is a little odd, but trust me. Just the physical act of smiling, even if you don't mean it, has been clinically found to promote the release of endorphins into your blood stream. So just pretending to be happy can lead you in the right direction! Moral of the story: relax and smile more. Your body, which includes your brain, will thank you.