Tejomaya Wellness

A Blog About Well-Being

Author: tejomayawellness (page 2 of 14)

HelloFresh Day Two: Presto Pesto Panko Chicken with Green Salad and Roasted Potatoes

     Hey There, Well-Beings! 

After a success with my first meal, I was really excited to come home and get in the kitchen. Yay! Cooking is really a lot of fun when you no longer believe you’re terrible at it. I’m starting to feel like this experience is going to do more for me than just change the food I eat, and I’m a thousand percent okay with that. Food as therapy. Soul is nourished. I’m rambling. Back to the food! 

I was excited as I opened the bag on this one. I’d never used panko before, but I’ve seen it in a ton of Pinterest recipes and on restaurant menus, and I’ve been wanting to work with it for a while. The ingredients were very high quality. I’ve never seen potatoes so fresh. I think I’ll be a lot pickier with my produce from here on out. 

The prep was really easy, and because I had an oversized baking sheet, instead of using two as the recipe suggested, the clean up was super quick. Especially because I lined it with foil.  In fact, I did most of the clean up while waiting for the potatoes to roast and the chicken to bake. The pesto and panko-mozzarella made my kitchen smell heavenly while I washed dishes and the pup stayed close by, sniffing the air. 

Tasting time: My photos do not do this meal justice. This was soooo good! The chicken was juicy, the pesto panko coating gave it such delicious flavor. The potatoes were tasty and a good side choice and the salad with the simple olive oil and lemon juice dressing was very flavorful. I honestly might be done with traditional salad dressing. I know! What is happening?!?! 

5 out of 5 on this recipe. I am so pleased with this meal. I will definitely make it again. In fact, I’m thinking about skipping the catered lunch my job is generously offering us tomorrow so I can eat the leftovers instead. There’s no way it will be better than what I just made. 

Wishing You Total Well-Being,

Jennifer

HelloFresh Day One: Spiced Dijon Salmon with Arugula Salad and Couscous

     Hey There, Well-Beings! 

Since I took the day off from blogging last Sunday, I thought it might be nice to make up for it with 5 days worth of posts about a new experience I had recently.  I got my first box from HelloFresh last week and thought it might be nice to feature all four of meals, one at a time, so I can give a full and honest review for you and then an overall impression and run down of the nitty gritty at the end of the week. It doesn’t make for linear storytelling, but let’s be honest. What you really want to know was whether or not the food was any good, right? Roast assured, that’s exactly what I plan to do!

 

It was thoughtfully suggested that I cook last night’s meal first by the label on the bag. Since it contained salmon, I thought this was a really cool detail, and one I’d already considered as I was planning my week. As for the food itself, I’d l never had Blue Circle Salmon before, but was very impressed with the quality and the fact that sustainability and non-GMO sourcing were some of the standards they uphold. The recipe called for a cumin based spice rub that was included in the bag and was very tasty. I actually flubbed this a little and didn’t get the rub on before the salmon was already in the pan, but that didn’t mess anything up in the slightest. Adding it right in the pan and giving the top and sides a little pat was all it needed. The recipe suggests a non stick pan if you have one, and I agree. Maybe it was the fact that I was using stainless steel for the first time, but the skin side of the filet adhered to the pan with a quickness because I didn’t oil it as well as I needed to.  It was by no means a loss, though. I just added some additional olive oil to the pan before I flipped the fish over and as you can see from the last photo, it plated up well.

The couscous was nice and fluffy and made a great bed for the salmon. I think you could easily sub in quinoa and make this a gluten free meal, if you have dietary restrictions. The dijon cream drizzle was a nice touch and added a little sweetness to the savory elements of the meal. I used the extra on the salad because I’m still a creamy salad dressing gal at heart, even though the simple olive oil, lemon juice, and salt and pepper dressing made the arugula salad taste pretty dang good on it’s own. The crunchy apple and pecan added good texture, and I’ll likely make this salad again to serve with other things.

Overall, the instructions on this meal were easy to follow, the clean up wasn’t bad at all, the ingredients were simple and indeed fresh.  It did take me a little longer than the recipe suggested, but I consider my culinary skills to land somewhere near beginner and I think a slightly more experienced cook could have easily come in right at 30 minutes. I feel confident that I could and would make this meal again on my own.  Score: 5 out of 5

Don’t forget to check back tomorrow to see how Monday’s meal turned out.

Wishing You Total Well-Being,

Jennifer

A Letter From the Editor: Taking A Day Off

              Hey There, Well-Beings!

All week, the signs have been pointing to today being a purposely designated rest day. On Tuesday, I started fighting a little bug that’s been traveling around the office and while doubling up on my probiotics helped a ton, I didn’t shake the malaise. If you’d offered me the choice between a donut and a nap, I’d have taken the nap every. single. time. I’ve also been feeling the urge to unplug from Facebook for a bit. I’m picking up the phone or tablet more often out of perceived boredom to “check in” and “see how everything is going” and setting it down feeling sad, pissed off, and helpless, and I know I’m not the latter. There’s always something I can do to help. Finally, I had a small flare up with my anxiety this week that I’ve linked back to me not using my creative outlets to release stress. Meditation and aromatherapy help me immensely, but if I’m not also creating, the flow stagnates and it manifests itself as exhaustion and a sort of clogging up of thoughts and feelings. It goes in, but it doesn’t come out.

So a little sleeping in, a little time outside (with the devices tucked away), and a little time spent making art are all on the plate for today. I hope that if you find you need to take the day off, you allow yourself the same love and care. You can’t feed others from an empty bowl.

Wishing You Total Well-Being,

Jennifer

Meditation for Beginners: The 4-7-8 Method

     Hey There, Well-Beings!

Several months back, I wrote about some of the misconceptions that I believe keep people from trying meditation. (You can find that post here.) The good news is that there are a number of very simple and super effective ways to get started with a meditation practice. One of the easiest is a meditation I still use whenever I feel stressed or anxious because of how well it works.

Photo by Chris Ensey on Unsplash

The 4-7-8 Method, at its core, is just an easy breathing exercise. Start by getting in a comfortable position. I find sitting in a supportive chair or lying down on my bed to be the best places, but feel free to stand, or even use this as a walking meditation if you wish. It’s really about what’s going to make you feel supported and relaxed, so don’t stress yourself further by trying to find the perfect place to perform this meditation. Wherever you are is the perfect place.  You begin by simply inhaling deeply through your nose to the count of 4, holding that breath in your lungs for a count of 7, and then completing the cycle by breathing out slowly through your mouth for a count of 8. From there you repeat the process until you feel calm and centered. Sometimes this happens quickly and other times it can take several cycles until you can feel your heart rate slow and your shoulders relax. There isn’t a magic number of cycles, so just focus on the breath and let your body respond. You’ll know when it’s working.

If you want to add something to the practice to make it feel really special and aid in the relaxation process, try adding an essential oil to the mix.  For this, I really love using Balance, dōTERRA’s Grounding Blend . The fresh, woodsy aroma reminds me of being in my favorite place in nature and I think it makes the experience feel sacred and allows me to slow down even further and relish the process. I apply one drop in the palm of my hands, rub them together, and cup my hands over my nose during the inhale part of the breathing cycle. It’s already pre-diluted in a base of fractionated coconut oil, so I like that it’s ready to go, especially when I’m looking at fending off panic. For single oils, I like Frankincense  and Lavender. Both are known for their relaxing properties, and are wonderful multipurpose oils that I get a lot of mileage out of.  If you don’t have time to dilute your oils, don’t worry! You can inhale directly from the bottle, without applying any to the skin and will still get the same benefit.

A final tip for using this powerful practice; should you find yourself struggling to fall asleep, give it a go instead of counting sheep. The repetitive nature of the exercise doesn’t just help you come back to yourself during high stress and panic episodes, but is fantastic for quieting the chatter that keeps our minds from winding down before sleep. All this from breathing.  Not bad for something you were going to do already!

Wishing You Total Well-Being,

Jennifer

Essential Oil Spotlight: Peppermint

     Hey there, Well-Beings! If you asked me for a list of what I thought every brand new essential oil user should start out with, peppermint would be non-negotiable. I use it every single day, and I get a little twitchy when I don’t have a back up waiting in the wings. Straight from the bottle it’s aroma is impossible to mistake, but it plays so well with others that it’s likely hiding in many your favorite blends. Even if you’ve been using oils for as long as I have, you might be surprised by all that it can do.

First, a little botany. Peppermint oil, or Mentha Piperita, is the steam distilled, perennial hybrid of spearmint and water mint. The herb is cultivated on continents with a lot of rainfall, such as Asia, Europe, and North America. It stands around 20-40 inches tall, has a sturdy, square shaped stem, green leaves, and occasionally is seen sporting pale pink or purple blooms. The Pacific Northwest is the top producer of peppermint in the U.S., with the majority of that yield coming from Washington state. The scent is fresh and herbaceous and is used in everything cosmetic preparations to cooking.

The most common use for peppermint oil is oral health products. It’s found in toothpaste, mouthwash, and breath fresheners on shelves in every grocery store in the country. I like to use it to compliment my morning oil pulling routine by adding a drop of peppermint to my coconut oil to improve the taste and kill morning breath. The refreshing flavor really wakes me up when I’d otherwise be sleepily shuffling through the apartment. I also use peppermint oil after a cup of coffee or a pungent meal to keep my mouth fresh. I simply unscrew the lid, press my thumb against the top of the bottle, and then press my thumb against the roof of my mouth and voila! No more fear that I’m offending my coworkers after that onion bagel. Speaking of work, I’ve also been using it to reign in the afternoon slump I sometimes feel when I return from lunch and that little tingle helps me refocus and stay clear headed instead of daydreaming about naps. I apply pre-diluted peppermint oil on my temples and the back of my neck, inhale deeply from the bottle, and I’m ready to answer emails and check projects off my list again.

Peppermint is also a valuable tool for pain management. Because of its main chemical constituent, menthol, peppermint provides a cooling sensation which can be helpful for many types of discomfort. Diluted in a carrier oil and added to a roller bottle, it can be applied to sunburns for soothing relief, can relax sore joints and muscles, and has helped me a time or two with stomach upset, as well. I keep a simple blend of peppermint and lavender in a base of fractionated coconut oil in my purse for head tension and relief from monthly menstrual discomfort, and it’s kept me from tapping out and heading home enough times that I never go anywhere without it.

Perhaps my favorite use for peppermint oil has been to cool off during the summer heat and as relief from hormonal hot flashes. I keep a glass bottle with distilled water, a touch of fractionated coconut oil to coat the sprayer stem, and 10 drops of peppermint oil in my fridge to spray down my face and chest when the heat is on and almost instantly, I’m back to my old self. I get double the use out of this spray by using it as a natural insect repellent for my indoor and outdoor plants and any areas where bugs might get in, I haven’t had a pest problem in over a decade, and it smells so much better than any of the store bought bug sprays I used to use. My finally tip is for cleaning. I add peppermint oil to a vodka and water base and wipe down my sliding glass doors, mirrors, stovetop, and sinks and not only does it fight the smoke smell that sometimes wafts over from neighboring apartments, but it also leaves everything spotless and shiny clean.

Versatile and refreshing, peppermint oil is one my home and handbag aren’t complete without. If you haven’t used it, now is a great time to add it to your arsenal! DoTERRA is giving away a pre-diluted Peppermint Touch roll-on for free through the 15th of September to wholesale members with a qualifying purchase. (Mine is on its way to me right now!) If you want to claim one for yourself, or find out more about how essential oils can uplevel your life, leave a comment below and I’ll give you all the details. Nothing would make me happier than to see you put this beautiful oil to work in your daily life!

Wishing You Total Well-Being,

Jennifer

Gratitude Review: August

  Hey there, Well-Beings!  It’s the last Sunday of the month, and you know what that means.  Time for another Gratitude Review! I’ve had a fairly eventful month, which usually doesn’t start happening for me until September when the temperature begins dropping. We’ve had some unseasonably cool days and a lot of rain, which hasn’t done much for the humidity, but things are so green and pretty right now.  It’s given me a reason to plan another photo shoot before we trade the summer blooms in for fall leaves. I’m excited because I may get to team up with a talented photographer friend for a day trip to some of my city’s best spots, if the weather continues to cooperate.

Speaking of cameras, I finally upgraded my phone a couple of weeks ago.  I’m a little embarrassed to admit it, but I have been hanging on to my previous iPhone for nearly 5 years! It was time for a better plan and a better phone, and the camera on this thing is making me so happy.  I’ve been testing its capabilities on everything from flowers to flat lays and while I’m still learning how use all of its features, I sure am having fun with it and I’m so impressed with what I’ve been able to do with it so far.  I think it’ll be a great tool to help me with product photography for my business, so I’m thankful that I made the investment.

I had the pleasure of listening to an incredible speech this week that was such a welcome kick-in-the-motivation. I think even the most diligent artist or entrepreneur can lose their fire if they aren’t strategic about fueling it on a regular basis.  It helped me realize how much I’ve let my self-improvement habit slip under the stress of the last year and it helped me recommit to doing something every day that teaches me something , sharpens my skills, helps my business, or allows me to remove roadblocks from my path. I also ended up with a few new books, which was my favorite part of being in the self-improvement habit before.  I’m always grateful for a reason to read!

I also committed to a new process for eliminating clutter which has been really helpful, and I tend to be a bit of an unruly collector. Thanks to a brilliant post from Be More with Less that showed up in my Facebook feed last Friday, I have just completed my second Decluttering Burst. The goal is to let go of 100 things in less than an hour. It sounded difficult at first, but once I got going, it was so freeing. I know so much of this is dependent on the size of the things you are parting with, but I was shocked that I exceeded my goal by 12 items and I didn’t even fill an entire trash bag.  To be fair, I parted with a lot of things like receipts and small broken items that I knew I was never going to repair, but the high from getting those things out of my home has made me want to tackle each room in that way.  It went so well this morning, I just might give it another go before the day is done! I’m so thankful for this useful and easy practice.

What has August given you that you’re grateful for today?  Cultivating gratitude gives us a chance to purposely seek joy in moments that might otherwise pass us by. Leave me a comment below with your favorite moment of the month. Let’s celebrate your wins and walk into September ready to create a whole lot more of them.

Wishing You Total Well-Being,

Jennifer

Tender Hearts and Tragedy: What’s a Sensitive Soul to Do?

    How are you holding up, Well-Beings? It’s been a difficult couple of weeks, hasn’t it? The merciless events in both Charlottesville and Barcelona are weighing so heavily on my heart, as I’m sure they are with you, too. I know that division is nothing new, but damnit. How is it ever okay to take the life of an innocent person for simply not being like you? The only good thing that ever comes out of these senseless acts are the crusaders and heroes that rise up, take charge, and lead us toward change. I’ve always wanted to be as strong as they are in the face of unbelievable adversity, but I simply never felt like I had enough of the grit and daring that those roles require. Still though, I could never shake the feeling that my empathy was a sign that I should contribute in some way. That it was strategically given to me so I could do something that would comfort and encourage others. I just didn’t know how to help without my soft-heart getting in the way.

Here’s the thing, not everyone is cut out to fight the battle from the front lines. The older I’ve gotten, the more I’ve realized that there’s nothing wrong with not being blessed with the natural ability to speak out, lead rallies, and start revolutions. That doesn’t mean you’re powerless, it means you’re more valuable in a support role. It’s something I realized when my grandmother passed away unexpectedly several years ago.  My family was suddenly faced with a number of extremely difficult decisions to make, and though I wasn’t very good with handling those details because of my tender heart, I saw that I could provide comfort to my family in other ways that would serve those I loved.  I fed people and made sure everyone was drinking plenty of water. I cleaned up.  I did laundry. I ran errands. I did the things that no one else had the time or the energy to think about, and in my own way, I think I stepped up when it mattered.

If you’re not quite sure where you fit, but know that you need to do something when tragedy strikes, below are some suggestions for my sensitive souls:

  1. Get Involved – One of the best ways to help is to find an organization doing good things in the world to promote social justice, feed and clothe those in need, and spread a message of peace and love to all. Volunteer your time when you can and support them with financial donations, no matter how small, when you can’t.
  2. Be An Ally, a Safe Place, and a Good Listener – Be there to comfort and encourage your friends. When attacks, either international or local to you, are racially motivated, target people of a specific religion, or are aimed at someone based on how they identify or who they love, reach out and let them know that you’re there for them. Let them talk. Let them cry. You don’t have to have the answers, just support them with your presence.
  3. Be an Includer and an Encourager – Most of us know what it’s like to be the new kid or to feel singled out for one reason or another. If you see someone being picked on at school or work, invite them to sit with you. Share a meal with them. Make it a point to be a friendly face who earnestly checks in on them, and makes sure they’re doing okay. You have no idea how much difference you can make in a person’s life by just having the courage to be kind.

If your heart is broken by tragedy and you want to contribute, I hope that you never mistake your softness for weakness and that you never let it stop you from sharing your greatest gift with the world. You, with so much love to give to those who are hurting, are not weak. Your tenderness carries more influence than you realize. It carries hope, and that’s what’s going to get us through this.

Wishing You Total Well-Being,

Jennifer

From the Archives: Don’t Have a Cheat. Have a Treat!

 

  Hey There, Well-Beings! 

I’m replaying an article that’s been close to my heart as I’ve been completing a wonderful course about self-love that’s been created with so much care by the wonderful owner of Olivine Atelier (which you should check out if you’re into beautifully crafted perfumes and gorgeous little gifts that amp up your joy in a big way). I’ve been revisiting and doing some healing of some body-issues I’ve had as I’ve watched myself change over the past twenty years and it’s reminded me how powerfully our words can create or undo the goodness we want for ourselves. I hope you enjoy this insight from 2015 about the compassionate shift we can have in our thoughts about food. I hope it inspires you to speak to yourself more kindly.

Wishing You Total Well-Being,

Jennifer

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I’m concerned about the use of the phrase “cheat meal”. I see it all over social media and fitness forums, and something about it isn’t sitting right. I think it puts a negative spin on the entirely positive and awesome decision people make when they decide to eat healthfully.

One could argue that I’m just being silly about semantics, but I believe it runs much deeper than that. I believe it’s about our mindset when it comes to food and that starting with the words we allow to leave our lips or fingertips, we form the thoughts that can make or break us. Hear me out while I get to the heart of the matter; your heart.

Taking good care of yourself should be a choice you make with a joyful heart each day, not a chore. Stuffing yourself with sad salad all week so you can go buck wild on a cheeseburger and milkshake on Saturday is a kinda crappy way to exist, don’t ya think? Restriction isn’t, or at least shouldn’t be, the name of the game. If your day to day is so joyless that you have to cheat on it once a week, maybe you should try shifting the way you think about it.

Eating well fuels your body. You give it the proper nutrients to keep it functioning optimally and in return it gives you sustained energy and wellness to do both the things you need and want to do. It’s a fair trade, especially when you weigh the way you feel when you drink a smoothie vs the way you feel when you eat from the drive-through. Sometimes, yes, just sometimes, you really want that bag of peanut butter M&M’s or to actually eat a sno-cone with your kids, and by infusing that desire with guilt by suggesting that you’re somehow cheating by having it, it strips you of the joy you experience when you receive something you really, totally and completely want. Please don’t do that to yourself, Darling Heart. Life is meant to be lived!

Do I want you to make good choices that help you live a long, healthy, happy life? You betcha! There’s room for both smart eating and lovely indulgences, though. Don’t cheat yourself by feeling bad about wanting what you want and treating yourself to it now and again. In fact, call it a treat meal! Call it self-care! Call it “I wanted some damn pizza and I don’t care what anyone else thinks about it!”. Call it whatever you need to call it to get the unnecessary negativity out of the middle of your joy! You may even find that the longer you purposefully practice this, the more you may find your heart hearts a weekly kombucha or daily green juice and all from just watching your words!

Wishing You Total Well-Being,

Jennifer

Gratitude Review: July

     Happy almost-end-of July, Well-Beings!

I hope you are safely enjoying the summer sun and staying cool.  I almost didn’t this week, but don’t worry! This story has a happy ending.  Just a few short days ago, my air conditioning went out twice in the same day, but thankfully we have a wonderful maintenance team here at the complex where I live and I was able to get things patched up in no time. I feel extraordinarily thankful for the fast response, and for the expertise and willingness of our lead maintenance guy to tackle this problem for me in the triple digit heat we’ve been handed this month.

My mom had a health scare this month and spent some time in the hospital. Looking back, it’s hard to deny that we didn’t have a whole lot of Divine Intervention to both get her there in time and arrange for her to recover without worrying about how the bill would be settled. She still has a ways to go to get back on her feet, but as far as things I’m grateful for this month (and all months, really) this one makes the top of my list.

In lighter news, the company I’ve been buying my essential oils from lately had a huge promotion this month. It was filled with five-days-worth of deals where you buy one oil, and you get another one for free. I was able to stock up on supplies I’ve been wanting for very little money and now I’ll be able to create some special blends that I’ve been inspired to make. If all goes well, I hope to be able to set up a shop and share them with you in the future. I really cleaned up with this sale, and I don’t think it was a coincidence that they were all things that I wrote down on a wish list just the week before. It was pretty cool to have things confirmed in that way, that I am actually supposed to be doing this thing that’s been in my heart for years, by literally being given some of very things I needed to get started. I can’t wait to spend the rest of my afternoon testing out some of the recipes I’ve come up with.

How has July gone for you? Do you have anything exciting to share? What kinds of experiences did you have that you’re still holding in your heart? I want to hear from you and help you celebrate this month almost gone by! Leave a comment below and let’s help each other remember all of the wonderful things we have to feel thankful for!

 

Wishing You Total Well-Being,

 

Jennifer

The Sweet Life: Honey’s Surprising Health Benefits

     Hey There, Well-Beings!

It’s a blazer out there today, so I’m planning to be inside tackling some of the tasks I’ve been putting off while the weather was a little more pleasant. Because I try never to leave you hanging, I wrote this article for the July issue of Inner Child Magazine and wanted to share it with you! Did you know that using honey can sweeten your health? How’s that for good news?! I hope you enjoy my findings and have a wonderful rest of your week!

Wishing You Total Well-Being,

Jennifer

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It’s probably safe to assume that most of you have sweetened a beverage or baked good with honey at some point in your life. Maybe you drizzled a little on your oatmeal this morning, or even swapped out refined sugar in favor of this nectarous, golden elixir. Honey is more than a thrill for our tastebuds, though. It has been used as both a medicine and a food for centuries. It’s depicted in a 10,000 year old Spanish rock painting, it was left in the tombs of pharaohs by the Ancient Egyptians, and is mentioned in the sacred texts of almost every major religion. It’s been used to dress the wounds of Roman soldiers and clay tablet prescriptions have been discovered dating as far back as 2000 B.C. from the region of Nippur. It seems our ancestors knew that its value was worth more than its weight in gold. The good news is that you can still use honey today to address a number of health concerns and reap its tasty benefits for yourself.

Honey is full of antioxidants, including phenolic compounds like flavonoids. These antioxidant compounds have a host of benefits, including lowering blood pressure, decreasing bad LDL cholesterol while increasing good HDL cholesterol, and lowering triglyceride levels. All of these benefits can have positive effects on heart health and show promise in assisting Type 2 diabetics when honey is used to replace table sugar in the diet.

Honey has been a common ingredient in home remedies for cough and commercial cold medicines for years. In fact, in a 2010 study showed that honey scored better than two common cold remedies, dextromethorphan and diphenhydramine, in relieving nighttime coughing in both children and adults. It’s also becoming a commonly accepted form of seasonal allergy relief, thanks to some promising discoveries in the field of immunotherapy. Pollen found in local honey is introduced to the allergy sufferer in such a small amount that it may help them build immunity to it over time. Keep in mind, that honey from other regions may not have the desired effect.

Honey isn’t just good for the insides. Research suggests it has a healing effect on the skin, as well. One such group of studies touts the use of honey as an effective treatment for diabetic ulcers, while another series suggests that it may help heal partial thickness burns and wounds infected after surgery. That’s because researchers believe that honey’s antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties help protect and nourish skin tissue. That’s also why you might see it in the beauty creams in high end cosmetic shops and in DIY skincare recipes.

One very important thing to keep in mind is that honeybees are hurting. They are dying at an alarming rate and they need a little compassionate human intervention to survive. Get to know your local beekeepers at farmer’s markets in your town and like or friend them on social media. When you see a hive in your neighborhood or somewhere that it’s likely to be sprayed and lost, give them a call so it can be properly captured and cared for. The health benefits of honey could be lost to us forever if we don’t first concern ourselves with the health of the honeybee. Do your part to save them and sweetness will follow.

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