For the tagline to this blog, I wrote: “A journey of health, fitness, and mindfulness after the age of 70.” So far I’ve written a lot about health via all my WW posts. However, I haven’t written much at all about fitness and mindfulness. So today I will talk about mindfulness.
With all that’s going on in the world today, it is easy to have one’s mind full to bursting with all the news about riots, diseases, unrest, quarantines, etc. “Experts” weigh in with opposing views on just about everything. That makes it all the more important to deliberately be mindful and to foster mindful practices in everyday life.
Mindfulness can be defined as the nurturing practice of being aware of one’s environment, thoughts, emotions, and experiences “in the moment” while remaining kind and nonjudgmental to oneself and others.
Being mindful is no small accomplishment! How am I kind to myself? How do I nurture positive behaviors in order to take care of myself? First – back to the other posts I’ve made in this blog – I am being nurturing and kind to myself by taking better care of my body via eating well and following the WW plan.
Mindful eating is really what WWs is all about. One unhealthy habit I have is that I quickly eat most of my meals sitting in my recliner either watching TV or scrolling through my phone or laptop. I would like to replace that habit with a more nurturing one – sitting at a table with soft music playing – slowing down and being mindful of taste and texture – drinking plenty of water along with the meal. TODAY I will start with dinner each day – at the dining room table, music from my iPhone, talking with my husband.
What does mindfulness look like right now in my life?
I’ve recently started a skin care regimen. I’m fortunate in having a good inheritance when it comes to my skin. I’ve never had to do much to have good skin. However, now that I’m in my 70s, the wrinkles are more apparent. Rather than going to bed without removing my makeup first (something I’ve always done!), I’ve started washing my face with a good skin care product (Rodan + Fields), using a toner, and then a face cream. In the mornings, I apply a sunscreen before applying makeup. I consider it a soothing and relaxing way to prepare for bed.
In the mornings, I’ve started back having my quiet time. I did this for year before, but in the past couple years, I’ve let it slide. During my quiet time, I read the Bible, keep a prayer journal, and read a devotional – all while enjoying my morning coffee. It is delightful way to start the day, and it’s a “centering” practice.
I make my own healing skin cream. I am a “picker” – meaning if there is any blemish on my skin, I tend to pick at it. It is a habit that is SO hard to break! There’s something about the lack of smoothness that makes me feel compelled to try to make it smooth by scratching at it. So I made my own healing cream that I put on any blemish to help it heal quickly. I mix it in a bowl and put it in small 2-oz. cosmetic jars. And I’m making a concerted effort to stop the picking! I have made my own regular skin cream for the past year, too. I prefer both the skin cream and the healing cream over any commercial cream I’ve found. It’s not only a self-care practice, it helps to foster my creativity.
I do mindfulness walks around our yard. That was something I started at the beginning of the Covid-19 quarantine in March 2020. We are fortunate to have some acreage where I can walk. I try to get outside in the sun on a daily basis and just walk around, breathing deeply, for a few minutes each day.
I’m working on more regularly keeping my home clean and neat because a clean and organized environment fosters calm and peace. Yesterday I cleaned out my closet (again!). The pantry is next. Then my art studio. The rest of the house stays fairly clean and neat.
With SO much discord in the world right now, I have avoided the news as much as possible for a long time. I get most news via the internet – but I can select news outlets that don’t have obvious biases. I want to form my own opinions rather than be told what to believe – which is what most news outlet do. That way I can be informed without being manipulated into getting upset or angry.
My Apple watch is set to regularly remind me to breathe deeply throughout the day. Sometimes just taking a deep breathe is calming.
Balance is another aspect of mindfulness, and I think I do a pretty good job of that. I work around the house or paint or cook or whatever, but I also take breaks, I write, and I visit family and friends.
In all the WW groups I’ve joined on Facebook, I have heard a LOT about 2-Ingredient dough. So I decided to try it out.
It is simply equal parts self-rising flour and nonfat Greek yogurt. However, people kept mentioning that the dough is very sticky and that it works better to have a little less yogurt. Here is what I did:
3 cups self-rising flour (37 points) I made sure to be accurate with this measurement so I could figure the WW points. Set aside about 1/4 cup to use later.
2 1/2 cups Fage nonfat Greek Yogurt (0 points)
Mix the 2 3/4 cups flour with the yogurt in a bowl.. Turn out on a pastry board/sheet or on a piece of parchment paper. Knead briefly – using the 1/4 cup flour you set aside to add, as needed, to get it to a smooth ball. Cut into 16 equal pieces. I used a pastry cutter to cut the dough ball in half – then cut each half in half, etc.
Shape each piece into a ball.
I took some of the balls and rolled them out long and thin, sprayed with butter-flavored Pam, and then generously sprinkled cinnamon on them. Then I rolled them up (like a cinnamon roll), pressed them down, poked a hole in the middle. Voila! Cinnamon bagels.
Some I left plain, and others I sprayed with butter-flavored Pam and sprinkled “Everything but the Bagel” seasoning on them.
They turned out pretty good. They’re a little tangy, thanks to the yogurt. The only points come from the flour. So 37 total points divided by 16 is equal to about 2.3 points each. So one rounds off to 2 points, but two of them round off to 5 points.
I tried both the cinnamon and the “everything but the bagel” – and the cinnamon won, hands down. Spread a little “Simply Fruit” spread on it – and yummy!
Today I was thinking about all the foods I’m eating lately that have artificial sweeteners. Not good. I don’t want to live the rest of my life using artificial sweeteners because they definitely do not promote good health.
So, with that in mind, I am going to phase them out. I will figure out healthy ways to enjoy sweets naturally with moderation and common sense. It may be that I have to stop them altogether, or I may only use Stevia and monkfruit. I need to do some research to get more information to see if there are any that are truly safe.
I’ve enjoyed the muffins that I have made with sugar-free cake mixes. However, I bet I can find muffin recipes without the fake stuff that will be low points AND tasty. So that will be my goal for the next few weeks.
One of my favorites at Starbucks is a Caramel Macchiato. However, usually after the first few sips, it becomes cloyingly sweet to me. So I started making them at home. The secret is leaving out the vanilla syrup that Starbucks adds in addition to the caramel syrup. The vanilla syrup is too much sweetness.
So I’d fill a glass up with ice, squirt caramel syrup over it (I like LOTS of caramel syrup), add 8-10 ounces of milk, and then pour a couple shots of espresso over it. Finally, I’d drizzle more caramel syrup on top. Yum! Before WW, I never measured the caramel syrup – I loved it creamy and sweet.
Since I started Weight Watchers, I wanted to skinny down the recipe. I still wanted it creamy and sweet, though. So today I made one using unsweetened vanilla almond milk and sugar-free caramel syrup. It was a hit! It’s not as sweet as what I used to make during my non-measuring days – but it sure satisfied my sweet tooth.
Here’s the recipe:
4-Point Caramel Macchiato (Weight Watcher’s Blue Plan)
(1) Fill glass with ice
(2) Drizzle 1 tablespoon of sugar-free caramel syrup over the ice.
(3) Add 1 cup of unsweetened vanilla almond milk (1 point)
(4) Pour 2 shots of espresso into the glass (0 points)
(5) Drizzle another tablespoon of sugar-free caramel syrup (2 Tablespoons of syrup is 3 points)
I’ve been wanting to make pumpkin muffins with a chocolate cake mix. However, none of the local stores I tried had sugar-free chocolate cake mixes. So I ordered some from Amazon. Here is the result. They’re 3 points each on the WW Blue plan. Unlike the ones I made with a SF yellow cake mix, these taste like chocolate – not like pumpkin. These are definitely another win!
Again, I added to the 2 ingredients. I dumped the cake mix and the 15-ounce can of pumpkin into a mixing bowl. Then I added two eggs – to increase the protein value and to also make the batter less stiff. I used a hand mixer to blend it well. It filled the 12 cupcake paper well and rose nicely in the oven.
So my recipe is: a Pillsbury Sugar Free Devil’s Food cake mix, one 15-ounce can of 100% pure pumpkin, and 2 eggs. Blend well. Divide evenly between 12 cupcake tins. Bake about 20-22 minutes in a 350 degree oven. I ate one tonight, and so did Ron. I will leave out a couple to eat for breakfast tomorrow. The rest I will wrap individually and freeze for treats in the next couple weeks. They’re really tasty!