& why oh why can't I stick with a mindfulness practice
Hi! Welcome to “good mood food” from Kale Me Maybe’s Carina Wolff. If you’ve made it here and aren’t yet a subscriber, come join! You can expect recipes, musings, and faves in your inbox every Wednesday! Paid subscribers get even more! Learn more about my paid membership here. You can also try a week for free!
I like to think I’m pretty good at starting new habits and sticking with them, especially when I can visibly see and feel the benefits, but meditation has been one of those practices that has come in and out of my life inconsistently, despite how amazing it feels when I’m in the thick of it.
I was meditating heavily in 2018, and it was definitely working wonders for my brain during a year of a lot of emotional ups and downs. I was even reading lots of books on meditation and preaching to all my friends about how important it was. I started to feel really good.
And so I stopped doing it. Isn’t that how it always goes?
Meditation isn’t really all that fun when you’re actually practicing it, in the moment. You really start to see all the cracks in your mind, how terrible your attention span is, how easily it is to get carried away by the many, many thoughts that pop into your brain.
But that’s exactly the point. To become aware of what’s going on in your head. If you’re becoming aware, you’re doing it right. And the reason I love meditation is in the practical application. Sitting there, in a meditation, is really a practice round for real life. It’s working your muscles.
Because when you’re in an anxious moment or getting distracted by something happening in your life, ruminating over every single detail, becoming mindful of what’s happening in your body is the first step to feeling better. Once you’re aware of your thoughts and feelings, accepting them and watching them move through you like an unbiased bystander, you can move on from them. You can detach from them. You can even lean into them harder. The important thing is, you’re in control. And with more control comes less anxiety.
I was realizing in yoga yesterday how much I needed to resume my meditation practice when the teacher kept instructing us to “wrangle in our mind,” and every time she would say it, I would think to myself, “Damn it, how did she know?” I was drifting elsewhere rather than being present in my practice. My mind wanders so frequently, my brain fixating on my current concern du jour that it really does require a healthy dose of mindfulness. I think everyone’s does, whether we like to admit it or not.
So with that wakeup call, I think I’ll (re) start my practice, yet again. Thankfully, there are so many ways to meditate these days, a plethora of apps at our fingertips. My favorite is the app Ten Percent Happier, which also happens to be a book I recommend if you want to learn the why behind meditation. Lately, I’ve just been using the Oura ring app, since it is included in my membership, but I’m thinking about re-purchasing a membership to the Ten Percent app because I find it teaches a type of meditation more applicable to everyday life, not just in the moment.
THINGS I’M LOVING!
I have long been a fan of cotton candy grapes, but my new favorite are candy snap grapes! They’re sort of like the red version of cotton candy grapes, so they’ve been cultivated to be nice and sweet. I like to pop these babies in my mouth when I want a refreshing snack. I got mine at Whole Foods, but I believe they’re also sold at places like Sprouts and Kroger!
If you follow along on my Instagram stories, you might have seen that one of my glass baking dishes shattered after I placed it on the counter. Because of this, a few of my followers informed me of something really interesting: PYREX (uppercase brand) is different than pyrex (lowercase brand). You can read more about it here, but apparently PYREX is more sturdy than pyrex!
I’ve only been wearing my Apple Watch for workouts these days, but I didn’t like the look or feel of the original band, so I was much happier when I switched to a scrunchie band! It feels much better on my skin when I’m working out or get sweaty, and I happen to like the casual look too!
Not a ton to say about this pasta salad, but it’s got a lot of Italian-inspired flavors. It’s quick to make, since you use a lot of jarred ingredients (roasted red pepper, artichoke hearts, pepperoncini). If you want to make it vegetarian, swap out the salami for chickpeas! Or, leave out the salami and use chickpea pasta!
Ingredients (serves 2)
10 oz orecchiette pasta
2 small Persian cucumbers, chopped
1 cup chopped jarred roasted red pepper
1/2 cup chopped jarred marinated artichokes
1/4 cup sliced pepperoncini
1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil
2 oz genoa salami, chopped
4 oz pearl size mozzarella
Grated Parmesan cheese (to top)
2 tsp finely minced garlic
3 tbsp red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1. Prepare pasta according to package. While pasta is cooking, prepare the dressing by whisking ingredients together in a small bowl.
2. Drain the pasta and add it to a large bowl. Add the remaining pasta salad ingredients, minus the Parmesan, to the bowl. Drizzle on the dressing, sprinkle on some grated Parmesan cheese, and toss. Serve as is or chilled.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT!
Last week, paid subscribers received a recipe for Vegetarian Stuffed Poblano Peppers. I’ve been getting lots of requests for quick and easy lunch and dinners, and this one is exactly that! It’s stuffed with a black bean and rice mixture and topped with some melty pepper jack cheese for a filling and delish meal!
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