An Orangery Metaphor

The Denver Botanic Garden uses an orangery to weather tender plants through the winter. Here you’ll find small orange trees, succulents and all manner of plants in a type of greenhouse. Some things look strong and healthy while others look half dead.

The common thread is that they will all pull through the winter and be moved back outside to thrive on more friendly days next year.

I have a bad cold that I’m desperately trying to prevent from becoming a sinus infection. It started on Thanksgiving and I just feel cruddy. I also got my Covid booster on Saturday and had some minor side effects from that on Sunday morning. In other words, I’m cruddy and tired and feel half dead like some of those plants.

Luckily, it is just a cold and I’ve been able to rest and drink lots of fluids and eat fresh citrus for the last few days. Things will be better soon if I continue to focus on self care.

This is something we humans aren’t very good at doing sometimes. Yet there’s no replacement for rest and genuine self care when we are under the weather. Society teaches us to buck up, to power through and to fake it till you make it. If you are unwell, that is garbage advice.

Rest. Hydrate. Nourish your body.

This is how you bounce back better than ever. You owe yourself that. Your body and mind deserve that much. Remember that the next time you’re tempted to ignore your body’s pleas for help.

The BIG Water Bottle

Consistently drinking more water is one of my current goals. To be clear, I drink a lot of water compared to most people. However, I’m inconsistent about it.

Sometimes I drink like I’ve been crawling through the desert nourished only by a box of saltines for three days. Sometimes I sit with a glass of water next to my hand and barely remember to take a sip.

There is no middle ground.

I’ve tried logging water with an app and on paper. I’ve tried setting alarms on my phone and have a magnificent water bottle I carry with me everywhere. The new Bluetooth water bottles have been taunting me but I seriously doubt they would make a difference.

And then I found this bottle. It’s enormous- almost too tall to fit in my fridge. It holds 101 ounces, greeting you good morning and offering incremental encouragements to keep drinking throughout the day.

I call her Bertha. Big Bertha.

It’s working so far. I’m a visual person so it helps to see and feel the bottle becoming lighter throughout the day. And no, I don’t drink from this monstrosity. Instead I drink from my favorite Wonder Woman glass just to make it more fun.

Angel In Boxing Gloves

As Covid-19 flares across this country, I have heard experts describe what is to come as a tsunami.

Our health care professionals are exhausted.

They are frustrated.

I imagine they are struggling more than we know in some of our country’s hardest hit areas. Someday, I fear they will have the same kind of PTSD that effects soldiers.

The holidays will likely usher in a new era of horrors that we all should be worried about now.

It’s hard for many of us to stay home all the time as we need to work, to buy Christmas presents or food. The economy needs us to be out there buying and exchanging money for services – a calculated risk here and there may be worth it. But we owe it to ourselves to stay healthy and to not share our germs with others. So please wear your mask, wash those hands, and social distance like your life depends on it.

After all, it may.

The mural is in Denver and is one of many spectacular pieces of art you can view from the car in that city. The image of a healthcare angel in boxing gloves seems more appropriate now than ever.

The Games We Play: Healthy Food Edition

I learned something about myself last week. When there are nicely arranged platters of fruits and veggies in the fridge, I eat about five times more fresh produce in a day than if it were all packaged up in separate containers.

It would be lovely to say that I’m exaggerating but it’s true! I had made fruit and veggie platters for a small retirement get together for my dad. Leftovers came home with me and I nibbled on them till they were completely gone. So I made smaller versions and found myself eating fresh veggies with every single meal!

What can I say? I’m a visual person and I like pretty things! Oh, the games I play to be healthier!

Eating At Home

As things start to open up in my state, everyone I know seems to be dying for a restaurant meal. I can honestly say that eating in a restaurant is almost at the bottom of my list of things to do.

It may be because I’m a decent cook and know how to prepare meals exactly the way I like them. It’s partly because restaurants in my area aren’t interested in people who wish to eat healthy or who eat plant based.

Sad salads and greasy grilled cheese sandwiches are the standard faire for vegetarians in my area. A few nicer restaurants in neighboring towns offer the Beyond Burger or a black bean burger but most vegetarians or vegans are better off just staying at home in my part of the state.

Personally, I eat mostly vegan at home and hope for vegan but am happy with vegetarian in restaurants. I tend to use eating out as an excuse to have pizza or some other really bad cheat dish because the options are so slim.

The above picture is from my lunch yesterday – just a simple sauce packed with veggies over soy noodle spaghetti and a nice little salad. All the ingredients came from Aldi and nothing was expensive.

Dessert was this big bowl of berries. Easy, simple and delicious!

People act like those of us who don’t eat meat or dairy are asking for something ridiculously hard to achieve. It’s really not when you stick to simple ingredients.

So I’ll just continue doing my thing at home and be happy. At least cooking at home is cheaper than take-out!

Giving The Gift Of Life

I gave blood yesterday. The American Red Cross is in dire need of blood donations right now and I had made the appointment six weeks ago. It was important to me that I go.

They have strict rules about masks and cleanliness. It’s basically impossible to social distance in a situation like this but I felt perfectly comfortable.

Giving blood has become an important part of my routine. It doesn’t help me today and I genuinely hope to never need blood. But someone out there right now is sick or hurt and they badly need the help. It could be any one of us and we would want the blood supply to be there if we were in their shoes.

It took 37 minutes this time. That was 37 minutes to get checked in, wait my turn, give, claim my snack and be on my way. Those were 37 minutes well spent and I’ll look forward to going back next time.

Want to help? You can click this link and search by zip code to find a blood drive near you.