THE COOKING HOBBYIST: You must eat right to feel right

DO YOU EVER struggle to eat healthfully?

I know I do.

There are some days that are just so busy or stressful that the thought of making something I know is good for me is easily beaten by the convenience of picking up fast food or ordering out.

The thing is, though, that I know these fat- and grease-filled foods will only make the problem worse.

I’ve done enough reading on how to lower stress, anxiety and depression — all of which I suffer from — to know that while the fat- and grease-filled foods provide a temporary comfort, in the long run they make these issues more difficult to manage.

We’ve probably all always heard “You are what you eat” and in many ways that’s very true.

If you eat fat- and grease-filled food, you are filled with fat and grease.

You feel down and slow.

You lack energy to do anything good for yourself.

That’s exactly how I feel on an overly stressed day, or when I have an anxiety attack or when my depression kicks in so badly I just want to stay in bed for days.

But I move on, I go to work, I step outside even if it’s only to check the mail on my day off.

Millions of people suffer from these same symptoms and we’re probably all told the same things:

To get better, to heal, to feel more whole we must get good, quality sleep.

To achieve that sleep, we must have healthy bodies.

To have healthy bodies we must exercise.

To have energy to exercise, we must eat healthfully.

Here’s the kicker, though, at least for me: To eat healthfully, I must be in the right mindframe to think of healthful choices and to follow through on making them.

It’s a revolving door of awfulness.

But I try.

Just keeping trying

In my efforts to try, my sister has been a great help.

She finds recipes online on her days off and shares them with me.

They’re usually easy recipes that don’t take too much to put together.

A recent recipe example was an Italian tuna salad mixture for a pita sandwich. It included only a few ingredients, was easy to put together and quite tasty.

Another effort is finding snacks that are healthful but also help with energy levels and mood control.

Thankfully, dark chocolate is wonderful for both of these and it usually has less sugar and less milk in it.

Almonds, walnuts and peanuts all provide protein, which helps keep me going.

I’m trying to find kale chips that I find tasty.

I love regular chips, but they’re bad for me and contribute to the revolving door of awfulness.

The main thing that helps is knowing I’m not alone in this.

I have my family helping me, I have friends helping me and I know that millions of other people in the world are going through the same things I am.

If any of you are dealing with any of this, use this column as a reminder that you’re not alone.

Hopefully, it will also be a friendly nudge toward eating more healthfully if you aren’t already.

Italian tuna sandwich

½ (6-inch) whole-wheat pita

3-ounce can water-packed tuna

½-cup white cannellini beans

1 tablespoon chopped red onion

1/4-cup chopped cucumber

1/4-cup chopped grape

Combine ingredients into salad and serve on pita bread. My sister and I used a bit of mayonnaise on the pita bread so the sandwich wasn’t too dry.

________

Emily Hanson is a copy editor/paginator for the Peninsula Daily News. She is also a beginning baker and clumsy cook. She can be reached at 360-452-2345 ext. 560-50 or [email protected] dailynews.com.

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