Monday, September 22, 2014

Trying Some New Meds

After much research and Pinterest pinning, I think I have finally hit upon a plan of action for dealing with my issues of mental, emotional and overall physical health.  I have always preferred a more holistic approach when dealing with ailments.  I don't like being medicated.  For one thing, my body is overly sensitive and drugs affect me more potently than they would an average person.  I also don't like putting "unnatural" things into my body.  If I can't get it from my food, I don't want to ingest it.

I have come up with a list of natural "Meds" that I hope will help me get into a better state of being.

Med 1:
Think extra virgin olive oil-covered John Stamos.

Mediterranean Diet-
I've read for years about the benefits of the Mediterranean diet and have always leaned toward that style of cooking.  I use a lot of extra-virgin olive oil and fresh vegetables.  I try to cook fish as often as possible.  I don't fry food; I bake or grill or saute. I am going to try to incorporate even more fresh veggies and fruits and eliminate most processed foods from my diet.  I started doing a gluten free challenge several weeks ago and have noticed a big difference, so that will play a part as well.  Gluten free can be challenging, but I've found some really great alternatives to the things I love.  I've also discovered lots of great recipes using leaner cuts of meat and healthy proteins.  I have a regularly updated pinboard dedicated to the Mediterranean lifestyle here: Mediterraneans Don't Need Prozac.  I will also be re-instituting Meatless Mondays.  For info on that, click the following link: Meatless Monday Recipes.

Med 2: 
Lama lama lama... ka-dingita dinga dong

The term "meditation" means different things to different people.  For me, it isn't necessarily sitting cross-legged and chanting, but more a time of quiet reflection and peaceful thought.  I tend to rush around from thing to thing every day without taking any time to unwind and just sit and enjoy a moment.  Whether I spend the time in prayer, listening to calm music or just occupying one of the rocking chairs on my front porch in the early morning or evening, it will be time well-spent.  I plan to try a return to yoga.  I tried some simple moves and stretches years ago and greatly benefited from it. I have also found that keeping a journal or diary (or blog!) is a great way to work through my thoughts and emotions and can be very cathartic.

Med 3: 

Media (As in Social Media) Limits-
 While social media sites like Facebook can be great for keeping up with friends and relatives, they can also be a big distraction and time-suck.  I live out in the country and don't often see my friends and family.  Facebook is a nice way to stay connected, but I've found that more often than not, I waste valuable time reading through the events of people I rarely speak to on a normal basis.  I lose myself in the endless procession of cute kid pics, inspirational memes, Buzzfeed quizzes and funny videos.  And don't even get me started on Candy Crush.  Social media, like junkfood, is fine every now and then and within limits.  I can't live on brain junk.  I need real, valuable experiences outside of cyberspace.  Yesterday I cut back my Facebook timeline to the bare minimum.  I kept all my friends, but there are only a handful that I'm actually following.  I've also deleted all the apps junking up my sidebars.  It looks a bit sterile, but in a good, I-just-bleached-the-bathtub kind of way.

Med 4: 

Medium (Moderate) Exercise-
I have never been the athletic type.  I'm the sit-and-read-a-book type.  For years, this wasn't a problem because my metabolism was fast and furious.  However, as I've gotten older, my metabolism has slowed considerably and I can no longer just sit around.  I have to do at least some moderate activity.  I enjoy walking and here in the country there is plenty of room to just amble about.  I also have a walking partner. Her name is Lady and she is a very energetic and enthusiastic canine companion.  We walk just about every morning when it's cool and quiet. I enjoy the sunshine and Lady sniffs everything in sight.  I also plan to head back to the gym to spend some time on the bike and maybe even do some light weight training.  I'm not so concerned with losing weight as I am with just being healthy and in shape.

I am very hopeful that these new "Meds" will help me in my quest for total health and wellness. They're natural, simple and most importantly, enjoyable!  I will try to keep updates on my progress on here.  Of course, if anyone has any suggestions, feel free to leave them in the comments!

Be well!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

A Lost Hour

I was told, "Go slowly.  Enjoy the day, minutes. You rush and are stressed and anxious.  Stop. Breathe. Relax.  Look around you and appreciate what you see.  This is good for your mind and your spirit.  Go slow and enjoy."

Today I sat by the lake and watched the waterfowl.  One large white egret flew over and landed on a stump that was sticking out of the water.  He stood there tall like a sentry, keeping watch over everything going on around the lake today.

It was a beautiful day and the water was still warm and the fish were very active.  Quite often there were bubbles or splashes and ripples from the flip of a tail fin.

The island in the distance looked like just a cluster of green, while the mountains beyond were deep blue.  Some days the lake is still enough to reflect the clouds in the sky, but today there were many boats out, churning up the water and making waves to lap the shoreline.  The sun was on my shoulder like a warm, comforting hand.

The tree closest to where I sat had already changed color from green to gold, and its top branches were completely bare, just scraggly sticks scratching the sky.

The lake shore was lined with moss-covered rocks and I've always considered them to be beautiful. It's almost as if the rocks that dare to sit closest to the water's edge are given a soft, emerald cloak as a testament to their courage.

I sat by the lake today.  I just sat and watched and thought and scribbled a few notes.  I didn't plan or schedule or think about what I had to do next.  I didn't even look at my phone to check the time.  An hour passed and I didn't realize it.  And I was very glad.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Retail Therapy in Rome... Georgia

It has always been a dream of mine to visit Rome, Italy.  It's in one of the top slots on my Bucket List.  However, until I make some more money with this writing thing, I'll have to settle for somewhere a bit closer.  Today I headed off for a little Roman adventure in Northwest Georgia.  Rome, Georgia is a funky and vibrant little city situated on the Etowah, Oostanaula and Coosa Rivers about an hour's drive from Atlanta.  Diverse and urban, Rome offers a lot to do and experience.  The historic downtown area is lined with brightly painted shops and interesting restaurants.  There are also lots of bookstores, antique shops, and watering holes.  The red brick pedestrian paths are spotted with nice benches under colorful crepe myrtles.  Parking can be difficult on the street, but if you don't mind a walk, there are parking decks and pay-for-parking lots.  My advice is to park wherever you can and walk.  There is plenty to see along the way.

Downtown Rome, Georgia has plenty of pedestrian pathways for easy access.

I started off my downtown excursion by checking out my favorite bookstore, Paradise Lost Books. It's a very small used bookstore, but it is packed with an ever-changing assortment of previously owned and loved books.  For the amount of books crammed into the tiny space, it's surprisingly well organized and the prices are very reasonable.  Be sure to greet the friendly shop cats that roam the store when you check it out.

My other favorite Roman bookstore is Dogwood Books and Antiques.  This cool store has a great selection of antique and vintage books as well as collectibles and memorabilia. There is even a cozy reading nook upstairs. 

When I had finished foraging for books I was hungry, so I headed to Harvest Moon CafeThis neat little café offers sidewalk tables, an indoor/outdoor patio space and a cool interior seating area.  The indoor dining area is funky and cool with décor pieces by local artists, a number of cow-themed objets d'art, and some really awesome flatware chandeliers. There is also a bar upstairs on The Moon Roof and an event space, The New Moon Venue.  Harvest Moon Café has an excellent menu featuring favorites like chips and fries made in-house, pasta salad and the devilishly delicious Hot Wicked Pimina Dip.

I normally get the French Dip sandwich, hot rare prime rib with provolone on a toasted hoagie roll and served with au jus.  Today however, I opted for the meat and two veggie plate.  I ordered grilled tilapia as my meat, but was told the tilapia had been changed for either trout or salmon.  A tough choice, but I went with the salmon.  For my veggies I ordered garlic mashed potatoes and fried green tomatoes.  Since it was really beautiful out I decided to sit at one of the sidewalk tables.  The wait staff is always friendly and attentive and my glass was never less than half full of sweet tea.  My food arrived promptly and I couldn't wait to dig in.

The lunch menu at Harvest Moon Cafe is superb and relatively inexpensive.

While the garlic mashed potatoes could have used just a bit more seasoning, the fried green tomatoes more than made up for it.  The cornmeal crust was light and crispy, not at all soggy or greasy.  The tomatoes were nice and juicy and sweet.  The salmon was perfectly grilled, flaky and wonderfully seasoned.  A piece of cornbread came with the dish and it was super moist with just the right amount of heat from some sweet jalapenos. It was overall an excellent lunch: great food, nice atmosphere, excellent service.

I had planned on getting dessert next door at the Honeymoon Bakery after lunch, but I was much too full, so I decided to take a stroll downtown and do some shopping instead.  There are a number of excellent vintage and upscale consignment shops downtown, but my personal favorite is POSH.  This is the kind of store you see in magazines and on television.  It's super hip with cool lighting, tasteful displays and an excellent selection of upscale clothing and accessory items at great prices.   

POSH is a frugal fashionista's paradise!

After scoring some remarkable deals on some quality pieces for fall, I was feeling a bit noshy, so I headed back to the Honeymoon Bakery for something sweet.  The bakery is amazing.  The pastry case is stocked full of delectable items like cookies, cupcakes, tarts and even jumbo-sized Rice Crispy treats.

The Rice Crispy treats are the size of bricks!  Delicious marshmallowy bricks.

Honeymoon Bakery also makes custom cakes for weddings or other events.  They even have a nice assortment of gelato.

Soooo much better than plain ice cream!

 On this particular day though, I was after only one thing.... cannoli.

Honeymoon Bakery has the best cannoli I've tried so far.  The shell is nice and crispy and coated on the inside with a thin layer of chocolate.  The marscapone filling is sweet, but not cloyingly so, and the whole thing is drizzled with chocolate.  I took mine to go and sat out on one of the street-side benches and enjoyed it slowly.  Ah, la dolce vita!  

Other notable places in downtown Rome include:

The Historic Desoto Theatre: Home of Rome's Little Theatre, a community theatre company, this venue also hosts shows and concerts.

La Scala Mediterranean Bistro: My favorite place in the world to eat is pricey, but more than worth it.  The tomato basil soup and portobello ravioli are excellent.  

Old Havana Cigar Company: With its comfy leather chairs and top-notch selection of fine cigars, this cigar bar has an appealing speak-easy vibe to it.  They also have drinks and live music.  

There is much more to Rome, Georgia than the downtown area, but that's another post.  For more information on this cool city, check out: or visit their Facebook page at:Georgia's Rome