New recipe and the importance of more rest!
What’s happenin’ beautiful people? Does it feel like fall where you live? Because it finally does in Iowa. Finally. Now I can get jazzed for the holidays. It just doesn’t feel the same blasting Christmas music while you’re driving around in a tank top with the windows down.
Speaking of cold weather. You know what tickles my toes? (And not in a good way) When strangers think it’s totally acceptable to question my warm weather attire. I had a stranger approach me in the parking lot the other evening, point at my parka and ask “Is it realllly that cold?” Excuse me, sir. Don’t hate on my human sleeping bag, ya poo-head.
Anyways, enough of the vent sesh. Two things on the agenda today: rest and dairy free white chicken chili. [Scroll down for the recipe]
Ever since I was a kid I was always on the go. My parents still joke about the time I was 9 months old and managed to climb myself out of my crib. Nothing has changed. I’m the world’s worst napper, movies continue to be painful for me and relaxing around the house usually lasts about 10 minutes. It’s insane … I’m insane. I’m sold that I was born with the inability to rest.
And although I do a pretty good job of managing my constant need to do something… sometimes this body wins.
A few weeks ago, I was feeling tired and fatigued. I was working out, working (far too much), dealing with some lingering stolen car issues and some other personal stressors – but I kept trucking along. Kind of pushing all the added stresors to the side and “keeping busy.” Because that’s what I do – I distract myself from feeling tired and stressed, thinking, that they’ll either a) go away or b) be handled some other time, just not now. You do that for so long and your body is going to hit you upside the head …and that’s exactly what happened.
Cue: the worst sick spell I’ve had in years.
Being out for ten days did me in. I felt like poo physically AND mentally. I was upset at my body for wearing down and failing me and I felt guilty for all the lying around I was doing. (I kept telling myself, if I can’t go to work – then I have all the free time to work from home!) See the issue here? I can’t turn it off.
With all the lying around and resting did come a smidge of productivity: the lesson of rest.
I forget sometimes (or all the time) that resting isn’t a bad thing. It isn’t a sign of laziness or discouragement. It’s needed.
During those ten days of hell, I took a good hard look at the amount of rest I take. And I’m not just talking sleep and naps. I’m talking activities or moments that provide some quiet, calm and ability to slow down. And I pretty much came to the conclusion that I take zero moments for rest. Great.
So, let’s talk – shall we?
The real importance of rest
I’m not one to fall into the flowery effects of things. The “your mood will increase,” “you productivity will surge.” I have control over those things. That doesn’t do it for me. I need something a little deeper.
A quick search and find on one of my favorite go-to’s for information, I found the usual:
- enhances memory and mental clarity
- improves athletic performance
- boosts mood and overall energy
- improves immune function
- increases stress tolerance
“Unfortunately for us, the body hasn’t forgotten the importance of sleep. It’s absolutely essential for basic maintenance and repair of the neurological, endocrine, immune, musculoskeletal and digestive systems. The hormone melatonin naturally increases after sundown and during the night in a normal circadian rhythm, which increases immune cytokine function and helps protect us against infection. (This is why you’re so likely to get a cold or flu after not sleeping well for a few nights.)”
“Fewer than 6 hours of sleep per day is associated with low-grade chronic inflammation and worsening insulin resistance, as well as increased risk for obesity, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease (CVD).”
Sleep deprivation wreaks serious havoc on our hormonal system.
And with our hormones being the master communicators to much of our body’s functions, it’s a big stinking deal. Let’s first look at insulin.
- In a state of sleep deprivation, our glucose is constantly being decreased. If this becomes chronic, the more likely we are to develop insulin sensitivity. Because insulin opens up our cells to receive glucose, this is an issue and often times a precursors to diabetes.
- Next up, cortisol. Cortisol is our stress hormone. When we don’t get enough sleep, our body becomes naturally stressed out. Consistently low levels of sleep produce chronically high levels of cortisol. High cortisol levels alone cause inflammation which can and will lead to weight gain.
- Leptin is a hunger-suppressing hormone. If sleep deprivation decreases our levels of leptin, our appetite levels increase.
So if you’re not sold that you need more rest and sleep, there you have it. If you’re feeling tired, fatigued and on the brink of getting sick this winter …. Slow. Down. Rest and recover. Your body will be so appreciative.
Happy Thanksgiving, friends!
Be well (and sleep well),
- Rotisserie/roasted chicken shredded, cooked (or sub with leftover turkey!)
- 2 cans Great Northern Beans
- 1 cans Diced Green Chilies
- 1 large yellow Onion, diced
- 1 package mushrooms, diced
- 1 package frozen peas
- 1 T. Garlic, minced
- 2 t. Cumin
- 1 t. Chili Powder
- 1/3 t. Cayenne Pepper
- ¼ t. White Pepper
- 1 T. Himalayan Sea Salt
- 2 C. Chicken Broth
- 1 C. Coconut Milk
- ¼ C. Arrowroot or Tapioca Starch
- ½ C. Water
- ⅓ C. Cilantro, chopped
- Place one can of great northern beans into a blender. Add ¼ c water and blend on high until smooth.
- In a large pot, combine broth, blended beans, whole beans, mushrooms, roasted chicken, green chilies, onion, garlic, cumin, chili powder, cayenne, white pepper, sea salt, coconut milk. Stir on high for 10 minutes. Turn down to low-medium heat, let simmer.
- In a separate dish, combine ¼ c starch and ¼ c water. Stir until starch is dissolved.
- Slowly pour the starch mixture into the soup pot and stir slowly. Let simmer for ten minutes.
- Add frozen peas. Let simmer for five minutes.
- Remove from heat.
- Serve and top with cilantro.
- Substitute cooked chicken with your leftover holiday turkey :)