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Healthy Days: Spinach and Berry Breakfast Smoothie

This has been a back-to-work week with me settling into a lovely relaxed schedule of teaching. Really, it’s been a shock to the system to not be doing a full time conservatory performance degree as well as working. So I’ve been continuing to love cooking and grocery shopping is no longer tear-inducing stress! Possibly I should be trying to fill my hours a little more diligently but right now from the *health* point of view, this is amazing.

Yesterday was the first day that I felt ‘I NEED CAKE!’ It has since transpired that I’m fight all the back-to-school bugs that come into my music room! So at least there’s a reason that I’m craving sugary food. I admit that I ate a brownie yesterday and a scone today, but now that I’ve figured out my craving, I’m going to make some soup and drink a ton of warm honey and lemon!

Carrot and Lentil Soup

Carrot and Lentil Soup I made for dinner on Thursday! Served with steamed purple sprouting broccoli and garlic.

On Thursday I has such an amazing food day! Attending the Mahon Point farmer’s market I swerved my usual salad stall and tried the offering of My Goodness, Cork’s raw vegan foodies. For €6.50 I had just the BEST lunch I’ve had in ages! Raw seed crackers, pickled daikon radish, sundried tomato and coriander pesto flavoured seed patés, bean sprouts, carrot salad, a seed burger and mixed green leaves all with a fresh apple cider vinegar-based dressing. It was beautiful and kept me munching for ages! I will definitely be having this again! Definitely satisfying. 🙂

Vegan Raw Mezze Plate by My Goodness, Cork

              Vegan Raw Mezze Plate by My Goodness 

In the last few days I made a load of Deliciously Ella’s superfood bread and flavoured it with some lovely autumnal cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg.  Another highlight of the last few days was this delicious breakfast smoothie:

 

Blackberry - Spinach Smoothie

A great way to use up the autumn harvest of blackberries!

Spinach and Berry Breakfast Smoothie
-2 handfuls of blackberries
-2 handfuls of spinach
-2 heaped tbsp soya yoghurt
-1 tbsp milled flaxseed
-a few strawberries
-water

Berry-Spinach Smoothie

Useful way to use up blackberries!

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Project Me

Well, the last 12 months have been quite dreadful, in terms of health and happiness. There were many good times, but in between those were many extended periods of colds, the flu and stomach problems. All of these problems are exacerbated by stress, and what could be more stressful than suddenly going into third level education, studying a subject (singing) which relies heavily on your stamina and good health!

Though it’s been a struggle, I do believe that you can learn from every experience, whether you’re having fun or not. I’ve learned that I have some serious anxiety issues around the singing workload, and I need to learn to cope with that.

I didn’t make any new year’s resolutions this year, but I plan to make little changes along the way. Big resolutions overwhelm me, and I feel pressure and then guilt if I don’t magically transform myself. So this month I have given up Facebook. And each week and month I will set myself small goals and tasks, all centred around making me a happier, healthier person. One week that could be ‘make cookies this week and eat them’ or maybe it will be ‘Run ten minutes every day this week.’

Ultimately, this project will be about listening to myself and trying to do my best to be better. If I am healthy and happy, I know I’ll be more efficient! I am also not going to beat myself up if I miss something. This is a positive decision, not another excuse to feel stressed out!

So this week’s tasks are:
1) No dairy until next Wednesday. (one week. It makes me ill. No brainer.

2) Walk 60 minutes every day. (I’m not in college every day this week, so my usual tearing around the place has ceased! I miss my daily walking around.

3) Drink 2L of water every day. (Again, being out of the college routine has changed this!)

4) Make soup. (Soup is delicious.)

5) Pick a spot in the house to decorate in a January theme. Take a photo. Feel artistic.

There you have it! Project Me! I’d be thrilled if anyone would like to join in! Leave me a comment or tweet me @amysnow and tell me you’re in! Be good to yourself this week/month /year!!

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A Rant About Being ‘Old’

There must be different kinds of ‘old.’ When crawling home from recital at 10pm, dying to fall into bed on a Friday night, I looked around at the people in their 30s, 40s, 50s and 60s who were perfectly happy to be out and about, in bars, in clubs, walking around. All I could think of was Miss Marple and my duvet.

I must be the kind of ‘old’ that a person can only be born as The kind that must wear earplugs in loud spaces, CANNOT stay up all night and just can’t justify spending money on cheap shoes. I know I’m not alone. The fact is that I’ve surrounded myself with many friends who are exactly the same as me. It’s the only way I can feel normal. It’s just so difficult to ignore when I’m surrounded by 20-year-olds who eat pastries for lunch and can sit through a three hour recital from 8pm…

None of this is a problem, really. The only thing that worries me – and that has always worried me – is the inordinate amount of trouble I have with my body. You know, whether it’s back problems, muscle stiffness, torn cartilage or various viruses and infections, I’m generally crocked. I know people in their 70s who are generally healthier than I am.

It’s all starting to feel a little bit futile. You know, as soon as I get going with a good running routine, I become ill, and my progress is hindered. As soon as I get into a good cycling-to-college routine, I barely have enough energy to go to the bathroom, let alone cycle anywhere.

If this is what I’m like in my 20s and teens, what is ahead of me? I’m a fan of positive thinking, it got me to 5K and kept me there for quite a while, but let’s be realistic. I’m going to be unwell for the rest of my life. And there does reach a point where you just stop talking about it because you feel that people won’t believe you. I have at least one friend who I know doesn’t believe me when I talk about what’s wrong with me at any given moment, so I just stopped telling her.

Rationally, though, I’m not sure why people would believe me. If you, in your life, feel alright most of the time, I’m not sure how you could understand a seemingly healthy person having all of these random and unrelated problems. Personally, I currently can’t imagine what it would be like to feel just totally ‘ok.’ Not brilliant. Not amazing. Just base-level-fine.

This blog went in a direction I didn’t expect it to go…

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Paranoia


My friend Emma recently pointed out to me that as singers, we are so vulnerable to any change in our bodies. I remarked that absolutely every singer has at least one thing that causes them trouble. For me it’s my sinuses and throat. For someone else it might be athsma or tension or old muscle injuries. Every one has one thing.

I think this breeds some paranoia. If we know that the tiniest thing going wrong can ruin us, we start to worry about it until we have to be talked down.

Right now I’m convinced I have laryngitis. Just because I feel like I’ve had a lump in my throat for about two weeks. “Laryngitis?!” I hear you cry. “Isn’t that a SLIGHT over-reaction?”

WELL NO. I’m just a leetle bit worried that my throat is doing anything out of the ordinary four weeks before my deluge of rehearsals, concerts and auditions begin. You expect me not to freak out?! Well then you need to send me some singing and ear-nose-throat specialists STAT because that is the only thing that will calm me down.

As it stands I’m drinking buckets of the above “Yogi Throat Comfort Tea.” Today I had to replenish my stock and buy two new boxes. I’m sipping it as I type. I’m convinced that if I drink enough of it, the mysterious larynx lump will go away and I’ll be able to reach that C6 with ease and grace. A girl can dream.

Today I mentally started writing letters to anyone who might be able to figure out what this weird feeling is.

If it were laryngitis, it would hurt right?

Gah! It’s so frustrating! I’m not hoarse and my singing’s not impaired but I haven’t practiced any of my songs since Wednesday because I’m PARANOID that maybe I’ve inflicted some terrible irreversible injury on myself, of developed vocal nodules/nodes. Nooooo! A singer’s worst nightmare! Let’s not even go there!

Right, I’m going to make another cup of throat comfort and go to bed with my programme from the Wexford Opera Festival. Hopefully when I wake up I’ll be a bit more rational. Or maybe I’ll actually start writing those letters.

Goodnight. xxx