What I learned from dealing with extreme stress

I haven’t posted for awhile.   I have been dealing with a very stressful situation that caused disruption to my life.   I was dealing with job stress.   Jobs do have a measure of stress, this was a different situation that caused me unusual mental, emotional and physical distress that began to in all areas of my life.  I had extreme anxiety which was causing me to have heart palpitations and I was not sleeping well.  That resulted in me having no time to work on my blog.  Instead of working on my blog after work, I would come home and go straight to bed!  Which also left me with no time or energy for regular physical exercise.  No time or energy to cook for myself or eat healthy.   So I have really gotten off track.   I’ve decided I need to get back on track with both my blogging and my healthy lifestyle.

The job stress wasn’t easy to deal with but I did learn a lot while going through that situation.   It reminded me of what’s really important in life.   It taught me to look for the positives, the beauty in life.   While a job is important, you need a job to pay bills and make a living.   There was a lot more to me and a lot more to life than just my job.

What helped me to get through that tough situation was having strong faith and focusing on my spirituality.   I was getting a lot of negativity at work, criticism and overall making me feel like I was an awful person.  What I needed to remember is that  what is most important in my life is my relationship with my creator and how he feels about me and that my job does not define me or my worth as a person.   My creator loves me and values me and that’s what is more important than anything.

When I was going through that,  I looked for ways to deal with my stress.   A great stress reliever for me was gardening and doing yard work ( I guess that was my exercise lol )   I found gardening and planting flowers and designing my flower beds to be extremely relaxing and rewarding.   Seeing the beauty of my garden brought me peace and happiness and helped me to relax and get my mind off of my stress.  My yard was very beautiful this summer, that’s how stressed I was.  LOL

Another way I dealt with stress and anxiety was by going for walks in the local metro parks and enjoying the wildlife and nature.   It was also good exercise for me.   It was refreshing and relaxing to go to the parks and look for and enjoy the beauty in life.   It reminded me of all the good things in life and despite the awful and toxic situation I was going through, life is truly beautiful and I need to appreciate life and all its beauty.

And of course a priority in life is my relationship with others, family , friends, children and grandchildren.   Having those positive and close relationship with others truly adds meaning and beauty to life.   I had to learn to surround myself with positive role models and people who are good for me and that toxic people don’t define who I am as a person.  I had to learn to separate myself from that toxic environment and that I am not that person they are trying to tell me that I am.

I remember when I was going through that tough time in my life, I got a very sweet text message from my granddaughter.  Her dad had just taught her how to use siri to send text messages.   She told Siri, “send text message to Momma Angie ( that’s what she calls me )   She tells Siri, “tell her( meaning me)  I love her.”  Aww, my heart just melted.  I thought to myself, that’s what life is all about.   It’s those little things that are so precious and add so much meaning and beauty to life.   Also spending time with my two grandsons and seeing them grow and learn new things and becoming who they are is another precious part of life that I am truly enjoying.

I’m happy to report that the stressful situation I was dealing with has now ended and I am happy again.  smile    I’m thankful that I got through it, thankful for the family and friends who helped me get through that tough situation.  Thankful to my creator for giving me the strength to get through it.  Throughout that process I learned a lot about myself, most importantly, I learned to stay positive and despite that toxic situation or life’s problems; life is truly beautiful.   I’m learning to appreciate how beautiful and great life is and to focus on the positives and focus on me and my mental health well being.

Below are some of my favorite moments from the last few months that made my life truly blessed and beautiful



Take It Outside, The Benefits of Exercising Outdoors

Benefits of Exercising Outside

Health Benefits of Outdoor Excercise
Health Benefits Of Outdoor Exercise

Outdoor Exercise Can Boost the Body, Mind, and Mood

The above pictures were taken on a hiking trip I made to Hocking Hills State Park, Ohio

Spring is finally here!   Yay!   It’s my favorite time of year.   With the cool, pleasant temperatures, flowers blooming, grass and trees budding, everywhere you look it’s so lush and green.   It’s absolutely beautiful.    With the comfortable temperatures and nature coming back to life , it’s a great time to get moving outdoors. ( Although it’s now early June and the temps are a wee bit warmer but still not too hot.  I meant to get this article written a month ago, life’s busy.  Lol).    Anyway, .  I know for me, I feel motivated to get more exercise in the spring because I can’t wait to get outside and enjoy the beauty of nature again after a long winter.


I generally start out hiking on trails at local metro parks.  I have quite a few near where I live.  However,  I do have my favorite trail.    It’s my favorite because it has hills and stairs.   It makes me feel like I’m getting a really good workout.   I achieve that panting , out of breath , heart racing pace, which help me to know I’m getting a good workout and burning extra calories.  One of my absolutely favorite places to hike is at Hocking Hills State Park in Hocking County, Ohio. That’s where these  photos were taken.   It’s so beautiful there and has many outdoor activities to engage in, besides hiking, ziplining, swimming, canoeing, kayaking, rock climbing etc…  There is a campground if you enjoy camping.  If you prefer more luxurious accomodation’s, there are plenty of cabins in the area.  Go visit there, you won’t be disappointed.


Here are some of the benefits of outdoor workouts, and tips for getting started.


1  Improve Immune System Function

According to Science Daily, Research has found evidence that spending time in nature provides protections against a startling range of diseases, including depression, diabetes, obesity, ADHD, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and many more. How this exposure to green space leads to better health has remained a mystery. After reviewing hundreds of studies examining nature’s effects on health, University of Illinois environment and behavior researcher Ming Kuo believes the answer lies in nature’s ability to enhance the functioning of the body’s immune system.


One way to understand this relationship between nature, health, and the immune system, Kuo explains, is that exposure to nature switches the body into “rest and digest” mode, which is the opposite of the “fight or flight” mode. When the body is in “fight or flight” mode, it shuts down everything that is immediately nonessential, including the immune system.


“When we feel completely safe, our body devotes resources to long-term investments that lead to good health outcomes–growing, reproducing, and building the immune system,” Kuo said. “When we are in nature in that relaxed state, and our body knows that it’s safe, it invests resources toward the immune system.”



2)  Boost Self Esteem and Feel Happier


It releases happy chemicals into your brain and you feel less stressed out.  It energizes you and gives you self confidence.   It eases anxiety and fights insomnia.


3).  Alleviates Depression

According to Psypost, A preliminary study led by Anika Fruehauf, It was discovered that outdoor activity appears to have a significantly improved effect on certain symptoms of depression when compared to the indoor activity, the improvements may be a result of nature’s influence on mood.


4). Vitamin D

Vitamin D: The “sunshine” vitamin.   When your skin is exposed to sunlight, it makes vitamin D from cholesterol. The sun’s ultraviolet B (UVB) rays hit cholesterol in the skin cells, providing the energy for vitamin D synthesis to occur.


Vitamin D has many roles in the body and is essential for optimal health


For example, it instructs the cells in your gut to absorb calcium and phosphorus — two minerals that are essential for maintaining strong and healthy bones


5).  Stress Relief

Scientists have found that regular participation in aerobic exercise has been shown to decrease overall levels of tension, elevate and stabilize mood, improve sleep, and improve self-esteem. Even five minutes of aerobic exercise can stimulate anti-anxiety effects.


6).  Extra Energy


Regular physical activity increases the blood flow to your body and improves your cardiovascular health and fitness. This will allow more blood and oxygen to get to the body providing energy to do work. … Exercise is a great way to improve energy levels.


7). Cheap and Easy Access.

It’s free!   All you need to get a fantastic workout is a safe, well-lit park, track, neighborhood or walking trail, and your bodyweight. No gym membership required.


8).  Connecting With Mother Nature

Exercising outdoors can help you feel grounded, deepen your connection to your environment and enhance your appreciation for the beauty around you.


You may be more likely to stick with it.


You can turn it into a social outing. “Exercise can become a lot more fun if you involve family and friends,”   Instead of meeting a friend for lunch or coffee, consider going for a walk. Or take your family out for a walk together instead of watching TV after dinner.

Below are pictures of Cedar Falls down in Hocking Hills State Park, Ohio

Cedar Falls Cliffs
Cedar Falls Cliffs
Cedar Falls, Ohio
Cedar Falls, Ohio

Below is the gorge down at Old Man’s Cave, Hocking Hills State Park

Conkles Hollow, Nature Preserve, Hocking Hills, Ohio
Hocking Hills
Hocking Hills


Have fun with it!    Exercise and be happy


How Gardening Is Good For Your Mental Health Well-Being

Spring is here!   Yay!   I love spring.   It’s my favorite time of the year.   Everything is so lush and green.   The flowers are blooming, cool nights, trees are budding, beautiful perfect weather.   And the days are getting longer.   It’s so beautiful.


Part of my adopting a healthy lifestyle, not only included dietary changes but also looking for ways to stay active physically and activities that are also good for my mentally.


I was never into gardening.  I enjoy flowers and plants, I think they’re absolutely beautiful.    I had decided my life was too busy for gardening.   My idea of gardening was planting flowers in a few pots and putting them on the front porch.


A few years ago my neighbor wanted to thin out her hostas ( I had never even heard the word hostas) so she planted some in my flower beds.   I was amazed and pleasantly surprised how much beauty just a few hostas added to my landscaping.  That was the beginning of my new hobby, gardening.  I absolutely fell in love with it, from that moment on I was hooked.


It’s hard work, which is good physical exercise.  Physically, lifting and carrying heavy bags of mulch from my car to the backyard; digging in hard ground, carrying heavy bags of top soil, potting soil, and bags of cobblestones.   Whew!  What a workout.   Talk about burning calories! ….


Not only is gardening a good physical workout, I also discovered gardening was also good for my mental health.  My secular job can be very stressful. I found gardening to be a good outlet and relief for my stress.   Seeing the results of all my hard work and all the beauty from gardening and working on my landscaping; I find  it refreshing and mentally relaxing.


So Yay!   Spring is here.  I’ve already been bitten by the gardening bug by planting just a few plants that are hardy and can survive a cold snap, until it eventually stays warm.  I’m looking forward to mid May when I can plant even more.


I got curious why gardening is so good for our mental health, so I did research and this is what I found.  According to “Thrive, using gardening to change lives,”….


  1. Looking after plants gives us a sense of responsibility
  2. Gardening allows us all to be nurturers.
  3. Gardening keeps us connected to other living things.
  4. Gardening helps us relax and let go.


Yes!   Gardening can help you feel better

Research shows that gardening for people with mental health problems can improve communication with others, help with learning new practical skills/teamwork and planning. It also improves confidence and helps with concentration.

Gardening has really helped to change the way I feel.

Ask any gardener why they enjoy gardening and many will say that it “makes them feel good”.

Gardening can help your emotional well being and can help you feel happier, healthier and more confident.


I have found gardening to help me when I’m going through a difficult period in my life or experiencing stress and anxiety.
I love gardening because it’s great physical exercise and gets me outside in the fresh air and I feel a sense of achievement for all my hard work.


Here are some of my favorite pictures of my flower gardens.

This is a picture of my shade garden with a different variety of Hostas, Impatient’s and a ground cover called Nettle ( if my memory is correct, lol).

Shade garden

Hosta Shade Garden

This next picture below is another one of my shade garden. I love the color contrast of this variegated

hosta with the Hydrangea

Shade garden

The next picture below is of my original Hostas that started my gardening journey Hosta garden

Hosta garden

This next picture is Delphinium. I love the blue color. I try to add a variety of colors to my garden; pinks, blues, red, orange.

Blue Delphinium

The next picture is of my Gladiolus. They were suppose to be white, what a wonderful and unexpected surprise to see they came up in three different colors, white with pink around the edges with a hint of yellow. Gorgeous!

Gladiolus Gladiolus

Here’s a close up view

Gladiolus Gladiolus
Gladiolus Gladiolus


Here is my favorite Hosta

Hosta Hosta

My shade garden

My Hosta garden My Hosta garden

Yes, gardening is not only good for you physically but also has mental health benefits.

What do you do to get physical exercise and focus on your mental health wellbeing?

Feel free to leave a comment 😊

Salmon Waldorf Salad

Waldorf Salmon Salad
                                                                        Waldorf Salmon Salad

I love Waldorf salad made with fresh apples, celery, grapes and walnuts.  I decided to make a waldorf salad made with wild caught salmon rather than chicken, which is what I usually add.   I’m trying to get more salmon in my diet since salmon is rich in omega 3 fatty acids, which have been shown to reduce inflammation. lower blood pressure and decrease risk for disease.  I eat wild caught salmon rather than farm raised salmon.   According to the Cleveland Clinic, a small fillet of wild salmon has 131 fewer calories and half the fat content of the same amount of farmed salmon.  Although farmed salmon may have slightly more omega-3 fatty acids, it also has 20.5 percent more saturated fat content; the fat you do not want.

Apples are nutritious, may be good for weight loss and your heart.   They’re even linked to a lower risk of diabetes.

Celery is loaded with essential vitamins and minerals such as vitamin B6, vitamin C and vitamin K.

Grapes contain powerful antioxidants known as polyphenols that are thought to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.  One of these is resveratrol that is found in the skin of red grapes.

Walnuts are rich in antioxidants, a super plant source of omega 3s and may help to decrease inflammation. 

I made this recipe with a versatile mix of power greens, tender baby spinach, mizuna, chard and kale.

Some health benefits of baby spinach include iron.  A lack of iron in the diet can affect how efficiently the body uses energy.

I had never heard of mizuna before.   Mizuna is high in Antioxidants, supports blood clotting, strengthens the bones, improves immune health, may reduce cancer risk and promotes eye health.  Wow!  this is a power packed super food.  I will definitely be adding this in my diet more often.

Chard is packed with Disease-Fighting Antioxidants, loaded with fiber, excellent source of Vitamin K, and has heart health benefits.

Kale is loaded with powerful Antioxidants like Querectin and Kaempferol,,it is an excellent source of Vitamin C and can help lower cholesterol which may reduce the risk of Heart Disease.

Here’s the recipe


5 oz container of Simple Truth Organic Power Greens brand that I bought at Kroger.

Power Greens Mix
Power Greens Mix

4 celery stalks, chopped.

2 organic Gala apples chopped

2 cups of organic red seedless grapes ( I cut mine in half but you can leave them whole if you wish.

1 cup walnuts ( chopped or leave whole)

1/2 pound wild caught salmon

1 avacado

I also add some Gorgonzola cheese


  1.  Heat a pan on medium high heat, add the salmon and cook until well done.
  2. In a large bowl and the power greens, as little or as much as you like.  I used about 1/2of the 5 oz Simple Truth Organic Power Greens mix.
  3. add the red grapes, the chopped celery and the walnuts.
  4. Use lemon juice to coat the apples, this prevents them from turning brown and then add the apples to the salad.
  5. Slice one avocado and coat with olive oil to prevent the avocado turning brown and add to salad
  6. I coat my salad with extra virgin olive oil and a little bit of red or white balsamic vinegar but you can use any salad dressing you prefer.
  7. Add Gorgonzola cheese, as much as you want.

That’s it!  Easy!   This is a delicious super food power green salad with many health benefits.


Waldorf Salmon Salad
                       Waldorf Salmon Salad




Egg White and Spinach Breakfast Casserole

Egg White Spinach Breakfast Casserole
Egg White Spinach Breakfast Casserole

I usually eat oatmeal with blueberries most mornings. I decided to change up my habit and eat a breakfast with more protein. Mornings are usually rushed, I need something that I can heat up real quick and run out the door. I decided to make an egg. White bake with vegetables such as spinach and tomato. I try to incorporate some kind of greens in my diet everyday if I can, such as spinach or kale. I look for ways to add vegetables to my diet as much as possible. I try to add a variety of color to my plate each day with fruits and veggies; blue’s, green’s, reds, etc.. all the different colors have different nutritional values.

This breakfast bake is made with egg whites. You can use whole eggs, I prefer the whites only. Egg whites are cholesterol free ( minus the egg yolks) high in protein and low in calories.

Spinach has vitamin A, C and E, calcium , folate and potassium.

Tomatoes Tomatoes are the major dietary source of the antioxidant lycopene, which has been linked to many health benefits, including reduced risk of heart disease and cancer. They are also a great source of vitamin C, potassium, folate and vitamin K.

I was surprised to find out even onions have health benefits. Onare high in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Incorporating onions into a diet is very simple, with a versatile range of ways they can be prepared and cooked in regular foods.

Here is the egg white breakfast casserole I put together.

Egg white and Spinach Breakfast Bake                                                        Egg White and Spinach Breakfast Bake

First what I did was cook the breakfast meat I wanted to include.  I used paleo friendly dry rubbed sugar free bacon I bought at Whole Foods.

I’m trying to stay away from processed meat such as bacon and sausage which is full of nitrates.  Next time I make this recipe, I plan to use fresh turkey or chicken instead of processed meat.

Here is the bacon that I used

Paleo Sugar Free Bacon
Paleo Sugar Free Bacon

Here is the recipe

Preheat oven to 350

Spray a 13 X 9 inch pan with olive oil

Saute 1/2 white onion (feel free to add garlic if you wish

Cook your bacon, sausage, whatever meat of your choosing

Add enough egg whites to fill the pan about 1/2 full

Stir in your cooked meat and onions

top with fresh spinach, as little or as much as you like

add slices of tomato

You can stir all the ingredients together or leave them on top

Top with shredded cheese of your choice, I prefer mozerella

Cover with foil and bake for 25-30 minutes

Top with slices of fresh avocado and tomato

Enjoy 🙂

Egg White Spinach Breakfast Casserole

Egg white spinach breakfast casserole
Egg white spinach breakfast casserole





How does sugar affect your body?

How Sugar Affects the Body

A few years ago I went in for a routine check up and I was shocked at the results of my bloodwork. My cholesterol was through the roof and, I wasn’t pre-diabetic, but I was close. That was my wake up call, I knew at that moment that I needed to make some serious changes to my diet or I was going to end up with diabetes and other health problems. That moment was the beginning of my journey to better health. I started researching how sugar affects the body; I was shocked at what I learned.

Here are a few facts about too much sugar and how it affects your health.

Your Liver

An abundance of added sugar may cause your liver to become resistant to insulin, an important hormone that helps turn sugar in your bloodstream into energy. This means your body isn’t able to control your blood sugar levels as well, which can lead to type 2 diabetes.

My liver was definitely being affected by too much sugar; I had a fatty liver. I could feel my liver pressing against my ribs. Since I’ve cut down on sugar, I’m happy to say, I no longer have a fatty liver.

Your Pancreas

When you eat, your pancreas pumps out insulin. But if you’re eating way too much sugar and your body stops responding properly to insulin, your pancreas starts pumping out even more insulin. Eventually, your overworked pancreas will break down and your blood sugar levels will rise, setting you up for type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Your Kidneys

If you have diabetes, too much sugar can lead to kidney damage. The kidneys play an important role in filtering your blood sugar. Once blood sugar levels reach a certain amount, the kidneys start to let excess sugar into your urine. If left uncontrolled, diabetes can damage the kidneys, which prevents them from doing their job in filtering out waste in your blood. This can lead to kidney failure.

Im happy to say through lifestyle changes, making healthier choices and cutting down on sugar; all my numbers are better. My cholesterol is down significantly and my sugar level is back in the normal range.

Resource : How Does Too Much Sugar Affect Your Body? Web MD

Chicken Squash

I got this recipe from a friend of mine.   It’s chicken and pasta made with yellow squash and zucchini.


Chicken Squash
Chicken Squash

Squash is high in vitamins A, B6, and C, folate, magnesium, fiber, riboflavin, phosphorus and potassium.  Yellow squash is also rich in manganese.  This mineral helps to boost bone strength and helps the body to process fats and carbohydrates.   Wow!  That is one power packed vegetable!

Zucchini is very low in calories.  It could help fight cancer and infections.  Zucchini is great for the hair and skin and can help improve heart health and may improve brain function.

Chicken is rich in protein.   It’s a great source of lean, low fat protein which contribute to muscle growth and development.  Even chicken broth has health benefits.   It helps reduce joint pain and inflammations.  It helps improve skin, hair and nails and improves bone growth and repair.

Here is the recipe

Chicken Squash

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts ( I used 6)

1 tbsp. olive oil


onion  ( I used about 1/2 a white onion)

1 small yellow squash, sliced or cut into strips

1/2 to 1 cup chicken broth

1/2 cup whole grain pasta, al dente

salt to taste  ( I used low sodium soy sauce)

Cook pasta to al dente.

Saute chicken in olive oil. garlic and onion.  When the chicken is almost done, add the squash, chicken broth and pasta.   Simmer on low until the squash is tender.  Serve with the pasta.


Green Smoothie


This is a smoothie I threw together myself, I didn’t get the recipe from anywhere.   It’s made with pineapple, spinach, cucumber, gala apple, fresh parsley, celery and unsweetened vanilla almond milk.

Spinach is a superfood.  It is a low calorie food loaded with tons of nutrients.  Dark, leafy greens like spinach are important for skin, hair, and bone health.  They also provide protein, iron, vitamins, and minerals.

Pineapple has anti-inflammatory benefits as well as eye health benefits.   Because of its high amount of vitamin C and the antioxidants it contains, pineapple can help reduce the risk of macular degeneration, a disease that affects the eyes as people age.   I can’t eat pineapple alone, the acid bothers my stomach.   So I use it in smoothies to get the health benefits from it and at the same time, it reduces the irritation of my stomach from the acid.

Celery is rich in vitamins and minerals with a low glycemic index and has an alkalizing effect.

Parsley can help fight disease and protect your blood vessels.

Apples are extremely rich in antioxidants and dietary fiber.

Cucumbers are high in nutrients but low in calories.  Cucumbers promote hydration, contain antioxidants, including flavonoids and tannins, which prevent the accumulation of harmful free radicals and may reduce the risk of chronic disease.

Green Smoothie
Green Smoothie

Here’s the recipe,  since I threw it together myself, I didn’t measure anything.

In a blender:

I  gala apple  ( or any kind of apple will do)

1 cucumber (peeled)

1 bunch of spinach

3 stalks of celery

add fresh parsley

1 or 2 cups of pineapple

Pour in unsweetened vanilla almond milk, enough so the ingredients blend well.

I used all organic ingredients.

Green Smoothie
Green Smoothie