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Read this if you are tempted to “eat” your feelings

March 29th, 2018 | no comments

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I’m not going to lie. Lately, my hand has been in a bag of tortilla chips more than I care to admit.

It’s been an extremely challenging month here in the Jatsek household. Pet owners reading this post, you will totally relate to my story…especially if you are the type who would go to the ends of the earth for your four-legged companion.

On February 28th, I had a 2:30 pm appointment with our veterinarian to put our 14-year-old cat Miles to sleep. Just writing that last sentence sent a sinking feeling straight to my gut. 

You see, Miles was slowly declining and completely stopped eating. After a thorough examination, x-ray, and extensive blood work, it was discovered that he was suffering from kidney disease and elevated liver enzymes.

The next step was to take him to a specialist for a diagnostic ultrasound. But before we could do that, we needed to help him get strong so he would have a shot at recovery. An appetite stimulant was prescribed, but much to our disappointment, our furry little friend still refused to eat. 

Miles was suffering. I was suffering. My husband Wayne was really suffering, as Miles has always been “his boy”.

So on February 28th, we made the dreadful decision to end his life. Again…my heart just sinks at the thought.

But…

On the way to the vet, Miles perked up and started to meow.

“Don’t do this to me buddy”, I pleaded.

I turned the radio up to drown out his voice, but then I looked in the rearview mirror and through the pet carrier bars, his little eyes met mine. I couldn’t go through with it. Something in my gut told me he wasn’t ready to go.

With the veterinarian’s guidance and reassurance, and our determination to help him get well (if that was in fact his fate), I returned home with Miles, a high-calorie therapeutic cat food and a bag full of feeding syringes. The goal was to syringe-feed him one can per day and then after a week, take him to the specialist to get to the root of the problem. 

Mission accomplished! Miles got strong enough to visit the specialist for an ultrasound. Diagnosis: pancreatitis.

The only way to normalize his liver enzymes would be to execute an even more aggressive feeding regimen of two cans per day. So Wayne and I set out to feed Miles every two hours. Twenty-two syringes in 24 hours! 

As of today, we continue to feed Miles every two hours. He has an appointment next Tuesday for more blood work. We don’t really know what to expect, but all we can say for certain is that we did everything possible to nurse our big boy back to health. Now it is out of our hands. 

I share this store because it is reality. I don’t see it as good or bad– it simply is. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t fed my emotions during this experience. Quite the opposite! Every time Miles vomits a feeding, I have an irresistible urge to fuel my anxiety with a bag of chips. 

As I go about my day, attempting to put the final touches on my book (between feedings), and I think of all the things I have to do tomorrow, like a magnet to a refrigerator, I feel a strong pull to the kitchen: Hmm…I’m in the mood for a spoonful of peanut butter dipped in chocolate chips!

I’ll bet you’re wondering if I actually eat the chips! Do I really dig into the peanut butter? Sometimes…but only when I am not fully present and experiencing my feelings. 

Like a small child seeking comfort from mom after falling down and skinning her knee, we all seek comfort when faced with an undesirable experience, such as problems with a coworker, a health crisis, financial difficulties, marital problems, or even something as small as housework that we aren’t looking forward to.

Our emotions get hungry and want to be soothed. But all too often, we reach for what appears to be the easiest solution– the path of least resistance– a cupcake, bag of chips or bottle of wine.

Food is a bandaid in these situations, not a remedy. 

The only fuel that will ever really satisfy your emotions is presence. 

Am I suggesting you sit with the feelings that hurt like hell and actually…feel them? Yes. It’s the only way out.

These past twenty-eight days, I’ve been practicing exactly that. Here’s the little ritual I take myself through when I feel a wave of uncomfortable emotions. I encourage you to give it a try the very next time you are ready to eat your feelings.

How NOT to eat your feelings:

  1. STOP!
    When I get that pit inside of my stomach and I’m tempted to fill it with tortilla chips, I stop myself in my tracks. I literally visualize a STOP sign in front of the pantry.
  2. Let go.
    Whatever situation I am clinging to and trying to control, I picture myself grasping it so tightly, that it physically hurts to hold on to it. Then I open my arms and let it go.
  3. Breathe.
    I take a long slow deep breath in…and let it out.
  4. Feel.
    Whatever the emotion, I allow myself to be present for it and really feel it. Yes, it hurts. It’s uncomfortable, but shining the light of presence upon it allows it to fade. With a little light, those tidal waves of emotions become tiny ripples. Cover them with food and you will stay in the dark.
  5. Breathe again.
    Once your stormy sea of feelings settle into comfortable slow waves, take another deep breath in and let it out.

When you meet your feelings with presence rather than food, it is amazing what your eyes will be able to see. Just this morning, after syringe feeding number four, I looked out my office window and was greeted by this beautiful creature staring directly into my eyes, as if to say: Be here…now.

 

Mel’s weekly food pick:
Psyllium Husk Powder

Psyllium is a form of fiber that comes from the seeds of the Plantago ovata plant– a shrub-like plant commonly found in India. 

If you’ve ever picked up a container of Metamucil and inspected the list of ingredients, you will notice the first ingredient is psyllium husk, followed by (depending on the variety) sugar, aspartame, and artificial colors. Let’s be honest, the only reason you would purchase Metamucil is for the extra fiber…to help you poop! 🙂

If it’s extra fiber you’re looking for, why not ditch the additional ingredients and go directly to the source by purchasing straight psyllium husk powder? I use NOW brand Organic Psyllium Husk Powder. 

Psyllium husk earns extra points because over 80% of its fiber is soluble. This is kind of a big deal because soluble fiber can help you:

  • Reduce your cholesterol levels.
  • Protect your heart.
  • Control your blood sugar.
  • Avoid constipation.

Add one teaspoon of psyllium husk powder to smoothies, yogurt, or plain water– but don’t let it sit too long, otherwise it will thicken to a pudding-consistency. You can also add it to baked goods like breads, muffins, and cookies or cooked oatmeal and pancake mix! See my recipe below for Fiber-Rich Coconut Flour Pancakes 

Mel’s weekly recipe pick:
Fiber-Rich Coconut Flour Pancakes with Peanut Butter & Raw Honey Syrup

Every once in awhile I have a taste for pancakes. Because they are 100% pure refined carbohydrate, traditional pancakes tend to leave me feeling stuffed, yet unfulfilled. I’m not sure about you…but when I eat, I want it to count!

I went on the hunt for a pancake recipe that not only offered nutrition, but one that had some muscle too. The recipe below is a compilation of several with the addition of two secret ingredients (psyllium husk powder and ground flax seed…shhh!) to bump up the fiber content, which works to stabilize blood sugar.

Oh, I almost forgot…the Peanut Butter & Raw Honey Syrup! Seriously, what are pancakes without syrup?

I used to have a total crush on maple syrup. But just like traditional pancakes, syrup is pure carbohydrate- so all it does is drive up the blood sugar even higher than before.

I created a much healthier syrup solution. Simply whisk together slightly warmed fresh ground peanut butter (you could also use almond, cashew or sunflower butter), warmed unsweetened coconut milk, and just a touch of raw honey (or maple syrup). Trust me, your pancakes won’t miss being drowned in maple syrup.

I have a feeling you’ll  this recipe. 

Print Recipe
Fiber-Rich Pumpkin Coconut Flour Pancakes with Peanut Butter & Raw Honey Syrup
Free from gluten, dairy, and grains, but full of nutrition and fiber, these pancakes will leave you feeling satisfied and nourished! 9 grams of fiber and 11 grams of protein per serving...not bad! You can store them in the refrigerator for up to a week or freeze up to a month! 2 Earthfoods per serving: ♥♥
Course Breakfast
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings
servings (serving size: 2 pancakes + 2 tbsp. syrup)
Ingredients
Pancakes:
  • unrefined coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
  • 3 organic free-range eggs
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp. pure maple syrup or raw honey
  • 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 3 tbsp. coconut flour I like Nutiva brand coconut flour
  • 2 tbsp. ground flaxseed
  • 1 tbsp. psyllium husk powder I use NOW brand psyllium husk powder
  • 1/4 tsp. Sea salt
Peanut Butter & Raw Honey Syrup:
  • 1/4 cup fresh ground peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk or more/less to reach desired consistency
  • 1 tbsp. raw honey you can use pure maple syrup if desired
Course Breakfast
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings
servings (serving size: 2 pancakes + 2 tbsp. syrup)
Ingredients
Pancakes:
  • unrefined coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
  • 3 organic free-range eggs
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp. pure maple syrup or raw honey
  • 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 3 tbsp. coconut flour I like Nutiva brand coconut flour
  • 2 tbsp. ground flaxseed
  • 1 tbsp. psyllium husk powder I use NOW brand psyllium husk powder
  • 1/4 tsp. Sea salt
Peanut Butter & Raw Honey Syrup:
  • 1/4 cup fresh ground peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk or more/less to reach desired consistency
  • 1 tbsp. raw honey you can use pure maple syrup if desired
Instructions
  1. Heat large frying pan over medium heat and grease with a teaspoon or two of coconut oil.
  2. In a large bowl, mix pumpkin, coconut milk, eggs, maple syrup or honey, and vanilla until combined.
  3. In a smaller bowl, combine baking soda, cinnamon, coconut flour, flax seed, psyllium husk powder and salt. Make sure no lumps are remaining.
  4. Fold the flour mixture into the wet mixture, taking care not to overmix.
  5. Place ¼ cup of the batter on the preheated pan. Gently pat the top of the pancake with the bottom of the measuring cup to flatten just a bit. Cook 5 minutes or until pancakes begin to bubble in the center. Flip and cook 3 minutes on the other side until lightly browned.
Peanut Butter & Raw Honey Syrup:
  1. Add peanut butter and coconut milk to a microwave-safe bowl or liquid measuring cup. Microwave for 30 seconds or until warm. Stir together until combined. Stir in honey.
Recipe Notes

Nutrition Facts per serving (2 pancakes + 2 tbsp. syrup): Calories: 280; Total Fat: 17 grams; Saturated Fat: 6 grams; Sodium: 302 mg; Potassium: 180 mg; Total Carbohydrate: 23 grams; Dietary Fiber: 9 grams; Net Carbohydrates: 14 grams; Sugar: 9 grams; Protein: 11 grams

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