Wednesday, November 24, 2021

WELLNESS WEDNESDAYS: What I am Thankful For

 

"I don't have to chase extraordinary moments to find happiness - it's right in front of me if I'm paying attention and practicing gratitude."

                                                                          --Brene Brown

In November the days grow shorter. I am packing more activities into the daylight hours. As I spend more time indoors, I use the silence to reflect. 

Since March 2020, when the U.S. went into COVID-19 lockdown, our lives have changed dramatically.  The concept of staying healthy took on a new meaning, as those with diabetes and obesity being found to be at high risk for infection with COVID, being hospitalized, and dying. Every week, people talk in hushed tones about someone they know at work or at church who got infected or who has died. 

At the beginning of 2021, vaccines to protect against COVID became available, offering hope and light. When the state asked for employees to step forward and help work in county health department vaccine clinics, I stepped forward.  I worked with an incredible team of registered nurses in Corydon, Indiana to help them get vaccines into arms. I saw bravery in our health professionals, often working double shifts, to get every dose of vaccine administered and documented, not wanting to waste even one single dose.  I remembering calling people at the end of long work days those first few weeks in January, telling them we had an extra dose and that we would wait for them and could they come right over to the health department.  The people I called on the health department's fill-in list dropped what they were doing to drive over for a chance to be one of the first in the state to be vaccinated, giving themselves protection from the fear of infection, disease, and death. We worked in unity to help our neighbors stay safe and healthy.

As families gather safely to give thanks, I give thanks for my family and all they do to support our mother’s desire to age in place.  I give thanks for the world’s health care heroes. I give thanks for farmers, especially the pumpkin farmers in Indiana (see picture above). I am thankful for parents who have navigated deep waters to protect their children through the pandemic. I am thankful for every breath I take.  I am thankful for the gift of life every day. What are you thankful for?

With love and kindness,

Nancy Heinrich, MPH

Founder and Wellness Architect

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

WELLNESS WEDNESDAYS: Kick Ass Chili

"Any man that eats chili and cornbread can't be all bad."  

                                                                        --Carroll Shelby

A couple of years ago, a good friend talked me into entering a local chili contest so there would be a meat-free version for people to sample.  I created this excellent recipe for that contest but dreaded having to work in a park using only a propane tank for cooking and heating.   When the chili contest was cancelled due to inclement weather, I did not have to deal with the propane tank.  Oh, happy day!

I love making this chili in the fall when friends come for dinner.  If you put together the ingredients in the morning, you can put it in a crock pot on low and let it simmer the rest of the day while you play.  If you have a local farmer who grows bell peppers, you can use green peppers or use a combination of green and purple, yellow, and red. Make a pan of cornbread, chop up green onions and avocado, slice up a lime to squeeze on top of the chili, and enjoy!

Growing Healthy Kids: Kick Ass Chili 

(for People who don’t eat meat and other kind souls)

This is an amazing chili recipe.  Freezing the tofu adds great texture.  Letting the tofu soak up the marinade overnight adds great flavor.  Trust me on the peanut butter. 

STEP ONE:

Place a container of extra firm organic tofu in the freezer.  The day before you want to make chili, take package out of freezer and defrost in fridge overnight.

The next day, open tofu package, drain liquid, and squeeze all excess liquid from the block of tofu. 

Mix together in large mixing bowl:

·        3 Tablespoons tomato paste

·        3 Tablespoons soy sauce

·        3 Tablespoons smooth peanut butter

·        ½ cup vegetable broth

Crumble tofu into 1/2” pieces and mix thoroughly with tomato paste mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and place in fridge to marinate tofu till ready to make chili (at least 4 hours, overnight is even better). 

MEANWHILE…STEP TWO:

Heat large soup pot to medium heat. 

Add:

·        3 Tablespoons olive oil

·        1 medium red onion, diced

·        1 large or 2 medium green peppers, diced

·        2 cloves garlic, minced

Cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add:

·        1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes

·        1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

·        1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed

·        ½ small can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, finely diced plus 2 Tablespoons adobo sauce (TIP:  remove seeds for less heat)

·        2-4 cups vegetable broth

·        Tofu mixture

·        1 Tablespoon chili powder

·        1 teaspoon cumin

·        1 teaspoon oregano

Bring chili to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer, cover, and cook for at least 1 hour before serving. 

Serve with fresh lime wedges, diced avocado, sliced green onions, and your favorite cornbread. 

With love and kindness,

Nancy Heinrich, MPH

Founder and Wellness Architect

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

WELLNESS WEDNESDAYS: Fall Colors

Trees 

by Joyce Kilmer

   I think I shall never see

a poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest

Against the earth's sweet flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day,

And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in Summer wear

A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain,

Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,

But only God can make a tree.




Fall is a spectacular season.  I am grateful for the opportunity to experience it as I care for my mother in her Indiana home.  As trees make the transition between summer and winter, I am in awe of God’s beauty.  The colors change from pale to brilliant. Greens change to yellow, orange, red, and brown. Every day is a new color palette.  

These fall colors remind me of the mantra in our Growing Healthy Kids workshops for children and parents:  Eat rainbows. Eat foods of many colors, for they contain different vitamins and minerals that complement each other.

Some of the colorful and locally grown foods I have used in the past week’s meals include: napa cabbage, bok choy, spaghetti squash, butternut squash, zucchini, red and yellow Italian peppers, spinach, garlic, heirloom tomatoes, onions, yellow beets, and beet greens. 

What colors are on your plate?

With love and kindness,

Nancy Heinrich, MPH

Founder and Wellness Architect

Photo locations:  Culbertson Mansion on Main Street and Baptist Floyd Hospital on State Street, New Albany, Indiana