Since my Candida diagnosis I have been trying my hardest to create new habits that invoke a more calm environment. Stress has the natural way of triggering back my symptoms (come to think of it, stress can trigger any symptom can’t it?) and I am not about to go through some of the health issues I went through last year again! I am willing and committed to my health to be as good to my body, mind, and spirit as I possibly can, even if it means giving up refined sugar. Some of these new habits are seemingly small but they do a lot of good for my soul. For instance, now every morning when the sun wakes up, I open up all the shades and let in as much natural light as I can for the entire day. A given isn’t it? Everyone should be doing this but this is the girl who would sit in the dark and play the piano when my mother would yell at me, “Turn a light on! You’re gonna go blind!” (Hi mom!)
I take 15 minutes a day for what I have termed “A 15 Minute Cara Session” that is just for ME. I’m serious, it’s on my to-do list everyday. Lately I have been taking that time to read; other times I meditate and pray; other times I secretly watch my new favorite reality show “Donnie Loves Jenny” (yup, that’s a fact). Doesn’t matter what it is but ideally it’s a time in my day that I can quiet my mind and just be.
I also make it a point to exercise everyday. My goal is to move my body even if it’s for a 30 minute walk, it doesn’t matter. It gives me an outlet as well as helps with my breathing (which my doctor’s comment to me upon my initial consultation was, “You don’t like to breathe do you?” Ha!) I knew exactly what she meant as I oddly hold my breath subconsciously at times. It’s been a bad habit ever since I started taking pictures of food.
- Carrots (multi-colored)
- Snow peas
- Recipe for Vegan Ranch Dressing
- Bamboo skewers
- small and mini terracotta pots
- dried beans or rice for placing inside the pots
- mini shape cutters (look for fondant cutters--they are the perfect size for this project. You can find them at any craft store like Michael's)
- Slice your veggies in thick sections (about a good ½")--you need it thick enough for the skewer to go through without breaking the veggie.
- Cut the sliced veggies into desired shapes with your cutters. Have fun with this! If you are using mini cookie cutters for the middles, try using different veggies to fill it in for more color.
- Gently pull the skewer through but be careful not to make it go all the way through. Half way is best.
- Place in a pot full of dried beans to secure its spot.
- Garnish with parsley.
- Fill the mini pots with homemade nondairy ranch dressing and serve.
But one of my most favorite new habits are having flowers in the house. Just as importantly that I go to the Farmer’s Market every Sunday, I also make sure that along with the variety of vegetables I buy I also have a bouquet of flowers that come home with me. It makes me happy to look at and greet them every day (and yes, I’m that weird person who likes to talk to plants). If my neighbors weren’t so close, I would talk loudly and proudly to my urban farm. I usually just whisper to them, “Way to go guys, you’re getting so big!” or a simple, “Grow, grow, grow–you can do it!” I always heard that taking care of plants was cathartic and I am finally understanding it.
So in honor of new habits, new steps towards good health, happiness and proper breathing, these Vegetable Flower Bouquets are the perfect way to celebrate. Ditch the chocolate this Valentine’s and chop up some veggies and slather them in a homemade ranch dressing that is good for those bones! It’s the perfect way to say, “I care about you and your health, honey buns. I love you.”