When you eat vs. what you eat

lobster roll and chips
Lobster Roll at Freshies in Park City–the best food I’ve had in Utah.

I read an article in the Wall Street Journal that said when you eat can affect your mood. And not just your mood but mood disorders. It was called When We Eat Can Affect Our Mental Health by Alina Dizik.

Here’s an excerpt:

The hunt for connections between our food and our mood is gaining steam in scientific research. New findings show that it isn’t just what we eat but also when we eat that affects how we feel.

Delving into the relationship between eating patterns and the body’s circadian system shows how eating on an unpredictable schedule such as during the body’s resting phase at night can hurt our mood or exacerbate symptoms of mood-related disorders, according to research from Elisa Brietzke, a professor of psychiatry at Queen’s University School of Medicine in Kingston, Ontario, and Elena Koning, a doctoral student at Queen’s University Centre for Neuroscience Studies. Their research builds on earlier studies showing that eating meals at different times each day contributes to weight gain and is linked to depression.

https://www.wsj.com/news/life-work

Their advice is to fast 12 hours at night. In other words don’t eat too close to bedtime. It can interfere with circadian rhythms that I wrote about last week HERE.

It’s also important to stick to the same schedule of eating — even on the weekends.

Here’s more:

MS. KONING: Eating rhythms that aren’t consistent from day to day, or that occur in the incorrect phase, desynchronize the circadian clock, which has a negative impact on mood. It can be hard to pinpoint an exact cause of altered mood, but we know that the brain is susceptible to changes from the body’s energy supply.

A meal eaten in the day has a very different effect on your brain and body than a meal eaten at night. Food is a wake-up cue to the brain and can worsen sleep quality if eaten too close to bed. Melatonin levels start to rise three hours before bed, and the metabolic process following food intake is negatively influenced when the melatonin levels rise. Essentially your body needs at least 12 hours of fasting at night, yet most people only get nine hours.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/when-we-eat-can-affect-our-mental-health-11660319113?mod=e2tw

Do you stick to a regular schedule for meals? How does your mood get affected if you’re off schedule? Or if you eat too close to bed time?

What I miss about California

Huevos Rancheros

“Let’s go out for Mexican food for breakfast,” my husband suggested yesterday.

I had heard about a good Mexican restaurant in Phoenix from a neighbor. But it was a good 45 minute drive. Seemed a bit much to drive an hour and a half round trip for breakfast.

We talked it over and decided to try something close to home. I looked up all the Mexican restaurants in the area and only one had huevos ranchero (which I order) and machaca (my husband’s order.)

I called and the phone rang and rang. I looked online and saw you could order for pickup. I placed the order and my husband drove to pick it up.

He came back empty-handed and said the restaurant was closed. In the meantime, our daughter had called and I told her we couldn’t find good Mexican food around us.

“Don’t you have a Filiberto’s?” she asked.

She lived in Tempe for one year and had one around the corner from her house.

I found one 15 miles away from us. I called and called. They didn’t answer the phone. We decided to drive and place our order. We didn’t care to eat inside because it smelled funny to us. By the time we got home with our breakfast, more than and hour and a half had passed. We could have driven to the place in Phoenix!

In California we had great Mexican food everywhere. My favorite was El Gallito. I miss it. It closed a few years before we moved. There were many small mom and pop Mexican restaurants and we found several we’d go to all the time after our El Gallito days were over.

I wrote about El Gallito and comfort food HERE.

The breakfast was good, but not great. The eggs, beans and rice were good, but there was no sauce. I’ve never had “dry” huevos rancheros before.

I think we could make a fortune opening a Mexican restaurant in our area.

What’s your go to comfort food? Do you have good Mexican food where you live? What are the best restaurants in your area?

Treasures from my week

hedgehog with bright red blooms
Hedgehog cactus in bloom in a pot in our backyard.

I was surprised to see cacti in bloom in our yard. I didn’t think August would be the time for such beauty in the desert. Maybe it’s the rain we’ve had? I’m learning that in the Sonoran Desert, plants bloom throughout the year.

white bloom on cactus
This blossom is right outside our front door. It’s the first thing I saw on my morning walk.
white flower on cactus
hill in the sun during a rainstorm
We walked extra early because a rainstorm was headed our way. I loved how the hillside was touched with sunlight. It did rain on the way home, but it felt great.

Yesterday, one of my neighbors went with me to a framing store. She’s a watercolor artist. One day when she was at our house, she said I needed to reframe a painting.

“But that’s the original frame,” I said.

“That’s okay. A new frame will brighten up the painting. Right now the frame cuts off the painting and makes it look dark.”

I invited her to accompany me to the framing store. She obviously has better knowledge in frames than me.

Lawrence Hinkley oil painting
This is the original frame. The painting is by Lawrence Hinkley, who was married to my husband’s great aunt.
Lawrence Hinkley painting.
Here is the same painting without the frame in the framing store. I can’t wait to get it back with its new look. It’s definitely brighter, don’t you think?

We received the painting from my husband’s grandfather before he passed away. I have treasured it and thought it would be sacrilegious to reframe it.

I did a google search of the artist Lawrence Hinckley and found out lots of interesting things. He was born in 1900 in Fillmore, California. He created a studio called “The Artists Barn” that attracted internationally renowned artists and visitors. Hinkley also worked in ceramics and made an elephant piggy bank named Fundo for a women’s Republican group in Santa Barbara.

From a news article I found online from the Fillmore Gazette:

As Mildred Hinckley in her book “The Artists Barn”, “The result was a cuddly little elephant about six inches long and half as high, with a tummy fat enough to hold a lot of dimes and quarters. His name was “Fundo”…On his white back was printed in red and blue, “Peace, Prosperity, and G.O.P.” Production of Fundo had just started then President Eisenhower suffered a heart attack. The Club requested that Fundo be sent to the President in the hospital. Lawrence personally decorated on, adding the usual inscription “For Ike” and “Get Well Soon.” I wrapped Ike’s Fundo and mailed it to the hospital.

Mildred went on to write, “On the morning of November 11, Lawrence was downtown and stopped in a café for a cup of coffee….When he opened the Los Angeles Examiner and started reading the lead story under a double column headline he nearly spilled his drink. It read in part, ” …… all during his illness, it was revealed, [President Eisenhower] has been persuading visitors to his eighth-floor hospital room to put something into his personally sponsored kitty, an elephant made of crockery with a slot for the deposit of money…..”

http://www.fillmoregazette.com/front-page/meet-artist-lawrence-hinckley

My husband told me that Hinckley also worked for Disney and painted some of the backgrounds of the classic movies. During World War II, he worked for Douglas Aircraft on technical drawings and charts.

I feel like I’ve discovered treasures including the history of my husband’s artist relative and the blossoming cacti.

Have a great weekend!

What treasures or small pleasures have you enjoyed this week?

Needing some downtime

Pink flower
The simple beauty of nature.

It’s been a few weeks since our vacation to Utah and I’m already feeling the need to get away. There’s something about the heat of the desert, being stuck inside because of 100-plus degree temperatures that gets to people.

I remember in my former life in Palm Springs that controversy always bubbled up mid-July to early August. Especially with our swim team. You take a bunch of over-involved parents who are competitive about their kids — put them on a hot pool deck — and you have a recipe for a few outbursts.

Once the former president of our swim team told me “Take this team and shove it up your A**!”

Then he walked off the pool deck with his kids and started his own team, taking about 30 or 40 swimmers with him. I stood in shock. As a board member, I had been in the middle of a power struggle between our coach and him. He wanted to be the coach and was actively trying to discredit our current coach.

It was an ugly episode in my parenting years. We noticed every summer around the same time things began to boil.

I don’t thrive with conflict. I try to avoid unpleasantness in my life.

Last week, a club meeting rivaled the “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.”

A woman who I consider a friend acted horribly out of anger. I don’t know where the anger came from. But what should have been a nice night of having dinner and friendship turned into a battleground. I feel especially bad for the woman who opened up her home, prepared dinner and dessert for the club.

Now I feel caught in the middle. It’s a bad place to be. I want to get along. I am willing to give people a second chance and the benefit of the doubt. Even when they lose their temper and act badly. We are all human and make mistakes.

I’m going to distance myself from all these clubs for awhile until my emotions settle down. I can’t wait to get out of the heat and out of town, which is in a couple weeks.

How do you handle conflict? Do you forgive people for bad behavior or write them off?

Looking for art

The top of the bar in our living room.

Today my husband and I went looking for art, stone or something for two 16 by 16 inch spaces at the top of our bar. We found a few things including glass, natural stone and geodes. But we have different ideas of what will work. I want a bright contrasting color like orange or red. He wants green or blue. I like green and blue, but I feel those colors will get lost.

I have a feeling those spaces will remain empty.

It was very hot and humid outside. We walked around our little town of Carefree and then Cave Creek going in and out of consignment stores and art galleries. When I got back home I felt dizzy with vertigo. I have gotten vertigo twice in the past year. Hopefully this time it goes away quickly without having to see the doctor or going on prednisone like the last two times.

I’m sitting in bed typing this and finishing my neighborhood’s newsletter — hoping I don’t fall off!

Have you had vertigo? What has worked for you to get over it? Happy August First!

Amazing Movie Day

poster for Lion movie.
Movie we watched for movie day.

When I got home from movie day at a neighbor’s house yesterday, I immediately texted my kids to watch the movie “Lion.” Then I bought the movie online so my husband could watch it, too.

The movie stars Dev Patel from “Slumdog Millionaire” fame and Nicole Kidman. The actor who plays the five-year-old main character Saroo is amazing and steals the show. It’s based on a true story of a young boy who gets lost and separated from his family. He’s eventually adopted by a loving couple a continent away from home. He tries to find his family 25 years later.

It’s powerful story. It’s intense. It’s easily the best movie I’ve watched in years. It came out in 2016 and I wonder how I missed it? It was nominated for six Oscars and won BAFTA awards. It’s a movie produced jointly by Australia and the UK, but was distributed in the US by the Weinstein Company. In any case, I’m thankful for the invitation to movie day and the discovery of this movie.

As for movie day, I was a little uncomfortable going to a neighbor’s home I had never met before. She had a dozen women over, all older than me. I knew only two of them. Eventually, I relaxed and enjoyed myself. The food was delicious. It was a potluck lunch and the host hand-churned mint and strawberry-ice cream for dessert!

Have you seen the movie “Lion?” If yes, what was your opinion of it? What are a few of the best movies you’ve watched this year?

Random thoughts

Olive the cat
Olive the cat in the casita.

What’s that sound?

I was sitting in the casita writing with Olive the cat on my lap when “knock knock knock” sounded on the wall. The kitty leaped and tore out of the room. I quickly followed the cat into my husband’s office.

I told him what happened and he went outside to investigate. He came back empty handed, so I guess it was a bird? Maybe a woodpecker.

book cover for Marjorie Post

Book Club

I finished reading my book club selection in a few days. I dedicated time to get it done, plus it was a pleasant, easy read. I was fascinated with the story about the Post cereal heiress and her extravagant life. Her father, C.W. Post, who changed how America ate breakfast with Grape Nuts, raised his only child Marjorie to be a hard worker and ready to take over his business. But as a woman, she didn’t have the right to vote, let alone sit on a Board of Directors. She ran the company, which became General Foods, by proxy — through men including a husband and a friend of her father’s.

I told my husband about the story and he mentioned a TV show called “The Food that Built America.” I watched an episode that included Marjorie Post when she bought Birdseye frozen foods. It also highlighted the dueling Mars and Hershey’s companies.

Movie Day

A neighbor I have never met texted and invited me to her home for movie day. She said the movie is “Lion.” I’ve never seen it, but it sounds interesting. I was instructed to bring a salad. I agreed to go because I am trying everything out to see what I enjoy and to meet people.

A funny thing happened yesterday. This neighbor sent a long winded text going through all the details she’s doing to prepare for movie day –everything from cleaning, cooking to getting her hair done. She sent it to the invitees. Then she texted again embarrassed saying she thought she was texting her daughter!

I have one of the most embarrassing text snafus to share. But I’ll save it for another day!

What are some of the mistakes you’ve made with texts or emails? Have you been on the receiving end of a text error?