Happy Luck of the Irish to You!
Depending on where you live, March is when we get peaks of Spring or the last gasps of Winter. It’s also the month where everyone feels a wee bit Irish! Who can resist? The joyful parades, festive green drinks, lively pub events and fun family activities are all reasons to get outside and get ready for warmer weather. This month we examine some interesting aspects of St Patrick’s Day, some celebration survival tips, and healthier ways to embrace March as a pathway to Spring.
A Bit of History
St. Patrick lived in the 5th century and is credited with bringing Christianity to Ireland. The Irish have celebrated this day for over 1000 years! Fun fact #1: the first St Patrick’s Day parade occurred in America, not Ireland! Held on 3/17/1601 in what’s now St Augustine, Florida. By 1762 several of the Irish Aid societies in NYC united to form one official parade. Over the years, the parade tradition is celebrated in many cities across the United States and world-wide. While green beer may be the star of most parties it’s interesting to note that in Ireland, the original day of celebration was DRY! Why is that? This holiday was originally a very spiritual and religious occasion so in Ireland, it was deemed disrespectful to imbibe on that day. Today however, St Patrick’s Day is celebrated with lots of pub beer in Ireland as it is here in America.
So what gives with the leprechauns? How did they get brought into St Patrick’s Day? The original Irish name is “lobaircin” meaning “small bodied fellow.” Belief in leprechauns likely stemmed from the Celtic belief in fairies, tiny men and women who could use their magical powers for good or evil. In Celtic folklore, leprechauns were cranky souls known for their trickery. In fact, in Ireland they have their own holiday on May 13th! However, taking advantage of the tourism market, leprechauns have been embraced as a fun symbol of Irish culture. Fun fact #2: the 3-leaf clover also known as the shamrock is considered a sacred plant in Ireland because it is said that St Patrick used it as a visual way of explaining the Holy Trinity. Fun fact #3: the tale of St Patrick chasing snakes out of Ireland is likely a fable as no historic evidence has been found to corroborate the tale. Nonetheless, Snake Saturday parades occur nation wide, preceding the St Patrick’s Day festivities.
Tips To Enjoy A Safe St Patrick’s Day
1. If you imbibe, know your limitations. Plan accordingly!
2. Load up on vitamins C, D, B complex if your plans involve being among large groups of people that you don’t know.
3. Eat! This is not the right time to start your new intermittent fasting program.
4. Stay hydrated! Half your body weight in ounces of water is the daily minimum goal for good health. Increase that if you plan to imbibe.
5. Embrace grace. Whatever events you attend, whether you personally imbibe or not, others likely will. Recognize that crowds, noise, wobbly people, pets, children, etc., will be the norm so set your expectations with that in mind. Start with gratitude and a heart of celebration; extend grace to others throughout the day and evening. This will keep your perspective upbeat and joyful.
Discover more St Patrick’s Day fun facts at www.history.com
Get Back to Sleep!
Do you ever wake up in the middle of the night and then struggle to get back to sleep? Have trouble getting to sleep at all? Some causes can be addressed proactively to set yourself up for a better sleep experience. Common causes may include: stress, anxiety, depression, changes in environment or work schedule, some prescription medications, caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, and eating too much later in the evening. Wait…alcohol? Yes, while alcohol often helps people fall asleep, it prevents deeper stages of sleep and often causes you to wake up in the middle of the night.
Personally, I fall asleep within minutes, pretty much anywhere thanks to the US Army. If you can fall asleep bouncing around in the back of a 5 ton truck or in a helicopter or in a desert among creepy crawling things, you can certainly sleep in your bed! My Hubby, on the other hand, has suffered with insomnia for most of his life. He has learned that white noise is helpful for him. When we travel, he brings his own pillow and blanket as familiar scents & textures also help him sleep. We are two extremes. Perhaps you can relate to us or you are somewhere in between! If you find yourself waking up and can’t get back to sleep, or if you are struggling to fall asleep, consider trying some or all of these remedies, several gleaned from www.thehealthy.com.
* Limit TV, computer and cell phone time before you go to bed, at least one hour before bed time. If you wake up in the middle of the night, resist the temptation to pick up your phone, tablet, etc. According to Harvard research, the blue light emitted from electronics can interfere with sleep. If you awaken and can’t get back to sleep, instead of the cell phone grab a pad of paper. Write down the thoughts that you are having. Often this will release any worries, anxieties associated with those thoughts and enable you to relax.
* Remove distractions from your bedroom. Set it up as a place of quiet, darkness, tranquility; a soothing sanctuary that promotes relaxation. This may mean curtains that block light, removing a TV, or adding a sound that is soothing to you.
* Practice relaxation breathing and/or stretching that is designed to do in a prone position to release tension from your muscles. Visualize the tension leaving each muscle group, starting at your neck and working your way down to your toes.
* Practice energetic acceptance. Remember, this is not the common definition, it is not approving, condoning or agreeing. It is simply acknowledging what IS without judgment. If anxiety or worry are the culprits behind your insomnia, practicing acceptance and recognizing that you can only control your own thoughts, feelings and actions in the present moment can enable release of those stressors. If you’re doing the shoulda-woulda-coulda dance about something that happened that day, practicing acceptance and acknowledging that you cannot change the past can be very helpful. What IS just IS. Deep breaths, move forward. Reflect for learning, growth and improvement.
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Fit 4 Life
Healthy Ice Box Chocolate Chip Cookies
In the spirit of celebrating without the excessive sugar or refined carbs, I thought I’d share a cookie recipe that you can use to quench sweet-tooth attacks. The dough stores well in the freezer and only takes 10 minutes to bake! This is originally a Fixate recipe from BODi that I tweaked by adding 1 additional egg and 1 scoop of nutrient rich Shakeology.
3/4C light brown sugar
1/2 C unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs (organic preferred)
1/2 Tsp pure vanilla extract
2C whole wheat flour
1/2 Tsp baking soda
1/2 Tsp sea salt
1/2C semisweet chocolate chips
1 scoop Vanilla or Cookies & Creamy Shakeology
1. Add brown sugar and butter to a large mixing bowl; beat until creamy. Add eggs and extract; beat to combine.
2. Add flour, baking soda, salt, and Shakeology to a separate mixing bowl; stir to combine. Add flour mixture to sugar mixture; beat until well combined. Add green food coloring, and combine. Add chocolate chips.
3. Dust a clean work surface with flour; form dough into a log that is 2″ in diameter and 9″ long. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and freeze for at least 3 hours.
4. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
5. Lightly coat 2 large baking trays with non-stick spray.
6. Cut dough into 24, 1/2″ thick cookies; place on prepared sheets.
7. Bake for 10 minutes. Cool on sheets. Enjoy!
Nutrition: 128 calories per cookie, 16 grams carbs (11% net carbs), 2.5 grams protein, 1.8 grams fiber
Try out this recipe and let me know how you like it and any tweaks you make to it. This is a nice one to have handy in the freezer since it’s only a 10-minute bake time. The mild sweetness is perfect for addressing a mid-afternoon snack craving. Join my free community on BODi for access to more healthy lifestyle tips, information, and events! Click the image at left to join today.