Nutrition Question…

So for the last week I’ve been getting up in the morning, going to yoga and/or going running, and then making a smoothie (now with a scoop of chocolate whey protein powder, per Jenn’s suggestion!). I’ve been eating toast (or some kind of carb), eggs, pizza, salad with grilled chicken, or something like that throughout the rest of the day. I feel like I’m not getting all of the nutrients I need though. I’ll eat a peach or a Kind Bar for breakfast too usually. 

I could Google this myself, but then I could end up finding a lot of bad information. I have a a lot of smart friends on Tumblr, so I wanted to come here first. Any information is appreciated. 🙂

Rest & Relaxation

Over the past few years I’ve really had to work on what relaxes me and gets me to sleep. I had three weeks of free time after graduating from college before I went off on a 3 week trip around Europe and because I had no job prospects lined up after that, I was incredibly anxious and had a lot of trouble sleeping. I think there were three consecutive nights where I didn’t get more than 3 hours of sleep. I saw my doctor; I saw a psychologist; and I was prescribed Xanax to relax me and get to sleep.

Well, I went to Europe, made friends with the strangers I was traveling with, and had the time of my life. I took the Xanax every now and then to help me get to sleep after I returned to the states but not consistently.

Over the last few years I’ve dealt with sleeping issues (I basically just had issues falling asleep – I have an overactive mind) a number of different ways and have no issues anymore.  It’s pretty awesome and I thought I’d write the ways I relax and/or fall asleep here:

1. Candles: They’re a really fantastic way to wind down more than falling asleep. My favorite scents are lavender and vanilla.  

2. Meditation: I know you’re not supposed to fall asleep during meditation but I do use meditation MP3’s nightly to help myself to fall asleep. Gabrielle Bernstein has a quick (free) 5 minute MP3 that you can download on iTunes that’s pretty great and concentrates a lot on your breath, and I have another longer MP3 that my aunt sent me a year or so ago that’s a type of meditation called Yoga Nidra – that’s specifically for intense relaxation.  It’s fantastic and I’m not sure I even know what the end of the MP3 sounds like because I always doze off before it’s over.

3. Lavender spray: I learned at my yoga studio last year that lavender promotes relaxation. This excited me, even if it maybe worked more because I thought it would relax me rather than it actually having any real effect on my relaxation (does that make sense?). So I bought a bottle from Bath and Body Works and spray it on my pillow and a bit on my wrist every night before I go to sleep.

4. Sleepytime Teas: I’m also obsessed with this tea. I love tea and drink 2-4 cups a day and I almost always drink this before I go to bed (especially on a Sunday night when my sleeping pattern has been a bit disrupted because of the weekend). Again, I’m not sure if it works because I think it should or it actually does, but it has elderflower and chamomile in it both of which are supposed to promote sleep.  Celestial makes a few, and Trader Joe’s also makes one that’s pretty great.

5. Peppermint Tea: If you’re at work and need to de-stress (like me) but don’t want to fall asleep on you desk with the above tea, I’d recommend peppermint tea. Trader Joe’s candy cane green tea is a personal favorite of mine (although it’s seasonal you can find it year-round on ebay) but any peppermint tea will work. Peppermint is a natural anti-inflammatory. I also recently tried Yogi’s Stress-Relief Tea but it tastes similar to what I imagine ass would taste like so I wouldn’t recommend it first.  

6. Music: In one of my yoga classes, there was a sub teacher who used a bunch of songs that I really liked already and I’ve made a playlist of songs that make me happy and bring relaxation (and yoga) to mind. Those songs include The Verve’s Bittersweet Symphony, Semisonic’s Closing Time, Weezer’s Only in Dreams, Eagle Eye Cherry’s Save Tonight, and Green Day’s Wake Me Up When September Ends (though I put the cast album version on the playlist because the harmonies make it more relaxing – to me at least), among others. 

7. Yoga: Last but not least is yoga. I’ve been practicing for about two years and I started out doing a “winding down” podcast from YogaJournal (also available for free download on iTunes) which is specifically for for stretching and relaxing at the end of your day. It’s awesome. Restorative yoga is magnificent for relaxation too.

I haven’t take any kind of medication (prescribed or over-the-counter) in years because of the above natural remedies. I also bought a bunch of dried lavender and have placed it in a vase next to the couch in my apartment. I’m kind of obsessed with the scent of dried lavender now.  During my almost-anxiety attacks last week I googled other things that promote relaxation and they included: Black tea, bananas, and sugar! Good to know for next time.

Namaste.

Full Disclosure: The night I wrote this I slept like total crap, despite yoga, meditation, and sleepytime tea so I felt like a total sham for having just written this. Tonight I’m double-bagging it. 

Today I went to the ’American Idiot’-themed yoga class at Pure Yoga on the Upper East Side (86th and 3rd).  The class was $30 and all proceeds went to benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.  All participants were given a copy of the OBCR as well.  When I heard that there was going to be a union of two of my favorite things, and that I was actually available to go, I was ecstatic but confused.  What songs by Green Day were appropriate as a soundtrack for practicing yoga?  

I’ve done yoga 4-6 times per week using Yoga Journal podcasts since mid-January, but it’d been a while since I’d taken an actual class.  I paid, put my things in a cubby near the main desk and walked into the room where the class would take place and heard a version of “When I Come Around” played by wind chimes over the sound system, and then a similar version of “Good Riddance.”  I chatted up the instructor about where she found these versions and she said on iTunes, and then she said I could have the CD after.  Sweet!

The class was a great work out and really perfect for a lazy Saturday afternoon.  The room was warmly lit and exuded a sense of relaxation.  The music, surprisingly, fit right in.  I fixed some of the problems that I’d apparently run into in my last year of practice, as well as some things that I didn’t know I was doing wrong.  At times I found myself paying too much attention to the music though, running through the lyrics in my head and almost falling over in a three-legged down dog.  The set list was as follows:

  1. When I Come Around (from Rockabilly Baby! Lullaby Versions of Green Day)
  2. Good Riddance (from Rockabilly Baby! Lullaby Versions of Green Day)
  3. When It’s Time (American Idiot OBCR)
  4. Basketcase (acoustic version covered by a woman, not sure who!)
  5. Before the Lobotomy (OBCR)
  6. Boulevard of Broken Dreams (OBCR)
  7. Last Night on Earth (OBCR)
  8. 21 Guns (OBCR)
  9. Give Me Novocaine (OBCR)
  10. Whatshername (OBCR)
  11. When I Come Around (original album version)
  12. Wake Me Up When September Ends (OBCR)
  13. When It’s Time (BJA’s album version)
  14. Good Riddance (original album version)
  15. When I Come Around (Rockabilly Baby!)

It turns out that there’s a lot of appropriate music by Green Day to practice yoga to.  I told the studio directors that they should teach the class once a week, and hopefully someday they (or someone else) will.  The work out, of course, was amazing too.  

You can purchase the Rockabilly Baby! album here, and the American Idiot cast recording here.  Apologies for the crappy photo – it was taken on my blackberry.