Help a Blogger Out, Please!

Hello Readers! Hope this Tuesday finds you happy. Here are some things I can be happy about:
- The Sun! She’s taken a long hiatus from New England, but finally making a return.
- The delicious bowl of quinoa I just had for breakfast. Did you know that when you cook quinoa in almond milk, it takes on a maple-y flavor? I didn’t. That’s my official “you learn something new everyday!”
- The fact that I’m blogging in PINK. Who wouldn’t be happy about that?

In a minute I’ll get into why I felt the need to list my things to be happy about today. But first, I want to talk about yesterday’s “you learn something new everyday!”

Yesterday’s lesson came from Heather via Allison. I learned that you can make your own homemade coconut butter. Coconut butter seems to be all the rage in the healthy-foodie-blogosphere, and yet, I haven’t ventured in yet. It’s not that I don’t love coconut, it’s that it seems rather… expensive and hard to find. Well, that might not be true, it’s just that I keep forgetting to look for it in the supermarket and I don’t really feel like ordering it online. And I don’t want to buy something like this without having at least a couple concrete ideas on how I might use it – especially for something new and different to blog about. So my confession is this: I’ve been ignoring (or rather, quickly forgetting) most of the coconut butter ideas I’ve seen around, since I didn’t really plan to buy any. But now that I see how CHEAP and EASY it is to make my own, I’m ready to hop on the wagon! So, dear readers, care to share your favorite and most creative ideas on using coconut butter? I’d be very grateful.

I’d also be grateful if you could weigh in on the following, which relates to my reasons for sharing my good thoughts today. Lately, for the past month or two, I’ve been having a horrible time sleeping. It’s getting really, really bad. Usually I can fall asleep ok, but I wake up around 4am and just can’t catch another Z. Needless to say, lack of sleep makes me very grumpy. But I’m trying very hard not to be grumpy – that’s why I started out today by thinking of things to be happy about! I used to not deal with any sort of grumpiness in any kind of healthy way, so this is a nice change for me.

Anyway, back to the sleeping problems. I really don’t know what’s causing this. I suspect that I’m more stressed than I care to realize and my mind just can’t rest. It also might be my body that can’t rest. Currently we eat dinner pretty late – around 8pm. I feel like I can’t really help that; that’s just what time it is by the time I’m home from the gym, take a few minutes to relax, and prepare dinner. Then I always have an evening munchy around 9:15. I like to snack. Sure there’s a bunch of weight loss “gurus” who prohibit eating after 7pm or so, but I never (used to) have a problem with this. I think the issue is when people tend to snack mindlessly and go over their daily limits, but my dessert is always carefully planned and accounted for in my daily intake. But anyway, I’m wondering if eating later is causing my body to stay active during digestion and just not let me sleep?

This week I am really going to make an effort to fix this. I say that every week, but haven’t been honest with myself. It’s starting to negatively affect my life in many ways and I need to take control. I do take a sleeping aid sometimes and that helps a lot, but I don’t want to rely on those. Today I came into work about 45 minutes early (since I was bored out of my mind laying in bed) and I’ll try to leave early so I can get to the gym earlier and thus eat dinner earlier. I may need to eat before my husband gets home, which I really don’t like, but it might be a sacrifice we need to make. I also am going to try loading up more calories earlier in the day, leaving less room for the nightly snack. But speaking about the gym – I always go back and forth about whether to work out when running on so little sleep. I never know if I’m really getting an effective workout or just tiring myself out more and risking an injury. I wonder if it would be better to just cut that out of my routine for a few days and see if that helps get my sleep back in order. But then I mull over how much I’m eating and whether I’d need to cut back if I stopped exercising for a few days. Eating less coupled with the lack of good exercise endorphins makes me worried that I’ll be feeling rather crappy for a while.

I could go on and on, but I’ll stop for now and let you take a turn. Some of you have great health and fitness related blogs- does anyone have any advice for me on this matter or can you point me to something you’ve written? How have you dealt with and conquered ongoing lack of sleep?

If you’ve made it this far, I thank you so much. And as a treat, I’ll give you the answer to my Six Lies and a Truth from the other day. You’ve been dying to know the answer, right?  ;)

1) My sister is my best friend  – Nope! I don’t have a sister. Just two brothers! (who I do count among my best friends, of course.)
2) My husband and I are high school sweethearts - Negative, but we did go to the same high school so it’s kind of a trick question. We actually went to the same college too. And participated in all the same activities and knew all of the same people. But we never knew each other because we are four years apart. Although we grew up about a mile apart and our paths crossed many times, we eventually met online!
3) My favorite game in gym class was kickball  – wrong again. I had no favorite game in gym class. Being the fat kid who can’t catch or kick or throw a ball will do that to you.
4) I got certified to teach canoeing lessons - Ding ding ding! 10 summers of my life were spent at overnight camp, 8 as a camper and 2 as a counselor. Teaching kids to paddle across the lake was my specialty!
5) I’m a chocolate whore, but my favorite dessert of all time is apple crisp a la mode - only the first part is true!
6) I own the elusive purple Kitchenaid stand mixer - Don’t I wish.
7) If it weren’t for the foodie blogosphere I wouldn’t be ridiculously obsessed with kale chips - Well, I probably would be if I tried them, but I think I’m the only one who hasn’t!
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

  Pin It

25 Responses to “Help a Blogger Out, Please!”

  1. 1

    Maria — March 16, 2010 @ 5:57 pm Reply

    I hope you can get some zzz's! Take care!

  2. 2

    Thinspired — March 16, 2010 @ 6:02 pm Reply

    Ahhh, I have got to try quinoa for breakfast. Seriously, a maple flavor? YUM!I feel you on lack of sleep. I really struggled with it in college and resulted a lot to melatonin, valerian root, and even some Tylenol PM's or a prescription when it got really bad :( My best advice is to establish a nighttime routine and stick with it.

  3. 3

    linds — March 16, 2010 @ 6:25 pm Reply

    I've struggled with sleep issues most of my adult life, I've never been a good sleeper.I've been known to eat in bed, usually greek yogurt with some sort of fruit and granola so it's clearly not an issue I have. I know some people who don't do well though with food right before bed, I also never been a biggest meal of the day right before bed person either. I've never bought the idea of not eating after some arbitrary time suggested by fitness/diet gurus. I think it's mostly suggested for the reason you gave, I've found given my own rhythms and hunger patterns I do best with a big breakfast and a bulk of my calories in the afternoon/evening. Lost 30 lbs and maintained that loss after 5 years going this route. Anyway back to sleeping issues, have you tried not hitting the gym in the evenings? I used to be able to go lift, do cardio whatever right before bed and have no problem going to sleep. About 18 months ago it's like a switch got flipped in my brain and at most I can lift in the evening, cardio is a no go or I'll be up for hours after. What about caffeine? I have to stop any intake after 2 or it impacts my quality of sleep I've also found turning off all electronics, computer, tv, putting on some light music usually instrumental helps me to decompress before bed, sometimes I'll take a warm shower with some lavender oil (supposed to be a relaxing scent). Long term though finding a handle on your stress if that really is the root issue may be the only way to fix thingsI don't think I've ever posted on your blog but LOVE your recipes your lentil goat cheese burgers are one of my favorite standards. Your struggle with sleep issues I can so relate to, hope you get if figured out

  4. 4

    Weighting Around — March 16, 2010 @ 6:34 pm Reply

    Quinoa in almond milk – I didn't know that either but I am going to try it. Thanks for passing on the tip, Ms. Canoe Instructor!

  5. 5

    Lizzy — March 16, 2010 @ 6:37 pm Reply

    Hi Cara! What's your opinion on working out in the morning? If you are already waking up early maybe its a signal that you should workout in the AM. I workout in the morning and find that by 9pm, I can't wait to put my head on my pillow. I don't get home until 7 and eat close to 8pm as well but by 9, I'm upstairs in bed watching TV or reading. I try to be asleep no later than 10:30 or 11 and the alarm goes off between 5 and 6. If your mind is always racing when you wake up in the middle of the night, keep a pad of paper and a pen so you can write down what you're thinking about… that could help. And lastly, my whole life and sleeping patterns changed when I got a posterpedic bed. This may sound ridiculous but the bed is amazing! It's like quicksand and impossible to get out of!!!

  6. 6

    Mom on the Run — March 16, 2010 @ 6:49 pm Reply

    I hate when my sleep is off. I actually use the supplement of Melotonin to help me out during those times.I agree with your happiness that the sun came out! I cannot wait to leave work and enjoy it!

  7. 7

    Kim — March 16, 2010 @ 7:34 pm Reply

    Wow, quinoa in almond milk and the coconut butter! I can't wait to try these things. :)

  8. 8

    Dawn — March 16, 2010 @ 8:19 pm Reply

    Hmm…quite a post. You remind me of me with all the things I think about. I think it's wonderful that you were thinking about things that make you happy. I have gotten away from my gratitude posts and I should get back to it so thanks for the reminder. As far as sleep goes, I wish I had the answers. My problem is I could sleep twelve hours a night and it seems to drive everyone around me crazy that I go to bed fairly early. Like before 9pm. Before 8pm if I could but that tends to get in the way of all the stuff I have to do after work.I feel your pain on the snacking too. I'm a huge snacker as well as a chocoholic and what is weird is I tend to crave it right after I eat lunch and dinner when I KNOW I'm not hungry. Snacking is the main thing I'm trying to get under control….

  9. 9

    Shanon — March 16, 2010 @ 8:25 pm Reply

    hi cara. i am no health expert, so i really have no idea what i am talking about here. just a warning. but, i agree with what you said about loading in all your calories at the beginning of the day. mostly because that is what i do. :) and i will say its not really on purpose, i think it is mostly due to habit. immediately upon waking up, i sleep walk into the kitchen and have a huge breakfast (it is pretty much the reason i wake up, bc im hungry). by about 11 am, i am starving again. then, i also have a fairly big lunch (significantly bigger than dinner). then, by dinner time, i am hungry, but get full fast (i can never finish my food). and after dinner, i just have never been hungry. and i have no idea if eating late will affect your sleep. :( but i suppose it is worth a shot. and i don't think exercising after work should be affecting your sleep. i do all sorts of active things until as late as 10 pm, and i never have noticed a problem. i also think exercising should help you sleep…maybe? i would think the more you wear yourself out, the better you would sleep. but, i am not sure. good luck! oh and people always say massages help them, but i don't know that from experience.

  10. 10

    Shanon — March 16, 2010 @ 8:26 pm Reply

    woah, that was really long. eeeee.

  11. 11

    Fla girl in Seattle — March 16, 2010 @ 8:44 pm Reply

    What if your body is telling you that it's time to start working out before work? I have recently started waking up earlier, and I am finding that when I do work out after work, I fall asleep, but wake up earlier. Then when you get out of work, you have time to come home, and actually unwind before starting dinner–you may even start eating earlier, and sleeping better, because you have had more unwind time.

  12. 12

    beeskneeslife — March 16, 2010 @ 11:03 pm Reply

    Hmmm, I wish I had some ideas. I have been struggling with sleep, too. More so trouble falling asleep then waking early like you. Has anything changed in your life? Any new stresses at work or things like that? Even little things can affect us and we don't even know it. I eat most of my food in the afternoon/evening, too. Unless that is a new thing for you, I can't see how that is suddenly changing things. I know I am sensitive to caffeine, and can't have any after 12pm! I know some people who take melatonin supplements, but I haven't done a lot of research into them so haven't gone there yet. I try to read before bed and sometimes have herbal tea, but I haven't found a sure-fire thing that works yet. Good luck :)p.s. I am ALL about the almond milk -quinoa combo. Going to try it asap!

  13. 13

    Health Foodie — March 16, 2010 @ 11:14 pm Reply

    Hi Cara, I agree with some of the other people, working out in the evening can definitely interfere with your sleep.Also, depending on the snack you have at night it can actually promote sleep. Stay away from hard to digest foods (fatty foods/raw veggies/meats). The perfect late night snack is some complex carbs with a little protein (preferably tryptophan rich). Calcium helps the brain to turn trypophan into melatonin (sleep hormone). So milk would be perfect! Let me know if you have any more questions about that! This is a little bit of a fast answer! :)Hope this helps!http://www.health-foodie.com

  14. 14

    Jessica Elizabeth — March 17, 2010 @ 12:01 am Reply

    Hi Cara,I am also a horrible sleeper, but my problem is getting to sleep in the first place. Health Foodie seems to give great advice and she has the science to back it up, but just to add here are some things that have helped me in times of need: melatonin, valerian root (worked when I was a kid) and as a last resort just stop trying – get up and do something for a little while before trying to fall asleep again.As a sufferer of chronic anxiety, I've started an experiment to diet my way to good mental health and better sleep habits… Only been at it for a week so I don't have any definitive results yet, but I can say that being off refined sugar seems to be helping with the sleep cycle issues.Good luck!http://www.feedablecomplex.blogspot.com

  15. 15

    Shannon — March 17, 2010 @ 2:11 am Reply

    ooh, i have trouble sleeping when i have too much on my mind, or alot of stress for multiple reasons. i definitely can't do cardio after 6, keeps me up! but also when i get really tired, i do pass on the workouts, or opt for a long walk outside instead of something more intense, as I know my form will suffer. i've tried dreamerz in a pinch, and it worked well, although my trouble is the initial falling asleep…

  16. 16

    yumventures — March 17, 2010 @ 2:54 am Reply

    I had a TON of sleep problems in high school! It took me forever to get over them. Though I never quite figured out exactly what it was (hormones? lol) there are a number of things I did to make it better:-Not necessarily not eating late, but trying to eat dinner at the same time. ROUTINE is what is important for your body-Avoiding dairy at dinner. My Mom's theory, but I think it works!-Drinking tea or warm water with lemon before bed-Never doing anything in bed (i.e reading, watching tv) except for sleeping. Get your body used to the fact that bed = sleep-Take a hot shower before going to bed, or a bubble bath!-Keep a journal of when you feel tired and when you feel awake. It can seem annoying, but the same idea as a food journal: your body goes in cycles, and sometimes seeing it on paper helps catch it-Keep track of your other cycle…the hormonal one! That can effect sleeping patterns as well.I hope you get some rest soon! I'm craving some more recipes :)

  17. 17

    Tyler — March 17, 2010 @ 4:31 am Reply

    i think eating late at night can keep you up, but eating at 8 shouldn't be bad for sleeping unless you are trying to be in bed before 10. it seems like some other commenters have some good suggestions for you.i also have yet to try coconut butter (for similar reasons), but i just bought some fine coconut flakes, and i plan on making my own soon!! not exactly sure what i'm going to do with it though…

  18. 18

    Cara — March 17, 2010 @ 2:06 pm Reply

    Wow, thank you so much to everyone for your thoughtful insight! I definitely going to make an effort to wind down earlier at night. I was also thinking that maybe my body is suggesting I should get to the gym in the morning. Unfortunately I loathe the idea of bringing all my stuff to the gym (I confess I'm high maitenance, but I also bring coffee and all my food for the day to work…) so I would definitely need to come home and shower and get all my things. I do actually live close enough to the gym, if I really want to do that. I might give it a shot next week since we have houseguests and it would probably be nice of me to come home after work anyway!

  19. 19

    Steve — March 17, 2010 @ 7:38 pm Reply

    This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

  20. 20

    marla {Family Fresh Cooking} — March 18, 2010 @ 3:30 am Reply

    The quinoa sounds great.So sorry to read that you have sleep stuff going on. There is nothing like a good night of sleep. Funny that u mentioned u are up at 4:00am…that is the time I strive to wake up each morning. Crazy huh!! Also means I need to be in bed by 9pm! I have heard that sleep aids can harm your sleep habits, perhaps look more into that.Agreed, don't eat too much before bed. Mini meals throughout the day work soooo well! My nighttime snack is usually greek yogurt with a tbs of nut butter and stevia, I sleep like a baby!

  21. 21

    Dawn — April 5, 2011 @ 1:22 am Reply

    Hmm…quite a post. You remind me of me with all the things I think about. I think it's wonderful that you were thinking about things that make you happy. I have gotten away from my gratitude posts and I should get back to it so thanks for the reminder. As far as sleep goes, I wish I had the answers. My problem is I could sleep twelve hours a night and it seems to drive everyone around me crazy that I go to bed fairly early. Like before 9pm. Before 8pm if I could but that tends to get in the way of all the stuff I have to do after work.I feel your pain on the snacking too. I'm a huge snacker as well as a chocoholic and what is weird is I tend to crave it right after I eat lunch and dinner when I KNOW I'm not hungry. Snacking is the main thing I'm trying to get under control….

  22. 22

    Kim — April 5, 2011 @ 1:22 am Reply

    Wow, quinoa in almond milk and the coconut butter! I can't wait to try these things. :)

  23. 23

    Lizzy — April 5, 2011 @ 1:22 am Reply

    Hi Cara! What's your opinion on working out in the morning? If you are already waking up early maybe its a signal that you should workout in the AM. I workout in the morning and find that by 9pm, I can't wait to put my head on my pillow. I don't get home until 7 and eat close to 8pm as well but by 9, I'm upstairs in bed watching TV or reading. I try to be asleep no later than 10:30 or 11 and the alarm goes off between 5 and 6. If your mind is always racing when you wake up in the middle of the night, keep a pad of paper and a pen so you can write down what you're thinking about… that could help. And lastly, my whole life and sleeping patterns changed when I got a posterpedic bed. This may sound ridiculous but the bed is amazing! It's like quicksand and impossible to get out of!!!

  24. 24

    linds — April 5, 2011 @ 1:22 am Reply

    I've struggled with sleep issues most of my adult life, I've never been a good sleeper.I've been known to eat in bed, usually greek yogurt with some sort of fruit and granola so it's clearly not an issue I have. I know some people who don't do well though with food right before bed, I also never been a biggest meal of the day right before bed person either. I've never bought the idea of not eating after some arbitrary time suggested by fitness/diet gurus. I think it's mostly suggested for the reason you gave, I've found given my own rhythms and hunger patterns I do best with a big breakfast and a bulk of my calories in the afternoon/evening. Lost 30 lbs and maintained that loss after 5 years going this route. Anyway back to sleeping issues, have you tried not hitting the gym in the evenings? I used to be able to go lift, do cardio whatever right before bed and have no problem going to sleep. About 18 months ago it's like a switch got flipped in my brain and at most I can lift in the evening, cardio is a no go or I'll be up for hours after. What about caffeine? I have to stop any intake after 2 or it impacts my quality of sleep I've also found turning off all electronics, computer, tv, putting on some light music usually instrumental helps me to decompress before bed, sometimes I'll take a warm shower with some lavender oil (supposed to be a relaxing scent). Long term though finding a handle on your stress if that really is the root issue may be the only way to fix thingsI don't think I've ever posted on your blog but LOVE your recipes your lentil goat cheese burgers are one of my favorite standards. Your struggle with sleep issues I can so relate to, hope you get if figured out

  25. 25

    Sean Folkson — May 24, 2011 @ 1:16 am Reply

    Cara-I didn't realize you had sleeping problems like this…I'll E-mail you my phone number, we can talk…in addition to the bars, I can probably give you some other guidance in terms of tips, etc..it may not be as bad as you thinksean

Leave a Comment