Lack of Sleep Makes Us Go Ga Ga for Junk Food

I just read an article yesterday about a new study showing how sleep loss adds to weight gain because “a sleepy brain appears to not only respond more strongly to junk food, but also has less ability to rein that impulse in.”

I am a firm believer that there is a strong correlation because I’m a long time sufferer of sleep deprivation. I even woke up this morning after two nights of poor sleep craving caffeine and sugar. Why I’m not sleeping well is still a mystery, but I know it started with stress related to work, which led to my passion of helping others create work + life balance. I also know constant lack of sleep contributed to my weight gain over the last two years. I would be so sleepy that I barely could make it to work on time and rarely did, started drinking coffee and soda to stay awake during the day so I could function, and then was still so tired that I stopped exercising, including rarely practicing yoga (one of the things I love the most!). I know that 5HTP helped me start sleeping again, but getting my sleep back in order has been a real challenge. I’ve been off the 5HTP for a few weeks because it’s not recommended to be on it for extended periods of time, but now I’m having trouble sleeping again. The underlying cause of all this? STRESS. Take care of yourself now!

On another note…here’s a hearty breakfast recipe. It’s easy to make this ahead of time and eat during the week. I ate some this morning with Traders Point Creamery’s new single serve yogurt. They are in stinkin’ cute and reusable/recyclable containers.

Black Bean Vegetable Hash

Serves 4

2 cups diced red potatoes
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
½ cup diced Spanish onion
1 ½ teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon mild paprika
¼ cup frozen corn kernels
¼ cup small diced green bell pepper
1 cup medium diced fresh tomato
1 15-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
½ teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Place the potatoes in a steamer basket and set in a pot with enough water to reach the bottom of the basket. Bring to a boil, cover, and steam until tender, but still maintain their shape, 8 to 10 minutes.

Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. When the oil shimmers, add the onions and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the cumin, chili powder, and paprika and sauté until spices release their aromas, about 1 minute.

Make sure pan is still over medium heat. Add the potatoes and let brown on all sides. Do not stir continuously but flip potatoes as they brown. Add corn, peppers, tomatoes, and beans and gently stir to combine. Stir in the salt and continue to sauté until vegetables are tender and heated through, about 3 to 4 minutes. Serve garnished with the cilantro.

From Kripalu

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Spicing Up Last Night’s Leftovers – Southwest Omelette

ImageI’ve been trying to figure out how I can make more time for the things I love, such as yoga, biking, cooking, and writing. Plus, I know that when I get my new doggie this weekend I’m going to have to wake up at the same time each day because she will have to pee. It makes sense to me to get up earlier in the morning, get my yoga practice in and cook breakfast at home instead of making something half-ass at the office and eating it at my desk. Now this means possibly shifting my meditation practice to the evening, but I’m still playing around with that schedule.

So, this morning I woke up and practiced a 30-minute shoulder opening sequence led by Jason Crandell on Yogaglo. Practicing with other teachers provides me with inspiration for my own classes. This week I wanted to work on helping my students with repetitive shoulder and wrist issues, especially the ones at my corporate warehouse site in Stringtown.

After practicing and planning this week’s Vinyasa class, I decided I wanted an omelette. This weekend I chopped up zucchini from my parents’ garden and some onion to have available for quick cooking in the morning. I started to pull it out when it struck me that I could experiment and use last night’s taco mix instead. Why not? I still

Southwest Omelette

-1 tablespoon of pure olive oil
-1/4 cup zucchini, chopped (or any other veggie)
-2 eggs
-pinch of salt
-pinch of pepper
-1/2 cup of the taco mix from last night’s dinner
-1/4 cup black beans
-1/4 avocado
-cheese (optional)
-hot sauce or salsa (optional)

Heat small saute pan on medium heat and add olive oil and zucchini. Saute a few minutes and set to the side. Crack the eggs and whisk in a bowl. Cracking on a flat surface rather than the edge of the bowl works best. Add a pinch of salt and pepper. Pour egg mixture into pan and work it around so it gets the edges.

In the meantime, I just heated up the taco meat and beans in the microwave, but you could add a tiny bit of water and do it on the stove in another saute pan.

Flip the omelette over so the other side can cook. Add the filling (zucchini, taco meat, beans) and serve hot. I added a little avocado on top because it’s good for the liver. And I’m a huge hot sauce fan so Frank’s Red Hot is on all of my egg concoctions.

I wouldn’t recommend eating this every day or adding bacon on the side, etc. But I know I feel better eating more healthy fats and proteins and less sugar and breads. Plus, I feel fuller for longer rather than wanting to snack two hours later, and I have more lasting energy throughout the day. Pay attention to your body. Everyone is different.