Stress… Fighting… Food

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Hello and Happy Monday, gang!

It’s something of a miracle – I’m posting a blog for the second week in a row, and getting it done while it is still technically Monday!

I hope you all had a great weekend. Mine was filled with downtime with my hubby and doing much needed tasks related to cleaning up around the house. I don’t know about you, but I always feel better when my toilets are clean and the laundry is put away!

It’s taken me several years to acknowledge the toll stress can take on various aspects of life. I’ve always thrived in high-pressure situations and thought I managed them pretty well. Here’s what the Mayo Clinic has to say about stress:

Stress symptoms may be affecting your health, even though you might not realize it. You may think illness is to blame for that nagging headache, your frequent insomnia or your decreased productivity at work. But stress may actually be the culprit.

Indeed, stress symptoms can affect your body, your thoughts and feelings, and your behavior. Being able to recognize common stress symptoms can give you a jump on managing them. Stress that’s left unchecked can contribute to health problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and diabetes.

Of course, if you’re not sure if stress is the cause or if you’ve taken steps to control your stress but your symptoms continue, see your doctor. Your doctor may want to check for other potential causes.

Also, if you have chest pain, especially if it occurs during physical activity or is accompanied by shortness of breath, sweating, dizziness, nausea, or pain radiating into your shoulder and arm, get emergency help immediately. These may be warning of a heart attack and not simply stress symptoms.

Common effects of stress …
* On your body
Muscle tension or pain
Chest pain
Change in sex drive
Stomach upset
Sleep problems
* On your mood
Lack of motivation or focus
Irritability or anger
Sadness or depression
* On your behavior
Overeating or undereating
Angry outbursts
Drug or alcohol abuse
Tobacco use
Social withdrawal

I wouldn’t recommend fighting as a way to reduce stress, but I would recommend exercise. In tomorrow’s “Workout of the Week” a professional fighter who runs a gym in the metro puts Sonya and me through the paces. We got to hit things, and it was fun. On the topic of MMA fighting, have you seen “The Warrior”? Michael and I watched it last night. It’s fairly predictable, but a good rental.


In the past week Michael has prepared pot roast, ribs, ham & bean soup and chicken tortilla soup for dinner. He is a great cook, and yes – I am spoiled. He hasn’t tried this recipe yet, but my folks fixed this when we were in Arizona last month and it was delicious, and perfect for cold weather nights. My mom emailed me the recipe so I could share it with you. Enjoy!

White Bean and Kielbasa Stew

1 pound dried white beans (rinsed)
(such as great Northern or navy)
14 oz kielbasa, halved
lengthwise and sliced ½ in thick
4 C low-sodium chicken broth
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes (I used fire-roasted)
1 large onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 C water
Serve over
5 oz baby spinach (6 cups)

Combine all ingredients except spinach in slow cooker. Cover and cook until the beans are tender – low for 7 to 8 hours or on high 5 to 6 hours.

Just before serving stir in the spinach, or put the spinach in bowls and ladle soup over. Serve with crusty country bread. Yummmmm.

I used Andouille sausage instead of the kielbasa

Have a wonderful week!


  • BarbaKay

    Erin … Love your blog. Besides that you are so cute and Michael is … or seems to be … doing well, I love a journalist who can write nice stories AND spell correctly, using correct grammer! I want to blog … Just need a venue and subject. Btw . . Jack, from Grinnell, told me to tell you we are cousins.

  • Lisa

    Got caught up on your blog today, I have been behind. Soo happy for your dad, and the year that is officially now behind him…literally!! LOVE when you post photos of your parents, and Michael, family is soo important!! I am excited that Southwest will be coming to DSM, maybe I will see you on a flight there as well?!? Thanks for the posts!!!

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