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Abrazos! xox Penny

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

If our green table could talk...

If our green table could talk, I might have to clean up my mornings a bit. I consider myself "sort of" a morning person, but that does depend on the morning and on Stuart Little. He is our little chihuahua, actually, our medium chihuahua (Stuart Medium is a more fitting name for him...all 11 plus pounds!). We found him as a 6 month old stray. He was stranded, terrified and huddled under a holly bush eating a bag of cheese crackers when we saw him out of the corner of our eyes. Lucky for all of us. His holly bush refuge was about 10 feet from a dangerous interstate exit ramp and we were in danger of staying broken-hearted over the loss of our precious Corgi mix, Teddy...the last of the wonderful menagerie of pups that grew up with our children. Anyway, once we rescued each other, Stuart Little nestled into our lives quickly and now sleeps cuddled up on our bed every night. Most nights, all is well and everyone is happy. Some nights, not. He can be restless, toss, flip and burrow as chihuahuas love to do and he can be an early riser. That's where our green table comes in. Like I said in the very first entry, Setting the Table, that green table knows all our stories!!!

Usually the first sight our green table sees every morning is Stuart under one of our arms on his way outside. When I am the carrier, the next sight is me trying to gain some way to cope with the early hour. Up until a couple of years ago, I "brewed" my coping skills in a coffee pot and siphoned off the first cup as the rest of the pot brewed away. Heaven help anyone who got to that first cup before I did!!! Grrr is right! Having lived in Mexico and Colombia, I grew up on coffee, good coffee, strong coffee and could down java with the best of them. That first cup ( I swear it is stronger than the others) was the jolt I depended on. About two years ago, I started doing something new and I think our green table would agree. My morning person polls are up.

Now, stumbling or not, the first thing I do is have a glass of cold, I mean cold, water dressed up with a splash of 1/4 of a lemon or lime. That really wakes me up and resets my metabolism. Lemons and limes are very healing. Next, I blend up my magic protein shake. So magic in fact that Stuart Little has gotten in on the last drops in the blender. They are his or else!

Here is what I see has happened to my health. I have a handle on caffeine. Now I share the first of the morning brew better (ha!) and only drink about 2 cups of coffee total. I have boosted my immune system so much so that in the past two years despite huge stress and sorrow from sick and dying parents, umpteen plane trips (two that lasted 18 hours!), living out of a suitcase for weeks and even months, traveling to India where I ate every delicious morsel I could, and juggling lots of other demands, I have held off colds and the flu and strep throat. Amazing. I usually spend most winters fighting off respiratory bugs and cough my way to late spring.

And so, now I encourage everyone to shake up their day, if not mornings, with a kefir/whey combo. In additon to being delicious, this protein shake makes perfect nutritional sense. Your immune system needs good bacteria to flourish so that the good bacteria can fight off the bad. Kefir and whey work together to stimulate the growth of good bacteria and strengthen the immune system against infections and viruses. They are a great match. Your digestive tract will love it. Even if you do not tolerate milk well, give it a try. Here is the recipe I use. If you want a terrific source for clean, safe whey, let me know...I have it delivered wherever I am!

Magic Protein Shake

2-3 ice cubes
7 ounces total liquid (I mix kefir and water, sometimes adding in pomegranate juice)
1-2 scoops organic vanilla whey protein
1 scoop "greens" powder or a handful of greens, destemmed
2 tablespoons frozen blueberries and 1/2 frozen banana if I have it
Dash of cinnamom or slice of raw ginger

Blend the ice and frozen fruits and "greens" powder until slushy, adding in a little water or juice. Add kefir and whey powder and spices and blend for only about 10 seconds or until just blended in. Make sure ingredients are well mixed but do not overblend. I like mine thick but you may want more liquid. Makes 1 serving.

As a sweet note, my dad, the ultimate Non-Morning person but consummate Green Thumb, sent me home with a suitcase full of lily of the valley plants a couple of summers ago. I dutifully gloved my black thumb and planted them. They looked really pitiful for years. This year, they are blooming profusely... and I have 6 gorgeous, fragrant blooms! Go Dad!!! I still reach for the phone to call him with news.

Coming next, more breakfast!

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