Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Tasty Tuesday : A New Column and Hobby

When battling chronic pain and illness, depression, stress, and anxiety are sure to come. I love it when I go to a new PT or doctor and the new patient forms ask if I am depressed or stressed. I want to say, "What do you think?! You deal with chronic pain everyday for the last four years and see how you feel!". My depression and anxiety come in spurts and my outlook often corresponds with my pain levels, but thankfully God has given me the grace to continue to fight the good fight of faith.

The best medicine for depression and anxiety is scripture. Nothing convicts, comforts, and redirects like God speaking through His word. When I'm down and discontent the most important thing I can do is seek God and His kingdom first (Matthew 6:33) because nothing else in life will ever truly satisfy me.

But I do think it is important when dealing with a chronic health condition that has no end in sight to pursue at least one hobby, especially if you can no longer work. It may be something like reading or knitting, keeping up with current events or photography. For many of us our former hobbies are no longer possible so we've had to find new hobbies or dust the cobwebs off old ones. Often our hobbies will change depending on how our illness advances or regresses, but having something to distract from the pain and frustration of chronic illness can work wonders on one's outlook. Of course it is a constant battle (at least for me) not to spend too time on my hobbies and thereby neglect spending time with God.  So as with all things in life, balance is key.

Cooking has been a hobby of mine for the last several years. I grew up with a mother and grandmother who were good cooks. Most of our meals were eaten at home and I was never underfed. I was busy during much of my formative years as a competitive swimmer and so I never took the time to learn how to cook until I left home. Then I spent 2 years in East Africa and it was there that I began to dabble in cooking, mostly from scratch, since that's all I had! When I was first married I enjoyed preparing meals for my husband and trying out recipes. I was very "health conscious" and tried to cook low fat (mostly because I was consumed with my body image) which I've since learned is not really healthy at all. Cooking is something I still enjoy, but I often find it difficult to shop for the ingredients and prepare meals. So I've resorted to a lot of freezer meals that I've prepared in advance on "better days" or that were given to me by the generosity of my church family and friends. Homemade freezer meals are not a bad option (especially compared to fast food or pre-made dinners), but I know some of what we've been eating is not the healthiest option. But then again what do you do when you're too ill to cook healthy food? It's a hard situation. Thankfully I have an amazing husband who helps out a TON in the kitchen - don't know how I'd make it without him!

During my recovery from surgery I've been researching a lot about nutrition and health. Over the years several people have asked me if I've tried diet modifications for my pain, but I was always doubtful that it would have any effect; plus it's expensive! Well, I'm learning that major diet modification is expensive, but I'm beginning to think there may be more of a correlation between diet and overall health than I realized. I'm in the process of considering some dietary changes for several reasons and I hope to post more about that in the future. But don't worry, this blog isn't going to become a food or nutrition blog (though I love reading those blogs!). My primary purpose of writing is to encourage others and suffer well to the glory of God.

I do, however, want to start a new "column" on the blog. A friend of mine posts recipes she has tried and liked on her blog on Tuesdays for a "Tasty Tuesday" post. I've been enjoying pinning lots of new recipes to try on Pinterest so I thought I'd share some of them when I try them out. Maybe one day I'll actually get to be a real cook with my own recipes to share!

Tonight menu: Spicy Quinoa Stuffed Avocados and 2 Ingredient Cookies (actually I used four: bananas, oats, unsweetened coconut, chocolate chips)

Definitely need to work on my food photography skills!


The Stuffed Avocados were REALLY good, but I LOVE Mexican food. My 3 year old even ate this (separated out into quinoa, beans, corn, chips, and mashed avocado mixed with salsa)! I opted out of the cilantro "sour cream" due to time, but would love to try that next time. This was an easy meal too and decently cheap due to avocados that I got on sale for .39 each!

The cookies were pretty good to not have any flour in them. They were a little dry so I had to scrub the cookie sheet a bit for cleanup. I'm thinking a tablespoon of coconut oil might really with this and give them some added taste and nutritional benefit. But this is a great alternative for those trying to avoid dairy, gluten (as long as your oats are gluten free), or sugar (if you omit the chocolate chips)!

What about you....what hobbies have you picked up while dealing with chronic illness? Do you find it helps you cope with your situation better?


  1. I look forward to reading this new column. I've started cooking a little again recently & I'm always on the lookout for easy tasty recipes. I actually tried these 2ingredient cookies last week, just adding cinnamon, but mine didn't turn out very nice at all! They are so healthy & easy I wish they'd worked out, I might have to try again!

  2. Thanks for sharing this recipe. I love mexican food too and I just bought 2 ripe avocados yesterday!

  3. Hi there, I usually love reading this column but was rather disturbed by the comment that "The best medicine for depression and anxiety is scripture". If it were a spiritual depression as such then of course that would be relevant, however, surelythe best medicine for clinical depression is antidepressants? Yes it does blur and all area of our lives are important when recovering from depression. Many Christians have a hard enough time feeling guilty about feeling depressed think that as 'as Christians we should have joy and peace' but clinical deprssion is an illness like any other. I have a chronic pain problem as well as bipolar, (plus several more e.g Addison's Disease and have always been blessed with good Church support) however, no-one suggests scripture would deal with my physical pain or my non-functioning adreanal gland to run on prayer alone! Wisdom guides that medication is needed physically so why different mentally? Thanks, Rachel (Bird)

  4. Thanks for reading my blog Rachel! My aim was not to make anyone feel guilty about struggling with depression. All humans struggle with depression at one time or another. Are there times where anti-depressants can be helpful? Yes! And praise God for giving us that grace. My main point was that when struggling with depression our hope has to be in God and only He can satisfy our longings. And the best way we come close to God is through scripture. May God give you strength as you walk this weary land.