Tag Archives: health

pumpkin, flax & walnut muffins

For the past few months, I’ve been throwing away and donating clothes and household items that I no longer use. I’m beginning a new era of my life, and so suddenly a lot of things feel like garbage. While this is a normal process to go through every year or two, there was a certain frantic emotional energy to my process—like a “Hey, shit that I don’t want, get the fuck out of my life” kind of energy. And I’m not done yet either.

In this process, I also reorganized this kitchen cupboards. Which is where I found an enormous can of pumpkin puree. Bygone plans for making a pumpkin pie a few years back, I guess. The can was nearly expired (sounds delicious, doesn’t it?!), and so I decided to make pumpkin muffins, which I’d never done before. And, I’m not going to lie. I don’t love pumpkin. Or squash or sweet potatoes, but I took one look at that can of pumpkin puree, and my body said yes. Maybe it was just saying yes to the Vitamin A. Warning: these muffins turn out sort of…sticky. I used a lot of pumpkin puree (for the Vitamin A). Maybe you want to use less. Maybe you don’t want to make these at all.

I have to make my own recipes because, in a breakfast muffin, I pretty much just want palatable high fat, high fiber, and high protein, with enough gluten (or equivalent) to hold it all together. Other recipes use way too much of sugar and only dollop of the good stuff (walnuts, flax seeds, pumpkin, etc.), and so I have to make my own goddamn recipes my own goddamn self.


pile of decent pumpkin muffins

Here’s what I did:

Pumpkin, Flax & Walnut Muffins
Preheat oven at 350. Mix together dryish ingredients. Mix wet ingredients separately. Then, combine the two. Lastly, fold in walnuts ingredients. Spoon dough into muffin tin. Bake at 350 for about 25+ minutes or until done. (Insert and remove toothpick. Muffins are done when the toothpick comes out clean.) Let cool for 15 min. This recipe made about 16 large muffins, weighing in at something like 212 calories apiece.

Dry ingredients:
1½  cup gluten-free flour blend
1½  cup oats
1 cup shredded flax
¼ cup flax seeds
1 teaspoon of baking soda
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon of fine sea salt
Lightly sprinkle in ground ginger and ground cloves, cardamom, ginger, and nutmeg to taste.

Wet ingredients:
2 cups pumpkin puree
1 large egg
½ cup sugar
½ cup of brown sugar
½ cup vegetable oil or butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Chunky ingredients:
1½ cups walnuts



Where was I? Oh yeah, m-a-n-i-c! I keep saying that in casual conversation, and it takes people aback. I can’t imagine how secretive it must feel to have actual mental illness or depression. People know how to react to physical ailments, but mental ones are a whole other story.

Maybe I shouldn’t use the word manic, but how else should I describe this crazy/hyper increase in creativity and energy. It’s wonderful! I’m accomplishing all of the things. I have energy. Yes, staying focused is a little challenging, but I’ve been newly decisive in ways that I haven’t been able to muster in, dare I say?, years. That means buying all of things and making all of the plans.

Throughout the summer, I considered buying my first home. It’s hard to know what to do, but now, I’m so glad I don’t have the responsibility of a home and am not chained to a mortgage. Instead, I’m going to enjoy this year by spend my money traveling, buying a new car, and skiing.

I’m also trying to squeeze every drop of summer out of September. I spent last weekend in a hospital doing doula work. Hopefully I’ll have a few good weekends of summer left. I still want to be in the water, but the leaves are turning on the mountain, and soon I’ll need to shift to winter.


It’s almost my birthday. I said the number out loud to my grandpa while we were having lunch together the other day. “Whoa. That sounds weird.”

When I turned 30, I didn’t blink. I felt smarter, stronger, and better than ever. If this is aging, I thought, bring it on! I still feel that way, but saying the new age always takes a little getting used to.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the year ahead. I’ve been so goal oriented with college for forever the last 10 years or so that this new life outside of being a student still feels very strange. Now, I work in academia and there is work to be done for tenure, but that all seems be coming along nicely. And, since I’m still working in academia, the transition from school to work is not nearly as rocky as it must be for others.

Still, I’ve felt a bit of hand wringing. “What now?” I’ve had a strong desire to do more writing–writing that is not of an academic nature, that is. Maintaining this blog and writing regularly here has helped with that, but I want to do more. I’ve carefully taken pictures. I’ve trained and begun working as a doula.

But, I have a sense that there is more. Last year will be noteworthy because it was the year that I earned my doctorate. It was the year I moved to Utah. It was the year I began a tenure-track job. It was a monumental year.

I’m not the type to compare years, or to even think in years, really, but I’m sure this year will be unique in it’s own way. It will have it’s own triumphs and excitements. Perhaps there will be more doula work? Perhaps I’ll find my way back into teaching a yoga class or two? I have the sense that there is something on the horizon. I’m just not sure what it is.

our winter of pomegranates

Shortly after returning to Utah after a Christmas Break in Oregon, we received a giant box of pomegranates from Z’s dad, who has an orchard of pomegranate trees in his yard. He sells them commercially, and we were fortunate enough to get some this year.


box of pomegranates

Because it was the end of the growing season, we received a huge box of extremely ripe pomegranates that needed to be eaten right away, as well as a huge jug of raw pomegranate juice. I made it my goal to eat at least one pomegranate per day. I also did Bikram yoga once a day for 60 days in a row, which included an hour and a half of yoga poses, deep breathing, and detox sweating. Plus, I did an inversion on most days after class for a lymphatic cleanse. All of that was followed by a powerful boost of antioxidants in the form of pomegranates each day. They are especially known as a cleanse for the digestive system. Needless to say, I felt great and didn’t any of the various colds and flu that went around this winter.


beautiful pomegranate

There is something very poetic about having and eating a box of pomegranates. Pomegranates require patience and attention that is not normally required of food. To gently peal and extract the fruit takes time. Each tiny seed is a delight to eat and oddly satisfying, but the whole process requires attention. To eat a pomegranate, one must slow down. At first, I had no idea how I would eat the entire box. Then, I developed a habit, and now I miss not having them to eat. Until next year, I guess.


pomegranate seeds


what the hell am I doing?

What the hell am I doing? This is the question I was asking myself during the late night Bikram class that I rushed to after a long day at work. My belly was full from a work dinner, and I had to sprawl out on the mat during several postures.

Today would be my 35th day of Bikram, but I will miss it due to a long day of work obligations. Since I did a double last week, I can afford to miss a class. Doing a double is like banking one in advance. But, I can practice again tomorrow, and I’ll practice through the weekend. I know I will miss two days next week due to long days at work. But, if I do more doubles, I can stay on track for a 60-day practice. Is that what I want? Is that what I’m trying to do?

Last night, I had to ask myself, as I was suffering in that hot room, what the hell am I doing? Why do I need to come every single day? Why do I feel compelled to complete a 60-day challenge? I have to admit that the answer to those questions is not always readily available. It has something to do with not wasting the 30 days I’ve already completed. It has something to do with a sense of accomplishment. It has to do with feeling good, being healthy, and staying in shape. But, sometimes those answers feel far too vague to offer any real comfort during a practice like last night’s, which, between my exhaustion and full stomach, did not happening under the best circumstances.