Welcome to From Panic to Plate!

Welcome to a safe place where you can read about two different things which are often connected: my experiences with anxiety and my experiences with food.

Read my story in the About section to learn about my journey of being diagnosed with Panic Disorder.

I look forward to inspiring your minds by both keeping the conversation regarding mental illness open and honest and by sharing recipes with you I have enjoyed making over the past few years.

Cheers,

– M.

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Soup Season

Anyone who knows me personally can tell you how much I love soup. While I could honestly eat soup any place, any time of the year, autumn is truly when it starts to feel like soup season.

As I am also trying to increase my food-making repertoire, I have decided to challenge myself to make a new soup a week until the end of (at least) December as part of my meal prep. Two weeks into this challenge and I have already been successful.

Last week’s soup: Creamy Tortellini Soup with Sausage by Gimme Some Oven0-1.jpg

This soup was incredibly easy to make and made lots of servings. Variations I made to the recipe:
– I used Italian turkey sausage instead of pork sausages
– I used 1.5 cups of milk and 3 large heaping tablespoons of sour cream to make it creamier rather than the 2 cups of milk

This week, I made Jalapeño Popper Chicken Soup by Closet Cooking.

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Although my picture of the soup isn’t the prettiest, it sure tasted great! Cheesy with a bit of a bite from the jalapeños and some delicious bacon as well! I did the chopping of ingredients in the morning and through it all together in a pot in the evening which resulted in less mess and a quick meal. The (only) downside to this soup is it only yields 4 servings so it isn’t quite enough for lunch for the week. I did not add corn to my soup as it states in the recipe.

I’d say these two are keeper recipes. I can’t wait to try something else next week!

Have a wonderful Monday!

Get Em to the Gym

Earlier today, I was sitting outside my client’s house thinking, “wow, it’s already almost September.” The month of August has seemingly flown by so quickly we are almost onto a new month and a new school year.

While I am taking an academic break until October, I have had the opportunity to work on some personal goals including one that is difficult for so many people: going to the gym.

I was on a roll before! I was going to yoga twice a week, or working out at home, or doing yoga at home. In August, I have made more of a conscious effort to start going again regularly. While I am not proud of how little I have been to the gym, looking at today in isolation, I am proud that I made it there.

Prior to the gym, I was sitting in my car thinking about what I was going to do after work.

I could go home and make something for dinner. 

I could see if one of my friends wants to meet up. 

I could go to the gym. 

It certainly wasn’t my first thought. In fact, after work, the entire drive to the gym, I was making up excuses in my head.

I didn’t bring headphones. 

What if the gym clothes in my bag aren’t clean?

Well, I have an extra pair of headphones that have taken permanent residency in my gym bag and I also have two pairs of gym clothes in my bag (and yes, they are clean). So realistically, my excuses were useless. I parked my car, went in and hopped on the elliptical.

The gym was empty. Maybe 3 more people trickled in while I was there. I love when the gym is like that. I don’t have to fight over machines. I don’t need to be self-conscious about people watching me while working out. I put on my Spotify playlist and off I went.

Why is it so difficult to get yourself to the gym?

Honestly, as a goal-oriented individual, I struggle with this thought a lot. I want to lose weight, have better endurance, and build strength. To do this, I should eat better and go to the gym. It’s simple, really. I’m doing really well with eating better but why is it so hard to get myself to exercise?

There’s an article outlining the scientific reason behind this and it’s interesting to read about the evolutionary basis for it. Here’s a link to the article: https://www.inc.com/jessica-stillman/the-scientific-reason-its-so-hard-to-make-yourself-go-to-the-gym.html 

I will remind myself of the reinforcing feelings that accompany this goal and continue to strive for a better self.

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July Check-In

The month is just about halfway done so I thought I’d do a mid-month check-in to see how I’m doing so far in July.

Mental Health

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While I have not been super relaxed so far this summer, my anxiety has had its ups and downs thinking about the future. My dad’s words of “don’t worry about the things you can’t control” are being replayed in my mind but I can’t help but worry sometimes. I think that’s human nature amplified by the effects of living with anxiety. I haven’t had any major breakdowns and my best friends (and my boyfriend, who doubles as a best friend) have been absolutely amazing.

Goals

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I really didn’t set any specific goals this month, which is a bit unlike me. The only goal I had in mind was to enjoy my time not in school, work hard, and take some time to enjoy myself with the company of friends and family. I’d say I have done that so far. I’ve made plans with friends more after work and made more of an effort to check in on friends and see how they’re doing. I have also been reading more books for pleasure. This is often something I complain about not having the time for when I’m busy with school work.

Goals in mind for the upcoming weeks:

  • Less emotional eating – I see myself starting to slip on this. Stress eating chocolate or unhealthy things to cope with certain emotions. I need to nip that early.
  • Practice more gratitude. I fell off the Five Minute Journal train. I stopped practicing daily gratitude. I need to start back up on that to start and end my days on positive notes rather than anxious ones.
  • Do more active things. In Montreal, I went for a walk with my aunt every night I was there. I have started doing more of this here, usually in the evenings when it cools down but it has been great to get out and take a nice 20-30 minute walk in the neighbourhood.
  • Focus more on my weight loss journey. While I haven’t been very strict on food choices in the last few weeks, I may look towards making smarter choices rather than be super restrictive. My work schedule has not been very consistent so far this summer but maybe next week I will get in the groove of when I can go to the gym after work as well. It’s never too late to try again.

In a couple weeks, I will write out my goals for August and share them. HM_press_release_infographic-1001x1024.jpg

 

Three New Places I Discovered in Montreal

When I was little, I used to go to Montreal once or twice a year, sometimes more. Several members of my mom’s side of the family lives there so I have seen many of the wonderful sights Montreal has to offer.

A couple weeks ago, I went to Montreal for a conference. While there, I stayed with family, visited friends, and took some time alone to explore the city. It is such a beautiful place.

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During my stay, I found three new places I have never been to that I absolutely MUST recommend.

  1. Tommy 

Tommy is a café located in Old Montreal just a few steps away from Notre Dame Basilica. Its multi-level establishment has plenty of room to find a cozy spot to enjoy a coffee, pull out your laptop, read a book, or just sit and stare at the beautiful architecture (all of which I did). I tried an iced coffee and caramel cocoa vegan ice cream and it was perfect for the hot summer day that it was. I wanted to try the avocado toast with smoked salmon on top but I had just finished a meal and couldn’t quite stomach a snack that big. However, a lady at a table nearby ordered it and it looked so delicious.IMG_20180708_225156_588.jpg

2. Muru Crêpe

What an adorable and very delicious brunch spot! Water was served in a glass wine bottle. The caramel macchiato I ordered was picture perfect and tasted just as good as it looked.20180629_101712.jpg

I sat by the window so I could watch the busy street action and before I knew it, my food arrived very quickly. I wish I tried their crème brûlée crêpe because the picture looked scrumptious but I was not disappointed with my choice. I can’t quite remember what it was called but I can tell you it had chicken, thin sliced potatoes, mushrooms, and cheese in a delicious sauce. I devoured the entire thing, it was so good. Will definitely be returning on my next visit to Montreal.

Instagram: @murucrepe

3. Ca Lem 

Ca Lem is the perfect hole-in-the-wall ice cream shop I could ever ask for. Its bright colours of the building and delicious flavours are worth the visit. You can sample flavours if you are undecided (I know I was). They feature two new flavours each week for their Swirl Cones. This was my pick and the flavours when I visited were lemon and raspberry. It was the perfect combination for a hot day. IMG_20180629_151737.jpg

As if their ice cream wasn’t already picture perfect, inside they have a wall with different backgrounds you can use for that like-worthy instagram shot. How cute is that!20180629_152344.jpg

Instagram: @calemcreamery

Honourable Mention: Orange Julep

Gibeau Orange Julep is not a new place to me so I couldn’t add it to the list but it is so good, I had to rave about it. It’s a great place to stop in and get a hot dog and, of course, a famous Orange Julep drink which they also serve as a frappe! Want to know about Gibeau’s Orange Julep? Here’s a link from Mtl Blog about the history of this iconic treasure: https://www.mtlblog.com/lifestyle/the-real-story-behind-montreals-orange-julep

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What’s your favourite place to visit in Montreal?

Monday Morning Rambles

A new week is upon us and there are so many things to look forward to (and be anxious about).

This week, starting tomorrow, I will be attending the annual Canadian Psychological Association conference in conjunction with the International Congress of Applied Psychology. I am both excited and nervous about this opportunity.

Here are my racing thoughts:

  1. It is not my first conference. I have done this before. This year is not much different.
  2. It’s in a new city.
  3. It’s a city I’m familiar with – a city I visited multiple times a year from birth until the age of 12. I can handle this.
  4. I have to say a speech in front of a lot of people on opening day.
  5. Public speaking is a strength. I can do this.
  6. I feel very unprepared for my presentation.
  7. But I won’t be alone in my presentation and I have presented on it before. It’s on a topic I live and breathe.
  8. I’m missing a week of work – that’s a lot of money to make up.
  9. I’ve worked a lot of long days to make up for the week – it will be fine.
  10. I have to navigate the public transit system completely on my own (AKA without my mother being here for support).
  11. I did not need to use Google Maps to find my way from the bus station to the metro. I got on the right subway track. I got off at the right stop. The rest of it will be fine as well.
  12. I have plenty of friends and family here in the city who will be here to help me through this week. 5b7d7fec914146e9e1124eb18dd643c9.jpg

Men’s Mental Health

Today is Men’s Mental Health Awareness Day. This week leading up to Father’s Day is an awareness week all about men’s mental health.

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It’s hard being a female in society with a mental illness; due to the gender stereotypes that have formed over the years, women are perceived as emotional beings. These same stereotypes have also acted as a barrier for males suffering from mental illness as they are supposed to be the strong ones who don’t let things get to them.

Regardless of gender, race, or age, mental illness can affect all of us. Social stigma inhibits individuals from sharing their stories or getting the help they require.

Examining males, specifically (taken from Movember Canada):

  • 1 in 10 Canadian men will experience major depression in the course of their lives
  • 3 of every 4 suicides are men

What can we do?

  • Talk about it. Ask questions. The more we talk, the more we combat the stigma as we build an understanding.
  • Listen. Listen to their stories. Listen for cries for help. Listen to your friend.
  • Encourage action.
  • Check in with those you love.

Here are a list of articles and resources I recommend taking a look at:

https://ca.movember.com/mens-health/we-need-to-talk

https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/blog/talking-about-men/201702/mens-mental-health-silent-crisis

https://headsupguys.org/

Low Carb Bagels

Like several people I know, I have hopped on the keto train in attempts to keep myself in check like I did with Whole 30 but be free to eat cheese and yogurt and indulge in the occasional glass of red wine.

I am on Day 5 so far and honestly, it feels very similar to Whole 30. I was tired the first couple of days, had a little brain fog, but those feelings have faded. My eating habits prior to this decision weren’t too bad. I had continued to follow a mainly paleo lifestyle until going to Cuba. I did eat a few more bags of chips than I would have liked but such is life. I have heard really good things about the keto way of life and since it didn’t differ too much from the paleo lifestyle, I figured I’d give it a try.

What’s the Difference? 

Get Healthy U has this great info-graphic to break down the basic differences between the two.

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Why Did I Start?

I have had some underlying suspicions that I may have some sort of gluten sensitivity or intolerance. I removed eating gluten as part of the Whole 30 plan and I didn’t want to eat in such a restrictive way again. With Keto, I am free to eat cheese and cream cheese and yogurt and butter and all that dairy that I love but couldn’t have before. There are a lot of great recipes with stevia and other natural low-carb sugars that I can’t wait to try. For more information on what the ketogenic diet is, here’s a link for you: https://www.ruled.me/guide-keto-diet.

Am I Going to Cheat?

Probably in the future. I mean, everything is good in moderation and it might be a little unrealistic to cut out everything bad forever. I understand it is a way of life for many people, but I am still learning how it fits into my lifestyle. By being strict at the beginning, I hope to create good habits and remember all the lessons I learned from Whole 30 and make better choices at restaurants. After a few weeks, will I have a scoop of ice cream? Absolutely. It’s nearly summertime. If I’m at someone’s house and they’re serving non-keto friendly options, I will probably eat some of the non-compliant options anyways. Will I eat an entire loaf of garlic bread? No. Will I have a glass or 3 of sangria? More than likely. It’s all about making smart cheats and not “eating a whole bag of chips” kind of cheat.

Low-Carb Bagels

Now that I have rambled about my lifestyle changes, let’s talk bagels. I am trying to find easy and quick breakfast options since I usually am up and out the door in the morning. I made some flaxseed cinnamon bun muffins last week and they were delicious. This morning, I tried making low-carb bagels.

I used the recipe from WholesomeYum which can be found here: https://www.wholesomeyum.com/recipes/low-carb-bagels-with-almond-flour-keto-gluten-free-5-ingredients/ 

It was so easy to make and had only 5 ingredients: almond flour, baking powder, mozzarella cheese, cream cheese, and eggs. I added Trader Joe’s Everything But The Bagel spice to the top and it was perfect. My mom really liked the bagels too. I’m surprised in how quick and easy it was. Kneading the dough was difficult with it being super sticky but it combined well. (See pre-oven photo above).

The recipe makes 6 bagels and each bagel is 360 calories. Carb counts: Total Carbs: 8g | Net Carbs: 5g | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 1g

An everything bagel at Tim Hortons, in comparison, is 280 calories but has 53g of Carbs.

I would definitely make this recipe again!

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Hitting the Reset Button – Cuba 2018

I have been absent for what feels like a long time as my thesis draft deadline approached sooner than I anticipated then a few days later, I was on a plane to Cuba.

I am back and I am starting this Motivation Monday off on the right foot.

Going to Cuba for a week was like pushing a reset button. My stress and anxiety had been slowly approaching peak levels but I escaped just in time. We were away for a full seven days. For four of those days, I completely unplugged. No phone use (except for occasionally using it as a clock) including no emails, no social media, nothing. I, along with other individuals my age, have become increasingly dependent on my phone. I use it for work constantly – we have apps for communication, scheduling, and timesheets. I use it for emails and texting and social media use. Not having access to these things was refreshing. Yet I come back, and I look through my photos and wonder which one will I post on instagram.

You would think I would’ve done a better job of embracing the lack of social media when returning but I think that will be a goal for May – to use social media less.

I am happy to have returned back home and have the weather be sunny and warmer than it was when I left it. I can’t wait to go on my evening or early morning walks (we’ll see how ambitious I get).

I hope you did some sort of self-care in the past week. We all need it. Have a wonderful week!

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Let’s Talk About SAD

It feels like the middle of January but is somehow the middle of April. This past weekend, an ice storm hit, seemingly out of nowhere (I am clearly not a meteorologist and am probably embodying “fake news”). It has been dark and dreary out, and not in the rainy spring days kind of way.

There are so many beautiful things about spring – there is a feeling of re-birth, fresh beginnings, and growth. The sun is out for longer periods of time, the flowers are growing, and even the smell of rain seems to bring a sense of comfort (except the sight of it while driving does not).

This darkness we’re experiencing, however, reminds us that the sun may be out (sometimes) but it is still frigidly cold out. The plants are still dead. And, at this moment, there is still snow on the ground.

It becomes increasingly difficult, it seems, to break from the grasp of seasonal affective disorder.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (sometimes referred to as SAD), as the name suggests, is a type of depression that appears at different parts of the year, which may align with the changing of the seasons.

Common symptoms, as outlined in the DSM-5, include:

  • Feeling of sadness or depressed mood
  • Marked loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed
  • Changes in appetite; usually eating more, craving carbohydrates
  • Change in sleep; usually sleeping too much
  • Loss of energy or increased fatigue despite increased sleep hours
  • Increase in restless activity (e.g., hand-wringing or pacing) or slowed movements and speech
  • Feeling worthless or guilty
  • Trouble concentrating or making decisions
  • Thoughts of death or suicide or attempts at suicide

It’s important to note that these symptoms are very similar to major depression. Before you try to self-diagnose yourself with SAD, seek help from a professional as you may be feeling depressed, but it may not necessarily be SAD.

It is also important to note that seasonal affective disorder is a real psychiatric disorder. However, scientific research continues to be conducted to clarify the debate.

For some more resources about Seasonal Affective Disorder, go to:

https://cmha.bc.ca/documents/seasonal-affective-disorder-2/

http://bodyandhealth.canada.com/healthfeature/gethealthfeature/seasonal-affective-disorder

Hopefully spring is right around the corner (for real this time) so we can get some good old sunshine and vitamin D. Until then, stay warm, friends.

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It Ain’t All Bad

I think I get so caught up in the moment, especially while I am running on the adrenaline rush of an anxious moment (fight or flight), I sometimes forget to stop and realize that although I have moments where I feel like nothing is right, everything is wrong, and things are falling apart, in the grand scheme of things, it isn’t all that bad.

(Can you tell by that run-on sentence I still have residual anxiety from the weekend?)

Here are a few of my “It ain’t all bad” thoughts, in no particular order:

  1. I have a job I love with people I love working with.
  2. My clients may have bad days, or bad moments, but they are humans too, just like me. I have bad days. I have bad moments. I am making a difference in their lives. But life, as we know, can have its share of hiccups.
  3. My thesis is hard work right now, and I may feel like I don’t have much of a social life because of it, but in the future, I will be looking back, not remembering the negative feelings of it all, but just the satisfaction of getting my master’s degree that I worked so hard to get.
  4. I don’t feel guilty about eating that chocolate chip cookie because it was delicious.
  5. I get to hear birds singing out of my window every morning. Nature is beautiful.
  6. Money can be earned and saved in the future. Seeing the world and traveling with my best friend has greater value than the cost of the trip.
  7. My car gets me to and from the places I want and need to go.
  8. My friend group talks every single day in a group chat and I think that it’s wonderful that even though we are growing up and don’t get to see each other all the time that we still make time to send funny pictures or share things about our lives each day.
  9. I love having friends who know that even though we don’t talk every day, love and support is just a text or call away no matter what.
  10. The same is true for my family members.
  11. I’m learning to accept a lot of different things in my life. I am stronger than I ever was.
  12. I have access to delicious food each day.
  13. Soon it will be summer and I will likely be complaining that it is too hot rather than it being too cold like it is now.
  14. My boyfriend makes me feel loved, respected, and beautiful. I have never felt so comfortable being myself with someone. I wish everyone had the chance to feel the way I feel just by hearing his voice.
  15. I am 25 years old and I still call my mom for help with things like making gravy. She also knows how to pick my clothes out for me better than I can. My mom is my favourite person in the whole world.

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