If you know anyone who is younger than 35 make sure to remind them how lucky they are to not have the aches and pains associated with getting older and to not have to get subjected to the medical tests we need as we age. Oh, they will probably just roll their eyes, nod and be thinking it will never happen to them! I remember those days. I used to get out of bed without hearing snap, crackle or pop. I could be on my feet at work for hours without needing orthotics in my shoes. I could eat without having to worry about gaining weight. In short, my body was humming along while I focused on everything else in life. Yes, I did build in some good habits such as making time for exercise and switching to a vegetarian diet, but most of my attention and energy was spent on my job, relationships and friendships.
Fast forward 20 years and my body is speaking up loud and clear! The first thing I do when I sit up in bed is stretch from the tips of my fingers to my toes. It feels great but it also gives me a chance to assess the usual areas of pain and to check if there is anything new I need to know about. When I exercise or do anything physical (which is pretty much anything from shopping to driving to sitting on the sofa) I have to pay close attention to my form and position. And of course, there are all those regular tests that are not pleasant but are necessary to ensure nothing is happening inside me that could lead to bigger problems. In the last two weeks this has meant getting a mammogram and a colonoscopy. Neither one is my first choice for how to spend my day, but I can rest easier now knowing I got relatively good news from each test.
I will add to my original statement by saying if you know anyone over the age of 40, remind them to pay attention to their body and stay on top of the preventive and diagnostic tests that need to be done. We can take care of ourselves by eating right and exercising, but some things are out of our control and need a temporary discomfort to ensure we will have a long, healthy future.
And yes, the prep for the colonoscopy is the worst part!
This week’s recipe is a little time consuming, but rather easy. The original recipe uses a microwave to prep all the ingredients. I do not have a microwave, so my version takes longer. Use the link to get directions for the microwave version. As always, make it your own by using your favorite ingredients. You can make it vegan by subbing tofu ricotta and nutritional yeast for the cheeses.
Sweet Potato and Mushroom Cannelloni
2 medium to large sweet potatoes, washed
1 small onion, sliced
8 no-boil lasagna noodles
1 bag baby spinach
1 tablespoon olive oil
8 oz. button or cremini mushrooms, washed and sliced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1/4 cup panko
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
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