I’ve been thinking a lot lately about living in the middle years. I don’t know if it’s the change of season or my upcoming birthday but everywhere I look I see midlife reflected.
I’m turning 48 next week on Friday which makes me officially in my late 40’s. What’s weird is that I feel like I’ve been conditioned to believe that mid-life is something to freak out about, but I just haven’t yet. In fact, I feel at ease in my age. It’s been a far from perfect journey and some parts of it have been downright shitty but all of it has led me to have more clarity (like the crystal-clear kind) about who I am and what I want for my life.
This has been the beauty of my midlife so far:
· Learning that no one else is to blame for where I am today. I am a result of my choices. This is a weight off the shoulders, I tell you.
· The awareness of ego. I still have it but being aware of it rearing its ugly head has been powerful.
· Using my voice. Still a work in progress.
· Realizing that I am in control of my emotions. How I react is a choice.
· I get to choose. Everything is a choice. Bam. Life changing reality.
· Learning that resistance=fear
· Realizing that fear is just excitement of the unknown.
· Judgement of others is dumb and ultimately the judgment of self.
· Meditation is a freaking lifesaver. Do it. For real.
· Being stronger than I’ve ever been in my life feels awesome. I may have been a skinny bean as a young person, but I was not healthy and only had the muscle to carry around my body and maybe a box of cereal.
· Baby goat cuddles. They’re everything.
Okay, so you get the idea about my 40-something mental/emotional/spiritual state. I have evolved, thank goodness. My parents would be happy to know that I'm not as selfish as I used to be.
The 40’s haven’t been all butterflies, unicorns, rainbows and whatnot, . It’s been awesome finally being comfortable in my own skin but underneath all of that my health has fluctuated between stable and struggling and rarely thriving. I’m happy to say that my health is now trending upward, but it took a bit of education and work to get here.
Here’s what I’ve learned about midlife health so far:
· Anxiety and stress can f you up. It can make you gain weight, create blood sugar imbalance and ruin your gut health thereby affecting all systems and functions including your brain.
· Anxiety can disguise itself as inability to focus or lack of motivation.
· Little messages from the body are early messages that something is up. Big messages mean that something has been going on for a minute.
· Calories in, calories out = a load of crap.
· Fat does not make you fat.
· Dietary cholesterol does not equal cholesterol in the blood. Inflammation and injury= cholesterol.
· Mental health is very strongly tied to what and how you eat.
· Diets are stupid, unless you’re on a healing protocol.
· Meditation can be as good for you as a workout. Seriously.
· Baby goat cuddles are therapeutic.
· Eating all the best foods and working out isn't enough.
· Lifestyle is 80% of it. Maybe more.
So, there’s so much more I could say here but I try to keep it to a four-minute read. If you want to know more about thriving in your middle years feel free to reach out or sign up for my Master Your Midlife workshop (shameless plug). I just feel compelled to share what I know and help women get out of the struggle because I know it can suck and it doesn’t have to.
Now I’ll awkwardly transition to my recipe. Since the gut is king (or queen) and the Snoqualmie Valley Farmers Cooperative had purple cabbage and purple sprouting broccoli leaves (yay for the leafy green something) this week, I thought I’d make some purple & green sauerkraut. If you can eat some kind of fermented veg every day, I can almost guarantee your gut will love you for it. Most people make sauerkraut with green cabbage, but the purple variety contains anthocyanins which give it that beautiful purple color. Anthocyanins are free-radical fighting antioxidants that can benefit heart health, cancer prevention and may reduce inflammation. All good things for anyone at any age.
Purple & Green Sauerkraut
I’m kind of a fermenting nerd and will try and ferment just about any veg that comes my way and the purple sprouting broccoli leaves were no exception. I realize that most people don’t have access to them so feel free to sub any hardy green or just use cabbage. Or track down Steel Wheel Farm and buy some from Farmer Ryan.
1 head purple cabbage, cored and sliced thin with knife or mandolin
1 bunch purple sprouting broccoli leaves or kale or collards or any leafy thing really, stems removed and thinly sliced
2-3 carrots, julienned
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1-2 T sea salt
1. Place all ingredients in bowl except salt
2. Sprinkle salt (start with 1-1.5 T) on the veggies and massage in with clean hands until water starts to seep out of cells.
3. Press veggies and any liquid into a clean ½ gallon jar or crock.
4. Make a salt brine with the remaining salt in about 1 quart of water.
5. Add enough water to the jar to cover the veggies. You may not need all of it.
6. Weigh down with a glass or weight so that the veggies stay below the liquid.
7. Cover with towel or cheesecloth.
8. Set on countertop at room temp for 3-7 days until bubbling. Taste for flavor. It may need a few more days to achieve your preferred tang.
9. Cover with lid and refrigerate. Should last several months. Maybe more.