Thursday, October 25, 2012


I am sure many of us have heard that one of the best ways to combat mild depression is exercise. Some years ago I took an anti-depressant for a period of around one year.  When I felt like I no longer needed it my therapist stressed how important exercise was to continued well being.  It's the endorphins you know.  Whether you realize it or not, when you exercise endorphins are released and even though your brain might be saying "this sucks!" afterward your body will heave a big of sigh of happy relief.

Going now into my third week of no cardio activity, I'm feeling the lack of endorphins.  I grasped it fully over the last couple of days as we had overcast grey skies and I started feeling almost the same way I do once winter fully sets in even though our temperatures have been milder than normal. Additionally, we have some extended family stressors going on right now that almost make me feel jumpy.  Yesterday morning I woke up and thought, "I feel stressed and sad."  That's when I had to admit I'm feeling mildly depressed.

I'm not really sure what to do about it and I have a full two weeks more in this boot before I see the doctor for a follow-up.  Even if he won't allow me to quite take the boot off I'm hoping to be cleared to maybe try the elliptical at the gym, which I will rejoin if he gives that OK.  In the meantime, I feel stressed and sad.


If you like to cook at all and you don't read Nutmeg Notebook you are really missing out.  Tami does a great job of finding excellent recipes and adapting them into a lighter form.  With every recipe she posts she also includes the nutritional information and WW points.  I've never been disappointed with anything I've tried.  A couple weeks ago, she posted a recipe for a shrimp stew that I immediately pinned.  This week I had the opportunity to make it and can vouch that it is delicious!  Not only that but it perfectly fits into Paleo, Pescetarian and dairy free diets.  

Thai-Style Shrimp Stew
  • 2 lb. jumbo (21 to 25 per lb.) shrimp, peeled and deveined (I buy 2 lb. bags, frozen)
  • Sea salt
  • 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large red bell pepper, sliced into very thin 1-1/2-inch-long strips
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced (white and green parts kept separate)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 4 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 14.5-oz. can petite-diced tomatoes, drained
  • 13.5- or 14-oz. can light coconut milk
  • 2 Tbs. fresh lime juice

In a large bowl, sprinkle the shrimp with 1 tsp. salt; toss to coat, and set aside.
Get all your vegetables chopped and other ingredients ready to go:
Heat the oil in a 12" non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the bell pepper strips and cook, stirring, until almost tender, about 4 minutes. Add the scallion whites, 1/4 cup of the cilantro, the garlic, and the pepper flakes. Continue to cook, stirring, until fragrant, 30 to 60 seconds.

Add the tomatoes and coconut milk and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer to blend the flavors and thicken the sauce slightly, about 5 minutes.
Add the shrimp and continue to cook, partially covered and stirring frequently, until the shrimp are just cooked through, about 5 minutes more. Add the lime juice and season to taste with salt. Serve sprinkled with the scallion greens and remaining 1/4 cup cilantro.

6 servings
Nutrition Information:
Per serving: 231 calories, 8g fat, 7g carbohydrates, 2g fiber, 32g protein; WWPP 5
I made brown rice for myself and sticky white rice for Mr. Helen to put this over.  I recalculated the calories on this because I used less shrimp and light coconut milk (does not include rice).  Also, the 1/2 tsp. of red pepper flakes was plenty for Mr. Helen so I'm glad I didn't use the amount in the original recipe.  I would even say if you have small children you might eliminate that all together and put sriracha or something like that on the side for those who want heat. It took me approximately 40 minutes from the start of chopping vegetables to the dish being finished. Finally, I think this recipe would even be good with chicken for those of you who don't care for seafood. This is a winner that will stay in our recipe rotation!


  1. All I can say, is I hear you, and I know. It really sucks for you right now. And I can tell you that it will get better, but I also know that's hard to hear when you're in the middle of this. So I won't...(but it will).

  2. That shrimp looks delicious!

    Can you do mat pilates work? That's something to do, I guess. Sorry you are down. I know this noreaster that might be coming our way early next week isn't going to help - and it will ruin Halloween, too! Booo....

  3. Make it Lori, you'll love it I'm sure!

    Mat pilates and all that sort of stuff (yoga) are still not going to get my endorphins flowing, they're just not. I miss and need my cardio exercise.

  4. Do you think other vegetables would be good mixed in, like broccoli?

    I've never done it, but I was wondering if a punching bag workout would bring the heart rate up?

    1. I think you could do whatever you want but it would change the cooking time and method - the meat is the star of this dish and if you add vegetables you would just change it completely. I ate my vegetables on the side and I would prefer it that way.

      I am boxing 2X a week right now.

    2. Sorry, hit reply too soon. Because the Muay Thai Boxing requires so much footwork that I can't do, I basically stand there and punch the bag. It's not enough cardio for me and I can't go more than 2X a week.

  5. Sending BIG BIG hugs your way Helen. Your e-friends are here if you need us.

  6. How the hell did I miss that recipe? It screams me! Yep, going on the list of things to make next week. :D

    Sorry about not getting your endorphines in - I'll try to send you some of mine after my lunch time bike workout. Hugs!

  7. Oh Helen, I know exactly how you feel. Being side lined with my own foot issues is doing a number on my mental state as well.

    Thank you for your sweet remarks! Every recipe I have tried that you have posted has been a winner as well. I think you and I enjoy the same type of food.I'm delighted that you were pleased with the Thai stew.

    Hang in there Helen you are on the home stretch!

  8. ahhhhh I get this too.
    back issues :/

  9. The meal looks great!

    I hope you can get some cardio in soon.

  10. I keep my fingers crossed that the boot comes of in 2 weeks and you will be able to put in some cardio again. I don't have a depression but I know what you mean about the exercise. If I don't do anything for a couple of days, I'm getting cranky.

    The stew looks good but I don't eat shrimps. But I love all other kinds of stew. Going to make one next weekend, it's perfect comfort food for Autumn/Winter.