Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Big news everyone. I have officially began surfing lessons! My husband is my teacher. I will soon be shredding the waves with my awesome moves….or maybe I’ll just get to the point where I can turn. That would be good too.

My surfin’ hottie.

I’ve attempted surfing about 4-5 times in my life. Why so many tries and not so many successes? Well, turns out that I’m not so good at things that I’m not so good at. I really dislike being a “beginner” or “novice” or smacking my face with a 10 foot surfboard. I tend to shy away from things if I am not naturally gifted at them. Trouble is there are a lot of things, like surfing, that I would like to do in my lifetime. And these things require me to be a beginner and LEARN.

I recently listened to a TED talk about extending your life expectancy through resilience. The speaker began by talking about a recent study done with the elderly. Hospice workers were asked to share the last regrets of the elderly as they lay on their deathbeds. Here are the top 5:

Top 5 regrets of the Dying.

  1. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
  2. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
  3. I wish I had let myself be happier.
  4. I wish I had the courage to express my true self.
  5. I wish I had lived a life true to my dreams.

Pretty enlightening right? Her talk transitioned into talking about traumatic events and their effect on our psyche. Well, It turns out that when we go through a traumatic event we have a tendency to choose two different ways of coping with the challenge. These two ways are known as PTSD, Post traumatic Stress Disorder or PTG, Post Traumatic Growth. These are inherent to any sort of life change but will affect us to larger or lesser degree depending on the severity and intensity of the trauma.

PTG is defined (wikipedia) as positive psychological change experienced as a result of the struggle with highly challenging life circumstances. Interestingly enough, the side effects of PTG are the exact opposite of the 5 regrets expressed most-frequently by the dying.

In the TED talk, the speaker encourages us to actively seek out the benefits of PTG regardless of whether we are having to go through a traumatic life event. Here are some hallmarks of the PTG experience that should be put into practice in order to increase longevity and avoid the regrets that so often haunt us during our twilight years…

Post-Traumatic Growth

  • Physical Resilience; Don’t sit still. Every hour, do something to move. Walk around, exercise, stretch.
  • Mental Resilience; Do something that requires willpower. It’s like a muscle and by doing things that require our will and determiation (things that we normally don’t want to do) we increase our ability to overcome obstacles.
  • Emotional Resilience; try to counteract every 1 negative emotion experienced with 3 positive ones. Look at pictures of puppies, watch a sunset, read encouraging quotes. Be curious and loving.
  • Social Resilience; Make sure you take time to connect with people you know as well as strangers. Hand shakes, hugs, meaningful texts, emails, cards, and gifts. We garner strength in community and thrive through gratitude and touch.

I’d like to think that surfing is a great way to cultivate these things. I am challenging myself, being active mentally and physically. Exposing myself to God’s creation, the beauty of the outdoors and sea life. Connecting with others, being mindful of the line-up, friends and strangers in the water. Hip Hip HOORAY for a longer life full of joys and void of regrets.

The Food

This recipe is a great for post-surf sustenance. Inspired by my girl, Juli Bauer over at PaleOMG. She has some great recipes and a hilarious attitude.

I love using this recipe for my athletic clients. Good carbs, protein, and some veggies… yes please! This meal is super versatile. Make it breakfast-style with some bacon or apple sausage.  Or make it Italian with some parmesan sprinkles on top. Sky is the limit!

Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

1 large (round-ish) yam
1/2 lb. ground beef, turkey, or lamb
2 handfuls of spinach
1/4 small onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 375-400

  1. With the skin on, slice the yam in half, lengthwise. Brush some oil on the cut-side of the yam and place cut side down on a baking sheet. Bake for about 25-30 mins until the flesh is tender to the touch (press the yam with a finger, if it gives a little, then it’s good to go). Take it out of the oven and let it cool a bit.
  2. In a heated skillet, add some oil (or butter) and saute the onions and garlic for about 30 secs to a min. Add meat and continue to cook.
  3. After the yam cools a bit, scoop out the flesh with a spoon. Leave a little layer of flesh on the skin so the yam retains it’s “bowl-like” shape.
  4. Add the scooped out flesh to the cooking meat. Add in the spinach and any spices or seasonings you desire.
  5. Once the skillet meat is done, scoop mixture into the yam “bowls”. Serve with avocado, baked portobello mushrooms, or maybe some heirloom tomatoes
    In this version, I had some baked chicken thighs and ground beef. Protein power!



One Comment Add yours

  1. Leslie says:

    I love your intro!

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