Tag Archives: food

Riding the waves of depression.

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Sometimes happiness seems very far away.

Sometimes happiness seems very far away.


So like many people I know, I have a large range of ups and downs. I have discussed this with a doctor. According to him I’m within normal range, if on the higher end of things. I do not do anything harmful or majorly self-destructive. Please note this is my experience, and if you have depression, please check with your doctor to make sure you’re safe 🙂

Anyway last night I felt a shift. I’ve had a few lower stress days, but my life hasn’t really changed, just my perception of how to live. I don’t know if I can explain it but I went from feeling overwhelmed and incapable to What can I do right now to make things better?

I can tell when I have a break through, as opposed to trying to give myself a pep talk because I flossed. YES, I should floss every day, but my barometer for how depressed I am is if I floss. When I get to the point that I don’t care, and too tired, or just don’t feel like flossing then I know I’m sinking and I do my best to be gentle with myself.

So last night I flossed, yay! And then this morning I exercised, another important tool in keeping my mood even. I’m hoping going to bed early will come next.

My focus for managing my depression is sleep, diet, and exercise.

Sleep is usually the first one to go under the guise of reading a book so good I can’t put it down, never mind that it’s a book I’ve read before.

Exercise? Now this one is tricky because even when I’m depressed, I will go to the gym with my friend. It helps temporarily, but it is the daily exercise and the willingness to do it in my home without anyone that lets me know when I’m feeling more stable. This morning I did a ten minute dance quickie, Hula Hoop for one song (I’m just starting out), and then did some yoga. I love yoga. I’m never sure why I don’t make time for it every day, but depression isn’t logical and it can take away things we enjoy.

This was not extensive, hard-core exercise—this was moving my body in ways I enjoy, getting blood pumping, and opening myself up. I feel better, and even if I don’t go to the gym, those few minutes will sustain me for the day.

One of the yummy meals my daughter made for me.

One of the yummy meals my daughter made for me.


Food? Now I am extremely lucky. My hubby does the grocery shopping, makes me breakfast, and my daughter makes dinner. This means when I get depressed and want to eat crappy food I have to go out of my way to get it, and when I’m depressed I don’t want to leave the house.

“But you could order in,” you say. And you’re right I could, but with my food allergies, even that is limited, unless I want to have migraines and curl in bed for days with painful stomach cramps. IF I WAS WILLING TO DO THAT TO MYSELF I WOULD SEEK MEDICAL HELP FOR MY DEPRESSION.

I used to fight these times of depression. My inner thoughts would become vicious and ugly, and I would ask myself why I couldn’t just suck it up. I’ve learned this makes things worse and once I recognize what is happening and can be gentle with myself, I don’t sink as deep and I don’t stay depressed as long.

I feel that now that I know myself better, I am stable for longer periods of time. A huge turning point for me, which just happened, isn’t about creating the perfect routine. My life isn’t that stable—things change too quickly and in ways I can’t control. So I now do my best to focus on What can I do today? How can I take care of myself right now?

Some days it's chocolate that makes everything better.

Some days it’s chocolate that makes everything better.


Some days it will be yummy salads, hitting the gym, writing 2000 words, and spending time with my family. Other days it will be five minutes of yoga stretches, crackers and hummus while I do paperwork, and reading while a child fitfully sleeps between throwing up until 2am.

How can you tell you’re sinking into a depressed cycle? What do you do to help yourself out of it?

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Killer Potatoes

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Alica Mckenna-Johnson, potatoes

They’re innocent until my children get a hold of them.


This is the kind of thing I have to put up with:

Daughter brings me dinner. “Here mom, I have dinner for you.”

“Thanks, honey. It looks good.”

“I’m not so sure about the potatoes. I ate a bite and then threw-up but maybe you’ll have better luck.” Laughing, she walks away.

Really? My daughter serves me killer potatoes. And this is why I never encourage people to have children. Do you encourage people to have kids, or do you tell them stories of your daily life to scare them?

Foreign Film Friday- The Ramen Girl

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The Ramen Girl, Alica McKenna-Johnson, Forgein Films, Food porn
The Ramen Girl
If you want a see a fun, odd, noodle-ful movie, then The Ramen Girl just might be the flick for you. After losing her boyfriend and being stranded in Japan, Abby loses her sanity and becomes fixated on learning to make ramen, much to the displeasure of the local ramen chef she has decided will be the one to teach her.

I did have two issues with this movie. First, after a year of living in Japan, Abby still can’t speak or understand any Japanese, which I just didn’t believe and second, there wasn’t as much Japanese culture as I like in my foreign films, Abby really isolates herself and therefore us.

But I enjoyed it, and for those of you who have watched Tampopo, the first and best Noodle Western/food porn ever, keep your eyes open for a treat in The Ramen Girl.

Two Things That Have Helped Me So Much!

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Photo by Lynn Kelly Author

Photo by Lynn Kelly Author


As a rule I bounce between being a gung ho, do everything perfectly, type-A person, and a lazy, whiny, couch potato. But I have finally found a solution! Now this might not work for everyone, but I wanted to share the two posts that for the past six weeks have kept me focused, goal oriented, and getting the things done that are important to me.

The first is this post by Kristen Lamb. She talks about ADD and writing, and there a bunch of funny and useful information, but the one that hit home for me is FEELINGS LIE. At some point I had mixed my instincts with my feelings, my whiny, lazy feelings that told me I didn’t have to write if I wasn’t in the mood, that if I was too tired to exercise it was okay, and of course if I was craving nachos then there must be something in them I need.

Alica Mckenna Johnson, Kristen Lamb, 40 yard line

Feelings lie, you might be tired but it’s not time to nap.
Photo by Kristen Lamb

Now I take a deep breath, remind myself that feelings lie and I focus on my long-term goals and not whatever emotional numbing food or behavior my emotions are trying to trick me into doing.

It doesn’t always work, there are days when I lie in bed reading and eating foods that aren’t going to help me get healthier, but I’m not eating things that I’m allergic to, which is a huge improvement to my binges.

The next blog that helped me is Ginger Calem’s Writers Butt Wednesday. She gives you small, simple things to do throughout the day. When I started this I wasn’t working out at all, and for me having a small exercise that I do all day was really helpful. Writers Butt encourages you to do 10 squats or 10 push-ups every time you go to the bathroom, and of course since she has you drinking a lot of water you go a lot!

Lyyn Kelly, Alica Mckenna Johnson, bathroom

See plenty of room for squats.
Photo by Lynn Kelly Author

Because taking care of myself and getting myself healthy was in my thoughts all day, it really helped me stay focused on my long term goals. For a few weeks it was just push-up and squats and the water, then I added small work-outs. Spark People has free work outs on their website. I also have two DVDs that have 10- or 15-minute exercises. A few weeks after that I added yoga, because I missed doing yoga. And now I and a friend have started going back to the gym.

You might roll your eyes at doing squats or push-up after going to the bathroom, but really the squats are very easy to manage in almost every bathroom, and I save the push-ups for when I am not working. To help inspire you I have taken a tally of how many squats and push-ups I did in one day.

Squats 60
Push-ups 20

Not too shabby obviously I need to even it out.

So what pieces of advice have inspired you? What words of wisdom or even offhand comment helped you see things clearly? What small steps to you do every day that helps you to stay focused on your long term goals?

Pleasure an Author Day

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Alica Mckenna Johnson, chocolate, wine, pleasure, author

Photo by Mastermaq


I have decided to make a Pleasure an Author Day!!!! Woo-hoo!Break out the whips and chains, um, I mean wine and chocolates. 🙂

So what exactly are we doing? Well, if you are naughty like me, you have a bunch of books you need to review, and today you shall go and review them. No excuses! Go to Amazon, Goodreads, B&N, Smashwords, anywhere and everywhere you can, and let the authors whose books you’ve read know how much you enjoyed them.
But what if I didn’t enjoy them, you might ask. Well, you have two choices: you can be a wuss like me and only review 4 and 5 star books, or you can review them anyway. For some sites once a book has a certain number of reviews, it gets added to their recommendations lists that pop up, so every review, even unenthusiastic, ones are helpful.

But, Alica I don’t know what to say. Neither do I. I am not a “reviewer,” and sometimes I leave a few sentences, but a few words is fine also. The only rule you must follow is that if you have spoilers, make the first line of your review a spoiler alert, Here, you can copy this one:
SPOILERS, THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS!!!
But, Alica, some places I can’t just leave stars; I have to say something, but what??? Don’t worry, I shall help you, please copy and paste any of the following phrases to make your reviewing process easier:

So much fun.
Couldn’t put it down.
I couldn’t sleep, it scared me so much.
I was on the edge of my seat.
I was afraid to put it down. The action was so intense I was sure things would happen while I wasn’t looking. (Admit it, you do this.)
Buy the super soft tissues, this book will break your heart.
Such a beautiful story.
So sexy, I would like the hero or heroine delivered to my home please.
Kilts *swoons* such hotness.
I feel inspired, thank you.
I laughed so hard I peed a little.

Okay, so in the comments, offer a few more review phrases people can use. Tell us how many books you reviewed today. I searched under the couch cushions and found ten dollars in change and a fuzzy butterscotch, so the one with the most reviews will win a $10 gift card to Amazon.

Da Rules-

1- It is per book, not per review so if you review a book in three different places (and please do so) you only get to count it once.
2- You have to have read it in the past six months.
3- Contest ends Sunday 8/4 at midnight.

Come on you have all weekend to make as many authors shudder in happiness as you can!

Type A persona engaged—warp speed ahead!

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Alica Mckenna Johnson, pasta

Photo by Nebulux76

I was watching So You Think You Can Dance, which I love it is one of my favorite shows. So there I am watching these amazing beautiful power dancers, while eating a huge plate of spaghetti. Then they showed this interview with a young male dancer who’d been in a bad car accident, and his back had been broken.

I teared up listening to his parents talk about how scared they were. Listening to his story, watching him work out with the trainer to re-gain his strength and to be able to dance again I was inspired. That he could go through all of that and fight his way back to being able to dance, and dance beautifully, gave me chills.

As I sat there eating spaghetti, I thought about how hard he had he had worked and what he must have suffered through to be able to dance again, to re-claim his body again, and yet somehow I can’t lose ten pounds and keep it off?

I thought about this, about how if this is something I want, then I should fight for it. And that’s when I realized I wasn’t even sure what I was fighting for. I have been overweight for so long that I no longer remember what it is to feel good about how I look. I want to feel sexy, strong, healthy, and confident in my body. I have no idea what that is any more. And in truth the last time I felt that way, I was a teenager. The body I remember liking was two children, 20 plus years, and thousands of cartons of Ben and Jerry’s ago.

Will I even like my body after I lose weight?

I mean I’ll feel better, be healthier, stronger, and when the Doctor comes I’ll be able to run away from Daleks and such. All very important. But will I like it? Will I think I look pretty, sexy, or be happy at all?

I have no idea, and I think that sense of wondering, that not knowing, makes things harder. The dancer could remember what it felt like to spin, leap, and move across a stage. He had a very clear goal in mind. And I think that goal, that focus, helped him get through the hard times.

I don’t have that. When things get hard some I have some ambiguous idea, but no “I’ll be stronger, I’ll be healthier, I’ll fit into a smaller size,” just isn’t that inspiring. And in that moment, I usually give up—I eat something fatty, I sleep instead of working out, I stay up all night to read instead of getting the sleep I know I need.

How do you stay focused on a non-tangible goal? Do you find a goal you can’t quite picture or feel harder to stay committed to?

Brainwashing, it’s not just for cults anymore

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docguy, weight loss , ice cream

Photo by docguy

I am always my own worst enemy. The thoughts that run rampant in my head can take a turn for the worst, and when this happens my life crashes. Of course, I have big batches of time where I am sane-ish, when I get things done, take care of myself, and feel good. But when things tip, when I lose my balance, these thought come rushing in, and suddenly not writing and sleeping all day sounds great. Instead of eating an apple, I eat ice cream, and getting enough sleep? yeah, that’s one big joke.

So how does one stop crazy thoughts?

I could read books. There are plenty of spiritual/ self-help books that focus on being in the here and now, that offer meditations to let those negative thoughts go. But really I don’t have the time, and I would only do it when I’m doing well.

So I have opted for an easier way, a more passive way, and I’m doing it right now. Subliminal messages. Oh, yes. I am employing the ancient art of brainwashing on myself. I am using a series of tapes, some that are subliminal, some guided imagery, some sleep programming.

If I can’t find will power within myself, then I shall brainwash myself into it!

Right now I am doing tapes that focus on health, healthy eating, and weight loss. But they also have ones on creativity, getting more done, overcoming fears, and tons of other topics.

I have had enough of my brain getting in the way of self-discipline, leaving me the moment things get tough. Maybe these won’t work. Maybe they will. The other day I was planning on eating nachos for lunch. I started to grab the stuff and suddenly did not want them anymore. I had fruit instead and an hour later when I was actually hungry, I made a sandwich.

apocalypse, mango, magoes,

Photo by Tatters:)

I figure as long as the messages aren’t turning me into part of some mad woman’s secret assassin army, it’s all good.

Do you have self-discipline? Are you able to keep the negative self-talk to a minimum, or do you also try to drown the voices in egg rolls and cheese cake?

Sushi Porn

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Hubby and I just watched Jiro Dreams of Sushi, and I now feel like everything I have ever eaten is the equivalent of McDonald’s compared to what Jiro serves at his sushi restaurant.

Watching this has made me realize that perfect is something to strive for, not something to reach. If Jiro can feel that his sushi, rice, a slice of fish, and some sauce can be improved upon, than certainly the things I do in my life can be improved upon. I can always strive to do better, to learn more, to hone my skills, my craft, my intention, and my focus.

I am a vegetarian, but there is something so vibrant and seemingly nurturing and nutritious about raw fish: the color, the transparent shine. I don’t know, maybe it’s just Jiro’s sushi which looks this way, but I now want to go out and have sushi. Maybe someday I’ll even go to Japan, making my reservation at least a month in advance, and eat a meal at Jiro’s. I mean they start at 30,000 yen and can be more, depending on what is fresh and good that day. BTW that is $294.

Are you like Jiro always striving to be better to learn more? Do you love what you do and give your all to you work your passion?

Are you a sushi fan? What should I try first?

20 days of freaking out

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docguy, weight loss , ice cream

Photo by docguy

Sane is not a word most people would use to describe me, which is why twenty days before I am going on the annual work trip to San Diego I am trying desperately to lose weight. Yes, ye, I said annual trip. And yes, after seeing pictures of me last year on the beach, I wanted to throw-up and cry. I vowed to never go back to the beach looking like that. I VOWED! And then I ate ice cream.

So here I am twenty days before we leave and at least sixty pounds overweight. Can a person lose three pounds a day??

Seriously I’m counting calories, getting my butt into odd yoga position, and doing cardio until vomiting seems like a fun idea (well I’ve been doing it for two days now). Point being, why do I do this? Why didn’t I watch my calories intake over the past year? Seriously, I knew this was coming. Why didn’t I exercise more? I have tons of videos for those days when my gym buddy can’t go; there was no reason why my lazy ass couldn’t have done something, anything, other than partake of second breakfast and sit on my ass.

Do you do this to yourself? Are you a last minute panic person or do you take your time and get a bit done every day so it’s easy?

What Will You Hoard?

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zombies, survial gear, Alica Mckenna Johnson

Photo by fekaylius


Ah yes, the End Times have come, zombies shuffle down the street dropping bits of skin as they go, you’ve already killed the top five on your “Who I Will Kill off Pretending They Are Zombies” list. So now what?

The first rush of rioters have cleaned out the alcohol, Oreos, and big screen TV’s. Most of this first rush are hiding in the closets, crying, or already dead. You chuckle remembering the big Apocalypse party they held across the street. The people were so drunk that when the zombies ate them, they couldn’t walk. If America’s Funniest Home Videos comes back you have a winner for sure.

Good Times.

Well, now it’s your turn. The first-run idiots took stuff to get them through the day, but you are planning on surviving and leading humanity into its glorious return!!

What Will It Be?

What will you go out and pillage? What supplies will make your top ten list? I’ll even make it easy and say you have some mode of transportation, car, horse drawn cart, steam engine, or dirigible. Whatever you want, the point it weight and space don’t have to be an option.

My top ten items to hoard:

Dental floss. There are plenty of recipes for simple toothpaste, but I bet it will take a while before someone is making enough thread that we can use it for dental floss and not just to sew clothes.

How To Books. This covers a lot, but I want books on how to make and do everything. Canning, blacksmithing, tanning, farming, carpentry, knitting, sewing, animal care. The list is endless, but I will gather as many as possible. I will probably go with used bookstores first as the older the book, the less technology it will use.

Solar. Anything and everything solar I can get my grubby little hands on. Unless something happens to wipe out all electricity permanently, solar should work to run places independently. And, people, I’m going to want my Kindle up and running.

solar oven, zombie apocalypse, Alica McKenna Johnson

Photo by EBKauai

Yarn and fabric. Yep, I will be raiding yarn and fabric stores. Finally I will have that beautiful hand dyed silk yarn from Japan!!! The clothes we are wearing will only last so long, then we will need new ones.

Shoes, I don’t know how to make shoes and while hubby can make moccasins, I will be pillaging stores for shoes, especially hiking boots. Having a good pair of shoes can mean the difference between life and death in a survival situation.

Photo by Bods

Photo by Bods

Baking soda. This is used in many types of cleaners from toothpastes to mixes to scrub pots. I’m not sure how to get baking soda outside of a grocery store, so until I learn how to make it, I want to have a good supply.

Condoms. Hello! People are going to want to have sex, and STD’s aren’t just going to vanish. Yes, controlling whether you get pregnant or not is important, but not nearly as important as avoiding an STD that can kill you.

Organic seeds.I specify organic because some companies are adding things into their seeds which can prevent the plants from reproducing on their own. So I shall be gathering up as many organic seeds as I can.

Cast Iron. Nothing beats cast iron. It will hold up to a lot, you can cook with it on an open fire, and it makes a very handy weapon.

Water purifiers.Bad water can kill, and while many of the portable ones make the water taste like crap, we won’t always have time to sit and boil water. Clean water is vital, and I want to make sure I have access to it until we get a permanent settlement established. Which we will call ‘This Land,’ and if you don’t get the reference, you can’t come in. LOL!

So what have I missed? What are some of the things on your top ten things to hoard list? Don’t forget to go over your top ten lists with your teams; you want to have as much variety as possible.