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Elephants and Sweet Potatoes

A sound bite is a tiny clip from a speech. These posts are designed to be quick ideas (“bites”) about how we busy people can practically integrate wellness into our daily lives. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. How do you accomplish something overwhelming? Start with a manageable crumb. For accountability in choosing actions that propel you toward your chosen future, contact connect@equipmelifecoaching.com.

Elephants remind me of my daughter. Some stuffed animals scared her, and she was ambivalent about others, but the small stuffed elephant her grandma sent her from the San Diego Zoo fascinated her: she spent many happy hours excitedly kicking her arms and legs while studying the elephant and licking it. When she died unexpectedly at 3 months old from a non-inherited interstitial chromosomal deletion, we buried the elephant with her. Now when we see toy elephants, we think of our daughter. Her death, and my subsequent layoff (along with my entire department) just a few months later, was a turning point my wellness journey. Before, I was interested in wellness; afterward, I sacrificed to prioritize it.

The thing about wellness is that it requires time and intentionality—and when our lives are crazy busy, or we don’t have the energy or the health to invest in creating new routines, it’s hard to make changes. In this column, I’ll share quick, inexpensive, and practical ways I’ve discovered for even busy humans to integrate health and wellness. Enjoy this first #ElephantBite!

Sweet potatoes are a tasty powerhouse of antioxidants (which support a healthy immune system), B vitamins (which provide energy), and fiber (which helps digestion) . . . and they’re currently in season! A bag of 4-5 potatoes costs $1.47 at Aldi, and provides nutritious snacks for our entire family. We bake enough sweet potatoes for each person to eat one per day.

Here’s what we do:

1) Scrub the skin of the sweet potato under running water with a stainless steel scouring pad. Rinse well. (Since the skin of the sweet potato is the source of many of its beneficial minerals and nutrients, my family eats the skin too.)

2) Cut both ends off the sweet potato.

Prick the sweet potato with a knife in 6 places; this lets heat escape so the sweet potato won’t explode.

3) To minimize mess, line a baking sheet with parchment paper; top with potatoes.

Baking time will vary depending on size of the sweet potato, so please experiment. Here’s what usually works for me: bake in a preheated oven at 425 degrees F for 75 minutes, then turn the oven off (without opening the door). Leave the potatoes in the cooling oven for several hours or overnight; leaving them to cool in the steam softens the potato skins.

4) When cool, remove the potatoes from the oven, cut the large ones in half,

and store them in containers. Refrigerate.

5) Grab for non-messy snacks to eat on the go. (We eat sweet potatoes cold, with no seasoning. I know that sounds weird, but we need something quick and easy!)

Let me know what you think of this snack: connect@equipmelifecoaching.com.


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