Winter can be a really depressing time. The freezing air and biting wind inflict themselves until our extremities turn brittle like ice and crack off. The sun sets early and leaves us in melancholy darkness. For students, winter is packed with work, tests and finals, and the end of the school year is a barely visible pinprick of light at the end of a looooooong tunnel.
For me personally this is the time of year when my intrinsic pessimism really shines through. I spend the spring and summer months basking in the warm weather and concealing the negativity bound into my DNA as best I can. But when winter comes around, everything seems so tough I just can’t help but start to act a little tough myself. I think this is true of lots of people – they’re nice in the summer, but often border on evil in the winter. It’s like everyone’s sprightly spring character has flown south, to be replaced by a harsh winter personality bent on surviving the cold and biting off the heads of anyone who ventures to get in their way.
However, numerous studies have shown that an optimistic outlook serves a person better than a pessimistic one. Optimists, those who see the proverbial “glass half full,” live longer, are healthier, and probably more likely to succeed, which makes sense since they aren’t hindered by negative voices in their head all the time. I’ve always wanted to become an optimist, but none of the lauded “transformational” techniques I’ve tried have gotten me too far. Probably because I thought to myself, “this will never work,” and gave up almost immediately. It seems I’m just a pessimist by nature, and probably doomed to remain one all my life.
Still, I would like to improve my well-being, if not by entirely changing my personality, then maybe by being mindful of my outlook and any unreasonable negativity. And if I do happen to bite someone’s head off this winter, I’ll try to be mindful of that too. 🙂
One way to be happier is to be healthier. This can mean different things for different people. There are some general rules, however: for one, exercise is great for most everyone, and nourishes the mind and soul as well as the body by releasing endorphins and providing a sense of accomplishment. Eating healthy can help individuals reach their wellness goals and increase self-esteem, as well as keeping their brains awake and well-fueled throughout the day (this might reduce the chances of irritability.) In my opinion, healthy foods should also be happy foods: foods that you can feel good about eating, but that also taste great and fulfill your cravings. These are the types of recipes I strive to create on this blog.
Today, I made myself a healthy and happy breakfast: a warm, satisfying quesadilla packed with high-protein Tofurkey and nutritious cheese, and bursting with the flavors of summer. A gustatory reminder of my happiest season instantly added cheer to my day, and reminded me that there is always something to look forward to. Sometimes just a little thing, like pretty flowers, a smile from a friend, or in this case a yummy meal can make a big difference in someone’s day and in how they see the proverbial glass of water. So serve this tasty meal to someone who’s been feeling grumpy lately: it’s sure to bring a smile to their face and warmth to their heart!
Tropical Sunshine Quesadilla
makes 1 quesadilla
- 1 Flat Out brand light original flatbread
- 1 slice 365 brand Mild Goat Cheese (found in sliced cheese section at Whole Foods Market)
- 2 slices peppered Tofurkey
- about 1/3 to 1/2 of a mango, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 tbl dried cranberries
Spray a small to medium pan with cooking spray.
Arrange cheese, Tofurkey, mango pieces, and dried cranberries on one side of the flatbread, as shown below:
Fold over the other side of flatbread so it covers the filling ingredients.
Place quesadilla on prepared pan, and heat to medium-high. Cook until bottom side has browned a bit, then flip and cook the other side. When that side has browned as well, remove from heat and place quesadilla on serving plate. Cut and serve with a smile!