Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Wisdom Wednesday - Do a Cleanse

Photo from One Step At A Time

Ever wonder why that new thing you are doing is just not working?  Like the healthy eating, juicing, all natural and pure supplements and exercising are not kicking in the way you would like?  Sure, you notice a difference, but where is the WOW factor in this new lifestyle?

It is quite possible that your body is so bound  up with toxins and junk that you need to do a cleanse, a fast, a detox (or whatever other name you want to give it) before you will really see results.  It is a lot like hitting the reset button on your electronic device.  Everything is cleared out and you get to start with a clean slate.  That is what 'cleaning out' your body does, it resets everything. 

Looking at your past and current lifestyle will depend on how long you need to hold down the reset button and how often you need to reset, again.  If you have been eating clean for quite some time then simply doing a few meal replacements or a short 3 day fast could work for you.  On the contrary, if you eat out a lot and drink fluids other than water, fresh juice (made at home) and herbal tea then you probably need a week long fast or longer.  If you are dealing with heavy food addiction, smoking and alcohol you probably need to start with baby steps (replace 2 meals a day with juicing) then go into a longer fast.

If you have health issues it is always advisable to seek a doctor's permission before beginning a new or strict program, and it is always good to note that this blog is not intended to diagnose illness or provide cures.

What does a fast or cleanse do?  I'm glad you asked! 
  • It helps to retrain your taste buds (out with the junk, in with the fresh)
  • Helps your body to remove addictions to artificial food preservatives and additives (and possibly other addictions as well).  Things such as MSG, high fructose corn syrup, artificial colors, caffeine...
  • Removes daily toxin build up from living in a world full of chemicals
  • Cleans out your colon so you can absorb ALL the good nutrients you consume.
  • Improves mental clarity
  • Improves skin tone
  • Increases energy
  • Allows the body to alkalize and fight disease
  • Give the gut a rest from digesting food all the time
  • Jump starts weight loss
  • Jump starts weight gain in an underweight and malnourished individual.
  • Jump starts building good muscle tone for those exercising (don't train during a fast, but after the fast is over you can hit it hard and see the results)
  • Help men experiencing issues in bed to be reawakened
  • Aids in overall well being
Now don't get me wrong.  Fasting is not easy.  If your body is particularly bound up with toxins you will experience some detox symptoms the first few days.  But somewhere along the way you will begin to feel better, then feel great.  That is the point where you can be sure you have detoxed your body long enough, but feel free to go longer, or just detox more often!  Some do a 1 day detox monthly, others a 3 day detox quarterly, and still others a 10 day detox annually.  You decide what is right for you.

Here are some good juice fasting resources:
  • Watch why Kristina started a fully raw diet.  Short and very informative.  Click here.
  • Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead website with fasting info and healthy eating guidelines.
  • Watch the film Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead on Hulu for free (with commercials) or get it on Netflix.  Film is all about juicing and follows people's lives.
  • Watch Forks Over Knives on Hulu for free (with commercials) or get it on Netflix. and check out their website  Film is about plant based diets and gives a ton of great info.
  • Check out Fit Life.TV
And so much more. 

Juice Fast recommendations:
  • Breakfast meal replacement only
  • Lunch meal replacement only
  • Juice breakfast and lunch then eat a healthy dinner
  • 3 day juice fast only
  • 5 day juice fast only
  • 10 day juice fast only
  • 21 day juice fast only
  • Juice for 3 days only after traveling or a stressful life event
By-the-way, only juice organic fruits and veggies.  And juice veggies WAY MORE then fruit.

Try it, you just might like it, and see some real health benefits!

Monday, February 25, 2013

My Life Monday - Monsters In My Room

Original Picture from Little White Lion
Let's talk about health through creative genius.  Not my creative genius persae', but parents do have to become creative to help their children in a number of different situations.  With kids we face all types of obstacles in keeping them mentally and emotionally healthy on all fronts.  Sure, we can feed them and bathe them and guard what goes in their little minds, but they still live in this world and will pick things up from outside sources.  I tend to find that during some of these situations frustration can run on high and during those moments of frustration my creative juices simply STOP flowing!  Ugg.  I want to always be gentle and loving and communicate well, but let's face it, sometimes I DON'T.

So today I wanted to give you one such example that maybe you can use with your kids, grand kids, nieces, nephews or other children in your life.  The dreaded, "There's a monster under my bed" or in my closet or wherever monsters may lurk at night.  I was naive to think we would never face this issue because we don't watch monsters on TV or even talk about them, but BAM, about a year ago, out of nowhere there were monsters!  In her closet!  My then, barely 4 year old, would suddenly not go into her room alone in the dark.  She didn't want to go to sleep.  And at this point after about a week of telling her everything was alright and praying over her and singing worship music over her to fall asleep (which we already do every night) I started to get frustrated.  Can't I just demand she not be scared and make her go to bed?  No.  How do we defeat these monsters?  Where did they come from?  We need to move beyond this fear.  After all, "God has not given us a spirit of Fear, but He has given us a spirit of Power, a spirit of Love and of a Sound Mind."  2 Timothy 1:7. 

Step 1: Pray.  Pray against the spirit of Fear; after all, it is a spirit and can MUST be defeated.  So, we prayed.  We prayed the scripture above in 2 Timothy, but I also like the scripture Psalm 91, the entire chapter.  I read and pray this over my kids often.

Step 2: Get Creative.  Remember those creative juices I was talking about?  The ones that seem to stop flowing during difficult situation?  Yeah, get those going!  I remembered my own 'monsters under the bed' issue when I was a kid, but I didn't think they were monsters...I thought they were demons!  And I still think they were, but that is another story for another time.  Back then my mom gave me a metal baseball bat and I wrote 'SWORD OF THE SPIRIT, Ephesians 6:17' on it in permanent marker, then I prayed over it and set it next to my bed.  It gave me great comfort to have a physical reminder of the spiritual weapons from the Lord within arms reach.  So I did this with my little girl.  Amazing what a physical, tangible reminder can do to calm the mind.  And finally, I wanted to show her that Mommy was doing something on her behalf, so I filled a spray bottle with water and some lemon essential oil (for smell) and labeled the bottle Monster Spray.  I ran around her room spraying monsters that she pointed out to me while yelling, "Gotcha!"

The combination of the above things completely remedied the monster issue the very first night.  Of coarse, we did spray some monsters the following few nights just for good measure, but they had all but disappeared.

There are other things our family does on a regular basis to help keep the real monsters away (like anointing our doors and windows and spiritual house cleaning), but on a kid level these things worked!

Have you ever had to be creative in the face of frustration for your kids?  Leave a comment and tell me about it, it could help another family out there.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Soul Food

Considering today is Food Friday I wanted to share with you another type of food...Soul Food.  And no, I am not talking about ox tail and collard greens.  I AM talking about food that feeds your soul. 

This is the season of Lent, and although I could make this a really long post about what lent is and why it is observed, I'm not.  Actually, the only thing I am going to say is that my friend Kiki from I Still Hate Pickles wrote a Lenten Devotional titled Consider The Cross.  It is an e-book, so go check it out by clicking on the button in my side bar.  This will feed your soul!

Food Friday - Homemade Tortillas, and the Beet

Photo from Deep Thoughts by Healey

I don't know why, but I just want to blog about beets!  Maybe it is because a friend of mine just tried them, read about her experience over at I Still Hate Pickles.  I have heard so many people say that they not only don't like beets, but that they loathe them.  I, on the other hand, really enjoy beets.  For me, the trick is to make sure they are really clean; seriously, wash them twice.  They tend to hold sand, dirt and grit and if it is not fully removed they will turn out gritty in texture and overly earthy in flavor.  Also, when I cook beets I peel them first.  Yes, before they are cooked.  Most recipes call for them to be peeled after roasting, but I prefer to peel, rinse, cube then roast.  They come out sweet that way.  Actually, if you allow a beet to over ripen (become slightly wrinkled) they become very sweet and you can actually eat them raw when the are in that over ripe state.  Also, the small beets are sweeter and less earthy than the large beets.  I like them so much I don't care what size I get as long as I get them.  My kids even love them.  We call them 'pink princess food' for my daughter, and that did the trick to getting her to try the first bite.  For a boy you could say they are 'Spiderman Red Super Food'.  It just might work!

Benefits of Beets:
  • Cleans the blood and strengthens the heart.  If you look at a beet it is red and shaped kind of like a human heart, and that is what it is good for.
  • Helps to fight inflammation
  • Cleans the digestive tract
  • Aids in weight loss
  • High in Antioxidants
  • High in fiber and great for preventing/fighting colon cancer
  • Eating beets on a regular basis is good for lowering bad cholesterol
  • And just because I can say it twice: It is a GREAT CLEANSER, pair it with cilantro for a great body detox.
And the list just keeps on going! 

Ways to cook the beet:
  • Wash, peel, rinse, slice thin and sautee' in a little coconut oil.  Add the tops/greens at the end.
  • Wash, peel, rinse, cube then roast with a little olive oil and sea salt at 415* for 25-35 minutes
  • Wash, peel, rinse, shred with carrots and add pineapple for a raw salad
  • Wash, peel, rinse, slice thin when over-ripe and add raw to a salad.
  • Juice them in a good juice
We like to roast them with sweet potato and cauliflower and eat as a side dish or put into fajitas.

Speaking of fajitas, have you ever read the ingredients in the store bought tortillas?  Yuck!!!!  You can make them at home.  Mine turned out really rustic looking, but tasted great.  Actually, my family unanimously decided that they might be the best tortillas we ever had.  Don't be fooled by the smell when making them, the dough is not pleasing to the nose.

Homemade Tortillas Recipe:
From 100 Days of Real Food

Whole-Wheat Tortillas
Serves: 12 Tortillas
Adapted from Anson Mills
  • 2½ cups whole-wheat flour (I used King Arthur’s white whole-wheat flour)
  • ½ cup oil (I used avocado oil)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup warm water (heat in the microwave for 1 min)
  1. In the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer set with a dough hook, pour in the flour, oil and salt. Beat with the paddle until crumbly, about 3 to 5 minutes. Scrape the sides as needed. If your hand-held mixer comes with dough hooks those can be used as well.
  2. With the mixer running, gradually add the warm water and continue mixing until the dough is smooth, about 3 minutes.
  3. Take out the dough and divide it into 12 equal sized pieces. I do this by making the dough into a big log shape that is about 8 – 10 inches long. Then I cut it in the middle. Then I cut each of those pieces in the middle and so on until you have 12 pieces.
  4. Using the palms of your hand roll each piece into a round ball and flatten it out on a baking tray or board. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature for at least 15 minutes or up to one hour.
  5. Heat a cast iron skillet, griddle or 12-inch skillet over med-high heat. The pan should be fairly hot before you begin cooking the tortillas.
  6. On a lightly floured board or counter top, use a rolling pin to turn each ball into a 8 to 10 inch flat circle (measure against your recipe if printed on a 8.5X11 sheet of paper). Be careful not to use more than a teaspoon or two of flour when rolling out each ball into a tortilla because too much excess flour will burn in the pan.
  7. Grease the pan with a touch of oil (or ghee) and then carefully transfer each tortilla, one at a time, to the pan and cook until puffy and slightly brown, about 30 to 45 seconds per side. Set aside on a plate to cool slightly. Eat within an hour, refrigerate or freeze.

 My dough rounds resting.
 Cooking my first tortilla.  Kind of rustic looking.  I made mine really thin!
Remembering to take a picture before the meal was over!
Now go roast up some beets to eat with the tortillas you make for dinner! 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Wisdom Wednesday - Part Two - Don't Sweat the Small Stuff

OK, I started thinking about the post I just published and decided it needed a PART TWO.  I wanted to clarify that the title was Don't Sweat the Small Stuff and that is why the subject matter was extremely light in nature.  I recognize that many people are going through truly stressful life events and don't want to belittle that in any way.  But I will say that I survived an extremely stressful life event (called Guillain-Barre) that taught me how to not stress even in the big stuff.  It can be done, but not in our own strength  "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." 2 Corinthians 12:9

If you are in a difficult time of stress in your life seek God and seek help.

Wisdom Wednesday - Don't Sweat the Small Stuff

Don't sweat the small stuff. 

Roll with the punches.

Don't cry over spilt milk.

Choose your battles, otherwise you will always be fighting. 

Seriously!  The above quotes are true.  Why to people in general get so upset over nothing? 

I think we have a tendency to allow things to build up inside for so long that our emotions eventually erupt all over everyone and everything without warning.  Something simple, like a glass of spilt milk, becomes the the tip of the iceberg and our whole day goes wrong from there on out.  Tears and yelling and just grumpy attitudes all around. 

If Momma ain't happy, ain't no one happy.  Wow, that was difficult to type considering ain't ain't a word. 

My Mother use to tell me 'The answer is yes unless it is absolutely no.'  And in a home with two small children the absolutely No's are sprinkled throughout each day.  To help those No's not be the only word we say, we also say yes to many things that may otherwise have been a no.  Things such as painting when I just don't feel like setting up then cleaning up paint become yes.  I must correct that mispronounced word for the 100th time with a hug and a smile instead of with an ugly tone in my voice.  I must stop to tickle my kids, jump around and act silly, make pancakes for lunch or stop typing at the computer (when I really need to finish what I am doing) in order to watch my kids draw on the chalk board...forever.  Why?  Because these are the precious times, and stress is a killer.

Speaking of STRESS,  that is what today's Wisdom Wednesday is about...or actually avoiding stress.  Stress can shorten a person's life expectancy for one thing, but not only that it can ruin a person's quality of life.  It can make you sick, drive you crazy and literally lower your immune system.  How can anyone effectively enjoy a moment, event, day, week or lifetime if they are consumed with stress and/or worry and feeling run down because of it?  Stress and worry do seem to go hand in hand.

My advice for today is to find a way to enjoy the small moments that may otherwise be stressful.  Learn how to decompress daily, weekly or hourly if need.  Talk to the Lord.  After all, His word says "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God." Philippians 4:6

So, I say again:

Don't sweat the small stuff.

Roll with the punches.

Don't cry over spilt milk.

Choose your battles, otherwise you will always be fighting.

Allow the Joy of the Lord to be your strength today, and kick stress to the curb.  Now that is living daily health!

Monday, February 18, 2013

The Strong Willed Child

I have one of those.  You know, the child with the strong will?  The one you can't make do anything, but you can teach to do everything!  She is smart, fun, exuberant and full of life; but she is strong...very strong.  It is her way, or the highway.  At least that is what she thinks.  It seems I am always having to make her think something was her idea in order to get her to do something.  Or, if she thinks something is unfair (to her disadvantage) then life is simply over, she doesn't like me anymore and doesn't need me.  Well, doesn't need me until lunch time, anyway.

We had such a moment the other day where yelling at her brother and calling him stupid was acceptable in her mind because he wanted to give her a kiss.  Humm?  And where did she learn the word stupid?  We don't use that in our house.  Oh, the same boy at Sunday school that taught her to stick out her tongue.  She seems to like taking his advice and learning his not so savvy ways, why doesn't she desire to learn good ways from us instead?  Ugg.  Well, after this particular moment she went to spend some time in her room alone.  As I walked by her door doing house work I saw her sitting on the floor starring high up on the wall just above her window and wondered what was going on, but I left her alone to think.  Eventually she came out and told me that she had been talking to the Lord, and He told her that it was her fault.  Wow.  This was profound.  She apologized on her own and gave hugs all around.

During these times of trying, when her exhibited will is strong in a neagative and disruptive way, I try to remind myself that one day she will need that strength.  What seems so difficult at the time will become a huge asset in her future.  She will be an adult that knows what she wants, says NO if she has to, and won't take NO for an answer when she shouldn't.  For today, I have the difficult task of teaching her how to wield that will and I must do so without crushing it.  Once a will is crushed it may never come back!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Food Friday - Chicken Burgers

We eat a lot of chicken in our home, so when it was time to make dinner I didn't want one of our usual chicken dinners.  I opened the freezer and saw 4 leftover whole wheat burger buns.  With the chicken I had pulled out sitting to the side I thought Chicken Burgers.

And boy were they good. 

Chicken burger topped with baby kale.

Chicken Burgers - Baked Fries - Edamame:

First, I took the free range, all natural chicken strips and marinated them in a little extra virgin olive oil and sprinkled a little organic guacamole mix (from a packet) on them and let it sit.  I popped a few organic fries in the oven to bake and when they were halfway done I put on a pot of water to boil for the edamame.  On my flat pan I seared the chicken approximately 6 minutes on first side and 4 minutes on the second side.  When I flipped them over to the second side I added the edamame to the boiling water pot and everything was ready at the same time.  I prepared the buns to every one's specific liking, added the chicken and fed my family.  The burgers had a bit of a kick from the marinade and they tasted GREAT!  I could have had two of them.


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Wisdom Wednesday - The Retreat

Scripture in Dining Hall

This Wednesday I decided to post two tips.  The first one was about coconut oil, but this one will talk about health in a completely different light.  Taking care of yourself emotionally, mentally and spiritually.  Health comes from many different aspects of life, not just what you put into your body through your mouth.  Our health is also effected by what we put into our minds, how we deal with our emotions, whether or not we take care of our spirit man, and also by stopping and getting away emotionally.  Don't get me wrong, I spend time with God and in ministry, but do I ever just get away for me?  No.

This past weekend I was given the opportunity to go on a Women's Retreat at our church.  I use to do this annually (starting in my youth group days), but the last one I had taken was 6 years ago before my first child was born!  Having taken the time out to go retreat again this year made me realize how much I really needed it, and not just this one time, but on a regular basis.  I need to spend time with just me, just other women, and just God to recharge, fill back up and rest so I can come home and be the best wife, mom, daughter, friend and minister that I can be.  Not only that, but this retreat gave my husband and I the idea to begin the weaning process from my son.  No, I did not believe that after only two days gone he would be completely weaned, but I did expect that he would not have 'mommy milk' any more.  So....drum roll please...Micah has been 'mommy milk-free' since Friday at noon; 4 days now.  Yes, he still asks for it, but thus far I have been able to use other comfort measures.  So a retreat can also be used to kick start a new stage of life!

Some highlights from the retreat:

 The topic or theme of the retreat was four one hour sessions about the sisters Mary and Martha (brother Lazarus) in the Bible.  We all know these stories, but they were presented in a new and fresh way directly from the potter's wheel by Carole Wolaver aka The Pottery Lady.

 Picture of Carole and her husband Wayne.
Pottery she made the last session still on the potters wheel.
Pottery from the first couple of sessions.  The small jars are tear bottles!
The pitcher on the top left was the first piece she made during her presentation.  It looked just like a vase and we all thought it was complete until with just one touch of a finger it became a pitcher.  It was so amazing and profound that the entire room did a quite gasp in unison.  That is just like God.  He creates us as a vase to learn the function of holding water, then with just one touch He turns us into a pitcher to pour ourselves out for others!
These are completed tear bottles.  I think they are beautiful, and no larger than your hand.  The scriptures inside the scrolls are: Psalm 56:8, "You number my watering's; put my tears into Your bottle; are they not in Your book?" and Revelation 21:4 "And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying.  There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away."  I think this is a great gift for anyone grieving anything, and even for an emotional child so they can use it for a visual when upset.
This young lady, Lauren, started ministries that helps young girls in Uganda go to school and have a better life.  She sells the heartbead jewelry the ladies make out of old magazines to raise the funds.
Here is a necklace and bracelet made by the Ugandan women.
Here is a close up, can you see the edges of the magazine paper that creates the beads?  Who ever thought to recycle magazines into beautiful beads!
 I took part in the local mission ministry made available during the retreat.  We made Martha & Mary dry soup packages filled with all the ingredients, love and prayer to make a hearty meal.  These will go to our churches Care Ministry to be given out to families in times of need.  I made the bag you see above along with another one.  I believe 50 packages were made in total!
 Do you see that tree with the cross in front of it?  Do you see the ribbons on the tree?  That was our prayer tree for the weekend.  Various colored ribbons were made available the entire weekend for women to go select, sit at Jesus' feet, pray and then attach the ribbon to the tree as an act of giving it to the Lord.  Each colored ribbon represented a different thing.  When completed it was a really beautiful sight to behold.

I really enjoy nature, actually that is when I feel closest to God and to who I truly am.  This tree had ferns growing all over it.  Breathtaking.

 Part of the lake and view at the retreat.
 A group of ladies assembled approximately 140+ of these bags in yellow, green and pink.  One for each lady at the retreat filled with information and love!
Another lady made these notebooks (front and back) with a friend for all 140+ ladies!  They were beautiful.

Do you allow yourself time to get away and grow closer to God?  Are you the clay in the potters hands?  What is He creating you to be?  What are you now and what will the finished product look like?  That is true health!

Coconut Oil

Today's Wisdom Wednesday we will talk about Coconut Oil.  One of the things I truly enjoy about coconut oil is that I can cook with it and achieve a completely different flavor from butter or olive oil.  It is rich and creamy, and does not taste like coconut.  If it did my husband would not eat it, but rather he truly enjoys the richness it adds to a dish.  And although it is a saturated fat, it is a short chain saturated fat that your body can easily break down and use in a healthy way.

Tip:  Add a teaspoon (or tablespoon) to your smoothie or blend into your fresh juice to add a creaminess.  The oil will coat your colon and absorb toxins then allow those toxins to be passed by your body instead of being absorbed by your body!

What is coconut oil good for?  Glad you asked! 

Benefits of Coconut Oil:
  • Anti-bacterial
  • Anti-carcinogenic
  • Anti-fungal
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Anti-microbial
  • Is an Antioxidant
  • Anti-parasitic
  • Anti-viral
  • Aids in nutrient absorption
  • Aids in fighting infections
  • Non-toxic, no harmful side effects

50 Uses for Coconut Oil:
  1. Appetite Suppressant
  2. Breastfeeding - 3 1/2 tablespoons daily can enrich and increase milk supply
  3. Bones & Teeth - aids in absorption of calcium and magnesium
  4. Digestion - helps to control parasites and fungi, aids in vitamin, mineral and amino acid absorption
  5. Energy Boost
  6. Fitness - helps to stimulate metabolism, thyroid function, energy levels
  7. Help to improve insulin secretion and usage of blood glucose.  Can be great for diabetics and no-diabetics alike.
  8. Lung function
  9. Skin tone
  10. Stress relief
  11. Vitamin & Nutrient absorption
  12. Aid with Acid Reflux if taken after a meal
  13. Allergies
  14. Alzheimer's
  15. Asthma
  16. Blood Pressure Regulation
  17. Bowel Function
  18. Cholesterol
  19. Chronic Fatigue
  20. Colds & Viruses
  21. Circulation
  22. Depression
  23. Diabetes
  24. Eczema - taken internally and used as a lotion
  25. Edema
  26. Gum Disease
  27. Halitosis - bad breath
  28. Head Lice
  29. Heart Disease
  30. Hormone Regulator
  31. Immune System Builder
  32. Inflammation
  33. IBS - irritable bowel syndrome
  34. Kidney disease
  35. Kidney stones - help stop dissolve
  36. Malnutrition
  37. Menopause
  38. Migraines
  39. Pneumonia
  40. Thrush
  41. Ulcerative Colitis
  42. Urinary Tract Infections
  43. Yeast Infections
  44. Athletes Foot
  45. Canker Sores
  46. Pink Eye
  47. After Shave
  48. Chap stick
  49. Dandruff
  50. Deodorant
And the list just keeps going on!  Much of the above list came from here, but I confirmed these items in several other locations.

Monday, February 11, 2013

The WHY Behind Our Healthy Lifestyle

Today on My Life Monday I am going to talk about the WHY behind our family's healthy lifestyle.

One of the biggest reasons is an innate desire to be healthy.  I have ALWAYS wanted to be healthy.  I enjoy nutritious food, it is not a chore for me.  I enjoy exercise, it is not a chore for me.  I crave activity (usually alone activity) and staying on top of my game.  I believe this desire comes directly from the Lord and is founded in His Word in many places.  I Corinthians 9:27 says, "I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified."  There are various Bible translations available, but they all say to discipline, buffet, train and subdue our bodies.  As a child some of the men in our church (my Dad included) truly loved to eat (as do I), and in their talking about food they would say, "I thought the Bible said to buffet (eat as much as possible) the body, not buffet (train) the body."  Then everyone would laugh.  I would kind of grimace and smile, but somehow this bothered me.  Then when I got older and saw so many of those same men die young (not always from health related issues) I had to wonder if taking care of their bodies would have made a difference.  I love those men.  I'm not done with them in my life, yet they are gone.  They are happy in heaven with their Lord, for they had all accepted Jesus as their savior, but down here they are missed.

Now being married and having two young children of my own, and surviving my death bed at a young age, health is an even stronger desire inside of me.  It isn't a judgement on others as much as it is a longing to see those around me feel and be their best.  Hey, I want to feel my best!  And guess what?  My husband has jumped on board full force.  Actually, he is chasing after health even more furiously than I, and that is new for him.  While I have always been in some kind of sport or another and have always eaten healthy, he has not.  Fitness is new and exciting for him, and health became a priority when our little girl exhibited intolerance to artificial food additives.  Once he began to learn about our food in America his desire for true health escalated.  Now it is a family desire and it is a family JOY.  We ENJOY it, not dread it!

Recently a wonderful man in our church had a heart attack and survived.  As we have been praying for him my husband said to me that hearing things like that spur him on to even greater health and keep him from diving into a slump about it.  I see his point!

We want to be here, full of energy and abundance for ourselves, our kids and our grand kids.  There is no guarantee that we will live forever here on earth, for we all have an end here, but while we are here we want our lives to be full and joyful, and good physical health is part of that journey.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Food Friday - Orange Chicken

Recipe of the Week - Orange Chicken

Please excuse my lack of pictures and exact measurements, but I sort of create my meals as I go, and they typically turn out wonderful.  This was one such instance and we ate it ALL before I remembered to take a picture.

This is my homemade, healthy version of orange chicken.

Orange Chicken

Coconut oil for cooking and coating the pan (you can substitute butter, olive oil, avocado oil)
1 tsp Organic Soy Sauce (or more if you like, but watch your sodium)
2 cloves garlic - minced
1-2 tablespoons julianne orange peel (or zest if you prefer)
1 package Organic/All Natural chicken tenders
1/4 onion diced
1 large carrot - I used a potato peeler to get the long thing strips I wanted
Various Veggies - I had beet tops and baby kale on hand so that is what I used.  (Other ideas would be bell pepper, peas, potato, tomato, mushrooms, zucchini, squash...)
1 cup uncooked brown or white rice (could use Bulgar or quinoa)

How To Prepare:

1. Put start cooking rice per package instructions (usually 1 cup dry rice per 2 cups water, bring to boil, cover with lid and simmer 20 minutes for white rice or 40 minutes for brown rice.  Turn off heat and allow to rest 5 minutes.)

2. Heat skillet over medium heat add coconut oil, soy sauce, minced garlic and thinly sliced/zested orange peel. 

3. While step #2 is caramelizing dice onion and add to pan.

4. While step #3 is caramelizing cube chicken and add to pan, allow chicken to brown (approx. 10 minutes).

5. Add carrots and 'other' veggies to saute a few minutes. Remember to add greens last just to wilt a minute.

6. Serve over rice and enjoy!

We all ate this up really fast.  You may consider serving along side some Asian soup or a side salad.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Oil Pulling

Today on Wisdom Wednesday I would like to discuss Oil Pulling.

Oil Pulling is the ancient Ayurvedic act of swishing a variety of healthy oils in the mouth for a specific time period each day in order to improve oral health, remove bodily toxins and remedy disease.

I first heard about oil pulling several months ago, and within a week I had three other health related people mention oil pulling and how it has helped them!  Humm?  Maybe there is something to this!

How To: Once a day take a tablespoon of organic coconut oil or sesame oil an lightly 'swish' it around in you mouth for approximately 25 minutes.  It is actually more of just moving the oil around your mouth than it is actually swishing.  If your cheeks get tired or sore you are being too aggressive.  Then spit out into a trash can (not a sink, it is an oil and could clog the drain).  Do NOT swallow!  The oil has absorbed harmful toxins and removed them from your body.
After hearing various accounts I decided to give it a try for myself just to see if it was awful or doable.  Verdict?  Strange at first, but completely doable.  Mostly I wanted to swallow! 
Some of the positive effects are whiter teeth, pinker gums, eliminate bad breath, clear skin and eyes, reduced sugar cravings, reduced brain fog and more.  Seem too good to be true?  Let's take a look at short list of the benefits of coconut oil.  I will do a long list and 100 uses of coconut oil in the near future!
Coconut Oil:
Hair Care
Skin Care
Stress Relief
Digestion Aid
Fitness Aid
Aid in Healing
Now that I know I need to go buy a jar of organic coconut oil for my bathroom and add this to my daily routine.

Monday, February 4, 2013

My Workout Routine

It is Monday, and I am starting my new MONDAY series....'My Life Mondays'.  This series will talk about various parts of my life, including but not limited to my kids, what keeps me busy, my joys, my struggles and anything else that revolves around my life!  Eventually I hope to use this series to tell my testimony of surviving Guillain-Barre.

Today, My Workout Routine.  Of coarse, my routine changes when I feel like I have hit a plateau, but for now this is what it looks like most weeks.  I actually had to change my workout routine several weeks ago due the fact that the classes I was taking were in the evenings, and this was just way too late for the kiddos.  By the time we got home, ate dinner and got ready for bed they were completely delirious and wacky.  So, it was time for a routine change.  Now all of my workouts are mid-day.

Monday: CSI - CSI is a cardio, strength, interval class.  What does that mean?  Lots of non-stop movement with weights, resistance bands and high intensity obstacles.  It is a fun hour long class.  The instructor of this particular class shares my love for health and nutrition, so as an added bonus she talks about nutrition throughout the class.

Tuesday: Body Pump - Body Pump is a strength training and toning class.  There is very little actual cardio in this class, but that does not mean we don't get our heart rate up...we do!  But the main focus is in the weight and repetitions for an hour straight.  We work ALL of the major muscle groups.

Wednesday: Devotion in Motion - I have not started this class yet, but in about 2 weeks I will be adding it to my weekly routine.  Devotion in Motion is a cycle class (you know, on stationary bikes) that really gets the heart rate up...high!  It is 50 minutes of intense, non-stop cardio to Christian music.  Can't wait to start.

Thursday: Body Pump - Again!  Yes.  Major strength training at least twice a week.

Friday: CSI - Again!  Yes, cardio and resistance at least twice a week.

Saturday: Body Attack.  I use Saturday and Sunday as my make up days if I have to miss a class during the week, or if I just feel like I need to work out I have it waiting for me.  Body Attack is exactly what it sounds like, a 55 minute attack on the body.  Non-stop movement of arms and legs, jumping, kicking, running, push ups, sit ups and more.

Sunday: RPM.  Again I use this as an additional or make up day, but it is here if I want or need it.  RPM is a cycle class set to loud music.  Similar to Devotion in Motion you 'ride' non-stop for 50 minutes.  You practice going up hill, on flats, sprints, staying in the saddle, out of the saddle and more.  Almost everyone in that class leaves dripping wet with sweat (not me, I don't sweat much...ever, but I know I'm getting a work out).

So there you have it.  My workout routine.  2-3 good cardio classes, 2-4 good strength and resistance classes.  I was sad when I had to stop RIPPED on Fridays, but maybe a daytime class will open up!  It is similar to INSANITY, and very fun.

Remember, when you start a workout routine, start slow and gradually try new classes and add them when you are ready.  If they do something in the class that you simply can not do, just modify the motion.  Working out is for you and you alone.  Also, eat healthy, life nourishing foods that fuel you up the right way.  Just like a car can't run on soda, your body can't run properly (without breaking down) unless you fuel it properly.

Now get out there and do something!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Food Friday - Blue Banana Smoothie

I am going to attempt to start a new blog tradition...Food Friday's Recipe of the Week.  So every Friday, if I am able to keep up, I will post a new easy and healthy recipe that either my family enjoys, or that was submitted by you, my readers.  Feel free to leave recipes in the comments section, or try this one out and let us know what you think! 

My friend Katy sent this wonderful smoothie recipe for us to try.  I truly enjoy smoothies, and so do my kids.  They are a great way to increase your fiber and fruit intake, to stay hydrated, and to hide some of those 'greens' that family may otherwise avoid!  I also like to take my smoothies and pour them into Popsicle moulds as a special treat for later. 

Katy's Blue Banana Smoothie

1/2 banana
Cup of frozen blueberries
Enough unsweetened vanilla almond milk to cover banana and blueberries in the blender (I would probably use coconut milk)

Then I add in what's on hand or what I think I need - a handful of fresh baby spinach (you can't taste it) or a few big spoonfuls of oatmeal, or about 1/3 block of lite tofu. 

No ice needed. It's also dairy free and low sugar (not low carb, especially if you add oatmeal)

So go blend yourself a tall smoothie, make enough to share with the entire family, and enjoy!