Savor The Good Stuff

      No Comments on Savor The Good Stuff

Can I be really honest with you?  I love healthy food, really I do, but I don’t want my life revolving around all the things I “can’t” have.  And I don’t want you to feel like you have to do that either!

Last night I made a version of Egyptian Beef Shawerma, rice, asparagus and Tzatziki sauce.  Yes, I know Tzatziki is Greek, but that’s how I roll. My sister in law and her husband came over for dinner and I think everyone liked it pretty well. I also had slivered carrots and celery which added a little color and crunch to the meal.  I don’t do this often, but I really like cooking for people.  I did not plan the meal to be “healthy”, I just wanted to try something different.  I found myself wishing I’d had time to make dessert, but no one complained.

Don’t get me wrong.  I love healthy food, but I also love trying new things and I don’t think I’ll ever quit making cheesecakes.  Everyone loves them way too much!

Have you ever felt like the only way you could lose weight was to give up everything that you love? Or maybe you don’t need to lose weight, but you want to feel better.  You do know that you can be skinny and unhealthy right?

I don’t believe you have to give up everything you love to be healthy or to lose weight.  You may have to make some pretty drastic changes depending on how much weight you want to lose, or how unhealthy you really are, but you can still enjoy food and have fun.

Something else I really enjoy is a beer now and then.  I really like a beer especially when it’s hot outside and I’ve been working in the garden.  When I go back to New York and spend time with family, we generally have a few in the evenings while we are sitting around at the campfire.  Or sometimes just when we are all hanging out on Mom’s deck.

I want to encourage you that it’s really not so much about giving things up that change your life, although you will have to give up some things, it is more about adding healthy foods and habits.  If you slowly add more fruit and vegetables to your diet, gradually add more exercise, start drinking more water, and be more intentional about keeping your mind on positive things, those changes will come much easier than if you try to give up everything all at once.

The more you focus on something, the more control it will have over you.  If you want to lose weight, don’t focus on the things you shouldn’t have, focus on the good things that you should have.  If you need to exercise more, don’t make yourself do the things you hate to do, find something you love to do and have fun doing it!  Figure out how you can drink water and like it.  To be honest, I used to hate drinking water.  Now, I carry water with me everywhere and I actually prefer it most of the time.

Life shouldn’t be all about what you are eating, what you are drinking and how many calories you are consuming.  Life is about living, learning, enjoying what is around us and savoring those things.  If it can’t be savored, I’m not going to intentionally add it to my life.  Go out and enjoy life. Try new things, especially sushi!

Revolution Recipe #4 Soft Gluten-Free Sandwich Bread

SOFT GLUTEN-FREE SANDWICH BREAD

INGREDIENTS:

Yeast mix:

1½ cup water or almond milk

4 Tbsp honey

2½ tsp dry active yeast (Be sure your yeast is fresh and alive.)

Dry mix:

3 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour mix

1½ tsp xanthan gum (in addition to what’s already in the Gluten-Free flour mix)

4 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

Feel free to add sweet or savory seasonings to taste.

Wet mix:

2 tsp apple cider vinegar or lemon juice

¼ cup olive oil

2 large eggs (see options for egg-free below)

DIRECTIONS: 1) Preheat your oven to 375º F.

2) In measuring cup, measure and warm milk to just above body temperature—should be warm to the touch (not hot or cold). Stir in honey and add yeast last. Set aside and let proof for approximately 10 minutes.

3) Combine dry mix ingredients in small bowl.

4) Combine wet mix ingredients in bowl of stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix just for a few seconds.

5) Add in the proofed yeast mix and mix again for just a few seconds.

6) Add the dry mix and beat on medium-high for approximately 3 minutes. Dough will be wet, but thick and sticky!

7) If necessary, oil and flour your 9×5 loaf pan or spray with non-stick coating.

Using a spatula, scrape the bread mixture into your prepared loaf pan and set on top of your stove to proof while the oven is preheating. Be sure to smooth out the loaf with spatula or wet fingers before proofing as the loaf will not smooth out itself. It is important not to over-proof the bread—just let it rise until the mixture is approximately double in size (20-30 minutes depending on your room temperature). Don’t let it rise above your loaf pan… just until it crests the top. Gluten-free breads do not maintain their structure and will flow over the pan or collapse if left to over-rise or over-filled.

8) Bake for approximately 30-45 minutes. If the crust is darkening too quickly, you can cover it with foil (tent open ended) and return to baking until done. (Cook until you get an internal temperature of 210-220º F. on a digital thermometer).

9) Remove loaf pan from oven and let cool for 3-5 minutes before turning out onto your cooling rack. Allow to cool completely before attempting to cut into slices. An electric knife works well.

RECIPE: ALITTLEINSANITY.COM

I really don’t eat a lot of bread myself anymore, but I know there are a lot of people who really love bread and don’t want to even attempt to quit eating it.  I made this bread yesterday while I was preparing all of my other Shred meals and I think it came out pretty good.

Most of the gluten free breads I’ve tried have come out nothing like bread. They are mostly very heavy and the taste is not even close.  This bread filled up half of my bread pan before it proofed, so that was a good sign for me.

The recipe says to bake until you reach an internal temperature of 210 to 220.  I set my timer for 35 minutes and checked it.  Then I set it for 8 more minutes and checked it again.  I set it for another 8 minutes and at that point the temperature was 220. Maybe it was the checking, but I think it actually could have gone a little longer.

It came out nice and soft, and my husband tried it when he got home and said it was pretty good. I ate a piece of the bread toasted and I thought it was pretty good, too.  All in all, if you’re looking for a soft bread for eating with soup or even making a sandwich with, this will work, and it’s not too much trouble either.

I hope you enjoy the recipe!

Revolution Recipe #3-Quinoa, Butternut Squash and Black Bean Taco Bowl

Here is the recipe.

 

QUINOA, BUTTERNUT SQUASH AND BLACK BEAN TACO BOWL

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups butternut squash or sweet potato (peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes)

2 cloves minced garlic

1 cup quinoa

2 cups vegetable or chicken broth

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

½ cup chopped onion

½ tsp cumin powder

1 tsp garlic powder

½ tsp fajita seasoning

coconut or olive oil

DIRECTIONS:

1) Preheat oven to 400° F. Toss squash or potato cubes with 1 tablespoon oil, minced garlic, and salt/ pepper to taste. Roast on baking sheet for 20-30 minutes until tender.

2) Combine quinoa and broth in a small pot. Cook according to package directions.

3) Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a separate pan. Sauté onions until they are soft. Add the black beans and the seasonings and cook over medium-low heat for 5-10 minutes.

4) To assemble the bowls, layer the quinoa, butternut squash, and beans and top with your favorite toppings: cilantro, onion, chopped tomato, avocado, salsa, or guacamole.

 

I told you I would be honest about all the recipes.  My husband did not care for this one.  Honestly, the first night, I wasn’t sure I liked it either.  It seemed a little dry, and the flavors were not as vivid as I expected them to be.  After I had heated up the beans with the spices they tasted extremely spicy and very dry, so I added a little coconut milk (canned) to it to smooth it out a little both in texture and flavor.  Then when I added them to the bowl, they seemed sort of bland.  Anyway, I really love all of the ingredients individually, so I was a little disappointed in how they all went together.  I added sliced avocado and tomatoes on top, too.

I had quite a bit left over, so I decided to layer the leftovers in my mason jars and take them to work for lunch.  I knew my husband wasn’t going to finish them off this time.  I was pleasantly surprised yesterday when I warmed it up and the flavors had really expanded and improved.  I was a little worried about the avocado, because I wasn’t thinking and added the chopped tomatoes and sliced avocado (dipped in lemon juice) right on top in the mason jar.  Once I warmed it up, I mixed everything up and it tasted really good.  I brought the second one for lunch today. I was very surprised and impressed that the avocado was not brown even after a couple days in the fridge.

All in all, I probably won’t make this again unless I make it for a Taste of Shred 10 party, because I will be eating it alone.  However, it is better if you put it together and let it chill overnight.

Another note:  I hate buying spice mixes at the store.  They are usually really expensive and a lot of times they have “stuff” in them to keep them from caking together.  So, when it called for Fajita Seasoning, I made my own.  It’s really not hard and I had all the separate spices anyway, because I had made a Shawerma spice that same day for the chicken I roasted to go with this recipe.  I’m sure my husband was very glad I did.

This is what my table looked like when I was making my spices.  You don’t have to make everything from scratch, but I like doing it and I think it tastes better.  Sometimes I find that I like a little less of one spice and a little more of another, so making it myself makes it a little more personalized.  If you do make your own mixes, just save your empty spice jars and re-purpose them like I did with my Fajita seasoning.

 

Be Yourself

      No Comments on Be Yourself

I have been doing a lot of writing lately.

Writing has always been a sort of therapy for me.  For as long as I can remember, I have written in journals.  It is a way for me to express my feelings and thoughts without the fear of rejection. When I was really young and even in my teen years, I just said what I felt and sometimes I really hurt other people with my words.  Typically when I hurt someone, there was  some sort of backlash or retaliation, so I ended up hurt, too.  I didn’t always know how to express myself without anger, so eventually I just stopped trying.  Instead I wrote everything down.

Sometimes I wish I had kept all those journals from when I was younger, I have forgotten so many things.  Maybe it’s just as well.  Every few years I would go through all my notebooks and burn them.  I didn’t want anyone reading what I had written down.  One time my husband read one of my journals and became very angry with me about something I had written.  I was angry that he had read my journal, but I said, “I write in my journal so I won’t say things to people that may hurt them.  Once I get it on paper it is easier for me to work through it.  You were never meant to hear those words, you should not read someone’s personal journals unless you’re willing to deal with the consequences.”  I don’t think he’s ever read any of them again.

While doing my writing therapy, I have come to terms with a lot of things in the last few years.  One of those things is that I’m not getting any younger.  I look in the mirror and I see that I am getting older, there is no escaping that.  Something else I’ve learned about myself is that I have spent most of my life trying to be somewhere, someone else, doing something else.  When I was a child, I wanted to be a teenager, once I became a teenager, being 21 was the goal.  After 21 I think you start to slow down wanting to be older, but there was always something, somewhere else that I was trying to get to.  Have you ever felt that way?  Today isn’t enough, I want to be somewhere else, someone else, doing something different.

Why does it take so long for us to realize that Today is really all we’re supposed to experience right now?  Why do we feel the need to be in the future when all we have is right now?  I believe for me it is because I have never accepted myself as I am.  I have always wanted to be a better, prettier, thinner, stronger, happier, richer version of myself.  In the pursuit of those things, I have missed out on a lot of Todays.  If we are fortunate to get to old age, one of the things we will have to keep us company is our memories.  Somehow, I don’t think that memories of working, being away from my family, exercising and starving myself are going to sustain me when I am alone and feeling lonely.

If I could give one piece of advice to people it would be to be yourself, accept yourself, and love yourself just the way you are.  That doesn’t mean we can’t work toward improvement.  It doesn’t mean we stay where we are.  We are always moving forward in time, we should also be moving forward in our everyday lives.  But.  If we could learn to accept who we are today, learn that we are ok for right now, I believe we would be able to be more present.

When I get old I want memories of my family, adventure, friends and fun experiences to sustain me.

Revolution Recipe #2-Banana Bread Overnight Oats

I actually made this overnight oatmeal the same day I made the Mushroom Risotto.  While the Risotto was in the oven, I mixed up the ingredients and put them in the jars.  I made a double batch, because I was making it for my husband and wanted to make sure there was enough. He loves instant oatmeal in the mornings, so I thought this would be perfect for him, and maybe a little better for him.  I really shy away from just about anything instant, so I have to believe this tastes much better.

You can use just about any type of mason jar that you want for this, but I find that wide mouth jars are much easier to use if you’re going to actually eat from the jar.  I found these ones at Walmart and I think they were about $8.50 for four.  It doesn’t hurt that they are kind of cute, too.

Here’s the recipe.

BANANA BREAD OVERNIGHT OATS

INGREDIENTS: 1 mashed ripe banana

½ cup rolled or steel cut oats

½ cup plant based milk, unsweetened

2 Tbsp chopped pecans or walnuts

1 tsp vanilla extract

½ tsp cinnamon

dash of sea salt

1 Tbsp ground flax

2 tsp 100% pure maple syrup

DIRECTITONS: 1) Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix until all ingredients are incorporated well. Pour into single serve bowls or mason jars.

2) Refrigerate overnight (at least 4 hours).

3) Serve hot or cold.

4) Garnish with some sliced banana or more nuts if desired.

Recipe: http://www.bewholebeyou.com

I used chia seeds instead of the ground flax, because I just like chia seeds in everything and I’m not really crazy about the flavor of ground flax.  Since I was making this for my husband, I thought I’d better stick to something I thought he might like, maybe I can gradually steer him toward eating some more healthy stuff a little at a time.  This is actually the first time I’ve got him to try chia seeds and it was a success!

Remember I doubled the batch, so I  put half in each jar.  Then as a garnish, I put chopped walnuts and dried cranberries.  My husband loved it.  Maybe I can replace his instant oatmeal with something a little healthier, and probably a little more filling too.

There are so many variations of overnight oats you can try.  You can eat them cold or warmed up, too.  My husband put his in the microwave for about a minute I think, just make sure you stir it before you try to eat it.  I really don’t like using a microwave for rewarming things, but sometimes you just don’t have any other way.

Revolution recipe # 2, a success and approved by my husband. 🙂

Trying Out Revolution Recipes-Mushroom Risotto

I tried out a couple of new recipes over the weekend and thought I would share one of them with you.

One of the reasons people don’t want to eat healthy is because they think eating healthy means eating salads and raw vegetables all the time.  And I get it, some people just don’t like raw vegetables, or any vegetables in some cases.

There are so many recipes you can make that are healthy and taste good, but it takes a little effort to find them.  So, I decided to go through our Revolution Recipes and try them and share them with you.  And I promise I will be honest, like when I tried that “bread” I saw on Facebook that the birds didn’t even want.

I love to cook, I have ever since I was little, standing on a stool in my grandmother’s kitchen.  I was so fortunate to have a grandmother who saw my potential and realized she needed something to keep my hands busy.  It can be a challenge teaching your kids to cook, especially if they are as active and busy as I was, but I think my family would agree that her patience paid off.  My love for all things food has helped me create some really good meals that I enjoy sharing probably as much as people enjoy eating.

The first recipe I decided to try is Mushroom Risotto with Caramelized Onions.  My husband and I both love mushrooms so this just made sense.  There are some ingredients that you may not have around normally, but for the most part they are pretty easy to find.

MUSHROOM RISOTTO WITH CARAMELIZED ONIONS

SERVES 4 TO 6

INGREDIENTS:

½ ounce dried shiitake or porcini mushrooms, finely chopped

2 cups boiling water

1/3 cup olive oil, divided

4 yellow onions (about 2 pounds)

4 cloves garlic, finely minced

½ pound cremini mushrooms, cleaned and sliced

1 large sprig fresh rosemary

1 cup Arborio or short-grain white rice

½ cup dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc (make sure it’s vegan!)

2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

2 cups vegetable broth (see how to make your own)

1 tsp salt

½ tsp freshly ground black pepper, plus more to garnish

DIRECTIONS:

1) Heat the oven to 300°F. Rinse the dried mushrooms lightly, to remove any dust or grit. Place the mushrooms in a ceramic bowl and pour the boiling water over them. Set them aside to steep while you cook the onions.

2) Chop one of the onions into a fine dice. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a 3-quart (or larger) ovenproof pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 8 minutes, or until soft and golden. Push the onions to the side of the pot, and turn the heat up to medium-high. Add all the sliced cremini mushrooms and let them cook for 5 minutes without stirring. Flip the mushrooms and cook for another five minutes, or until they are quite brown and a crust is developing on the bottom of the pan.

3) Drain the dried mushrooms, reserving the liquid. Add the mushrooms and rosemary sprig to the pan and sauté briefly, mixing with the onion and the rest of the mushrooms. Add the rice and cook, stirring once or twice, for about 4 minutes, or until the rice begins to turn transparent.

4) Turn the heat to high and add the white wine, vinegar, broth, and reserved mushroom steeping liquid. Stir and scrape the bottom of the pan as you add the liquid to deglaze any yummy mushroomy bits sticking to the pan. Stir in the salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid and put it in the oven to bake for 35 minutes.

5) While the rice is baking, make the caramelized onions. Heat the remaining olive oil in a cast iron skillet. Cut the remaining three onions in half, and then slice them into thin half moons. Add them to the oil and sprinkle liberally with salt. Cook on low heat, stirring occasionally, until the onions turn a dark mahogany brown. Let them go as long as you can; I usually cook mine for at least 30 minutes.

6) When the risotto has finished baking, let it stand uncovered for 5 minutes before serving. Dish it up and top each bowl with a spoonful of caramelized onions, a little extra pepper, and, if desired, a scoop of sour cream, whipped mascarpone, or whipped Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese.

RECIPE: WWW.THEKITCHN.COM

Sometimes when I’m looking for a recipe and it’s on a person’s blog, I really just need the recipe.  I’m not really looking for all the cute stories someone wants to tell about their cat or their child or whatever else they add in before the recipe.  So, if you want to keep reading after getting the recipe, I have a few things to add.

First, I could not find dried mushrooms anywhere in Kroger, and I had already decided I wasn’t going anywhere else.  So, I bought fresh mushrooms instead.  In fact, I bought 12oz. of mixed mushrooms; shiitake, cremini and Portobello.  Then in addition to that I still bought the white mushrooms, and I bought a whole pound of those.  They were reduced, I couldn’t let them go to waste, right?  So this is how many mushrooms I actually used in the recipe.

                    

There can never be too many mushrooms in my opinion.  So, instead of soaking the dry mushrooms in boiling water, I just added two more cups of broth in when it was time to add the liquid.  Listen, even if I have all the right ingredients, I almost always add my own twist to a recipe…it’s just who I am.

Everything else I followed pretty closely, except for the fact that I only had three onions instead of four, and no one in my family likes onions much anyway, so there were fewer caramelized onions to throw away after I had what I wanted.

I did use Arborio rice, but if I had not been able to find it readily, I would have used whatever rice I normally use, which is either brown rice or medium grain white rice.  I really like the Arborio in this recipe though.

I also did not buy vegetable broth.  I had lofty ideas of making my own, but I forgot to buy celery while I was at the grocery store, so that didn’t happen.  However, I did have some beef broth in my fridge that I needed to use up anyway, so that went in there instead of the vegetable broth and mushroom broth.  And since last year I grew Rosemary, I had some dried Rosemary instead of fresh, it worked just as well.  Oh, I also forgot the balsamic vinegar so I googled substitutes and found that apple cider vinegar works fine.  I actually bought white wine, even though I don’t drink it, and did use that.  I have no idea what I’ll use the rest of it for.  If by some chance you don’t have some of the ingredients, like the wine, or the vinegar, I’m sure it would come out just as delicious if you use broth instead.  Just make sure you use the same amount of liquids or the rice will end up dry and not quite cooked properly.

                    

I also don’t have a lid for my nice cast iron dutch oven, so I transferred everything into my Pampered Chef baker that does have a lid and it all worked out just fine.  Because I didn’t have the heat from the dutch oven after transferring into my Pampered Chef baker, I let it cook about ten minutes longer.  If at all possible, use a pan that you can go from stove top to oven, it will be simpler and it will not take longer to finish.

My husband really liked this recipe and it didn’t even have any meat in it!  Most men like meat with their meals, so I try to have some type of meat for him when possible.  I personally could go without meat.  I’m not a vegetarian, I just don’t think I need meat to survive.  A good steak once in a while is pretty nice though.

I am going to attempt to try at least one new recipe a week and I will really have to discipline myself to take pictures.  Feel free to share if you like this recipe.

 

Throwing in the Towel

      No Comments on Throwing in the Towel

Have you ever felt like “throwing in the towel”, quitting, just plain giving up?  I have, more times than I can remember.

Like this week.  I started a 10 day shred with my team and wanted to quit really before I even got started good.  What person in their right mind, who gets up at 4:30 in the morning, quits drinking coffee?!?!?  Ok, so Monday I broke down and drank one cup, and really the goal is to give up caffeine and I already drink 1/2 caffeine anyway, so did it really count?  Tuesday I felt like I was in a fog at work so I drank a cup when I got to work.  But Tuesday night I got a package that I was hoping would help me give up the caffeine.  It was two different coffee substitutes that I had ordered to give it a try.

The first coffee substitute, Capomo,  was actually ground Maya nuts and you make it just like you would coffee.  In the ad it says its “a true superfood” and “better than the best coffee” and “it is loaded with nutrients”.  I guess if you just tell yourself that it’s really healthy, you may be able to get one cup down.  If you are a true coffee lover like I am, don’t buy it thinking it is going to taste ANYTHING like coffee, or that it is better than the best coffee.  I’m sorry, but it definitely is not.  I walked out of the house today with about a 1/4 of a cup left in my first cup….that wouldn’t have happened with coffee.  Oh, and the fact that I’m giving up dairy and sugar as well means you can’t add much to it to make it taste any better.

 

However, I am coffee free so far today, and I’m not miserable, so that’s a good sign.  The fact is that detoxing is a good idea for everyone.  Some of the people on my team detox once a month, although I haven’t reached that point yet.  Honestly, I really eat clean most of the time, and I have reduced the number of times I eat out drastically.  My tastes have changed so much that I honestly just don’t enjoy the food when I go out to eat, and I’ve never really liked greasy fast food, at least not since I was a kid.

My second coffee substitute, Teechino, actually tastes pretty good.  I wouldn’t say it actually tastes like coffee, but I can drink it instead.  You can buy it in a “tea” bag or in bulk, but I chose the tea bags. It is really simple to make and I like the taste of it without adding any cream or sugar to it.  Occasionally I add a little honey, but not much.  This ad claims that you get a natural energy boost from the nutrients instead of stimulants, and it says it supports a healthy population of beneficial micro-flora for good digestive health. In case you’re interested in trying either of these you can find them on Amazon.

 

I work at staying in shape, and eating healthy and taking care of myself spiritually, but some days I just feel like quitting.  It’s not because it’s difficult for me to eat right, I really love good food.  And it’s not because I hate to exercise, I’ve finally found some things I really love to do.  It’s because I feel like I have to do it alone so much.  And well, I really love my coffee, so giving that up really is hard.

But yesterday, my youngest son decided he wants to go to the gym.  I have been pestering him for a while now about getting out and doing something physical and I had pretty much given up.  I will pester someone for a while about taking care of themselves, but eventually you have to realize that it has to be their decision.  So, yesterday we went to the gym, and we’re going again today.  It’s days like yesterday that make all the work and the effort worthwhile.  It’s just one day so far, but it’s a start.  I know it’s not cool for a boy to go to the gym with his mom, but he gets his license in a couple weeks and I’m holding on to every chance I get to spend time with him.

From Me to You

      1 Comment on From Me to You

If you are reading this, it’s because I care about you. I know sometimes when you hear someone say they care about you the first thing you think is, “I haven’t heard from them in months, and they say they care about me” or “She doesn’t even know me, how can she say she cares about me?”. Trust me, I get it, I have said the same thing. I struggle a lot with people saying “I love you” but you never really see any evidence. We all get busy with our daily lives. So many of us have full time jobs and families and at the end of the day, we just don’t have the time to express to people how we really feel.

This morning when my alarm went off at 4:30 am, as it does every morning M-F, I turned it off and said, “Ok God, I’m over this getting up at 4:30 am every day. I know it was my choice, but I’m so over it”.

My job is a good job. I’ve been here for twelve years, the longest I’ve ever been anywhere. The problem is that my job is not my calling. In the last few years I’ve learned more about myself and who I am than I have in a long time. Something that has always been important to me is my health and the health of my family. I have always tried to eat right and exercise and maintain a healthy weight, and for the most part I’ve done a pretty decent job.

I don’t know about anyone else, but when I turned 40 I can’t tell you how many people told me “It’s all down-hill from here”. I was told I would soon need glasses, I’d start gaining weight, get arthritis, high blood pressure and cholesterol and it was all inevitable, a part of getting old. I remember telling people even back then, “I don’t buy it. I don’t believe you have to fall apart just because you get older.”

My cholesterol, blood pressure, weight and overall health is just as good today, if not better, than it was when I was in my thirties. I will admit though, that over the years after I turned 40, and some even before that, I started to accept certain things as “normal” for someone my age. When my joints ached, or I had migraines three to four times a week, or when I was tired all day long and just didn’t have the energy to do much of anything, I figured it was all just inevitable.

After my dad died, I started really doing some soul searching. I decided that I was going to learn how to actually LIVE my life and get some enjoyment out of it, instead of just living to go to a job every day and wishing the week away in anticipation of the weekend. I prayed and asked God to show me what I could do that I would love doing and not wish the week away, not wish my life away. What I found was the Dr. Sears Wellness Institute where I got my Health Coach Certification. I found where I belonged. I have always loved health and wellness, and I’ve always naturally tried to share that with the people I spend time with, so it seemed like the most logical solution.

While learning from Dr. Sears I also came across Juice Plus. Juice Plus is fruit and vegetables in a capsule or a gummy and it has really changed my life in a lot of ways, not like Jesus, but in a really good way. I first ordered Juice Plus because Isaac does not eat fruit or vegetables. Once in a while I might get him to eat a vegetable or fruit, but never on a daily basis and never enough to really impact his health. So I got him on the child health study, because when I buy Juice Plus for me I get his free. The next step was getting him to eat it consistently.

It took a little while to get him in the habit of eating the Juice Plus every day, but once he did I started noticing subtle changes. One of the biggest things I’ve noticed is that he did not have his fall asthma issues that he normally has. Usually in the fall he struggles with his asthma so much that we end up having to refill his inhaler several times. Right now we have two unopened inhalers on our kitchen counter, because he kept looking at his same inhaler and saying it was getting low. That inhaler is still “getting low”. This is huge for him. There are many other benefits I’m seeing with him, but that is the biggest one.

Oh, and me? I rarely get a migraine anymore. I used to carry two things with me everywhere I went: Excedrin Migraine and Ibuprofen. I didn’t leave the house without them. Now I don’t even have ibuprofen or Excedrin in the house and I threw away my mini bottles that I used to carry in my purse. I honestly can not even remember the last time I even bought either of them, it’s been at least six months. I haven’t had joint pain to speak of, my sciatica nerve has not given me any trouble, and I have energy to spare most of the time. That’s not to say that I never get tired, just that I am sleeping better at night, so I don’t feel like I’m dragging all day.

So that’s what I’ve been up to lately. I’ve been having Salad in a Jar parties, and Wine and Wellness events and I’ve been trying my best to share Juice Plus and the path to good health in general with as many people as I can. Which brings me to why I’m writing this post today. I’m ashamed to admit that I’m a little nervous about approaching people, even though I believe I have found something that really could help so many people. I am nervous because people don’t like it when their friends try to sell them something, and yeah, I am trying to sell you something. That’s just the truth. But it’s no different than when I first learned about grace. I wanted to share it with everyone I knew, and a lot of people weren’t ready to hear about it. A lot of people thought it was a phase and I would eventually “get over it”. I haven’t. I haven’t gotten over grace and I never will. I also will never “get over” learning how to heal myself naturally, or how to make sure I am taking the best care of myself that I possibly can, or trying to help other people learn that, too.

The bottom line is, if you’ve read this far I hope you hear my heart. I hope you hear that I just want to share something with you that I believe can change your health for the better and maybe even help you get off some medications.

I’ll finish with this. Juice Plus is not a miracle pill, and it’s not a quick fix. It is a lot like grace. It takes more time, and it takes some faith, but the results are lasting and real and visible. You can go to the doctor and get a shot or a pill that will help you feel better for a little while, but quite often it doesn’t address the underlying source of the problem, and it is rarely a cure. Good nutrition is the only thing that really addresses the source of most illnesses which is inflammation. I just felt like I needed to share this with you, I hope that it will help you if you are searching for answers about your health or if you just want to stay healthy as you age, or maybe like me you’re worried about your child who doesn’t eat well. I’m glad someone shared it with me.

If you want to learn more, you can email me, call me or whatever your favorite choice of communication is. If you find that what I write about is interesting and helpful you can subscribe to my newsletter, I try to write something at least once a week, but sometimes I get busy and it ends up being a lot less.   Just know that I care and that is why I do what I do.

Love, Marcia

lifestylemuse@yahoo.com

 

Faith without Work

      No Comments on Faith without Work

If you have been in the church at all you have probably heard the quote, “Faith without works is dead.”  I have struggled with this quote for a long time, but this morning it was almost like a light bulb turned on in my mind.  To some it may seem elementary, but maybe you will realize the same things as I did while driving to work this morning.

I try not to write a lot about “religious” things in my blog, because I don’t want to come across as “religious”.  Religion has done more damage to people than probably any other single thing in my opinion.  I do not equate a relationship with God as religion by the way.  Religion is a set of rules, traditions and demands that pull you farther away from relationship and push you into becoming a robot that acts on commands and has no heart.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that everyone who is religious has no heart, but I have found that if you focus on following a bunch of rules, you become more judgmental toward yourself and others and therefore have a harder time truly loving people.

What does all this have to do with faith and works?  A lot really.  When I was growing up in a really religious environment, I saw everything that I was taught as rules.  Everything, and I mean everything, was about obedience.  If you accidentally knocked over a lamp because you were horsing around in the living room, it was because you were not obeying the rule “no horsing around in the living room”.  A result of this was that as I grew up I related being a good Christian to being perfect.  There was no room for accidents or mistakes or miscalculations….it was all disobedience, and disobedience had to be punished.  When it comes to faith and works, I always looked at it as a punishment.  You have to work hard to be accepted, to be loved, to be good enough.    So when I would hear “faith without works is dead”, I heard “Your faith isn’t enough, because you’re not working hard enough.  You’re not getting anywhere in life because you’re not working hard enough to go along with your faith”. Everything seemed to be contingent on my working hard, because just having faith wasn’t enough, and well, my faith was pretty weak most of the time anyway.

How does this relate to health and wellness?  I know a lot of people in the Christian community who have “claimed their healing”.  They have prayed, cried, begged God, believed that they have received their healing and some have even fasted and gone without sleep, but they are still experiencing the symptoms of their illness.  Some may tell them that they just have to believe they are healed and rebuke the symptoms, have more faith.  I would say that maybe this is where the faith may need some works to live.

Let me give you an example of what I mean.  Let’s say there is a man who is struggling with diabetes and he really does want to be healed from it.  That may sound like a given, but I also believe there are people who don’t really want to be healed from their illnesses and diseases because it brings attention to them and they don’t want to lose that, but that’s another subject.  So, let’s call this man Sam.  Sam goes to the Doctor and the doctor tells him he needs to take a prescription to bring down his blood sugar.  Sam probably doesn’t doubt that the doctor is telling him the truth, so he goes to the pharmacy and he orders the prescription that the doctor prescribes.  He goes home and immediately starts taking the pills and checking his blood sugar the way his doctor instructed him to do.  I want to point out that the doctor has not told this man that the pills will cure his diabetes, only that it will control it, and keep his blood sugar regulated hopefully. I will give the benefit of the doubt to the doctor that he at least suggested that Sam go on a diet and try to lose some weight, maybe if he has a really good doctor he will have suggested changing his lifestyle altogether.  Unfortunately, Sam loves to eat the foods that are really bad for him and he really doesn’t want to change his eating habits, and exercise? Forget it!  Sunday morning rolls around and Sam goes to church and requests prayer for healing from his new diagnosis.  Many of the elders and other people in the church gather around him and pray for his healing.  Several of them rebuke the sickness in his body and all of them claim his healing.  Sam goes home from church that day and eats three biscuits, mashed potatoes and gravy and several pieces of fried chicken for lunch, then he settles into his recliner with his 20 oz. Dr. Pepper and “rests” for the rest of the day.  I know what you may be thinking, God is not limited by our behavior, and I totally agree.  But God is limited by his own “laws” if you will.  God created our bodies to work a certain way and to use a certain fuel, but if we choose to misuse our bodies on a daily basis, what choice does God have but to allow us to suffer the consequences of our poor choices?  So even though Sam really does want to be healed, and he really doesn’t want to take pills for the rest of his life, there is something he must do in order for that to take place.  He must change his eating habits and add some exercise into his lifestyle in order for the healing to be lasting.  Hypothetically, God could have healed Sam the instant he asked for healing, but if he continues to abuse his body, will he not continue to suffer the consequences?  If you cut yourself, will you not bleed?  Although your body will heal eventually, if you continue to cut yourself, you will continue to bleed and God will not cause this process to change just because you ask him to.

I know this sounds kind of harsh, and I am only using this example to get a point across.  And I chose Type 2 Diabetes to use as an example because in the majority of cases, it is totally preventable.  My first husband was very similar to this man; he wanted to be healed, but he didn’t want to change his lifestyle.  This is where I believe that faith without works is dead.  You may have to do something, or stop doing something, for faith to live.    If you truly want to be healthy, you can believe you are healed all you want, but if you are doing something that is causing your illness to return, something that you have control over, you need to make that change.

I will give you another example.  I started my own business a little over a year ago and I have been trying to consistently work my business while still working a full time job.  It has been slow, but I am seeing some steady growth in my business.  If I were to just sit down and ask God to bless my business, but I do not talk to anyone about it, or show anyone what I’m doing or at least attempt to get some customers, is it sensible to believe that I am just going to get customers out of the woodwork?  While I recognize that God can and often does do many things that defy our own logic, there are many things that work a certain way.  Gravity is a good example of this; if you jump off a ten story building, you will fall and it will hurt and possibly kill you.  Some things simply are the way they are because of the master plan.

In the end, faith without works really is dead, but we don’t have to look at that as a punishment.  We don’t have to look at it as another inadequacy in ourselves.  That is how I’ve looked at it for much of my life, just one more way I don’t measure up.  Now I see it differently.  We don’t have to have huge faith to accomplish a lot, it’s just like when we teach our children to do new things.  The more they learn, and the more they succeed, the more they believe that they can do.  Faith is like that.  The more we have faith, then we do the things we believe can be done, then we succeed….the stronger our faith becomes. This is true in our spiritual lives as well as our physical lives.

I cannot promise you that if you take better care of your health that you will never get sick or that you will live forever.  What I can promise you is that if you take better care of your health that you will feel better and the life that you do live will be more abundant.  We’ve all heard that Jesus came to give us life and that more abundantly.  I believe that with my whole heart.  I believe that he has given all of us the ability to learn what we can do to be healthy both physically as well as spiritually, and sometimes that means learning some new things and unlearning some old things.  If you are want to learn more about how you can take better care of yourself please contact me, that’s what I’m here for.

 

Personal Growth

      No Comments on Personal Growth

Have you ever been in a place where you think you’ve got it all figured out?  I’ve been there a few times.  Luckily when I’m in those places someone comes along or something happens to remind me I’ve still got a lot to learn.

During the last couple of months I’ve been doing a lot of reading for my own personal growth.  There are so many books out there and they are so easy to access anymore.  I love that I can go to Amazon and buy a book and have it downloaded in minutes.  There is only one drawback to being able to download a book so quickly…sometimes I buy a book and before I get started on it good I see another one that looks good.  Before I know it, I’ve got three books going and I can’t remember where I am on any of them.

Recently I finished reading The Cure For The Common Life by Max Lucado.  If there was ever a book that talks about where I’m at, this is it.  I have struggled for years with feeling like there is more to life than this, I’m meant for more, and questioning, “Why am I so dissatisfied?”  We are all meant for something, but we have all been brainwashed into believing we can’t make a living doing what we love.  There have been many times that I have said, “If I could make a living cooking, I would do it”.  Instead, I work at a job that pays the bills and wish I was doing something else.  Does this really make sense?

I know how hard it is to change your focus, especially as you get older.  It is easier to stay where you are and just accept things the way they are.  I used to think that comfort was the goal, but now I believe comfort may be the enemy.  Comfort can lead to stagnation and boredom and sometimes even laziness.  If you wish for excitement and spontaneity and a thrill once in a while, you have to do something that stretches you, tries you a little.  I have spent so many years working toward safety and comfort I forgot how to step out of my comfort zone and try something new.

One of my goals for this year is to be more adventurous, to try more new things and to be spontaneous.  This is difficult for a planner like myself.  I like my details and having everything lined up neat and tidy, but neat and tidy doesn’t allow for much excitement.  Last summer, my husband and I went on a boat trip in the ocean.  We thought we were going to stay in the inlets, but ended up seven miles from shore.  This is a good example of my planning not exactly being neat and tidy, but we got some awesome pictures.  When we find that “sweet spot” as Max Lucado calls it, I think there is plenty of room for fun, excitement and spontaneity and loving what we do for a living, too!