Saturday, July 3, 2010

Healing Our Hurts

It is amazing how being a parent can teach you things about God. Lately, I have been reflecting on my role of being God's child. Some of my best teaching lessons have occurred while trying to be a good parent to my own kids.

At this age, my kids think every twinge is an ouchie that must be treated. Every little poke needs a bandaid and every scratch needs a medicine. Every little discomfort needs to be smothered in kisses. And I love that my kiss can heal so many hurts. I fear the day that my kiss will no longer be enough.

This makes me wonder, Do I let God's kisses take away my hurts? Do I bring the little things to God and let Him sooth my ouchies?

Recently, one of my kids has been demanding comfort. Oh, it isn't angry tantrums so much as coming to me and purposefully pressing the wound into my lips rather than let me kiss it. This child will come for a hug and lunge at me rather than allow me to gently offer a hug. So we have been working on being gentle and not forcing things upon others, etc.

Today this child was hurt and came to me crying. I offered a hug and wiped the tears away. But since the child was crying, the nose was running. So my hug turned into an opportunity to wipe a messy nose against my shirt and arm. (It is true that being a mom, I get to deal with all kinds of bodily messes, and usually that is okay.) But today, I thought , "Ugh, here I offer a hug and kiss and instead I get yuckies all over me." Needless to say, the child and I had a bit of a conversation about healing the hurts and not getting mama gross.

Also, this got me thinking, When I come to God with my hurts, do I let Him heal them the way He knows is best or do I try to take advantage? When I'm hurting do I try to manipulate the situation or do I accept healing?

A fabulous book I have started reading, and based on the first two chapters I would recommend, "Healing for Damaged Emotions" by David Seamands. I look forward to reading the rest. We all have hurts throughout our entire lives and we need to heal.

May God bless you and heal all your ouchies! Have a great day!!

Saturday, June 26, 2010


I have such a problem with Procrastination. I say I am going to do something, and I really mean it. I am going to do (fill in the blank). But I don't get around to it. Worse yet, if I commit to start a daily/regular task and then I procrastinate on starting the routine. Ugh!

So, I keep saying I am going to exercise regularly. And yes, it would be very good for me to do this task. Yet, I procrastinate. Why?

Possible Reasons:
  • I'm busy: Yep. I am busy. But perhaps not so busy that I can't work in some kind of exercise.
  • I'm not in shape: Yeah, that is true. But of course, if I exercised then I would increase my "in shape-ness" and that excuse would no longer exist.
  • My house is hot: True. But I have fans, so I really could have enough air moving to make it okay.
  • I'm tired: Yes, but I probably would gain energy from exercising. At least that is what other people tell me.
  • I'm scared: True, now we are getting somewhere. I am scared. Scared of failure. Scared of injury. Scared of embarrassment. etc.
  • my list could go on and on.
The truth is, I need to exercise and stop making excuses. Today, I started. I printed off a calender from Microsoft Outlook and took a page of home school reward stickers, and made myself an exercise chart. I then exercised for 15 minutes to a VHS workout tape. And I earned a sticker on today's date. YAY!

Some people would say that 15 minutes is not a true workout. But at my level, it is. I will need to increase my workout ability and endurance. But it is a start.

What are you procrastinating? What are you going to do about it?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Yummy Fruit Punch

Today, I made a Yummy Fruit Punch that was fairly healthy. You can judge for yourself.

1 can of pineapple chunks in pineapple juice
12 ice cubes made with water
2 cups of vitamin fortified orange juice
7 up (as much as you desire knowing the health content)

Combine the pineapple chunks, pineapple juice and ice cubes in a blender. Add orange juice until well blended. Pour into pitcher/punch bowl and add 7up. Tastes delicious served cold. Enjoy!

Healthy Burgers

Just like pizza, Burgers are an American favorite. Usually they are filled with grease and fat, therefore they are unhealthy. Is it possible to make an American favorite burger that is healthy? Yep!!

Healthy hamburger buns (whole gran, gluten free, etc.)
Burger veggies (sliced tomatoes, sliced onions, lettuce or spinach, pickles, etc.)
Healthy sliced cheese (reduced fat, low sodium, etc.)
Your favorite burger condiments (ketchup, mustard, relish, etc)
And of course the Burger patty.

Make the Burgers with:
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained well.
1/2 green bell pepper
1/2 onion
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 can whole kernel corn
2 eggs (or egg equivalent)
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon cilantro
1 teaspoon hot sauce (or a dash of Tabasco sauce)
1 cup healthy cracker crumbs (whole grain, gluten free, etc.) Optional: replace cracker crumbs with brown rice)

Blend ingredients together. I used a food processor to blend all the ingredients except the cracker crumbs. I transferred the mixture into a bowl and added the cracker crumbs, mixing until thick. Add more crackers as needed, until the mixture can hold form.

You may want to grease your hands with olive oil before forming the patties. Then form the patties and place them on a baking sheet. Place the patties in the freezer (ideally overnight). Once the patties are firm, you may cook them.

You can bake them at 375 degrees F for 10-12 minutes on each side. I suggest greasing the baking sheet before baking them. They will brown and crisp, just like real burgers.

Or you can grill them for about 8 minutes on each side.

Assemble your burgers and enjoy! My whole family (adults, kids, vegetarians and meat lovers) all like these burgers!

Friday, June 18, 2010


This morning I was thinking about why I like reading fiction and one of the key aspects I like is escaping into another world. I like to mentally go into the imaginative situation and put myself in the role of the leading lady and main characters.

Lately I have been rereading a book called "A Stitch in Time." It is a compilation of 4 short books on related themes of falling in love during the pioneering "Old West" days. As I was reading, another reason for my love of fiction jumped off the page: I learn things about myself and life from the experiences of the fictional characters. That may seem absurd to some people. But I have had some amazing Christian role models who only lived in the pages of fiction.

Taking her hands in his, he looked into her sweet, heart-shaped face. "I'm sorry I was such an idiot when you told me how you feel. To be honest, I've been struggling with the same emotion toward you."
Her wide eyes glistened. "I don't understand what you mean. Why struggle? Am I that repulsive?"
"Repulsive?" In a flash, he released her hands and slipped his arm around her waist. She didn't resist as he pulled her close and kissed her trembling lips.

Okay, some would read that part and think, "Oh how typically romantic." Others may think, "Ahhh, that is so perfect." And no doubt, these statements and many others are true.

But my thoughts were stuck on one phrase, "She didn't resist as he" She trusted him enough to let him do whatever he was planning. The book doesn't say that she wanted him to kiss her or that she expected him to kiss her. It says, they were having a misunderstanding and he reached for her. In a perfect romance the two characters trust each other and know each other so well that they react well in each situation and it goes "right."

But, I'm not as trusting. In a misunderstanding, if that person reached to give me a hug (not to mention, a kiss) I would automatically pull back and resist. I wouldn't even think about it, I would just react.

This fictional character thought she was being rejected for being ugly. She thought she was not good enough and not appealing enough. I would have felt hurt and maybe defensive, not trusting and compliant. Maybe that is just me.

The whole section brings to mind the topic of trust. Do we draw others to us and allow ourselves to be drawn toward others? Or do we isolate ourselves? And how healthy is that?

As I look toward physical health and healing, I find I must also seek emotional and mental healing. One area I need to heal is my ability to trust others. To live on the defensive, always alert to offense and hurt, it is a tense and frustrating way of life. It makes me an angry person who is always finding what I expect, hurt and offense. When what I really desire is goodness and peace, gentleness and love, joy and contentment. These can be found too, if I am alert to watch for them.

So today, I seek to trust others and look for the good in every situation.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Yummy Italian Sandwich Spread

So, last weekend I was experimenting with yummy ingredients and discovered a delicious sandwich spread.

In my food processor I combined fresh garlic, fresh basil, and fresh cilantro. I added olive oil, and a bit of salt and pepper. I put this mixture into a bowl and made sure the garlic was finely chopped. Then I added grated Parmesan and grated Romano cheeses. Viola, delicious spread.

I spread some on Italian bread, added sliced tomato, spinach leaves, sliced onion, and a slice of provolone cheese. Mmmm, vegetarian goodness.

This would also taste delicious with precooked chicken pieces, especially if the chicken is also seasoned with Italian seasonings. It would probably also taste good with Italian cold cut meats, (salami, peperoni, sliced ham, etc.) though I haven't tried it yet.

My family loved every bite. I served these sandwiches with fresh baby carrots and fresh sliced apples. My husband said, "Why go to Panera when you can have this at home?" Of course, I'm not convinced that they really taste as good as Panera, but I certainly enjoyed my meal and I hope you do too. Let me know what you think, okay?

Healthy Pizza

Can pizza be healthy and yummy? I say, Absolutely!

Start with a healthy pizza crust. It could be made from scratch or bought in the store. We recently used 100 % whole wheat crusts premade. But in the past I have been able to make my own using my preferred flour (whole wheat, gluten free, organic, etc.) add some yeast, a bit of water and olive oil, maybe a pinch of sugar (especially to activate the yeast) and some favorite spices. Voila! Healthy pizza crust!

Next, I omit pizza sauce. Instead I use a bit of olive oil or an olive oil spread like Smart Balance (from the butter section of the grocery store). I spread on the olive oil, fairly lightly.

Then I sprinkle my Italian spices. Fresh is always better where spices are concerned. Common Italian spices include Basil, Cilantro, Oregano, Garlic, Red Pepper or Cayenne Pepper (as desired), Parsley, maybe some Rosemary or Coriander, etc.

Then I add fresh veggies. Real veggies. You are welcome to slice and dice as much as you like. The reason I sometimes use big chunks of veggies is it is easier to cut and easier to pick off should my company not want to eat a particular veggie. However, my family prefers to have the veggies tiny for delicious flavor in every bite. We add tomatoes, green peppers, onion, etc.

Then we add cheese. I try to use low fat cheese and reduced salt cheese. Typical Italian pizza cheeses include: Mozzarella, Parmesan, Romano, Provolone, etc.

At this point, you have a wonderful vegetarian pizza that will taste delicious.

However, for the meat lover, feel free to add meat as you desire. I have added bits of chicken, peperoni, precooked sausage, precooked ground beef, salami, ham, etc. I usually put meat on top so that everyone knows that particular pizza has meat. However, if you desire to add cheese on top of the meat, that is certainly okay with me. In fact, if you have a healthy cheese, you could add two layers. Make it as you prefer, just keep in mind the olive oil and cheese contain the most of the fat content.

Also, if you would like a stuffed crust pizza, prior to adding any toppings, you can stretch the pizza crust about one to two inches over the edges of the pan, place string cheese along the pans edge and roll the crust over the cheese, pressing the crust down to seal the inner edge.

Bake in a 450 degree oven for about 15 minutes. I tend to check my pizza and rotate it, etc. The cooking time will vary based on the pizza thickness.

Yummy! Enjoy!


We live in a society that drinks everything except water. When I walk through the grocery store, I see fruit juice, vegetable juice, juice cocktail blends, juice boxes, juice pouches, flavor koolaid pouches, soda pop cans, soda pop bottles, soda pop 2 liters, soda pop 3 liters, beer, wine, wine coolers, coffee, tea, hot cocoa, iced tea, lemonade, koolaid mix, premade koolaid, etc. I could keep going. We are surrounded by water alternatives.

Also, we are told that our tap water is not good enough. Which truly, some towns that is true. But some places the water is just fine and delicious. For those who decide water is a good beverage, we have water choices too. Advertising for individual bottles, gallon jugs, 3 gallon jugs, 5 gallon jugs, mini kid-size bottles, bottles with twist off caps, bottles with sports caps, bottles with snap up lids, reusable bottles, self-filtering bottles, self-filtering pitchers, etc. Yikes! What an industry.

I even saw a kid size mini water bottle with a child proof cap. Guess what, the cap didn't come off. At all. Not a bit. They advertised that the bottle would be kid proof. Yep, it was. It was also a complete waste of money since it only held 8 oz and could not be refilled. What makes it worse, is that little bottle of water cost the same amount of money as a 2 liter bottle of soda pop. Ugh!

So, why water?

Well, there is something unique about water. It is refreshing. It is necessary to live. It replenishes our bodies. It is filling. And when not surrounded by other water alternatives, pure water can actually taste delicious.

In comparison to the water alternatives, water ends up tasting boring and bland. But even the best water alternative is found lacking on a hot summer day when you've been walking in the heat and sweating, that is when the refreshing taste of a nice cool glass of ice water is wholly satisfying.

Our bodies require water. We don't require tea or soda pop. Some of our bodies complain without our usual coffee, I understand. But all those beverages are body "wants" the only liquid "need" is water. And in my experience, if I am drinking all 8 cups of water, I find I have had enough beverage that I don't really need soda pop or lemonade, etc.

I still crave flavor. So I sometimes I try to convince myself that those other beverages contain water as an ingredient so they must be good enough or even better that just plain water. But in truth, I know I should be drinking pure water.

And I kid myself into not drinking enough water, by saying it would make me use the bathroom more. Blah, blah, blah. Well, it might make me use the bathroom. But guess what, that may be a whole lot more healthy for me. Ya know?

So, do we need water? Yes.
Can other beverages fill the need? Let's not lie to ourselves. No, not really.
How much pure water should I drink? As much as possible.

A simple tip: make it fun. Have a cool cup or fun straw. Store a pitcher in the fridge with pure water that is cool and ready to enjoy.

Another tip:
Since our bodies are made up of mostly water, and water is filling: if we start each meal with a glass of water, we can meet a basic life need and eat less food. Double bonus.

So I suggest we take a minute to get a fun glass from the cupboard, fill it with an ice cube or two and pour in some fresh water. Relax, take a breather, and enjoy the refreshing moment.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

What's new

So today I watched the new show, Losing it with Jillian Michaels. WOW! I may already be addicted and it has only aired one episode. Clearly, I have issues.

So anyway, a couple things I picked up on while watching the first episode include: little issues never dealt with grow into HUGE issues, fixing the outside physical body doesn't fix the inside issues, and with the right kind of small healing whole body healing can come.

So, what does this mean for you and me?

In my mind, it means, "Oh crap, I have to deal with my issues!" I'm not too happy about that. I mean, I know we all have issues. And somehow I believe we are all supposed to be working on our issues. And it is definitely easier to say, "that person needs to deal with his/her issues." But, really, do I have to deal with my issues? Really? That is hard. Can't I just justify them and somehow blame others for my problems? I'm much more comfortable with that idea.

So, I not only need to eat healthier and sweat like crazy working out, I also need to go through an emotional and mental overhaul. I could say, fix the eating and exercise problems first, but that may not fix me in the long run. So, I need to get to the heart of the issue. I need to face reality.

Why am I unhealthy? And what am I going to do about it?

Those are tough questions. But I guess if I really hate being unhealthy and if I really want life change, I better get answering.

Someone once said, something to the effect of, insanity is when you keep doing what you did and expect different results.

Another someone, somewhere long ago, told me about a mama eagle. She builds her nest with briers and sticks, but then fills it with soft fluff. When the eggs are whole, they are kept warm in the fluff. They are cushioned soft and comfy. When the eggs hatch and babies emerge, the warmth and comfort are still necessary. But eventually the tiny eagles are ready to learn to fly, but the nest is so comfy they don't want to leave. They don't want the challenge. They don't want anything different than the false bliss they already feel. So the Mama Eagle takes out the fluff, She pecks away so much fluff that finally the tiny eagles are only surrounded by prickly briers and sticks. They endure enough discomfort and enough pain, that they finally decide it is time for change. And they learn to fly. They soar.

Can you imagine a life of health? Can you picture what that would mean for you? I picture clothes shopping based on style rather than size. I picture going up a flight of stairs and not being winded, but rather being able to carry on a normal conversation. I imagine being comfortable sitting in theater seats, walking in between church pews, walking in a crowded hallway, and not feeling squished. Or going on a family hike or bike ride all afternoon and not being exhausted.

Is it worth it? Is your picture of health worth the sacrifices and hard work it will take to achieve your dream? Mine are. I hope I can remember that when the going gets tough.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Journey Continues

This past few weeks I have been contemplating the cause of my unhealthy state. Most of us are not born unhealthy, we became unhealthy by choices we make or choices made for us. So, eventually we must ask, what happened?

In my case, I was quite healthy as a young child, but something changed during my 9th and 10th years. I cannot pinpoint exactly the cause. For years I blamed one incident of sexual abuse, as the culprit. But recently, I have realized that is not true. It was easy to blame that trauma for everything that went wrong in my life, but the truth is many factors lead to this situation.

One factor, for me personally, has been all the things people said to me that hurt. I realized food is a comfort, so when people hurt me, instead of confronting them, letting it go, or forgiving them, I internalized it and allowed it to hurt me, really hurt me deeply.

People can be so mean, and we all need to deal with it. I dealt with it by comforting myself with food. Now, I need to choose a better solution. (In truth, I'm not sure what that is yet.)

How do you handle your hurts?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Biggest Loser Thoughts

It is Tuesday, for me that is Biggest Loser Day. I don't watch many reality shows. Now don't get me wrong, I watch plenty of shows, just not reality shows. But a few seasons ago, I got hooked to Biggest Loser, and I really enjoy it.

Some things I like about the show include:
Of the other reality show episodes I have viewed (which I admit are few) I have watched a lot of game playing. People seem willing to do just about anything for money. Thankfully, Biggest Loser contestants seem willing to help each other and encourage one another rather than play the game. (Not all the contestants, but most)

Also, this show has a real purpose. It isn't lust or greed, but health. And the trainers give real advice, the guests help encourage and give helpful tips toward accomplishing these health goals and staying healthy after the show is done.

The producers/creators seem to really care about the contestants and their health. I have watched as they brought previous contestants back onto the show in an effort to continue helping them. The challenges are hard, but they are ultimately trying to help the health journey.

And I could continue giving reasons for why I watch this show and why I find it motivational. But the gist of it is, I like it and I empathize.

So, something I notice each season is this unhealthy trend: (Let me know if you can empathize with this)

The first episode airs and I totally empathize. I see what contestants are similar size to myself. I see the videos of them eating or trying on clothes, or trying to fit into a chair or car, etc. I totally know what it feels like because it is the life I live each day. And I get motivated, I think to myself, "If they are going to do this, I'm doing it with them." And for a few weeks, I am totally with them. I don't exercise quite as much, and I don't have the benefit of Bob or Jillian, the Biggest Loser Kitchen or the 24 hrs Fitness Gymn, or the life without distractions, but "so what, if they can do it, I can do it." Right?

Then, at some point during the season, as I am cheering them on, and being hopeful about my own weight loss journey, at some point I become a viewer. No longer am I thinking, "I can do it." I'm thinking, "YAY! Go for it, They can do it." Why did I switch from I to They?

Okay, so in the back of my brain, I am still hoping I can do it too. But I certainly won't be succeeding as fast as they are. I certainly won't be near my goal weight by the time the finale airs. What happened?

Well, life happened. I was distracted. I didn't work hard enough. I didn't put 100% effort into it. I didn't have the challenges and the competition. I didn't see that yellow line looming each week or the fear of being sent home prematurely. So, I lived my life, trying to make small adjustments in a positive direction.

Yes, I will make it. But it will not be before this season is done. In fact, it may take a few more full seasons before I reach my goal. But I will continue on my journey.

And as I continue at an at-home pace, I enjoy watching them lose massive amounts of weight each week, succeed in extreme challenges, and give me tips and motivation along the way.

Anybody relate?

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Obstacle - Time

I do not have enough hours in the day. And what makes it worse, is that my physical unhealth, makes the hours I do have not effective. I can be busy for an hour doing physical tasks like laundry, dishes, sweeping, etc. But then I have to sit and rest, cause my body is exhausted. So how can I change the situation?

My time is divided between:
  • God Time (Church activities, Bible Study activities, doing Bible study homework, etc.)
  • Kid Time (Home school activities, feeding, tending, teaching, disciplining, etc.)
  • Spouse Time (talking, making decisions, trying to have a date now and then, etc.)
  • Household Manager Time (cooking, cleaning, organizing, picking up, running errands, etc.)
  • Self Time (Blogging, Facebook, sewing, maybe reading, a bit of Relaxation)
  • General Care Time (sleeping, eating, going to the bathroom, etc.)
  • Misc. Time (driving to and fro, waiting for others, etc.)

Okay, so I already have plenty to keep me busy. And I am sure healthy people have the same or similar time obligations. So, how does a person make time for exercise?

I have heard that once a person is healthy, he/she has more energy and can be more efficient with time usage. I have been told that if health and exercise is a priority then it will replace certain areas and become a new hobby. That would be great, except I can't see where it would fit, unless I give up what relaxation I do have (but can I do that? ugh!)

So I am struggling: where can I find the time to exercise? Or am I really struggling with fear of making life changes and time is a convenient excuse?

What works for you?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Veggies - Yum?

Can vegetables taste good?

I am finding out the answer is: Yes!

Recently, with the Spring air and cheaper produce prices, we have been buying more veggies. Two weeks now, when we are at the grocery store in the produce section, I have paused to look around and ask, "What other veggies can I buy?" Wow, what a question!

We chose baby carrots, green cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, green peppers, yellow peppers, red peppers, orange peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, onion, lettuce, etc. I also chose a healthy veggie dip/dressing. The cauliflower and broccoli will be used for broccoli and cheese soup later this week. The lettuce will be combined with other veggies in a delicious salad. And the onion will be used for sauteing and other cooking. But most of the fresh veggies were chosen for munching on raw, fresh veggies.

We got home and unloaded groceries. I then began slicing and cleaning veggies to be placed into Ziploc bags. So handy to grab and go or snack on throughout the day. They are cleaned, portioned and ready to eat. Fresh and delicious!

I also prepare fruit bags. This week I prepped grapes and apples. The grapes were taken off the stems and washed, them put in bags. The apples were washed and sliced, then put in bags along with a lemon slice (to keep the slices fresh and not brown). Surprisingly, my kids loved the idea of eating these food from a bag rather than having a whole apple or a bunch of grapes. So, YAY! again.

The produce tastes fresh, clean, and vibrant, with a natural combination of sweet and sour. I am surprised, but I am actually liking it all. The mix of colors and flavors, look good and taste gourmet. Plus the health is high and the calories are low. The produce is satisfying and doesn't cause a sour or stuffed stomach feeling. Amazingly, I love it.

The test will be, can I eat this way for a long period of time without getting tired of the flavors? Can our budget continue to afford these items? What will change as the seasons change? Etc.

I'll keep you posted. But for right now, this seems to be a Great!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Is it Possible?

Today, I watched an episode of the Biggest Loser and they were talking about pushing limits, breaking barriers, and doing what you think is impossible. They also talked about weight loss being a huge mental battle, that even if the weight comes off, a person who is not healed mentally and emotionally will just put the weight back on. And they talked about putting yourself first.

So I am debating:
  • Is it selfish to make time to exercise?
  • Is it selfish to make sure to eat the right things?
  • What caused my unhealthy lifestyle? And can I fix it?
  • What are my limits? Do I have what it takes to break them and push myself?

I am realizing:
  • It effects my whole family that I am unhealthy. It will help the whole family if I can make the right changes to improve. That is not selfish.
  • I am an example. Will I be a good example of healthy eating and fitness? Or a bad example of poor choices? I know what I want.
  • So what is keeping me from taking action?
What keeps you from taking action?
  • Is it fear? Fear of failure. Fear of others and what they may say. Fear of not fitting in with the crowd. Fear of being proven wrong and admitting past mistakes.
  • Is it shame? Shame for all the poor choices. Shame for not wanting the situation to get this bad. Shame that it is such a struggle to fight temptation and force yourself to work hard.
  • Is it lack of self-worth? Belief that maybe you and I shouldn't have good health. Belief that healthy people are speaking lies or deluding themselves. Belief that since all this other bad stuff has happened, life can't be changed.
  • Is it laziness? Giving in to temptation. Giving into the ease of sitting around doing very little. It is hard. It hurts. Expecting life to improve on it's own without your effort or involvement.
  • Is it excuses? Maybe God planned my life to be this way. Maybe I'm supposed to be unhealthy for some divine purpose. It is my parent's fault for teaching me bad habits and not motivating me. It must be my husband and kids, if they did like I asked, then my life wouldn't be so stressful. If life worked the way it was supposed to, then I wouldn't be this way.
  • Or maybe it is something else.
I continue to struggle. I struggle with food cravings. I struggle with motivation and overcoming obstacles. I struggle with people (what they might think, what food they put in front of me, and what they say that is hurtful.) Life is hard and this doesn't seem like the right time for this journey. But, I can't put it off any longer. I need to fix my life, improve it, and share what I've learned.

I want:
  • to become a health nut (even though I have been internally judged them. I need to become like them.)
  • to overcome obstacles. I need to prove it to myself. I can succeed.
  • to be a good example and live life to the best of my ability.
  • to be proud of myself and my accomplishments.
  • to make my dreams come true.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Healthy Popcorn

I have been told for years that popcorn is healthy. Of course the butter and salt people put on popcorn is not so healthy. And healthy microwave popcorn is not cheap. So what should a person do?

Well, I thought about getting an air popper for popcorn. But I decided it wasn't worth the money because we don't make enough popcorn regularly enough to make the investment worth the cost. Plus, I have no place to store it.

Instead, I did an online search of my favorite recipe sites and discovered something "Cool!" Did you know, you can make regular popcorn (air popper popcorn seeds) in the microwave, without all the chemicals the company adds? Yep, it is great!

Take a lunch bag. One of those brown paper bags that are super cheap. Put about 1/4 cup of popcorn seeds into the bag. Fold the bag's top edge a couple of times to keep it closed. Place it in the microwave (standing upright, not on its side). Set the timer for 3-5 minutes. Wait, listen, smell the fresh popcorn, and open the door when the popping stops. (just like making prepackaged microwave popcorn.) No grease or oil needed.

Once the popcorn is popped, you may season it as you prefer. There are many popcorn seasonings on the market, but they add fat along with flavor. Some people like spicy popcorn with Greek seasoning or Lawry's seasoning salt. If there is a butter/margarine that you trust, you can melt some and add for "buttery" flavor. When the popcorn is plain, it is a blank flavor canvas, you can add whatever you prefer. (the optional additions will decide the fat content)

Popcorn is gluten free. Filling and easy. It is also very cheap when you just buy the kernels.

One of the recipes my family REALLY like is Peanut Butter Popcorn:

1/2 cup peanut butter (we use the chunky kind)
1/4 cup sugar (you could substitute honey)
1/2 tsp vanilla
Optional: To thin the mixture and have it cover more popcorn, I add 1/2 cup safflower oil.

Heat in a saucepan until well mixed and melted thoroughly, then pour over the popped popcorn. Stir the popcorn to get an even coating on all the pieces. And serve, preferably a bit warm.

Viola, yummy peanut butter popcorn, made fresh at home! Enjoy!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Cost versus Health

For years, I have believed the lie that to eat healthy costs more money. And in some cases that is true. However, certain healthy items are extremely inexpensive. So what is the excuse? Then we say, "Oh, that tastes gross" Well, it might if we don't know how to prepare it.

Recently, I have been trying to buy healthy foods for little cost, the ideal shopping experience. Here are some meals I have been able to make healthy and cheap:

  • Tacos
  • Chili
  • Pizza or Stromboli
  • Japanese Curry and Rice
  • Chinese Stir Fry
  • Peppers and Eggs
  • Poor Man's Meal
  • etc. The list is growing more all the time.
Recently, I have also been focusing on healthy snacks that are cheap. Here are some of our favorites:

  • apples
  • oranges
  • grapes
  • baby carrots
  • bananas
  • peanuts
  • popcorn (whole kernel not pre-bagged)
  • yogurt
  • fruit smoothies
  • sorbet
  • sliced cucumbers
  • sliced green peppers
  • etc.
I have found that when I shop the circle around the grocery store (produce, meat dept., dairy dept, fresh bakery dept.) and a few select aisles (beans, rice, frozen veggies, etc.) I can find whole, fresh foods, that are healthy and cheap.

A few things I am learning:
  • break apart the favorite recipes and substitute whole foods (i.e. instead of refried beans from a can, I use whole pinto or whole black beans, ideally from a bag of dried beans.)
  • Plan ahead: if I shop the sales and them plan out my meal options, I know what to look forward to making and how much to make.
  • Make the most of freezer space: If I soak beans for tacos, I can make 5 taco meals in one day. Package the taco mix and freeze it.
  • Whole foods not only taste better (more gourmet) but they also stay fresh longer and are more filling (I used to go up for seconds at every meal, with whole foods I am shocked how full I am after one plate)
  • Rice and beans are extremely cheap and very healthy, add veggies and "voila", a balanced menu
So I am learning that cost is a variable that we must consider, but sometimes we don't have to sacrifice the health. (As far as tasting good, I hope to post some recipes that will help overcome that fear.)

Enjoy Health!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Do you find salads boring?

Perhaps it is because I grew up in the Small Town Midwest, but for my growing up years I HATED salads. Every gathering needed food and each lunch or supper needed salad. The problem was, it was never salad. It was a bowl of lettuce and bottles of dressing on the side. Yep, usually iceberg lettuce and rich ranch dressing. (Or blue cheese, 1000 Island, French, Catalina, etc.) That is not a SALAD.

For me a real salad includes:
  • Fresh Green Lettuce
  • Chopped Tomatoes
  • Diced Green Pepper
  • Grated Carrots
  • Grated Cabbage
  • Chopped Green Cucumber
  • Black Olives
  • Perhaps Red Peppers, Orange Peppers, Yellow Peppers, etc.
  • Maybe diced hard boiled eggs or diced ham and turkey
  • Shredded Cheese
  • Etc.
My idea of a salad include fresh veggies in various colors, where the flavors blend so well you don't even need salad dressing.

Oh, and since I am venting about how wrong salads can be, I should also add: I do not include potato salad, egg salad, noodle salad, etc. with my veggie salad. So for all those Salad Bar places that include: lettuce, cherry tomatoes, carrot sticks, potato salad, pasta salad, fake bacon bits, fat filled crouton crumbles, sliced peaches, watery cottage cheese and 5 fat filled dressings. These salad bars are not satisfactory. They are filled with "Yuck!"

I much prefer salad bars filled with lots of fresh colorful veggies that are cut properly, so you can actually mix a nice salad and have nutritious flavor in every bite.

Anybody agree?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

New Facebook Group

Hello, Friends,

I am writing this post to invite you to join a new Facebook group dedicated to saying "NO!" 2 Unhealthy. I have found it hard to work towards my health goals with all of the "life" going on around me. I know one person said her most important tool was accountability, and for that I need a team of friends willing to help each other succeed.

I happen to be a fan of "The Biggest Loser" TV show. I have found myself drawn to this show for many reasons, but that could be another post entirely. The reason I bring the show up now is that I have noticed one of the strategies of the show is the team element. True, they still compete team versus team. But when the contestants are truly struggling in those first weeks, the element of teamwork and support are key to success.

So, I am asking for your help and offering my own. We can help keep each other accountable, we can post success stories, we can talk about challenges, and cheer each other towards our goals. The group is private, so no one can join without permission and no one outside our group will see what we post. I am hoping for great success in our group.

I hope to see you there. (FYI- the group will not replace this blog, only augment what I am posting here.)

Best wishes,

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Peppers and Eggs

I have decided to start posting some Healthy Recipes. If you have some recipes that you find to be delicious and healthy, please share them with me.

Today's Recipes is: Peppers and Eggs

It is quite simple to make and surprisingly delicious.

You will need:
1 red pepper
1 yellow pepper
1 orange pepper
1/2 onion
1 clove fresh garlic
9 eggs or egg white equivalent (free range eggs tend to be healthier)
Olive Oil

Optional Items:
bread (as a side dish)
cubed ham or other precooked meat
salt and pepper
additional spices (I usually add Italian Spices)

Start by dicing the peppers and onion. The smaller the pieces the faster they cook and the softer they get. You may mince the garlic or use a garlic press, and add the fresh garlic to the onion and peppers.

In a separate container whip the eggs and spices together. Once all the ingredients are prepared, the cooking may begin.

In a large skillet, (or if need be a sauce pan) saute the peppers, onion and garlic, in olive oil. This works best if you cover the pan and cook on medium heat stirring often. If the pan does not have a cover, you may use aluminum foil. (If you desire to add meat, now it the time. Please make sure the meat is precooked)

Once the vegetables are the softness you desire, then add the eggs and spices. (I prefer to have my vegetables a bit firm; they seem more fresh/healthy that way.) The egg mixture will cook much like scrambled eggs. Move the spoon or spatula over the base of the pan often to keep the egg mixture from burning. Once the eggs are thoroughly cooked, you may remove the pan from the heat.(Now would be the time to add cheese, if you so choose.)Cover until ready to serve.

This recipe feeds my family of 5. So you may scale the recipe smaller or larger based on the group you are serving.

I hope you enjoy this fresh, fun food!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Addictions and Labels

Is Obesity an Addiction? Is Obesity a Label?

Hmmm . . . I'm not sure. In my experience, the things that lead to my obesity have been addictive. The wrong kinds of food, the lack/fear of exercise, the emotional solution to eat rather than deal with problems, etc. But is it my label?

I certainly hope not. I hope that I am more than just a Fat Person. Because aren't we all more than just one characteristic? Don't we all have many characteristics that define us and the certain group of characteristics that define each person is different from the next. Isn't that what makes us have certain things in common while we also have differences that make us unique?

Okay, so if one of my characteristics is that I am obese from years of poor eating habits, poor exercise habits, etc. Then my other characteristics might include: musical, dramatic, fiction addict, etc. Why do I let one characteristic speak louder than the others?

Or is it that I feel others are saying I'm fat and rather than let them hurt me, I just admit it and defuse the pain? Does that make sense? Do you find yourself doing that?

The truth is, I don't want to be obese or unhealthy, but the factors that led to these life circumstances are still present in my life and I have not yet found the power to combat them.

The truth is, I am much more than just a fat person, but unless someone can look beyond the body image, they will not see the other great characteristics.

Thankfully, God sees the truth: Isaiah 55:1-2 "Come, all who are thirsty, come to the waters . . . Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare." Jeremiah 31:3 "I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself."

Today, may we cast off the false labels, rid ourselves of our unhealthy addictions, and bask in the love of our Lord!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Getting Outside

Well, Spring is starting to arrive. With it comes wonderful outside weather. I had so much fun playing in the yard yesterday with my kids. It was 63 degrees outside, the sun was shining though a bit overcast, there was a gentle breeze and I could smell someone down the street was grilling. Fabulous outside day!

So with nice weather comes a desire to exercise. And perhaps plant a garden of fresh produce.

Did you know that playing with kids can be exhausting? Thus, it must also be exercise, right? Well, maybe not quite everything exhausting is exercise. But in this case, if the exhaustion comes from physical exertion, then yes it is exercise and therefore it is good. So I need to play outside more with my kids.

And did you know that gardening can be exercise too? Yep, shoveling, hoeing, bending to weed, etc, all can be considered exercise. So there is another reason to be outside and exercise.

I certainly hope we have a beautiful spring and many opportunities to get outside!

Friday, March 5, 2010


Well, with the possibility that I have diabetes and the fact that I don't have health insurance, I have been searching for alternate techniques of treatment. I did a number of online searches about diabetes and have discovered a few key things.

  • Diabetes is very much dependent upon lifestyle choices.
  • With healthy eating, regular exercise, and other healthy living habits, diabetes can be controlled and even reversed.
  • Cinnamon is a natural item that acts in the body like insulin.
  • Cayenne Fruit/Pepper can also help Diabetes (though I need to be careful with it since I also have GERD.)
  • I will still need to be tested and have regular Dr. appointments.
  • But I am learning as much as I can about what I can do to reverse this condition.

My trouble currently is: I have been trying to lose weight and become healthy for months actually years. So I am very concerned that I will not be able to make changes to my life to reverse this disease for the very same reasons I have been unable to lose weight in the past. But, maybe I am just being fearful. I guess time will tell.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Recent Healthy Activities

Well, I am sorry I haven't posted in a while. It has been to long.

My journey towards healthy is taking crazy twists and turns. We have discovered that Gluten free living is not working for our family. For one thing, it is expensive. But also, we have not been able to get away from gluten, it seems to be everywhere. Even foods that are supposed to be gluten free have thickener or some additive that has gluten. So unless the label says "gluten free" it is very likely to contain some gluten. And once the label says "gluten free" the price goes up high, unless you can live off of Chex cereal. Good luck to people making gluten free work, I am certainly proud of you!

Actually, another factor went into us giving up on gluten free living. There is a possibility that I have Diabetes type 2. Now in all truth, living gluten free may help in a diabetes menu, since everything is made fresh and has less additives, etc. But, at this time, we need to focus on getting my healthy situation understood and work toward pure healthy living.

So, I am searching for exercise activities that work for our family (cheap, effective, kid friendly, and fun, etc.) I am also looking forward to spring and summer with produce costs going down and perhaps growing a garden. I continue to research natural healing resources and true health, including healthy foods and activities, etc.

I will continue to post things as I come across them and as I continue on this journey. If you have any questions or blog topic suggestions, I would be happy to oblige. Have a great day!