Monthly Archives: August 2011

Sweet Chips?

I’ve never been much for “snacky foods”…

You know I had to “re-train” myself to even eat snacks during my bout with gestational diabetes.  (That’s really a hard thing to over come if you’re only used to eating 3 meals a day!)

Growing up, my brothers ate all sorts of chips.  Back then, the generic bags they went through daily just said: “CHIPS”… black on white.

Maybe that was the turn off for me?  Thankfully… they just didn’t appeal to me.  Perhaps they just weren’t SWEET enough for my taste buds.

Whatever the reason, unless it was an occasional Cheetos, or Doritos… or the phase with the “Baked Lays”… and the “secret ingredient” that made me sick to my stomach.  Hmmm… maybe those WEREN’T so healthy.

So I’ve done well when came to salty options… I just didn’t crave them – ever.

Then my loving husband introduced me to SWEET potato chips.

Uh oh.

Yummo! My favorite! Sweet potato chips! 🙂

 

“Oh, they have 20% of your Vitamin A…,” He said.

Oh well… what could it hurt?  I don’t really like chips anyway right?

Well fantastic.  I fell in *love* with them.

Sweet potatoes – good.  Sea salt – good.  What’s not to love? 

Now they need to be rationed by serving size (12 chips thank you very much!)… because otherwise, I’d forget who ate that last chip, and continue eating another…. and another…

and WHOOPS!

Vitamin A right??

Not quite all that and a bag of chips.  It’s STILL a chip.

But…. as far as chip options go, they are pretty yummy.  Don’t blame ME if you get addicted!

WARNING: Put your serving into a bowl and put bag away before eating. 🙂  (you can thank me later for THAT tip!)

 “Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD.” And you forgave the guilt of my sin.” – Psalm 32:5

Feeling Fruity?

We had some friends to dinner and they brought delicious peaches! Perfectly ripe and oh so yummy!

I’ll admit, I probably don’t eat enough fruit most days.

I try….

But I’m sort of picky and in a hurry… and …

Oh wait.

All excuses are equal.  Equally worthless.

But… I do eat a lot of vegetables… ???

Okay… so I don’t have a great reason WHY.  But, I know I’m eating more fruit, more frequently – and that is a great movement in the right direction.

When we are at home, we have yogurt for breakfast.  Every day.  I like having the same thing everyday.  I really do.

For lunch, if I remember… I have a half or smaller of a banana, or part of an apple, or a peach….

Sometimes we do fruit from the freezer section… you know the ones that people blend into smoothies?  We defrost it and eat it that way too…. mango, pineapple, peaches and mixed fruits.  This is a great option when other things are out of season.  (Who likes HARD cantaloupe or tasteless strawberries?  No thanks!)

(Remember:  A serving of fruit fits in your hand… so it doesn’t have to be a LOT.  I see people fill up on fruit in LARGE amounts, and assume if a little is good, a lot is better.  Not so.  Many fruits can be high in natural sugar, so consider how much and how often you’re eating which ones.)

Right now the peaches are awesome in Kansas and we had some excellent cantaloupe as well today!  Get fruity!

How sweet are Your words to my taste, Sweeter than honey to my mouth! — Psalm 119:103

Fish Oil… Go!

Okay… Burp-less Fish Oil by Nature Made is on sale this week at Target….

GO! 🙂

Read about the great benefits of fish oil and Omega3 here.

I didn’t realize how dangerous shopping at Target could be.  While looking through the vitamins, the whole front of the vitamin shelf fell OFF and the spring-loaded rows of vitamins came SHOOTING at me.

My 3 and 4-year-old sons were greatly impressed at what transpired.

Me?  Not so much.  I should have taken a picture – but I’ll let you use your imagination on this one.

Thankfully a friendly customer offered to make my day and helped me pick up the bottles of vitamins that surrounded my feet.  What a nice blessing on this Lord’s day.

Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.”  John 6:29

Time To Be Sick?

Wow, school has started for us and activities and life are in full force!  BUT that doesn’t mean it’s time to let off of the gas of exercise and being healthy for HIM!

In fact, it’s probably MORE important to be making my health a priority…  so I don’t get SICK!

Speaking of which, for the most part, we’re a pretty healthy family.  Last year was like most, we got our flu shots, got the occasional cold…

and then my husband went on his weekend business trip, with little sleep and lots of work – and brought us back Influenza A.

Thanks honey.

I drink a little of this each day. Some people don't like the taste - but this is my favorite flavor - combined with some TRUE orange (natural water flavor)

First my 8-year-old got it, and then *I* got it, and by the next day… the rest of the kids had it too.

You know how kids bounce back relatively easily?  We adults…. not. so. much.  He was so sick for over a week.  It took me a few days to get coughed on, but eventually I got it too.

Thankfully I was able to drag myself to the Dr. and he was pro-IV fluids to get me rehydrated.  He said that while I wasn’t DEhydrated that would give me the boost I needed to get over it more quickly.

I’d say so!  A few hours in the hospital, and the next day…. I felt like new.  Which was a lot different from how my husband felt for a good week.  I give the IV fluids credit… but I also think being in shape, good rest, and being in good health also played a big part as well.

When I was pregnant with diabetes, I got every cold or flu bug the kids had – and several I’m sure I spread…  That’s really common with diabetes, and I can see why.  Your immunities are way down as your body is struggling to function!   Honestly for the past several years I had been the one to drop first – while my husband stayed strong.  Ironically, this past year has been my BEST year of health since college!  Praise God!

I know a lot of it has to do with eating right, being in shape AND… being properly hydrated…  So if you’re struggling with your health.  Take a look at what you’re feeding your body!!  Consider ways you can be healthy for Him!

* You’ve probably heard of Airborne drink tablets for keeping your immunities boosted.  You mix them with water, and drink up!  I tried that after my husband got sick with Influenza A.  I felt like I was going to throw up.  Someone then mentioned Emergen-C to me.  I figured I could try that…  Emergen-C works like Airborne BUT (in my opinion) is a lot easier to drink, especially in Tangerine or Super Orange flavoring!  I often split it into two drinks  (half a packet) per 32 oz, and then 2 of my True packets per 32oz.  YUM – for something different… Great after exercising!  It’s definitely cut down how long my colds have lasted!!

“For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–

all things have been created through Him and for Him.” – Colossians 1:16

Super Supplements

WARNING:  This blog post may cause more change in your life.  PLEASE don’t stop reading – it’s a BIG ONE and totally worth it.  I promise.

What do omega-3 and omega-6 have to do with being healthy?

Actually, a lot.

Most people are severely out of balance on these two fatty acids, on the heavy-side with one in particular.  Remember this:  We generally get WAY TOO MUCH OMEGA-6, and not enough omega-3.

Omega-6 are found in things like vegetable oils… which are in commercial baked goods, salad dressings, and planted based cooking oils.  The ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 in your intake, should be about 1:1 – 1:3 and most people?  …are about 20 times that amount on the omega-6 fatty acids ranging from 1:20 – 1:30!!

But wait… it gets worse…

those omega-3 fatty acids that we’re LACKING are the necessary food for our brain stimulation and skin revitalization.  They slow down aging, improve fat metabolism, lubricate your joints and decreases inflammation!  YES!  We need more of that!

So how do you get MORE omega-3 you ask?  Some great additions to your diet are several types of fish including salmon, pecans, almonds ,walnuts, soy nuts, flaxseed (great for cooking!), and deep green veggies.

So… I eat a lot of salad, but I honestly DON’T love to eat a lot of fish, and neither does my family.  Plus we have to pay attention to not eat too much depending on mercury levels to be eating it DAILY.  (*Not to mention, we had a terrible event around some salmon so I don’t think the kids will eat it for … the rest of their years at home.)   We do add flaxseed and wheat germ to a lot of the things we bake, but again – I just don’t consume THAT much over all.  No way is it close to the 3500 mg required daily.

GOOD NEWS…  there are some great supplements available to us that are affordable and lower calorie with all of the benefits!  If there is a natural alternative to healing something in your body, I’m all for it.  Be educated and start somewhere!

I’ve taken a prenatal for the past 12 years.  It’s my basic multivitamin but targeted specifically for those who are pregnant and or nursing, containing the all important folic acid.  I’m actually still nursing… so that is what I currently take for a multivitamin.   Most women’s multivitamins will cover you containing Vitamin A, C, E, copper, magnesium, zinc, calcium, potassium, and iron.  Taking a vitamin with food will help your body absorb it, the exception to that rule is iron supplements, so maybe pick one that has less iron, or take that separately at night before bed.

So…I thought I was covered and doing well for myself with my vitamins… all seemed well…   I guess I just didn’t know how much better I could feel!

Omega Women, Gingko Smart, and "Burp-less" Fish Oil Supplements

I’ll be honest, I saw a HUGE difference in my overall health after I added in the following supplements to help with hormonal health and adding in Omega-3!   So… unless you’re eating a serving of salmon daily, listen up!

First and foremost I take a plain fish oil supplement.  Before you turn up your nose, and recall any bad experiencing you’ve had with fish oil in the past… Fish oil has come a long way.

I get ours at Target in the HUGE bottle because both my husband and I take it daily.  We get “Burp-less Fish Oil” from Nature Made, and keep it in the refrigerator (taking 1-2 every morning = 2400mg))…  we’ve NEVER had a “fishy” burp from it.  Fish oil is full of  those Omega-3s we need and will help you not only with your brain/heart/joint function like I mentioned, but help ward off depression, AND keep fat off your belly!!  (It also helps to keep your body a bit more regular)  Sound good?  It is!

We also take a “Ginkgo Smart” soft-gel from Irwin Naturals which has some fish oil in it (878mg) and also Ginkgo for brain clarity.   (I call it my natural energy booster without caffeine ).  I ran out of this the first time, and honestly… within a week I thought I had lost my mind again!  Ginkgo really does help!

Then I take an “Omega Woman” supplement from Nordic Naturals that has some Omega-3s (just a little over 100mg), but mainly it’s  Evening Primrose Oil (800mg), which aids in hormonal balance.  Danna Demetre recommends the Ultimate Omegas from Nordic Naturals, and then a Coromega.

Finally, in effort to also help your family get healthy for Him – pay close attention to what types of multivitamins you’re giving your children.  We were so saddened a few years ago when we realized they were putting aspartame in many children’s vitamins!  There are many more options – look around!

“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” – James 1:22

Diets Rated and Balance

My husband and I try to shop smart.  Years ago, I thought maybe he was a little crazy for his obsession with Consumer Reports before we made purchases for our home and life.

It didn’t take long for me to realize he was onto something… Consumer Reports has been a great resource for so many purchases over our married lifetime.   It rates products you consider purchasing based on how they really work (or don’t).

We went without it for a couple of years when things were tight, and we borrowed it from my Father-in-law because we just couldn’t live without it.

Well, a few months ago… Consumer Reports rated: DIETS.

June 2011 Issue of Consumer Reports

Yes.  You read that correctly.

I thought…”What?”  But I had to read on… you know how I loathe that word.

The facts are, people DO invest in diets… sometimes several different types of diets, trying to reach their goals or maintain a healthy weight.

And … throughout that process, people might even lose weight.  People may even show remarkable changes in how they eat… for a time.  But statistically so many people “drop out” before they get very far.

Why is that??

My guess would be the commitment (who is their commitment to?) and the goals (who are they trying to be healthy for?) aspect.  Often times access to the specific foods, or rigid rules wear people out and they go back to their old ways.  What they’re missing is NOT changing their lifestyle.  They think of the word diet, as a short-term goal to meet their short-term expectations for their life.

Well… Jenny Craig was the winner – with people weighing 8% less than when they started after 2 years.  Jenny Craig has specific “branded” meals to eat, and a weekly counselor to check in with (by phone or in person).  The other diets reviewed were Slim-Fast, Weight Watchers, Zone, Ornish, Atkins and Nutri-System.

All of this sounds great, right?  IF any of them were training you to be able to do this in the “real world”… on your “own” without their rules, meals and guidelines.

But that’s not what is going on here.

What these diets want to do, is sell you stuff… and keep you coming back for more.  Many people ride a roller coaster of gaining and losing weight over and over again… and that’s what they’re hoping for.

The problem is, these diets were focused on one thing – SELLING something.  Selling food, books, magazines, ideas… and they really didn’t care about YOU specifically, or your heart issues on food and exercise.

God does.

Be aware.  WHO is it that you want to be healthy FOR?  If your goals are to be healthy for Him… then with His strength, you should be able to make the most sensible choices in any situation because your eyes are on the Lord.

So, while countless “health experts” and workout coaches have some great info to share, and products to sell… don’t be duped into following it like a religion.  Use His standard to figure out what the Truth is.

Does God doesn’t want you to be micromanaging your calorie intake for the rest of your life or working out to the point of it being an idol.  (He made variety for a reason!)  He wants you to live freely, but use wisdom in your choices.

Balance.

God isn’t looking for perfection from me or you… He’s looking for us to draw our strength from Him in all things…  even in HEALTH.

 “For the word of the LORD is right and true; he is faithful in all he does.” Psalm 33:4

It’s a Major Heart Issue

Your heart is the most important muscle in your body. The vital organ that keeps the others functioning… And keeps YOU alive.

Heart disease is the number one killer among women… You’ve probably heard this before. If not… Think about it.

Why?

When I was younger I worked out for all the wrong reasons.

Vanity.

I, like most women didn’t feed my body the things it needed to keep me strong and healthy and I starved my heart of the nutrients it needed. I didn’t think about strengthening my heart muscle back then. I didn’t want to get bulky so I didn’t lift weights-especially weights for my upper body.

There is something about having toned arms and the connection it can have with your heart. I’m not talking about having to be a women with “man muscles”…. But admit it, we reach an age when gravity is really working against you and things start shaking and flapping around. Most women would agree they don’t like that feeling… Because, even if you’re not overweight, it makes you feel out if shape. Now, think about how out of shape your heart is… Could it be in better shape?

How much time do we focus on upper body strength and workouts?

When I started working out and learning circuit training exercises… I learned quickly that doing moves with weights in your hands can make moves more difficult and as I brought my hands with weights above my heart muscle, it really got things hoppin’ and had me gasping to catch my breath. (Not to mention it burns more calories! My husband started running with lighter weights last year-it makes a difference in your form and posture too!)

What it also does… Is it calls on your heart to pump blood harder against gravity. It’s tougher, yes, but – it’s such a great workout for you to really work that muscle and make it strong.

Try it out. Do 20 jumping jacks. Then try them with weights pushing them up from your shoulders.

Do you feel that?

Strengthen that heart muscle and your spiritual heart each day and kick heart disease to the curb!

* if you don’t have weights, use soup cans or use gallon jugs filled with dirt or sand. “no money for weights” isn’t an excuse not to get moving! Eat lots of green leafy vegetables and lean protein to keep that heart healthy!

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way.”. -Psalm 139:23-24

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Can I Still Have My Coffee?

I think college is what sparked my interest in coffee.

As a child, I always enjoyed the smell of coffee…  but I couldn’t, for the LIFE of me, figure out why people drank it.

It tasted AWFUL.

Coffee can actually be GOOD before a work out? Yes! (photo via The Fitness Chronicle)

Then came short nights, and long days… and before I knew it, coffee didn’t taste “so bad”.

It was a slow transition.  I think at first I started drinking some gas station version of a “latte”, which was pretty much a sugary warm drink with a HINT of coffee flavor.  It was like cocoa with a “kick” at that point in my life.  This humors me now, as I can’t stand “flavor” or any additions in my coffee.

I like it BLACK.

I can drink a latte now and then.  Tall, Decaf, Skinny… but please – NO flavor!  For the sake of what we’re talking about – we’ll stick with plain, black coffee.

So the question is often asked… “What about my coffee, do I have to give it up to be healthy?”

Well, one thing is for sure, when it comes to health talk… opinions abound!

One article may something is “bad” for you, another may state clearly that same thing can be GOOD for you…  Even doctors vary on this topic!   Both ends of the arguments can be very convincing, and you’re just not sure what to believe!

It can be quite confusing, can’t it?

My husband’s uncle is a Dr. and he gave up coffee entirely for a while to see what would it would do as far as health benefits.  After several months of study, he shared with me what I had read:

Drinking 8 oz of coffee a day can be good for your mental clarity and health.  It can be recommended 30 minutes before a workout to boost your energy level and maximize your fat loss (Unless you’re trying to gain bulk, it doesn’t help with that – just muscle definition).  While other studies said drinking any type of caffeine will throw off your blood sugars by messing with your heart rate, metabolism and nervous system!  So… you have to realize and figure out what it does to you and the type you’re consuming.  Remember how we talked about God designing us all differently?  Basically, it affects different people differently, depending on your chemical make up.  Some reactions are going to be more drastic than others… and obviously things like flavored coffees can make the calories add up QUICKLY.  Try to stick with a black coffee, and something from a whole foods store is best.

I can enjoy a cup now and then, and I’m ok with it.  If it’s a vice to you (if you drink coffee after coffee all day long), than maybe you should consider getting rid of it.  It’s definitely worth talking to God about, and praying about it.  Pop used to be for me, how coffee is for some people… I thought I needed it to function after having 4 children.  This is when something can become a stumbling block or even an idol.  Consuming regular pop was a “helper” (*if you can call it that) in my whole gestational diabetes venture.  Nine teaspoons of sugar in my “drink” was running my system a muck!

I switched to diet pop after child #6…   I told myself I couldn’t “give it up”… So of course, I believed that lie.

Do some reading on diet pop, and it will become way less appealing quickly… at the very least, you’ll begin considering if those “good” feelings out weigh the bad.

Once I decided I was going to take a break from pop and cut it back to one, once a week… I realized many weeks I didn’t even want the “one” I gave myself permission to have.  It lost it’s luster, and I lost the desire to “have to have” it.  Although I never experienced things like weight gain from it, I knew that it wasn’t God’s best for me to drink it in the amounts I had come to embrace daily.  I’ve actually stopped drinking it for 6-9 months only to return to it when my babies were little.  It’s much easier to give things up when you’re getting proper REST.

The more you wean yourself off of caffeine, the easier it is to live without it.  That “high” you get from it … is also followed by a LOW.  It’s actually much lower than when you started feeling “tired” to begin with…. so often people then drink MORE caffeine for more of an energy high or to suppress their appetite.  Hmm… almost sounds like a drug??  Only it’s legal.

Just some drink for thought.  The Bible isn’t always specific about things like coffee or caffeine consumption… and obviously drinks can be mis-used as a meal replacement (instead of eating), an energy replacement (instead of sleep)… and that’s a no-brainer.  Those aren’t the best choices for our bodies, or being healthy for Him.

“For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” – 1 Timothy 4:8

Apple Pie – the Healthier Way

Some of the ingredients for the pie we make!

HEALTHIER APPLE PIE

Whole Wheat Pie Crust:

(double this for top and bottom of a regular pie, or lattice-work pie)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

-2/3 cup white whole wheat flour

-1/2 cup old-fashioned oats, finely ground

-2 tsp. agave

-1/2 teaspoon salt

-1/3 cup cold butter, cut into small pieces

-2 TBS very cold water, or as needed

Combine flour, ground oats, agave, and salt in medium bowl.  Cut in butter with a pastry blender or two knives until mixture is crumbly.  Sprinkle with water; blend together with a fork until mixture holds together.  Shape dough into ball; place on lightly floured sheet of wax paper.  Top with additional piece of wax paper; roll out dough to 1/8- inch thickness.  Remove top sheet of wax paper and invert dough into 9-inch pie dish, slowly peel away wax paper.  Trim excess crust and turn edge under – crimp as desired.

Apple Pie:

-1/2 cup unsalted butter

-3 TBS whole wheat white flour

-1/4 cup water

-1/2 cup agave

-1/2 cup sucanat

-8 Granny Smith apples peeled and thinly sliced

Melt butter in saucepan.  Stir in flour and form paste. Add water, agave and brown sugar, and bring to a boil.  Reduce temp and let simmer.

Fill pan with crust with sliced apples, mounded slightly.  Pour liquid over apples and top with crust.

Bake 15 minutes in preheated oven, then lower temp to 350 degrees.  Continue baking for 35-45 minutes, until apples are soft, and crust is browned.

Enjoy!

Better Choices, Good or Yucky?

An image of our healthier apple pie we made this week. It's been a fun process to teach our children how to make things better for us.

It’s FUN trying new things and seeing ways you can save calories here or there, take something off a dish – adding something else in. Many times you don’t even notice much of a difference.

However…

Sometimes you can TOTALLY tell. I read you should go on an 80% rule. That made sense to me. If it tastes 80% as good as it did before, then it’s ok to change it up. However, if it’s considerably worse tasting than what you’re expecting to enjoy, then perhaps try a new way, or go with the dish “as is” and just have it less frequently, in smaller quantities if you’re not willing to give it up altogether.

One of the summer dishes my kids enjoy is strawberry pretzel salad. It’s a fun treat, and more of a dessert than a salad. Several months ago, I thought I’d try making that with a natural sugar substitute. (Stevia) I made the choice NOT to tell my family that I changed it up (I often do this, to get a real reaction of how different it does or doesn’t taste.)

In a word: Yuck.

No one wanted to say that something was “off” on the pretzel salad, especially my thoughtful husband who NEVER complains about food I make, but I could tell (by some faces being made), that they knew something was amiss. So, I came clean… The pretzels on the bottom ended up tasting bitter – almost burnt, even though were clearly not.  It basically ruined the taste of the entire dish.  It was an easy choice to NOT make that with Stevia on the crust portion again.

*shiver*

Some things, like our family cookie recipes or pies can be switched up a bit, and honestly – you can’t even tell! We use agave, sucanat, whole wheat white flour and a lot of oatmeal when we bake. We’ve switched to dark chocolate chips when applicable. For any of you that have struggled with insulin issues, processed sugar and flour are not your friends. Organic sugar options like agave and sucanat are better options and are easier to find in local stores. Yes they may be more expensive – (especially when you feed as many children as we do), but it’s an investment worth making. Whole wheat and whole wheat white flour are easy to find, as is oatmeal! I know it’s hard to change sometimes, but these are easy changes you can gradually make without emptying out all of your cabinets at once!  Changes that are made gradually are more likely to be longer lasting.

This past year the children’s great grandma passed away. With her, she took her awesome gift of pie baking… which was a blessing to many in our family, and lots of people she served with the talent of pie baking. We loved her pie, but we also knew many of the ingredients weren’t the best choices for our bodies, if we wanted to enjoy it more than once a year… so we wanted to switch it up so we could still be able to enjoy one of the favorite memories we had of her!

Hopefully ONE day, we’ll be talented enough to bless others in the same way great grandma did, with our “healthier apple pie”.  God gives us His word to teach us.  With that, and through our struggles, we are able to make better choices, and hopefully help others being encouraged to do the same.  Let us know how we can pray for you as you strive to be healthy for Him.

Let me know how those TRUTH PACKS are coming along and stay tuned for the recipe!

“Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.”

James 5:16

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