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YES! It Tastes Great Too!

My son said these are awesome, you could probably order them by the case – like we can through our health food store. Just ask! They come in GF/dairy-free too.

Since I have a marketing background, I’m big into first impressions, how things look… how they’re packaged – and sold.

I’m definitely drawn to things that appear simple, clean, easy to read… marketed well.

Many of things I admire about a great marketing campaign – whether it’s politics, or food – is how it’s being sold.

It’s amazing what great marketing can do to the perception of the product or idea being placed in front of you. It can bring to mind images that give the “buyer” confidence in what they’re purchasing.

When we went gluten-free, it was a major GAME-CHANGER. I didn’t know any of the brands… nothing looked familiar. They aren’t “big” names that I’d see in ads, or on television (if I watched it anyway…)

So, it left me wondering… how does the food TASTE? It looks….

Different.

When you’re already not good at different… you wonder…

Different bad?

Different good?

Oh please be different good….

Well, it’s comical to me now… my kids actually say, THIS food tastes BETTER! (and they’re RIGHT!)

It can’t be “just good marketing” to my kids, because they don’t buy the products I pick out.  They just eat what we put in front of them.

I wonder… is it that there aren’t so many preservatives, obviously no gluten? Food shouldn’t have a shelf-life longer than a cat’s-life.

Maybe it’s the other ingredients…. vs. high fructose corn syrup in almost every product….

Maybe it’s the lack of GMOs?

Whatever it is…. my kids are right. A majority of the food is really great, it’s just different.

Definitely – different GOOD.

Someone gave me some advice… of brands they liked – and it was super helpful for me, as I searched for everything unfamiliar. Currently some of our favorite brands include:

Amy’s, Udi’s (which is said YOU-DEEs, not YOU-DIE like my nephew coined, that would be the other bread), Pamela’s, Enjoy Life, KIND, EnviroKids, Gluten Free Mama, Justin’s, Larabar, Nastasme, Applegate, Van’s, Food for Life, Annie’s (GF bunnies and Mac and Cheese)… although truthfully – we mainly eat fruits, veggies and organic meats. I make our own bread – and I’m still in the process of perfecting that. Stay tuned for some updates on bread and the garden this week!

“Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits–

Who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases.”

Psalm 103:3

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Tabata, Tabata, TABATA

See my good reason for skipping my formal workout yesterday? More on this little “project” later…

TAB-ATA

Say THAT really fast in row!

So I just finished a mean Tabata workout and WHEW!  That was fun!

If you’re like me and have no idea what Tabata is…

It was founded by a man with the last name Tabata, from Japan.  (Hence the name)  Basically, he conducted tests on two groups of athletes; comparing moderate high intensity training with high intensity interval training.  Through this, he discovered that the athletes training in high intensity interval training improved their aerobic systems as well as their anaerobic system.  The athletes who only did the moderate high intensity training only improved their aerobic system and had little to no increase in their anaerobic system.

So what it is – is 4 sets of some type of cardio interval – 20 seconds of work, 10 seconds of rest.  So for the one Bob Harper had me do… it was 4 minutes of push-ups, then 4 minutes of walking (alternating) lunges, 4 minutes of sit ups, and 4 minutes of air squats. (OUCH!)

Ok, so I’m thinking… how hard can THIS be?  You get a rest? Since you’re doing 8 reps of each for 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off…  very quickly, you feel pain.

The goal is to keep track of your TOTAL NUMBER OF REPS.  (Think Cross-Fit Training)  So you keep counting from the first push-up, and add onto that number when you move onto the next interval.  So if you’re at 51 push ups total, when you get to the walking lunges – you start at 52.

So my total number was 399.  (I know, I was frustrated too… but I’m being honest – SO CLOSE to that even number, but it was my first time!!)  The advanced person in the workout did 477.  Wowza.  Your goal is to keep a journal and each time you do the workout – increase your number!

Fill me in if you’ve tried this – and what types of exercises you’ve done.  If you Google it, as with anything… you’re bound to come up with lots of ideas.  The difficult thing (without a workout partner or trainer, or video) is obviously the timing, and counting.  For me, it was hard enough trying to workout, count and listen to Bob… with the clean up circus going on around me!

But ta-dah… I sort of skipped my time with Bob yesterday (see reason above)…  but I feel great today!  Have an excellent day!

“Therefore consider carefully how you listen. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what they think they have will be taken from them.”

Luke 8:18

Mommy, My Tummy Hurts.

My daughter shared her drawing with me this week. She told me that gluten makes her feel sick – so these are her enemies.

It’s never a good thing, when a child tells you their stomach hurts. Most moms might think, great – a stomach bug is coming on – bring on the barf pails and Lysol.

At our house, it’s been a regularly occurring saying for quite some time. Years actually.

I’ve just assumed most of it was in their heads… After all, my stomach hurt most of the time – that’s pretty normal in my mind. Just relax, pray, think of something else.

All the while – I realize, it’s not like pushing the “easy” button when something is going on inside your body that you can’t control.

Last year I thought my daughter had really started stressing out more, having more anxiety, and I was just SURE she had inherited my digestive system… I figured it was hormones. When my 5-year-old son started in with the “my tummy” hurts (and he’s had GI issues, since age 1), and refusing some snacks recently… I really started thinking something could be going on.

But what?

Little did I know in a few short months, we’d be connecting the dots for our family…

That rash my oldest 4 children get, that seems to never go away… is more than just eczema. The tummy aches, head aches, asthma and behavioral issues REALLY could be all connected.

My 12-year-old son’s dermatitis herpetiformis – elbow.

My daughter’s dermatitis herpetiformis – elbows, knees, hands. Yes, it itches something terrible.

When I inquired about it being a celiac rash (dermatitis herpetiformis) last month at the Dr’s office, I was about 100% positive that’s what it was. Even when my daughter’s blood test for celiac disease came back negative, I<already knew differently.

Apparently, again, the blood test doesn’t allow for what a skin test would show. Her body was saying, “Stop feeding me gluten!”

I’m happy to report, after only one week off of gluten – there has been much improvement at our house. My children with the rashes have almost NO burning, itching rash … which is the first time in YEARS.

Yes, that confirms what I suspected…celiac disease. But I’m happy to have an answer, and way to help them. As my friend said – our food IS our medicine.

All of the children have been so happy to feel well, and have been great about all of the changes. Personally I just want to cry with joy, I’m so thankful to have all of the puzzle pieces fit and KNOW how to help my kids, and myself.

Yes, they may be living without some things, according to the world of indulgence. However, the gift of health will be worth SO much more.

Praise God.

Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.”

1 Peter 5:7

I Didn’t Die… Yet.

You should be the very first to know…

I actually DRANK some calories…  and I didn’t die.

You know how I feel about this.  Drinks with calories … are for people on the go.

I’m not on the go enough to drink calories.  I like to EAT too much.

Coffee, water and tea… all plain.  That’s just me.

I don’t juice, I don’t smoothie… I just don’t.

[Not to mention… the color of food on those veggie-drinks… bleck!]

I have a real issue with textures of foods, and foods that I eat – NEED to be apetitizing.   Do you think my stomach struggles, over the years, have anything to do with those issues?

No, huh-uh.

I decided I needed to figure out a way to get some more calories and nutrition in fast – that is plant-based vs. processed.

I chose to TRY…

A version of the “Green Monster Spinach Smoothie” by Iowa Girl Eats.

I can handle this…. I think.  I like spinach.  I like peanut butter. I like bananas…

OH wait!  I don’t like soy milk or greek yogurt… 

I’m desperate, I can revise this and scale it back – it’s worth a shot.

I mix it all up in the blender, and choke it down.

Definitely NEEDS ice.  (My banana wasn’t frozen and this {in my opinion} needed to be COLD!)

So I try it the next day…  colder.  With ice.

Mmmmmmmmmm much better.  My son agrees.

It does the trick, and my stomach didn’t hurt after I ate it.  Success!

Today I tried another recipe from Spark People.  (similar to = Weight Watchers) I would definitely change it up, and NOT put water in it.  I prefer it thicker, vs a water-juice type of drink.

That Silk stuff is a lot less disgusting than I thought! It has some great calcium, and no carbs! Only 35 calories per serving! (plus it's not super sweet like soy!)

Spinach Smoothie

2 cups fresh spinach

1/2  cup of light soy milk (I used unsweetened almond milk)

3 whole frozen strawberries

1/4 cup blueberries

1 clementine (aren’t they SO cute!?)

1/2 banana

1/2 cup of water (if I make this again, this is not going in – ice instead!)

144.6 Calories

1.7 g Fat

31.1 Carbs

5.2 Protein

My goal, is to search out a few good options to try now and then – when I simply don’t feel like eating but NEED calories, and need to feel full without processed junk.  There are LOTS of high calorie, high carb smoothie/juice recipes out there.  BE SELECTIVE.  Adding in some types of yogurt, and often times – lots of fruit – can add up the calories SUPER fast.

Know what you’re putting in.

Watch to make sure the SERVING SIZE for what you’re making… so you’re not eating for TWO!

Personally I tried to look for something that was “around” 150 calories with carbs around 30.

I had this and some low-sodium, oven-roasted chicken slices wrapped in some lettuce.  Not a bad choice at all, and 3 hours later – I’m NOT hungry.

I did learn that one of the benefits of “eating” your spinach this way is it goes directly into your system within 15 minutes, vs when you chew it up – it’s tough to chew, and a lot of fiber for your body to break down also… (meaning, you’re not able to absorb all of the great vitamins it has to offer!)  So if you like spinach, and I DO… then give it a whirl.  We just have a regular blender, and it worked great to mix it all up!

“Now these were more noble minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness,

examining the Scriptures daily, to see whether these things were so.”  Acts 17:11

My Favorite Kettlebell Workouts

(Top left and around)Bob's Workout, Sculpted Body, Cardio Shred, and Shred it with Weights are just a few of my favorite kettlebell specific workouts.

Of course most kettlebells come with some type of tutorial DVD, to get you introduced to some of the key moves, and instructions on how to do things. One could REALLY hurt themselves if they do not hold the bell correctly or if they swing it into their body, lacking control.

While I’ve never launched my kettlebell through a wall, I can see how that could happen. I have accidentally swung that puppy into the side of my leg before – and trust me, it hurts!

There are plenty of kettlebell workouts on the market, and honestly you can use your kettlebell in workouts that don’t even suggest a kettlebell. Especially squats with weights, sit ups with weights, jumping lunges or clean and presses.

Once you become comfortable with the moves that it works best with – you’ll discover you can challenge yourself and your muscles in new ways just by adding in the kettlebell.

When I first got my kettlebell, I used it with Shred it with Weights (Jillian Michaels), and doing level 2 – I could burn about 320 calories in about 30 minutes. Not bad!

Later, I read some of the reviews about her kettlebell moves – which seemed to indicate they’re not “beginner” moves, and one could hurt themselves starting there. After learning more about this type of workout, I would agree. I started with a 7 lb kettlebell, as mentioned before, so it wasn’t AS dangerous, but I think it would have been safer starting with one of Bob Harper’s Inside out “kettlebell specific” workouts, and focusing in on that 10lb kettlebell size.

Bob’s Cardio Shred workout is faster paced, and I’d say I like it more than the sculpted body. Both are good about introducing you to the specific moves before picking up the pace. I would also recommend his plain “CARDIO REV” Inside Out workout (not pictured) – which you can definitely use a kettlebell with. I actually prefer it to just a free weight in that workout.

Lastly, “Bob’s Workout” DVD also has a series with stepping up kettle bells – with at least 3 weights. This can be done with a heavier set of free weights also, but it’s nice to have those additional muscle challenges that the kettlebell exercises provide.

So fill me in, do you have kettlebells – sound too strange to you? Thinking about trying them? I can’t say enough good things about them – definitely worth the investment (your inner thighs will thank you).

“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own…”

1 Cor. 6:19

Worth It or NOT?

Whoa.... crazy image of what these are worth in "workout" calories.

My friend Kori shared this picture image with me yesterday. (Thanks Kori!) It’s a great picture of what we should have in our minds as we consider our non-necessity foods…

Yes, I know… donuts are NOT a necessity.  Who knew?

I looked at a few of those and thought – NO WAY is that worth it.  Now… there are plenty of things out there that are worth it – just make sure it IS worth it to you.

Just a shout out to Kori – who has been on an “Insanity” challenge.  Way to go!  For those of you who have done some of the Insanity workouts, they’re not for the faint of heart.  Kori was an encourager to me years ago to try out Jillian Michaels and the 30 Day Shred.  I never did it as a 30 day workout challenge – but I kept improving, and working at it.

I still go back to Jillian now and then for a quick workout that works – but God has allowed me to be able to tackle much longer, and more difficult workouts…  and for that, I’m thankful.

What workouts are you enjoying right now?

“You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to you.”

Psalm 86:5

Discovering Your Health Monster

With all of the hub-bub about Paula Dean’s hidden Type II diabetes announcement… I thought I’d say, we need not be in fear of desserts and other things that seem to stress people out.  Is her announcement REALLY any surprise?  No.  Common sense can tell you if you ate what she cooks 365 days a year … you’re going to feel and look like a tank.  That said, diet isn’t the only thing going on with diabetes… but eating right is 80% of the equation in losing excess weight, so it’s important to know how to eat right.

The keys are self-control {a fruit of the Spirit}, and moderation.  IF you lack self-control, you’re probably going to REALLY lack moderation ability…  and that’s where you’re going to need the Holy Spirit.  That said, you will find strength in finding new ways to enjoy LESS the things you love.  Don’t do it with the mindset that you’re depriving yourself.  Remember that you’re filling your mind with Truth, and education so that you’ll WANT to make choices that help you to feel well and function at your best for His glory.  Do NOT live in fear over food.  Make better choices.

How about a healthified monster cookie recipe?  YUM!  These are some of our favorites:

Some of the softest, yummy cookies!

HEALTHIER MONSTER COOKIES 

1 1/4 cups organic sucanot

2/3 cup light agave

3 eggs

1/2 cup butter or 1 cup natural applesauce

1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 tsp. baking soda

4 cups of oatmeal (or often I use 3 cups, and one cup of whole wheat/white flour so they have a little rise)

1/2 cup dark chocolate chunks

1/2 cup dark choc. M & Ms

** any other extra you might like to add… white chocolate chips or health toffee bits… 🙂 🙂  I said healthier.  NOT perfect.

 

Preheat over to 350 degrees

In large bowl beat together butter/applesauce, peanut butter, sucanot, agave, eggs, and vanilla.  Combine well, then add in oatmeal/flour as directed.   Lastly, add in chocolates, and the goodies.  Place heaping teaspoon blobs onto pan and heat for 10-12 minutes.

 

“No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able,

but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it.” – 1 Cor. 10:13

He’s Doing It AGAIN!

Just in time for your NEW YEAR start… or your start over, or your beginning to a healthier for Him life…

Bob Harper is having a big sale on his DVDs HERE!

Just $5 each! GO NOW! No excuses!! 🙂 Try at least ONE of the super strength series. You’ll be so glad you did.

You can send me a thank you later. Or not.

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven…” Ecclesiates 3:1

Workout Review Time

So, if you’re still following along – I mentioned a few weeks back that I got some new workout DVDs from Bob.  He was having a special… some friends and I teamed up and ordered a few to get cheaper shipping.  Unfortunately, the company sort of fell through on shipping all of our orders!  We each ended up only getting one DVD!  Thankfully we each got a different workout though, so we could trade them and at least see what they were about!

Despite contacting the company twice, I’ve yet to hear where my order is, and unfortunately – their big sale they were having (at $4.99-$6.99 per DVD) is now over!  I guess if we never hear something back we’ll just order again.  I’m too dedicated to get THAT upset – since I obviously haven’t been charged!

Okay…  all of that to say – these are some GREAT workouts.  The “MY WORKOUT” (meaning – Bob’s workout) is fantastic.  It has two 25-30 minute workouts, which can be done separately or together.  Personally, I wish it was set up with the first one second, and the second one first, like my friend Steph suggested – and then maybe I’d feel like doing them combined.  By the time I get done with the first part for a quick workout… I feel like passing on the second part, because the “hard work” is done.  The second one is definitely less cardio madness.  Both are still great workouts, just in different ways.  This workout is only available on Bob’s website… it’s still not available on Amazon.com.

Personally, I don’t think they’re offering it yet, because most beginners would be running for the hills after this workout… it’s high paced, and non-stop movement.  Different from his circuit training where your body takes more of a break in-between the heart throttling.  I wouldn’t suggest it being your first workout you buy from Bob Harper.

Bob's TOTAL BODY Transformation - totally worth the money!

The next workout we ordered will be available on amazon.com soon.  You can pre-order it now actually.  It’s called “Total Body Transformation” – and he says several times in the workout, “This will be the hardest workout you’ve ever done!”  I’ve done it three times so far, and it’s gotten easier every time… like most workouts.  Don’t confuse that to mean it’s easy… because it’s NOT.  It’s an arm sculpting, rear busting workout.  I spent most of the workout rotating between which part of my body hurt the worst… my arms… no, no… my legs… uuuuugh….  OUUUUCH.  LOL!  I really do have a love/hate relationship with Bob.   I keep telling myself that pain is weakness leaving the body… I’m getting stronger.  Someday I’ll have abs again!

Side note:  Women have to have about 8-14% body fat to see their ab muscles defined.  This core strength isn’t about vanity (at least for me, my bikini days are long gone, nor would I go there again if I could – modesty yo!) it’s about over all strength and back strength for LIFE!  Being healthy for Him – in every way.

“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.  The spirit is willing but the body is weak.” – Matthew 26:41

*Crunch-Crunch*

Did you miss me?  I missed you!

Did you think I abandoned you for my chips?  Not a chance.  Although – I’m happy to report we got a great price on some of our chips online – AND they came in pink bags to support breast cancer awareness to boot!

YEP! A full case of PINK bagged chips! Excuse my hair - I forgot to comb it!

I really have missed you… and I’ve missed writing.  I’ve almost dug myself out of this 4th quarter work pile.  It’s deep – and I’m thankful.  SOON you won’t be able to shut me up!  Looking forward to that, I know.

I’m thankful for cooler temps, and even some precipitation that allows our stores to thrive selling things people need during those times!

I’m also thankful so much, not just this time of year – but each day.  God has been good to remind me that I have it far better than most, and to keep on MOVING more and eating less vs. snuggling in and loading up with extra “happy fat” this time of year.

As we turn our minds towards that nearly forgotten holiday, we call Thanksgiving – let us truly be thankful for our ability to do what we can in the bodies we have been blessed with.  Let us use our mind to make wise decisions that are pleasing to the Lord.  This blessed meal many have with relatives and those they love near and far, surely will NOT be the last meal or meals you have that day.  Let’s focus on not eating like they might be.  Prepare for the day as best you can and come to the table to enjoy, but not become a glutton.

I know many people have to attend SEVERAL Thanksgivings in a week or even a few days time.  This has the potential to be a train wreck if you’re not keeping your eyes on Him.

Already I’ve been reading about how people over eat because…

– They’re from the south

– In our family it’s just what we do… (maybe a new hobby would be good?)

– Everything is just soooooooooo good… I can’t stop eating!

– No one is going to tell me how to eat! (what about God…  does it matter what He says?)

– I’m just fine, everyone else needs to go away.

Seriously?

I know it’s tasty… buuuuuuut we don’t need to eat 3000 calories in one sitting.  We don’t even need 1500 calories in one meal.  If you are consuming that much, I hope you’re running a marathon following THAT.

Unfortunately, most likely you’ll be sitting, driving, or watching tv…   last I checked, those activities don’t burn that many calories.  If only….

Remember – it’s eat, burn… eat, burn… eat, burn…. (NOT eat…. eat… eat…. SIT, expand, EAT…. sleep).

If you are going to be around family and others you love, NOW is your chance to share first-hand some of the things God has been teaching you!!   What a blessing you could be to others.  Make a dish that is “healthified” – or perhaps just modeling not eating to the point of a carb coma.

I better run.  My FRIEND let me borrow a workout that is sure to “transform me”…  I’m up for the challenge for God’s glory!  I’ll keep you posted!

“Do not join those who drink too much wine or gorge themselves on meat,  for drunkards and gluttons become poor, and drowsiness clothes them in rags.” 

 – Proverbs 23:20-21

 

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