Balance & Menu Planning – 3/12/17

I checked this book out from the libary before our vacation.

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I am not finished with it yet, but it has been a very good read. I often recommend that my clients read “Made to Crave.” I think this might be another recommendation too. I feel like 75% or greater of my clients deal with emotional eating. Both of these books talk about receiving comfort from the Lord rather than for food. The Balance book reminds the reader of 3 things that food is not for:

  1. Food is not for drowning our sorrows. Isa. 53:4
  2. Food is not an outlet for anger. Psalm 37:8
  3. Food is not a cure for boredom. Psalm 51:12

The reason I picked it up because I am particulary bad at rest, which is covered in the book. I tend to push and push and push to the point of exhaustion. Do you do that?

On to the meal plan for this week:

Sunday: Bean tacos

Monday: Carmelized Onion spaghetti squash casserole, veggies, hummus, and roasted sweet potatoes

Tuesday: Hunky Heartbeet Cabbage Soup – new recipe! It’s Oh She Glows, so I’m sure it will be superb. 🙂

Wednesday: Homemade pizzas

Thursday: Glowing Green pasta primavera – not sure what I’m going to have with this yet. Another new recipe.

Friday: Something fun and green for St. Patricky’s Day – Undecided – Any suggestions?

Saturday: Veggie Chili

What’s on your menu this week?

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Family Nourishment

Everyone’s family is different, but our family LOVES our time away together… just the 4 of us. It’s a time to reconnect, relax, play games, sing really loud in the car (oh wait – we do that already) and just have fun together.

“But don’t you homeschool? You are with your kids all the time?” While this is true, both girlies and Mama need some time together that doesn’t involve school too. 🙂

So, off to Gulf Shores, Alabama we went! We are normally mountain-type vacationers. However, we like to to try new things and I’m up for almost anywhere that is warm in the winter, so we tried the beach this time!

We went to a family friendly Mardi Gras parade. We came home with SOOOOO many beads, and moon pies! Ha! We counted 15. Half of us can’t even eat those, so the other 2 will be enjoying those for a while.

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We went on a dolpin cruise. That was Hunky Husband’s favorite.

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Footgolf was my favorite. It’s like golf, only with much bigger holes, soccer balls and your foot for a golf club! We all enjoyed it, but chose to do it because Little Lady loves soccer! I had a sore foot and lower leg after we were done. Ha! Oh the muscles that you don’t train with distance running.

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Little Lady’s favorite part was our sand castle building contest. Miss Spunky’s favorite part was laser tag… of course.

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Where’s your favorite place to vacation? Do you prefer the mountain or the beach?

 

Birthday favorites

We don’t take the day off of school for my birthday, but I did decide to change our scenery for part of the day. I took the girls to a cute little coffee/tea shop with a few of our school books.

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On my kids’ birthdays, we “interview” them and ask them about their favorite things. It’s fun to see how it changes from year to year. Since it happens to be my birthday, I thought I would do it too!

  1. What is your favorite color? Purple
  2. What is your favorite toy? Hmmmm… Probably the food processor
  3. What is your favorite fruit? Grapes
  4. What is your favorite tv show? Old shows like “I Love Lucy” and “The Brady Bunch”
  5. What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch? Veggies on top of greens with beans
  6. What is your favorite outfit? Probably my puffy vest. It’s cute and WARM.
  7. What is your favorite game? Ticket to Ride – very good for my logical brain
  8. What is your favorite snack? Apples or grapes and nuts
  9. What is your favorite animal? Big dogs/Labs
  10. What is your favorite song? Right now it is Home Free’s version of “How Great Thou Art.”
  11. What is your favorite book? The Bible
  12. Who is your best friend? Sean and Audra
  13. What is your favorite vacation spot? North Carolina mountains or Disney
  14. What is your favorite thing to do outside? Run and garden
  15. What is your favorite drink? Tea
  16. What is your favorite holiday? Christmas and my birthday
  17. What do you like to take to bed with you at night? This is obviously a kid question so I’ll say warm socks.
  18. What is your favorite dessert? So Delicious Salted Caramel Cashew milk “ice cream”
  19. What is your favorite thing to eat for supper? Veggie tacos
  20. What do you want to be when you grow up? Can I change that to where? Heaven!

Favorite Treats

My sweet mother-in-law recently asked for gluten and dairy-free treat recipes that she could make for my oldest daughter. I thought I would share some of our favorites!

Black Bean brownies – These are her absolute favorite. She requests them for special occasions. I use coconut sugar.

Flourless Chocolate Chip Chickpea  Blondies – Made with Enjoy Life chocolate chips!

Almond Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies – Also made with Enjoy Life Chocolate chips!

Throw together chocolate chip/oat cookies

  • Choose your fat – coconut oil, nut butter, or avocado ~1/2 cup
  • Choose your sweetener – 1 ripe banana, stevia, or 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 egg or 1 flax egg
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • Add gluten-free certified oats until it “looks right.” Then fold in Enjoy Life chocolate chips.
  • Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes.

Energy Bites

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What are your favorite healthier treats?

The month of LOVE – LOVE your heart

Heart health is near and dear to me. Early heart disease runs in my family. I have close relatives – 1 had 6 bypasses at age 42 and another had a triple bypass at age 38. I am now 35! It’s crazy to think about that.

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It’s wear red for heart health awareness day!

The American Heart Association reports that 80% of heart disease is preventable! So what are the risk factors and what can I do to help protect myself?

Some of the risks are preventable. Some are genetic and not able to be modified. But you are not DOOMED!  There are things you CAN do!

The biggest factor in heart disease is obesity. When you are overweight it puts a greater strain on your heart. Your heart is your hardest working muscle and when you add extra body mass, it becomes overworked. Weight loss will also help with blood pressure control and getting your cholesterol numbers in a healthy range.

How can you get to a healthy weight? Exercise AND nutrition. You CANNOT out-exercise a bad diet. You just can’t. Food is about 70% of the equation. I know everyone hates to hear that, but it’s true.

Keep it simple – palm sized servings of protein, healthy fats, complex carbs (coming from whole foods), and unlimited veggies.  Include anti-inflammatory foods and omega-3s!

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Decrease sodium – foods high in sodium include cheese, lunch meat, salad dressings, processed foods, canned soups, canned vegetable juices, olives, pickles, and take out. Get comfortable with making some of your own seasoning mixes and dressings.

Don’t use tobacco of any kind. This includes smoking, smokeless tobacco, vaping, chewing, etc…

Eat meatless a few nights per week. Some people find that to be extreme, but I would argue that having your chest cracked open is pretty extreme too!

Is heart health a big concern for you? Are you going to wear red today?

 

A Day in the Life…

It’s been a while since I have done one of these, but I think they are fun. I happen to love Mondays, for many reasons, but it’s one of the few days where we are generally home ALL day! So, here’s my Monday!

Early morning routine – Bible reading, workout (Run on the treadmill, planks, pull-ups, and chin-ups (still assisted with a band)), and shower

8 am – Start school and breakfast, but on Mondays the girls have an online class from 8-9:30, so I have extra time to get some chores done. 🙂

9:30-11:30 – School work with the girls – This is when most of the direct 1:1 teaching happens. Bible, math, science, read alouds, etc… We’re working on decimals in math and Chemistry for young learners for Science. We’re doing lots of experiments and learning about the periodic table. So fun for this science/math Mama. Snack time for the girlies too! I prefer to have a snack in the afternoon.

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11:30-1:00 – Girls work independently. I have a online meeting with a few other health & wellness professionals.

1:00-1:30 – Lunch – big bunch of roasted veggies and beans on top of a bed of greens. Super simple!

1:30 – The girls finish up school work. Mondays are an extra long school day because of their online class in the morning, but they love it, so it’s OK. 🙂 I grade their math and make sure I have their schoolwork ready for Tuesday. I work on making sure I have things finalized for an online A&P class that I teach to 7th-9th graders and finalize things for a “Getting the Toxins out of your Home and Body” event. Snack time for Mama!

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4:00 – Health coaching client session

4:30 – Grade A&P homework assignments

6:00 – Fix and eat dinner – Veggie chili! Yum! This is one of my favorite times of day. We try really hard to eat dinner together every night – no phones or devices allowed at the dinner table. This means that if you try to contact me from usually 6:00-7:30, I do not respond. I grew up this way and personally think it’s wonderful. If someone has an emergency and really NEEEEEEEDS to get in contact with you, they will call more than once and you will know you need to answer the phone. I do NOT need to be available 24/7 to EVERYONE. I will get off of that soap box now. 🙂

7:30 – “Get the Toxins out of your home” Facebook event

8:00 – Relax/family time! Evening snack time too! Frozen bananas plus nut butter and some dark chocolate. Yum.

9:30 or 10:00 – Head to bed! I honestly don’t remember exactly when I headed to bed on Monday, but it’s usually about that time. I am a VERY routine person.

Are you a routine person? Do you homeschool? What does your schedule look like? Our homeschool schedule varies greatly from day to day because of online classes, a writing class 35 minutes away on Tuesdays, piano lessons Thursday mornings, and co-op 30 minutes away on Thursday afternoons.

 

 

 

 

Choosing Supplements – A Pharmacist’s Perspective

I don’t know about you, but I am  bombarded every day with “studies” and “breaking news” about different supplements and companies. Most of you know that I am a Pharmacist, although I no longer practice traditionally. Honestly, in Pharmacy school, we were pretty much told to steer clear of recommending supplements because you could not be sure of the purity and quality of their ingredients. I still always recommended that patients take a multi-vitamin, but I never recommended anything else because I just couldn’t be sure if it was a reputable product or not.  Then, I became a holistic health coach. I quickly learned that EVERYONE wanted to know… What is the best brand of vitamin for me to take? What about brands of protein powder?

Now, if you no me personally at all, you know that I don’t make decision off the cuff. I have to research, think, and process. The same thing happened here! I was not about to just recommend a brand that was popular with my friends. I wanted to make sure it came from a quality company that had a proven track record, had GOOD science to back it up (more on that later), that I was willing to take AND let my children take (BIG DEAL to me).

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Supplements are NOT regulated by the FDA, so I DO NOT recommend going into the pharmacy, health food store or your favorite big box store and just picking up the cheapest thing. So, how should you choose? Start by asking a few questions…

How long has the supplement company been in the nutritional supplement business? What is their track record with recalled products?

The company I work with has been around for over 60 years. No products have ever been recalled.

Are the supplements synthetic, crystalline (extract) or cold-pressed?

You want natural, cold-pressed! If they are not cold-pressed, they have been heated with kills some of the enzymes needed for the vitamins to do their job.

How do you know if it’s synthetic? Check the label and avoid those that use the dl-form, for example dl-alpha tocopherol for Vitamin E or thiamine for Vitamin B.  Look for the letter d in front of Vitamin E for example – “d-alpha-tocopherol,” not the lab created kind, “dl-alpha-tocopherol,” which is cheaper to produce. It is more biologically active in its “d” form. So, look for d-alpha-tocopherol instead.

Are their supplements made by their company under the guidance of their staff or are they made by a third party with their label added to the bottle?

What are the ingredients in their products and where did they originate from?

This is especially important for things like omega-3’s. You don’t want those coming from  fish living in waters contaminated with heavy metals.

How about testing on ingredients and final products? Do they test the ingredients all along the process, at the end or rely on vendors for testing? Is each product proven to be free from pesticides, herbicides, heavy metals and lead?

The US Pharmacopeia requires over 80 tests.  The company I work with tests for up to 350 chemical contaminants, including pesticides, herbicides, heavy metals, solvent residues, etc.

Are the supplements balanced?

There are certain nutrients which need to co-exist at a certain ratio in order to be absorbed properly and work most effectively. How do you know if you are getting this?  Make sure you choose a reputable company!

Are they bioavailable? By this I mean, do they dissolve? Do they reach their destination still alive? If not, you are not reaping the benefits.

Which supplements do you use? Do you have questions about them?

 

 

Spicy Soup

I need another name for this recipe? Any ideas?

I modified this from another recipe. It was still a bit spicy, so if your family prefers less heat, just decrease the amount of chili powder and/or leave the cayenne out. I put a little bit of almond milk in the kids to decrease the heat.

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1 onion, diced

4 ribs celery, sliced

2 bell peppers, diced

1/2 pound frozen chopped spinach

16 oz. can diced tomatoes, undrained

15 oz. can kidney beans, rinsed and drained

3 T. tomato paste

4 cups water or vegetable broth, divided

1.25 tsp. garlic powder

1.5 tsp. dried oregano

1/2 tsp. chipotle chili powder (I used 3/4 tsp. but next time I will use less)

1/2 tsp. smoked paprika

1 tsp. salt (can decrease if using vegetable broth or to taste)

1/4 tsp. black pepper

1/8 tsp. cayenne (or to taste)

Water saute vegetables (except spinach) in 1 cup of the water until crisp tender. Add all other ingredients and remaining water. Let simmer ~30 minutes. A good bit of the water/vegetable broth will evaporate.

You could probably do this in the  slow-cooker, but you will likely want to use less water/broth.

 

Some of my favorite things

Hello! It’s January. It’s cold and dreary outside. The kids (and adults) might be feeling a little cooped up. Let’s focus on something positive.

“These are a few of my favorite things.”

My journaling Bible. I love being able to ponder and think about what God’s word is telling me and writing or drawing about it. I am NOT an artist though!

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Singing with my family.

Podcasts. We spend a good bit of time in the car driving from various church, homeschool, and extra-curricular activities. We LOVE music, but I also enjoy listening to Tim Hawkins (hilarious), Focus on the Family, The Runner’s World Show, and The Plant Trainer’s Podcast.

LuLaRoe. Seriously. I have a friend who sells it, and I have scored some very cute skirts and shirts and the leggings are so warm and comfy. I even wear them on outside, cold runs as an underlayer.

Miss Spunky started horse riding lessons. I think we may be in trouble. She’s in love. She has always loved horses. We sometimes ride on vacation. We’re not experienced at all, but it’s wonderful when they find something that they really enjoy.

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“Mom, when do we get to do it again? Tomorrow?”

I am just finishing leading a 10-day sugar detox (reset) with a great group of ladies. As they move forward, I shared some of my favorite (or my kids’ favorites) refined-sugar free options with them. Aldi’s organic marinara (only 4 grams of sugar – other brands have 10 or more), Aldi’s ketchup (no HFCS), Webber Bbq sauce (still high in sugar so use sparingly but no HFCS), dates, coconut sugar (my preferred baking sugar – glycemic index of around 30 compared to regular sugar of about 60), unsweetened applesauce, Van’s GF crackers, and Aldi’s quinoa pasta.

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What are a few of your favorite things?

 

 

Choose Wisely

It’s the New Year and most people have health & wellness goals. If you know me at all, you know that I am passionate about helping people to prevent and reverse chronic lifestyle diseases. So, I think that is GREAT that people want to improve their health!

However, I have been seeing a lot of misinformation/promotion of things that, quite frankly, I would not touch with a long stick or give to my children. So, I am going to get on my soap box for just a moment.

Just keep a few things in mind…

  • Quick fixes generally don’t work.
  • Make lifestyle changes that you can stick with for the LONG-TERM.
  • Not all supplement companies are created equal. Do your research and choose wisely. How long has company been around? What kind of testing do they do? Do they have QUALITY studies to back up what they are saying? What about product recalls? Where do they source their ingredients?
  • Low-fat, fat-free, 100-calorie pack, etc… doesn’t mean it’s good for you. These are marketing tools.
  • Don’t believe everything you read or hear. There are many supposed “experts” out there.
  • Just because there was a “study” does not mean that it is gospel truth. Anyone these days can do a “study.” You need to ask yourself if it was a quality study. Was it double, blind? Was it done over a long period of time? Was it published in a QUALITY journal?

I know I am usually very upbeat and positive, but I want to make sure people are receiving all of the information. Also, I am not trying to say that I know everything. I just want you to do your own research. End of soap box.

I am happy to chat with you if you have questions. Do you feel overwhelmed by the amount of health/wellness information out there?

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