Made to Crave God, Not Food

Tomorrow night I will embark on a journey with a group of ladies through Made to Crave by Lysa TerKeurst. I want to change the climate of this blog for 12 weeks and chart my journey. I have taught this class four semesters and each time it has been a sweet time of fellowship for the ladies. This time around, I will be participating. Since I had my daughter in October, I have had a more difficult time controlling my food choices and fitting in exercise. I know that ultimately a lot of my eating is a result of stress, lack of preparedness and lack of self-control. Ultimately, it comes down to making choices that glorify the Lord and are healthy for me both physically and spiritually. I look forward to sharing what I learn over the next 12 weeks. If you are interested in learning more about this book, you can visit Lysa’s website here.

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Welcome Back!

Wow! Has it really been almost 2 years since I posted? Several things have changed since then. I decided to close my nutrition consulting business. With a full-time job, it was costing me more to keep the business going. It was a difficult decision but God always has a better plan! We started a new company at my current employer and with that new company came a new voice over gig that paid very well.

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Fast forward to February 2016 when my husband and I found out we were expecting! Fast forward again to October 29, 2016 – our beautiful Addie Grace was born!

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Life has been a bit crazy since then! She will be 4 months old next week. As you can imagine, nutrition was last on my mind during the last several months. Although, I am thankful I did not gain much during my pregnancy. I stuck to my workouts as much as possible (thank you Orange Theory!). Over the last month, I have started cooking and trying to get us back on track.

They opened a Sprouts near us and boy was I excited to check it out! We went the other night and spent a small fortune. Their produce is beautiful and they have an excellent organic selection. I purchased Daikon radish mainly because it was pretty. Turns out they are high in potassium and vitamin C. What does on do with Daikon you ask? I did not know either so I started researching. Most of the recipes were stir-fry and salads. I decided to shred it using my Salad Master tool along with some rainbow carrots. Topped with sesame oil, rice vinegar and soy sauce it was a perfect combo! My plan is to start posting recipes again! Happy Friday!

I’m Eating WHAT?!?!

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I regularly post articles about the scary chemicals in processed “food.” That phrase really is ironic, isn’t it? The word “processed” is the past tense of process which is defined as to convert (an agricultural commodity) into marketable form by special series of steps… According to Dictionary.com, “food” is defined as any nourishing substance that is eaten, drunk, or otherwise taken into the body to sustain life, provide energy, promote growth, etc.”
The key word in the definition of process is, marketable. How could chemicals like CANTHAXANTHIN, POTASSIUM BROMATE or ASTAXANTHIN be marketed? They can’t, so manufacturers use words like “wholesome, low fat, healthy and sugar-free” along with brightly colored packaging to entice people to purchase their chemical-laden products. In case you are not familiar with the additives listed above, let me introduce you! Our friends as Phys.org created a more detailed list that you can visit here.

CANTHAXANTHIN is a pigment added to egg yolks to make them more visually appealing. Tests have shown that large amounts of this chemical can cause retinal damage
POTASSIUM BROMATE increases volume in white flour, breads and rolls. Most bromate rapidly breaks down to an innocuous form, but it’s known to cause cancer in animals _ and even small amounts in bread can create a risk for humans. California requires a cancer warning on the product label if potassium bromate is an ingredient.
ASTAXANTHIN – Almost 90-percent of salmon sold in supermarkets today come from farms. The diet of farmed salmon doesn’t include crustaceans, which contains a natural astaxanthin that causes pink flesh in wild salmon. As a result, producers add astaxanthin to farm-salmon diets for that fresh-from-the-water appearance. Astaxanthin is manufactured from coal tar.

Nothing like loading up your cart with some nice omega-3’s and topping it off with a bit of coal tar!
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So what do we do? To begin, educate yourself! How often do you pick up a box or package off the supermarket shelf and throw it in the basket without even taking a look at the nutrition label or ingredients? I have been guilty of making a purchase simply based on the photo on the package knowing full well the photo isn’t even real food. It is a perfectly molded art project designed to draw my attention away from the actual package contents. Take a look at this quick video to see how they make chemicals look so tasty!

Read labels! This is key when making healthy choices for your family. While it will take some time to completely eliminate chemicals from your diet, this will get you started. A great tip is that if you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it!

Another great tip is to stay in the outside perimeter of the grocery store isles. Most of the processed foods are located in the center isles. The perimeter is where you find dairy, produce and meat.

Start with small, attainable goals like reading labels and eliminating processed foods from one meal per day or from school lunches. You control what your children eat, so packing their lunch is key! School menus are atrocious! Check out this video of a talk by chef Jamie Oliver. He has made a campaign to educate children (and parents) about food and reform the school lunch programs in western culture.

Try cooking classes as a family. Many grocery store chains and local civic centers offer free or inexpensive cooking classes. Getting the kids involved will make the process smoother because they will have an opportunity to experience the food before they eat it! This also applies to getting the family involved in the grocery shopping. If the kids get to help choose the ingredients, they will be more likely to try new things.

Check out 100 Days of Real Food for some terrific resources to get you started on your journey to a real food lifestyle!

Applying all or some of these tips will help you begin your journey to a healthier lifestyle for your and your family!
If you have already begun, share some ideas to help others in the comment section below. You never know who you may inspire!

Cheers!

Almond milk, almond flour, almond butter…

We all remember the movie Forrest Gump starring Tom Hanks as a lovable, simple man from Alabama. In the movie, Forrest befriends “Bubba” Blue while serving in the army. Bubba comes from a long line of shrimp boat captains. During one scene of the movie, Bubba rattles off a litany of all the things one can do with shrimp. It is a pretty funny scene and not unlike our versatile friend the shrimp, almonds offer a variety of culinary opportunities.

Check out this great info-graphic about almonds from Nuts.com! Nuts.com is a family-owned business that has been operating since 1929. Don’t be fooled by the name! While nuts are their specialty they also offer high quality flours, candy, baking goods and coffee and tea at comparable prices delivered right to your door. I am honored to be able to collaborate with them on this post.

As you can see, almonds are a high protein, low-carb, gluten-free food. They are also a great snack as they are filling and portable! You can read more about the health benefits of almonds here.

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While I made the switch to almond butter and almond milk years ago, my favorite use for almonds these days is almond flour/meal in place of wheat flour. I love baking and this gives me a low-carb alternative while still enjoying my favorite treats! Here is a terrific almond pancake recipe from PopSugar.com. I made these one morning during the Sugar Detox and my husband was none the wiser; he loved them! Be sure to watch the heat as almond flour can burn faster than wheat flour. You will also notice the texture is crumbly versus fluffy but once you are used to the difference, you won’t go back!

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Low-Carb, Gluten-Free Almond Pancakes

INGREDIENTS

3 cups almond meal
1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 large eggs
3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk, light coconut milk, or milk
2 tablespoons extra-light olive oil, walnut oil, coconut oil, or butter, melted

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a medium bowl, combine the almond meal, flaxseed, salt, and baking soda.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, then add the milk and oil or butter and whisk thoroughly.
  3. Gradually whisk the flour mixture into the egg mixture. Add more milk as necessary, one tablespoon at a time, to reach pancake-batter consistency.
  4. Lightly oil a skillet and heat over medium heat. Pour 1/4 cup batter onto the skillet. Cook for three minutes, or until bubbles form and edges are cooked. Flip and cook for three minutes or until underside is lightly browned. Repeat with remaining batter.
  5. Serve with desired toppings.

Makes 14 four-inch pancakes. The following nutritional information is for one pancake made with unsweetened almond milk and coconut oil.

Enjoy!

*I did not receive any type of compensation for this post. 

FIT Hits the PAN Friday – Sugar Detox Edition

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We are officially past the half-way mark of this detox. I feel terrific and I have shed 3 pounds! I have found that as long as I eat regularly and don’t let my blood sugar drop too low, my energy levels are great. I have made a ton of different recipes from the 21 Day Sugar Detox book and Cookbook.

Here are a few that we have enjoyed over the week! I will link you to the actual recipes instead of typing them out. No use in reinventing the wheel 🙂

Pumpkin Pancakes with Vanilla Bean Coconut Butter
Even my picky husband loved these pancakes! The texture is different from normal wheat flour pancakes; they are almost crumbly. Once you get used to that and focus on the flavor, they are quite tasty! I did not try the butter part, mainly out of laziness but I think that would make them even better!

Apple Streusel Egg Muffins 
I cut this recipe in half because my husband has been weird about eggs lately so I knew he wouldn’t eat them. They are a great snack on the go! I ate one before the gym yesterday and had a ton of energy!

Tomato Basil Quiche with Bacon and Spinach
This link is to another blogger Ashley at Coffee Cake & Cardio. Her quiche is much prettier than mine!
I used 6 pieces of bacon and that was more than enough. I also subbed egg whites for 3 of the eggs; no used getting crazy with cholesterol when you don’t have to!

Still have to make my meal plan for next week! I am excited to try new things and new ways of cooking. I think my favorite meal so far (not posted) was spaghetti squash with ground chicken and marinara with Parmesan cheese. Simple, yet tasty and 21DSD compliant!

Have an excellent weekend and let me know if you try out any of these recipes!

Cheers!

You Were Made to Crave…God

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February 2, I started leading the second semester of Made to Crave by Lysa TerKeurst. I am so blessed to have a wonderful group of ladies in my class! This book teaches us how to satisfy our deepest desires with God, not food. I wanted to share some of the email I sent them this morning in the hopes I can encourage you to seek God over the other unhealthy temptations of this world! If you are struggling with weight loss or food addiction, please take a look at this book.

This morning, this verse was on my Bible app:

Luke 12:29-31 NKJV
“And do not seek what you should eat or what you should drink, nor have an anxious mind.  For all these things the nations of the world seek after, and your Father knows that you need these things. 
But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you.

I thought this was so fitting for our study; Lysa spoke about being empowered with our food choices, not deprived. Luke tells us not to worry about what we will eat or drink or to be anxious. God knows our needs; when we seek HIM and the rest will fall into place.

I found that so reassuring!

I pray you are all enjoying the reading this week. A couple of points that have stood out to me are:

Page 52 – Be Persistent

Paul doesn’t ask for wisdom one time. Paul asks over and over.

I once heard an un-biblical pastor say “Once you pray for something let it go and give it to God. Don’t keep asking over and over again.”

What a lie he told from the pulpit that day! God commands us to come to Him for everything.

Jessie showed us in Philippians 4:5-6 where it read “Be anxious for nothing , but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests

Be made know to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

Just because we “give it to God” does not mean the struggle ends. He doesn’t want us to worry about it because worry takes our minds of His work in our lives. He does want us to lean on Him and come to Him when we are not strong.

That does not show lack of faith! It shows excellent faith because we continuously show God we trust Him with everything.

Pages 52-53 – Embrace a True Identity

I was made to be set free, holy, new, loved, and confident. Because of this , I can’t allow myself to partake in anything that negates my true identity.

At the beginning of the week, I sent you the verses of WHO YOU ARE IN CHRIST. Please print this list and carry it with you and meditate on it. The world will tell you lies to break you and to make you feel less-than.

God made you in HIS image, so you are perfect. Please don’t misconstrue that with a free pass to be unhealthy. We are beautiful at any size, but we are also commanded to take care of these temples God has created!

This journey will set you on that path. You will learn how to use your relationship with Christ to make better choices for you to live a long and healthy life serving Him!

Page 61

Food isn’t sinful. But when food is what Satan holds up in front of us and says, “You’ll never be free from this battle. You will always bounce from feeling deprived when you’re dieting to feeling guilty when your splurging. Victory isn’t possible. You aren’t capable of self-control with food,” we must see that its inappropriate consummation can be his lure to draw our heart into a place of defeat. For others it will be sex outside marriage, the inappropriate consumption of alcohol, illegal drugs, or some other physical means.

Wow! That hit me like a ton of bricks. Thank goodness we are free in Christ! Can you imagine what it is like for people who do not know the Lord to tackle these lusts of the flesh?

1 Peter 5:8 says “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking who he may devour.”

Is Sodium Sabotaging Your Weight Loss Efforts?

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When I was completing the final assignment for my Nutrition and Wellness Consultant certification, I had to do an actual consult on a client and submit a report. My dad was in town so he volunteered to be my guinea pig. I had him complete a food log for about a week and then we sat down to go over his numbers. My biggest concern was his sodium level. He didn’t eat out much except for a weekly trip to Chick-fil-a and lunch at a local restaurant a couple of times per week. He didn’t realize it but during those meals he had been consuming almost three times the recommended daily amount of sodium!

This is very common as most people don’t log their food and they certainly don’t study nutritional guides at restaurants they frequent. How would they know? Don’t be fooled into thinking dining out is the only problem. Even at-home cooks can rack up the sodium levels with canned and processed foods. Have you every looked at a can of diced tomatoes? I pulled the nutritional information from myfitnesspal. I use this website daily and also use it with all of my clients to have them track their food intake and exercise. I am not bashing Hunt’s brand tomatoes, in fact, I use them all the time in my recipes. I just want you to see the sodium levels in one can. In my chili recipe, I always use two cans. On top of that I add canned beans which are also packed with sodium. I use these examples because while I know what I am putting in my recipe, most people don’t and that is causing a host of health issues that could be avoided.

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Back to my dad; over the course of one year he took my recommendations and cut his sodium to 1500 mg or less per day (leaning more toward 1000 mg). At the end of that year, he had lost 25 pounds and was taken off both of his high-blood pressure medications by his doctor. By cutting back on his sodium intake, his diet also improved because he cut out processed foods and most restaurant meals. While it seems like an extreme measure, the effects were well worth any minor inconvenience.

According to the American Heart Association, most people consume about 3400 mg of sodium per day. That is twice the recommended daily intake! Here are their “Salty Six” foods:

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So What Can You Do?

1. Do your homework.

The labels are there to help you understand what you are consuming. Read them! Most restaurants are required to post nutritional information in the store but if they don’t you can usually find it on their website. We have stopped eating at certain restaurants because there are simply no healthy options concerning sodium. Beware of menus advertising “low fat” or “low calorie.” Two major offenders I have found are Applebee’s and Panera who both offer “healthy” options and proudly post meals under 600 calories. However, most of those meals are loaded with unhealthy sodium.

2. Limit or avoid packaged or frozen meals, canned vegetables and jarred sauces.

Most frozen dinners (plain vegetables excluded) use sauces and seasonings high in sodium. If you like the convenience of canned vegetables, rinse them well to remove some of the sodium. There are many low-sodium canned vegetable alternatives available. Of course, fresh vegetables are always your most nutritious option!

3. Find salt alternatives.

Spices and herbs can be a great alternative to salt when flavoring dishes and meals. Mrs. Dash offers a wide variety of salt-free options.

4. If you have to use salt, use it sparingly.

If you have a recipe that calls for salt, try cutting it in half or leave it out altogether and allow the person eating the meal to add it at the table if necessary. Remember to pay attention to how much your salt shaker dispenses. Try shaking it in your hand before you put it on your food.

5. Exercise and drink plenty of water.

Your activity level plays a role in determining how your body eliminates excess sodium. If you are sedentary or a light exerciser, you excrete most of it through your urine, but if you are active and exercise vigorously, much of it is purged through your sweat. The average person loses about 1/2 teaspoon of salt through sweat for each hour of exercise. Depending on the intensity and air temperature, some people lose twice that much. If you have taken in too much salt and are trying to dilute it by drinking water, go for a jog or spend an hour at the gym to help your body purge some of the excess salt.
When you consume too much salt, your body tries to dilute it by holding on to as much water as it can. You may notice a bloated feeling when this happens. To help your body dilute the excess salt and decrease bloating, drink water.

Limiting sodium can be a big change at first, so start small. You will see big changes before you know it!

Cheers!

Source: “How to Counteract Too Much Salt Intake.” Healthy Eating. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Dec. 2014.