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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

why do you do...that thing you do

Do you ever go back to basics and really contemplate, why?  We make such deliberate choices about our cars, daycare, schools, clothes, jobs, electronics.....but the stuff that actually sustains and feeds the necessary functioning of our body - the one thing on that list that can't be replaced - we are mindless about it.  We choose so much in life based on a basic code of who we want to be but often there is no code when it comes to food.  Food is reduced to the importance of taste, speed, cost and convenience.  Sure, we will justify having a $400 car payment but the price of an organic apple?  Craziness.  What do we value?  What is our priority?  Are we aware that we are putting tainted fuel into our bodies?  If it was our car that was getting cheap additives that shortened the life of it's engine....we would be calling for our money back and a recall of the bad quality product.  


Do we make decisions based on the opinions of others, which can be easily changed by their suggestions or do we make informed decisions and stand firm in them so that pressure and suggestion don't "toss us about like the waves of the sea"? (Eph.4:14)


What does "diet" mean to you?  Is it a short term goal or a way of life?


Diet: 


  1. (Noun) The kinds of food that a person, animal, or community habitually eats.
  2. (Verb)  Restrict oneself to small amounts or special kinds of food in order to lose weight: "it is difficult to diet in a house full of cupcakes."
In trying to be purposeful about not pushing my diet on anyone and not shouting to the hills or getting all crazy about it, I've been listening more.  It seems as if everyone is ON a diet (verb) instead of choosing a diet (noun).  

I'd like to settle into noun.  I'd like my "diet" to be stable, defined and comfortable - for me.  No more diets (verb) of temporary fluctuation, doing this "for now" with the intention of changing it all again later when I get to my goal.  I am making a conscious choice to be as intentional with my food as I am with other things in my life.  When I make big decisions I do my research, I see if it lines up with my moral compass, my philosophy and approach to life.  I shared not too long ago that I cancelled weight watchers, stopped measuring or counting.

My life choice is to eat a plant based diet. I will eat when I'm hungry, avoid animal products and oils will only be used sparingly during cooking.  Will this potentially slow down my weight loss?  Probably...but what is my main, "big picture" intention?  Health.  I feel amazing!  My body is getting smaller and feels more healthy.  I feel stronger and have more energy than I have in a decade or more.  My food choices no longer cause panic and the risk of reaction has dropped to nothing.  You can't change the ingredients in a tomato or lettuce!  If the weight slows down, I'm okay with that because slow is better than nothing.  There will be ups and downs sure but overall a bump in the road is nothing compared to the overall direction of how healthy I feel.  Over the course of my life I suspect that my weight will continue to drop slowly and eventually stabilize out to where I should be.  If I want to lose more, then I should move more.  

Plant Based, Atkins, eat for your blood type, Mediterranean, cabbage soup, calorie counting, low carb, high carb, low fat, high protein, Vegan, Vegetarian, Slim Fast, Slimgenics, Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, Med Fast......it's no wonder people are confused!  These are all labels, descriptors of how we choose what to eat and why....but I think we've stopped asking why and just said "okay, whatever you say."

None of them say the same thing!   There are so many labels and some are moderately defined or so individual they carry no meaning.  Others are programs based on restriction and other programs....well they kinda blow my mind. "Don't eat that banana but here, eat this packet of powder."  All in the name of weight loss....not health....but if we were eating REAL food in healthy portions we wouldn't need to lose weight in the first place.  There are redeeming qualities in a lot of programs but I'm coming to the conclusion that they all have the same flaw - they are temporary.

Yesterday our daughter (16) and I got into a conversation about food.....I don't remember what she asked but it started this conversation about diets, nutrition, the differences between vegan/vegetarian/pescatarian/plant based, protein needs and food in general.  I started to have trouble answering questions, I never want to answer questions incorrectly (and teens talk so darn fast!), so I suggested that she watch Forks Over Knives because it would answer more clearly some of what she was asking.  We would both have the same information and be able to have a conversation more easily about her questions.  I wasn't equipped with the clinical answers and didn't want her to get the idea that this was a "fad diet" but that there was a great deal of research done about it.  Regardless of what her opinion was at the end of the film, I was interested in what she thought.

So we watched it together and she asked lots of questions during the movie.  At the end she said "I think I want to be pescatarian.  I LOVE fish, I don't think I could give it up but the rest....I could do that."  She followed it up with making a bold statement on FB about adopting a whole foods, plant based diet and eating fish.  I expected interesting conversation but not that she would make this bold decision.  What and how I eat has been a topic of conversation for years...she always has good questions and is curious.  Last weekend it was about what vegan meant and was I a vegan.  

I explained that I wouldn't call myself a vegan.  The term is attached to a political/activist view point.  I don't approve of the mistreatment of animals but animal rights has nothing to do with why I don't eat them.  I don't care that they have a face or a mommy...some of the tastiest animals are pretty darn cute and I am not giving up my leather boots.  (Don't shoot me.) I don't eat them because I feel so much better NOT eating them.  Frankly I don't believe we were originally created to eat meat.  My base line for eating a plant based diet is health, original design and the reality that most of my life I haven't felt good in my own skin.  Some of that is weight, some of that is physical injury but most of that is illness.   I still have weight to lose to increase that comfort factor but what I started for vanity has merged into wellness and health for my body...and my mind (sure there is vanity tossed in there as well...lets be real).  I have made myself clear to her that this is HER decision, she will not receive any pressure or critique from me.  Help on the other hand is available in abundance - but she needs to ask, and I'll help equip her with recipes and knowledge to merge into this as easily as she can.  NO negativity or criticism about choosing to still eat fish.  Its her choice and as she learns she may change her mind, but its hers to change.  In the long term I think at the very least making a decision like this is a wonderful step of independence and will carry lots of lessons in making choices that aren't necessarily popular and how to stand your ground when others who don't understand your choices try to push you to conform to what they want for themselves.  She's growing into such an interesting, intelligent and amazing young woman.  I am so proud to be in her life!

Do you think about why you do the things you do?  Why you eat what you eat?  Do you care?

Blessings of firm ground to stand on and strength to stand against the crashing waves, 
the Mrs.

UPDATED: I have no idea what the highlighted wonky stuff is going on in the beginning of this post or how to fix it....so you have my apologies for the wonkadoodleness.

Monday, June 11, 2012

happy Un-breakfast

"The first meal of the day is the most important."  In my book typically the most un-enjoyable as well.  I am not a breakfast eater.  I simply do not enjoy breakfast foods.  Much to my husbands disappointment, cold pizza or spaghetti for breakfast will make my eyes light up with delight....not pancakes or waffles.  The idea of going somewhere on purpose to eat breakfast food kinda makes my nose crinkle and my eyes roll.  Bleh.

BUT in this new "plant strong" lifestyle (it's not a "diet", those are temporary) breakfast IS important so I can keep going.  I need those calories, at the very least, so my guts don't start to wrestle and see who gets to be the cannibal before lunch.  As usual, I turned to Pinterest.  Faithful friend and resource for all things easy to find and neatly categorized.  And I found this awesome gem: Banana-Maple Oatmeal Cookies and made a few changes.

I went straight for the ground flaxseed in 2 tbsp of water for the egg replacement (ground fresh in a coffee grinder we use to grind spices) though I've not seen it "thicken" for me.

  • old fashioned oats because it's what I have.
  • Organic whole wheat flour - not "white" whole wheat, something in the process of that kind of flour gives me that drunk reaction so I know that something is done there that isn't "natural".
  • Instead of raisins I used either finely chopped prunes or dates.  In the last batch I made I doubled the recipe and used a 1/4 cup of each.
  • Walnuts.  Like a whole cup of them broken up in to pieces.  This made them a million times yummy.  
 The assemblage. 

100% maple syrup....yum.
 Chopped dates/prunes into a fine mush.
Breakfast is served.

I plan on doing a little more playing around with this recipe and seeing what I can do with it.  I keep mine in the fridge because this is a really moist cookie and in the summer heat it will spoil faster.  This is SO easy and so fast.  I didn't use a mixer or anything.  Just that wooden spoon and then two metal spoons for scooping onto the parchment.   


Here's my version of this recipe so you don't have to jump back and forth.

Maple Nut Oatmeal Banana Cookies.
Makes roughly 18 cookies.
Refrigerate.

  • 2tsp ground flaxseed mixed with 2tbsp water
  • 1 cup oats (old fashioned or whatever you have)
  • 1 cup organic whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped dates or prunes (pitted)
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla
  • 1/2 cup Pure Maple Syrup
  • 1 banana (thinly sliced or mashed)
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 to 1 cup walnuts (or pic your favorite!)
Preheat oven to 375

Combine your ground flax and water first and set aside.  It's supposed to thicken a bit but so far I haven't seen this....I may be doing something wrong but it works out fine anyway.
Throw everything in a bowl, adding the nuts after stirring until things are well incorporated.  Adding the nuts last makes it easier to stir, toss those in and stir until they are evenly distributed.
Scoop onto a parchment lined cookie sheet and flatten them out a bit.  
Bake 8-12 minutes, until lightly browned on the bottom.

Easy peasy! Sweet, chewy, crunchy and filling!  LOVE them!

Blessings on your Monday for a beautiful beginning to a productive, wonderful week!
the Mrs.


Friday, June 8, 2012

veggies made me do it

To some the changes I've made recently would seem extreme.  ....frankly in the past I considered something like this extreme or excessive.  I've struggled to wrap my head around someones choice to just be a vegetarian....let alone a vegan.

Why in the world would anyone CHOOSE to give up BACON???

Yet, here I am.  Eating plant strong and feeling the best I have in years.  The energy levels that I am feeling are seriously blowing my mind.  I (you may want to sit for this) got on the treadmill the other day just because I was feeling like I NEEDED to expend some energy!  .....aliens have not invaded my body.....I don't think...

My mind is so much clearer. I don't feel like I'm walking in a fog anymore.  I feel stronger and like I have a spark, my spunk is back!  I asked Mr if he'd noticed any differences and he said that he sees more energy and that I seem happier.  Happier?  Yes, that is one of the crazy things I've noticed....I wasn't UNhappy before.  I would say that in general I am a fairly happy and positive person but now?  Pollyanna ain't got nuthin on me!

I feel like I am actually getting to watch myself change in the mirror every day.  My face looks different.  My cheek bones are starting to be more defined, my jawline too and that second chin I thought would never ever make its way back to wherever it was from.....its disappearing.  Clothes fit differently.  Shorts that were tight not that long ago slide on easily now and with extra room in some places!  New clothes I bought only 2 weeks ago are now baggy!  I had to buy new undies too. The weight is coming off slowly, but the fat....the visible markers of weight.....are melting off.  I can see it in my hands, face, shoulders, legs....all over!  Yesterday my brother in law saw a new picture of me on facebook....."this may seem like a dumb question but is that you?"  I assured him that it was me and he proceeded to tell me how great I looked in the funniest best way possible that a younger brother in law can. It made my day!

I cancelled my weight watchers account.  Yep, I did.  I don't have any need to count or measure anything anymore.  $$$ saved.

If you've been reading here for long you know that my struggle with food has been exhausting and consuming.  My relationship with food has been more based on fear than nutrition.  When I talked about food my only perspective was to preach about its danger.....this didn't go over well in many ways....but it was authentic.  It was my truth and where I was standing, food had lost its goodness and was more of a cage for me.  It was about restriction.   

Not any more.

For the first time in several years I feel a freedom and enjoyment with food that goes beyond my kitchen.  Last night we planned to go out to dinner to celebrate the Dude graduating from elementary school. (no kids menu for him, thank you)  I checked out the menu ahead of time and decided I'd have a greek salad, no chicken, cheese or pita and a plain baked potato on the side.  NO ANXIETY.  No fear.  Hesitation and negativity were not my dinner companions.  There was no cloud of resentment or boredom hovering over me.  I didn't need to struggle to not make negative comments about being bored by the same old restaurant dinner.  I enjoyed it.  Even my very first baked potato without butter was good!   I felt full and satisfied at the end.  No mental cloud or wave of confusion, no bloating or intestinal discomfort.  I felt GOOD.  I enjoyed going out!  

This is one of those times where I feel so good I want to shout to the world that everyone should do this!  Everyone should eat this way!!  Like the euphoria of falling in love making you want to fix up everyone you know so they too can be THIS happy.  Yep, that's how amazing this is.  But I've learned from my past.  Preaching to people who haven't asked or expressed interest....doesn't get you anywhere.  Kinda works the same way with Jesus sadly.  Restraint is my companion now.  I have made choices that are working for me.  I have made choices that are enhancing my life and even my relationships....because my attitude is positive.  Preaching the poisons and sins of meat and processed foods will get you nowhere fast....and reduce your conversations quite a bit too.  Before - fear and restraint were heavy in my conversation.  Now, I am taking a new approach.  I am living.  I am living my choices, making them with joy and enjoyment and letting the world see the change in my body, my demeanor...me.   I am choosing to allow the world to ask instead of getting on a soapbox and pointing my finger at the offenders.  My job is to take care of MY body, not everyone else's.  The nurturer in me struggles with that.  Others in my life need to make their own food choices....even those closest to me....and I need to be able to respect them even if their nutritional choices concern or disgust me.  It's not going in my body, so I need to shut up and be an example instead of a downer.

In my heart I would love for everyone I know to try this for a week, 2 weeks or take the Engine 2 challenge. I would love for everyone I know to feel this good and see the benefits that I have.  Reality tells me that most will look at the choice I'm making and slap on the "vegan politics" and see "restriction" in neon flashing over my head.  I don't feel restricted though.  My craving for meat or dairy is totally gone.  Has it been tough to learn to do a few things differently?  Sure.  All new adventures have their challenges and puzzles to solve but among all the food based Rubik's cube puzzles I've had to solve, this one has been the easiest.  

Do I miss ice cream? Yep.  But I'll figure that one out in time.  For now I've figured out how to make amazing sherbet.  (I'll show you how soon!)  I have discovered the most amazing maple banana nut breakfast cookies and I am totally in love with them.  They are so fast and easy to make!  Double the recipe and freeze some.  When you are in a pinch and don't have time for a full meal - grab and go!  I've done it, it helps!  I'll show you those too!  Last night I had popcorn.  How?  I popped organic kernels in a paper bag in the microwave, drizzled a little walnut oil on and sprinkled with salt.  It was good enough (even though I did slightly burn it) that Mr stole more than a handful...or three.

I hope to start being able to show you more of how I'm doing this and that it isn't hard at all.  If you want me to address anything specific let me know.....though that would require someone to comment....ever....for this to not be just a one way conversation.  ehem.  Just sayin.

Blessings for a wonderful weekend to officially kick off summer!
the Mrs.


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Best seat in the house.

We are merging into a whole new era in life.  I could feel it coming but I didn't know it would be quite so quick.  Our Wonderteen has been in her teen adventure for a while now, full of challenges and searching out her identity in life.  She constantly impresses me and I love how our relationship is evolving as she grows and matures.  The Dude though.....is morphing in the fastest most surprising way.

Today is "graduation" day.....from 5th grade.....essentially from elementary school.  Next year is middle school. There is this whole other level of "graduating" happening underneath all of the obvious stuff.  As the end of the year approaches its like he is transforming before our eyes.....from a little boy to a young man.  There are lots of little things we are noticing that are totally surprising us that seem totally out of his norm - but in good ways. Here's the kicker though.....now that he is too old to be a participant in Sunday school at church, he wants to volunteer to help out with the younger kids and he asked if he could get a job at the farm behind our house.

The Dude is 11 years old.  He wants a job.  A real job.  He wants to volunteer.   

This graduation from 5th grade is morphing from some cheesy little graduation ceremony for the kids into something so much deeper....he's graduating from being a "little kid".  End scene.  

Enter....a young man.  I'm not a mom who hates to see her kids grow up and wants them to stay little.  I love it all.  I love every year they get older.  I love every new season in their lives and development into who they will become.  It is one of the most exciting things I could be a part of as a human being, let alone as a mother.  Now, with our second child....it's time to start walking next to him.  Letting him take a bit of the lead, helping him detach the apron strings and gain his footing as he slowly merges into this new era in life.  As parents it's time to start taking our hands off the wheel and letting him try steering a bit more.  It's time to guide and counsel him through decisions as he starts to learn to make them on his own.  

This young man is merging out of his norm, showing more grown up interests and being more adventurous.  Whatever we expect him to do or say at this point needs to be thrown out the window.....it's time to watch and see.  Its a front row seat to creation happening right here, right now, in all its mind-blowing amazingness.

Happy Graduation day Son.  You impress me more than I have words to express.  I have the best seat in the house for the best show on earth.

Blessings to you for an unobstructed view of the amazingness in your life.
the Mrs.