The Choice

love is a choice, then too is hatred

Choosing to see another human as an other

Instead of a fellow struggling, messy human soul

Choosing fear over care

Choosing to use energy to destroy another soul

When instead we can choose to love

To see them as people in need of care and love

When hate is chosen instead of love

Hate gives a false sense of power

Hate lies that it’s protecting you

Hate lies that it must exist

Hate lies that you have control

When in fact it’s LOVE that must exist

Love calls us To care

Love call us To create community

Love calls us To unify

Love calls us beyond ourselves

When we choose love we honor God

Which is your choice?

Yet Another Whole 30 Post

I first heard about Whole 30 from friends who were doing it. And I thought it was nuts! Why in the world would anyone WANT to do this thing? Removing all grains, legumes, dairy and sugar from your daily diet. How much work is that?!

You know what? It is nuts. I admit that. It is alot of work to put into food. Where usually there is minimal thought put into what goes into my mouth. The time I learned about this program I was not in a place to participate.

Fast forward a year later and I find myself joining a group of friends in a FB group. The intention was to encourage each other through the group and meet weekly for a pot luck. Well, we managaged one pot luck at the start of September. Then Hurricane Irma blew through my hometown and my Whole30 Journey.

Promising myself that I would finish what I started, I began again ( somewhat on my own) in late October. I finished my 30 days just before Thanksgiving. It was a great experience, I learned a lot about cooking ( that my skills in this area have come a long way) and I enjoyed eating it. This was crucial to being successfull. Food is meant to be enjoyable.

Thanks to my friends who are veterns at Whole 30 I got some great advice that helped me along the way.

1- Figure out the Why behind doing it. Everyone has a different reason for trying it out. My why was to see if I could do it but also to better understand my relationship with food. This is an area that I have had trouble getting a handle on.

2-Figure a time that works for your life. This is 30 days of a lot of cooking, planning what you will cook, how you will eat. Seriously, if you wake up each day not knowing what Breakfast, lunch and dinner will be then you will fail for sure. Double up on recipes, you can portion it out, freeze some for later etc.

3- Prepare to stock up your pantry ( I suggest start getting things a few weeks out so you don’t end up having to spend a lot all at once). Some of the items can be pricey but worth it, especially the Light Tasting Virgin Oil, Coconut Aminos, Dates. I did not buy all the oils because I could not afford it. For instance for some recipes I substituted apple cider vinegar for rice vinegar. Ghee I used a few times and hardly used the coconut oil.

4- Prepare your loved ones. They will need to understand there will be some limitations to what you eat ( especially for family gatherings). But also let people you live with know whats up. You will need space in the fridge and pantry for your food. You do not however need to tell everyone. Face it when the work place donut, cake, pizza comes around all I had to do was say No Thank You. Or as my boss persisted in offering me food I found saying I had eaten sufficed.

5- Get a support system. The FB group fell apart after the craziness of the storm but I still had a few friends I checked in with through out my journey. For other questions I googled Whole 30 forums. As always accountability helps to achieve goals. Having to report where I was at made me want to succeed even more.

6- Read Food Freedom Forever by Melissa Hartwig. This helped prepare myself mentally.

7- Have grace for yourself. You will forget to read all the ingrediants, realize that meal planning was only enough to get to halfway through the week. OR life will happen and you aren’t able to continue.

I am by no means an expert on Whole 30, and I am sure there are those out there who would say I did this or that wrong ( which I am sure I did). But I did my best, I enjoyed cooking and trying new things out. I am now in the reintroduction phase ( more on this later). But I now feel as if I have a foundation to return to when I find myself getting off the rails. That to me is the most important thing.

Mid Week Motivator: Ups and Downs

My relationship with food is rather complex as it so often reprensents comfort to me. As it does for so many and in times of stress is easy to run towards.

Which I did. Barely working out or not at all. Eating whatever came across my way.

Why? Because life had become busy and stressful. Eating all the bad stuff felt good, for a brief moment. Not working out made feel like I did skipping school as a teenager. Another brief moment of being bad but then comes guilt.

Getting back into the routine is hard. The body adjusts just as quickly to bad habits as to good ones. The good news is that now I long for the good habits. To eat better and exercise.

While there may times when we get off the health track, it does not mean we can not go back. Don’t allow a bad day or week to prevent you from being healthy. There will be ebbs and flows, ups and downs.

Keep going, keep moving. It’s worth it.

 

 

Fail To Plan, Plan To Fail

Being born a born procrastinator, I am a poor planner. Throughout my life things just well happened from my lack of planning.  My penchant for not doing so is often about avoiding responsibility. To not want to be disappointed when planning did not work out. While all my classmates were preparing for their futures, I put in my half hearted attempts.

Life after graduation continued to be a series of short sighted descions or whims. Despite my follies, God always had a bigger plan for me. Placing the people and places I needed in my life. Patiently loving me, guiding the course of my life.

Rediscovering Motivation

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This has been a tough year thus far for a multitude of reasons. One aspect has been my health. Gaining weight after working so hard to lose it three years ago has been disheartening. My motivation to eat well and exercise fell by the wayside.

More and more I found myself choosing the comfort of food. Not that I fell back into full on binging as I have in the past. It is more making poor food choices when there are plenty of healthier options available.

Then a day or two goes by without a workout or good food choices. Since those days went by what does it matter if another one does? Then it becomes a week, and before I realized it a month. Sure, I’ve been busy. Juggling three part time jobs isn’t easy. But it also doesn’t mean I couldn’t have worked out those days.

Some of it is laziness, not being willing to wake up earlier to run. Or getting in one after a mentally draining work day.  Not planning my meals ahead, which lead to me heading for drive thru’s instead of a waiting meal. Indulging in dessert when I shouldn’t have. Some of it is simply the reality of my new schedule, mostly eating dinner later than 7:30pm.

Then there is the difference in my body from three years ago. I am on the other side of thirty five, nearly forty. That’s something I need to remember, to honor and not berate myself.

And that I will need to work at being motivated. Something I didn’t need to do before. The motivation was just there, supernaturally planted. However, over time complacency set in for me. Complacency I don’t always fight against. In that I have lost the motivation that once came so easily.

This needs to change, I need to fight for my life. To care for this body, not to achieve some perfect body but in order to live a full life. I will plan ahead for my meals and snacks. I will fight against temptations at the office as the busy season kicks into gear. I will run at least three days a week and focusing on strength training the other two.

In doing so I hope to regain motivation. Caring for this body and my overall health.

Have you had to regain motivation?

Mid Week Motivator: Eating Out, Part Two

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Last week I wrote about eating out.
Today I want to talk about this again. This time when it is not planned. Perhaps you have forgotten your lunch, or just need to grab a bite while on the go or are just too tired to cook. These are times that can be most trying as the choices for a quick meal can be limiting. However because you may stop at a fast food place, doesn’t mean all is lost.

Make the best choices available to you. Nearly every fast food place offers wraps and salads. Perhaps what you need is simply a quick snack. Running into your local drugstore or even gas station to grab a yogurt, fruit or nuts can be an option. Enough to hold you over until you have lunch or dinner. Something I have done from time to time is get a smoothie (asking them to not add sugar). It fills me up and is worth paying the money for it.

Grocery stores have great options for quick meals that can be healthier than going through a drive thru.

It’s good to know what your options are for those unplanned meals and snacks. The good news is that there is usually a healthier option available. You may have to look for or even stick to the same things when you do, but its possible.

What is your go to for unplanned meals and snacks?

Mid Week Motivator: Eating Out

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So it’s been a few months since you’ve begun to eat healthier. Staying in and cooking has helped to keep track of what you eat. Bringing lunch to work has become a new habit too.

Inevitably at some point you will eat out. Perhaps it is a night out with friends or an unplanned meal. Either way, these are some tips on making good choices.

The good news is these days most restaurants offer healthy alternatives.  These usually have the calorie count next to them. What can be the downfall is the bread or chips left on the table. I know I have a hard time saying no to them! How to cope? If you desire, take a few then pass it away from your easy reach. I find I hesitate to ask for more if I have to ask for it to be passed to me. Of course you can always say no, but really how often does this actually happen?

Appetizers are another area to navigate it can be hard to say no once they reach the table. I usually do not go for appetizers but if they are ordered I use the same strategy as with the basket of bread.

Going for the salads doesn’t always mean it’s healthy. It can be drowned in dressing or full of cheese.

Split or share a dish, you can still enjoy a favorite dish by having far less of it.
Then of course there is desert, someone
Inevitably suggests it right? Again here the bread basket strategy comes into play, or order coffee or tea. This will give your hands something to do while the others eat.

When I know I’m going out to dinner or lunch I adjust my food for the rest of the day. That days workout is stepped up a notch too, especially since I know exactly what I want to eat.

You may eat too much or linger over that bread basket too long. Don’t beat yourself up over it. Enjoy the meal, enjoy the time with loved ones. Getting too much in your head about your food makes you bad company. What you eat will soon be digested. What is important is the choices you make afterwards. To continue eating well. It’s a balance, enjoying food while gaining health.

Mid Week Motivator: small budget, no problem

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Eating healthy is hard but doable. It means venturing outside of the prepackaged foods we have become trained to eat. It means going outside our food comfort zone.

Think of purchasing food as an investment. Just as you invest in your wardrobe, you also invest in your food pantry. I have found thinking this way can be helpful when in the grocery store. Buying healthy can be pricey and what this can mean sacrificing money you would use to eat out with at the grocery store.

Which as you learn to eat better, not having money to eat out can be helpful in this journey. It means you are being challenged to pull out the pots and pans. To try out new kinds of food and experiment with cooking. You will expand your taste buds and discover and even rediscover foods you thought you hated.

I have found the places that work best for my budget and discovered Aldi a few years ago. I am able to purchase all the items I need without resorting to purchasing prepackaged food. Food full of salt and sugar. I tend to eat the same or similar foods week to week. This is due more so because I know how much these items will cost.

Below is a list my go to budget friendly groceries.

Coconut Oil– worth the price as it has so many uses! Try using it and discover which brand or type works for you.

Almonds– or some kind of nut, a great source of protein and good fats.

Canned Tomatoes– These are a great source of vitamins and my favorite option for pasta sauce.

Frozen Vegatables– a great source of vitamins and they store well in the freezer

Oat Meal– a staple in my cabinet, can be used in so many different ways as well.

Fresh Fruit & Vegatables-  This is where the bulk of my food budget goes to each week.

What are some of your ways to eat healthy on a tight budget?

Mid Week Motivator- Happy Thanksgiving!

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Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day ( in the Northern US). Which may mean being confronted by your food choices if you are choosing to be healthier. Do not allow for the food to take away from why this holiday is being celebrated.

It is about spending precious time with friends and family. Not the amount of calories you consume.

If you give yourself a cheat day, then this will be it. If not, here are a few tips from a previous post.

Allow yourself to enjoy this time with friends and family no matter how or when you are celebrating. Enjoy the food. Enjoy life.

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving day!

Five Year Goals

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This is my five year plan. For most of my life I have not been a planner. I guess you can say I just let life happen. Part of it had to do with just not wanting to deal with the responsibility of life. The rest had to do with the grief I was still in the midst in from my mom’s and Pop’s deaths. I just did not see the point in planning for anything at all. For having hope in my future.
I have to thank Jon Acuff for starting the 30 Day Hustle group on Facebook, one of the members issued a challenge to post your goals for the next five years. Which I accepted.

For that I have paid a heavy price. Most of my adult life has been harder simply because of my lack of goals and planning. College was a haphazard mess, not understanding what it is I even wanted to do. Often hindered by my poor financial decisions. Some of which I am still dealing with today.

In writing my first novel I learned the important lesson of planning. I had preferred to just “pants” it as we say in the writing world. In rewriting the manuscript (TWICE!), I learned the importance of planning. To have goals to strive towards. Today I refer to myself as a “plantser”. Someone who plans out my stories but allowing room for the story to speak to me. My outlines leave room for the unexpected.

I had reached a point in my life where I desired to even have goals. Drifting in my life was no longer desirable. I wanted more.

It helped to have encouragers alongside me. Wendy, you are so much the reason I am where I am today dear friend!. As my career as a Writer begins to take off, I realized the need to have a vision for the next five years of my life. Hence the list up top.

It’s far from a comprehensive list. More of an outline really. It will most likely change as I continue to grow. I once feared making plans because what would happen when they fell apart? That may happen or my goals met in a different way. I once asked a friend, would she be open to achieving her goals if the how changed? That is where flexibility comes in.

I need to open to perhaps it taking less than five years or more than five years to cross these off the list. Just as I am open to my allowing my outlines to leave room for change. After all, there is my plan, then there is His plan. No matter the outcome,I have hope for my future.
How open would you be to your goals or the how changing?