Friday, October 31, 2014

It’s Halloween…Please whisper a prayer for my fam

Today would have been my brother’s 41st birthday. He was a Halloween baby.

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All of the “firsts” since his passing have been pretty tough on everyone. I know today will be really hard for my family, and if you get just a minute, I would really appreciate if you could join me in lifting them up. I am praying specifically for my mom and dad, my sister-in-law Ragan and the 4 kids (Trey, Madison, Carsyn, & Presley), and my two sisters (Tammie & Stephanie). I feel such a peace that I know comes from the Lord, so please help me pray for peace and comfort for them today especially.

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We all love and miss my Michael so very much.

Have a SAFE & happy Halloween, everyone! Pictures of the CUTEST little dinosaur you’ve ever seen coming soon!!

P.S. Go find a dentist who buys back the candy to send to the troops. Smile

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Quinoa Fried Rice Recipe

This is one of our family faves. Jonathan & Jase both tear it up and the leftovers taste AWESOME too! I love that it’s a clean recipe made with quinoa (extra protein) and tons of veggies. Plus, it takes less than 20 minutes to prepare and is super easy to throw together. (Fo real…y’all know I don’t like to get all complicated in the kitchen. I’ll leave that to the pros.)

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Ingredients:

  • Organic Quinoa (1 c dry)
  • Bragg’s Liquid Aminos (in place of soy sauce)
  • Mixed Vegetables (I love Costco brand with edamame)
  • Broccoli (I steam it or sauté it ahead of time), mushrooms, and zucchini (all diced)
  • 2 eggs

Directions:

- Prepare 1 c uncooked quinoa according to directions.

-In a separate skillet, sauté vegetables all (in coconut oil or olive oil).

- Scramble 2 eggs.

-After quinoa is fully cooked, combine ALL ingredients (diced veggies & eggs and quinoa).

-Add Bragg’s to taste (Jon likes more, I like less).

-Mix together and scoop into bowls. DELISH!!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Could you be focusing on the WRONG thing?

Shew wee! I am so guilty of this one myself so I wanted to share a few thoughts.

So many times I focus on the WRONG things and I end up with the wrong conclusions and the wrong results. How about you?

I don’t know many people who don’t want to improve their life in SOME way. Hopefully we are all striving to grow into the best version of ourselves, but so many times we are limited by choosing to focus on the wrong things. And it’s not always intentional. Sometimes we don’t even realize we are doing it! Here are a few examples that have popped up or personal experiences where I have focused on the wrong things.

*FLAWS in OTHERS. Matthew 7:3 says “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” Why in the world are we so busy picking apart others when we all have our own junk we need to be focusing on? We are wasting so much of our time focusing on others’ shortcomings & choices. (Really, what does it accomplish? Nothing.) What if we spent that time focusing on their strengths & speaking life over them, and getting the plank out of our own eye? We should be so focused on improving ourselves and helping others that we don’t have time to judge or gossip. The Top 10 Distinctions Between Millionaires and the Middle Class says that “Millionaires talk about ideas. The middle class talks about things and other people.” Are you more focused on what others are doing or not doing and the choices they are making than your own life? Are you busy talking about other people when you could be ministering to them or talking about ideas instead? If you’re focused on the flaws of others, you are focusing on the wrong thing.

*PROBLEMS. Goodness gracious, we’ve all got em. And they are REAL. I am not discounting that life can be tough. It can hurt. Nobody “likes” the valleys & the trials. (Not anyone I know, anyway. Definitely not me.) BUT, we still have  choice. We can CHOOSE to focus on our blessings more than our problems. I understand that sometimes we have to devote time to finding a solution, but we can still choose to remain grateful, thankful, and positive even through the storms. We have so many BLESSINGS in our lives, and what we focus on increases. (Don’t believe me? Try it for a week.)  1 Thessalonians 5:18 says “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.” If you’re more focused on your problems than your blessings, you’re focused on the wrong thing.

*HOW FAR YOU HAVE LEFT TO GO. So many times we focus on how far we have to go and it becomes overwhelming. I love long-term thinking, planning, and goals, but I also know that we have to create daily action steps that will help get us there. Set shorter-term goals as well, celebrate small wins, and be thankful for how far you’ve come. It is a JOURNEY. We live in a microwave generation where we want results immediately. I have seen people QUIT over and over before achieving what they said they wanted to achieve (most likely because it didn’t happen as quickly as they wanted). The real key is to KEEP MOVING in the right direction! If you’re not focusing on the journey; the baby steps and daily actions to achieve your goals, you’re focusing on the wrong thing.

*”I CAN’T GO TO CHURCH BECAUSE THERE ARE TOO MANY HYPOCRITES.” It makes me so sad to hear people say things like this. Christians are not perfect and don’t have it all together. Shoot, I mess up all the time! And that’s exactly the point. I go to church because I desire the teaching, the accountability, and the encouragement. I need to be uplifted and a couple hours away from the world to worship and pray and study the Word. I can assure you that I am TRYING to be more like Christ, even if I am struggling and to you it might seem like I’m a “hypocrite.” (My flesh causes me to fail. That’s why Romans 12:2 encourages us to “Renew our mind daily.”)  No, I don’t know a single Christian who doesn’t mess up…and yes, maybe some of us do act “holier than thou” sometimes when we shouldn’t. But, if that’s keeping you out of church, again, you are focusing on the WRONG thing. I know I want grace from others when I mess up, so that means I have to freely give it.

It doesn’t stop there. Some people stop going to church because they don’t like the music or the preaching style or the dress or the kids’ program. If it’s any of those things keeping you out of church, you could be focusing on the wrong thing.

“Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith…Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together…but let us encourage one another- and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” – Hebrews 10:22-25

*COMPARISON. “Comparison is the thief of joy.” – Theodore Roosevelt

So very true, but so hard not to do. We compare so many aspects of our lives, and that results in either jealousy, insecurity, or pride. None of those are pleasing in the sight of the Lord. We have made an intentional effort to focus more on improving ourselves and stop comparing our lives (in any arena) to others. If we notice someone has something we want (a long, fruitful marriage, or grown children who are the type of kids we want to raise), then we seek mentorship. We ask questions and try to do what they do. But we do not sit around coming up with reasons we don’t have what they have, or reasons why they do. That is the wrong focus & won’t get you any closer to your goals. I definitely struggled with this more in high school (particularly with body image)and college (my pitching abilities) than I do now. Maybe that is a part of maturing? You learn to be more content (Hebrews 13:5). What I know is this: If you’re comparing yourself to others, you are focusing on the wrong thing.

*REASONS WHY YOU CAN’T. Many times, a reason why you can’t is a reason why you should. I often hear people say things like “Why can’t I …” and you can fill in the blank with lots of variables (lose weight, get out of debt, get more people involved with my ministry, have a better relationship with so & so, etc.). This tends to lead to excuses rather than results. A better question would be…”How can I?” It’s  a simple switch, and asking a better question will lead to better results. Asking the wrong question will lead to undesirable results. If you are focusing on reasons you CAN’T accomplish something, you are focusing on the wrong thing.

*WORRYING WHAT OTHERS THINK. There are so many layers to this, but I have noticed that so many of us make choices based on the opinions of others.

One area I have seen a huge focus on this is related to parenting- and specifically to moms. I know some moms who are constantly sharing blog posts validating how they feel or what they do as a mom. Everyone is so torn up about stay at home moms vs. working moms, formula feeding vs. breastfeeding, schedule & sleep training vs. attachment parenting. And how hard and exhausting it is to be a mom. And while it is true that YES, this is one of the toughest yet most rewarding jobs we will ever have, and yes, we may not feel like we’re ever doing anything right, and yes, I’m wearing the same yoga pants for the 4th day in a row and haven’t had an adult conversation in a week, we are BLESSED. Know how many beautiful women I know who would give anything for an opportunity to be able to say those things? Really, if you feel you are doing the best for your child, you are in agreement with your spouse, you have prayed about it and feel peace about your choices, we shouldn’t need validation from others, and we don’t have to keep sharing blog posts about it. Worrying what others think is rooted in insecurity. I don’t mean this in any way to sound haughty, but I am honestly not overly concerned with what other people think about my parenting choices. I seek the Lord, study the Word, pray fervently, read a ton, & seek wisdom (asking questions and modeling) from other parents who have “fruit on the tree.”  Some people thought I had too rigorous of a schedule and was too intense about not needing a nap. Some thought I should have “baby-proofed” our house more. Some didn’t like the idea of Baby-Led Weaning. And that’s okay. The good news is, everyone is entitled to the opinion. The better news is, I can take those opinions (respectfully) with a grain of salt. We just need to chill out being so concerned what others think. (Yes, I’m going to need to reread this myself if my kids are ever having a tantrum in public.)

AdvoCare is another example. Some people thought we were crazy for putting “all of our eggs in our AdvoCare basket.” That I was crazy for walking away from a steady income and “good insurance.” If we had listened to the naysayers, we wouldn’t be a full-time family right now. I might would have missed some precious moments with my sweet Jase.

I’m not saying ignore everyone around you. However, there is a difference in considering the valued opinions of others and being overly concerned with what others think. My faith and my family are more important than anyone else’s thoughts or judgments. Galatians 1:10 says “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Check your focus. Whose opinion is most important to you? Who are you trying to please? (I’m still constantly working on this one, by the way, but I AM improving!)

If you are more focused on what others think rather than what the Lord thinks, you are focusing on the wrong thing.

********************************************************************

I know changing my focus and thinking in many areas has completely changed my perspective. Are there any other areas where you notice you struggle in focusing on the wrong things? It may be worth praying and asking the Lord to reveal areas where your heart and focus have been in the wrong place. It’s not an easy questions to ask (or an easy answer to hear), but it is worth it.

For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. -Hebrews 12:11

Monday, October 20, 2014

Freedom in Christ

My friend Carey is an AWESOME teacher, and Wednesday night at Bible study she shared something that was totally an “A-ha” moment for me. Of course I wanted to pass it along to all of you because it was too good to keep to myself. I know if you grab a hold of this truth, it can be as freeing for you as it was for me.

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We were talking about strongholds. Every Christian (well, every person really) has some struggle. Pride. Jealousy. Gluttony. Selfishness. Lack of self-control. Insecurity. Addiction. Lack of discipline when spending time with the Lord. Perfectionism. People pleasing. Materialism. Vanity. Lust. Lying. The list could go on.

Here’s the deal about STRONGHOLDS. We can spend YEARS praying, and God may or may not deliver us from that. He absolutely CAN do anything, but He has a grander plan that is all about HIS glory. For some, he might remove it quickly. For some, he might remove it after many years. For some, it may always be a struggle. That is not a reason to give up on praying, but it is a reminder to be patient and trust that the Lord has a greater plan than we could ever comprehend.

So HERE is the good news. We are not perfect, and God does not expect us to be. When the Fall of man occurred back in the garden, sin entered into our lives. With sin comes struggles, trials, weaknesses, and strongholds. I LOVE what 2 Corinthians 12:9 says about our weaknesses. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.

God’s power is made perfect in my weakness.

Whew….Take a minute to soak that in, friends!

Personally, I beat myself up when I feel like I fail God. I try SO HARD to get past my own issues on my own, and I fail miserably every time. I KNOW that it’s not something I can do on my own…it has to be something the Lord does IN me. So I pray, pray, & pray some more asking God for help with my struggle, but I still mess up. I get so discouraged when that happens!!  Anybody else??  I get so frustrated with myself, and even question God. “God, I asked for help. Why didn’t you take that from me? Why didn’t you help me with that?” (For those of you that don’t know, my struggle is pride. I’ve written several posts about it in the past and the Lord has taught me so much about pride.)

We tend to think of “success” in our Christian walk as not having any strongholds in our life. As never messing up. (That is something we made up in our own minds.) “Success” in our Christian walk isn’t about being perfect beings that don’t have struggles. Becoming a Christian and true “success” is about striving to become more Christ-like. About becoming more obedient. About asking for forgiveness quickly and having a truly repentant heart. About confessing our need for our Savior. About taking our every thought CAPTIVE to Him.

If we were able to do it on our own, we wouldn’t need a Savior. We can’t do it on our own, and thankfully, God doesn’t expect perfection anyway. He wants our hearts. He wants us to run after him with wild abandonment…NOW. Not once we have all our junk together. (Really, does that EVER happen anyway?) He wants us to bring our junk to Him so he can help us and draw us into an intimate relationship with Him. That dependence and close personal relationship…that’s what He’s after. God wants us to learn to take every thought captive, and improve in doing that in every area of our lives. He wants us to confess our need for him in our weakest areas and watch him do a work in our hearts. And then we shall give HIM the glory. THAT, my friends, is “success.” That is not a license to sin. But it is a license to stop feeling like a failure. Run hard after God, and give him your weaknesses. Stop holding on to them so tightly and trying on your own to ‘get it right.’ There is such FREEDOM in that, and goodness gracious, can I tell you how good it feels to REST in that truth?

**Thank you so much for sharing, Carey. I pray this was as impactful for you as it was for me. (She did a much more eloquent job sharing this than I did, but I hope you caught the idea.)

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

God is not the author of confusion

I think somebody needs to hear this message tonight. I pray it speaks to your heart…

"For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints." - 1 Cor 14:33

If you feel confusion in any area of your life, consider the source. The Bible clearly states that confusion is not from God, and if it's not from God, I know I don't want any part of it. Confusion is defined as “lack of understanding; uncertainty; the state of being bewildered or unclear in one's mind about something.” Go ahead and substitute that definition in the verse and it will read “For God is not the author of a lack of understanding; uncertainty; or the state of being bewildered or unclear in one's mind about something. WHEW!! Isn’t it refreshing to read that truth?

Confusion can come from the enemy in many forms, or even from our own flesh. That is why it is so important to stay grounded in God’s Word & in prayer and to GUARD our hearts & minds! When we are seeking the Lord, we will begin to quickly recognize any lies from the enemy, any false teachings that do not line up with the Word of God, and any other worldly messages trying to deter us. Having those truths impressed on our hearts is so important, and that’s why I love memorizing Scripture. Think  you don’t have a good memory? I bet you know the words to LOTS of songs! I for one can rap almost every word to Whoop There It Is, some Salt N Peppa songs I’m embarrassed to name, Ice Ice Baby, & The Fresh Prince theme song. (Okay, maybe nobody else was a 90’s kid white girl thug wanna-be like me? Ha!) Really though, my point is, we can absolutely memorize Scripture if we commit ourselves to it and study it enough.

Deuteronomy 11:18 tells us "So commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these words of mine. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders” and Psalm 119:11 encourages us to follow David’s lead as he said “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”

If you’re at a cross point in your life or are confused about a decision or direction, my best advice is to STOP. Wait for a clear answer from the Lord before making a move. It may not seem easier on the front end to patiently seek the Lord, but I can assure you it’s a whole lot easier than cleaning up the mess than can result from stepping out of God’s will and making hasty decisions with negative consequences. God will always respond when we wholeheartedly seek him. The problem is, many times when he does not respond in our timing or with the answer we want, we choose to either stop seeking or go our own direction.

James 1:5 tells us "If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you." This is the BEST place to go if you need clarity. Seek the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. Study the Word and PRAY. Or even better, pray God’s Word!!

I also wanted to share a resource I have found for Christians regarding apologetics.  I If you have questions about what you believe, other religions, false teachings, etc., I have found these teachings to be Biblically sound: www.carm.org Check it out if you get a chance.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Are you a SEEKER??

One message that is being drilled in me from many angles right now is to “be a seeker.” When I hear something once, I listen. If I hear it a few times, it catches my attention. When I hear something over and over from many people whom I greatly respect, you better believe I’m going to act on it.

Between our leaders in AdvoCare, to our Sunday school teachers, to reading it in The Best Yes: Making Wise Decisions in the Midst of Endless Demands, the concept of seeking wisdom is being brought to my attention over and over. Andy Andrews also shared it in The Traveler's Gift: Seven Decisions that Determine Personal Success. It’s the second of the seven decisions.

The Bible tells us in James 1:15 “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”

I think the first step here is realizing we don’t know as much as we think. That is called humility. There is ALWAYS room for growth, so the way I started was by identifying the areas that are most important in my life and some areas where I would like to grow. I know they are different for everyone, but here are some of the areas that are on my priority list:

  1. Faith (my personal walk with the Lord)
  2. Being a godly wife & mom
  3. Family & Friends (relationships with others)
  4. Fitness/Health/Wellness
  5. Finances

I decided to look for others who have fruits on the tree in these areas and start picking their brain and asking for resources that have helped them. I seek their mentorship through conversation, asking a lot of good questions, observing what I see them do & mimicking that, reading, and fervently PRAYING. I have my own personal mentors & some resources I love in each of these areas and it has made such a difference in my life. I am NOT the same person I was even 6 months ago, and I pray in 6 more months, I’ll be able to say the same thing. I do not want to become complacent, and the best way I know to strive to improve myself is through “being a seeker.”

There is no shortage of wisdom available to us, but many times we aren’t making the choice to seek it until it’s too late or some damage has been done. The best time to seek wisdom is NOW.

Wouldn’t you agree…

It’s much wiser to go to a marriage conference before there are issues than go to a marriage counselor after the issues arrive?

It’s much wiser to study the Word about what God expects from us ladies as a wife and mom rather than listening to the world & have a failing marriage or wayward children?

It’s much wiser to invest in your health now than pay through medicine, illness, or disease down the road?

It’s much wiser to spend time educating yourself on financial matters now than to look up years from now and not like where you are and wonder where your money went?

I’m not the smartest gal you’re going to meet, but I do believe in common sense. And to me, it’s just WAY more logical to focus more on preventative measures than solutions to problems that could have been prevented in the first place.

The problem is, we live in a society that would rather be entertained. People would rather watch t.v. shows or play games that add ZERO value to their life than spend time learning.

As The Best Yes says, “we’ve got to train our wisdom muscles to be strong and capable so when we need them most, we’ll know how to use wisdom” (p. 108).

We have to seek wisdom. Proverbs 2:1-11 says…

My son, if you receive my words
and treasure up my commandments with you,
2 making your ear attentive to wisdom
and inclining your heart to understanding;
3 yes, if you call out for insight
and raise your voice for understanding,
4 if you seek it like silver
and search for it as for hidden treasures,
5 then you will understand the fear of the Lord
and find the knowledge of God.
6 For the Lord gives wisdom;
from his mouth come knowledge and understanding;
7 he stores up sound wisdom for the upright;
he is a shield to those who walk in integrity,
8 guarding the paths of justice
and watching over the way of his saints.
9 Then you will understand righteousness and justice
and equity, every good path;
10 for wisdom will come into your heart,
and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul;
11 discretion will watch over you,
understanding will guard you.

If you think about your dream life…your dream job, family, ministry, health, relationships, etc., WHAT are you doing today to help you get closer to making those a reality? If nothing changes, nothing changes. If you don’t do anything differently than you’ve been doing, how can you expect to get different results? The only way for something to change is to change our actions. The only way to change our actions is to change our thinking. And the only way to change our thinking is to change what we are allowing into our mind. We have to actively seek wisdom and practice it.

Andy Stanley says this in  The Principle of the Path: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be :

“The direction you are currently traveling- relationally, financially, spiritually, and the list goes on- will determine where you end up in each of those respective arenas. That is true regardless of your goals, your dreams, your wishes, or your wants. The principle of the path trumps all of those things.

Your current direction will determine your destination. And like every principle, you can leverage this one to your advantage or ignore it to your disadvantage. Just as there are paths that have led us to places we never intended to be, there are paths that have lead us away from those places as well.”

Proverbs 27:12 tells us that “The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty.” Andy Stanley breaks that down so well.

“The implication here is that a prudent man or woman understands that all of life is connected. He is aware of the cause-and-effect relationship between what he chooses today and what he experiences tomorrow…Consequently, prudent people look as far down the road as possible when making decisions. Every decision. After all, they understand that today and tomorrow are connected. As the author of Proverbs states, they stand on the lookout for signs and trouble up ahead..They ask what I refer to as the best question ever: “In light of my past experience, and my future hopes and dreams, what’s the wise thing to do?” The prudent draw upon the wealth of data that life has already provided them and then take the appropriate action when they see danger ahead.”

I have found that the more I focus on growing and seeking wisdom, the more aware I become of my own weaknesses, and the more I thirst for knowledge and the Lord’s help to strengthen those areas. Memorizing Scripture has personally been another great tool for me in this area. I can’t think of anything more powerful than drawing on the truth of God’s Word to help me.

**Are you a seeker? What are you doing on a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly basis to seek wisdom? Where & from whom are you seeking wisdom??

Friday, October 10, 2014

Is that REALLY healthy?

I have several goals for my blog- to scrapbook for my kids, to minister and share the love of Christ, and to educate and add value wherever I can. I am not an expert, but I am a “seeker” and a “learner” and have spent years educating myself on many of these topics. I hope you learn something and I would love for you to pass a post along to any friends if you think they might find value in it too.

One of those topics I post about frequently is health & wellness. I am particularly passionate about nutrition.

I  know some people are intimidated by a healthy lifestyle, and that is natural because we often fear what we do not understand. But I also know that some people are just not educated when it comes to healthy eating, and if I can help in any way, I definitely want to do so.

According to the U.S. Department of Health, nearly 53% of Americans have a health literacy below basic. I’m on a mission to decrease that number, one family at a time. (I know, where is my cape, right?)

Really though, if you don’t know where to start,  click on the “clean eating” or “nutrition” labels in the label cloud or the “Health & Fitness Junkie” tab and spend some time browsing.  I have several older posts about clean eating & overall health that I think will be helpful. If nothing else, THIS is a great starting place, and here is a great grocery list.

Here are some of the reasons I am so passionate about health, wellness, disease prevention, and fitness.

  1. Our bodies are a temple. (1 Corinthian 6:19)
  2. I was adopted and don’t know all of my family medical history, so disease prevention is important to me.
  3. I have lost someone I love too soon as a result of lifestyle choices. 7 out of the top 10 killers are diseases that result from unhealthy lifestyle choices.
  4. We are called to serve, not be served. We are called to work hard as if working for the Lord. Poor health can limit those callings. (I’m not saying it always does, but it certainly can.)
  5. I know that I am a better wife, mom, daughter, friend, leader, etc. when I am taking care of myself. Performing to the best of my potential is important because I see it as being a good steward of the gifts I have been given.
  6. I view providing my family with healthy meals and making sure they get enough rest as part of my ministry in my home.

So here’s the deal…lifestyle related diseases are shortening life expectancy and decreasing the quality of life. Basically, in America, we are digging an early grave for ourselves and our children. (If you haven’t seen Fed Up, I highly recommend it.)

Here are some other statistics we need to know.

“Obesity, a common and costly health issue that increases risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer, affects more than one-third of adults and 17 percent of youth in the United States. By the numbers, 78 million adults and 12 million children are obese—figures many regard as an epidemic. Adults are considered obese when they are about 35 pounds overweight. In 2013, obesity rates among American adults remained high. No state has an obesity rate below 21 percent and rates have risen in six states. In two states obesity rates now exceed 35 percent for the first time and 20 states have obesity rates at or above 30 percent.” (http://www.ncsl.org/research/health/obesity-statistics-in-the-united-states.aspx)

Overweight and obese individuals are at increased risk for many diseases and health chronic conditions, including the following:
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Osteoarthritis (a degeneration of cartilage and its underlying bone within a joint)
  • Dyslipidemia (for example, high total cholesterol or high levels of triglycerides)
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Sleep apnea and respiratory problems
  • Some cancers (pancreas, kidney, prostate, endometrial, breast, and colon)

(Reference: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Surgeon General's call to action to prevent and decrease overweight and obesity. [Rockville, MD]: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Office of the Surgeon General, [2001]. Available from: US GPO, Washington.)

Another great starting point is quality supplementation. The Council for Responsible Nutrition encourages supplements to fill in the nutritional gaps of our diet. The four basic products for core nutrition they recommend in conjunction with healthy eating, adequate sleep, exercise, and less stress are:

  1. Multivitamins
  2. Calcium (which need to be taken with vitamin D and magnesium for best absorption)
  3. Omega 3- Fatty Acids
  4. Probiotics

CorePlex®OmegaPlex®Calcium PlusProBiotic Restore™ ULTRA

SO, now for the real point of this post. “Is that REALLY healthy?”

We are told so many lies in America, and a lack of knowledge about nutrition is leading us to consume lots of food we THINK are healthy, but in reality are anything but. I want to knock out a few myths about healthy eating & share some key thoughts. I know I have fallen into the trap of believing a few of these, so I hope sharing what I have learned will change your thinking & help you make better choices for your family.

  • We all have a diet. Some are better than others. “Going on a diet” does not work, so focus more on lifestyle adjustments (eating a healthy breakfast, proper portion sizes, minimal processed foods, drinking plenty of water, etc.) that can actually last a lifetime so you are not yo-yo dieting and destroying your metabolism. Consistency is key.
  • For the average person, fat-free, low-fat, and low-carb diets are not a good idea (unless you’ve been instructed by your doctor for a specific medical reason). We NEED healthy fats (think nuts, avocado, fatty fish, etc.) & complex carbs (sweet potatoes, oats, quinoa). The key is BALANCING those with our protein at each meal.
  • Lean protein and amino acids are extremely important because they are the building blocks of muscle. We WANT lean muscle because it keeps us strong (for every day activities) and helps burn more fat. If you are supplementing protein, know that all protein powders are not made the same. You want a high quality, pre-digested protein without all the fillers. (This is one instance where you often get what you pay for, but you also need to know what you’re looking for in a protein. There is a difference between protein to supplement in your diet and protein specifically for post-workout.)
  • Processed foods are garbage. If you can avoid the center aisles of the grocery store or anything in a box or plastic that is not made on its own in nature (like fruits & veggies, beans, meat, eggs), try to avoid them. A few examples of processed foods include chips, cookies, crackers, lunch meat, microwave meals, cereal, soda, fruit juice, canned soup, mac n cheese, Hamburger helper, pre-made frozen chicken nuggets, etc. If you want one of those items, it’s best to make it yourself. Otherwise, just say NO.
  • Just because something is diet, organic, all-natural, or Paleo, does NOT mean it is healthy. For example…you can get organic packaged bean & cheese burritos, or all natural cheese puffs, or Paleo brownies. Those are not good for you. While they may be a somewhat better option than the conventional items, they are still not the best choice. Those titles do NOT deem something as healthy, so be cautious.
  • Overall, we have no clue about portion sizes and are eating the wrong amounts. We should be eating small, balanced meals every 2 1/2 – 3 hours to keep our metabolism burning and our blood sugar stable. Most of us are either not eating enough (yes, that IS a thing!) or are eating way too much all at once. We eat a lot of food throughout the day to fuel our bodies properly, but that’s the key. There are some awesome portion size guides that are very helpful.
  • Alcohol has a TON of sugar. It should be avoided.
  • Even the ‘healthy’ options at most restaurants are not as healthy as making the same meal at home. (This is a tough one for us because our parents really enjoy eating out, so this is often how we spend time with them.)
  • Most condiments are packed with sugar and sodium. Mustard & salsa are a great option.
  • Eating healthy does not have to be boring or bland! We eat so many flavorful, robust meals that are absolutely DELICIOUS!! We mix it up all the time, add new spices, and try new recipes to keep it interesting.
  • Eat a BIG, hearty, balanced breakfast. Most people are starting their day on the wrong foot.
  • Tea & coffee do not count as consuming water. Drink more H20!
  • Sneak in health foods when you can. I love to add chia seeds (super food!), ground flax, apple cider vinegar, and Amazing Grass
  • We do not deprive ourselves & we do not obsess about how we eat. We enjoy cake at birthday parties & weddings, & we like fro yo as much as the next person. We just take Carb-Ease first and try to enjoy them in moderation.We make the best choices we can as often as possible.
  • Non-nutritive sweeteners get a bad-rap from the media (who know nothing about nutrition), but they are a better alternative than sugar. Sugar is extremely addictive, and the majority of Americans (myself included) are eating WAY TOO much sugar. Sugar leads to obesity, which leads to many of those diseases listed earlier, which can lead to death. Personally, I trust the doctors and medical professionals who HAVE done the research and have found sucralose to be the safest non-nutritive sweetener. Always consider your sources. Are you listening to someone telling you to avoid sucralose who eats fast food, processed food, & makes other unhealthy choices regarding nutrition?
  • Subway not not healthy. It may have better options than Burger King or McDonald’s, but it is still not healthy. Starbucks is not healthy either. Your best bet is to avoid them both, despite what pop culture & the media is trying to convince you.
  • Yes, it takes some time to learn this. And yes, it takes some time to meal prep. But, it DOES get easier, and the rewards are immense. It becomes habit & second nature, and you and your family are WORTH it!!

Hope that helped some.

What small step are you taking to start eating healthier?