Monday, August 5, 2013

Cinco de Agosto

We leave in one semana, (week) for Espana.  In addition to all the divertido (excitement) of planning this trip, I have shed some serious tears.  I'll get to that in a minute...

Jason and I enjoy traveling.  Mucho.  I'm pretty sure our experiences as a young married couple working with Teen Mania Ministries in the summers, taking hundreds of teenagers overseas on trips, equipped us with a sense of confidence and ease we would not have otherwise known when it comes to travel.  The President of TMM is Ron Luce.  He started TMM when he was a young guy with a passion for youth ministry and equipping young people to share God's love around the world through short term mission trips.  It's still going strong and has blossomed into so much more than only summer trips.  The thing is, it's always been run by youthful people, and for this particular ministry, at least in my own life, it was a very good thing because it helped me learn Trust at an early age.

You see, I hadn't ever been out of the country other than to a Mexican vacation town with my family where I would eat shrimp, play in the tide pools, drink a lot of Coke on ice, and buy cheap trinkets to "decorate" my adolescent room.  As the middle daughter of three girls, my dad was quite protective of us, even though I had wanted to go on mission trips here and there.

Then, 19 years ago, that is, one year after Jason and I were married, we celebrated our 1st of many anniversaries overseas...with lots of teenagers.  We were Team Leaders in Venezuela, and next to a week of intensive prayer and late hours of leadership training in the classroom, with further training on a ropes course, where I incidentally spent one hour, una hora, 60 minutes, on top of a "Pamper Pole", crying like a baby while everyone else went to lunch, it was this experience that was supposed to make me, a 22-year old newly married "grown-up" responsible enough to take 13-18 year old kids away from the comfy American lifestyle for one month.  I'm forever grateful for the real life, on the road, real-time, hands on training I received right in the thick of it.

It was there Jason and I found our traveling mojo.  With a new found affinity for world adventure, our love of ministry and sharing these experiences with others, Jason and I saw how once we leave the comfort and ease and familiarity of our day to day lives, even with a bit of apprehension, Big World warnings, and the fear of the unknown, there is this flow of trust which occurs with God, the Creator of this World, and between the two of us, to just take one step at a time, not get freaked out, get to know locals and ask questions, for directions and recommendations, and to just. have. fun.

And so, even though we've been married 20 years and have been parents for 11 years now, even leaving Em for Mexico several times, Japan, and weekends here and there, we've never written a Will.

*I'll pause while you gasp...

And we're back.

The process hasn't been difficult as far as "stuff" goes because having loved Noah and lost him, we're not big "stuff" people, but let's just say, my sinuses were stuffed for several nights, crying myself to sleep thinking of who we'd leave our KIDS with and pleading with God to follow through and bless me with this promise He gave me a few years ago, trusting Him with the number of ALL OF OUR DAYS, and just NOT LIVING IN FEAR since anything could happen anywhere, any day of the week.

What does this have to do with "Operation Get Sexy for Spain?", you might ask.

Well, it helps me keep the fact I've even been married for 20 years to my very best friend, in perspective.  It reminds me God is BIG and He loves me and loves everyone else and has a plan and sees a bigger picture, one we aren't able to see, but it's good and I can trust Him.  I can trust Him with my heart, my fears, my STRESS and how I manage it, and allow my heart to be filled by Him in ALL things rather than quick fixes which will never satisfy, like salty or sugary carbs that don't actually FUEL my body.

Does God care how I look in a sundress in Spain?  No.  I highly doubt it.  However, He cares about me, and you, because He hand-crafted us and knows us by heart, and He promises...He promises.

And you thought the two weren't related ;)

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Short Challenge Info

Here's the deal...this isn't about weight loss.  It's not a diet.  I don't even advocate you hop on a scale or take measurements.

I'm not intending to lose any weight, actually, just so that is clear.

I feel good and want to remain feeling good.  

It's just when I get stressed, historically I will eat...and preparing for trips, even though they are fun and exciting and once in a lifetime opportunities, stress me out.  I don't love packing...

I don't know about you, but I will eat in an attempt to stop the stress but the stress only heightens because the focus of the stressful situation then shifts to wishing I hadn't eaten such and such and so goes the cycle.

Just to clarify, the challenge from last night is how I usually live and eat, when things are smooth and life is coasting along...although life doesn't just coast along and things get wonky and the flow hits a dam or cascading waterfall or tons of rocks that slow or heighten the flow and then I have to decide what I'm going to do...which is what I'm working out in the day to day and through counseling.

...am I going to turn to food or to God?  What or Who will I let FILL me?

My plea is to have a group who will rally so I can stay strong and not freak out and say, "Screw it all, oh well, just pass the carbs and chocolate!" over the next week and a half.  Because this is a #firstworldproblem and God is the Only One Who can deeply, truly, ultimately satisfy us at the core.

And so you know, I am going to enjoy myself in Spain, but for me that doesn't mean I'm going to go hog wild, because I don't want to feel miserable there, either...

Someone I love dearly, when I posted this on Facebook, said this, "You will look AMAZING in a bikini in Spain.  Don't do it!!!!  Who you are is beautiful, that is what makes the biggest impression!"  I want to be clear, because here was my response, "I feel beautiful and already look good in my bathing suit, I just want to stay strong and not stress eat or slack on my day to day normal health routine while preparing, if that makes sense?  Not doing something "new" or even a diet!  I promise!  It's just staying on track.  Thanks for the loving!"

In a new favorite book I am reading by Bob Goff called, "Love Does," he says, "God is the master artist and made an original version of us, a priceless (piece) that cost everything to create.  A version that can't and won't be created again."

My heart for this challenge is to continue to stay strong, to love myself, in the day to day, not with food rewards but in time with The One Who loves me and made me, treating this gift, this original version of me, a body He intricately designed, with grace, taking care of it, filling it with good, life-giving things He made, along with ample rest, and strength.

For some, this may be a radical change, for me, it's remaining faithful, keeping my eyes on Him, not even focusing on what I can and can't eat, but allowing my eyes to be on Him as I balance in the here and now.


Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Short Challenge

So, we leave for our 20th wedding anniversary trip to Spain in 11 days.

Once dias.  (pronounced, "Own say" and "dee oz")

Uno, dos, tres, quatro, cinco, seis, siete, ocho, nueve, diez, once...

20 years ago on my honeymoon I was so friggin' insecure about my body I was self-conscious in my bathing suit...and not in my bathing suit, but that other "suit" that starts with a "b."  Now, 20 years later, I love me.  It's been a journey, for sure, but I'm so much more comfortable in my own skin and confident in the woman God created me to be.  All that being said, I still want to be one sassy hot woman for my man in Espana...and for me!

Soooo, I selfishly want a support group, and would be MORE THAN EXCITED to also cheer you on.

It's simple.  Nothing extreme or long, and yes, we are approaching a weekend and have one more before we leave the morning of the 12th, but this is what I'm thinking:


  • Starting August 1st, Move every. single. day.  Doesn't have to be long, just walk, bike, swim, Zumba, run, whatever, just move our bodies.
  • Drink only water.
  • Eat boat loads of COLORFUL veggies and lean proteins and good fats 90% of the time.
  • Eat one to two pieces (servings) of fruit before 2pm.
  • Lift heavy things or do resistance training 3-4x in those 11 days.  I'll be doing weights and squats and lunges, push-ups and pull-ups...
  • Do Yoga or some really great stretching at least 2-3x in those 11 days...I have the P90X Yoga and a Rodney Yee one hour video...
  • Journal how we feel, leave comments here (I'll post on weekdays for accountability's sake), ask questions, cheer one another on...or we can make a Facebook page, instead, let me know, too, called "Operation Hot Naked" I mean, "Operation Hot Spain"...even if you aren't going to Spain with me and Jason, and all...Or it could be called, "Clean Streak" or something catchier...thoughts?  It's only 11 days...
What does the 90% mean?  That means, 6 out of 7 days, love our bodies in a way that our food choices have to do with giving our bodies a source of energy and strength rather than "rewarding it" or "comforting it" with food that has multiple ingredients or comes from a box or bag...and on the one day of the 7, eat one or two meals where we just don't worry about it.  We can feast, but listen to our bodies and see how we feel after a whole week of eating well.  

So, I'm NOT a mathematician, but basically in the next 11 days, 3-4 of our meals would be "free" and this usually works best for me, at least, on weekends, and includes a little wine and chocolate, obviously.  

*I was already doing this challenge with my sweet friend who is going on her anniversary trip to Alaska at the end of August, but with it right around the corner, I'm all about team and cheering one another on...and selfishly leaning on YOU so I can stay strong!!!  

Anybody?  It's short!  It's doable.  AND IT WON'T HURT YOU!

Wanna????

Monday, July 1, 2013

On the Road to Freedom

Today I did a CUH-razy thing.

I played at a splash park with my kids.  In my bathing suitWithout a cover-up

In public.

Even crazier than that, I ran full speed through the grass in my bathing suit, chasing my screaming/laughing toddler as he fled my water gun assault, all the while yelling, "More, Mommy, more!"

In the far distance is Em in her striped bathing suit, I'm the only mom in the fountain with the aqua suit, Anthony is almost engulfed in a geyser, and Ry is positioned to shoot Miss Gina, who did not ask his mommy for permission to take pictures ;)

Sunny day collage with Gina and Anthony.

And the craziest of the craziest part of it all:  I felt free!  I didn't care.  My thighs were flapping in the sun, but it was warm.  Emily was chasing me as I chased Ryan and we were all laughing and playing and having what a majority of people would call fun.

And it was good.

I did experience a total sinus flush when Em and I ran through the fountains, but even then I didn't care.  Instead of quitting, I stepped aside, got my bearings, did a fantastic farmer blow, and went back through the fountain.  With my daughter.  Because she wanted to play with her mom...and I wasn't being a lame-o, as I've been so many times in the past, sitting there, caring that my thighs don't look Photo shopped in real life.

I played with my kids.  I mean, I play with my kids every day.  But this time, I played with them in a bathing suit.

*If you even know what the heck I'm talking about*, then you know this was a step in the right direction on the road to freedom. 

I hope you'll join me on this freedom road.  There is laughter and weightlessness here.  It's called living.  Profound.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

McBigFatProblem

I have a confession.

In the summer of 1988, my parents made me get a summer job.  Apparently going to swim team in the morning for an hour and a half, then coming home to lay out in the pool for 6 more hours with a pitcher of sun tea and jug of baby oil, working on my tan lines, wasn't a real job.

Who knew?

I kid, but seriously.

I worked at McDonald's.

(*Pause.)

I will wait as you catch your breath, come to, reorient, whatever you need to do to continue reading here.

I will write that again in order for it to soak in...I worked at McDonald's.

#instagram #confession #notlovinit


We all have those jobs from adolescence we look back and are able to laugh at...and there really is so much to laugh at regarding this whole scenario.  Oh, the irony!  Hindsight brings such clarity, as well as research, educational films, websites, and nutritional books, but the information I've gleaned from this clarity isn't funny at all.  The black leather Keds to go with my black polyester pants, Golden Arches on the rear pocket...that's funny.  After only one summer of working there in my whole life, the fact that I can still say, "Hi!  Welcome to McDonald's.  My name is Adrienne.  May I take your order?"  Disturbing, yet funny. 

Over the years learning about health and nutrition, eating as close to the way God created food in the first place, then feeling the effects of it in my body, as well as my brain and energy, do make me look back and laugh at this picture, but cringe I had anything to do with Big Brother and our rampant health crisis in America to any degree.

The idea I actually thought eating there on my breaks was still a good idea even after orientation and training, well, hindsight reveals this not funny at all!  More of a brainwash session, really.

The owners were very honest, hard-working people who owned several franchises.  Physically, they didn't look as if they ate at Mickey D's regularly.  Our particular location was clean and well managed.  All that to say, truth be told, the last time I ate there was while I was pregnant with Emily, first trimester.  I wanted what the "SuperSize" guy craved:  I wanted fat and grease.  I drove through the Drive-Thru and had a cheeseburger, hold the mustard, not because I don't like mustard, I actually love it and craved it while pregnant with Ryan, but because I knew they had to make me a fresh burger if I put in a "special order."  If you are into math, Em's entering 6th grade, so that's how long it's been...

What's the point of this post, besides making fun of my high school summer job?  Well, let's just say, even as a high school kid, I knew deep down inside that smelling like a french fry every day for an entire summer, and eating a cheeseburger without mustard each day on my break, could not be good for me.  Just like out of a commercial, the next summer and summer after, I worked next door at Subway.

Which is a totally different story altogether and a load of laughs for another post, but back to the point of this one...

God created our bodies to understand the foods HE created.  And if God did make burgers, do you think He'd put up to 100 cows into one?  And did you know He created them to eat grass?  The stomachs of cows were designed to eat grass, not corn.  But setting meat aside altogether since that's a hot topic, we wonder why we are sick and diseased, achy and growing old at an alarming rate, earlier than in history...maybe "alive" longer, but not really LIVING.

*Just something to think on:  If God designed our DNA to understand the DNA in foods He designed, wouldn't it make sense that we feel better when we eat a majority of foods in the "whole food" category?

I ask this, not because I am perfect and don't ever eat GMO foods or foods in aisles in boxes with words I'm unable to pronounce since I failed chemistry, but I ask this of myself, and challenge myself, to choose the foods which are closer to the way God designed them in the first place, because, maybe, just maybe, my body will flourish and feel strong as a result.

Do I do this 100% of every day?  Nope.  As a rule of thumb, I eat "clean" 85-90% of the time, then depending on the events of the week or upcoming holidays, I'll let loose a bit.  You can bet chocolate in some form is on the agenda.  I usually can feel the effects pretty quickly, but once I get back on my "clean" wagon routine, I'm feeling good again.

If you are achy, dealing with bloating, gassy, arthritic, tired, cranky, short-tempered, experiencing memory loss, sleep deprivation, intense cravings, and whatever other things you may just think "go along with aging," I dare you, even if you don't eat at McDon*alds, the next time you go to the grocery store or to a restaurant or search the web for a new recipe to serve yourself or your family, ask yourself the question above, marked with an asterisk, in bold and italics.

And then listen to your body and see how you feel.

If we don't believe our digestive systems have anything to do with our current state of health, we're just drinking the Kool-Aid.

Friday, June 7, 2013

10 Things I Hate About Me

This post was intended for this blog, but let's be honest, it's not something I can "compartmentalize."

Have a good weekend!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

A 21 Salute to Kale Chips

I love kale.  I eat it twice a week...at least.

Until 3 years ago, however, I hadn't even heard of the glorious green leafy vegetable that is really good for my blood type, I'm an "O", and my taste buds.

At first I only tried kale tossed with olive oil and sea salt, then baked at 325 degrees for 15 minutes, producing one amazing snack.  Then I branched out and put it into homemade soup recipes with butternut squash, tons of veggies,  and Italian spices.

One day my toddler was helping me in the kitchen and wanted a kale chip before it went into the oven.  I put a couple of pieces of kale tossed with olive oil and salt on his plate and that little stinker kept running up to the pan to steal more pieces before I could even cook them.  Thus, he introduced our love of raw kale in the house.  Since then I've been eating kale as my salad base with whatever salad dressing I decide to concoct that day.

And then I discovered a rare delicacy...and when you think delicacy, yes, it's expensive and NOT part of my weekly budget.

Commercial kale chips.  

For 2 ounces, my local grocer sells a national brand for $5.55.  You can buy them on-line for even more.  Sheesh!  With just two servings per bag, however, the few times I have bought them, they are broken, so it's a bag full of really expensive fantastic tasting crumbs.  An indulgence only once in a great while, to say the least.

Last month I was in NYC and found a Whole Foods across from my friend's place.  I would be TOAST if I lived one block from Whole Foods...but since I don't, and I was on vacation, I headed over and just strolled down the aisles.  It's what closet eaters do when they've outed themselves...Anyway, they carried a local farmer's brand of kale chips that were reasonably priced, just so you know.  But I sucked it up and headed over to the fresh produce to buy kale and make my own because my friend had never tasted them.  And it's a good thing I did.  A woman was standing in front of the kale, just staring, picking it up, putting it down, picking it up, putting it down.  Finally, after about a minute she asked me if I knew how to make kale chips.  It was as if she saw my kale wings and my green halo.  She was so excited and headed home to make her first batch of olive oil and salt chips.

Anyway, before I get too distracted, I wanted to share a recipe I've been experimenting with over the last several months that is budget friendly and, at least according to my taste buds and those of my toddler critic, tastes so great you may not get very many like happened earlier today when Ryan pulled the kale chips his way on the table and said the rest were for him...this is a vegan recipe, however the sunflower seeds when pureed lend a cheesy texture to the finished product. 

What you need:
*Sunflower seeds not pictured, but that's because they are in the Baby Bullet container, underneath the carrots already :)
 Preheat oven to 300 degrees, and if you have convection, use it for these...it helps circulate the air...
  • Kale, 4 to 5 large leaves, large center vein removed, torn into small pieces, cleaned and dried (salad spinners work awesome for this!)
  • 2 Tbsp organic olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp organic lemon juice
  • 2 tsp organic apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp roasted tahini
  • 2 Tbsp sunflower seeds (I used what I had on hand...roasted/salted.  You can use raw, if you'd like.)
  • 2 Tbsp raw cashews
  • 1/2 tsp Trader Joe's 21 Seasoning Salute
  • 3-4 inches organic carrot, diced
  • 3-4 inches organic celery, diced
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt

I don't puree food for Ryan anymore, but that doesn't mean I can't use my Baby Bullet for other things like kale chip sauce, or frozen margaritas, or iced coffees...
 Place all ingredients, EXCEPT the kale, in a Magic Bullet, food processor, or Baby Bullet (like I use), and puree until you have a paste that looks like this:

Then toss the sauce, or paste, into a bowl with the kale leaves and stir until coated, like this:
Make sure to stir thoroughly as the paste will clump up and hide on only a few leaves.  Kale is hardy while raw, so stir, stir, stir.
If you don't live near a Trader Joe's, don't freak.  I'm not going to lie, it may not taste as yummy, but just try to find a seasoning mix without fillers, but with lots of great herbs and dried veggies in it.

Preheat oven, line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and spread coated kale pieces out so they have a bit of personal space.
 Bake at 300 degrees for 20 minutes.  If you peek in and see that some of the pieces near the edge of the pan are more brown than those in the center, rotate some of the middle pieces out to the edges, snack on a perfectly cooked one from the outer edge, and put them back in for a few more minutes.

They will shrink a bit as they bake.  They should look like this:
The pureed sunflower seeds add a cheesy texture.  Vegan cheese, if you will...

Find a hot guy, or any old toddler,  to share these with because kale chips are always better when shared.

*If you make these at home some time, head back here and let me, and Ryan, know if you liked them or not...thanks!  Enjoy!  And may you soon become a lover of all things kale, too!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Leftovers

I have a journal where I will write both my own thoughts, God's thoughts (those smarter than me that pop into my head), and Scripture.  I love writing scripture with a pen and paper because first I read it, then I read it out loud, then I write as much as I can remember without looking, and then I fill in the rest by referring back to the open page.

And even with that much repetition, I need to go back to it, fresh each day.

When the Israelites had been freed from captivity in Egypt, following their leader Moses out into the desert, not really knowing the land they'd finally settle in, it didn't take much time for them to wonder where on earth they would find food and water.

Moses sought God's face for himself and the people he loved.

God provided quail and manna each day...but He warned the people not to store up the food for the following day because He would provide fresh, new food each dawn.

We all know if we leave a Twinkie (RIP), okay not a Twinkie but some other chemically laden "food" chock-full of preservatives on the counter for a year, it'll still be pretty much the same Ding-Dong it was at the beginning.  However, if we leave a piece of lasagna or peeled banana or fresh zucchini on the counter for too long, crust, slime, and bacteria will begin to form, and we'll be the first ones to chuck it into the trash. 

Picture courtesy: laborpains.org


We know when food is old.  AND, if our heads aren't smart enough to know it, our stomachs or bowels will tell us later...We know this because God designed our bodies with
DNA to recognize REAL, life-giving food.

For years, and I admit and confess and am stating it isn't healthy, I have eaten a daily diet of old food.  Don't get me wrong, none of God's word is old or stinky or rotten.  However, as has been my practice as a strong, independent, prideful woman who is capable of much, I've tried to sustain myself on "leftovers" many times rather than heading DAILY to God in my deserts and getting new manna each morning.

I think, "Oh, I know that Scripture...I even wrote it down, so it's in me.  I've known it since I was a teenager...what is it again?

On this journey of freedom from food addiction, God's word has become my number one source of energy and nutrition.  The more I feast on it, the more I want fresh food and a fresh word...

And so here is something I wrote in my journal on January 17th of this year, but went back and read today, a fresh meal to feast on for a new day:

"Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.  I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands.  My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you.  God - you're my God!  I can't get enough of you!  I've worked up such hunger and thirst for God, traveling across dry and weary deserts.  So here I am in the place of worship, eyes open, drinking in your strength and glory.  In your generous love I am really living at last!"  - From Psalm 63:3-5, The Message

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

CHOSEN

I was recently praying with a friend about my issues with food addiction and self-loathing.  I've known for a while that these were simply symptoms of deeper stuff.  Anyway, as my friend was praying for me, encouraging me to repeat what she was saying/praying, she said, "I nail food addiction to the Cross." 

This was easy for me to say...just check it off the list, yep, I can say that mentality.

"I nail food addiction to the Cross," I said...

Then, after a time of just sitting quietly before the Lord, she said, "I nail PERFECTION to the Cross."

Okay, so, those younger than me won’t know what the heck I’m talking about, but maybe 38 and older, do you remember "Happy Days" with the *Fonz?  Do you remember how he couldn't say "I was wrong"???   He would go, “I was wuu-uh-uh…I was wuu-uh-uh”  Well, it was like a long, drawn out 2 freaking minutes and me bawling on my knees for me to get the word "perfection" out of my mouth.

Sheesh.

Photo source unknown otherwise I would give credit to where credit is due...


Food addiction, self-loathing, discouragement, unrealistic goal-setting, never thinking I'm "good enough": all just symptoms of the underlying disease of PERFECTION.

Part of the prayer then was asking the Lord to specifically tell me what He wanted to give to me as a promise or word to replace "perfection."  Before I could even pray and ask Him, He put the word "chosen" on my heart.   It was so clear and eloquent in my head, it was awesome.   I've always said if a smarter thought comes to my mind than I could think of, it's God talking...and I should listen.

Imagine:  He chose me.  He chose you.   He designed us and hand-picked us, from the Beginning, just because He wanted to.  Not to be perfect.

Nope.  I’m no Mary Poppins.

He chose me simply to call me daughter.  Simply to express His love.  Me, chosen as an expression of His creativity.  You, the same!

I'm not going to lie.  Fighting perfectionism has been a weary battle.  Looking back over the years, the lines blur from when I just wanted to feel pretty to wanting to lose weight to desiring to be healthy to knowing too much about disease to wanting to eat clean.

Some days I feel free, others I'm so lost in the pursuit, I can't see the forest for the trees.

What I do know is God hasn't called me to be perfect.  I know this because I've quit reading books and blogs and websites about "clean eating" and started consuming Food that satisfies my cravings.  I literally sit down to my dining room table at the start of each day and symbolically feast on His Word.  This hasn't halted my first world problem of addiction, but it has put it into perspective and lessened its hold on me.

God is perfect, without flaw, not lacking in anything.  He's good at what He does.  He's good at Who He is.

So far I've sucked at perfection.  In fact, He is able to be seen more clearly in my life when I don't have my act together, or for sure, when I don't pretend to.  Because who am I kidding?  When I'm out of the way, you can actually see Him.

So, yeah, there's my dirty laundry.  My shameless pursuit.  Where the idea that I could be perfect in anything ever came from, well, if I travel back to a certain Garden, a seed may have been planted long ago.  I'm just thankful for this nauseating exposure while I'm still young.

I have the rest of my life to live imperfectly...


*Anyway, for your viewing pleasure and a bit of nostalgia, I present to you, Arthur Fonzarelli, aka, The Fonz...and Ralph Malph.  #happydays

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

It's in the Lyrics

I put out an APB for good, inspirational, intense songs to put on a running play list.  Friends came through for me and you should see me go.

In December I bought myself a really nice treadmill.  I am that person, or small percent of the population, who does actually enjoy using a treadmill as a tool of exercise rather than a clothes drying rack.  I think my bent towards "responsibility" on personality tests prevents me from allowing something that expensive to sit and gather dust.

And, if you know me, I hate running, but I really don't mind it on a treadmill.  It's kind of thrilling to keep hitting the speed button to see just how fast I can run.  I've always said, "Why run?  I'm not being chased."  But, I guess in case one day I am being chased, I should be in shape enough to get away!

I don't run far, and I'm not consistent.  But I do about 6mph for a mile or two and then walk for a bit.   Or if I have tons of energy and the music is just right, I'll do one minute sprints at 7 to 8mph with one minute in between at 3 mph where I try to re-enact this...



Don't even tell me you've never tried it!

These days I do whatever it takes to keep up my motivation.  I wear a t-shirt from my friend's company that says, "One Tough Mother."  And, even though it's not bright in my basement, I'll wear my "One Tough Mother" visor just for attitude.  And Nia Shanks keeps my eyes on the prize, too.  You do what you gotta do.

The music, though...oh, the music!  Seriously!  If you are in a rut of any sort, whether it's in the realm of exercise, motivation for school or a job or relationship, a dry spiritual rut where God seems distant, or you've just had it up to here with laundry and dishes or the day to day, music can be so pivotal, in either direction.  Choose it wisely!

It blows my mind to hear lyrics written by someone who doesn't know me from Adam, yet every word seems to be stolen from my very own heart.

This morning instead of sitting and "doing" my Bible study time, I sat and listened to several songs where the artists were singing about God.  Many songs are about our relationship with God and what He does for us or how we love Him, but most days I need to hear and dwell on songs that just focus on Him, His awesomeness, and how big He is.  #intentional #perspective

There are two points to this post.  Anything else you take away is a bonus, I guess...

ONE:  Get active.  Do something.  No matter how small, don't compare it to what someone else is doing, just begin by moving your body, whichever parts you are able to move, get them going.  Just move it, move it.  Have fun and don't take yourself too seriously!  The point of exercising is overall health and loving yourself, it's not about looking like a magazine model.

TWO:  Choose music wisely.  Associate good music with positive growth, in health, your walk with the Lord, and in other healthy relationships.  Throw your arms wide and sing at the top of your lungs that you are a "Firework" or do funky hand movements to Foster the People (*suggestions...it's not like I'VE done this, of course) wink wink.  If you are in a funk with God or need a personal revival, here's a song I put on replay about 76 times, for reals, until the words sunk into my heart and pointed my eyes in the right direction.  Music is a powerful motivator.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Fast Break

"Fast Break" is a term I remember from High School basketball.  I haven't played in a while but it seemed to imply speed and a total change of scenery.  If memory serves me right, when one of us would get a rebound at the opponent's basket, our job was to immediately turn around with the ball in hand and look up court for a team member to throw it to, then run like heck down to post position and set up under our own basket to either box out another girl or get in position to receive the ball once again for a lay up or other quick shot.

Hey, that was kind of fun to remember basketball...I should go play.  Any locals up for some hoops? 


Anyway, this post isn't about basketball.  Or anything athletic, either.

It's about a victory of sorts, in a weird and skewed way.

In the past when I have been "eating clean" or "fasting" or even on a diet (I don't do this anymore, but that word is common enough for comprehension), if I stumble or cheat or get de-railed, it usually lingers for days, if not weeks.  It's not just a moment of, "Oh, I'll just eat these chips and salsa and get back on the train," rather it's, "You suck!  You ate chips and salsa and can't do anything right...might as well eat 6 cookies while you are at it and whateverelseyoufeellikeeating..."  And then I feel so crummy the next morning that I just eat crap for breakfast, lunch, and dinner the next day...and the next...and the next...until something gets me back on track.  The days adding up continue to discourage my outlook and in-look, and it's more of a downward spiral instead of just an isolated event of eating the chips and salsa or whatever the culprit and then being done with it.

Messed up, huh?

So, anyway, on January 3rd I started fasting and detoxing and not only did my face show it, but I felt good and had a lot of energy.  In December I had started a weight lifting program, like for actual muscle-building, so I knew I would need some lean protein sources and, personally, could not do just veggies.  However, my mind works like a machine when things are CLEARLY mapped out and even written down.

This wasn't my case as I slowly added in fish here and there, but not in any consistent way, then chicken and when I didn't have that I would grab a handful of nuts (more about that here) and elk and bison and then soy yogurt and protein powder until things just weren't clearly mapped out anymore and it was a looser operation than when I had begun.

So, anyway, whatever.

Last Friday night Jason and I went out to start planning our 20th wedding anniversary trip and I ate salmon, grilled veggies, and 1/2 cup of black beans.  I did not eat one single corn chip.  I ate slowly and felt really proud of myself, to be honest.  The next morning we finally took down Christmas.  You are jealous because you took yours down the day after and have been freezing this month with nothing pretty to look at.  It was 60 degrees outside and I didn't leave the house at all. Ryan's found his nostrils in the last two weeks and discovered how perfectly his fingers fit in each hole.  Why couldn't nostril holes be more akin to ear canals where fingers DON'T fit?  Anyway, he's been speaking whine as a form of communication recently, as well.  His stint of poopying and peepeeing in the potty like a big boy was apparently just a 2 week phase that is now over, as well.  And, I hadn't been out of the house for almost 5 days at that point...

...which leads me to packing in a lot of "good" things over the weekend, but maybe too much?  I felt like I could just enjoy a glass of wine on Saturday with dinner, but my internal stress was building from being a hermit and only having toddler interaction, apparently, and I had a second...and then, I wasn't even craving it, but had 4 bites of some sort of chocolately, creamy, eggy, pie dessert...and then I went for a shot of Bailey's and a shot of Kahlua in full fat coconut milk.

It tasted good though my face wasn't a fan...

Not sure which day...like the swollen eye?  Too much salt on those nuts???   Clearly.

I'm getting bored looking at my mug.

And welcome to Sunday morning...the crazy hair is a result of night sweats.  I get them when I'm not a clean eater.  Just another fancy symptom you thought was just "normal"?  Not so...I only have night sweats when I eat poorly.


This is where the "Fast Break" comes into play.  I broke my fast, if you could have even called it that by then.  Basically at that point I was only avoiding grains, dairy, eggs, and sugar.  And, unlike the term used in basketball, the break wasn't super fast, if you will.

But, this is the victory part, kinda, sorta...

So I broke my "fast."  On Saturday I ate culprits and foods that were not so great for me.  But I was groggy the next morning and it did trigger some inflammatory responses in my body...notsogood.  On Sunday, I didn't eat those anymore.  And I didn't tell myself how much I sucked.

Getting back on the train, or in basketball lingo, grabbing the rebound, turning to find a teammate, and heading in the other direction to reach my own goal, that is a "Fast Break."  I feel like even though I drank and ate out of stress on Saturday, breaking my fast, the fact that I utilized tools from Celebrate Recovery and "Made to Crave" and "Stop Eating Your Heart Out" has given me training and practice to know what to do when I'm at the opponent's basket, but now the ball is in my hands or "court."

Back in High School, on the court, if I had grabbed the rebound at the opponent's basket and just stood there, pissed at myself and my team that we were EVEN spending time under their basket AT ALL, moping, griping, chewing out my teammates and being mad at myself they had even had the opportunity to take a shot, let's just say my butt would have been on the bench the rest of the game AND the next day in practice our coach would have had us doing lunges cross court, 5 minute wall sits, and running suicides until we were barfing up our lunches.

Same with life.  I actually like lunges now and do an occasional wall sit, but I'm not a fan of barfing and running suicides are for high school basketball players, not me.  However, I'm grateful for this personal victory of sorts of running a "Fast Break" from my fast break, not allowing myself to get hung up on the temporary turn-over.

*How about you?  What are some tools you use to break free from temporary set-backs?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

An Interview with Grace

I decided I'd like to hear the journeys of other people as it pertains to food, health, and wellness.

The truth is, we not only have different tastes, but each of us has our own reasons and inspirations for why we choose to make healthy lifestyle changes.

Weight loss aside, I put out a call on Facebook for anyone interested in sharing their current food story via a few interview questions.  I wanted to know if there were people "out there" who had recently made a dietary, lifestyle, or nutritional change, what their findings were, and if they would care to share with others.

You see, I may be passionate about eating clean because of the research I've done both on paper and through self-experimentation, but the truth is, I'm just passionate about ANY healthy change a person may make and the benefits they'll reap as a result.

Slicing for sushi rolls...eating clean can be fun and cheap at home...

Ryan and Em love sauteed broccoli with garlic and salt, plain or on top of a salad.

Yumminess from my garden last year.

A lady in my neighborhood cut out pop, for a month now, and has lost two pant sizes.  She now sips coconut water from a straw and enjoys it as her splurge during the day.  One.  Little.  Change.  But the benefits:  RICH!  Believe me, her blood is thanking her, not just her waistline!

So, here's an interview with my friend, Grace.  I met Grace Spirk Wilcox under shitty circumstances.  We met in a bereaved parents grief group through Children's Hospital.  NOT superfuntimes, but I'm so grateful to have met her and her husband, and to have learned the story of their sweet Sophia, January 6, 2006 - April 27, 2007.  She and her husband are loving, inspiring parents, and here as she shares part of her journey, I believe you will find she is also an inspiration to anyone interested in how food has changed her life in just a short amount of time.



  • ·       What is your earliest memory of eating?  Do you associate any kind of feelings with food?

Interesting question on the earliest memories of food. I can't think of any...I always remember being chubby...in fact in my baby book one of my aunts says I was the fattest baby she had ever seen.  We always had meals together as a family and I don't ever remember there being chips, cookies, soda in our house on a regular basis. Because my mom worked and it was the 1970s, we ate a lot of boxed, processed, packaged stuff (chunk a la king chop suey in a can, anyone?)

  • ·       Do you sit down when you eat?  Are you a fast or slow eater?

I do usually sit when I eat...we all eat together as a family at least dinner and most meals on the weekend, breakfast is usually grab and go for me.  I am a very fast eater and don't chew very well unless I stop and think about it.

  • ·       Why have you chosen to change your way of eating, if even temporarily?

I was diagnosed with RA when pregnant with my daughter Sophia...my blood has never tested positive for RA and I don't have any joint damage, I've always been convinced it is something else.  But the RA meds work and the docs are never willing to explore any further.  For the past year I have been giving myself a shot of Enbrel once per week and felt great, then in November it just quit working and I got a flare that got worse every day. I didn't go to the rheumatologist because I knew there was nothing he could do but give me some Prednisone, which I never want to take again, one night when I was so miserable I couldn't sleep it occurred to me...no one was going to help me so if I didn't want to be miserable I had better try to take control.  I had been to homeopathic practitioners before, and some how I didn't find them better than the regular docs, they could help but I'd have to buy hundreds of dollars of supplements they sold....so I scoured the Internet. And finally found a page of a guy describing how his doc was helping all sorts of people with chronic disease just through diet.  He wasn't selling anything...he had a book, and published online.....FOR FREE!  His recommendation was to go back to these 7 basic foods for a week, eat nothing else and then add back foods one at a time...I did it and within a week I felt better than I have in years.

  • ·       What things do you have in place for encouragement, motivation, or accountability?  (ie, friends, journaling, support group, etc…)

My husband and kids are incredibly supportive and I talk to my Mom (who is a holistic nurse practitioner with a wellness business in Kentucky). I am also journaling as well.

  • ·       What is one significant dietary change you have made and what is one specific, measurable benefit you could share with those reading?

The significant dietary change I have made is I am eating very few foods and only whole foods.  I have yet to add back dairy, wheat or sugar.  My RA symptoms are gone and I did not take Enbrel this week for the first time. I've also lost about 12 lbs so far and have an amazing amount of energy.

  • ·       What have you learned about yourself, your relationships, or God, during this time of eating differently, and/or fasting? What have you learned about food?


I have learned that my cravings weren't just a lack of will power but rather signs of an addiction that our body creates that counter intuitively keeps us eating the things that harms us the most.  I have also learned to trust myself.

  • ·       Are there any permanent changes you would like to make to your health routine as a result of your findings?

This change will be permanent for me and I am interested to explore which foods cause me problems.  I am sure there will be bad days or days when I make less than stellar choices but I believe I can live a healthy life despite occasional failures.

From Grace:  Thanks for the opportunity to write that down.  I can't believe how good it made me feel!  

Grace, thank YOU for sharing some of your story!  We'd love to hear back from you over time, if you'd be willing to share, to hear how you are doing and how your symptoms are improving.  It's so great to see that you are learning to trust yourself!  That is HUGE!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Fat On Purpose

I think as far as my first-thing-in-the-morning face goes, it's safe to say that my face prefers less or no-carbs.  But, just to keep up with the photo journey, here are pics from last Saturday through today...


Day 10 - scientifically it would be good if I knew what led up to this particular day b/c my face is the brightest it's been yet.  And I love that crazy gray hair shooting straight up at my part...awesome.


Day 11 - Super slacker, broke my own rule of not sleeping with make-up on.  Too tired the night before to even care.  Note to self:  this is how my grandma's eyelashes got short and sparse in latter years...don't wear make-up to bed...


Day 12 - not too fancy.  The night before I ate a huge portion of salmon.  I've been doing a lifting program and am trying to figure out protein sources to stay on this "veggie-fast."  However,  I have to experiment what my best sources of protein will be. 


Day 13 - blah, blah, blah.  Had to head downstairs so I didn't wake up Jason with my mug-shot.  The black shirt vs. the white one in these pics, I think, is making a difference in what shows up on my face.  I am feeling clean, though, so that's what matters...

Day 14 - This is the aftermath of trying to gain weight.   Salt-free nuts are likely a better option for my face.  No nuts are better for my waist-line and mental well-being.
So, as far as my title states, I've been doing something the last week that is against everything I've ever practiced.  I've been trying to gain a couple of pounds of insulation.  I've never done this on purpose and I think it messed with my mind yesterday.  You see, I have the markers, though my doctor and I both won't "accept" the diagnosis, of Sjogren's Syndrome, an auto-immune disorder.  From the research I've done over the past several years since having Noah, I know that auto-immune diseases aren't mutually exclusive and symptoms may vary and overlap.  I haven't been tested for many of them, but I do know that how we eat and take care of our bodies can radically determine how extensive they may become.  Anyway, one major symptom I have is dryness...mouth, sinuses, skin, eyes.  That coupled with how cold I am, like constantly, and it makes for a long winter.

So, yesterday I decided to eat some nuts, good fats, to not only add warmth for winter, but for a little lubrication.

And that's where it went downhill fast.  You see, I can't just eat a handful of nuts.  Who the hell can eat just 6 almonds?  Which is usually why I avoid them.  Nope.  I eat a cup of nuts.  And yesterday, against any judgment whatsoever, I ate salted pistachios until my eyes started to feel puffy and my tongue was raw from all the salt.

So, I start new.  Fresh.  I don't beat the crap out of myself.  I learn from my choices and experience the consequences, and I question why I chose that many nuts over walking away, meditating on God's word, changing my surroundings, or whatever.

Anyway, there's not a whole lot to report other than I'm off the nuts again.  One day I may be able to eat just 6, but until that day, I'd better stick to roasting my veggies in a little olive or coconut oil.




Monday, January 14, 2013

Construction Zone

The verse I read and wrote down this morning, the first verse of the 14th Proverb.
My father was a professional builder.  He built both commercial and residential properties.  I remember his drafting table in his office, blue prints and sketches, job sites and sub-contractors.

I remember his company El Camino parked in the front drive many years growing up, as well as the much more palatable Suburban in later years.

A few times in high school I earned money by cleaning up some of his job sites on the weekends...he wouldn't let his three daughters there during the work week.

When other girls were solely looking at Teen Magazine, I was sketching floor plans and perusing the pages of Architectural Digest and Professional Builder Magazine.

Photo courtesy Pace EDU


And now we live in a new neighborhood where five years ago we lived in only the second house on the block.  I've been able to see the street fill in with homes and families, and see the different subs come and go with each phase of building.

It's really a fascinating process to see a home built from ideas and paper into a physical structure where memories are made and lives are lived, however empty or full.

There is so much beauty in how the Lord uses the imagery in scripture of our bodies being physical temples or buildings or structures meant to house His Spirit and presence.

God has me in the midst of a perfect storm, if you will, of books I am reading and scripture I am studying.  My word this year is INTENTION and I've been being intentional about time spent sitting at God's feet, studying His word, thanking Him for His many blessings, praying for whatever He puts on my heart, etc.

And I'm being INTENTIONAL about loving myself by filling my eyes and heart with food that really satisfies..."give us this day our daily bread..." not stuffing my gut with food that fills only temporarily.

Anyway, if the blue prints are wrong, they are sent back to the architect for tweaking.  If the electrician's portion of the job doesn't pass inspection, building is delayed until it's made right.

And even so,  even after a family has moved into a new home, things go wrong and need repairs.

Our lives, our temples, our day to day walks with God are similar, except much of the responsibility is on our shoulders.  We aren't puppets or robots, we are living creatures with the power of choice.

We are the builders.  Will we do what it takes to build a dwelling in which healthy life can take place, beautiful memories are made, and when others visit, they feel refreshed and encouraged?  OR, are our homes/temples/bodies dilapidated old shacks that are beyond renovation?

We have good friends who would say a hearty NO to that last question.  They bought a 100+ year old home soaked through with cat urine, stripped it to the bare minimum structure, and started again, building a fantastic property with character and charm.

Aren't you glad God is a Master Builder, and though our lives often times require remodeling and renovations due to time and wear and tear, when we bring to the job site the proper supplies and appropriate time frames for work and building, great shape and structure take form.

*How might you be INTENTIONAL today to take care of your house/temple/physical body?  Do you have a behavior you've become accustomed to that if it were translated into building lingo would look more like graffiti, bad peeling linoleum, smoke or water damage, or sledge hammer holes in the walls?  What changes can you make today, with INTENTION, that will boost the value and worth of your "home"?


Friday, January 11, 2013

Days 8 and 9

So, instead of having to look at my mug every day, I thought I'd couple up on days.  Plus yesterday I didn't have a second to sit down at the computer.  And I think that was part of why I woke up looking like I did this morning...

Not the computer part, but the turbo-speed.  I was in go, go, go mode from the crack of dawn, and even after a great time sitting with my Favorite Guy, aka The Creator of the Universe, I just put it into overdrive all day and pressed on, without INTENTIONAL living.  Sure, I got a ton accomplished, but yesterday was a blur.  And my eating, it wasn't INTENTIONAL at all.  It was thrown in here and there during the day, and I didn't sit down until dinner when I was already at the end of my rope.

...and to a dinner that was a FLOP.  I made a coconut curry butternut squash soup that would have been better called a bisque or broth.  And it needed salt.  So I added it.  And I was mad the soup sucked, that is until I added salt, so I ate 2.5 bowls.  Because that makes sense, obviously.

To be completely candid and honest, for me it's easier to fast on just water than it is to think about which vegetables and whole foods are legit and which ones are on my "avoid" list for a time.  Food journaling is easy:  water, detox tea, cran-water, fish oil, probiotics, soluble fiber, more water.

Clearly I can't just drink water only for the rest of my life, though.

I thought about it yesterday, and am not trying to make His experience seem as though it wasn't life-altering and, quite frankly, world-changing, but Jesus wasn't a spouse or full-time mom when He fasted.  He was a single guy out in the desert and didn't have the distractions of day to day life because He was able to be INTENTIONAL about heading out of Dodge and just focusing on His time with His Father, be filled.

I'm trying to figure out how to do that while still living life at the same time.  I can't chuck my husband and kids for 40-days or 20-days or even a week to go sit at a cabin by myself with an endless supply of water.

INTENTIONAL living, my word for the year, means even when it gets hectic and both kids whine and I have to run an unexpected errand and my baby boy is sick and it's the week leading up to year six of saying goodbye to a tender sweet boy who I wish was in kindergarten, my eyes are INTENT on looking to God for strength, not coasting on my own,  INTENT on shutting out the noise while listening to His quiet leading, INTENT on stopping to breathe in and be filled by the One Who provides for me.

Maybe it was the animal protein I had post-workout b/c I felt shaky, or the handful of raisins I ate while giving Ry a snack?  Maybe it was the 2.5 bowls of salty soup, or the fact that I am out of my Natural Magic soluble fiber that cleans out the toxins I'm ridding each day (thankful more is on its way...)?  Or maybe it was the whining kids?  Or the 6 pieces of chemical-laden gum I chewed to keep my mouth from being dry (*another post on my auto-immune situation), and frankly, just occupied.

But this year, you would think I would have seen it in past years, I am seeing that perhaps my body has intuition about January 12th, 2007, and if I'm not INTENTIONAL about slowing down and allowing my heart to process the anniversary and reality of losing Noah on these particular days, I'll give into the stress.

I don't want to live like that...

So, there's no real point to this post, other than it's clear to see that my face took the brunt of whatever yesterday was all about.  And, I got a junior high sized zit on my chin and a teeny-tiny cold sore on my lip...more signs of both stress and detox.  Other than my face, I feel strong, and will try to figure out a good-for-me protein source as I continue to do my lifting program and this Daniel fast of veggies.

Here's something interesting, though, that I discovered.  On Wednesday morning I had a serving of kiwi and strawberries with a half cup of orange juice.  I don't drink juice just because the sugars go quickly into the bloodstream and spike my blood-sugar levels, but I had some anyway.

Yesterday when I woke up I had a "pooch" on my belly and my face was slightly more swollen.  Years ago a doctor told my dad the reason he had extra abdominal padding was because of his inability to process sugars as quickly as he consumed them.  I know fruit is good for us, but, eating clean and then just adding a bit of fruit, FOR ME, showed me I am sensitive and need, even fruit, in light moderation.

Day 8 - I didn't want to wake up Jason so I moved downstairs for this pic.  After fruit from the morning before I was a bit more sluggish this day and had a belly "pooch" which had not been there the prior day. 

Day 9 - And this, dear friends, was me this morning.  From the lighting behind me, you can see I slept in.  From the wrinkles on my forehead, you can see I slept hard (weird dreams, ALL NIGHT LONG), and from my puffiness, you can see my salt intake yesterday and stress of go, go, going was out of balance.
Here's to a new day.

Questions:  Have you discovered what triggers affect you or cause you to eat without INTENTION?  Have you discovered which foods cause puffiness or bloating or other responses in your body?  Do you have any tips to share about how to incorporate time with God and fasting into a continued busy lifestyle? 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

BFF's

One of my BFF's is never on the Internet and the other knows of my crazy escapades.  I had to show the one the picture from day one...she said, "Wow."  The other just said, "Why on earth would you post a picture of yourself looking like that on-line?"

I know, right?!?!  Who the heck does that?

But to answer her question, I'm passionate about, well, a lot of things, but particularly, how nutrition affects our bodies and how I had allowed food to become my god.

I don't think we just eat food and it's simply plumbing disconnected from the rest of our systems, coming out the other end.  Food affects me physically, emotionally, and when out of balance, spiritually.  Enough people have asked me about healthful eating, so from experimenting on myself and eliminating certain foods, I've paid attention to how I feel, good and bad, and am passionate about sharing.

It's not about fads or diets or even losing weight.  Though for years it was...

For me it's about stewardship of this body God designed and in continuation of the journey He put me on last year, learning to love myself.

Loving myself isn't "rewarding" myself with food.  When I walked up the aisle at our wedding Jason didn't hand me a slice of pepperoni and pineapple pizza and then slip a ring on my finger, my "reward" for being his wife.  Loving myself is deeper than rewarding myself with stuff, things, food, what have you...

Anyway, unfortunately six years ago I was blogging from a hospital room, bedside of my sweet son, Noah, and it was during that journey when my bent toward research and nutrition and the body and its functions and disease and healthful living went into full swing.

I can't help what I've discovered and I can't help but put it out there for anyone else who is intentional about taking their health back, or discovering it for the first time.  I don't claim to be an expert, just a passionate person, that's all.

So, if a day of cleansing, or even a month, or a week, or a few days, shows up in a real, visual way like a horrendous picture of myself, and it encourages someone else, I'll do it.  It's not like I'm posting pictures of my abs like Miley Cyrus or something.

Either way, I don't care what people think.  And, sometimes radical and against the norm or grain is the only motivation for change.  Painting only pretty pictures of myself was only keeping my deep down gunk in the dark.  And that wasn't working for me...

I not only feel physically great from the last week of fasting and clean eating, but my heart and spirit feel even better by the spiritual food I've been feasting on in God's word.  I'd rather binge on that kind of life-giving food any day.

And, gratefully, after my BFF's saw my pictures, I still hold the title "BFF" in their books.  Maybe not first-thing-in-the-morning BFF, but BFF nonetheless.

Day 6

Day 7 - My joints are literally pain free.  The twitch I had in my leg went away.   My sinuses are totally cleared up...no drainage.  My fingers aren't stuck in the mornings anymore.  But best of all,  my time studying the Bible is so incredibly rich.  Fasting is symbolic and a powerful way to say "no" to our flesh and stop in the hustle and bustle of the day to day to have real intimacy with a real and loving God.  
Tomorrow I'll post some of the protocol I am doing, not as a prescription for you, as I'm not a physician or nutritionist, but just because some have asked.  For a preview, however, read the first chapter of the book of Daniel in the Old Testament of the Bible.  Freedom from addiction and that particular chapter are my main motivations...

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

History of an Eater

The book I'm reading, "Stop Eating Your Heart Out," one, is totally awesome, and two, has assignments or exercises for 21 days, or you can spread it out over a longer period of time.  Anyway, the first exercise is to write out your food history.

Boy, that was fun.  Actually, I've done quite a bit of it here on "Confessions of a 2nd Grade Closet Eater" but I tried to go back chronologically from my very first memory of food and move forward from there.  It was a compelling exercise and brought to light some of the reasons I have chosen eating or food in general, over true nourishment.

Here are a few thoughts I wrote down in no particular order, some good, others notsomuch, and without a grammatical care in the world:

  • "Clean your plate.  There are starving kids in Africa."
  • We ate meals together as a family, and I liked that...
  • Latchkey kid who ate crap while no one was looking because I think I was afraid or alone...Hershey syrup on saltines.
  • My mom made balanced meals with veggies and protein.
  • I loved going to my best friend's house for dinner b/c they ate at Taco Bell and McDonald's a lot.
  • I ordered cheeseburgers and Shirley Temples whenever we went to a restaurant...that is, until I tasted fresh crab legs.
  • We made homemade cookies together.  My mom didn't buy them.  I liked that.
  • My mom packed healthy lunches.  In junior high I would sometimes throw my food in the trash and buy french fries and chocolate shakes.
  • I remember in elementary school sitting on the toilet counting fat rolls on my belly, even though my arms and legs were long and lean.  Always had a round face.  (*this was enlightening in regard to my gluten/dairy/egg allergy and all I know about it NOW!)
  • In High School I NEVER, EVER, EVER drank pop.  It was my "thing" I guess.  I cleaned up my eating somewhat and was involved in sports, so ate more for strength.  What a concept?
  • I started dieting in 9th grade with bouts of Slim Fast shakes and weeks of Weight Watcher menus.
  • "Don't eat that.  It will make you fat."
  • Though I ate junk openly all growing up, the effects and conversation about it was more focused on weight/fat/appearance rather than avoiding certain foods for health and nutrition reasons.
  • Gross:  in elementary school my big sister and I would fight over who got to gnaw on the juicy steak bone at my grandparents house...ewwww.
  • In college at SAGA I lined up 2 waters and 2 Dr. Peppers across my tray at lunch and dinner.  I would also eat a Twix bar almost every day and Little Debbie shit at 11:00 at night on Mondays at Hall Meeting...the "Snack Chairwoman" would be BEAT if she forgot our carbs...
  • When I crave it's always sugar and carbs, treats, "rewards", the forbidden foods - like forbidden fruit?
  • In High School my grandparents told me they were worried about my weight (remember round face).  Who knew all along I was eating all my allergens?!  I have been 5'9ish since high school and weighed 140 when I graduated...and my grandparents were worried about my weight?!  Nice!  $%^&*  If that doesn't mess with a teenage girls' heart, I don't know what does.  Looking back, I wasn't actually FAT until I worked at NWC and ate dorm food like one of the kids!
Anyway, there are more and more nuggets I wrote down, but it's a good exercise to simply write your heart out on paper.  There's also an exercise to write a food journal in the book, which has been easy this last week while fasting :)  Ummm, liquids or veggies.

Without further ado, here's day 6.  (*I'll post day 5 prior to 6 so you can see, if any, changes.  Also, note, now that we are back in full swing of a school schedule, my first-thing-in-the-morning pictures are literally first-thing...like, uber early, so who knows if this experiment will show healthy benefits or just that I'm getting old ;)  )

Day 5

Day 6...and I promise that is a different white t-shirt!  I have 4!  Which is a #firstworldproblem but that's another post...when I said early, I mean, there may be bags :)  My sinuses are totally CLEAR!  No stuck joints this morning.  And, I did my lower body "Lift Like a Girl" program with craploads of energy!  Even extra reps...
I'll leave you with this, from a scripture card my friend printed and laminated for me years ago which I keep on my jewelry box sitting in my closet:

"Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.  I will praise you as long as I live, in your name I will lift up my hands.  My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you."  Psalm 63:3-5 NIV

Here it is in the Message:
"God - you're my God!  I can't get enough of you!  I've worked up such hunger and thirst for God, traveling across dry and weary deserts.  So here I am in the place of worship, eyes open, drinking in your strength and glory.  In your generous love I am really living at last!  My lips brim praises like fountains.  I bless you every time I take a breath; My arms wave like banners of praise to you."

Monday, January 7, 2013

The Face of Detox

*Warning!!!  There very well may be expletives.  I don't know.  I'll just see how it all flows out of me...I warned you!


No way.  No how.

Huh-uh.

I wasn't going to share this portion of my journey.  I mean, who in their RIGHT mind actually posts crappy pictures of themselves on-line?  Right?!  Except I was curious.

I'll get to that in a minute...

I swung by for a visit with my 96 year-old grandpa the other day.  I was curious.  I mean, 96 is up there, you know?  Now, think about it.  My gramps was born in 1917.  He isn't the face of youth, currently, but he's likely older than you.  I asked him what he ate as a kid, growing up...how often his mom made baked goods.  This was his answer:

"I ate a lot of vegetables and fruit.  We ate potatoes, too.  We had meat a few times a week, not at every meal.  We ate a lot of fish and chicken, mostly.  Eggs.  We had cake or cookies maybe once a month or maybe twice...for a birthday or something.  We ate fruit for dessert.  You know what the problem is with everyone today?  They're eating too many damned processed foods, it's making everyone sick and obese.  No one needs to eat as much food as we seem to think we need in America."

I didn't even ask my grandpa "What the problem was..."  I just was curious what it was that he ate as a kid.  My grandpa doesn't even know what the Internet is.  He has a cell phone he rarely uses and watches a TV at his retirement home in between naps, but it's not like he's done 10-15 years of research like I've done, either in books or on-line, to know we've both come to the same conclusion...

...so, yes, that means I could have just asked my grandpa this forever ago and saved myself a lot of work.  But, I'm grateful to do the research and also to have it confirmed through wisdom which comes from history and time.

So, as I said, I was curious.  With the holidays I ate my fair share of treats, albeit gluten free and mostly egg free, but I ate bites here and there of my major food allergens, along with a little wine over the season which I had been off of for 3 months.

And I was feeling more and more crummy.  In the mornings I felt as if I'd been hit by a truck.  My knuckles were getting stuck in an arthritic position upon wakening.  My sleep sucked.  My joints were achy.  My eyes were puffy and my skin saggy and grayish.  I had major sinus drainage, gas, bloating, and had gained, easily, 10 lbs, which I could tell by only being able to wear one pair of jeans by the end of break...the not-so-skinny jeans.

Knowing me, I had to do something radical.  So, last Wednesday after conscious indulgence of chocolate and wine and even a regular gluten-y, egg, and buttery cookie, I declared to myself I was going to start a fast Thursday morning...and I wanted to take a picture of myself each morning specifically to see if my face would brighten just from eating healthier food.

My protocol is a combo of things I've done over the years and read here and there, but the premise was to start out on water and cran-water with arabinogalactan from Biosanes while taking my supplements (fish oil, pro-biotics, women's multi) for the first 6 days (I set that because from last Thursday to tomorrow, my birthday, is 6 days) and then I'd add vegetables for a time.

Well, how it's gone so far is day 1 was all liquids, day 2 I had a lettuce salad with roasted veggies at dinner (Jason's belated work Christmas party).  Day 3 I had liquids, including a "Virgin Mary" consisting of V8 and Garden of Life Greens with a shot of Tabasco.  Day 4, a lettuce salad with roasted veggies and salsa for lunch and kale and broccoli for dinner.  Day 5 (today), clear liquids.  Tomorrow will be day 6 and I'll have a meal with my family of lettuce and more roasted veggies at dinner, but I'll document that when it happens.

Then, for the rest of January I am going to eat veggies, one piece of fruit a day, and will eventually add in fish one week, chicken the next, and beef/bison/buffalo the final week.  Maybe.  I might just stick with veggies all month.  Because I feel so clean already.

My doctor is on board with all of this (saw him today) and recommended a non-genetically modified soy protein if I am not going to eat meat the rest of the month, ONLY because I am also currently on week 4 of a 15-week lifting program called, "Lift Like a Girl."  I've got some pipes.  Don't mess ;)

So, starting tomorrow, I'll get you up to date, but, oh my gosh, let's just say, who the hell needs a picture of some other girls ripped abs or tight thighs to motivate when all I had to do was scare the hell out of myself by taking a first-thing-in-the-morning self-portrait?!  Actually, that was the cherry on top...the way I was FEELING was more of my motivation!  I took the pictures to see if how I felt matched how I actually looked in the mirror.

Yep.  It did.

But, seriously!  I'm not interested in looking at a picture of some other girl's great arms as inspiration...I'm more interested in taking charge of my own health, being a good steward of this temple God has called "me", and seeing my own healthy arms in the mirror one day.  Looking at a magazine with retouched pictures of women with rad bodies doesn't inspire me, instead it makes me want to eat more chocolate.

Looking at myself in these pictures has had the OPPOSITE effect!

So, without further ado, holy crap, holy crap, holy crap...*the following are untouched first-thing-in-the-morning pictures.  Brace your friggin' self!

Day 1- holy shit...Thursday, 1/3, Happy Friggin' New Year, Adrienne!  Point taken.
After one day of liquids and one seriously tough mother Zumba workout with the Amazing Ashleigh at HotFitness in Castle Rock, CO

Day 2 - okay...so I don't look like I was hit by a truck, right?!  Well, maybe a small one.  One day.  ONE, people.

Day 3 - feeling good, less sinus drainage, but joints still stuck in morning, and yes, I wore the same pajama shirt...

Day 4 - Em in background with her new short haircut,  looking a little puffy, likely from salt in salsa and roasted veggies, but feeling good, minus achy muscles from lifting like a girl.  Okay, yeah, I need to throw that shirt in the wash...

Day 5 - I wore an orange t-shirt to bed and it made the first picture coloration weird, so I slung a white towel over my chest.  Also was trying to avoid a porn shot of Jason in the shower behind me...anyway, woke up feeling great.  Sinus drainage almost entirely gone, no stiff joints this morning, just sore pipes.  No stinky gas or bloating.  And, and, AND I fit in my favorite jeans.  AND, and, And, I don't miss sugar or starches AT ALL.
 And here's a last pic I took just a couple of hours ago.  I do have on eye make up and some bronzer, which works friggin' miracles, but I wouldn't want to leave you with a horror shot from the previous pictures in your head.  You don't need nightmares.  I'm nice like that.



If ANYONE is interested in doing a Daniel Fast (which, by the way, ROCKS, when doing along with reading and studying the actual book of Daniel!!!) or just cleaning up and breaking free from food addiction (*reading THIS right now...) and want to join me here or share your experience, let me know :)  I always like team sports!

I don't know how to add a "Linky" but maybe someone who does could tell me...???

See you tomorrow, bright and early!  Ugh.