Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Raw and unadulterated…Elimination Diet 3.0

What am I talking about???

Well, with the new release of the Dax Moy's Elimination Diet 3.0 and also my current focus on eating more raw foods, I figured it was time to get on board with the current hype and be inspired and motivated to eat foods that are natural in state and lacking in processing.

SO why whole foods? They come with all the goodies you need to digest the food properly. Naturally occurring enzymes, fibre, minerals and other nutrients are packed into foods like fruits and vegetables, nut and seeds, legumes, and healthy oils such as virgin, cold-pressed olive and coconut oils.

Currently I have mung bean sprouts on the go and I am soaking chickpeas before I make my own hummus. Today is a grocery day and my focus will be on stocking our home with fresh foods, fish, bulk nuts and seeds as well as some alternative grains and legumes, and a few other items to make lunch and snacks for my kids a simple and healthy task.

Sticking to the heart of how food was designed for us to consume has made food preparation and meals in our household easy, requiring a whole lot less cooking and prep time and the kids can get creative with what they choose to eat, because it's identifiable and doesn't require tools and fire. Although I know that my sons love a good camp out, when we travel for our road trips, we get to enjoy having easy food on hand, which helps to maintain lots of energy to 2 active boys and added focus for me not having to worry about where our next meal is coming from and how healthy and beneficial it really is.

So find ways you can get back to basics with adding some raw fruits and veggies into your diet and sticking to unadulterated, pure, and whole foods that support a healthier diet and healthy lifestyle. And check out Dax Moy's Elimination Diet 3.0 if you are ready for a great challenge and experience in improving your health and changing the way you see and eat your food.

Friday, October 22, 2010

There's what on my lawn?

Well, I'm not going to post a pic of it, but I can tell you I learned a big lesson from it. It has been over a month of putting it off, but it was TIME to finally mow the lawn. It's a job I leave up to my husband to do as I am allergic to grass cuttings in the air, but I was ready with a mask and military scarf to keep the cuttings out of my mouth and I was going to cut it....the lawn that is. I was a sunny day yesterday...perfect for getting the grass all freshly cut and after my failed attempts at starting the mower, I discovered it was out of fuel. So today, my husband cut the grass when he got home. As I arrived home, I could hear the sound of the mower going and I was excited to get to raking up the cuttings. I set to work immediately, but then took a quick pause to get the kids a snack and shove dinner in the oven. As I headed back out and continued at my work, I kept noting the fact that our lawn is lumpy. Loads of ant hills and clay clumps....and well.....

All I have to say, is I am glad that I didn't step in it! It was fresh and huge! I stopped, sighed, checked the bottom of my shoes (hey, I have been stepping in lumps up to this point), and then got a big a shovel to scoop it up and dispose of it. When I got back to raking, I thought..."Well, we hadn't mowed the lawn in AGES, so why not....can't see it in the tall, overgrown grass." How often do we get "crapped" on or step in "crap", or go through "crap" and think it is completely random. I would have to say, if I wanted my "stuff" put anywhere I am not going to put it where it would be obvious (like on my neighbour's well-manicured lawn)'s easier when it is hidden or even better still, along side a pile of the same "stuff".

If we had cut our lawn and it was pretty and green and leaf-free, like our neighbours, would the pile have gotten left there? If we were taking care of what is ours and setting a standard of "no crap allowed" would it have been there? Maybe. But it's harder to spot neglect in a pile of neglect. I didn't see it! It was lumped among a pile of grass cuttings. Although I wasn't expected the "stuff", I was not surprised when I saw it...but it would have been easier to see it (and avoid it) if our lawn was maintained and it would've stood out, right on top. After almost stepping in it, I was more thoughtful to where I was putting my feet, more aware of my surroundings, more conscious of the steps I was taking. I was grateful for encountering the "stuff" to help me be more involved, and a part of what I had really sought out to do, which is to show some pride of ownership and take care of what I got. When things get left undone, it becomes mental clutter. And the more stuff you leave undone and incomplete, well it can feel like a pile of ...."stuff". Staying clear in mind and remaining focused and active to the completion of whatever you set out to do, leaves room for more stuff to get done, and more room in your mind to apply the best of yourself to your tasks. And am I ever glad we finally finished cutting the lawn at the end of season and not hibernate with the thought of dealing with that "stuff" in the Spring...yummm!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Who is the woman of God I want to be?

Last week I got together with my friends and we shared in an activity that was called "Who is the woman of God you want to be?" We all brainstormed about the attributes and characteristics that we wanted to have as woman of God. I then shared about some of the women I looked up in the Bible and what attributes and characteristics they were known for. Ruth: loyal, hard-working, resourceful, devoted and loving. Rebecca: brave, impressed all who met her, confident, offered her help and service to others and sought out God for counsel. Other characteristics included courage, good sense, contentment, dedicated to good works, model to the community. We then drew ourselves and added the attributes we each listed.

As I shared about these women of the bible, the Proverbs 31 woman came up and the different views of what she represents came out. Is she real? Was she just the "Noble woman" that the men of the bible dreamed about? I can see how this woman, with her many talents, skills, and activities, drums up a bit of question, if it is possible to live up to this standard. I then shared that her life can be paralleled to our own. Some were good with money and the household finances, some were good with investments....we all make sure that our kids have good clothes to wear and cover them in their beds at night to stay warm. We share our lives and faith with our family and with others. We have provided for these needs in our families and we are also women of God.

It is good to take a moment to appreciate what it is that we bring to the table and know that we are successful in each day as we manage our households, encourage our families, live out our talents to their best, and walk faithfully in our relationship with God.

"I love my hair" Sesame Street song gets our vote!

I was so encouraged this morning when I saw this Sesame street video about a young girl promoting her curly 'fro. I got all teary-eyed thinking about my younger self and how I would have LOVED to be running through the playground singing this Sesame street song instead of getting into fights with those that continued to laugh at, pull, velcro, mess up, and tease my hair. Now a mother of two beautiful boys that sport their uniqueness and pride on the playground, I can see how times have definitely made a change for the better.

Thank you Sesame Street for putting this out their for today's kids to sing...♪♫ I love my hair, I love my hair...♪♫♪

Monday, October 11, 2010

To my parents: Thank you!

As we celebrate Thanksgiving in Canada this weekend, I am reminded to share my gratitude for all that is in my life. As I was reflecting on a current challenge that I am facing, I realized how much I am grateful to my parents for the examples they have shared through the lives they live.

To my mom,
Thank you for your desire to continue to learn and improve on your knowledge. You have consistently, throughout my time of watching you, been into your books and studies to advance in your career. I now desire to each day, not just to study for a career, but in all areas of my life that I desire to do more or better in. I thank you for instilling in me the desire to nourish my body with foods that promote longevity and good health. As I feed my children and look to meet their nutritional needs, I see how you gave us what was not conventional to provide for us a longer and healthier life. Thank you for walking as a confident, youthful, strong woman who is proud to be in the skin she is in. It has helped me to reach the point where I feel I can do the same and it encourages me, when I was younger and today, to appreciate the uniqueness of how I was made.

To my dad,
Thank you for your continuous love and support. You have always been there to encourage me, even when you yourself were not at your best. Your BEAUTIFUL example of unconditional love towards your family and to me has resonated with such HUGE waves in my life, I don't have words I can describe. You have celebrated my accomplishments and talents and helped and trained me to love the details. You helped me to keep my eyes open to seeing what is beautiful in the world and the people around me. Your example of humility to God's word has touched my very soul and your acknowledgment of God and his authority in your life helped me to look outside myself and realize I am a part of a bigger picture.

Also, I would like to thank you both for your example of perseverance through trials. You both have shared the challenges that you have gone through and I would like to say that you have come through those trials and have encouraged the same perseverance in my life as well. I know there is hope, and beautiful opportunities that lie on the other side of challenge, trials and struggles. You both give generously with what you have, and when you see a need, you have a desire to take care of it, especially for your family. You both have encouraged the desire to forgive others and let go and allow love to fill my home and the hearts of those around me. Whatever I may have been through with anyone in the past is not worth holding on to if it compromises my ability to love them more, especially those near and dear to me. My desire is to encourage and to love in spite of... Thanks for helping me to be who I am today.

With love,
Your daughter,

Saturday, October 9, 2010

“Responsibility” by Bob Proctor


I felt such great encouragement from reading this article, that I had to share it with others. Bob Proctor shares, with great explanation, the key to personal freedom. It is so freeing and eye-opening when you choose to live in a responsible way.


“Responsibility” by Bob Proctor.

Read it, consider it, and share it. It can change your life and how you live it.





Monday, September 27, 2010

What's your image of you?

This photo I saw on someone's computer, and aside from the weapons, I said that this photo reminds me of me. Now of course the day wouldn't involve waking up late, rolling out of bed, chasing after my kids to get them dressed and off to school. This woman looks like she is ready to take on the world! So how would I visualize the physical version of who it is I am? Well, first of all I would have to go into the details that makes me who I am.

Appreciating your attributes

At times we may forget if we have even considered it all, but we should express to ourselves gratitude and appreciation. What makes me unique? What is beautiful about who I am? What wonderful things have I done and contributed to the lives of others? If you have trouble doing this for yourself, try starting out with appreciating those around you, out loud. That's right, let others know what is wonderful about them and your gift of encouragement may very well come back to you.

If you give, you must also receive

If after you have given a compliment or expressed gratitude or appreciation that you receive a compliment in return, don't turn it down, say 'Thank you'. Receiving from the gifts that you give doesn't always happen in the way that we think and being willing to receive the gift opens you up for receiving more. Not just in compliments, but in everything. It will also open up your awareness of who you are as you get feedback from what you are giving. So make it good! If you want to receive good gifts, you should be giving good gifts (golden rule applies here). And I'm not talking about the latest electronic gadget (although I know an HD flat screen 52" TV comes in mind for some), I'm talking about the stuff that lasts; encouragement, gratitude, positivity, helping others in need, that kind of stuff.

Go into detail.

So now that you have a level of appreciation about you (both in giving and receiving), what does your image of you have? A big heart? Loving and hard working hands? A beautiful smile? It reminds me of when I was single and I sat down with my cousin and we mapped out the attributes of our perfect man haha. We drew on a piece of paper a male figure (could have been a stick man, it didn't matter) and we added to the image like a diagram....strong arms, good dancer, nice smile (straight teeth), ambitious and compassionate....the list went on. But have I ever really done that for me? I don't think so. It would be a fun project to sit down with my kids and do (I guess I will be doing it soon then...) Maybe I could sit down with some of my friends and do that too. But in the end it's the image of who you see yourself to be and it should encourage you.

Well, I have work to do, but I must say that I do see myself as a knight, a defender of what is good and loving in this world and I will continue my crusade for a more positive, loving and helpful me.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Allergies Linked to Reduced Cancer Risk

Do you have allergies? How do you deal with the symptoms? The information in this article discusses the benefits of having allergic symptoms and how they play a role in protecting the body and whether or not we should be suppressing them.

Allergies Linked to Reduced Cancer Risk

Monday, September 20, 2010

Zucchini Banana Spice Bread

This is my gluten-free, egg-free recipe for zucchini bread which was modified from a recipe I got from, Zucchini Spice bread. We had a really successful year in our garden with growing zucchini, so it was awesome to be able to "experiment" with different combinations of ingredients to find a recipe I was happy with. All the "try-outs" tasted really good, however, I enjoy this recipe the best. Due to the food allergies and intolerances in our family, I swapped out the flour for a combination of flours from other grains, added hemp protein powder, and used bananas in place of the eggs. I know my friends and family really enjoy this recipe and I hope you will too.

1 large zucchini (about 2 cups grated zucchini)
1/3 cup blue agave syrup
2/3 cup olive oil (or grapeseed oil)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large bananas, mashed
1/2 cup chickpea or garbanzo flour
1 cup bajra flour or 1/2 cup rice flour and 1/2 cup millet flour
1/8 cup hemp protein powder
1/8 cup ground flaxseed
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice (in honour of my grandmother)
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat a 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pan with a little oil or cooking spray, and line the bottom of the pan with a piece of parchment paper. Set aside. Mash the bananas in a small bowl (or break into pieces and blend with an immersion wand hand blender) and set aside. Grate zucchini (yields about 2 cups to use for the recipe. If you have a huge zucchini, just cut some off ); set aside.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together agave syrup, oil, vanilla, and mashed bananas. Into a separate small bowl, whisk together flours, hemp powder, ground flaxseed, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, cloves, and salt. Add the dry mixture to wet mixture, and stir to combine well. Stir in grated zucchini, making sure the zucchini is well coated.

3. Pour batter into prepared pan, spreading evenly. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of loaf comes out clean, 45 to 55 minutes. Let rest in pan 10 minutes, then turn out and allow to cool completely on wire rack before slicing.

I tend not to sweeten with refined sugars. And as a result, my palette for sweet foods has become more sensitive. If you would prefer a sweeter version, you can add 1/2 honey instead of the the agave syrup and some stevia to the flour mixture (I do this when I bake the bread for functions, about 1 tbsp which is equivalent to 1/2 cup of sugar).

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Living and loving with allergies

How do I cope with allergies? "It must be so hard to have allergies." Well, to tell you the truth, I haven't always been allergic in the way I am now and it isn't all that hard depending on how you look at it.

As a child, I wasn't aware of what allergies I had, I just knew certain foods I really liked and other foods would make me feel ill and so I ate them less. It was my mom that I watched struggle with her allergies, most of which she acquired after the births of my siblings. She instilled in me to enjoy the food I like while I can, because I never know when I can't eat it the same way again. And I did! BOY, did I ever fully enjoy eating my favorite foods. Two foods in particular were my favorite, eggs and peanuts. I have eaten eggs every possible way that I can remember and I ate it in some of the finest places (nothing like home gourmet cooking hehe). I can still remember enjoying a soft-boiled egg with a dash of salt on a cold morning before school. I LOVED eggs. And peanut butter is a Saturday morning cartoon memory of me sitting down with a jar of peanut butter, a bear of honey (squeeze bottle) and a big tablespoon to scoop out the best from the bottom of the jar. My favorite chocolate bars were the ones with peanuts in them. I did as my mom told me, I enjoyed it to the fullest.

So when the day came when I could no longer eat eggs or peanuts I was definitely sad, but not heart-broken and devastated. I had my time and now it was time to move other options of food were waiting for me to enjoy. When I discovered that gluten was no longer a benefit to me, I threw a party with my favorite pizza, spinach, chicken and feta, and after that, I moved on. I LOVE food and the food I loved was no longer loving me was time to share my love with other foods and to be nourished in return :).

And I am so grateful for what my allergies prepared me for, to provide the best of enjoying food and good nutrition for my sons. They have allergies to foods, and I was the perfect mom to help them through their transition and help their bodies and culinary experiences to grow in a positive way. I am also living at a higher awareness of what the food I eat is really doing to body and the way that I want to live. I have the experience and now the knowledge and wisdom that I can share with others and help them to live and love a life with good food too.

Over the next few posts, I will be going into more information about foods and allergies and how to make the most of living with them.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Dining out - Orders custom made

As I was checking my e-mail yesterday, I read a message from a friend for a dinner invite. YAY! I love an opportunity to celebrate, but then it hit me....hmmmm dinner at a restaurant. I love dining out and many years ago, I dined at many (many) fine restaurants wherever I travelled. However, over the last 14 years I have become more aware of what my body has been telling in regards to food, and as I eliminated and narrowed things down, I have confirmed a few allergies and intolerances. Today, I am gluten intolerant, allergic to peanuts and eggs, and cannot digest pork. Simple list (and for health benefits I do not eat refined sugars, and am currently leaving out dairy and caffeine). And at home I have a wealth of healthy foods to choose from which are catered to the needs of me and my family. My boys are also gluten and lactose intolerant, and allergic to peanuts (not as much as I am, but it's still there). As a result of our unique dietary requirements, I have become a culinary wiz and the knowledge I have gained from reading labels, asking questions, and balancing our nutrition to make sure we are getting what we need out of our diet. It has been an amazing journey...I am a conscious eater and I love it.

Back to the pending dinner date. Before responding, I did an online search to find out more about the restaurant. And in my search I came across a great resource, Canadian Celiac Association. The Edmonton chapter has a full listing of restaurants with gluten friendly options. Now of course, I still need to be mindful of the other allergens that can be present, but it gives my family a window into enjoying fine dining. Regardless of what is on the menu, knowing what it is that you will eat and don't want to eat is a good place to start.

Be knowledgeable and informed

Even if you are not at a restaurant, when you are gathered in a social setting where there is food and refreshments, you always have a choice. Enjoying everything in moderation keeps the focus on spending time with family and friends, instead of only on the food. At a restaurant, go over the menu and see what it is you would like to order. Choice options that support the decision you have already made towards your nutrition and well-being and when it's time to order, feel free to ask question and also indicate your allergies/intolerances. A lot of restaurants actually prefer that you tell them in advance to ordering so they can inform you of options and also for legal purposes should an incident occur.

You always have a choice...don't be afraid to ask

Now that your server is informed, you can ask your questions towards customizing your order and supporting your healthful choices. Questions you can ask include...

Can this be grilled, steamed, or broiled instead of fried?

Is there any added butter or oil? (Good to ask for those that are lactose intolerant, even to butter, and knowing what oil they use, because it could be peanut oil)

Can the skin be removed? (not just for reducing fat content, but some people really don't like eating the skin)

Can the sauce or dressing come on the side? (you can either opt out of using the sauce or controlling the amount that is used)

Can I substitute the dressing for some slices of lemon and some vinegar instead? (You can dress your salad they way you want, especially if it is a simple side salad)

Can I substitute for a side salad, veggies, or baked potato instead of fries? (most restaurants already have this option, but if it's not listed, you can always ask)

If you have a menu to choose from, you have a choice. Your order is in fact the choices you are making for the meal you want to have. And for many years, millions of people around the world have made an order to their specifications. Especially if you are sitting down in a restaurant, know that as efficient as you want them to be in preparing your meal and the meals of others, it doesn't happen until you place an order.

What to look for to keep it healthy

The way that we eat in our home really focuses on eating foods that are closest to its natural state. We eat whole foods with little to no added ingredients. I prepare most of our meals from scratch, but we use few ingredients, so it makes it simple. If you toss a chicken breast in a skillet with some salt and pepper and maybe a few herbs, it is enough to make it delicious. Looking for menu items that do the same by keeping the preparation simple, helps to keep the guessing down and nutritional content up.

Looking for lean cuts of meat, lots of veggies, dishes that are not saucy or loaded with mayo, and those dishes where the individual ingredients are readily identifiable (which helps with picky eaters) can make your healthy choice a lot easier. Also choosing your beverage can make a difference to the healthfulness of your meal as well. I usually order hot water and lemon, avoiding soda. I feel satisfied before having my meal when I have water first, and I find that I can focus on enjoying the taste of my food more. If I choose to have an alcoholic based drink, I decide that in advance to going out.

Now that you have ordered a healthy meal suited to your specifications, you also want to keep in mind portion control. I haven't experienced a problem with that yet (where a meal was too big to eat on my own), however when we do go out as just a family I will tend to order a couple dishes and split it up between me and the boys. I tend to choose from sides or appetizers for the items (unless there is a complete dish that is easier to customize) and then I ask for extra plates and then put together our meals right at the table. It works the same if you are sharing a meal with some as well. Not only does it keep the portion size down, but allows for more variety in what you get to eat and can be more affordable too. You can also choose to eat half of your order (decide in advance to chowing down) and take half of it home. If you are at a social gathering, it is recommended to come back for seconds instead of loading up a plate high of food and not being able to finish it (overeating can compromise on enjoying the company of friends and family).

So the answer is yes to the dinner invite and I am prepared to have a good time, custom-made.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Woah Zucchini!

Today we cut our first BIG zucchini out of the garden. And this being our first year for growing food in our garden, I am quite pleased. It is definitely coming with its share of learning opportunities as I work to maintain the health of the plants. We have tomatoes, squash, and zucchini in the same area of the garden and previous to the plants moving in, there used to be a sidewalk to the garage. I added soil from other areas of the yard evened out the area. I then sectioned it off and put the plants and seeds in. Hmmmmm....sounds pretty simple. The plants have grown quite huge regardless of all the things are are struggling with. The is a mildew that has started growing on the leaves of both the squash and the zucchini and spider mites have found the squash. I have taken to spraying the leaves with natural remedies and removing dead and consumed leaves from the plants to help it to survive until the end of season. I am so glad that this encouragement has helped the plant to produce such good fruit, or in this case zucchini.

Lessons I am learning from growing my own food.

Prepare the soil - Good food needs good food

If I want this zucchini to bring nourishment and nutrients to me, I want to feed it with the good nutrients I want to receive. I pretty much just used the soil that was there and considering there was a sidewalk there before, it was a gravel base that I was working with. I added topsoil and a couple bags of other soil I had picked up from the store. I also added bonemeal around the plants and watered the plants with rainwater. We have a compost pile on the go and in the spring when I turn it over, it should be ready to spread throughout the beds and provide more nourishments for the garden we will plant next year. The nutrients and good composition of the soil helps the plants not only to grow, and be healthy, but to produce a good yield as well. The plants grew big and abundantly, but their health can be improved on as well.

The same can be said for us. We need good food to become good food. We need to nourish ourselves from the inside out to produce good fruit in our lives. We can make sure that what we are putting into ourselves,(i.e. healthy food, good information and knowledge, positive influences, etc.) will help us to grow and produce a good harvest. We are a part of this world we are in, and others benefit from the fruit that we produce.

To reap an abundant crop it takes daily maintenance.

I admit, I wasn't out there in the garden everyday. If it rained, I stayed inside since I didn't have to water the garden. But a few days later I came to realize that something was going on with the squash plants. They had spider mites. If I had been out there on a more consistent basis and more watchful and observant of what kind of growth and details were going on, I would have easily noticed the spotty leaves and could tackle the situation as it began. I lost a few plants to spider mites, but now with the mildew that is growing on both the squash and zucchini plants, I am looking to remedy the spread before it takes over. I will be trying a solution of chamomile tea to spray the leaves with and hope that it works. I have already removed heavily affected leaves and dead leaves from the garden. The sooner I take action to go after these problems, the less work I will have to do to fight for the lives of these plants and we can still enjoy the harvest they are working so hard to produce. I can help to keep the plants healthy, by making sure they have enough water, check for pests or disease, keeping the plants fed and harvest the fruit as it is ready.

Taking daily, consistent action towards nurturing your growth helps us to keep moving forward in the same way. Focusing on staying healthy in all areas of our lives takes thought, and watchfulness followed with the right actions. Staying hydrated, taking in balanced nutrients, watching for negative influences, thoughts, and habits and removing or replacing them with positive thoughts, habits and influences. Also being watchful for disease and things that seem to be out of place or not inline with what you are trying to accomplish. Sometimes they are not negative things, but they could be things that are not productive to the goal you are going after. Keeping things in moderation and maintaining focus are good actions towards fruitful growth as well.

Share the good harvest, and more will come

The zucchini plants produced many little zucchinis and they would grow to a certain point and then start dying off. They would turn yellow at the end and then start shrinking back. If I could catch then just as they start to change colour, I could still have a good zucchini to eat. Also with cutting back the additional fruit and pruning some of the leaves, it helped the zucchini plant to put more energy into growing bigger fruits. The more I pruned, the bigger the fruits that were produced. Now again, the BIG ones are still growing bigger and bigger and the plant is producing more new shoots and leaves now as well.

With pruning or refinement and continually giving from our fruits, can we reap a bigger harvest? If we grow more and give more can we receive more? My life has proven that in many ways, and I see it in the lives of those around me too. I am surrounded by people who give with what they have (their talent) and from what they have and people seem to be eager to give them more. But I have also seen the opposite, where those who take from the harvest of others, don't give from what they can produce and has left them with less in the end. There is a market out there full of the good harvest of others and we are consumers and producers in that market. What we produce, we are giving to others, and what we receive in return may very well be dependent on what it is we are giving. It is good to good to give and makes you a better receiver the more you give what is good. All I know is that I have never held a zucchini that big from my own garden and I gave it to our friends to enjoy. It was the first of the big fruits out of our garden and there is more to come and more to enjoy. Guess it's a good thing that I love zucchinis.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

We have a new visitor

Welcome to our home, Bartleby! He is a bearded dragon lizard and we get the privilege of hanging out with him for a couple weeks as his family is away. I must say, that at first I was a bit apprehensive to the idea. Why? Because he is someone else's pet. But I moved into trusting that I can care for and enjoy the loved ones of others and even after just one day, I can see why people would have lizards as pets. I find it fascinating to think about how this creature is so different from how we are made. And of course explaining and discussing the differences with my sons makes it that more fun. It also helps us to really appreciate how it is that we are made. That we are animals that produce our own heat to stay warm, that we can think and compare, and relate how we are made different from other creatures (although I know my dog would look at me with the look of wonder sometimes when I would do things that were not "dog-like").

We are glad to have this opportunity to learn more about bearded dragons (would I have thought of researching it before now?), about ourselves, and get the chance to know new people as well. And his family was right...he is kinda cute ;)

Friday, August 13, 2010

Clear the clutter, simplify your life

This weekend we are having our first garage sale. Why is it our first? Well it's the first time that we have had all our stuff in one space at one time in a garage. We have moved quite a few times over the last 10 years, and for the most part, they were quick moves for one reason or another. But in the process of quick moves, and having items in storage we lost access to a lot of things we need on hand. Clothes, tools, books, supplies, and so we went out and bought more. Which lead to more stuff and a lot of duplicates. When you have all this stuff, it feels like it's sapping your energy and thought as you continue to search for what you already have....somewhere. So we have a lot of stuff that can go to good homes and over the last year after our most recent move, we have been organizing and finding all these things we have lost. A lot of it came in handy as we had moved into a space we could use them (for example, having a garage that we can use the tools in), but there are things that were uncovered that we no longer needed. Clothes that I have grown out of or more specifically, that were now too big for me to wear. Those items need a good home. A lot of baby items that our son had grown out of and lots more. Most of which we had already donated or given away, but as we continue to unpack and sort, we can continue to simplify our things to what we really need and organize in a way that will lead to less frustration, less duplication, and less energy wasted.

If you have in your life more than you need to use, than it tends to become clutter. How are ways to reduce clutter in the main areas of your home and life.

Clear your mind

Many things can clutter our minds and I have found that if they are not things that will help you to grow, then they need to go. Even if you are blessed with the understanding that you can grow from any situation, you can still gain more optimal growth in establishing a more positive environment to live with. Negativity from other people, from yourself, and even from memories associated with objects feel heavy and are not very change your thoughts to positive ones, help your relationships to be more positive and encouraging, and spend your time with positive, forward-focused people that help you to grow.

Be more efficient and wallet-friendly

This summer we have really focused on simplifying our lives and we started the process first last year by minimizing our expenses. A few things we did to reduce our expenses...

We reduced our cell phone bill by negotiating new options in our plan.
We switched internet providers and pay about half of what we were before.
We cut the cable (the kids like watching movies in repeat anyhow when they get TV time)
We swapped most of our light bulbs to more energy efficient options and turn the lights off when we are done in a room.
We cut our natural gas consumption by only washing our clothes in cold water, and keeping the heat down to comfortable "enough". (wear a sweater, warmer clothing, and slippers)
We reduced our water consumption by collecting rain water for the garden, wear clothes more than once (if they are clean), and not running the water while we wash dishes, hands or brush teeth.
I walk the boys to school and I walk to work. (or work from home)
I continue to make tweaks to our grocery bill and nutrition by purchasing whole foods and less processed foods while planning and prepping ahead in the week so nothing gets wasted.

Next project...

Working on organizing our papers, incoming mail, and office materials. I'll be looking into tips and suggestions that work best for us. Identifying how you find and use things really help. I like having a place for everything and knowing I can go to that place to take something out that I need. My hubby on the other hand needs to see it on display to remember where it is, especially stuff needing immediate attention (i.e. bills). We have started by organizing some stuff into bins and labelling them, but we still have a ways to go. One thing we are good at is keeping the extra papers that come into the house to a minimum. As soon as it comes in, it is designated a home or goes to the recycling bin. Every time I touch a paper that is on the "roam" in our home, I make sure it finds a good spot. I review it and decide if it is needed, and then put it in its place.

We are always looking for ways to improve on our environment, and with less clutter we can enjoy more room to breathe, think, and grow.

Friday, June 18, 2010

What are you eating?

I have joined the Fit Yummy Mummy Summer transformation challenge and I am enjoying my first week of being a healthy and fit woman from the inside out.

As I was in my garden the other day, I was reflecting on the roots of the plants. They take in water and nutrients through the roots to grow the plant and if the balance of water and nutrients is off, it reflects in the health of the plant.

The same goes for us as well. Either emotionally or physically, if we do not provide supportive nutrients to our roots, then we will end up with unhealthy fruits. So I have decided to really provide proper nutrients on all levels and enough water to my body so that I can grow and be healthy.

Speaking of supportive nutrients, I took the Fit Yummy Mummys at ClubFYM though a tour of my kitchen and you are invited to check out what it is we are eating as a family. Feel free to leave comments and questions and look forward to checking out more of my summer transformation in posts to come.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Earth day 2010...What can I do?

How personally do we connect ourselves to the planet that we live on? We share this unique and wonderful space with billions upon billions of other creatures that get the special opportunity to live out their lives, tasks, and purposes in an allotted amount of time. Do we see ourselves as a part of this timely journey shared by others or is our focus less on the big scale of it all and more on our individual lives?

Over the last week or two, my family and I shared in a number of fun symptoms of being sick or ill to some degree and all for different reasons. One had to miss some school and another had to go to the hospital and get checked out. Now of course, when I am sick, my first thought is not about how the virus that has entered my body is just living out its timely purpose to the best of its ability. I may get upset about being sick and experiencing the effects of infection. Or I could focus on how my body is using my immune system to protect my body and what things can I do to help my body win its battle. What can I do? I can eat healthy foods, stay away from foods that don't help I could get plenty of rest and water....there are a lot of ways I can respond to being ill, but I know that my main goal is not to be, so why not make the impact of it less or at least short.

The same goes for us. Not to say that humans are infectious, but we do have quite an influence on the environment around us....physical, emotional, spiritual...we play a significant role in the way we experience life. We also play a role in how others experience life as well. We are not insignificant in whatever situation we are in, but are a part of the journey of life that we all get an amount of time to live out. What can I do to make the most of the time of I have? What can I do to make sure my impact on the environment around me (and my life) is a positive and beneficial one?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Spring Cleaning....get the junk out!

What do you think of when it comes to Spring cleaning? Doing a top to bottom house cleaning? Going through your closet and sorting through your clothes? Getting geared up for garage sale season and going through your personal items and seeing what you would like to sell/give away? What about getting the yard cleaned up and ready for a season of gardening? Well, all those items are on my list including focusing on switching gears with my nutrition and starting off with a cleaning of my body from the inside out.

Most refer to a body cleanse from the inside as a detox. But I'm not just talking about doing a detox. As a child, it was also a time that we got "bitters". Good thing it was usually administered during Spring break, because we would be back and forth to the "royal seat" for a good day. We got lots of water as well and at the end of the "cleanse", we definitely felt lighter.

Now I don't do the spring cleaning quite in the way that my folks did, but here's how we begin.

Eating more alkaline foods

This means focusing on keeping more whole foods in our diet (vegetables, nuts and seeds, sprouts, healthy fats and oils)....Making sure our nutrition stays supportive and natural.

Keeping your system in a more alkaline state, has been know to reduce the possibility of disease and parasites and promotes the function of your cells and systems....something to consider seriously.

Drinking more water

It's the one cleaning product you are always using. Get it in your body to help your body to flush away those toxins and to keep your systems flowing smoothly. When you are well hydrated you experience the benefits of increased energy, mental clarity, happy kidneys and liver, and wealth of other benefits. Start with at least eight 8 oz (250 ml) glasses (8 cups, 2 liters) a day and more if you are active or on a high fiber protocol.

Cutting out (or tweaking) our processed foods intake

Most processed foods rank as acidic to our bodies and that includes deep fried green beans, so take a look at the box and read the label before you put it in the cart. There are also added chemicals and unhealthy fats that are toxic in the body and require extra work for your body to get rid of or store (mmmmm stored an unorganized closet full of dated, bad-fitting clothes with stains). Even little "treats" from time to time can be tweaked for a more healthier version as well. That way you get double bonus of enjoyment, it taste good AND feels good in your belly afterward.

So with the start of Spring we get to clean up and gear up and be ready for beautiful things to blossom and that includes a lighter, brighter, healthier you.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Go Green!

Today is St. Patrick's day and with the inspiration of things gone green, we are eating green today. The boys started their day off with green cornmeal topped off with a variety of topping from our breakfast station. I used spirulina to make the cornmeal green.

For snack we'll have pumpkin and sunflower seeds with apple and celery, and for lunch, broccoli with green hummus will compliment the rest of our meals. I could also make my celery and pear salad, but use granny smith apple instead.

It's a great way to get the kids (and me) excited about all things green, especially when it comes to food and nutrition. I'm looking forward to the challenge of keeping it more green not just for today, but more on a daily basis. Have fun with your green inspired meals today as inspiration isn't very far away.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Together for life - Marriage retreat 2010

This past weekend, my hubby and I went to Red Deer and met with other couples from the Edmonton and Calgary churches to share in the experience of others as we focused on remembering and refining the special relationship we share as husband and wife.

We drove down the night before and had an enjoyable night out with dinner and a shared dessert. It was really good. In the morning before my husband woke I went to have a quiet time and looked through some resources that had been shared with me and were relevant to marriage. I watch 2 short videos from the Kathlyn and Gay Hendricks, How to end Blame and Criticism, and How to stop an argument...instantly. The points and techniques covered in these videos were great to see, as they can be used in most relationships and they also help to look into how we as individuals can affect the tone of our relationships based on our ability to respond accordingly. I made a note of choosing to recommit to my relationships with God, my spouse, myself, and others.

As we began the first class of the weekend, speakers Kevin and Lisa Robbins helped to really open things up with sharing from their own lives and marriage and helped the audience to relate more personally to what information they were sharing and to other married couples. They shared from the book "Love and Respect" about different cycles we can be in as couples and along with scripture, it really helped to give a good visual on how to achieve success in the marriage relationship and how to make choices that will encourage that success. After lunch we enjoyed a game about "How well do you know your spouse?" It was fun to go over the questions together as a couple and also gave us an opportunity to learn some more details about one another. Overall, it was a great weekend, not just from the messages that were shared and received, but from spending some valuable time together with friends and as a couple, knowing that we both really wanted to be in each others company.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Crispy celery and pear salad

I made this one morning for breakfast and have loved it ever since.

3 stalks of celery chopped
2 medium pears (the crisp kind) or granny smith apples chopped
1 tablespoon grated ginger
1tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
dash of cloves
1 teaspoon of olive oil

- mix dressing ingredients and then toss in celery and apple and stir. makes 2 - 3 cups.

It gives my body the energy "buzz" when I eat it...LOVE IT!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Mung bean pancakes


* 1 cup split mungbeans (original recipe calls for hulled, I use whatever I have on hand)(I used whole)
* 1/4 to 3/4 tsp cayenne
* 1/2 tsp salt
* 1/4 tsp turmeric
* 1/2 tsp whole cumin seeds
* 1 tsp garam masala (I think I add this to everything LOL)
* 2 scallions, cut into very fine rounds
* 1 medium tomato, peeled, seeded and chopped (option chopped 1/2 red bell pepper)
* 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
* 2 - 3 cloves garlic, minced
* 1/2 cup water, plus soaking water


1. Soak the mung beans for seven hours in lots of water. Drain, rinse the mung beans and discard the soaking liquid.
2. Put all the ingredients except the scallions, tomato and cilantro in a blender or food processor. Blend or process until you have a smooth and light batter. Transfer the batter into a bowl.
3. Stir in scallions, tomato and cilantro.
4. Spray a good non stick pan with a little oil and wait until it is warm (the original recipe calls for lots of oil, but I find that not necessary). Pour about 1/3 cup of the batter in the center of the pan. Spread the batter with the bottom of a large spoon and form a pancake.
5. Wait until the bottom part seems done. Turn around and bake the other side.
6. Enjoy!

I dipped with a little tamari soy sauce, but can be eaten plain. Also keep your eye on the pan as they brown quite quickly (at least for me ;D).

Tags: beans, breakfast, recipe

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Food for thought or thoughts on food?....

Contemplate on this, if we educate ourselves into how the healthy foods we eat are good for us and help our bodies to function, how much more will we enjoy that food? We will think about (even visualize) how, as we are digesting this food and it is absorbed into our body, it will make us healthier, and even with the visualizing, we are making ourselves healthier as well.

Now for the flip side...if with that information we know about our healthy foods, if we apply the same understanding to the unsupportive and dare I say, "junk" foods we may eat, then as we are "enjoying" the taste of these foods, we are also aware of how they are harming or hindering our health, how much do we really think we are savouring these foods? If we know the negative impact the unsupportive and junk foods have on our bodies, then we can visualize how they are harming us and in that visualization we are harming ourselves as well....

Just a thought...