Saturday, March 30, 2013

Healthy Recipes

Here are the healthy recipes that Beth O'Meara was talking about on Wednesday night - enjoy!

Rosemary Apple Chicken – (Paleo)

1 whole chicken (2 to 3 pounds)
¼ cup grapeseed oil
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon celtic sea salt
4 apples, cored and sliced (gala and pink lady are the best to use)
4 sprigs fresh rosemary

1. Rinse the chicken and pat dry with a paper towel and place in a 9x12 dish
2. Drizzle with oil and vinegar, then sprinkle with salt
3. Arrange the apples around the chicken in the baking dish
4. Place the sprigs of rosemary under the chicken
5. Bake at 350 for 90 minutes, until browned on the outside
6. Serve

Homemade Spinach Salad Dressing

1 cup oil
½ cup vinegar
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon celery seed
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon minced onion

1. Mix all ingredients together and shake well
2. Serve over Spinach, mushrooms and roma tomatoes

Fit For Life Green Beans

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
4 cups green beans (I use two bags of Steam Fresh green beans)
½ teaspoon thyme
½ teaspoon sea or kosher salt
ground pepper to taste
2 cups water
1 bullion cube
lemon juice

1. Heat oil, garlic and beans. Sauté and be careful not to burn. If using Steam Fresh bags, put both bags in microwave and cook for 7 minutes. Then add to skillet with garlic and oil.
2. Add thyme, salt and pepper
3. Add water and bullion cube
4. Bring to a boil and simmer 20 minutes until tender
5. Add lemon juice and serve

Pecan Crusted Chicken

½ cup spicy brown mustard
2 TBS Raw organic honey
1 cup crushed pecans
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1. Preheat oven to 350. Whisk the mustard and honey.
2. Crush pecans in a food processor and set the pecan aside
3. Remove any excess moisture from the chicken with a paper towel
4. Roll each chicken breast in the mustard-honey mixture and coat on both sides
5. Now roll chicken into pecans on both sides
6. Place chicken into a greased glass baking dish and sprinkle with sea salt
7. Bake for 45 min

Brussels Sprouts and Bacon

6 bacon strips
1 lb Brussels spouts
1 tsp garlic powder
1 TBS dried thyme
Black pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 350
2. Dice bacon and cook in a skillet until crispy (I cook the bacon in the microwave and then cumble)
3 Steam Brussels sprouts for 4 minutes, cut off stem and quarter
4. Mix Brussels sprouts, bacon, bacon grease, garlic powder, thyme and pepper.
5. Spread in a glass baking dish for 30 min. Stir once half-way through

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Not a checklist

With one week off for spring break, we kicked off our Craving Him More Bible study last night looking at God's Word, chapters 6 and 7 in Made to Crave and with our special guest speaker, Beth O'Meara. First, we reviewed last week where we learned that desperation breeds degradation. When what is lacking in life goes from being an annoyance to an anxiety we run the risk of compromising in ways we never thought we would. If we forget to be self-controlled and alert, we are prime targets for satan to usher us right away from the new standards we’ve set in life...that’s degradation.

Our Made To Crave reminders included the following:
-God cannot be reduced to a checklist and neither can our health plan
-We must intentionally position ourselves to experience God - lowest possible position with empty hands and eager hearts.
-How do you grow closer to God? “by making the choice to deny ourselves something that is permissible but not beneficial. And making this intentional sacrifice for the sole purpose of growing closer to God.”
-Learning to tell myself no and exhibiting self-control.
-We don’t like to deny ourselves.
-Food isn’t sinful. Its inappropriate consummation can be the enemy’s lure to draw our heart into a place of defeat!
-We long for His power to bring EVERYTHING under His control so that we willingly submit those things that consume us
-We often have a flawed perception of ourselves. My self worth is not based on numbers on a scale, how many friends I have on Facebook, whether people follow my blog, etc.
-God’s divine nature has given us EVERYTHING we need to experience victory in our struggles
through biblical promises that we find the courage to deny unhealthy desires
-Getting healthy involves choosing to be self-controlled and to persevere even when the journey gets hard!

Looking into God's Word, we looked at several verses:
-Luke 9:23 If we want to follow Christ, we must deny ourselves. How? Deny our own selfish desires for unhealthy food, too much food, food at the wrong time, personal preferences. Denial of self builds self-discipline that glorifies the Father. It begins to create a foundational truth that develops a cycle of submission to God!
-John 4:34 Jesus says his food is to do the will of the Father. How often do we really submit our will to His when we are hungry? Jesus knew the rightful place of food and did not allow it to overtake Him!
-Philippians 3:18-19 enemies of the cross are described as those whose “god is their stomach”; we don’t want to be RULED by our unhealthy desires and cravings. We long to be friends with God by submitting our daily choices to Him alone!
-2 Corinthians 10:5 We demolish arguments and every pretension - we are the ones taking the initiation here. We must stop making excuses and arguing about what we need to do to honor Christ. Take every thought captive to MAKE it obedient to Christ. How do you do that? Recognize the thinking and acknowledge it. Replace it with truth in God’s Word! Keep repeating!

Finally, we ended our time with Beth O'Meara encouraging us in the area of exercise. Here are my personal notes and highlights from what she taught:
-80% of how we feel and look is based on what we eat. When we eat healthy, we will feel better! The other 20% is exercise!
-Beth grew up eating unhealthy foods (think mini doughnuts and Shasta) but learned to love exercise in graduate school
-God's Word is a priority and has been a useful tool in the gym to share the Gospel!
-Find an exercise that you enjoy and can sustain. Whether it's Zumba, Crossfit, running or walking, get moving!
-One of the most important parts of exercise is a support group. Get someone to work out with accountable!
-Spend time in God's Word first...
-Start slow and work your way up so you are not easily discouraged!

What a great night we had looking at God's good plan for us. Join us next week as we study Chapters 8-9 in Made to Crave and search God's Word for His great wisdom!

Monday, March 25, 2013

No Need to Exercise

It’s a mission trip, so there’s no need to exercise...I mean, you work all day to exhaustion, go to bed late and wake up early. I am tired...really tired. So, there’s just not enough time to get up and work out. A week in Guatemala calls for me to rest more.

Never fear, Wes had a plan for me. He developed a week’s worth of workouts that didn’t require any special equipment. Jump squats, pushups, lunges, runs, Russian twists, box dips, etc. Fun, right?

No, it is NOT fun. Is everything in life fun? Nope. Sometimes, we just need to develop the daily discipline of doing what is needed for our ultimate good and His great glory. Exercise can be one of those tasks. My friend Nellie told her girls, “Even though you don’t want to do it, you need to do it anyway to stay healthy.” She is SO right. Your feelings can NOT determine your actions!

So, every morning I have joined with five other sisters in Christ to work out for our health. Let me say that 5:30 comes very early on a mission trip...VERY early. But, it has been good. The biblical community has blessed my sister pushing us to run up a hill, another cheering us on to finish the situps and yet another pressing us to seek the Lord’s strength. A gift from the Lord indeed.

There is no room for excuses..NONE. Praise God for the way He orchestrated a way for me to continue to stay healthy. He alone is worthy of the adoration! So, press on today for His great glory!!!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Listen up preachers! Some areas are off limits....

“Next week, we are going to talk about honoring God with our bodies.” Ummm, no thank you, I thought. Those words would send me running for the hills...well, not running. Maybe it was more like shivering in my seat, or at the very least, slouching and pretending that I wasn’t interested in that part of the Word.

While that topic has come up VERY LITTLE in the many years (40+) I have been in church, I always recall feeling like I was doing okay in that area. I didn’t drink or smoke or do drugs...good enough, right? Not exactly. If the word “gluttony” was even hinted at or dare I say, mentioned, I would find somewhere else for my mind to wonder. Is gluttony really a sin? I mean, really? Does God care about what I eat? Aren’t we FREE in Christ to eat how we want.

PLUS, there are a ton of overweight preachers..and members of our congregation. I would begin to rationalize that some people have hormone issues and they can’t help their weight gain (that was NOT me) and then there are pregnant people (seriously, I would think this). And, some guys are athletes and don’t really fit on the BMI scale (why am I even bothering rationalizing this one)...excuses, excuses. None of those thoughts had anything to do with ME, but if I could rationalize this for one person, it could surely extend to all???

My Crossfit trainer, Wes, has said that you never hear preachers say, “You only live once, so drink up.” Have you ever heard, “Take all the drugs you want, it’s your life!” Why? We, as Christ followers, like to support the things we are doing well and areas where we are successful. Please preach on adoption...we’ve done that. Praying for the nations...check. Family worship...done. Gluttony...uh, whoa, back up buddy, you are not allowed in that area.

Maybe it’s just me, but I’m frequently convicted and then want to dismiss or excuse the behavior. Are there any areas that are off limits to God? Absolutely not. He is Sovereign, and He reigns over ALL of our lives. God’s Word does NOT change, and our opinion of it and feelings toward it do not matter in the scheme of eternity. The Bible is very clear about honoring God with our bodies. The Gospel CHANGES what we eat. We should live our lives differently than the world. Look at what He says:

Philippians 3:19 Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things.

Proverbs 23:20-21 Be not among drunkards or among gluttonous eaters of meat, for the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, and slumber will clothe them with rags.

Proverbs 23:2 And put a knife to your throat if you are given to appetite.

Proverbs 23:21 For the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, and slumber will clothe them with rags.

Psalm 78:18 They tested God in their heart by demanding the food they craved.

1 Corinthians 10:31 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

There are many more verses that discuss our bodies and how we are at eat, but let’s just focus on the Proverbs 23 verse. How exactly do we get around that one? If you have made your appetite your idol or your god, then you should put a knife to your throat. Um, I don’t particularly like that verse. Aren’t you thankful my feelings are not the measure of God’s truth? I am!

If someone had taken a stand on this issue years ago, I might have left the church over it...yes, I know it’s extreme. But, it is TRUE, and I am ashamed to admit it. Talk about food and gluttony and honoring the Lord with your body, and I would have hit the door screaming on the way out. I have loved food way more than I have loved God in my life. And, I know it to be true. There are still days when I desire food more than Him. And I don’t want it to be so.

I will continue to walk this journey knowing that He requires more of me. He wants me to surrender every area...EVERY one of them. I can tell you that I am uncomfortable even discussing this topic as it is something that I am daily convicted about...sometimes hourly. I do not have a successful track record fact, my record is pretty shameless and embarrassing and humiliating. But, in my weakness I will boast so that Christ may be glorified all the more.

May His name be glorified today as we seek to sacrifice and surrender our appetites to His will.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Desperation Breeds Degradation

Last night we flipped our study around so that we looked at Made to Crave first because it led into our Bible study so well. Plus, we devoted some time to questions that had been posed on Facebook about food issues (keep in mind that I'm no expert but sought out expert advice)!

From Terkeurst's book, we looked at several key components of our health journey:
1. We need measures of accountability. We all put the brakes on when we see a police officer (even if we are not breaking the speed limit). We seek to be on time when we know we have an important meeting with a boss. We clean our houses before company arrives. We NEED and SEEK accountability.
2. Try Mutually tracking progress with friends. Find friends who can speak truth that you will accept willingly.
3. Personally - accountability with people who are already in good shape and those who are not...all walks of life and not necessarily
my closest friends.
4. Desperation breeds degradation. When what is lacking in life goes from being an annoyance to an anxiety we run the risk of compromising in ways we never thought we would. (p. 42)
5. If we forget to be self-controlled and alert, we are prime targets for satan to usher us right away from the new standards we’ve set
in life...that’s degradation.
6. This week I challenge you to find an accountability partner (or two or more). Tell him/her how much you weight, what your struggles are, the hardest time of day, what you want to weigh (or another goal), and how that person can help you the most. Be specific!!

Made To Crave led us right into the Bible study of Ephesians 1:16-19. God had me in these verses for OVER two years. Why? Because I did NOT get all! It wasn't until He spoke the truth into my heart and I really heard it that this became abundantly clear. Verse 16 reminds us to continually pray. What does this imply - that we are constantly at the feet of Jesus. Our foundation is beneath Him, knowing and acknowledging that He is the Lord! We must surrender to Him daily. Begin the day in His Word. Let us speak the truth first...He is Lord, and we are not. Admit failures and sins and struggles. Submit those to Him (submit ALL of yourself).

Does Paul pray for the church at Ephesus to be free of persecution? NO! Is He praying that we would be free of struggles and hardships? NO!!! The main prayer is that our hearts would be enlightened to the knowledge of God, that our hearts would be opened to hearing from the Holy Spirit. We can only make it through each day and see victory in Christ when we submit to Him, acknowledge Him as Lord and Savior, confess our sins and submit willingly to His plan for our lives!

For the first time, we took a few minutes at the end of class to answer some questions regarding food choices. I AM NOT AN EXPERT in this area. Different plans work for different people. You are strongly encouraged to seek the Lord in prayer and see where He wants you to be. For our family we mainly try to eat clean foods and follow the Zone diet with a few exceptions (we don't eat low fat foods). Here are the questions that were posed last night:

What do typical meals look like at your house? Our family eats two eggs for breakfast daily (poached, scrambled, fried, boiled) along with yogurt/fruit or a whole grain muffin. For lunch we often eat fish and veggies or grilled chicken and veggies or a salad with meat on it.

Where do you eat healthy dining out?
We have obtained the nutrition guide for any restaurant where we want to eat. You can often find these online! Based on that information, we choose foods that have a particular carb/protein/fat ratio that is closest to our plan. We find ourselves eating at almost any restaurant that has a nutrition guide available!

What do your children eat?
We do not run a Waffle House, so short order cooks are not available in our house. Our children will eat whatever is on the menu which is what everyone eats. They will crave what they eat. This is hard to believe but it's true.

How do you get in all of your water each day?
I drink 16 oz of water when I first wake up followed by another glass after I workout each morning. I have 1-2 glasses (16 oz each time) of water with breakfast and another between breakfast and lunch. Then, I have 2 at lunch, 1 in the afternoon and 1-2 at dinner. I have usually had 8-9 glasses of water by the end of any given day. I don't drink anything else other than green tea.

Do you drink green tea?
Yes, I prefer hot green tea at breakfast and at night before bed. I try the flavored varieties that you can purchase at any grocery store. I do not put any sweeteners in the drink.

Healthy and filling snacks? We keep bottled water and Zone bars in our car at all times so that we never get in a situation where food is not available. First, this is important and crucial for our adopted children but it also helps to eliminate that feeling of desperation for all of us! In addition, we have peanut butter, nuts (in small packages) and other protein bars on the good. At home we often have 1/2 a piece of fruit with peanut butter or hummus and veggies. Yogurt or cottage cheese with berries is also an option!

How do you handle eating sauces at restaurants? We generally ask for sauces and dressings on the side! These are often a hidden source of many calories plus we never know what's hidden in there! We dip our fork in the sauce and then eat the entree. This saves a lot of calories and unnecessary additives!

How often do you weigh? When? As a former slave to the scale, I know this is very hard. We want to see affirmation that our hard work is paying off with validation on the scale. However, our weights can vary several pounds during one day. So, I weigh once or twice a week just to verify that I'm staying on target. I weigh in the morning after going to the bathroom. No need to estimate the weight of clothes and shoes (if you don't have them on)!

Join us in two weeks (next week is our Spring Break) as we dive into the next two chapters, #6-7. Thank you for walking this journey with us as we seek to honor the Lord with our bodies!

Monday, March 11, 2013


Cheat meals....just those two words can bring me to my knees...for real.

As part of the way eat (certain amount of protein, carbohydrate and fats each meal day), we are allowed two cheat meals each week. We were encouraged to eat those meals on the weekend, and we have taken full advantage of that request.

Here’s what we’ve learned so far:

1. When we are totally committed to eating healthy, the cheat meals become special and are looked forward to by the whole family. We put much thought and time into where those meals will be!
2. On Friday morning our mouths begin to drool just thinking about those meals (a sure sign that we have been faithful throughout the week).
3. We prefer the term “free meal” instead of cheat meal as if we are doing something underhanded!
4. Going “crazy” over a cheat meal will cause much pain, heartburn and great discomfort later...we’ve learned that we still can’t eat fried foods or heavily sauced items or carbonated drinks (not that we’ve tried that last one yet).
5. So far our favorite meals have taken place at Joe’s Italian (Alabaster) and Steak and Shake.
6. Two cheat meals allow us something to look forward to on the weekend and help us to be focused during the week! Occasionally, when I am in the midst of a team workout on Friday morning, I think of the meal I am going to enjoy that keeps me going!

If I were to eat cheat meals all week....and I HAVE done that in the past...I would be sick. It often feels heavy on my stomach and my energy gets depleted. So, these occasional treats remind me that my body does not need to eat that way frequently!

Cheat meals are really NOT a good idea if you still have a lot of weight to lose. But, if you are within eyesight of your goal and you are faithful to healthy living for the majority of the week, then cheat meals may be for you. Consult your physician and trainer to see if these would benefit you!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Never running again...

I AM NEVER RUNNING AGAIN! Do you hear me? I am serious. I am NEVER running again.

Those were some of my first thoughts after the recent Princess Half Marathon at Disney. Why? Because it was HARD people...harder than I had anticipated. AND, because I made some serious rookie mistakes...

In order to confess my failures and get these mistakes out for the world to see, I will share them here. And, I hope that this full disclosure will help any of you to NOT follow in my footsteps!

My erroneous ways...let me count them...

1. Not training enough. I trained diligently for my first half in November that was held in Gulf Shores. So, I was fully prepared. This time I had slacked off on my weekday runs and wasn't as consistent on my long runs.
2. Wearing new shoes the week before the race (just to walk in and to run in once or twice). I LOVE my new shoes...LOVE. They are Newton's and they are designed to help me run correctly. Here's the problem...I haven't been running correctly since one of my feet has a mind of its own and bends outward after the three mile mark. But, my body has compensated for that wild foot. The new shoes make me line up correctly which causes my hip and left foot to hurt...a lot.
3. My left foot began hurting around mile 8 and didn't stop the entire race. I am not sure if I didn't tie my shoes tight enough or the heat caused my toes to swell...either way, it was painful.
4. No plan for water stations. When I ran in the half back in the fall, I knew where every station would be and had a plan on where to stop. Plus, there were only 300 or so people in that race and I didn't have to dodge a mound of water cups in the road. This time I knew there were LOTS of water stations but had not mentally prepared for where to stop and how to manage the stops. So, I stopped often and walked (because of the plethera of water cups EVERYWHERE) through them.
5. Lack of planning for food. I generally take Stinger orange chews on my runs over 5 miles. I like them and they are good. But, I have trained to just keep them in my car or at a location where I pick them up along the way. I didn't want to wear a belt because I had not trained in one and didn't have a place to carry them. So, I went without...big mistake!
6. In light of #5, I took some Cliff Gu at mile 8.7...this was my biggest error of all. I had not eaten it before, so I should have just said NO! But, alas I did not. It was like glue which forced me to stop for water soon thereafter. And, about a mile later, I thought I was going to lose all of my breakfast from the stomach cramps it caused. So, miles 10-13 were fairly miserable.
7. Not immediately eating afterwards. I will NOT be making this rookie mistake again. I do not care how stinky and sweaty I am, I will be eating a HUGE breakfast within 30 minutes of finishing the next race.

Yeah, you heard me...I said "the next race." I am NOT giving up that easily. I made plenty of mistakes that I am going to evaluate and learn from diligently. I will be running again..this week. I will not be defeated by my own choices.

Join me in learning to love to run (or walk or bike or whatever) this year...for our good and His ultimate glory!