Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Weekly Challenge - Week 44 (October 29, 2013)

Resist, resist, resist.


 
Tom's first Halloween, age 4 months.  I wish someone had told me to resist eating a piece or two of Halloween candy as we passed it out to the kids in our neighborhood that year...  But I thank God that He did show me and showed the boys when they were quite young, the consequences of our indulgences.  Luckily, our indulgences were few and far between so we could see the link between what we ate and how we felt (or why we got sick).  Now we do not even think about eating anything that contains sugar - it is no problem passing it up.  Be prepared, and resist the temptation of eating the Halloween candy that is everywhere around you.
 
Halloween, with all its associated candy is a terrible holiday.  Please don't give in to the temptation of having just one piece of Halloween candy as you hand it out, or as it is laying out in a bowl at your work, or wherever you encounter it.  Even at Whole Foods this weekend, they had chocolate squares sitting out to sample.   My favorite, but I did not eat one.  Sugar sweetened treats are everywhere.  I know that my eating just one would start my cravings, so I resisted.  I urge you to do the same this week.


There are a couple of very good reasons to resist eating just one piece - I'll explain what I have experienced:

1.  Sugar is as addictive 'as cocaine' - I know how very addictive it is and I can't control its affects on me.  I hope you read this past post and understand that it is easier to resist before indulging in sweets than to break the cravings later.

2.  Since sugar is so addictive, if you start with some Halloween candy now, enjoying it over the next couple weeks while it is so abundant, then you will be primed for indulging in all of the holiday sweets beginning at Thanksgiving and going through the New Year.  Once you get your sweet tooth in overdrive, it is hard to stop.  By the end of the year, you will probably then be several pounds heavier, and I promise you that you will not feel good about yourself when the new year rolls around.  Resist now, don't get trapped on that path.

3.  Sweets and sugar reduce your immune system and set you up for a winter of illnesses.  This is a very sad truth that we experienced at least once after a Halloween with Jon.  The blessing that was received that spring after a difficult winter was that Jon (at age 4) saw the ugly power of man-made processed sweets on his health and to this day has no interest in eating any candy (or other sweets) that contain sugar, especially the cheap ones that also contain artificial colorings and flavorings.  Be aware of the link between your diet and health.  So often I have been told that I am so lucky that I have healthy boys who never need to go to the doctor because they are sick.  It is not luck; it is because of our diet.
 
The Halloween, a few weeks after Jon turned four, he collected candy on Halloween night and was allowed to eat as much as he wanted that night and then the next morning, he knew he would trade in the remaining candy for a new toy.  At the time, I thought this was a brilliant plan.  I had no idea what a terrible idea this really was.  Jon stuffed himself with candy on Halloween night.  He then got a high fever 4 days later that lasted a week.  The poor little guy was so sick.  He continued to be sick on and off the entire winter, he never fully got over his illness until spring. 
 
Lots of sweets and winter weather result in colds and flus.  It is not worth it to my family to be miserable and after eating a diet of real food, food God has given us, the cheap processed foods don't even taste good - the smell alone is repulsive.  Plus there are so many wonderful sweet treats to enjoy that are sweetened with real foods/ingredients God has provided for our nourishment such as raw unfiltered honey, dates, fruits or maple syrup.

I don't know about you but I respond so much better to situations when not caught off guard.  So be prepared, stand firm, and resist those worldly temptations all around you.  If you have a sweet-tooth and you are fighting a sugar addiction, be sure to ask God for help as you resist.

"So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall!  No temptation has seized you except what is common to man.  And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.  But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it."  1 Corinthians 10 12 - 13

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Peeling a Pomegranate



I had sent out an email on how to peel a pomegranate in 2010 on one of our homeschool trips, so I thought it would be a great time to make a post from the photos.  In 2010 when I took the photos, we were in the Florida Keys during pomegranate season, and they had beautiful pomegranates in their grocery store in Marathon, Florida.  What a great place to enjoy a pomegranate, sitting at a picnic table at the beach.  These photos bring back great memories!

Pomegranates are only in season for a very short time, typically from October through early December.  They are out now at the stores this year, and I found organic pomegranates on sale at Whole Foods last week, 2 for $4.00.  Pomegranates are delicious and contain many wonderful nutrients and anti-oxidants.  I typically don't find nice organic pomegranates at a reasonable price, so this was a special treat this year.  When buying pomegranates, look for ones with a deep red, glossy smooth skin with no soft spots (an indication it has been bruised).

Below are photos of how we peel our pomegranates (this is Fred's method).  I had no idea how to eat a pomegranate before I met Fred - you eat the whole fleshy red seed.  It was his favorite fruit growing up.  I'm sure there are many other methods but this method works extremely well for us and will hopefully tempt you to try one!  See below for a complete description through photos of how to open a pomegranate.

Opening a Pomegranate





Using a metal edge, such as the end of a grapefruit spoon, remove the top of the pomegranate.  Then begin to remove sections of the peel around the top opening.





Once you have taken off the peel in a circle around the top, dig a little deeper until you can see the red fruit seeds below.



 
Having exposed a small circle of seeds at the top, begin removing a thin layer of peel down each side to the bottom of the pomegranate.  Peel down an indented area that will be along one of the white membranes so that it will split more easily.





Once you have completed a full circle around the pomegranate, grasp the two halves and gently pull apart until it separates into two sections.





There are membranes between sections.  Further separate the half pieces at these membranes, and start to roll the pomegranate seeds away from the section into a bowl.  The seeds should be red; pomegranates with deep red seeds have the best flavor.  If any of the seeds are brown, discard those.  Sometimes pomegranates are bruised which results in small areas of brown bruised seeds within.




Sometimes you can even peel back a large section of the outer peel.  Eat as you go or enjoy once finished.  We eat the entire seed, red juice and harder inner seed.  I love to put pomegranates seeds on a bowl of my cereal mix for breakfast or to sprinkle them on a salad.  This week I had my spinach salad with poppy seed dressing using fresh pears (instead of apples) and adding pomegranate seeds.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Weekly Challenge - Week 43 (October 22, 2013)

Recommit - think baby steps.

 
I never thought ten years ago that I would be living on a mini-farm or that we would have chickens.  I'm sure my son never thought he would be feeding chickens in the morning before starting his school day! 
 
I am where I am today through baby steps.  Eating a diet of 100 % real foods created by God is now routine and very natural for us.  This has not always been true.  If you read my story, you know that my commitment was based on knowing how important diet is to health and wanting my boys to be healthy.  Because I had this motivation that was so important to me, I did not get discouraged and go back to the typical American diet. 
 
I thank God for all the ways He has blessed me in this area of my life.  I love having a large garden and fruit trees and chickens.  I hope to continue to add more and more animals and plants on our mini-farm, plus there are so many more things I want to learn.  For instance, I want to make my own summer sausage and my own crackers.

Before we moved here when I did not have much land to produce my own food, I researched and found local sources for my eggs, produce, meats, etc.  I still use many local sources for many of the foods we still don't produce.  It takes baby steps, starting with the basics and adding more and more God-made things (and eliminating more and more man-made things). 

Have I slipped up and fallen off track?  Of course, many times, but the key is to recommit and start anew rather than getting discouraged and giving up. 
 
So this week, take time to sit down and evaluate where you are.  The weekly challenges are baby steps to help you to gradually change your diet from the typical American diet to a diet of foods created by God to nourish our bodies.   

Some challenges have probably been easy for you and they are now regular habits.  Others, you may have skipped, or felt at the time they were impossible to tackle.  Still others, may have been things you did for a week or two but in the busyness of life you forgot about them and quit.  It is this third category that I want you to focus on this week. 

Look through the list of weekly challenges and find one or more that you had been doing, that is not that difficult for you, and recommit to adding it back into your daily routine until it becomes a habit.

Remember, this is a journey.  Just because you have fallen off track, don't give up.  Start again, taking baby steps, implementing just one or two things.  Soon you will look back like me and be amazed at how far you have come!
 
"Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness."  Lamentations 3: 22 - 23

Monday, October 21, 2013

Salami and Cheese

 
This is one of my favorite to-go lunches, hard salami (or summer sausage) and cheese.  However, most brands of hard salami are loaded with sugar, nitrates, other preservatives and flavorings (a potential source of MSG).  Read the ingredient labels and find a brand that does not contain ingredients on the list of foods/ingredients to avoid.



I like the Organic Prairie brand that Whole Foods sells.  Let's compare this with the ingredients in Boar's Head salami, a brand that most people trust as better quality because they market themselves as a better quality product.  Remember, you must not blindly trust any brand - read ingredient labels always and learn how the ingredients they use are raised and processed.
 
Boar's Head Genoa Salami Ingredient List:




Organic Prairie Summer Sausage Ingredient List:

 

I think by seeing these two ingredient lists that the difference in quality based on their ingredients is obvious .  For this lunch that Jon and I took to our homeschool coop, we had the summer sausage, cheese slices (remember to buy white cheeses), crackers and granny smith apples from our apple tree.  Celery or carrot sticks would also be a great addition to this lunch.  We packed the lunch with an ice pack because the Organic Prairie Summer Sausage is uncured and required refrigeration after opening.  


Thursday, October 17, 2013

Evaluating with Discernment

Oreos are the most popular cookie worldwide, they taste great, they make my kids and me happy - they must be o.k.!!!  From Kraftfoods website:


 
Hmmm, or maybe they are that bad... from nbc news:
 
 
 
So, just how bad are high fat, high sugar foods?

I am not writing this post to pick on Oreo cookies.  This is just a great example of how to evaluate what you read and hear with discernment.  So let's go through the steps - but let's make it more generic to include all processed high fat, high sugar foods.

1.  What is the motivation behind the groups doing the studies?  Well, Kraftfoods who makes the Oreo, the number one selling cookie in the world, is interested in profits.  They don't even try to say the cookie is healthy - they just tout the cookie's popularity.  What was the motivation of the college study?  It is important to look at both sides to make sure you understand their hidden allegiances (funding sources).  Investigating in more depth, I found this article about the study outlining the research and their funding, one source being a Keck grant.  I don't see a hidden agenda.  But don't stop here if you are evaluating with discernment.
 
2.  Does the information conflict in any way with what is written in the Bible?  One needs to read the entire Bible and study it to become familiar with what is in the Bible.  In many places of the Bible, God speaks about people being part of the world and enjoying the world's pleasures, from the people in Noah's time to those in the world when Jesus returns, and how this is not a good thing.  Two other great verses that come to mind are in James:  "You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God.  Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God." James 4: 4 - 5. 

3.  What are both sides saying about the issue?  I have presented a bit of information from both sides above and I also looked at many other articles.  I have previously posted an excellent article about research being done by the food industry to determine the exact proportions of fat/sugar/salt to make you crave their processed foods.  It is not by accident that these foods are so addictive.  
 
4.  What are the effects or results others have experienced?  I don't need other people's experience with this one - I know first hand.  I know that my sugar addiction is uncontrollable if I take cake out of the trash can and eat it!  I don't understand the chemical changes in my brain or know the addiction of cocaine, but I do know that sugar is highly addictive whereas God's sweeteners (fruit, dried-fruits, honey, maple syrup) are not for me.  I can eat and control how much I eat of them.  I also have seen the struggle (and denial) others have with sugar.
 
5.  After researching, pray about the matter.  I have most certainly done this part extensively on this subject.  I did not break my addiction on my own.  I know the power of the processed foods' addictiveness (sugar/salt/fat).  Just five years ago I did not know the extent of my addiction though and it has only been through prayer that God has made it very clear to me and helped me break free.  
 
6.  Oreo cookies have been around for 100 years.  Mass production of food and processing of food to extend shelf life became commonplace beginning in the late nineteenth century with the start of the industrial revolution.  While these things have been with us for some time, one can also look at the trend of health/disease over this time period and also the health/disease of other countries and peoples as "white man's" food was introduced.  I think it is quite clear to everyone that there is a strong correlation between a diet of processed foods and the general decline of each society's health.
 
This is probably not new information for you.  But I as using this example to help you understand what it means to research and evaluate with discernment
 
When you read an article like the college study do you ask yourself, how does this affect me?  This is key.  If you just think, "Oh, wow, that is terrible" or "Oh, but I love my processed sweets and don't want to give them up (whether it is soda or cookies or ice cream)", then you are not evaluating this with discernment. 
 
A study such as this should bring questions to your mind such as, "Do I continue to eat processed sweets because they are as addictive as strong drugs such as cocaine?" or "Do I not want to acknowledge my dependence on sugar because of its effects on my brain that are controlling me?"  If I am evaluating something with discernment, I must ask myself questions like this and then pray about the matter for clarity and strength to see the truth and act upon it.

"This is what the Lord says - your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: 'I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.  If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river, your righteousness like the waves of the sea.'" Isaiah 48: 17 - 18

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Great Green Salad




This is Lois' salad recipe - very delicious.  Be sure to buy the best quality of ingredients possible.

Ingredients:

4 Tbl best quality organic olive oil
2 Tbl red wine vinegar (or raw apple cider vinegar)
1 Tbl Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp
sea salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
A splash of agave nectar (to taste) or raw unfiltered honey

1 tsp chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, chopped or minced

1 avocado - cubed
4 cups mixed salad greens

1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1/2 cup celery, diced
1/2 cup sliced almonds
2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

Whisk together the dressing ingredients (olive oil to garlic).  Add to salad ingredients just before serving.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Weekly Challenge - Week 42 (October 15, 2013)

Research and evaluate with discernment.

 
This is hard because there are so many 'authorities' in today's world giving advice, advice that will not benefit your health and vitality.  Don't blindly accept everything that you are told or that you read as truth.  Work to develop your skills of discernment this week.

It is critical to your health and general well being to learn how to evaluate information that you happen upon - whether you read something, hear something or even touch, smell, or taste something.  There is so much information and many theories that are against what God teaches us in the Bible.  It takes awareness and practice to be able to research things with discernment.
 
Here are some guidelines I use to evaluate new information:
 
1.  What is the motivation behind the group or person who is presenting the information?  This is so key when discerning the validity or truth of something.  In today's world, making money is the primary focus of so many, not necessarily your long term health or quality of life.
 
2.  Does the information conflict in any way with what is written in the Bible?  Is the information in agreement with what God has established or instructed us to do?  Evaluate new information with a Biblical worldview, asking if this is how God intended things to be done or if the information is twisted with deception.  Be cognizant of the marketing ploys that you are being bombarded with.  Ploys to entice you to try a product, whether for a new brand of chips or a new drug to relieve your headaches, telling you what you want to hear without providing all the details such as adverse health effects. 
 
3.  What are both sides of the situation saying and again, what is the motivation of both sides?  There is so much information available on-line - be sure to look at multiple articles and sites when investigating something. 
 
4.  What are the results or effects that others have experienced?  I like to find first hand accounts describing exactly what others have done and as much detail about the subject as possible.  It is very important to understand the pros and cons and long term side-effects to your health.
 
5.  After collecting information on a subject, I pray about the matter.  God has many times shown me what is false or the loop-holes in a situation after I've prayed about it.  Don't skip this critical step in discerning the truth; for the world's wisdom is foolishness to God and it is easy to be deceived.  "Do not deceive yourselves.  If any one of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this age, he should become a 'fool' so that he may become wise.  For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God's sight."  1 Corinthians 3:18 - 19.
 
6.  How long has it been around or used?  I am very leery of new foods/drugs and medical techniques and farming methods and agricultural chemicals.  Long term health and vitality are not the goals of any of these industries.  The world's wisdom is counter to God's wisdom, don't be deceived.
 
There are not many magic bullets; good health is built on commitment, on steady and consistent changes to your diet which you work to establish day-by-day.  The purpose of the weekly challenges is to help you take baby steps throughout the year and establish new permanent eating habits. 

Don't blindly accept everything I have written either.  With discernment, educate yourself and gain God's wisdom concerning your diet and health.  Then be intentional and implement what you have learned. 
 
"If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him."  James 1:5    

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Sharing Lois' Blessing



My friend, Lois, who is a phenomenal cook, had us over for dinner Friday night.  She prepared the most incredible dinner using 100% God-made ingredients, and everything was delicious.  She used many fresh ingredients and herbs which have amazing healing powers.  I was refreshed and uplifted by her generosity after a rough week.  Thank you, Lois for blessing me and now those who are reading this post. 
 

Not only did Lois bless us with her dinner, she said I could write a guest post about it.  She graciously let me take photos and she is sharing all of her recipes with you!  Lois has numerous great recipes and has always shared her successes with me, such as her simple roast recipe
 
I have mentioned many times how important it is to share what you are doing with others - tell them what you are trying to do (hopefully your goal is to eliminate man-made processed foods from your diet and eat 100% God-made foods).

How fun it is to share a wonderful home-cooked meal with friends.  I think this is becoming a lost art, which is so damaging to our health and relationships.  Perhaps you will be on the receiving end as I was, or you could initiate the time by inviting someone over for dinner.  It is so important to your success with your diet to include others for encouragement and support.



Lois' Dinner

Tomato Soup
Grilled Wild Salmon
Roasted Potatoes with Parmesan
Steamed Broccoli
Great Green Salad
Tapioca Pudding with Strawberries and Almonds

I will be sharing all of Lois' recipes soon! 

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Pear Crumble



Thanks to my friend, Minnie, I have lots of fresh pears.  Thus I made pear crumble this morning for breakfast.  It was delicious.  Pear crumble is very much like peach crumble but I use slightly different spices.  Ginger goes great with pears, but not nutmeg. 

Ingredients:

Filling
2 - 3 cups diced pears (no need to peel)
2 Tbl pure maple syrup
1 Tbl pure honey
1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour (or 2 Tbl wheat berries or buckwheat groats)
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp fine sea salt

Topping

2/3 cup whole grain pastry flour (or 1/2 cup spelt berries)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/3 cup coconut oil (liquefied)
1 Tbl maple syrup

Core and dice fresh pears.  Drizzle the 1 Tbl of honey and 2 Tbl of maple syrup over pears, and stir well to mix.  In a separate dish, mix together the filling flour and spices, then add to pear mixture and stir well.  Grease an 8" square glass baking dish with butter, and pour in pear mixture.
 
In a separate bowl, mix the topping flour and spices.  Stir well. Add the rolled oats, and stir again.  In a measuring cup, mix the coconut oil and maple syrup (if the maple syrup in cold, it will solidify the coconut oil so I gently heat the mix on the stove until liquefied again).  While stirring, pour the liquid mix onto the dry mix.  Place the resulting crumbly mixture over the pears.  Bake at 325 °F for 45 minutes.
 
 


Friday, October 11, 2013

Thanksgiving Turkey



I learned this ingenious way to bake a turkey from my friend, Jana.  It is so incredibly easy and always turns out moist and delicious.  I am posting this early so that you can use this technique if you wish for your Thanksgiving turkey this year.

Late summer or early fall is the time to order your turkey if you are getting a local turkey.  I have been ordering my turkeys from Natural Grocer and placed my order last week.  You cannot buy a turkey from Natural Grocer without pre-ordering.  The order deadline is several weeks prior to Thanksgiving and they do run out of some sizes and types of turkeys for pre-orders.  They are expensive but in addition to the turkey meat, I also get loads of excellent turkey broth.
 
I always order two turkeys, one for Thanksgiving and one for Easter, which I put in my freezer.  Better quality turkeys are only available right before Thanksgiving.  Whole Foods also carries better quality turkeys.   

I no longer cook my stuffing in my turkey because I always make broth with the carcass.  Turkeys are more wild than chickens and thus naturally free-range better if given access to the outdoors.  I have never raised my own turkeys but hope to in the future since they would eat the same feed as my chickens and would be the optimum quality since I could let them truly free-range on lots of green pasture. 

I would not recommend baking a Butterball or other conventional turkey (even if you are given it free at the grocery store), they are loaded with additives.  Per their website the ingredients are:  Whole Young Turkey. Contains up to 8% of a solution of Water, Salt, Spices, and Natural Flavor.

Ingredients:

1 free range turkey
1 - 2 yellow onions
1 - 2 organic lemons
1 organic orange
several rosemary sprigs
2 - 3 Tbl. olive oil
1/2 tsp paprika
cheap sea salt (for cleaning)



I (or Fred in this case since it was too heavy for me) clean and prepare the turkey the same way I clean a chicken that I plan to bake - read through the baked chicken post if you are not familiar with it.  Be sure to take out the neck and organs that are placed inside the turkey.  Also take out the plastic piece that holds the legs (it is ok to leave in a metal holder).  After cleaning (cleaning with cheap sea salt and rinsing), I dry off the turkey. 

 

I then stuff it in a similar manner to my baked chicken, though I add organic orange chunks in addition to the lemon chunks, onion chunks, and rosemary sprigs.  The ingredient amounts shown above vary based on the size of your turkey. 
 
  

A turkey will not fit into my glass pot, so the ingenious trick is to bake it in a brown paper grocery bag.  USE A PLAIN bag with minimal ink that is only on the topside (Market Street bags are usually acceptable).  The best are bags with no writing at all.  These can be hard to find.  I save them when I happen to find them throughout the year.  For a large turkey - I use two bags.



Be sure you also use a heavy roasting pan big enough to hold the entire grocery bag so you do not leak drippings into your oven and start a fire.

Place the stuffed turkey into the grocery bag, and the rub it with your olive oil mixture (olive oil, good quality sea salt and paprika - quantities dependent upon turkey size).  If your turkey is small, you can fold over the end of the bag and staple it closed.  If your turkey is large, place another bag over the open end as shown in the photo above.



Place in 300 °F oven and bake until cooked.  This technique is very forgiving - it is hard to over bake your turkey.  I bake it until it smells done!  I have found that a 10 pound turkey takes about 4 1/2 hours and a 16 pound turkey about 6 hours, if thoroughly thawed and stuffed only with what is described above.

 

Remove from oven and let rest for about 30 minutes before serving (don't open the bag up until ready to slice).


Save all the bones, skin and extra drippings to make your broth.  I place them all in my large enamel pot or split the bones between two glass pots and make it the same way as I make chicken broth.  Be sure to include the lemon and oranges - you need something acidic to pull the minerals and nutrients from the bones.
 


Thursday, October 10, 2013

Lunches To Go

 
Even if you are not home for lunch, you can still eat well if you do a little advanced planning.  Be creative and think out of the box.  Lots of leftover foods taste great cold, such as meatloaf.  You will need to buy a thermos bag and ice packs to keep your food cold, if you don't already have them.  Purchasing a wide-mouth thermos is also a good idea so that you can take either hot (soups/stews) or cold  liquidy (smoothies) foods with you.  It is also great to have things such as frozen muffins, breads and cookies in the freezer to put in your lunch.  They will be thawed by the time you eat them.  Make lunch fun, delicious and healthy.  I like to pack a fresh fruit and veggie with lunch.  Be sure to select produce that is in season, buy organic for those most contaminated produce items, and eat your fruit first.  Here are some lunch ideas to get you started.
 
To - Go Lunch Ideas
 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Weekly Challenge - Week 41 (October 8, 2013)

No fast foods or drinks.


For some this might be a nice break from the challenges this week because you never eat out at fast food restaurants; for others this may be a real challenge.  No stopping at Sonic or Chik-fil-a or Subway for a quick bite for you or your kids.  If this is a weekly occurrence for your family, with a bit of planning, see whether you can go the entire week without fast food.  Once you consciously do it one week, try to continue this trend, stopping for less and less fast food and drinks.  Not only with this be a health benefit for you but a money savings too.
 
Advanced Challenge for those who don't eat at fast food restaurants:
 
See if you can go a whole week without eating out at any restaurant.  Twenty-one home cooked meals from scratch that you have prepared.  If this is not something you do regularly, be sure to create a meal plan to help you succeed.  Also avoid using man-made unhealthy ingredients in your home cooked meals and instead use the best quality ingredients you can find.  There are lots of recipes to choice from under the recipe box tab. 
 
If you tackle this challenge(s) and succeed this week, I know that you will have a wonderful sense of success and accomplishment! 
 
"Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand."  Isaiah 41:10
 

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Fred's Trail Mix



This is the trail mix Fred put together to take on the plane for his trip to California.  Nuts and seeds are an excellent choice for traveling.  He made enough to snack on throughout the week.  In fact, one day at the conference, the lunch they provided was terrible quality (a footlong hotdog wrapped in bacon) and so he was able to eat trail mix and an apple for lunch instead.  Though this was a light lunch, it was enough to get him by until dinner.
 
The quantities for this trail mix do not have to be measured, adjust as you wish and vary the ingredients.  The raisins and sesame sticks are a great addition to add a bit of sweetness and some crunch.   

Ingredients:

Organic walnut pieces
Organic pecan pieces
Organic pumpkin seeds
Organic sunflower seeds
Organic raisins
Whole wheat sesame sticks
A few grinds of sea salt

Place all ingredients except sea salt in a bowl (make sure you have plenty of extra room in the bowl to mix).  Mix ingredients together and then place a few grinds of sea salt over the top.  Mix thoroughly again, and then add a couple more grinds of sea salt.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Lunch on the Plane



Whenever we fly, we always take a sack lunch with us.  The food at the airport is not fresh and home-cooked with good ingredients, and you never know how long your travels many take, even if your flight is only an hour.
 
Fred went on a trip to California a couple weeks ago and this was the lunch he took with him.  He was optimistic that his flight would be on time - I typically pack a bit more food when I travel. 
 
For a lunch when you don't want to or can't bring a thermos bag or ice pack, don't bring meats (or perishables) and use your 'food' as the ice.  Be prepared and have some frozen muffins or other homemade bread, pastry or dessert creation in the freezer to bring along.
 
Airplane Lunch Possibilities:
 
Frozen muffins (lemon poppy seed as shown in the photo)
Frozen cookies (such as Mary's (chocolate chip) cookies)
Fresh noncrushable fruit (organic apple, orange, pear, etc.)
Fresh veggie sticks (organic carrot, celery, cucumber, etc.)
Trail mix (Fred created the trail mix in the photo above for his trip - I'll share his recipe tomorrow)
Frozen nuts (such as Brazil nuts, almonds, etc.)
Hard cheese cubes such as an aged cheddar (don't freeze your cheese in advance)
 
Nuts and cheese are excellent choices to bring when traveling.  Though they are refrigerated at home, they can be left out for the day.  If you pack your lunch on the way out the door, then frozen bready items you pack will help keep the other items cold for longer. 
 
Do not try to bring anything that is at all viscous, including honey or it will be confiscated.  I bought some expensive raw honey while in the east and had it taken away from me by security at the airport when trying to fly home with it.  Of course, you also cannot bring water or other drinks into the airport.  You can bring an empty bottle though.  I also include an empty water bottle and fill it once I get inside the airport.  Staying hydrated is key when flying.
 
Once Fred got to California he found a Sprouts grocery store and stocked up on foods to eat during the week.  He had a small refrigerator in his room and he ate all his breakfasts in his room.  I have provided many more tips on eating when traveling in another post.
 
Traveling does not have to mean that you stumble off your FoodsbyGod diet.  You will be amazed how much better you will feel if you plan ahead, bring good foods with you and stay on track.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Renee's Special Surprise at School


 
I am writing this post about a teacher named Renee:

I want to share what happened on Monday at the home school coop that we joined this year.  The teacher of a class on the Civil War (in which I am an assistance) had come to a class I taught 5 or so years ago about eating God's foods.  Small world isn't it?  She mentioned it the first class and we talked a bit about my teaching FoodsbyGod classes again this year.
 
Then she surprised me with a very special treat this past Monday.  Since the class is about the Civil War, she searched for an authentic Civil War dessert, and found Civil War Ginger Bread.  She brought some to class for all of us to try.



She found the recipe on-line and took it a step further by making it with all healthy FoodsbyGod ingredients; grinding her own soft white wheat berries and using organic butter.  She picked a recipe that contained no sugar and brought a copy of the recipe for me!
 
Wow - thank you, Renee!  It was so fun to enjoy the snack with the class and for the kids to taste a sweet made without sugar.  I was so impressed and so appreciate the thoughtfulness.  It was tasty and very moist.
 
Please be sure to tell others about your FoodsbyGod diet - it is so important to share what you are doing, especially if you are trying to go 100% and eliminate all of the man-made foods that rob us of our health. 
 
This was a double blessing this week for me, since I also learned of four women struggling with various stages of breast cancer.  Hearing about each one and their journey breaks my heart.
 
This doesn't have to be.  Please take your diet seriously and work through the weekly challenges.  Don't wait until you are diagnosed with a serious disease.  Coming down with cancer is not a matter of bad luck - most cancers develop because of diet.  Don't be the next victim of the food industry and man-made medicine.  Take your diet seriously and may God bless you as you break free from the modern American diet.

"Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you?  If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him, for God's temple is sacred, and you are that temple."  1 Corinthians 3:16 - 17  

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Weekly Challenge - Week 40 (October 1, 2013)

Take time to smell the roses, and the lavender, and the basil and oregano and thyme and....



Herbs and plants have incredible healing powers just by smelling them or breaking some off and rubbing them in your hands to release their life force - their essential oils.  You may be familiar with the amazing properties of pure excellent quality essential oils (not the cheap imitations sold at the local grocery store) and you may know that they are very expensive. 

Well you can have free access to many of these same oils through the plants you grow.  I don't think I have emphasized enough the importance of adding fresh herbs at the very end to your healing soup.  This is a large part of the healing power.  You don't want to cook them in the soup and destroy the properties of the essential oils within these plants.  In fact, just working with these fresh herbs will bless you as you inhale their fragrance and handle them with your fingers.  I find learning about the healing properties of these plants that God has given to us fascinating.  If you do too, educate yourself and read about each one's special properties.  For example, this site has information about basil and the anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties of its essential oil which is obtained from its leaves.

I love what my friend, Lynn, wrote to me this weekend on this very subject.  I had written to her and told her that I had gone out to the garden and cut some lavender, then rubbed it in my hands while inhaling the fragrance.  What a wonderful, wonderful, experience this was and uplifting to my spirit.  She wrote back,

"I believe God gave us our five senses for us to discover what He made, and Him ultimately.  Smells from what the Lord has made are life giving (herbs, oils, flowers, ocean, ETC) by increasing the frequencies of our bodies and reaching deep into the recesses of the mind vs. man-made smells which are imitators and lower the body's frequency making it susceptible to disease (think Plug-Ins, pollution, carpets, ...).  I love fresh herbs.  They are easy to grow in north Texas.  I had peppermint and cilantro in the greens we ate Friday.  And the egg salad I once had at your house with fresh herbs was the best! I love rubbing my hands on the rosemary growing in the backyard...."
 

I think this is a wonderful word picture of what going 100% means.  Experiencing the life-giving forces from our foods and the plants around us.  Lynn fixed me the most delicious dinner last Friday night, shown in the photo above.  She had a wonderful salad with grilled pineapple and red bell pepper (plus the mint and cilantro she mentioned) with 100% grass-fed burgers and sauerkraut.  She always accompanies her meals with fresh cut greens or sauces containing fresh herbs.  I was feeling a bit under the weather by the end of last week, and wanted to just rest at home Friday night.  But God had other plans in mind for me.  Instead, Lynn fed me this wonderful dinner and we went to a presentation on the healing powers of essential oils. 



Inspired, I used a lot of fresh herbs in my meals on Saturday.  I had eggs with green chili salsa and my herbs for breakfast, and a large dollop of homemade sour cream with fresh herbs on my bowl of chicken sausage gumbo for dinner.  Plus I cut some lavender (on my breakfast plate) and rubbed it in my hands and inhaled the wonderful fragrance as I prepared the meal. 

 
By Sunday I was feeling incredibly energized and renewed.  Remember that you must be intentional about what you are doing -  just thinking about what you want to do is not enough.  Did you master the challenge from Week 14, to plant and use fresh herbs?  I hope so.

This week, go out and smell those herbs you have planted.  Smell those roses you have in your yard (and stop using pesticides and herbicides which pollutes our senses and weakens the plant).  If you have not bought any herbs yet, get some this week (basil is a warm weather annual so don't plant that outside at this time of year). 
 
If you already have some herbs and flowering plants, add something new to your yard, garden or patio collection of pots.  Think about what essential oils are available and get a plant of one of these.  The fresh healing herbs in the healing chicken soup all have excellent anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal properties.  The basic ones to start with include rosemary, oregano (and/or marjoram), thyme, parsley, and basil.  I also love having lavender in my yard (it does not like receiving much water) and it is an herb that is good for alleviating allergies and headaches to name just a few of its abilities.

So go outside this week and smell the roses and other life-giving plants that God has provided for us in His creation and praise the King of Kings for His provisions.


"...nard (lavender) and saffron, calamus and cinnamon, with every kind of incense tree, with myrrh and aloes and all the finest spices." Song of Solomon 4:14