Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Week 5

Don't eat or drink anything (except water) after dinner.

I am SO glad I am starting over with the challenges myself because I have been cheating on this one quite a bit lately.  I need to make a conscious effort to stop eating at night after dinner and I am starting today!  I will explain below why this is so important.  I hope you will join me with this challenge.

This one should be incredibly easy - it takes no effort or shopping, it gives you more time to do something else, and it saves you money!  But, I have a feeling, that this could be incredibly hard for many.  I hope I don't lose your participation with the weekly challenges this week.  It may be hard at first, but I promise that it will soon become a habit and you will no longer struggle with cravings and hunger in the evening hours.  If this is hard for you, please turn your craving to God, and ask for His help in prayer.  This challenge is applicable and healthful for everyone, except the very young who are nursed or still take a bottle before bed.  It is key to healing and maintaining good health because it allows the body to fast and cleanse overnight.
Some tips and suggestions:
1.  Don't starve yourself during the day.  If you starve yourself all day; you will be ravenous by dinner time and you will overeat.  Starved of calories all day, you will likely continue to crave something to eat later in the evening.   To make matters worse, during the day you have slowed your metabolism (the body's defense against times of starvation), and your evening food will be turned into unhealthy fat during the night.  Try to eat three meals at fairly regular times of the day.  Your meals don't have to be difficult.  If you are not at home and don't have much time to eat; pack up some hard cheese (like cheddar), whole grain crackers, raw nuts, carrot or celery sticks, and a piece or two of fresh fruit.  I also have several suggests for to-go lunches posted.
2.  Try to eat your dinner by 7:00 p.m.  My family typically eats between 5:00 and 7:00.  This will allow time for your food to digest before you go to bed.
3.  I have many meal ideas and recipes to help you, so with the knowledge you have already, try to switch to more and more of God-made foods which provide nourishment and satisfy you, as Jennifer has seen over the last month.
4.  If you feel you must eat after dinner, try to identify why.  For some people it is a poor diet of man-made food (these foods don't provide the nutrients your body needs and thus they don't satisfy your hunger), but for others it is 'comfort' eating.  If you find you overeat or you eat junk food when you face a disappointment, loneliness, stress, past hurt, or any number of other reasons - recognize what is happening. This is the first step to overcoming this addiction. Typically the foods you are eating as 'comfort' foods are the very addictive man-made foods designed by man tomake you crave them.  You become trapped in a vicious cycle.
5.  If you are hungry, try drinking some water.  A person can feel hungry when dehydrated.
6.  Change your routine and distract yourself during the time you would normally be snacking.  Take a walk, play a game, connect with your family or neighbors, write a note and mail it, or call a friend.
7.  If it seems just impossible for you not to eat before bed, or if you get up in the night to eat, try to eat fresh fruit for your snack.  Fresh fruit takes very little energy to digest so this would be a good transition if you cannot go cold turkey on this challenge.
If you have not connected with someone whom you see or chat with, or text with daily, now would be a great time to do so.  It is so much easier, and fun, to face a challenge with the help and support of a friend.

I thank God that He put it on my heart to change my diet before I had my sons so I could enjoy the fun times while they grew.  I want to share my daily health struggles and thoughts from when I was eating a diet of mostly man-made food before my boys were born.  I hope this might help you if this challenge is difficult for you.
At one point during my adult life prior to having children, I was convinced that I had to eat in the evening before bed.  I was also convinced by my mother that I had to eat the first thing when I got up or I would pass out.  I did feel like I would pass out if I didn't immediately eat something, so it was easy for me to believe this was true.  My mother told me that hypoglycemia ran in our family, that she and my sister had it, and that she thought I had developed it too.
She was just conveying to me what she was told when she went to her doctor with similar symptoms and had testing done.  She said that I needed to eat multiple small meals/snacks throughout the day, starting first thing in the morning right up until bedtime, to stabilize my blood sugar.  If you know anything about hypoglycemia, diabetes 'cousin', it is not thought to be a curable disease.
This became my routine.  I ate upon rising, I ate frequently through the day, and I ate right before bed.  I was so far off balance and it got so bad, that I carried food in my purse for those times when I felt so weak and faint throughout the day that I thought I would collapse.  This seems so foreign to me now, like I am writing about another person, not myself!
For anyone who knows me now, I never have any food in my purse or the car, and can go most of the day without food if I need too.  I get up early at 4:00 or 5:00 a.m.  and drink a glass of water.  I then continue to sip on water until about 7:00 a.m. when I eat some fruit.  Next comes breakfast anywhere from 7:30 to 9:00 a.m.  I eat lunch around noon, sometimes have fruit or some other light snack in the afternoon, and dinner around 6:00 p.m.  I never feel faint anymore since I have switched to a diet of excellent quality God-made foods.  God's foods satisfy me and provide the nourishment my body needs, so I do not crave food in the evening before bed nor need it to sleep.  It is amazing what 'diseases' can be cured by a diet of God-made food and following a good daily routine.
I am sharing this for those who might say, "But my situation is different and I must eat before bed."  Eating before bed is not the answer to your health issue; unfortunately, it is an unhealthy habit that has been adopted as an acceptable practice which will not produce the vitality, energy and good health you are trying to achieve.
"Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always."  1 Chronicles 16:11

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Chicken Fajita Meat

I think everyone loves chicken fajitas and this marinade recipe creates a delicious grilled chicken for them.  If you are cutting down (or out) gluten from your diet, making a chicken fajita salad is also incredibly good.  As I have mentioned so many times in the past, the quality of the chicken that you purchase is critical.  I don't typically buy chicken breast meat because the breasts are expensive.  Also I buy whole chickens so I can make bone broth from the carcass, but I have found frozen organic chicken breasts at Costco that I am using for fajitas that I am pleased with. 


2 - 3 organic, free-range chicken breasts

1 roasted hot green chili (peeled, deseeded, and diced fine)
3 Tbl extra virgin organic olive oil
juice of 1 small organic lemon
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground pepper

Thaw frozen chicken breasts in the refrigerator (don't thaw in the microwave).  Marinade meat for two to eight hours before grilling meat.  We use one Hatch New Mexico green chili for the marinade.  I keep a bag of hot ones in the freezer that we have previously roasted.  We grew a batch of really hot peppers in the garden the year before last that have great flavor.  You can also use ones that you have purchased at the store (available in August, plan to get some next year). 

Thaw the chili and then remove the roasted skin and inner veins and seeds.  Next dice fine and place in a small glass dish. (You can substitute another type hot chili if you do not have any in your freezer, just be sure you roast it so you can remove the skin).    Place the rest of the marinade ingredients with the chili, and mix together.

I cut the chicken breasts in half horizontally (but don't cut into strips yet) because they are too thick to grill evenly, and then place them in a glass bowl.  Pour the marinade over the chicken meat and thoroughly mix it so that all the meat surfaces are coated with marinade.  Cover and place in the refrigerator.

When ready, grill the whole (thin) breast pieces as you would any chicken breast until thoroughly cooked.  Bring inside and slice into strips.  (I grilled the onion and bell pepper for the fajitas on high heat in a little olive oil inside in a heavy cast iron skillet.)

For our fajitas we use:

One whole wheat or whole grain flour tortilla (or a bed of organic lettuce if having as a salad instead)
Grilled chicken fajita meat
Grilled onion and organic bell pepper strips
Fresh avocado slices
Salsa (homemade is great but tomatoes are not in season now)
Grated white cheese (grate your own, pre-shredded has anti-caking chemicals added)

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Baked Ham

This is my revised version of my mom's holiday ham.  It is often so easy to modify a recipe.  For this one, I replaced the brown sugar (no better for you than any processed sugar) with honey, canned pineapple with fresh, and pasteurized orange juice from concentrate with freshly squeezed from an organic orange. 
It is hard to find a cured ham with a bone in it, that is not spiral cut, and that has not been injected with chemicals.  Look for local farmers and be cautious when buying hams - pigs eat anything (the garbage collectors of the earth) and were considered unclean animals, unfit to eat by the Jewish people in the Bible.  Thus the quality of ham you buy is very important.  Of course, this is true for any pork product you eat, whether it is bacon, lunch meat, pork loin or a whole ham.

This is the ham I purchased for our Christmas dinner.  As I said in that post, it was o.k., but I would like to find a source for more natural hams because this lists evaporated cane syrup in its ingredient list.  I did not look at the ingredient list when I purchased it since I was in a hurry and waited until December 23rd to buy my ham.  It is SO important to get in the habit of always reading the ingredient labels - I hope you are working on this Week 3 weekly challenge.  I am.  I have recommitted myself this year to make this challenge a habit even when shopping at grocery stores that typically carry better quality products such as Whole Foods, Sprouts, Trader Joe's or Natural Grocer.

One cured ham, butt or shank, any size that is not spiral sliced and which has a bone still in it.
One fresh pineapple, cut into chunks or rings
One organic orange (optional)
A handful of whole cloves
4 Tbl pure honey

You also need:
A heavy, sturdy roasting pan
Heavy duty aluminum foil
Place ham in the roasting pan on the rack.  Score the ham into a grid 1" to 1 1/2" (just through the outer rind layer).  Stick whole cloves in ham every 2" to 2 1/2".  Then place pineapple chunks or slices on top side with toothpicks as shown in the photo.

Mix basting sauce:  Pour pineapple juice left over from cut up pineapple (the juice that will be left in the bowl in which you have placed the cut chunks), typically about 1/4 cup into a small glass container.  Juice one orange and add that juice to the pineapple juice.  Stir in honey, and slowly drizzle about half of the mixture all over the ham.  Cover the ham carefully (so you don't poke the toothpicks through the aluminum foil), and bake in the oven at 325 °F to 350 °F for about 1 1/2 hours.  Baste once about half way through bake time with the rest of the basting mix.  (If you are using a ham that has not been already cured, be sure to cook it thoroughly, an internal temperature of at least 160 °F.)  

Remove from oven and allow to rest 15 to 30 minutes before cutting.  Serve cut ham immediately and enjoy the leftovers either hot or cold.  You can freeze leftover chunks and use in recipes like chicken sausage gumbo in place of the sausage.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Week 4

Eat a small handful of raw nuts or seeds each day.

A few tips and suggestions:

1.  Be sure you buy raw nuts and seeds.  Roasted and salted varieties are not as beneficial and will make you gain unhealthy weight.  They also often contain cheap salt and sugar (can be listed as other names such as high fructose corn syrup). Both cheap salt and sugar by any name are on the list of foods and ingredients to avoid.  Raw nuts and seeds are an excellent source of protein, Omega-3 oils, anti-oxidants, vitamins, and minerals.  

2.  If you are trying to lose weight and have the time, buy nuts or seeds in the shell so you have to work to eat them.  This will also slow you down as you enjoy eating them.


3.  You can eat a small handful of nuts or seeds a couple times throughout the day if you wish but don't eat large quantities.  A little goes a long way and is very beneficial, but don't over do it.  Nuts and seeds, along with grains and beans and rice contain phytates (which inhibit them from sprouting until properly warmed and soaked in the spring in nature).  While most of the phytates are in the shell or hull, some are still found in the edible portion.  Soaking can reduce the amount some, and buying organic can insure a lower amount but some will still be present.  Also it is a much better idea to eat raw whole nuts and seeds, rather than nut and seed butter to maximize your nutritional intake while minimizing your phytate intake.  You do not want a diet too high in natural phytates but God did provide these things as foods, and I don't think man fully understands all the facts about them.  Nuts and seeds have been an excellent sources of nutrition for man since early Biblical times.  For those who would like more technical information on this issue (I think they are perhaps a bit overcautious though excellent information), check out this Weston Price article.

4.  There are so many options, select one or two, or try several different ones.  Possibilities include walnuts, pecans, almonds, Brazil nuts, pistachios, cashews, macadamias, hazelnuts, pine nuts, pumpkin seeds (pepitas), and sunflower seeds.

5.  Store your raw nuts and seeds in the refrigerator (or extras in the freezer).  As shown, in the photo above, I store them in glass jars in the refrigerator.  Raw nuts and seeds are perishable, especially in warmer temperatures and can turn rancid if not stored properly.

6.  For men:  eat one handful of raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas) each day to ward off prostrate problems.

7.  For women:  eat 4 to 6 almonds (that have been soaked for a few hours and then peeled) to help stabilize hormones.  Soak a few almonds in a small amount of filtered water for 2 - 6 hours, then peel off the brown skin, and eat.  Almonds are an excellent source of absorbable magnesium (chocolate being another which I think is why women crave chocolate).  During the month, a woman's magnesium levels drop significantly as hormones fluctuate.

8.  For kids:  include their daily raw nuts in their lunch and/or offer as an afternoon snack.

9.  A United States federal law has recently made it illegal to sell or buy raw almonds or hazelnuts.  However, there are a few exceptions, so it is possible to obtain them raw if you research the topic.  Be aware that when you buy almonds that are labeled 'raw' at a local store, they are not really raw.  They have been flash pasteurized.  There are no 'truly' raw almonds sold in Texas; the only ones I know about are sold in California only. 

Advanced Challenge for those already eating a small handful of nuts or seeds each day.

Include a new nut or seed that you are not currently eating into your diet or investigate the properties of nuts and seeds to learn which vitamins and minerals they contain.  Then you can choose which to eat depending upon your current nutritional needs.
"Then their father Israel said to them, 'If it must be, then do this: Put some of the best products of the land in your bags and take them down to the man as a gift—a little balm and a little honey, some spices and myrrh, some pistachio nuts and almonds.'"  Genesis 43:11

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Week 3

Read ingredient labels.

Become informed.  Take this seriously and read every ingredient list on every label for every food you eat this week.  It will probably shock and amaze you.  I love ingredient lists like the one for these diced tomatoes shown in the photo.  Unfortunately, being able to read and pronounce all the items on the list and having less than three or so ingredients is very rare.  But not eating foods that contain man-made ingredients, which your body sees as toxins, is very important. 

A few things to think about concerning ingredient lists:

1.  Read the labels on foods already in your home as you use them.  (You might consider tossing those that contain some of the worst ingredients such as artificial colors and flavorings, MSG or hydrogenated oils.) 

2.  Read the labels on foods which you buy at the grocery store (I know this can take time, but it is worth doing).  If you don't have much time, then buy mostly unprocessed foods as given to us by God that don't have labels.  Produce, raw nuts, beans, grains, eggs, white cheese, etc.  These are the best foods to eat and cook with anyway.  Begin eating more and more foods without labels.  (Of course, meats also do not have ingredient lists, but there are other very important things to learn about obtaining good quality meats.)   

3.  Try to buy foods with a short list of ingredients, only things that you can pronounce and identify as a real food items, as shown with the can of diced tomatoes above.

4.  I have a list of ingredients which I never eat, and those which I minimize.  Use my list or make your own, and stick with it.

This week, I want you to become aware of what is in the food you are eating, and then I will guide you on how to make changes in the weeks to come.  The food industry, is just that, an industry designed to make money by selling food, and they spend lots of money researching how to make their foods addictive.  Become informed, read labels, and don't be a victim.

Advanced Challenge for those already reading labels:

Read ingredient labels. I am writing this to myself!  So many times, I stop reading labels of my favorite brands of items that I regularly buy and then by chance look at the ingredient list and find that it has changed (and always for the worse).  So my challenge this week for all of us is to read labels.  Any food item which you eat that has an ingredient label, read it.

If you are just beginning the weekly challenges, please be sure to read the posts under weekly challenge - in advance.

"Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”  John 8:32

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Christmas Dinner

I like to have a simple, yet tasty meal that doesn't take forever to prepare on busy days like Christmas.  On Christmas we typically have ham.  This simple dinner was not only easy to prepare and delicious, but we also felt good after eating it (so often after a holiday meal, I feel bloated and sluggish).  This year's Christmas dinner included the following:

Baked Sweet Potato (from our garden) with Homemade Butter (instructions coming soon)
Baked and Marinated Pineapple Chunks (from the ham preparation)
Fresh Pomegranate Seeds

Be careful when you buy a ham or any pork product.  We don't eat pork very often, just a few times a year, since pigs are the garbage collectors of the earth (they eat anything) and pork carries parasites that can be transmitted to humans and must be cooked thoroughly.  Perhaps the old Jewish dietary and sanitary laws were given to them by God as a blessing for good health.  Deuteronomy 14 outlines what animals can be eaten and those that should not be eaten by the Jewish people.  Deuteronomy 14:8, "The pig is also unclean, although it has a split hoof; it does not chew the cud.  You are not to eat their meat or touch their carcasses."  If and when eating pork, I think it is especially important to buy the best quality and know how it was raised and fed. 

I found this Wellshire Farm ham at Whole Foods this year, the only better quality ham with a bone that I could find that was not spiral cut.  But I am not pleased with its ingredients since it contained evaporated cane syrup (sugar) and spice extractives (possible source of MSG).  However, it was not preserved with nitrates or phosphates or other added chemicals often sprayed on or injected into the ham during the curing process.  Easter is also a good time of the year to have ham.  For my next ham, I will plan a little better in advance and look for a local farmer providing hams.  Don't just blindly buy foods; always look at their ingredient labels and determine in advance which ingredients you want to completely avoid and which you want to minimize.  Also find good sources for local food and learn how the animals or products are raised.  Here are some websites to help you get started finding local products:

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Week 2

Eat at least one piece of fresh fruit each day.

I hope this is pretty easy for everyone.  Fruit is sweet and delicious and we have so many options. Always eat fruit first if with a meal or on an empty stomach.  If you start your day with a glass of water (week 1 challenge), and follow that with a fresh piece of fruit, you will have started your day well.  Fruit is very easy to digest and very cleansing. Fruit is a natural detoxifier and will help you eliminate toxins from your body rather than store them in your cells.  In fact, fasting on just fresh fruit until noon is a great way in the spring to do a gentle cleanse.  On a daily basis though, starting your day with a glass of water followed by some fresh fruit is as excellent way to regularly flush toxins from your system. 

When you buy your fruit, look for the fruit that is on the end cap in the store or is on special.  Also look to see where the fruit comes from - local produce when available is typically the best.  Just think how delicious a fresh peach just taken off the tree or a ripe strawberry from the vine tastes.  Think of fresh fruit as God's candy!  Buy good quality produce, the best you can find, and enjoy this wonderful treat from God that is easy to prepare and eat.  Ripe, raw fresh fruit is packed with vitamins, minerals, enzymes, anti-oxidants, and other powerful nutrients.

The tray above shows what I have on hand in my house today.  I think the biggest problem is consciously remembering when at the store to buy enough fresh fruit and then remembering to eat it once you get it home.  Speak victory (read the victory post and be encouraged) with this challenge and praise God for the many delicious fresh fruits He has given us!

A few things to think about when enjoying your fruit this week:
1.  Following the 'break fast' advice, eat your fruit 15 to 30 minutes after you have had your glass of water in the morning.

2.  Eat fresh fruits (and vegetables) that are in season.  Thus your daily fresh produce selection with vary throughout the year.  (The raspberry photo above is from my garden in June.  Fresh picked raspberries off the bush are extremely delicious.  Raspberries are not in season right now, but what wonderful mouthwatering memories this photo holds for me.)  Though you may be wondering what is in season, it is easy to learn and it won't take you long to become an expert.  Read the 'in season' post for more information on this.  Right now, oranges, grapefruit, pears, and kiwis are some of the fruits currently in season.  Apples and bananas are also available.  If you are diabetic, pick a fiber rich fruit, one that has edible skin or edible seeds such as a pear, apple or kiwi.
3.  Buy organic when you can, especially for the most contaminated fruits and vegetables.  Each year a list of the worst and the best fruits and vegetables is compiled. Testing is done on a number of samples to see which produce items contain the most and which contain the least pesticide residue.  If you can't afford or find organic, try to choose those produce items that are least contaminated.
4.  Learn to eat your fruit (whether first thing in the morning or later in the day) before other foods on an empty stomach for best digestion.
Advanced Challenge for those already eating a fresh piece of fruit after their water in the morning:
Have a second piece of fresh fruit for an afternoon snack.
If you are just beginning the weekly challenges, please be sure to read the posts under Weekly Challenge - In Advance.
"When they reached the Valley of Eshkol, they cut off a branch bearing a single cluster of grapes. Two of them carried it on a pole between them, along with some pomegranates and figs." Numbers 13:23


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Homemade Potato Bread

Gluten intolerance has become a huge problem for many people.  Don't eat bread made with poor quality wheat and filled with other additives that are not good for you (just about any store bought bread or pastry).  Today's mass-produced poor quality wheat is causing many problems, from obesity to digestive issues for so many people, don't become the next victim.  Purchase heirloom wheat berries, get a grinder, and grind your own.  The bread that you can make at home is incredibly better than anything you can buy.  This modification of the potato roll recipe is amazing. 

Eat less bread but when you do, make sure it is excellent quality and appreciate it as a delectable treat!  This homemade bread with homemade butter and raw honey was certainly a delicious treat for us.


Ingredients (2 loaves):

3 small or 2 medium potatoes (~ 1 1/2 cups mashed)
~ 1 1/2 cups potato water
3 tsp baking yeast
1/2 stick butter, room temperature
1/3 cup honey
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 tsp fine sea salt
many cups (~ 4 or 5) of wheat berries, ground*
Wash and peel potatoes, then cube and place into filtered water.  Be sure the potatoes are covered and that you have more than 1 1/2 cups of water, since some will evaporate.  Bring to a gentle boil and allow to cook until soft (about 20 minutes).  Turn off heat and allow to cool until just warm (baby bottle temperature or about 80 °F).
Remove potatoes from water and mash with a fork.  Then add the yeast to 1 1/2 cups of the cooled, slightly warm, potato water and allow to sit for about 5 minutes (do not stir).  After 5 minutes, pour yeast mixture into a large bowl and add potatoes, eggs, butter and honey.  Lastly stir in the sea salt.
Now it is time to start adding flour.  I start by stirring in a cup of freshly ground flour* at a time, using a wooden spoon to stir.  Once a batter starts to form, be careful to not cut through the dough as you stir.  Continue to fold in flour with a sturdy wooden spoon until you can start kneading the bread with your hands (it will still be sticky at this point).  Continue to knead in flour (I use pastry fine flour at this point as I stated below*), until the dough in smooth and just slightly sticky.  Oil a large bowl, cover with a wet cloth and place in a warm location (ideally about 85 °F).  Allow to rise 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until about doubled in size.  Punch down dough and allow to rise another 45 minutes to an hour. 
Butter and flour a bread pan (I like to use my ceramic stone bread pan).  Shape dough into a loaf and place in pan.  Allow to rise for another 30 to 45 minutes.  

Preheat oven to 400 °F.  With a knife, gently slice across the top of the dough.  Place in oven and immediately turn down heat to 325 °F.  Bake for 45 minutes or until done.


*  I like to use a mix of different organic berries.  Hard white organic wheat berries are nice for bread, along with heirloom berries such as Einkorn, Emmer or Kamut wheat berries.  For bread, I grind my wheat berries coarser to bread flour consistency.  Not until almost all the flour is incorporated, as I am kneading the bread with my hands, do I start adding flour that is ground to a fine pastry consistency.  For the last cup or two of wheat that is added, I use soft white whole wheat berries, ground to pastry flour consistency.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Update on Tom - first semester at college

Tom heads back to college today.  We had a wonderful time having him back home and even got to see a performance of Handel's Messiah at the Meyerson right before Christmas (photo above).  It was fun fixing him his favorite meals and I am going to miss him.  But it is awesome to know he is being well taken care of at college!

He had a fantastic first semester and was greatly blessed.  He continued to eat as we do at home - the cafeteria at his college has been very accommodating.  Tom buys all his ingredients, which they use to prepare his meals.  They have gone above and beyond their original commitment and are even planning his meals and providing Tom with a grocery list of ingredients needed.  We are so extremely grateful for this huge blessing.  And I am so proud of Tom, making time for his rounds to Whole Foods, Sprouts and the farmer's market in his busy college schedule. 

Of course, I am sending him off today with his cooler packed with good foods and ingredients - fresh organic produce, organic excellent quality meats, range-free soy-free eggs from our chickens, raw milk, frozen cookieshomemade chili, etc.  He continues to avoid man-made processed foods and ingredients and is thriving at college.

When Tom was five, I was told by many that he would rebel when he became a teenager because I was so strict with his food.  At that young age, I would not let him have the birthday cake and treats at parties, and junk offered at school.  He was too young to understand that the sweet things and junk foods that everyone around him was eating were addictive and would create health problems for him down the road.

Though at first this was difficult and he would sneak things at school and church when I wasn't around, by third grade he was seeing the consequences of bad food choices and we had a wonderful breakthrough, as I shared previously in this post about sharing what you are doing with others.

Tom did not rebel and in fact, has now become a good role model for his friends at college sharing his knowledge as he lives out what he believes.

A few words from Tom:

Some of my fondest memories from my childhood include frequently stopping by Whole Foods for the tasty samples. I loved hanging out with my family at Whole Foods, and my brother and I pestered my parents to visit as often as possible. Now that I'm at college, Whole Foods is a home away from home. I enjoy shopping for food there, or just enjoying a delicious meal. Eating healthy while in college hasn't been an issue at all. I thank God that He provided a way for me to continue eating healthy in college. If I had to eat junk food, I would probably be constantly sick and never feel good. Luckily, the kitchen staff at my college have been gracious enough to cook me meals from ingredients I buy at Whole Foods and Sprouts. Without these healthy meals, I know that I wouldn't be able to focus on my studies, and my grades would definitely suffer. My friends at college constantly comment about how good this healthy food looks, and many wish they could eat this way too. So far, I have encouraged three of my close friends to give up soda, which they were able to do for a couple months. Maybe I can get them to give it up permanently in the coming semester! I have to thank my mom for encouraging me to eat healthy when I was young. Eating all organic and avoiding sugar has been more than just a habit for me. The idea of eating junk food or anything unheathly sounds digusting; this habit of healthy eating has become a lifestyle. To anyone struggling with maintaining a healthy diet, I encourage you to stick with it! Anything worth achieving will have a struggle to get there, and reaching the goal is something to look back on with pride. Regardless of where you are in your walk to healthier eating habits, I hope my story provides a little encouragement for you, it is possible to maintain a healthy lifestyle even when surrounded by junk food!"

Thus, be encouraged, even if it is hard right now to say 'no' to your kids when they want junk food.  If you don't have junk food in your house, if you also are eating well, if you are doing this together with your kids, you will reap a harvest of good health and commitment from your kids as they grow up.  Take them with you shopping and teach them to choose healthy snacks such as fresh fruit and raw nuts.  Have them read the blog posts and join in the weekly challenges with you.  The good habits and knowledge you provide them when they are young will stick with them through their lifetime.

"Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it."  Proverbs 22:6

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Pumpkin Waffles

Another fun pumpkin recipe, great for breakfast during the holidays or anytime of the year.  They can be made gluten-free if you use gluten free berries or groats such as buckwheat, rice, oat, etc.


1 1/3 cups pastry flour (or 1/2 cup spelt berries & 1/2 cup Prairie Gold wheat berries ground fine)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground ginger

2 eggs, fork beaten
1 cup buttermilk or kefir
3/4 cup pumpkin, homemade or canned
1/2 cup shredded organic apple (don't peel)
2 Tbl pure maple syrup
2 Tbl unsalted organic butter, melted

1/2 cup walnuts pieces
Combine dry ingredients in a bowl.  In a separate bowl, combine the wet ingredients.  Make a well in center of the dry ingredients and pour in wet ingredients.  Stir gently until just combined (do not over mix).  Batter should be slightly thicker than pancake batter.  Add more kefir or buttermilk if needed. 
You can either stir the walnuts in at this point if everyone likes nuts in their waffles or sprinkle them on top of the some of the waffles once you pour the batter into the waffle iron.  This allow you to cook some waffles with and some without nuts.
Heat your waffle iron and then grease generously with butter before pouring batter into it.  For my waffle iron, on a medium setting, the cook time is 7 to 7 1/2 minutes (longer than for the light and fluffy wheat-free waffle recipe).
Enjoy immediately with pure maple syrup (don't forget the honey bear trick). 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Week 1

Drink 8 ounces of room temperature water upon rising.

This first challenge will be easy for many but a real challenge for some.  Whichever category you fall into, try to faithfully do this each morning of this new year.  Read the 'Breakfast' article for more details of why this is so good for you.  Involve your whole family, this is a good practice for everyone, except babies who are still nursing.
If you are someone who does not like water, and even worse, room temperature water, give this a try with an open mind.  I have been amazed at the number of people who start off telling me they can't possibly drink room temperature water, at any time of the day, but then after a few weeks they actually look forward to their glass of room temperature water when they get up.  Also that they no longer desire ice cold water during the day, especially in the winter.  I think it takes about three weeks for the adjustment for most people, so be patient as you start this challenge.

Starting your day with a glass of water has many benefits, and it is so easy to do.  First thing in the morning is the time to break your overnight fast.  Your stomach is empty and the water will go directly into your gut, to help cleanse your colon and regularly eliminate food out of your colon.  This overnight fasting and morning cleansing is extremely important to prevent digestive problems and diseases from constipation to colon cancer.  
A few things to work on this week while drinking your water.
1.  Drink out of glass, not plastic.
2.  Drink room temperature or lukewarm water, not cold or iced water.
3.  If you possibly can, drink filtered water, not tap water.
4.  Drink your cup of water before having anything else (including coffee).
5.  Try to wait 15 to 30 minutes before eating or drinking anything more (though you can take your Probiotic with your water if you don't have much time in the morning - I will do a post of the need for good bacteria in your gut soon).
Put a sticky note on your bathroom mirror or bedside table or refrigerator to remind yourself to drink your water.  It is a great habit to develop. 
Advanced Challenge for those already drinking a cup of water upon rising:
Choose a set time each day and drink a glass of water.  Perhaps select 2:00 or 3:00 p.m., during your afternoon slump when you are tempted to have an unhealthy snack.
If you haven't yet or are just beginning the weekly challenges, please be sure to read the posts under Weekly Challenge - In Advance

The waterfall photo above is taken at Silver Falls State Park in Oregon.  Fresh, clean, sparkling water - an awesome gift from God.
"He turned the desert into pools of water and the parched ground into flowing springs"  Psalm 107:35