Posts tagged ‘health’

July 19, 2012

Here’s to Health…

Have you ever felt like you are on life overload? I have felt like that recently. As a person, I am always in some process of self-awareness, trying to learn and better myself. That can sometimes get a little hectic and possibly out of hand.

Recently I have been working on my overall health. This has two major components. The first is to become nutritionally healthier. Since my first year of college up to recently, my weight has been steadily increasing. When starting college, my 5’6″ frame was at around 130 lbs or so. Sometime last year, about 8 years later, I hit about 200 lbs. That number crushed me. I couldn’t believe I had let myself gain so much weight. I hated loking at pictures of myself — I didn’t even recognize the woman staring back at me. About two months ago I finally decided enough was enough and started Isagenix, which is an all natural meal replacement program. I’ve been working with a therapist/life coach/friend who has helped keep me on track and so far, through a change in diet and exercise, I’ve lost somewhere between 8 and 10 lbs (yay!!). This isn’t just about losing weight, though.

The second component is paying better attention to what I put in and on my body. This is about educating myself. First is food. The main reason most people are overweight is sugar. Our society consumes entirely too much sugar – namely processed sugar, which is found in most anything that comes from a package. But processed sugar is also that white stuff found in your sugar bowl in your kitchen. Better options for natural sweeteners  are honey, agave syrup, and brown sugar, which still contain calories but have less impact on your glycemic index. Along with being more aware of the sugar I’m consuming, I’m also more aware of other things I consume. I try to avoid vegetable oil, replacing it with olive oils, coconut oil, grape seed oil, etc. I also have almost completely eliminated partially hydrogenated oils (trans fats) from my diet. I am also in the process of eliminating all white flour and white sugar from my diet. These changes aren’t super easy – but eating more whole foods (non-packaged items, fruits, vegetables, and meats) makes it a lot easier.

Secondly: products. In my life I have started eliminating certain products that contain toxins, poisons, or dangerous chemicals. So far, this has included ventures in homemade deodorant, homemade cleaning products, using essential oils to  relieve headaches, goat’s milk soap, and trying out a non-shampoo hair rinse made up of a baking soda rinse and an apple cider vinegar rinse (results post is soon to come). I am continuously going to be looking for healthier and more natural options for my everyday health and beauty products. That being said, any input or ideas from my readers would be greatly appreciated. Other things I’m interested in are homemade laundry soap, dish soap, bug spray, carpet cleaner, and  any no-flour baking ideas.

As you can see, the past two months have been filled with a lot of change. Hopefully I can start paving the way to a healthier and more natural life. Now only if I could drag my husband into it with me… 🙂 Baby steps!!

 

*Disclaimer: I am not a doctor. Make sure you are healthy enough for physical activity before starting any exercise regime and be sure to be aware of any possible allergies, etc before changing up your diet.

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May 22, 2012

My Love for Cilantro

I really enjoy cooking. Honestly, I really enjoy food all around. If anyone knows me, they know that I love to entertain guests and cook meals. Since my husband, Jason, and I have been in Wisconsin, I have hosted several holidays and one very special thirtieth birthday party 🙂

I’m always looking for new recipes that reinvent old favorites. If I can make it from a box, then why can’t I make it from scratch? Some of my favorites are baked macaroni and cheese, white chicken chili made with a tortilla soup base, and homemade salsa.

My two favorite ingredients in my salsa are fresh lime juice and freshly chopped cilantro. I love cilantro. Cilantro adds this wonderful fresh flavor to anything you put it in. When I describe it to people (because, yes, I enjoy describing the flavors of my favorite herbs to people all the time), I compare it to that light freshness that mint has, minus the minty flavor.

I was recently looking for a recipe for a tuna salad that didn’t incorporate any pasta in it. (I’m trying to be more conscious of the empty carbs I eat) I cam across this Salvadoran Tuna Salad. It has tuna, chopped tomato (I used halved grape tomatoes), fresh lime juice, chopped and seeded jalapeno, a little mayonnaise, and freshly chopped cilantro 🙂 Yes! It also calls for a chopped onion but I don’t put raw onions in anything but my salsa. You serve it on crackers. This recipe was delicious! Very light and tasty. I eat it by itself, without the crackers, and it is amazing. The tomato, lime, and cilantro give it freshness of salsa and the tuna and mayo give it a nice body. It is a great combination of flavors.

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I look forward to taking this salad/dip to more cookouts and gatherings in the coming summer. I found a similar recipe that calls for freshly pressed garlic, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil instead of mayo. I’ll have to report my findings on how that turns out.

I’m always open to recipe ideas. If anyone has something delicious they would like to share, please do! I would also love to hear what you all think about this recipe. Thanks for reading!

May 18, 2012

H2O Project: Changing a Perspective

There’s nothing like a little suffering to put life into perspective.

At my church we decided to take on an initiative to help provide water wells in places where they do not have access to clean water. I talked about this a little bit in my last post. Now that I’m clear-headed and caffeinated once again, I feel as though I’m ready to talk about it some more.

The initiative is called the H2O Project. The idea is that you give up all beverages besides water for a certain amount of time. During that time you calculate what you would have spent on all other beverages. At the the end of that time you take the money you would have spent on other beverages and donate it to an organization of your choosing that will help provide water wells to developing countries who do not have clean water. My church decided to send our proceeds to Living Water International

There are two parts to this initiative, which is why I think it is so powerful. There is the practical money aspect. They need money to make this happen, so we donate our money to those who need it. But then there is the personal aspect. We make a conscious decision to go without something we want so others can get something they need. We don’t have give up something to donate the money. The donation is the easy part. The act of giving something up is the hard part because it involves a little bit of sacrifice and suffering on our end. If we didn’t give something up, though, it would no longer make it personal. Of course being a little caffeine deprived is nothing compared to the suffering the people go through when they have no clean water. We’re talking disease, suffering, and death in so many cases. One child dies every 15 seconds from a (preventable) water related disease.

For me, the lack of coffee hit the hardest. The first week was one big headache between caffeine deprivation and well-timed allergies. But it really did put life into perspective a little bit. I realized that my “sacrifice” was definitely a first-world problem — similar to when your iPod stops working, or when your computer crashes, or when a speech from the president interrupts your favorit show. Those are mild annoyances but not nearly as awful as when your sibling gets cholera from drinking dirty water or when your government deprives your village of a water well because they don’t like your tribe.

This entire experience made me come to two realizations. First, this water crisis is very real to a lot of people across the world (about 1 billion people). Something needs to be done. Second, it really helped me to appreciate what I have. Namely clean water and coffee. That first cup of coffee after two full weeks with out any was heavenly. The best part, probably, was that I got to enjoy it with my mom on Mother’s Day. Since then I have had quite a large amount of coffee, but I tend to appreciate that warm, nutty goodness a little more than I used to. Needless to say, my co-workers are also appreciative of my coffee 🙂

I guess the moral of the story would be take the time to really enjoy the things you have in life — even the small things — and, every once in a while, think about what life would be like without those things. As a first world nation, we are truly blessed — even our poor and homeless have more luxuries than those in developing nations who don’t even have access to clean water. Think about it.

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