Love your neighbor as yourself. My husband and I have the wonderful opportunity of helping others. We just returned from Costa Rica where we worked with a wonderful church and family that was ready and praying for the chance to start a business. The order that we paid for and brought back to Trades of Hope is enough to fund their ministry for two months. We are praying with them that we will sell all of the survivor bracelets we brought and order again! The bracelets are really cool – developed after the input of a whole group of men. Every element included has some survival function. The very making and selling of this product has a survival function for this group of people.
This is a perfect example of that old saying, “Teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime. Give him a fish and feed him for only a day.” Helping them to start this business helps them to fish for a lifetime. They make a really good product and they are rightfully proud of their efforts.
I hope you all get to own one! It is the gift that keeps on giving!
On Monday we had a really good juice for breakfast.
Here’s the recipe:
One red bell pepper (no seeds)
1/2 lime – peeled
2 stalks celery
1 tomato —- you can stop here for 1/2 qt, light and tasty.
1/2 bunch parsley
2 leaves of kale
2 large juicing apples
This finished recipe made a whole quart and was a little sweeter.
It was a pleasant tasting juice, easy to drink and gave us great energy.
The problem is, the juice does not eliminate stress – not the good kind of stress or the more negative – too much stress. When I get too much on my mind – or attempt to put too much on my husband’s mind – we turn to the wrong foods to keep us going. Our list of stuff to do becomes “too long to have time to juice”. We “drive-thru” for the quick sugar rush, the caffeine surge or the carb-comfort. We feel great that we have managed to “accomplish” our to-do list, but who is laughing at the fact that we have also managed to “compromise” our health and longevity just a little bit more?
What is funny is that these substances – sugar, caffeine and carbs – don’t actually help us at all. Studies prove that they in fact do kill us! Yet, we have TRAINED ourselves to feel temporarily “better” by eating them. So, along with the better, healthier juices, we have to be transformed by a renewing of our mind. We have to retrain ourselves to “want” and “reach for” the really good stuff! The great news is that eating better foods makes your mind stronger and sharper!
How many years did I have soda or coffee, chips or cookies beside me while writing papers for school, college and grad school? So, now when I start to write, like Pavlov’s dog, my mind salivates for these types of foods! I need new programming! It is possible to retrain your mind. You can be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Let’s help each other make that happen. Share any tips you have for defeating old habits!
When you have people visit for an extended period, you think about food – a lot. Although people are impressed with our tower gardens and our front yard garden, the idea of eating all raw is a totally alien concept to most. Since it is important to us that our guests feel comfortable and honored, we do not force them to juice or eat raw food. The catch is that I also do not feel that I am honoring someone if I serve them the artificial sugars and processed foods that they may be used to. So, how do we deal with that? It’s costly, but we try to have some of both available. We look two-faced if you enter our home and see these deadly processed foods in our frig and pantry, but it is the compromise that we have found to not upset people or make them feel forced into a lifestyle they have not yet chosen! (Notice I said “yet”.)
We try to have a salad at each meal. We will juice and make smoothies as they heat their morning coffee and English muffins – and – truth being truth – sometimes we even have a cup of coffee and muffin with them. We will make rice and beans, we have luncheon meats in the frig for sandwiches (we don’t eat those), but we can join them for a veggie wrap. I think I’ll try some stir fry for them, and maybe some nut pates or garbanzo bean “tuna”. We will see which changes they are open to. But we are fighting a difficult mentality in that our visitors are on “vacation” and most people on vacation feel that is a time which includes license to eat all the “bad” or “rich” foods that they would not normally eat at home. Vacation is a particularly difficult time to introduce people to “healthy only” choices.
We also are in the throes of weddings! Of course, we all know that celebrations include celebration food! It takes a while before people adjust their taste buds to a place where a watermelon or a ripe peach (I’m drooling) are as ardently desired as a piece of “traditional” wedding cake !(But I want to give a shout out to Adam and Ashley whose wedding we just attended – and they had veggie cups and fruit skewers for appetizers! Awesome!) Still, people on vacation to attend a celebration (or several celebrations as is happening in our family) are not generally the most open to healthy suggestions however lovingly and gently introduced! So, prayers appreciated! We ask that we would be good examples (and not succumb to old habits and bad choices ourselves) and that whoever is supposed to be encouraged would have ears to hear and eyes to see. Thanks! Our guests will be here for a month. We’ll let you know how things work out!
Some days you get up and realize you are so surrounded by blessings it can almost take your breath away! Today is such a day for me. If I were to count all my blessing here, the blog would run for pages and pages. But indulge me and let me name a few. Okay, you expected me to say that I have the greatest kids – well it’s true. I love being at the stage of life where my children are also my friends and each one is so unique and has such interesting things to talk about and stuff going on in their lives. Of course grand children are another delightful blessing. We just saw our oldest grandson in an on-stage performance of Willie Wonka Jr. and he was the most animated oompa loompa! He did a great job! We also got a giggle out of listening to his little brother with us in the audience sing along to every song, complete with appropriate hand motions. He was definitely paying attention as he sat through older brother’s after school rehearsals. Today I am also going to see the grand daughters. The youngest is turning two in a couple days! She is already potty trained! Her older sister is preparing to be the flower girl in several weddings in the coming weeks! We are working on dresses today! They sing and dance and recite scripture verses. It’s amazing to watch all these little minds soak in knowledge!
My extended family is a like a treasure trove of creativity. I literally could write volumes of good stuff about the youngest to the oldest, the in-laws, cousins and distant cousins. We have designers, business owners, writers (and encourage rs), bloggers (and writer). I even get to work with both my husband in ministry and my sister in a ministry/business! In addition to this,I also have really amazing and interesting friends! One is a midwife, delivering babies, another just published a book, a third is finishing her nursing degree as an additional career. Two others are also nurses, and one makes goat’s milk soap and does mission trips all over the globe. This is just the tip of the iceberg! I can’t even begin to tell you what even those mentioned are doing “in addition” to what I wrote about! How can a person not be inspired when surrounded by such a group of creative and industrious people? Creativity inspires creativity. Happiness inspires happiness! What a day!
I confess! I did not juice today. I had coffee and a donut – gasp. My tongue enjoyed it, but my body is saying, “You fool!” And the kale on the counter is plainly laughing at me!
I am still pondering the question of why stress makes me want coffee and chocolate particularly.
I think it is a pattern of indulgence I developed raising children. When the house was alive with little people shouting such witticisms as, “Leave me alone!” “Mom. he’s touching me again!” “He’s copying me!” “He’s copying me!” …and other such repetitive and unanswerable comments; I could escape into a chocolate and coffee moment. It was inexpensive and unquestionably “adult”.
I would have been better off trying the “Calgon take me away” baths, but I could never figure out who was actually watching the children while that mother soaked in a hot tub and I had troubling visions of having to jump out dripping and naked to rush a child to the hospital for stitches. So, to this day, just the thought of a warm bath leads to stressful thoughts.
My husband chided me for the perpetual half empty cup of coffee that got microwaved about 10 times throughout the day and the half-eaten chocolate on a little plate high above little eyes and reaching fingers. Yet, that warm porcelain mug and small china dessert plate became my refuge, my oasis of quiet indulgence when being the conductor of the chaos choir became overwhelming and (I dare say) unfulfilling!
Hubby and I are now reveling in a new season of life, filled with the decadent freedoms as our pre-parenting days, but out of great love for both the children and the grand children, empathetic pity for the exhausted parents and a religiously imposed sense of grand parenting obligation we do offer to babysit. Recently, I had the grand daughters (2 and 4) for two days while their parents were away at a conference and picked up the grandsons (4 and 8) after school another day this week. They are the most beautiful children, all of them, but old habits die hard and within an hour I was looking for coffee and chocolate! They were simply playing and bantering as all children do, but shortly after their arrival the kitty that had adopted us last week decided to move to a quieter neighborhood, I was limping from the Lego that was imbedded in my arch, my garden statue of St. Francis who feeds the birds did not share the feeding dish with the two-year-old and was severely punished for this selfishness. This St. Francis will never be feeding birds again and the two-year-old could probably get a job with the religious police in a very strict and fundamental country if she wasn’t a girl. Playing baseball in the back yard my face caught the “really great hit” of the eight-year-old. Thankfully we were playing with a soft air-filled ball or I would not be writing this at all. It still stung “really great”.
I think my children are doing a fantastic job raising their children. There are always plenty of please and thank you’s, hugs and kisses, and highly intelligent questions. Thankfully, my children are young, energetic parents who eat a lot healthier than I did at their age.(When we lived in Moscow with all four young children, Pepsi was cheaper to buy than water!) I can’t even imagine an interrupted green smoothie that you only get back to an hour or two later – you can’t microwave them back to freshness! And I can’t even fathom how you would have time to clean the juicer before you heard amidst the yowls, “He won’t let go of the cat and it’s my turn!”
I suspect they must have some hidden coffee mugs and chocolate somewhere!. After a few days, when my face is better and I can walk normally, I’ll start juicing again!
This morning’s juice was pineapple (1/2), spinach and kale (about 3full leaves of kale and a fistful – husband’s fist – of spinach) through the juicer. Then, we poured that juice into the blender with some frozen banana. The juice alone was pretty tasty. the juice with the banana was like a smoothie and very tasty, too. Then husband decided to also add some Vega Whole Food Health Optimizer powder which had cacao and made the whole thing taste chocolatey! So, that was good, too.
Just to be real here, I have to add that I have woken up with a headache the last two mornings. After I drink my morning juice it seems to go away by noon, but I’m not really sure if that is part of “detox” or due to the fact that I still need to drink more water throughout the day. One of the signs of dehydration is headache, but it is really difficult for me to drink a lot of water. That is something I am trying to improve. So, this morning I gave myself permission to lay around and read a book. I ran to the store briefly and cleaned the bathroom, but that was about it. Now, I split the same kind of smoothie with my son and later I will go visit my sister.
We planned these couple of weeks for our juicing because we did not have a lot on our calendar besides regular work. We have both lost a pound or a little more each day. That kind of incentive helps keep you going, but plateaus can happen as well, so our focus is on health more than anything. We are getting so many nutrients from this wonderful fresh food and cleaning ourselves out from the processed food that sneaks it way back into our diets.
So, that’s it for today. I hope if you try our juice combos that you like the taste.
This morning I juiced 3 grapefruit and some blueberries. Peeling the skins and running it through the Breville Juice Fountain makes it frothy and skims out the pulp. I like it a lot. Around 11, hubby came home and wanted to try a green juice, so we juiced 4 pieces of kale, 2 tomatos, 1 1/2 really large red peppers, two cucumbers and a handful of parsley. It was good, a little bland but drinkable. Around 2:30 I started feeling the lack of calories and whipped up some oranges and blueberries. These were about the last oranges on my tree, so I’m going to start hitting up my friends. The orange juice helped but didn’t last long. I have a bit of a headache and need to leave the kitchen so I’m not faced with the temptation every second. That’s what hammocks are for.
Sometimes I make blogging harder than it is. I don’t get around to it because I think I don’t have anything significant to say. I stress over whether I have enough information, or whether my grammar is perfect, or my punctuation is without error. I can only get out of this perfectionist trap by repeating a quote I heard many years ago. It was “anything worth doing is worth doing poorly”! Okay, that drove me crazy too, when I first heard it because it seems at first glance, to clash with the idea of giving everything your best effort. Yet, when I really thought about it, I began to understand. If anything is really worth doing at all, than any attempt , even a less than perfect attempt, is worthwhile because it it still a step forward in an area worth pursuing. Another thing is that as people attempt things, they usually get better and better at them.
I also reminded myself, that this blog is not an attempt to win a prize or write the great American novel. It is simply about encouraging people. Some of my friends and relatives have asked me to share in a couple areas concerning what we eat and how we do our ministry. So, that is all I have to do here. Whew! Pressure off, big relief.
Do you put pressure on yourself that way – demand all sorts of things of yourself that no one put on the list except you? I do that all the time.
So, this morning I will simply tell you that I woke up refreshed and motivated (a gift – nothing I did). And, due to that perky feeling I was really ready to juice, so I did. I made orange and grape juice for breakfast. So, details – I peeled the orange part of the skin off the oranges, cut them in half and stuffed them through my Breville Juice Fountain. Then I put about a half a pound of grapes through simply because that is what I had in the frig. it came out frothy like an orange Julius in my old mall days. It tasted good and was sweet (like I like it) and it gave me enough energy to make it to noon.
Then I juiced 6 carrots, 2 stalks of kale, two mini cucumbers and 4 juicing apples for lunch.
I plan to juice again for supper. Ever since I did that juice fast two years ago, I have wanted to do another, but we kept traveling or having company or events that made juicing logistically difficult and socially challenging.
We realize that right now we have a window of opportunity and we should take it. We started on this Monday because we still have to work, so even if we end up curled into the fetal position and hating this juicing fast, we’ll have the weekend to lay in bed and get over the hump. Hopefully it won’t come to that because I would like to do some other things this weekend than suffer, but I’m willing to suffer through the detox to get to a better place. Usually the first few days you feel great, and then the reality of what you are doing sinks in to both mind and body and you can experience some discomfort. So, our window for discomfort is this weekend.
Our verse for inspiration is Isaiah 40:29. “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.” Juice fasting is more successful when we admit we need help, God’s help and the help of supportive friends and family.
Today I mixed a bunch of kale leaves (take the green off the stems and don’t put the thick stems in your smoothie), a large handful of young spinach leaves, about a cup of coconut water,1/2 a pineapple and a frozen banana in the blender. (I used Matt’s Montel Williams blender. It’s pretty heavy duty, but I have made a similar smoothie in my regular Osterizer blender as well). Both my husband and I thought it tasted pretty good.
Yesterday I used our juicer. We have a Breville Juice Fountain. My favorite blend is about 5 carrots, 4 celery stalks, 4 whole long leaves of kale (stems and all), and 3-4 juicing apples. Usually we get about a quart of juice out of that. We can toss the pulp into our compost, or use it to mix with other ingredients and make a raw recipe that goes into the dehydrator. Usually we just compost it.