Mindful Living

Every weekend, I go through  the ritual of re-organizing my house and picking up the chaos from the week we just survived. I’m quite positive that I am not the only person in this world that does the same thing on the weekend. It’s bound to happen between work schedules, homework, dinners prepared and cleaned up, a meeting here or there, church mid-week…the list goes on and on. My fairly clean and organized table Sunday suffers the worse and by Friday, it is a chaotic collage of food wrappers, Lego pieces, unopened and opened mail, water bottles, pens, graded school papers, and crumbs from dinner that no one bothered to wipe up because we inhaled our food before heading out for our next adventure. It drives me crazy yet I feel helpless to change it. So, here it is Saturday, and I will go through the same cleaning and re-organizing ritual once again.

clutter

If I’m not careful, it’s easy to get caught up in the same sort of craziness in other areas of my life. This is where mindful living comes into play. I don’t want my relationship with my kids or husband to get lost in the shuffle of homework, dinner prep, and community/school/church meetings. I don’t want to stay up so late that I can’t pull myself out of bed in the morning for devotional time and exercise. My precious writing time is often reserved for early morning Saturdays when everyone else is still tucked away in bed. I don’t want to be so rushed that I make poor food choices that agitate my stomach.

I’m working towards simplifying my life. Less stuff=less clutter. Less clutter=less stress. Less stress=mindful living. I am a work in progress.

What areas in your life could you simplify?

Now, to tackle that table…

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Copycat Frosty…Healthified!

Teenagers generally do not have a reputation for eating the greatest. I was no different. One of my favorite things to eat when I was in high school was a Wendy’s Frosty that I dipped French fries in. Weird, but delicious.

Well, as an adult now with food intolerances and allergies, fast food French fries and dairy based, sugar filled Frosty treats are clearly not an option.

This morning, I was pleasantly surprised at how closely my smoothie resembled the taste and texture of my favorite Frosty treat from my teen years yet without the sugar and dairy. It uses my new-found love – Orgain Organic plant based protein powder that I buy at Costco. I love the flavor, and it blends nicely into smoothies. It also uses frozen bananas…the perfect remedy for utilizing ripe bananas.

Copycat Frosty Smoothie

1 cup non-dairy milk (I like Silk Unsweetened Almond Milk)

1 medium frozen banana

2 scoops Orgain chocolate fudge protein powder

2 ice cubes

Blend and enjoy! Makes one large smoothie or two smaller smoothies.

smoothie

It was so yummy that I found myself thinking about it all day at work. When I came home, I ate a light supper so that I could make another smoothie after dinner. It was kid approved by my 11-year-old son. Even my husband decided it was pretty tasty!

Kid approved!

This is one smoothie I will definitely make again!

A Little Goes a Long Way….

A little goes a long way…especially in the form of caffeine and chocolate and especially when you are living with food intolerance. Sometimes, you just need a treat, though. For me, it would be chocolate….something that won’t completely kill my stomach yet probably could will if I eat too much of it!

chocolate bliss

Pure gluten-free chocolate bliss.  Thankfully, my husband shared with me. It was the perfect end to a Valentine’s dinner at P.F. Chang’s. It was rich. It was wonderful. And, I could have eaten three of them, but a little goes a long way. Six dollars for a small dome of chocolate bliss kept my portion control in check!

I believe God has given us all things to enjoy, but it is our responsibility to exercise self-control and portion control…especially with food intolerances. I know if I buy a bag of Dove dark chocolate, I am in trouble because I can’t eat just one. Should I be able to stop myself at one? Yes, but I don’t always. We all have our weaknesses. For me, it’s chocolate, baked (gluten-free) goods, and nut butter. I think I could eat an entire jar of almond butter in one sitting, but of course, I don’t!

This verse is a reminder for me that all things are fine in moderation. And with my food intolerances, some things are better for me than others. A little goes a long way!

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Routine

Routine

Routine. Ahh…I love, I need, I thrive off routine.

I spend my day working with residents in a long-term care facility in a specialized dementia unit which I love. The residents thrive from the normal daily routines. While we  do special themed events and programs, the majority of our days follow similar patterns and routines…breakfast, coffee hours, social time, exercise, lunch, etc. It is somewhat predictable and for those suffering from memory impairment, it helps structure their day and provide a semblance of normalcy in their daily life.

While I don’t suffer from memory loss (well, at least I don’t think I do!), I thrive off routine as well. Monday through Friday…up at 5 to exercise and/or write, breakfast, get ready, commute with hot coffee or tea, 8-9 hours of a busy work day with lunch squeezed in somewhere, commute home, dinner, time with family, relaxing regimen before bed, and blessed sleep. Saturday…early morning exercise class and writing and then whatever is planned with the family. Sunday is church day.

Now, I love days off work to relax but when I am thrown off my regular routine, it throws off my eating and my sleep. In fact, I have referred to Sundays as “Snack Attack Sunday.” When I don’t stick to routine, I find myself eating things or tempted to eat things I know will aggravate my stomach or keep me up too late such as coffee later in the afternoon or too much chocolate.

My husband lovingly refers to me as high maintenance, but I just need to have things structured and routine. I love lists and sticky notes. I pack my lunch and snacks for work every night even when I want to fall into bed from exhaustion. I know vending machines aren’t an option for me.  I need routine to stay on track with my health. I wish I wasn’t so “needy” in this manner, but I am.

What routines are important to you? Morning coffee? Reading before bed? We all have them…some just more than others. And I happen to be one of those people!

A Better Coffee

My blog is about faith, hope, love, and food. With food sensitivity issues, I have learned to have faith that I will be okay along the lines of my health. I have learned to have hope and trust that all things work out for a greater purpose. I have learned to love food, good food, that heals my body. And food, need I say more? I love food. When I was going through the worst times of my GI issues, food was not my friend. In fact, I ate so I could run. I used running as my sanity. Over time, I have experienced healing in my gut, and I can once again happily attest that I love food.

Coffee is not food, but coffee is something I love. My body does not always love it. The acid tears at my stomach. It seems to make my hair more oily. It makes me jittery. This frustrates me because I love coffee.

Well, friends, I have found a better coffee. Puroast coffee has 70 % less acid than most coffees, doesn’t tear up my stomach, and has lots of antioxidants. It’s all in the roasting process. So, I can enjoy my coffee sans the effects of excess acid and stomach-ache. It still unfortunately gives me the jitters from the caffeine, so I don’t have a free card to consume it in endless cups, but a healthy dose of caffeine helps start my day. The cost is a little more, but I don’t mind paying more for quality products.

Puroast

Monday Musings on a Free Day

I’m not sure what I feel like today…a banker, a teacher, a government employed worker? I work in healthcare, a facility that operates 24/7, and I have a day off on Presidents’ Day due to a bonus holiday. I don’t know what to do with myself except…I should be productive…I have a closet I would love to clean but instead, I would rather relax. My commuting work weeks are a whirlwind of activity that being able to just sit is well, nice. I can sit and write. I can sit and do my taxes. I can sit and make necessary phone calls. So, all is not wasted. And, besides, I did exercise this morning already. I would do my laundry, but my washer hook-ups are leaking, and I am waiting for my plumber handy uncle to arrive and save the day!

So, I choose to look at this day as a gift.

A chance to slow down.

A chance to be spontaneous and enjoy whatever I feel like doing at the moment. For example, my 11-year-old son and I just enjoyed reading random facts about various Presidents on the computer in honor of Presidents’ Day. Did you know that President Calvin Coolidge slept 10 hours a night? I would love to be able to catch 8 hours a night!

My house is calm. My house is quiet. My house is relatively clean, not perfect, but not a cluttered chaotic mess that it will be by Friday!

A chance to reflect on how much I have grown in the past few years.

Food issues have changed my perspectives on food, on me, on health, and how God uses everything in my life to shape me and mold me into who He desires me to be and the direction he wants me to go. I changed jobs a year ago, too, and although I miss my former co-workers dearly, I would not have grown professionally, personally, and spiritually without the experiences I have had in this new position and environment.

In a year’s time, I have learned to LOVE and appreciate coffee. I have learned to have a greater acceptance of those different from me. I have learned greater problem solving skills. I have learned to be creative with time management. I have a greater appreciation and devotion for my family and friends. I am learning day by day to let go of the small stuff and embrace what truly matters. I am becoming a more confident driver in the winter weather conditions. I am learning that I possess greater patience than I realized I had. I am understanding with a greater clarity what my passion truly is.

I am OK with being me. Most days. I have moments I struggle, but I am trying to look at struggles and emotions as learning blocks in this journey of life. Some days I want to simply hide and blend in with the world around me like this tiny turtle I discovered during a hike with my husband. I don’t think I, or anyone for that matter, was meant to simply blend into our surroundings. I think, I believe, I, we all, have a greater purpose to leave our mark on this world for the better.

Pictures Fall 2013-Fall 2014 1315

On this “free” Monday, I reflect, and I embrace the journey I am on day by day. I am thankful for those who I am privileged to have journey alongside with me. When I am tempted to blend and tuck myself into my own world like the tiny turtle, I will instead face whatever comes my way with determination and confidence. I hope you will, too!

Jeremiah

StReSs!!!

Stress…

Killer of joy.

Stealer of Sleep.

Instigator of stomach irritation.

Everywhere. Everyday. In the messy clutter of life.

Clutter and Stress

I want to propose that stress is a choice.

When I walk into the facility where I work in the morning, I have a choice to embrace whatever comes my way with confidence and determination or to allow the insane craziness stress me out.

When I step through my front door after a 9 hour work day and an hour commute and trip over three pairs of shoes, see papers strewn all over my dining table, and find a sink overflowing with dirty dishes, I can choose to scream at my precious children for the house they have trashed or I can breathe deeply and take it in stride.

I can choose to waste a few more minutes on social media or I can choose to go to bed earlier and relish in precious sleep.

I can choose to eat the foods that I know make my body feel the best or I can make choices that make me feel crummy (sugar, too much chocolate and caffeine, not enough protein) and then make myself more susceptible to stress.

I am learning that health is a holistic approach…sleep, healthy eating, exercise and movement, healthy social connections, my faith and relationship with God, being true to my passions in life, and keeping a handle on stress in my life.

Take a deep breath today and choose joy over stress.