Monday, March 26, 2012

A Few More Healthy Eating Tips...

It seems like everyone around me is making strides to be healthier....and that makes me so happy!!  If you know me, then you know that living a healthy lifestyle and encouraging others to do so too is truly a passion of mine. I could talk about it ALL DAY LONG!!! And really, I love answering questions and helping people, so feel free to e-mail me or ask any questions. I'm not an expert, but I defiintely do a lot of research and know a good bit about nutrition and fitness.
Not only am I happier, I also feel better about myself and have TONS more energy since I started focusing on my health. Even more than all of that though (which is super important), I feel like I am helping give myself a better quality of life for the future. I want to take care of myself NOW so I can be a healthy, wild old lady! :) Ha! And of course I want to set a good example for my future kiddos. We are ALL responsbile for our own health and teaching our children to make healthy choices.

I've said it before, but part of the reason I initially became interested in taking care of myself is because I am adopted and don't know much about my family health history (other than the fact that heart disease is extremely prevalent). I know that I owe it to myself and others around me to take care of my body and make my health a priority. And an added bonus to that....I wanna look goooood for my husband! I love that he thinks I'm smokin' hot, and I'd like to keep it that way! What? Just bein' honest! (He tells me that every day. It never gets old to hear it.)
Anyway, I have read more and more research about the harmful effects of sugar and junk food on your health and the aging process. Did you know refuned sugar actually leads to wrinkles? There is a more scientific explanation, but it's been found to be true through extensive research.

I believe in clean eating (MOST of the time!) and I am always learning and trying new things. Here are a few things I am doing now (and LOVING!!)to eat healthier. Just had to share with ya!

**Salsa!!! Salsa is an "unlimited" food because it is SO good for you. I eat it on ALL my grilled meat now as opposed to other condiments that aren't so hot for you (bbq sauce, honey mustard, ketchup, etc.). I LOVE it! It adds the pefect flavor and life to grilled chicken, fish, and my new fave....canned tuna!
**Lean protein! How do I prepare my meat?? I get asked this question a LOT. I eat grilled chicken, fish (salmon/tilapia), or shrimp every single night. I like these choices because they are great choices for lean protein, and the fish is filled with essential omegas and good fats we need. I make it on the stove in olive oil and add minced garlic, Italian seasoning, lemon juice, and crushed pepper. Very simple, no salt, and adds the PERFECT flavor.
**HEALTHY snacks only! I keep our house stocked with healthy snacks so they're readily available. Preparation is key...becasue we live in a "convenence" society. I plan so that I cannot use this as an excuse. Oh, and I don't keep junk in the house. Too tempting. One of my faves is spinach. Spinach is SO good for you, so it's my #1 go-to snack. (My favorite dressing is Kraft's Ceasar Vinaigrette with Parmesan.) I also go for boiled egg whites (low in calories, high in protein), or a handful or raw almonds or walnuts. Super filling.
**I don't eat fruit after 3 pm. And if I do eat it, I try to do it after a workout.  Fruit is healthy, yes. But if you don't burn off the natural sugar in it, it turns to glucose and is stored as fat. You have to be careful with "too much" fruit, and definitely stick to eating it in it's fresh, raw form.
** Find a healthy alternative to a treat you LOVE. My new thing is making "icecream" out of my protein. 1 scoop of whey protein powder, water, ice, and a tablespoon of natural peanut butter in the blender. It's delicious!! And while it's not ice cream, I feel like I'm getting a treat. It's WAYYYY healthier too.
**Shop at at Aldi or an Asian supermarket. I've heard several people say they can't afford to eat healthy...but I guarantee my grovecy bill from Aldi is lower than people who buy unhealthy food at another supermarket chain.
**Hang in there. I promise, it's only hard for a little while. Eventually it becomes habit and a new lifestyle, and you can choose the healthier options without even thinking.  I don't even hesitate anymore...I know when I go out to eat I am going to get a grilled chicken salad. And I LOVE it. I am to the point now where that's the most appetizing thing on the menu, and the thought of a hamburger or steak or whatever seriously grosses me out.  It's all about changing your mindset. Don't think of it as a diet, and don't completely restrict yourself from something. Splurge when it's WORTH it; just don't let it become a daily thing or get out of hand.

Hope ya learned something!!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Sunday Funday: Find a Church, Aldi, & Praying for Your Husband

Hello, lovelies!! It's been a while...and I've definitely missed blogging!!  No worries...I'm back in action now!

Let me just start by saying....I LOVE Sundays!!! 

I am so thankful for our church especially. If you're not a member somewhere, let me encourage you to get out and find a church body to be a part of (I know that's not correct English....whatever!). It's so important to have that fellowship, worship, encouragement, and accountability.  I know lots of people argue that you don't HAVE to be at church to be a Christian or to be growing in your relationship with the Lord. While I can't argue that, I can remind them of this Scripture:
"Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another--and all the more as you see the Day approaching." -Hebrews 10:25

I also like this article with Scriptural reasons we should attend church:

One of the many reasons I LOVE my church....I am in the BEST Bible study right now!!  Beth Moore's study on James. I am learning SO much, and I have a post on trials and temptations coming soon. You've gotta check it's such important stuff to know.

Anyway, we hit up Panera and Aldi after church to get some of our groceries for the week. 
Have you ever been to an Aldi or do you have one close?? I LOVE it!! They have no fancy signs or packaging or bags...and it saves a TON. Seriously....I have cut my grocery bill by 1/3 by shopping there. I bring my own bags & stock up on produce, frozen fish, canned tuna, and canned veggies. Not one item on my receipt was over $4, and today I only spent around $50. AWESOME deal considering we totally stocked up for the next week and a half or two or more. If you have one around you, you HAVE to check it out! You'll thank me!

Oh, and now my hubby is outside playing in the yard. Seriously, what a handsome man I married!!

It's funny....all the neighbors start coming outside as soon as he takes his shirt off. Wonder why?? :)

Big Jon just made it home from a weekend at the men's retreat.  I missed him like CRAZY for the 2 nights he was gone!!

I spent a lot of time FERVENTLY praying the Lord would speak to him, encourage him, and he would come home totally spiritually refreshed. Ladies, it is SO important to pray for your husbands. This was a great reminder to me that I need to be covering him in prayer DAILY the way I did this past week and weekend. I can't imagine how much more blessed we (especially HE) would be if I was more faithful in that. 

Our men have a BIG job as the spiritual leaders of our home and family. They have a lot of responsibility as the protector, provider, and watchmen. They NEED our love, respect, affirmation, affection, and our PRAYERS.
Happy Sunday!!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Happy 41st Anniversary, Mama & Daddy!!!

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My precious parents are celebrating their 41st anniversary today! Wow!!  They are such a blessing and an inspiration. I am so thankful for their hard work in their marriage, their dedication to one another and their family, and their desire to honor the covenant they made to one another and to God 41 years ago. They are truly a picture of unconditional love and such a GREAT example to me and all my siblings.

"And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love." -1 Corinthians 13:13

Happy Anniversary!!!!! Love you both!

31 To Be Exact….

Have y’all seen this video?? A friend posted it a few weeks ago and I was able to share it with some of our girls while speaking @ FCA.  I LOVE this message….It is such a great reminder for all of us. If you have a young lady in your life, share it with her…

We are so fooled by what society expects us to be, and it is totally opposite of what the Lord desires from us as ladies.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Our 1st Year of Marriage- What We Learned (Guest Post)

The fabulous Mrs. Pancakes is hosting a super fun series all about LOVE, marriage, and martial advice from women at different stages of marriage.  I recruited Big Jon to help me write a post with some of the things we learned during the first year of our marriage....(we wrote it a while back so it was fun to go back and read!)

Go check out our Guest Post ...HERE!!

Eat to Lose….Benefits of Eggs….& High Blood Pressure + Strokes

In honor of National Nutrition Month, I found some interesting facts in this month’s Shape and Runner’s World magazines that I wanted to share.

National Nutrition Month - Get Your Plate in Shape

An article in Runner’s World shared these tips about eating to lose weight (or just maintain a healthy lifestyle):

Plan Ahead. Eat Often. Limit Temptations. Don’t Drink Sugar. Veg It Up. Avoid Condiments (hint: try salsa instead!). Make Fiber Your Friend. Keep Decadent Food Away. Practice Long, Slow Eating. Eat Real Food. Pay Attention to Hunger (don’t snack out of habit). Eat at Home.

So simple, right??

There was another article called Sunny Side Up that I LOVED. I absolutely LOVE eggs!! I prefer them boiled and have an aversion to egg yolks, so I eat around 8 boiled egg whites every day. (Just a personal preference about the yolk….the egg yolks actually have some major health benefits!!)

Yes, I know that many eggs sounds outrageous. And yes, we go through 5 dozen eggs every week and a half or so. (We really need a friend who has chickens.) Here are some of the benefits I read in this article that reminded me why I should be okay with eating all those eggs….

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1. Eating eggs help you slim down. The protein in eggs is easy for the body to absorb, ad the quality protein in them helps control appetite.

2. Eggs protect your heart. Research shows people who eat eggs are less likely to have cardiac troubles.

3. Eggs fight inflammation. I am ALL about using food as medicine and would much rather consume it through food than ibuprofen or some other type of medicine. Eggs help muscle recovery after a hard workout and have even been known to help fight diabetes and Alzheimer’s.

4. Eggs help us maintain bone strength. They are a natural source of vitamin D….

5. And finally, eating eggs help keep your vision sharp. The yolks contain lutein in a very absorbable form, so it helps prevent vision problems.

And some info about blood pressure and strokes….

Did you know…As many as 73 million Americans have high blood pressure. Of the 1 in every 4 adults with high blood pressure, 31.6 percent are not aware they have it. That’s scary stuff considering people who have high blood pressure have more than half the lifetime risk of having stroke compared to those who consistently have optimal blood pressure of 120/80.  Get your blood pressure checked, friends. And if it’s high (and not hereditary), the fastest way to get it under control is through making some healthy diet changes.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

2 Years Ago Today…Our Engagement Anniversary!

GO VOTE!!!!!!

Today is especially super for us.  It was two years ago today that my best friend asked me to be his wife!!! What a sweet day and a special memory that forever changed both of our lives for the better.

I am proud to say that I am more in love with Big Jon today than ever. I am even more proud of the man he is, and so thankful the Lord chose him for me.

We are BLESSED for sure!!

Check out our proposal/engagement story…

Here’s my rendition.

And here is Jonathan's! (It’s the only time Big Jon has blogged….)


Monday, March 5, 2012

Let Your INNER BEAUTY Shine!!!

As I grow older (and hopefully wiser), it is really interesting how my thoughts and perspectives change. It amazes me how differently I see things now than when I was younger.

True beauty

One area that has really changed is how I see people’s outward appearance. Now, more than ever, I am seeing that beauty is only skin deep.

True beauty comes from within, and it shines through people who are beautiful on the inside.

true beauty

My mom always told me to “focus on being pretty on the inside,” but I didn’t listen very well. Like most girls/teenagers/women, I have always put a lot of emphasis on my physical appearance because I knew that is what others see and judge. First impression is important, and obviously the first thing people see is your outward appearance. I’m afraid our society is teaching our ladies to be entirely too vain.

More and more I realize that while it is extremely important to take care of yourself , our culture is way too consumed with physical appearance. We are not nearly as concerned with our hearts, our gifts, our personalities, serving, having the fruits of the spirit, and loving others.

I know a young lady who I have always thought was absolutely gorgeous. Really, she is one of the most beautiful girls I know.  I wish I could post her picture on here so you could see what I’m talking about, and I have no doubt you would agree with me. She receives a lot of attention for her looks from her family, friends, and the opposite sex. But she is nasty. She has a terrible attitude, quick tongue, foul mouth, is rude, judgmental, and treats people disrespectfully. I know longer see her as the gorgeous girl I once thought she was. Her inner self completely tarnished her outward appearance in my eyes.

In the same sense, there are several people I know who are probably not considered “attractive” by the rest of society, but are absolutely beautiful because of the people they are. One example of this, a face we all recognize, is Mother Teresa. True beauty.

Jennifer Anniston is one of the most beautiful actresses in my opinion. She is gorgeous! Did you know that according to this article, she spends $20,000 a month just to maintain her physical appearance?? Duh! If we spent that much, we would ALL look that good!

Jennifer Aniston Hair

It is so important for us to teach our young girls what is truly important. I am not saying to discount outward appearance, because I do believe it is important to take care of yourself and look presentable. I like to look nice. . I believe my body is a temple, and it is important to eat healthy, work out, take care of my skin, etc. I like to dress nice and wear cute accessories. I get my hair highlighted, my eyebrows waxed, and have whitened my teeth. But I also have a solid understanding that it is not the most important aspect of me. My looks do not determine my self-worth; I am more than the way I look on the outside.

As ladies, we need to be a better example to our girls. We need to compliment them more on the person they are and good choices they make than the way they look. We need to beware of judging others based on physical appearance and making too many comments (positive or negative) about the way others look. We need to stop being so critical of our own bodies and looks. We need to teach them not to compare themselves to celebrities or models, as we know all about the power of airbrushing & photo editing tools!

We need to spend more time encouraging them to let their inner beauty shine through, and less time worrying about outward appearance.

We need to remind them where they should find their worth and value. We need to teach them that although men might be attracted to them because of their appearance, a REAL man will fall in love with them because of their heart.

Wanna know what I tell my kids at school and my SS girls is the best/fastest way to make yourself better looking??

Smile. Help somebody in need. Use your manners. Be an encourager. Love others.

true beauty...

psalm 139:14

Let your INNER BEAUTY shine through.


P.S. Don’t forget to VOTE!! I’m getting spanked right now. Smile

Friday, March 2, 2012

National Nutrition Month!!

Did you know that March is NATIONAL NUTRITION MONTH??

National Nutrition Month - Get Your Plate in Shape

That’s right, friends! What BETTER time to get your diet in check and start eating the right foods?!?! Especially with warmer weather right around the corner, NOW is the time to get started. This is typically the time we all start working out more and making better decisions about what we put into our mouth, so why not make it a LIFESTYLE change this time? Get your friends and family on board. Make it a challenge or competition. It CAN be fun!

We have TONS of excuses why we don’t eat right, but really, there aren’t many things I can think of that are more important than our HEALTH!! There is NO excuse not to take care of yourself.

I truly believe that food can be the best preventative medicine for our body. It’s meant to be fuel, and if used properly, it can help ward off various diseases, illnesses, and even cancer. We just have to make the right choices.

I have written several posts with tips to help “Get Your Plate in Shape,” and have more coming. Check out the “Health & Fitness Junkie” tab in the nav bar because there is a LOT of good info about caffeine, super foods, weight loss tips, working out, why to skip fast food, beating a sugar addiction, etc. Here are a few of my favorite posts regarding nutrition to help you get started (maybe save it for when you have some free time to catch up on some reading):

Weight Loss Plan

Clean Eating Tips

Eating Healthy on a Budget

Why Eat Healthy?

Tips for a Healthy Diet

A Typical Day in My Diet

Breakfast: The Meal of Champions

My Grocery List

Go ahead…Start today!!!

Fitness Blogger Award- Wanna Vote for MEEEEEE???

Somebody very kind nominated ME for a 2012 Fitterati Blogger Award!!
Seriously, I was SHOCKED to receive the e-mail, but I definitely appreciate the honor.
I am in the "Healthy Living Blogs" category....with some very respectable bloggers.
Anyway, if you feel so inclined, take just a minute and vote. You can click on the button on the sidebar, or just go 
VOTE HERE!  Voting ends April 12th, so I'll just keep the button up till the voting period is over.

Thank you to the sneaky lil reader who nominated me! :)

Are you a perfectionist?? (And a little about adoption.)


Are you a perfectionist??

I am. I have struggled with this for the majority of my life. I have always wanted to be the BEST at everything I did and have always wanted to please everyone.

I can remember tearing up my papers many times in school and rewriting the whole thing because I didn’t think my (very neat!) handwriting was neat enough. Everything in my room, cabinets, and drawers had a place, and I could tell if anything was out of order. (I still have a few of those OCD tendencies…but that’s a whole different post!). I wanted to be a perfect student, make perfect grades, be the best on my team, be everyone’s friend, etc. I even made my mom redo my ponytails over and over until it was perfect with no bumps. Bless her heart, she did it over every time I asked until I was happy. (See, I HAVE come a long way?!? I live for the messy ponytail now! haha) I put a ton of pressure on myself all the time to be successful and be a high achiever. No one else put that pressure on me. My best was always good enough for everyone else… but me.

It wasn’t until college that I realized that perfectionism is not a “good quality” like I thought it was.  It controls your life and makes you miserable when you can’t achieve perfection. I would feel guilt and anxiety if there was an area of my life I didn’t feel like I was perfect, and that is an exhausting way to live. Sometimes I still get overwhelmed and struggle with this, but I usually catch it in time to ask the Lord to help me give it over to Him.

Did you know I was adopted??

Well, I am.  And I thank the Lord for that. I have no doubt that He plucked me out and put me EXACLTY where He wanted me!!! I have the most loving and accepting family IN THE WORLD. My parents and older siblings have ALWAYS gone above and beyond to make me feel loved and special. I have always felt just as much a part of my family as everyone else. But for some reason, deep down, I think I felt like I still needed to be perfect to be accepted…That I needed to please everyone and do everything right so people would want me.  That is NOTHING anyone in my family did wrong; because like I said, I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect family in making me always feel love and accepted. I think it just comes with the territory of being adopted…as silly as that sounds. I mean, my parents CHOSE to have me as their child.  They loved me so much and wanted me as part of their family, and I didn’t have to do anything to earn my spot. What more could I ask for?? (By the way, adoption is the perfect picture of God’s grace and love in my opinion. That’s exactly what He wants for us….to “adopt us” as His own children. If you’ve been praying about adoption and have been asking for a sign, THIS IS IT!!)

But still, I allowed perfectionism to rule my life for many years.

I attended a Beth Moore Conference a few years ago, and she made a statement that really stuck out to me.  She said perfectionism is a twisted form of self-interest and pride. It is NOT pleasing to the Lord when we try to be perfect. I had never thought of it that way, but it is so true. Even as a perfectionist, life is all about ME, ME, ME. I think perfectionists try to justify by thinking we’re trying to serve others by being the best wife, mother, sister, daughter, friend, employee, etc. But in reality, even though we want to please others, it is ultimately so WE can feel good about OURSELVES. Even in that, we are still striving to attain perfection, and that is not the right heart or intentions.

For example, we shouldn’t desire to serve our husband so we can be the perfect wife. We should desire to serve him out of LOVE for him and obedience to the Lord, and that should be our only intention.

I’ve also realized that perfectionism often roots from some type of insecurity. There is some underlying issue or reason that we don’t feel quite good enough, so we try to compensate by being as perfect as possible. I think identifying the root helped me. (By the way, here are some posts about dealing with insecurity…here and here and here.)

Here’s the real deal though, ladies.

God does NOT call us to be perfect!!

He calls us to love him and love others (Matthew 22:37-39). He calls us to serve others (Galatians 5:13) and share the Gospel (Deuteronomy 13:4 & Matthew 28:19-20). He calls us to be obedient (John 14:15) and to be more like Him, so that others will see Him shining through us (Matthew 5:16). He calls us to be salt and light (Matthew 5:13-16) Our desire to be perfect does NOT come from the Lord.

My goal is no longer “to be perfect;” it is to be Christ-like. I know that I cannot achieve perfectionism and that and I will always fall short. And that’s okay, because I can continue striving to be more like Him with each new day. I will never be perfect, and there is such a freedom in not trying to be.


Happy Friday!!