Are You A Monday Starter?

So maybe it was hard to start on a Thursday for some folks. It’s never too late! So, today is Monday. The beginning of a new week. Maybe today’s your day to start if you didn’t join us last Thursday for the 60 day challenge.

If you joined us on Thursday, then you are five days in! 55 more days to go to a sound like a long time, but believe me it is going to go fast.

Some people have asked me what’s the challenge? There’s no prize… Well… not exactly anyway. The reward is truly that you feel better, look better, and challenge yourself to do more than you were doing before. In my mind, the meaning of a challenge is to push ourselves a little harder then we have been regarding our eating habits and fitness goals. You’re a winner already!

Over the past few years I have lost 80 pounds. I have kept 70 pounds off solid. And I tend to re-gain and re-lose that extra 10 pounds. There always seems to be someone’s birthday, holiday, vacation, etc and BAM! Those pounds jump right back on me! So my personal challenge is to break through those pesky 10 pounds and then take an additional 30 pounds off. That would help me reach my own personal goal. And to continue with my fitness goals, I want to be sure that I’m working out daily. I am generally in the gym five days a week for high intensity group fitness. So over the weekend I challenged myself to walk/jog an additional 6 miles adding squats, sit ups and push ups to my routine. I did it!

Think about what you want to achieve and challenge yourself to press in. You are not alone! We can do this. Let’s keep working to improve our over all health and well being. Work hard and keep on going!

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Day One Done!

This marks the end of the first day of this challenge! Eat well, love well, work hard and ENJOY your life!

If you haven’t written down your weight or taken your measurements, you may want to. That way you can track your progress when the challenge comes to a close.

Feel free to share menus, foodie pics, and progress. Let’s encourage each other!

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60 Day Challenge!

Or call it whatever you want! An experiment, an opportunity, a challenge, a time to reset, a diet, an eating plan, a health journey, an adventure. Just call it, and get started!

For the next 60 days, starting tomorrow June 12, 2014 through August 10, 2014 choose only to eat Paleo style meals. Exercise every day, pushing yourself a little bit more than you would normally. If you have any health concerns or questions, of course you should seek medical help before making any major changes to your diet or physical activity.

Join us! Set some goals – weigh in, take measurements, take before and after pictures, work hard and expect
to see change!

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The Trouble With Gluten Free

Many people have discovered that they are sensitive to gluten, completely intolerant of gluten, or highly allergic to gluten. Gluten can wreak havoc on our immune and digestive systems. Gluten can cause inflammation and pain in our bodies, rashes on skin and other problems. Many believe there is a connection between gluten and cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes, chronic pain, depression, mood issues, obesity, and other illnesses. The information available on the topic is endless!

I have known that I have gluten intolerance, and have had to choose to eat differently for several years. Eating gluten can make me physically ill. Causing my joints to ache, bloating, stomach pain, skin rashes and other problems for me.

Over the past several years, gluten-free products have hit the grocery store shelves like there’s no tomorrow! These foods offer many options for people who cannot eat gluten – breads, cookies, crackers, flours for baking, and the list goes on. While these foods may be okay on occasion, eating highly processed foods still isn’t a healthy choice even if it says gluten-free on the package.

Creating or following Paleo bread and dessert recipes made from scratch in your own kitchen are a much better choice. They are generally more nutrient dense and lower in unhealthy carbs and sugars.

Let’s face it – dessert is dessert. Carbs are carbs. If we eat too many of them they slow us down, and can halt weight loss and fitness goals. However on occasion, eating a Paleo dessert made from scratch is a wonderful way to keep from feeling deprived, to celebrate, or have that weekend food that we all enjoy!

Steer clear of packaged choices whenever possible. And always remember just because there is a gluten-free option, it doesn’t equate a healthy option.

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Paleo Shmaleo! What is it anyway?

So, what is Paleo?

The word Paleo is a shortened word coming from the anthropological term Paleolithic Era. Commonly thought of as a time when cavemen roamed the earth.

I personally believe in Creation, and the Garden of Eden. Paleo to me is just a shorter way to say “gluten free, wheat free, grain free, dairy free, legume free, corn free, refined sugar free, less refined, more natural way of eating.” Because that my friends is a mouthful!

Essentially eating Paleo meals means that you are eating meat that comes from animals living the way that they were intended to live in nature. For instance, if you eat beef, you eat grass fed, hormone free, antibiotic free beef. If you eat fish, you eat wild caught fish rather than farmed fish. When you eat eggs, eat hormone and antibiotic free, free-range eggs.

When you chose foods, make the beat choice possible. Choose unrefined food in its natural state rather than opening a package.

Eat vegetables and fruits, seeds and nuts. Eat more vegetables! Take it easy on the nuts, too – just because they come in a bag, don’t eat them by that handfuls. Eat a few at a time.

Eat fat! Yep, fat. Good fat. Full fat coconut milk, coconut oil, avocados, seeds, nuts, ghee are some great choices.

When you eat this way, there are many benefits! I have so many testimonies of how eating this way has helped me and others I know. Eating Paleo, helps reduce inflammation in your body, improves digestion, helps you lose weight, helps you build muscle, and generally makes you feel great!

This blog is not intended to provide all of the scientific information behind the Paleo diet. There are many blogs, books and other articles that offer a more scientific approach. This blog is just intended for encouragement and to create a place for people to have a shared experience and to walk out these next 60 days together.

If you are interested in knowing more about the science behind Paleo, I would encourage you to pick up one of my favorite books called It Starts with Food by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig. Their book focuses on the Whole30 approach. they also have a great website loaded with information.Robb Wolf’s book called the Paleo Solution is another great book. Sarah Fragoso has a blog called Everyday Paleo (as well as a cook book – one of my faves!), and Danielle Walker also has an amazing blog and cookbook called Against All Grains. Google any of these guys and you will be gaining great information!

Once you start looking for Paleo information and blogs, you will find so much information you will have more than enough reading to keep you busy for the next 60 days! Rather than make it complicated I suggest that you pick some simple meals, following the simple guidelines for the next sixty days. Unclutter your dinner plate, and unclutter your mind! Relax, enjoy good food in its natural state the way God intended it to be.

Set yourself up for success, ready to experience transformation!

Many of us reading this could testify that we have completed many fasts, diets, cleanses, eating plans… They last for 21 days, 30 days, 10 days, a week. 60 days will give us the opportunity to see real change in our bodies, our emotions, our attitudes, and our ability to break bad eating habits. 60 days will also give us the opportunity to set great fitness goals in motion and keep them going.

Let’s do this!

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Blessing Boxes

It started because no one had money. No one had any real plans of obtaining money before Christmas, and my older children really wanted to give gifts to parents and siblings. So the idea was birthed. Everyone needs encouragement. Encouragement is free. Words can be gifts. Encouragement can be drawn on long after the words are spoken – a gift that keeps on giving.

I thought, “This is a great task! Simple and meaningful!” I presented the idea to my children one evening after the youngest two were tucked quietly into bed, and the evening advent devotion was complete. I was all smiles as I explained, and encouraged, and explained more as blank faces stared back at me. One big girl nodded her head in agreement that it was a grand idea, and she looked like she could fall asleep at any moment. Could it be that finding encouraging words would be difficult for this group? Calling out the gold in each other and seeing God’s best in other people…in your family? Sometimes it may be easier to find the good in others – strangers even. But your family? I asked them to express ideas they had…I heard responses such as, “you’re nice” and “you’re funny.” Trying to stay positive, I expressed that these statements could be a good start…and let’s take a few minutes and ask God what He sees in that person and write it down. Just one or two words. No paragraphs, no essays. This is no home schooling assignment. So we paused, we prayed. A few kids wrote words down and others still stared. So we prayed again, together, asking God to highlight many great qualities that others possess.

The process took a while and was a little more difficult than I had anticipated. And God is good. He brought many encouraging words to mind. Older children promised to fill the boxes later, after having more time to think. Younger children wrote simple words and sayings for sisters and brothers, needing occasional help with spelling. We closed the boxes and set them in front of our Hawaiian style, lava rock fireplace, underneath the stockings. Everyone was encouraged to keep filling the boxes these last few days before Christmas. We were to fill them with words of blessing and encouragement. We prayed that God would give us insight as we encouraged and He would use us to speak to the heart of the recipient about things He wanted to do in their lives this coming year. We often forgot and had to be reminded. And reminded again. And reminded even more about how wonderful it feels to have great words spoken over you.

We can always afford the gift of encouragement and we should make time to invest in the heart and health of another. Giving the gift of a good word is priceless.

“Pleasant words are like honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.” Proverbs 16:24 (King James)

blessing boxes

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Baby Love

I am looking back at the many blessings in my life. Recalling the good. One of those moments was the day I brought our baby girl home. We were all so blessed.

Bringing a baby home is such a gift. Everyone’s demeanor changes as they experience the blessing and the miracle of life. The miracle of a baby. Everyone wants to be near sweet little baby. Each of my children were in awe of her and her little body and little features and the sweet little sounds she made. They were filled with care and concern for her. Wanting every little thing to be just right. Voices were hushed and moments of time seemed sweeter. Kindness emerged in everyone, and a welcoming quiet was ever-present. Adults and children would coo and cuddle, giggle and smile. I loved this sweetness.

Oh how our Heavenly Father must adore us… His children… Oh how He must look at us…the crown of creation! May He look upon us today with love and adoration…sweet love!

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