It’s OK to say NO

Seeking Affirmation

So what happens when you grow up not believing in yourself, unable to please those you adored and looked up to?

What did you do to earn the love and affirmation you so desperately were missing?, simple, you become an Overachiever and a People Pleaser, yearn for outside validation. Their “personal feeling of security and self-confidence is based on getting the approval of others,”

Now, let me be clear, I am by no means the fitting bill of an overachiever, but I certainly tried on many occasions over the years. Don’t get me wrong, being successful or achieving great things is awesome, as long as your doing it for the right reasons. In my case it wasn’t, I was looking for love and constant affirmation from those I loved the most, my parents. This unfortunately set me up for a lot of disappointment later in life.

The “People Pleaser”

Many of us who grow up in a home where love and affirmation were withheld(unintentionally), can become people pleasers. We continue into adulthood looking for someone to say, “great job!”, or “you are incredible”.

Words of affirmation-which happen to be one of my love languages(no coincidence there), can lift us up, give us hope, bring joy, satisfaction and even strength and encouragement.

It all sounds great right?, well, there can also be a downside to this kind of affirmation & love seeking. It can put us in a place of exhaustion, anxiety, disappointment, disillusionment, anger and resentment.

When we want to constantly hear words of affirmation by others, we put ourselves at risk. Constantly looking to please people for the sole reason of receiving affirmation is unhealthy, we should always want to do things for others because it brings us a sense of joy and satisfaction first, then for the benefit of the other person.

When we do things for others for words of affirmation first, not only will we be let down, but we will either end up resenting people and isolating ourselves from them or we will try even harder to gain their affirmation and love and become overachievers & people pleasers and eventually we will become burned out because we don’t know how to say NO.

The Why..

The first step for me in overcoming the “people pleasing” “affirmation seeking” habit was taking a good look at the “why”.

What made me want to hear people tell me how great a job I did or how great my essay was?

For me I learned several years ago after the death of my father why I longed for affirmation from others and why I was such a people pleaser.

My father was an amazing man and father. He provided all my needs and worked very very hard. However, my father never showed affection, either by words or physical touch. I found out the reason why shortly before he died, (which I will not get into out of respect for those involved), however, it later had consequences in my life.

I certainly appreciated all the wonderful things my dad provided, we were well taken care of don’t get me wrong, but the lack of love and affection from my father made me the people pleaser and overachiever I became.

Even to this day I catch myself doing things that really push me into a state of anxiety in order to please him and then I sadly realize, he is gone. I can no longer fight or earn affirmation from my father or hear him say, “great job my girl”

Learn to say NO…

I had the guilty conscious for years of saying no to people before I realized it was ok to say no.

When I learned why I was always trying to please people, I knew that saying “no” would be a part of my healing and freedom from overachieving and needing affirmation.

Over the last several years I have saved myself a lot of anxiety, anguish and resentment towards others by learning to say no, some call it boundaries. Whatever you call it, it’s learning to do things for others for the right reasons and for nothing in return. It’s also about finding balance and drawing a line in the sand.

Remember, there is nothing wrong with getting affirmation from others, in fact, it’s a necessary part of our humanity, it’s when we become solely dependant on it and our actions are the only precursor for it.

In saying all this, there is one more thing you must do in order to be set free from not being able to say no & “people pleasing”…..it is essential!

Receiving Gods Affirmation

This is the most important part of your freedom on learning to say no to others and “people pleasing”.

We NEED God’s affirmation most of all and first of all. If you do not or have not received God’s affirmations over your life and if you do not know who you are in Christ, you will have a very difficult time in finding freedom from the “needing” of affirmation and love from others.

When you realize just how much you mean to God and how much affirmation there is for you from Him in His Word, only then can you begin to enjoy your life and then you will do things for others out of a genuine heart and care for people and not just for words of affirmation.

I leave you with these affirmations to start with, 110 Affirmations from God’s Word

These are some of my favourites below

Suffering Leads to Love, Redemption & Healing

I have been reminiscing lately about when I first became a Christian in 1996. Before that I was living in Mississauga with a boyfriend of 4 years and life was just sailing along. I had no idea what laid ahead.

A Diagnosis Changes my Direction in Life

It was the middle of the afternoon on October, 1IMG-7130994 , I was visiting my sister and spending time with my little niece, Brandi-Jo. We were about to have our Thanksgiving dinner when the phone rang. My brother-in law answered the phone and then came and got me and told me it was the Hamilton Wentworth Police. I thought to myself right away, “what did I leave behind in Stoney Creek”? lol. I picked up the phone and the first thing they asked me was, “is your mother’s name ___________”?, of course I said yes right away. They began to explain to me that my mom had been admitted to the hospital and that I needed to come to Hamilton to see her.

A Very Long Trip

As my sister and I drove to Hamilton, my sister and I were very quiet. We knew something was wrong with our mom because the police had contacted us. All the way to the hospital I wondered what illness had she been diagnosed with. Mental health 20 years ago was still not talked about much but we knew something was up because she was admitted to a psychiatric hospital.

We arrived to the hospital and after going through security a very kind nurse walked us down the very long corridor to our mom’s room(it seemed like forever). At one point the nurse stopped by a door of a lady’s room and called us back as we had kept walking. My sister and I walked towards the nurse and asked what was wrong, the nurse looked at me and said “this is your mothers room honey”. I had already looked in the room but didn’t recognize that the woman she was talking about was my mother. I could not believe my eyes. She had lost so much weight and her hair colour was so different. She looked so ill and so gone. This was not the mother I remember all my life. I would have walked right passed her on the street not recognizing her. I hadn’t seen here for over 4 years up until now.

The Diagnosis

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When the doctor met with my sister and he explained to us that our mom had been diagnosed with schizophrenia , I didn’t know what to say or think. I didn’t know the first thing about the mental illness but I knew it was serious and I saw how it not only affected my mom mentally but also physically.

 

The Path to Light

I never thought in a million years I would return to Stoney Creek, I loved the big city (Mississauga)at the time and I also had been living with my boyfriend for almost 4 years and couldn’t see my life without him. But, I knew I had to go back to take care of my mom, even if it was temporally.

By January 1995 I had moved back in with my mom. Months later after getting settled in and regulating my mom’s medication and symptoms, I had met a friend of my mom’s who was also her neighbour. She had been there for my mom before I knew anything of my mom’s illness. So I thought, I have to meet this woman. Well, she was spunky and great to talk to and she also liked to roller blade and workout which I had just started doing.   She was 44 years old mind you, but I thought she was pretty cool, really cool. Until one beautiful spring evening when we were spending time hanging out on her step. Out of the blue she looked at me and asked, “Billie-Jo, do you know Jesus?”, right away panic struck in my chest and I thought to myself, great, this lady must have an illness too. Within minutes I told her I had to go home and had to work in the morning. I avoided her for the next couple of months.

It wasn’t long after that I had become homesick and missed the big city and my boyfriend. By the end of Spring I had made the difficult decision to move back to Mississauga. I felt terrible leaving my mother behind but I missed the big city and my boyfriend and I felt that she was well enough again to live a productive life to the best of her ability, besides, I would call her everyday.

Divine Intervention

The weekend before my move I was coming home from work at the YMCA downtown on the bus and lo and behold who got on the bus?, my mom’s neighbour. I pretended like I didn’t see her but she sat down right beside me and said Billie-Jo, where have you been? Talk about uncomfortable. Anyways, not long after we started talking did she ask me why I was leaving Stoney Creek and my mom. I could feel my face getting hot as I didn’t like people meddling in my business back then, I was a very private person and well guarded. I explained the truth to her(it was hard to lie to her). All of a sudden she begins to tell me that I won’t last 2 months back in Mississauga and that my boyfriend and I will split up; that was in July.

By September 1995, I moved back in with my mom. I remember thinking, was my mom’s friend a psychic? what she predicted ended up happening, how did she know this?. My boyfriend and I did have a falling out and it wasn’t long before I realized I needed to be back with my mom, someone who really needed me.

What was Going On?

Shortly after I returned home, I went to visit my mother’s friend. She welcomed me with open arms, even after the way I treated her before I left, I never even said good bye to her.

Over the next several weeks I visited my mothers friend and she quickly became a dear friend to me. She would stay up all night listening to my life story and all my troubles. Then one night she asked me if I wanted to know who Jesus was. At this point in my life I had already tried relationships with men, Buddhism, Karate, alcohol, drugs and I had thought to myself, what do I have to lose? she seems pretty happy and she has a peace I find interesting.(she was dealing with a lot of problems)

I kept returning for more as she started to read the bible with me. I actually could not believe some of the things she told me about the bible and Jesus. One night I got really upset and challenged her about something she told me. She had explained to me that if Paul Bernardo had repented and truly turned his heart to God and asked for forgiveness that he would be forgiven and that God would judge his actions one day in judgment. I could not believe this, how could God ever forgive such an evil creature?

An AMAZING Love I Never Knew

IMG-7127I began slowly to understand the unconditional, merciful, compassionate and amazing love of God and how He gave us Jesus, His Son to die for us.(that’s another blog). I began to weep one night in anger of how Jesus was treated when He was completely innocent. I didn’t understand. I also at the same time felt like my whole view of the world was changing and that my heart was even beginning to soften. I had a very tough exterior and often hid behind alcohol and a false exterior BUT for the first time someone was breaking through all that facade. His name was JESUS!

On a cold night in February 1996, my friend asked me if I would make a decision that would change my life forever(I’m crying right now), she wanted to know if I would trust my life completely to God and His Son, Jesus Christ. I didn’t even hesitate by this time. In my eyes anyone who would die for someone else’ wrong doings and who would have the courage to confront people in power when no one else would and who stripped Him and beat Him to nothing….knowing He didn’t fight back, but still loved them?, I had to take that chance that He knew something I didn’t and that He had something to give me, something  I never knew or had experienced, REAL love.

Life was never the Same

IMG-7122My life changed that night. All I did was say a prayer and invite Jesus and God the Father into my heart and I surrendered everything I had ever known to Him. In other words “Jesus took the Wheel”

I didn’t step foot in a church for 2 years after making that decision that night. I was on a personal journey with my Saviour and I soaked up every minute of it.  Just me, Jesus and my bible, that was it and of course my very dear friend.

I lost her not long ago, it will be 4 years this Christmas. To this day I believe she was an angel while she was here. As much as I might help and inspire others, I will never attain the heart and mission she did. If it wasn’t for her being obedient and sacrificing all her time and energy into me I’m not quite sure where I would be today. I miss her deeply.

Who Am I Today?

Trust me when I say this, I was reckless and messed up. I am still broken today but held together by the marvellous love of an incredible, loving, merciful, kind and almighty God.

Life did not get easier when I made that decision that night in February 1996, as a believer it did not exempt me from more pain and suffering, in fact, I’ve experienced quite the opposite. The difference? the ability to stand strong in the face of adversity knowing that this life is temporary and that a greater promise awaits me(that’s another blog too :)).

I received a peace deep in my heart that night over 20 years ago and I have never lost it since then, I have had to fight to keep it many times and I have lost faith in seasons of my life and I’ve had to learn to trust in God with my whole being.

I am still learning to trust in Him, it can be very scary at times, however, my faith has only become stronger for all the trials and suffering I have experienced. Strong in Him.

Who am I today? I am a daughter of the BEST Father any woman could ask for. My God and His Son, Jesus Christ taught me how to love and how to show mercy and grace where it would not otherwise be possible.

The Vessel of Suffering

In my mother’s suffering and pain, God brought good out of it. It is very simple to understand, let me explain. He brought us back together because before her diagnosis I didn’t care if I ever saw my mother again. Yes, it’s true, we had a very wounded past. There were very deep wounds in my heart towards my mother. Her diagnosis brought understanding and forgiveness. It revealed TRIMG-7128UTH that brought healing to both of us.

My mother later lived with me and my family that God would bless me with years later. We have been inseparable from the day I moved back in with her in September 1995.

I love her with all my heart and I thank my God for where He lead me through it all-to His loving arms and grace. GOD is LOVE…..

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday Dinner – Creamy Mushroom Fettuccine

campus, spring, theta_pond, theta, pond, bench, morning, fountai

This past Sunday was such a beautiful day. The sun was shining brightly, the air was crisp and I could smell from a distance the aroma of Apple Crisp, well, not really but it was a great day for it. So I ended up making just that, but I will upload that recipe later.

One thing about eating plant based meals is the amazing options for much of my favourite food before. For example, Creamy Mushroom Fettuccine is one of my personal favourites, I just omit the chicken now but feel free to add it to this recipe.

As a working mom with three teenage boys, I also need quick and nutritious meals to prepare so one other blessing about plant based which I didn’t even think of when making his transition was the time you save not cooking meats.

This recipe is a common one with many recipes in the web, this one however is plant based but feel free to personalize it your own way, that’s the best part about cooking, make it personal!

A couple of things first before I get to the recipe. Have you ever heard of “nutritional yeast”? I never did till I started cooking plant based. It is quiet the neat little additive to many ingredients for plant based or vegan/vegetarian meals.

I find this ingredient has a cheesy flavour to it and I love adding it to this recipe especially as you probably guessed or already know that plant based nutrition has no dairy. This is also a great supplement for B vitamins as it is loaded with them and B12 being a vitamin I don’t get from meat anymore, it’s perfect!

Click here to find out more about nutritional yeast and it’s any benefits and uses.

On with the recipe….

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Creamy Mushroom Fettuccine

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 bag Rice Fettuccine, Rice Asian Noodles OR White Organic Fettucinne
  • 2 pkg mixed mushrooms(I prefer cremini and white button)
  • fresh thyme, rosemary, parsley

Sauce Ingredients

  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 tablespoons chopped JARRED garlic OR 4-5 fresh cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth (low sodium)
  • 1 cup cashew milk
  • 1 tablespoon vegan butter (earth balance)
  • sea salt and ground pepper -add to your own taste
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast

Directions

Add pasta to boiling water as directed. Cook while preparing sauce. Once cooked set aside.

How to make the sauce:

  1. In a large saucepan add vegan butter and melt over medium heat
  2. Add garlic & onion and mushrooms then sauté till onions and garlic are transparent-stirring frequently
  3. Add vegetable broth, sea salt, ground pepper, thyme and rosemary and continue to simmer for another 4-5 minutes
  4. Add cashew milk and bring to soft boil
  5. Then stir in nutritional yeast while sauce is boiling until it starts to thicken and then down heat on low.
  6. This part is where it’s hard for me to write out recipes because I will taste test several times to get the right flavour, you may want more salt , garlic, and pepper or you may want the sauce thicker. So experiment until it is perfect for your taste.

In the meantime, place pasta in a large bowl and add the sauce. Add a few sprigs of thyme and parsley on top and serve with a side, I prefer organic sourdough bread.

and there you have it! This is delicious on any type of day, any time of year.

Blessings!

Thai Coconut Curry Squash Soup

 

Butternut Squash; Thai Coconut Curry Soup

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Fall is on the horizon

Many things about this time of year appeal to me, but nothing more than homemade soups. I am always on a mission of creating a new recipe for a delicious, satisfying and visually appealing soup.

There are many soup recipes out there and anyone who knows me understands that I never ever follow a recipe(unless I’m baking :)). I don’t like being put in a box when it coms to cooking, this is where each individuals creativity can be unleashed!

Thailand and it’s amazing flavours

Ahan Thai is the national cuisine of Thailand, balance, detail, and variety are of paramount significance to Thai chefs. 

Thai food is known for demonstrating “intricacy; attention to detail; texture; colour; taste; and the use of ingredients with medicinal benefits, as well as good flavour”, as well as care being given to the food’s appearance, smell and context.  This is perhaps why I like to add Thai infusion to many of my recipes.

Butternut Squash

A few weeks ago I decided to make a butternut squash soup which I have made numerous times, however, I thought I would put a Thai twist on it and I’m so happy I did.Butternut squash is a wonderful vegetable. It is versatile and can used in many different ways. Soups, stir fry, steamed, baked, desserts are just a few to mention. Butternut squash instructions.

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Thai Coconut Curry Soup Recipe

Not sure why on a hot day in summer I felt like making this soup but I had a couple cans of organic coconut milk in my cupboard and a 2 week old butternut squash and I thought, what the heck, lets make a warming flavourful soup tonight.

One of my favourite spices is curry, in fact if blood types are correct(I’m type O-), curry is supposed to be a great spice for you. Curry  tumeric and many other spices of the east are very beneficial and used for many medicinal purposes.

I did not use any other recipe for this soup. This is all from scratch and I will try my best to give exact measurements(Sorry I don’t measure & I made this soup 3 weeks ago). The best thing to do when cooking is add a little bit of ingredient at a time and taste it as you go especially when adding spices.

OK, so here it is below, oh, and don’t forget! the best side to a delicious soup is of course fresh bread, my go to is sour dough. 🙂

Recipe Serves 4-5 (When chopping ingredients, do not be picky as you will be blending all these ingredients in a blender once boiled.)

Ingredients:

  • 1 Butternut squash 1-2 lbs (peeled, cubed)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil OR coconut oil
  • 1/2 red bell pepper (chopped)
  • 1/2 green pepper(chopped)
  • 1 medium onion(chopped)
  • 1 leek (chopped) be sure to clean really well inside leaves. How to clean and slice leeks
  • 2-3 cloves garlic OR 2 tablespoons jar chopped garlic
  • sea salt/ground pepper to flavour
  • 1 teaspoon curry(of choice)
  • 1/2 teaspoon corriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground fresh ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground tumeric
  • 1/2 can (400 ml) organic coconut milk
  • 2-3 small fresh basil leaves(Thai sweet basil or asian basil is best)
  • 2 cups low sodium veggie broth

Method:

  1. In a large saucepan sauté peppers, onions & garlic in olive oil on low until translucent.
  2. Add 2 cups of veggie broth and rest of ingredients EXCEPT the coconut milk.
  3. Once squash is firm & tender(not mushy) you can use your blender(vitamix), magic bullet, etc…and carefully add all ingredients(you made need to do two separate portions at a time. Blend until smooth.
  4. Place soup mixture into a soup pot and bring to boil for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Once boiled, turn down to a simmer for 15  minutes.
  5. Add coconut milk at this stage and continue to simmer for another 15-30 minutes to absorb all flavours.

Serve with fresh basil leaves on top and with your favourite bread of choice & enjoy!

Kale…green with envy

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KALE….my SUPERfood of choice

Did you know Kale is;

  1. High in Iron.Per calorie, kale has more iron than beef. Hemoglobin and enzymes formation & transporting oxygen to various parts of the body, cell growth, proper liver function and more.
  2. High in Vitamin K. Bone health & blood clotting.
  3. High in antioxidants.
  4. Anti-inflammatory. 10% of RDA, Omega-3 fatty acids, which help, fight against arthritis, asthma and autoimmune disorders.
  5. Lowers cholesterol.
  6. High in calcium. Per calorie, kale has more calcium than milk.
  7. Detoxes. Kale is filled with fibre & sulphur which aid in detoxing.

How to eat Kale

My favourite way to eat kale is in a green smoothie I personally call the “Green Monster”.  ever since I purchased my Vitamix I’ve been drinking them and I absolutely love it! My hair and nails benefit greatly from it.

Many people people prefer kale mixed into a salad, that’s is another great way as well. Many stores carry the Kale salad already pre-mixed. You can get it at most grocery stores.

You can also steam kale or add it to stocks and other culinary dishes. The options are endless. To get the amazing benefits kale has to offer, raw is always best.

Green Monster Recipe

Many people have asked for my Green Monster smoothie recipe so here is a quick video tutorial Green Monster & Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Purple Passion Smoothie Bowl & amazing weekend!

Amazing Weekend!

This long weekend was one to remember. It was filled with really good food, much needed conversation, sand, sun and relaxation.

Reconnecting

I cannot remember the last time my husband and I actually connected the way we did this past Civic holiday weekend. It was intentional and it was needed. That’s all I will say about that. IMG_5570

Marriageit’s an investment and the only way we can make an investment with anything is to spend TIME making that investment. Some spouses spend time investing in their business and building an empire, I had that opportunity and it wasn’t for me. My investment is in my family first before anything else. I pulled up my big girl panties a long time ago and realized that both my husband and I made the decision to get married and to raise a family and so building an empire does not fit into our lifestyle, not yet anyways.

MONDAY morning breakfast choices

A year ago I had a fascination with making smoothie bowls. Everyday pretty much I would see what concoction I could come up with for breakfast and it always included a hardy, colourful & nutritious smoothie bowl. It’s a great delicious way to start your day.

With eyes half open this morning, I poured my usual 1 litre of water to get the digestive system warmed up and then I sat down to cuddle and say good morning to my hubby on the couch. Like always in the mornings, food came to my mind and I started thinking of what smoothie bowl I could make today.

Colours of the rainbow

One of my favourite colours is purple, especially when it comes to food. I’ve recently started making my smoothie bowls again and I started off with my Tropical Mango-Banana bowl.

So naturally, today my mind took me to all the shades of purple. When it comes to smoothie bowls or smoothies in general, purple of course makes us think of blueberries right away. However, there are so many other choices you can add to get different shades of purple. My recipe today has a couple of those options in it and it tastes delicious. If I’m going to make something pretty, it HAS to taste great too!

Time to try..

So if you haven’t jumped on the smoothie bowl train, I encourage you to do so. Make it fun, make it your own and enjoy the colours of the rainbow & great nutrition.

 

Purple Passion Smoothie Bowl

Recipe

In a vitamix or other high speed blender mix the following ingredients in the following order:

  • 2 frozen bananas
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1/2 cup ice
  • 1 cup frozen mango
  • 2-3 small pieces of beet(think  of mango size pieces)
  • optional teaspoon acai powder
  • 1/2 cup soy milk

Toppings optional: kiwi, pumpkin seeds, cacao nuggets.

 

 

Weight Training…You REALLY could benefit from it

blackandwhite_RetouchedWhy I started exercising, particularly, lifting weights
In October of 2003 my life changed forever.

I lost my friend, my mentor, my anchor, my daddy.

In his 61st year, he fought his final battle with disease.

In the end it was an infection and the blood thinners(for his stroke) posed a problem for a surgery to help alleviate the infection. Kidney dialyses was the only option and my dad decided not to do it. He died three days later quietly in a private hospital room.

The toughest part of it all was I did not get there in time to be by his side. I was angry, hurt, sad, and broken hearted beyond belief. I realized just how much I loved my dad after he left me that day. Watching that hurst drive away with him was the first worst day of my life.

A Beautiful lesson

Indirectly my dad opened my eyes to the risks and potential diseases that can happen from not taking care of our temples(bodies).

I made up my mind in my early 20's after his first stroke of many to start making the changes necessary to perhaps minimize my chances of hijacking the same damaging genetic pool.

I believe today my dad would be proud to see the changes I've made over the years to maintain and better my health. Often, it's too late when we realize the importance of making healthy choices.

In all fairness there wasn't as much information at my dad's finger tips when he was growing up and when you grew up in a post-war generation, you ate what you were given and food choices were more nutritional then.

The risks showed up much later in his life when he started making poor food choices. He also had a sedentary job as a truck driver. I want to be clear that I'm not speaking negative of my father, he worked VERY hard to provide for us as a father and I will always love him for that, unfortunately his body took the brunt of it.

Disease & Weight training

Weights, they are my favourite exercise. I got hooked at 22 and never looked back. They are till this day a regular part of my workout routine. I do not particularly like cardio but it is just as important.

Benefits of Weight-lifting ;

  • Not only does strength training increase your physical work capacity, it also improves your ability to perform activities of daily living.  You will be able to work harder and longer with the proper weight training activities.
  • It improves bone density.  One of the best ways you can control bone loss as you age is to add strength training into your workout plan.
  • It promotes fat-free body mass with decreasing sarcopenia.  The lean muscle mass that we all work so hard for decreases with age.  If we don't add strength training to our routine then it will turn into fat.
  • It Increases the strength of connective tissue, muscles, and tendons. This leads to improved motor performance and decreased injury risk.
  • It improves your quality of life as you gaining body confidence.  Strength training will not only make you strong, but will also help with managing your weight, hence avoiding or minimizing risks for diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.
  • Lifting weights lowers your stress levels.I can attest to this, it may not be proven however, with all those endorphins being released it only makes sense.
  • Muscle uses more energy than fat. The best way to explain this is also the simplest: You can use muscle as you move; you cannot “use” fat. When you walk or talk or lift, you engage your muscles, and in doing so, expend energy. Even when doing nothing at all, muscle is burning more calories than fat is. Granted, it’s a small amount, but it still counts.
  • Change the shape of your body: think curves and booty's ladies! I like to feel and look good and I have no regrets for that. It's an INSIDE AND OUT thing for me. Men, it's shaping those lats and developing those strong shoulders you like to show off in those tank tops.

Where to start

So if I at least got you thinking about starting weights check out a few tips to get started. Jamie Eason is a well known Personal trainer, FigurePro and Fitness Model.

Now don't get overwhelmed at her story or routine. Starting out with just 3lb dumbbells is a start.

I also recommend seeing your family doctor first before starting any new workout or nutrition program.

I am sharing this link  Jamie Eason Live Trainer not to promote this specific workout, but rather to give you some basic knowledge of weight training and what it can do for you. Make it your it your own.

Gym…Home…Backyard…or Garage

The possibilities are endless when it comes to where and how you work out. I prefer to workout at home. All I have is the basics; a few barbells, dumbbells and free weight plates.

If you don't have any of these together started than just use full water bottles or soup cans, something you have a good grip on.

At home workout videos like this one Hammer & Chisel are a good option for those who don't want to be around lots of other people or intimidating atmosphere in the gym. It can also be a financial concern.

Other people prefer to be in a gym with other people round them, especially if they are brand new to weight training. You will at least get a basic introduction, but if you want them to set you up on a program you will have to pay a lot of money for it.

It's all up to you and what makes you comfortable.

Healthy for me and for my family

I know that working out and eating healthy is not a guarantee that sickness and disease will not come to your door BUT and I mean BUT, it's a possibility that you might not, I would rather not take the chance and not do anything than to do all I can to lessen the risk. If I ever do get sick I can tell you that I know its NOT because I din't take care of myself, that is empowering to me.

At my age, 46, my dad had type II diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and was obese. I only condition I have is 1.25+ reading glasses.

I haven doubt that exercise and eating for the most part healthy over the last 22 years is a huge contribution to my well being.

Sure, I know what your thinking, there are people overweight, smoking and drinking who are in perfect health right? I will say this, it is not the norm and their energy levels are not the same and well, I'm not playing Russian roulette with my life. The statistics are in your favour when you eat healthy and exercise. It's the majority of cases.

I want to see my grandchildren and great children one day. I have dreams and visions of roller blading with my grandchildren, seriously.

I want to live with vitality and teach those around me how to honour their bodies. It is truly a temple we've been given and it deserves respect.

Two of my teen sons are not quiet on the nutrition scale I would like them on, however, they are active and I believe one day the lessons I taught them will come back to them and that they will continue the my contribution to their children and so on and so on


In Loving Memory of my Father,  William Morgan Donald Arnold.  1943-2003

 

When God calls…do you hear Him?

These last several months seem like a blur and it appears there is no sudden relief in sight either.

I Must Sleep

It was a Thursday night and I had just laid down to go to bed. I had left my phone in the kitchen, a new habit I'm trying, and I was really burned out from the day and ready for some shut eye. I had told myself this was night I would sleep 6 hours straight through.

I Heard a knock at the door

As I lay there ready to cross over to La la land, I start to feel this overwhelming presence within me. I knew right away what was happening, it was God knocking at the door of my heart.

My first thought was, "but God, you know how tired I am, you saw all the tasks I had to do today." I'm so sorry God but I just can't stay awake long enough. Please forgive me.

Why would I even think of reasoning my way out of intimacy with the Creator of the world, the Salt of the earth, the Alpha & Omega, the True and living God, what was wrong with me? Deep down I knew I needed to draw closer to the One sure thing in life-God.

The Cares of this world

I quickly realized that it had been months since I had really spent time just listening and waiting on God. BUT, I still ended up falling asleep.

What is it that gets me so off course that I can't prioritize that time alone with God that I so desperately need. It gives me peace, it helps me love the unlovable, it renews my mind and gives me strength to face this crazy life.

Is it my family?, no, is it my job?, no, is it my husband?, no…in all honesty I could say it's a combination, however, it's something far more serious and less obvious; BUSYNESS

The Dangers of busyness

We are all busy, it's a fact of life. We have to go to work, school, raise kids, attend parties, workout, shop etc etc…The busyness I'm talking about is the kind that doesn't have any benefit and only distracts us and brings us down.

An example would be scrolling for hours on Facebook, I will be the first one to say I am guilty of this. Another example could be shopping or watching TV.  Now don't get me wrong, we need downtime to shut ourselves in and reload but if we can spend an hour or more watching Netflix but don't have 5 or 10 minutes to speak with God than something is not balanced and we are headed down a slippery slope.

Shutting Down 

Let's face it, we are living in a time of information overload, unending task lists and to many event invites. We have been programmed just like a computer system to keep going and not stop. I tell you, we so need to implement the "Siesta" of Spain. Everyday people across Spain in the middle of the afternoon rest for an hour. Productivity has been linked to this mid afternoon shut down.

So yeah, that's not ever going to happen here for us in the Western world so we are left to fend for ourselves.  So, what do I try to do?, at least 3 days a week I come home from work and go straight to my room and power nap for about 15 minutes(the odd time I end up sleeping for an hour). It helps me reenergize and reload for the rest of the evening.

I suggest planning a time each day where you shut down completely, it won't always be the same place but just shut down from everything, even if it's just 15 min. Pick a quiet place and do it for 21 days and you will never miss that time time to reload again.

When He calls…be sure to listen

Even though I fell asleep the other night when God was knocking at the door of my heart, I was conscious of my need to slow down and prioritize that time with Him. I am only what I am today because of Him. I have no problem saying I so desperately need Him everyday, every hour, every minute.

One of my favourite songs from years ago is This is the Air I Breathe

I know that these last several months I have been caught up in the "busyness" sometimes as well as trying to build a business and ministry. But one thing I know is we can never afford to compromise our time with God. I've been there too many times, only to end up in a mess. I must be clear that religion has nothing to do with it, it is about building an intimacy with the One who loves you more than you will ever know.

I encourage you today that if you have been "busy" and haven't made the so needed connection with God, stop denying yourself of that GLORIOUS time to be renewed, restored, strengthened & filled up with His amazing love.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Loneliness, Guilt & Depression

o-SAD-WOMAN-facebookThe Need for Social Interaction

I can remember at the tender age of five lining up all my dolls and barbies on my pink covered comforter on my bed. Next, I gave them all a piece of slightly torn paper and began teaching them how to spell. Sounds strange right? I know I get it, don't worry, my barbies & dolls are long gone.

I grew up in the 70's and 80's and one thing that today's kids would never understand(well, mine don't), is just how lucky they are that they can socialize with their friends from anywhere in the world by hitting send, FaceTime or by a SNAP. They also do not get grounded as much as I did or whippings for that matter.

I can tell you that I probably spent over 80% of my childhood in my room from groundings. I know what your thinking, I must have been an awful child. Well, I've been a nanny, an Aunt and now a mother and I can tell you, I really wasn't. I don't know about you other 70's generation adults, but I was terrified of my parents. Being bad was not an option.

Denver-DUI-Lawyer3Once I started High school and my parents divorced, the quiet, introverted little curly haired girl(me), spread her wings and flew the coupe! I was never the same. I actually became that "bad" girl, drinking, experimenting with drugs and other foolish and risky behaviours. Why is that? I often thought it was just a "normal" teen phase I went through or I was rebelling against my parents divorce, when only recently did I discover that one of the biggest contributors to my crazy teen adolescent life was simply this, LONELINESS.

All those years in my room and not going out with friends really had an impact on my social life later on. I could not socialize without being tipsy or drunk unfortunately. And of course, these risky behaviours only lead to more and more.

When the "party" was over I would isolate myself again to what I knew.

When GUILT Becomes your Friend 

If you ever lived the party life as a young person, you know the terrible guilt that can settle in the next morning after parties and too many drinks. Regardless of where that guilt stemmed from, guilt is guilt and it has a way of robbing your joy and peace. It is the same with everyone no matter our age.

Why do we continue to go back to the very thing that brings us misery? Well, I believe it is like anything, we become comfortable in familiar places. For years I kept going back and forth on that cycle because I didn't know  how to get off the roller coaster.  Then came the worst…..

The After effect…Depression

During my teen and adolescence years I did not know that my habitual and risky behaviours were leading me on a downward spiral into depression.

Depression was not talked about much 30 years ago. You just kept going and doing and found your own coping mechanisms either in alcohol, promiscuity, drugs, toxic relationships and dropping out of school etc. I look back now at 46 and I have made the connections to my anxiety and depression today.

The Truth

Loneliness or isolation at any stage of life can have health risks connected to it. Here are just a few;

  1. May diminish a person’s resolve and self-discipline over time, making them more likely to indulge in self-destructive behaviours such as drinking or eating to excess.
  2. People who describe themselves as lonely are also more likely to contribute to their social isolation by neglecting to engage with others or to secure emotional support.
  3. In contrast to younger people who may or may not be lonely, middle-aged adults who say they are lonely also report increased exposure to stressors.
  4. Loneliness produces objective and measurable effects on the immune and cardiovascular systems.
  5. Loneliness is associated with a variety of sleeping disorders, including sleep deprivation, which, on a chronic basis, is associated with many of the same metabolic, neural, cellular, and hormonal consequences as those that occur with aging.

Add to that the GUILT factors

  1. Poor relationships -you may be the nicest, sweetest person around but your guilt can make you unstable to others, one day happy, next day sad, next day distant behaviour. This can cause others not to trust you because of inconsistent behaviour. We can also try levelling the playing field with others in our futile effort to bring some relief to our own shame by seeing others as fallen as us when they're really not at all.
  2. Poor self-image – the inability to come to terms with your guilt causes us to suppress it and this only leads to "shame" and lack of commitment in every area of your life. You become so busy internalizing your guilt that you can not free yourself long enough to enjoy your life and those around you.

Dealing with our Loneliness and Guilt before DEPRESSION pays a visit

Unfortunately, if the first two conditions are not dealt with, depression is sure to follow sooner or later. Many of us can easily diagnose depression and recognize it for what it is. what it is, but we often miss the underlying connections.

Keep in mind that loneliness is not so much abnormal, we can all experience at point or another, death of a loved one, divorce, new school, etc or such as in my case; social isolation as a child.

Chronic loneliness is the concern. Lack of relationships, friends, peers, mentors and daily activities, unresolved guilt can all be factors in the inevitable path of depression.

Being Consistently Aware 

Later in my life as an adult I often found myself regressing back into the independent, safe, and comfortable place of isolation. Many times it was a product of "protection" and that familiar place as a child.

togetherWhat I do know now is how much I need others in my life. We are in need of connection with others, physically, emotionally and even spiritually. Even psychologists agree like Psychologist John Cacioppo says, "we are built for social contact. There are serious—life-threatening—consequences when we don't get enough. We can't stay on track mentally. And we are compromised physically. Social skills are crucial for your health."

Moving forward

Being intentional when it comes to building relationships, getting out and being social is the only thing that will work for some of us.

volunteerI want to  encourage you to get involved. with others.

Now, please understand, I understand that there are introverted people and alone time is much required by all of us at times.

Getting involved means setting certain times of the week where you either go out on date nights with your spouse or children or friends, make time each week to workout, go for a walk or go to the gym. Maybe you attend an educational class (e.g.. Goodness Me has tons), anything for personal development and being active. Volunteering is something else that brings a lot of satisfaction and reward and bing with others.

It's about getting out! being around people.

In our social media world, it can often be more tempting to socialize behind a screen, however, we all need to make more time to get together in person.

As good and beneficial as social media can be (some would disagree and thats ok) there's nothing like togetherness.

Cheers to socializing and your HEALTH!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clean Eating

What exactly is a plant based diet?

It’s a diet based on fruits, vegetables, tubers, whole grains, and legumes; and it excludes or minimizes meat (including chicken and fish), dairy products, and eggs, as well as highly refined foods like bleached flour, refined sugar, and oil.

Why I chose a plant based diet?

Recently I embarked on a new journey-plant based whole foods.

Why? Well, there are a few different reasons.

Here are just a few in no particular order;

  • I love FRESH foods
  • I want more energy during the menopausal years
  • It’s cleaner
  • I don’t agree with agricultural practices(a recent revelation)
  • not a big meat eater to begin with(but I did really love burgers)
  • Overall better Wellness
  • Readily available
  • Tastes really good!(I never was a big vegetable eater before)
  • Dairy makes me sick
  • Better skin, hair and nails
  • Longevity & fight disease

There are more but I’m still waiting to experience them in the coming weeks and months.

What foods do you eat for protein?

The first thing people ask is “what about your protein?” To be honest I wasn’t sure at first either till I did my research.

Turns out there are lots of different plants to get your protein from and it is just as efficient as other non-plant based proteins.

Protein based plants/whole foods;

  • Veggies: Greens!! I’ve been drinking these for a few years now and I’m so glad I do.One cup of cooked spinach has about 7 grams of protein. The same serving of French beans has about 13 grams. Two cups of cooked kale? 5 grams. One cup of boiled peas? Nine grams. No wonder our moms told us to eat our peas! Lol (they probably didn’t realize how much protein they had).
  • Hemp. 30 grams of hemp powder in your smoothie is about 11 grams of protein – just like that
  • Non-Dairy Milk. 1 cup of soy or almond milk can pack about 7-9 grams of protein. I’ve been using almond milk for 3 years now instead of milk and it tastes delicious
  • Nut Butter(one of my favourites) almond butter and cashew butter. A couple of tablespoons of either of these is 8 grams of protein
  • Quinoa. 9 grams of protein per cup.(it’s also gluten free
  • Tofu. Four ounces of tofu will get you about 9 grams of protein
  • Lentils. Think veggie burgers! I actually just made cabbage rolls with lentils and rice the other day-YUMMY! 1 cup cooked is 18 grams of protei
  • Beans. Pinto, kidney or black beans, are approximately 13-15 grams of protein(lots of fiber too).
  • Tempeh. One cup of tempeh equals 30 grams of protein!
  • Sprouted-grain bread. 2 slices are about 10 grams of protein in the bread alone.

BEWARE!

So there it is, that’s quite a bit of options. And let me tell you, when you start cooking whole food plant based recipes.

BEWARE!!You will love them! Even my carnivore husband has made the decision to join the plant based food wagon!! (Thank you Jesus!) . Now it’s just getting two of my sons to buy in.

Good news…Meat eaters are not exempt

Those who eat meat and dairy meat can enjoy a plant based diet, you just won’t get the full benefits of it. But starting to include more vegetables and fruits into your diet is a great idea! I will leave you with just a few of the benefits;

Here are some of the Benefits;

  • Prevent & reverse chronic diseases like diabetes,high blood pressure and heart disease (someone won’t like that I said that)) it’s been proven several times.
  • Weight loss BMI reduction
  • Increase of fibre intake
  • Lower risk of cancer
  • Lower cholesterol
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Better blood sugar levels
  • Improve cognitive function

For more on Plant Based diet and nutrition visit Forks over Knives