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Fighting for Faith

Faith: confidence or trust in a person or thing; a belief that is not base on truth

It has really been in the last 5 years of my life where I have found what it means to truly have “FAITH.”  I’m not just referring to the religious faith (although this is what I live by daily) but also the idea and realism behind the term.  I see acts of faith carried out daily in my life, friends’ lives, and definitely my clients.  Actually, it’s more like lack of faith.  Clients come to me with great goals of making their life healthier, but when we discuss possibilities of how to achieve this, they grow grim.  Fear comes upon them because they start to listen to the voice that says they won’t be able to do it!  However, I have FAITH and truly believe, that there is something within each one of us (YES! You too!) that can do extraordinary things.

Take the Biggest Loser for example.  Those people achieve massive weight loss and then complete a marathon?!  Amazing….if you listen their commentaries throughout the show, it’s rare to here one of them say “I was always planning on running marathon someday.”  Most had not thought this up in a million years!

Every day I wake up and live by FAITH.  Working 2 jobs..actually 3 now with nannying…my schedule is nuts!  Its no 9a-5p position, but rather an act of faith that I will have enough clients to help meet my payments each month.  When I finally stop worrying about it and place all my faith in something greater than myself, I receive more clients and opportunities.  Just this week another trainer referred clients to me for some nutrition counseling.  Last week I had a random babysitting job when money felt tight.

In all of this, I challenge you to take a leap of faith.  Whether it be with trying a food you’ve never tried before, or signing up for a 5k, 1/2 marathon, or marathon even if you aren’t a runner…look for an opportunity to practice FAITH!  Believe in yourself when no one else will!  Be confident and tell yourself “I can do this. I can do this. I CAN do this!”

When it feels uncomfortable or seems a little scary, but there’s a piece of you that wants to try…just believe!  I have faith in myself, in others, and in working together to meet goals.  It takes some time to see results, but faith keeps me grounded and moving forward!

Eat mindfully! Be active! Live vibrantly!

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Listening to your inner child

I am a nanny one day a week for a 4 and 2 year old.  It is amazing how much you can learn from these ages.  Most often I look forward to the day of nannying as I get to release my INNER CHILD!  I tell ya…it takes hanging out with a couple of cool kids to remind me of who I am.  We go to the park, play board games, color, be imaginative, and EAT! Of course, meal and snack time are my favorite time of the day.  As I observed the children eating the other day, I finally saw and experienced what it means when people say “children are the best at being in tune with their body.”

Let me explain…

The 4 year old typically doesn’t eat much at breakfast.  She just knows, my body isn’t that hungry.  Now, I am NOT suggesting you eat nothing for breakfast…but I love that she recognizes her bodies needs.  However, about mid-morning she states “my stomach hurts!” She hasn’t quite get the concept of not letting ourselves get too hungry 🙂

The 2 year old was SO fun to watch! He woke up really hungry one morning. I didn’t believe him when about 3 minutes after I had gave him a whole packet of instant oatmeal he exclaimed, “All done!” Yes, indeed, he had scraped the bowl clean! The three of us played a game for a bit and then the 4 year old was hungry. Once she had some cereal in front of her, the 2 year old wanted some too! He kept eating and eating….but when he was FULL, he stopped.

The kids ate, conversed, and laughed…but when they knew their tummies were full, they stopped. If they wanted more, they asked! Gosh…I wish it was that easy for all of us. I did realize it can be. Release that inner child…here’s how:

– Be silly! It feels good to just laugh and do crazy things that adults typically don’t do. Dance to your favorite song, color, go to the park! I find it releases some of the good-feeling endorphins!

– Set your fork down between bites.
– Converse with those around you.
– Take 5 minutes! Listen to your body…is the stomach rumbling? Are you satisfied? Its tough…but just try it!

We are all someone’s child! Release the carefree, curious child within.

Brave the bison!

I was paging through a free magazine from Sunflower Farmers Market…reading up on nutrition messages the public may come across. Interestingly, there was a short article about bison meat (aka buffalo). Even though I don’t eat much meat myself, my eyes were drawn to this article titled “Bison: better meat?”

Let me first clarify the difference between bison and buffalo.  Technically, bison are an animal from North America.  They have a wooly head + short horns + a humpback.  Buffalo come form Africa and Asia.  They are smooth and have long curled horns.  So the “buffalo” burger listed on the menu is a misnomer.  It is actually BISON meat!  It goes back a ways on why we refer to bison as buffalo…but we won’t get into that.  All you need to know is that “buffalo” you eat in America is really BISON.

Bison

American Bison

Asian Water Buffalo

Buffalo

Well, my friends, I did a little research to find out the nutritional quality and benefits of bison meat! Here is what I found:

From NutritionData

Why I recommend bison (buffalo) meat over beef or other red meats:

1) Low in fat and cholesterol

2) Lower in calories

3) High in protein

4) Grass-fed bison have more Omega-3’s than grass-fed beef cattle

5) Lower in sodium

6) Excellent source of a variety of vitamins and minerals: B-12, B-6, potassium, copper, iron, zinc, selenium

If you are worried about added hormones and chemicals, bison is a good choice!  According to the National Bison Association, bison are not fed questionable drugs, chemicals, or hormones. Also, much of their life is spent on grass fields and not cooped in a feedlot!  Hurray for freedom of the bison.

From what I read, bison is slightly sweeter in taste than other red meats.  It is a dense meat, but flavorful.  It can be prepared pretty much the same way as beef.  You can find different cuts of bison as well: ground, chunk, sirloin, etc.  However, you might have to go to a specialty store to find this meat.  I am sure if you as the person behind the meet counter at your local grocery store, they can direct you to the right place!

Man….this meat is a winner in my book!  Try it out!  Its hard to claim you like or don’t like a food if you’ve never tried it.  Be brave and explore the taste and nutritional value of bison:)

bison burger

Daily inspiration

It has been a challenging, but wonderful few days. For the first time in 23 years I was not with any family member on Christmas Eve and Christmas day!!!! Although, we had planned on celebrating Christmas a little later this year as my brother was spending Christmas with his wife’s family, I still struggled with being away from family. However, I did have social events and work planned for the few days which kept me busy. Welcoming friends invited me to midnight mass for Christmas Eve and then for Christmas dinner on the 25th! I was able to truly rest on the full meaning of the season and how lucky I was to have people to celebrate with. Storms across the mid-west left my parents without any children home for Christmas Eve and prevented them from visiting grandparents. It was a different sort of holiday season, but I tell you, I think we all are able to recognize the value in the time we do have together.

I arrived in MN on the 26th and am so excited to be here for the week! I was able to spend a splendid 24 hours with my grandparents who are my biggest role models. I aspire to be like my grandma when I am 80 years old; she’s thoughtful, compassionate, healthy, and the MOST spiritually driven person I know. As I conversed with her about some of the struggles I am facing, she simply said, “Get on your knees and pray.” Honestly, I have never really thought about actually getting on my knees to pray!!! I’m constantly talking to God about my daily life, but actually kneeling before Him with the intent to give everything up to Him in prayer has never occurred to me. I think its about time I try!!! Prayer is powerful, refreshing, and relieving. The piece of advice my wise grandmother told me was to involve myself in activities I enjoy. You may be thinking…well, DUH! But she was’t saying to keep reading or painting or exercising. She meant get involved where other people are (i.e. join a choir, extracurricular league of some kind, help out with youth group, etc) There’s another goal for me in 2010! Get involved in something where I can meet people who enjoy the same things I do.

AHhh…now this are just a few of the inspirations I have learned in a mere 3 days!!! I tell ya…its amazing what you learn when you truly engage yourself in a conversation. Put that blackberry away, leave your cellphone in your car and look the person in the eye as you converse. This is called ACTIVE listening. When I truly absorb every word the other person is saying, I come away from a conversation with more knowledge than when I began. Here’s my goal for you as we approach 2010….be an ACTIVE listener in your every day conversations. Remove all distractions and place all attention on whom you are speaking with. Take a minute after the conversation and see what you have learned!

So here it is…an inspiration for you to ponder as you go about your days:
Center yourself in integrity of the Spirit
Place your worries, struggles, and joys to the power higher than yourself!!

Always on the run

We are getting so close to Christmas! I can’t wait to be with my family and enjoy our traditions. Do you have any special Christmas traditions with your family, friends, or co-workers? I’d love to hear some.

Upon reflecting on the past months and year of my life I realized how much time I spent on the road. Moving across country definitely put me on the road for a few days and then my current jobs keep me commuting here and there. With all that time on the road I see the difficulty in eating healthy, balanced meals! As it is much easier to grab a quick burrito or sandwich around the corner, I never feel satisfied. Eating out for several days in a row can leave me feeling sluggish and run down. Also, I see the bank account diminishing. However, I have taken upon myself to plan ahead and pack food for the day when I know I’m going to busy. Its NOT easy, I get it! But let me tell you, I feel much more energized through my food choices. Also, it is a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day to know that I took care of myself.

Now, I am not married and do not have any kids, so I am just cooking and preparing for one! Sounds much easier than getting 3 or 4 bodies fed?! Well, it’s almost pain-staking cooking for one. Do I really want to make a full pan of lasagna when I will have a serving for dinner…maybe bring some for lunch the next day…and there is still 2/3 of the pan left? Yes, I can freeze the rest, but I do not want to eating lasagna all winter long! Through the last couple years of my life I have learned to be creative with foods to carry along for my day. I have several staples (i.e. natural peanut butter, tortillas, bread, pesto, cheese, Triscuits, I keep on hand and then mix other foods up depending on sales at the grocery store.

Here are some of my favorite lunches, snacks, and grab-and-go foods:
– Tomato, mozzarella, spinach, avocado, and pesto sandwich (I like to use whole grain English muffins, or Arnold Sandwich Thins)

– Peanut butter and banana sandwich. Drizzle some honey for added sweetness or sprinkle granola inside for some crunch

– Greek yogurt, TLC Kashi Bar, and a piece of fruit

– Carrots, celery or other cut up veggies with hummus

– Bean cheese burrito. Use a whole wheat tortilla, rinsed canned beans, shredded cheese, and a splash of salsa.  Warm it up if you have access to a microwave or just eat it cold

– Bed of spinach topped with tuna, dried cranberries, nuts, and feta cheese

– Triscuits, cottage cheese (or cheese chunks), and fruit

– Trail mix. I like to mix raw almonds, dried cranberries, and chocolate chips!

– Sabra to Go

Essentials for lunch on the go:

– A lunch box/bag.  Zippers tend to keep the food colder
– Ice packs. You can get a pack of 2 at Target for ~$3
– Various sizes of containers. Cottage cheese, hummus, and take out containers are great for snack and lunch!

Now it’s your turn! Try some of my ideas out or feel free to provide me with your favorite grab-and-go options!

Happy Eating:)

Seasonal sugar addiction!

Around this time of year, I find myself tempted and tested with a plethora of goodies at holiday gatherings!  I tell ya, my dad has blessed me with the “sweet tooth” gene, so its hard to resist.  After days in a sugar coma, you’d think I would (or anyone for that matter) refrain from possibly eating one more sweet thing!!  Well, this certainly is not the case.  My body is now craving after dinner sweets.  Some of you may relate…

Want to satisfy your SWEET craving, but not go over board on calories and fat?  Here’s an idea that I use quite frequently.  Sip on some Orgeon Chai tea!  I make mine with 1/2 milk (plain soy milk was in my fridge tonight), 1/2 water or sometimes 1/3, 2/3 respectively.  Also, since I only want a little sweetness, I use about have the individual packet of powder.  Saves me some calories, but still provides lots of flavor!  A friend told me once that she sips on Swiss Miss no-sugar added hot cocoa mix. Add a splash of peppermint extract or peppermint schnapps for the season!

Another idea is to make decaf tea and add a little Agave nectar or honey for sweetness! DELICIOUS:) Some of my favorite teas are…

Lipton Spiced Chai (not decaf! Great with a splash of milk)

Tazo Decaf Chai

Tazo Decaf Green Tea

Happy sipping to all!

Listen and you shall find peace…

Hello hello!  Well, its been an interesting day I have to say.  Really nothing too eventful happened, except some FABULOUS conversations:)  It made me realize that if you just listen to what others say and soak in the words they speak, you may find peace in whatever life situation might be occurring.

Let’s rewind and start from the beginning of  my day.  I had a nice, slow, relaxing morning!  After 5 days of no caffeine, I made myself the most glorious cup of caffeinated coffee:) Caribou Coffee Mahogany beans, ground and brewed in a French press.  I tell you, it is the way to have coffee!  Sipped on that cup while I had some quiet time.  Reflecting, listening, and assessing where my faith stands.  It was humbling and well-needed.

My tummy started rumbling, so breakfast (or should I say brunch) was up next!  First, I sauteed some diced onions, then set aside.  Placed and Eziekel muffin with slices of mozzarella and swiss cheese under the broiler.  In the meantime scrambled an egg + egg white with tomato and the onions.  In the end, an open-faced delictable egg sandwich!  1/2 a grapefruit on the side!  Scrumptious, my friends…truly.  Took about 15 min to complete.

Yes, I do drink my coffee with a straw sometimes!  I have a friend that does it this way too. When asked why, she replied “It helps to not stain your teeth.”  🙂 Whether that’s true or not…its kind of fun!

All in all, this kept me satisfied for a long time!

I headed off to try and finish my Christmas shopping.  It turned out to be a failure, but that’s ok.  I did meet up with 2 different friends and had GREAT conversations.  Both spoke wise words into my life.  It brought a sense of peace to my inner soul and helped me to realize I was preventing myself from living fully.  We all tend to get caught up in one thing or another.  Sometimes through others we are hit smack in the face with what we need!  In a good way, of course.

Advice to you….take time to engage in meaningful conversations regularly!  If you become fully present when with another, I bet you will learn so much more and walk away with new insight.  Also, take time for yourself!  Whether 5 minutes or 60 minutes or a whole day, it is important for us to be refreshed from within.  Recharging and allowing yourself to truly rest will enable you to accomplish the work you are called to daily! Seek that spiritual part of your life whatever it may be and ye shall find peace from within.