Watch this and share … you never know, you just might save a life!
Watch this and share … you never know, you just might save a life!
My definition of clean living is simply to live in such a way that I eliminate as many toxic things from my life as possible – not just from my body, but from my mind and soul, too.
Real food. Simplify life. Reduce stress. Love God and my neighbor. Work/life balance.
Do you beat yourself up because you are interested in clean living but haven’t quite “gotten there”? Well, don’t be discouraged … it is a PROCESS, not just a destination! And it’s a very personal journey for sure. For example, I have been on the path to clean living for years, and I started with two simple things I knew were “poisoning” my body … sugar and white flour. You will have to decide what poisons are in your own life.
I started by eliminating these two things from my daily diet. I’m not a sugar or white flour Nazi per se, and occasionally I’ll allow myself that indulgence, but I probably stick to it 98% of the time. That was my start. After getting that under my belt, I began to tackle the elimination of processed foods in my routine – boxed, canned, jarred goods that obviously didn’t come from Mother Earth that way. That’s a harder mountain to climb. If I’m short on time, I do buy prepared salsa or jarred pesto, etc. I opt for the freshest and best food labeled product I can find. But in general, I probably keep to the “no processed foods” 90% of the time.
Then I began to tackle my skincare and personal care choices. The skin is our largest organ! That’s exactly why nicotine and estrogen patches on the skin work! So I’m evaluating my shampoos and conditioners, toothpaste, moisturizers, make up, and sunscreen.
For the mind, I’ve turned off most TV. I make watching the screen an intentional choice. Instead of the TV being on 24/7, I make a decision if I want to watch someone else live life for two hours or if I’m going to live my own life. If I make the decision to watch (and I DO love movies), I put on Netflix and choose what I want to fill my mind with for a limited time. And books? Yes, yes, yes! The mind can be so much more creative with a book! But again, there are trashy books and there are meaty books. I’m training my mind to reject what I know is trash infiltration and crave intellectual, good story-telling, quality, subject matter books instead.
For my soul, well that’s probably the most significant clean living choice of all! Matthew 15:17-20 in the NIV says: “Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are what defile a person…” Enough said. I know my own failings so I enjoy church where I have to be transparent and I am accountable for my actions, reading Scripture, and being challenged through intelligent and thoughtful discourse about God.
But I haven’t “arrived” at fully living clean yet! That’s the personal part of each person’s journey. I color my hair. My bad! Talk about toxins! But I don’t like how I look with grey hair compared to my dark locks. So it’s a toxic choice I’ve willingly made. I occasionally wear nail polish. Another toxin!
And the “toxin”list in our lives is huge … carpets, bed sheets, house paints, teflon cooking surfaces, detergents, etc.
So in your interest and journey toward clean living, don’t get overwhelmed with the whole kit and caboodle! Start with one step, just one “poison” that you know is in your life. Then another. Then another. The important thing is to get on the path and start moving toward the goal. Here are seven starting ideas:
So I’m not as much a fan of calorie counting as I am of simply eliminating sugar, white flour products, and processed foods from my body! And yes, this is tough. I’m not perfect at it either, but I strive for it. I figure if I hit the mark 85% of the time, I’m moving in the right direction!
But there are those out there who are learning to read food labels … and they are on a journey of seeing food in a whole new way and getting a grip on their health! They might be checking out a food’s protein, sugar, vitamin, or sodium content as well as calories. Kudos to you! And one way to become cognizant of what you’re putting into your body is to simply…track it!
In 2015, the Journal of Medical Internet Research published a study titled: Adherence to a Smartphone Application for Weight Loss Compared to Website and Paper Diary.”
The study stated that “In recent years, research into mobile devices to facilitate dietary and physical activity self-monitoring and weight-related behavior change has grown. Mobile phones, in particular, are an intuitively appealing intervention platform given that they are ubiquitous, engaging, and portable.” This study sought to compare the ability of participants to stay engaged with a phone app versus “two other self-monitoring interventions to allow comparison of self-monitoring on a mobile phone against other approaches.”
I bet you’re not surprised … the smartphone app won! Over 93 percent of the app participants continued to track their weight-related behavior and calories for the duration of the entire study (six months) whereas only 55% continued in the website group and only 53 percent in the diary group.
Of all the calorie counter apps out there, My Fitness Pal comes in first, according to ratings by Livescience.com. The site states that the app has as many or more features in its free version as other fitness-tracking apps. It compiles a pie chart with a breakdown of calories based on percentages from carbs, fats, and proteins…and can be seen on a daily or weekly basis. And considering what we discussed above about tracking, a nice add-on is the notes section, where users can either journal about their food, or their thoughts, or their exercise that day.
The app keeps a running total of calories so users can see where they stand in relation to their goal intake throughout the day, and it also has a huge searchable nutrition database. That means you’ll find the calorie count of almost any food you want to look up!
Finally, Livescience.com notes that the best feature of all is “the app’s ability to download recipes directly into the app and get estimated calorie counts. The app will take the recipe ingredient list, cross-check it with its nutrition database, and give an estimate of calories per serving. (Users can check the app’s work and alter any calories or serving sizes that need tweaking.) For people who scour the Internet for recipes, this feature is invaluable.”
As you seek health in your body, mind, AND spirit, have you thought of using Meetups as a way to support your entire well-being?
For those of you who aren’t aware of what “Meetups” are, the http://www.meetup.com site says they are: “neighbors getting together to learn something, do something, share something.”
These Meetup groups cover a huge range of interests and are started by individuals who have a need (new in town, or have a hobby/interest they want to share with others) and form a group on the website to satisfy that need. Individuals get onto the website, put in the geographic range that they would travel for activities, and voila, a list of formed Meetup groups shows in a list. The range of groups I’ve seen vary from volleyball, photography, hiking, women of Christian faith, dog lovers, book writing and aspiring authors, business owners, running, young business professionals, entrepreneurs, coed baseball, knitting, prayer, yoga, book lovers, flag football … on and on and on. SO many choices! Continue reading “Meetups -support for body, mind, and spirit!”
I have three points I want to make sure to get across here… I promise the end point is encouraging!
So don’t be deceived that your beauty is a body shape or a number on the scale! Don’t allow a cultural preference to dictate your esteem! Fight against that! For me? Well, I’m determined to work on “me” from the inside out. I care about pursuing compassion and kindness as a human being, deepening my faith in God, pursuing healthy eating habits and physical strength, pursuing education and learning new things, and lastly, about touching others’ lives so that I make a difference by being in the world. Now THAT is beautiful to me…
Valerie’s Nugget: If you were worried about your beauty, transfer that energy into getting healthy.
BMI. What is this, you ask? It stands for Body Mass Index. According to Medicalnewstoday.com, BMI is “a measure of body fat based on your weight in relation to your height and applies to most adult men and women aged 20 and over.” What this is saying is that BMI isn’t a direct measure of body fat, but instead is based off a correlation between weight and height. That being said, the site goes on to state that research indicates BMI results do correlate to more sophisticated measurements of body fat but keep in mind that “factors such as age, sex, ethnicity and muscle mass are not accounted for in BMI”.
Okay, so what does knowing our BMI do for us? Simply put, it’s a screening tool used to give reasonable indication of someone’s state of being in regards to weight: healthy weight, underweight, overweight, or obese.
Why would this be important to know? NOT because size determines beauty, but instead it’s about HEALTH! Carrying extra weight increases health risks! According to the site “Excess weight increases how hard the heart has to work, it also raises blood pressure, blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels and lowers HDL (good) cholesterol levels. Excess weight can make a person more likely to develop diabetes.” From observation, I would add it increases wear/tear on joints and compromises the immune system, among other things.
While there are many BMI calculators out there, I came across a really awesome BMI calculator that shows body fat percentages in 3D models. Use the easy-to-use sliding scale to input your height and weight data (just make sure to click “American/Imperial” under Measure System so the inputs are in feet/inches and pounds instead of metric). A picture is worth a thousand words!
But don’t stop there. Take your results and reference it to the table below. Where did you land?
Take that answer and let it move you to take steps to reduce your health risks … from the inside out, of course!
Woohoo! April is here… and in my world, that means FARMER’S MARKETS ARE ABOUT TO POP UP EVERYWHERE! For those who can’t grow their own produce, this is the next best thing! Trust me, once you get hooked on truly fresh produce, you’ll have a hard time buying at the grocer again!
I don’t know about you, but there is something earthy and comforting in attending farmer’s markets! I get to talk to the farmers who actually grew the produce and see the fruits of the earth direct from farm to table. Over time, I get to know the farmers by name, and I know which booth or farmer vendor I trust the most… it’s to those individuals that I return time and time again during the entire harvest season.
This is an excellent way to not only support local growers and the economy, but also ensure your produce is fresh, organic, and safe at the same time. There is a NOTICEABLE difference in taste from a tomato at the store versus fresh from your own garden or a farmer’s market! I wish there was a way over the internet to let you taste the difference!
An added bonus? This is not only is this healthy for you and your loved ones, but also sets an example of a lifestyle to your children! I have a daughter in college who goes to the farmer’s market in her town EVERY WEEKEND. She makes an outing of it…taking her rollerblades or sneakers, she rolls/runs on the trail near the lake, then goes to the farmer’s market by the water’s edge afterward. She strikes up conversations with the farmers, and like me, she returns to the same ones she has developed a relationship with over the weeks. And guess what? She’s only 20 years old! She is striving to eat “clean” while in college.
Okay, to make it easy for you, click here to go to the LocalHarvest website where you can search by zip code for farmer’s markets near you (search box at top of website). You can also check your community newspapers and leaflets for information about ones that might not be listed on this site. And finally, you can always contact a local 4H group or a university to ask to be directed to someone who can tell you about farmer’s markets in your area.
Mmmmm, I’m craving a fresh tomato after all this talk!
I’ve been traveling the past few days and had the pleasure of visiting an incredible national treasure … Monticello. For those who are history challenged, this is the home of Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence and the third president of the United States. Monticello is located on a gorgeous mountain in western Virginia with views of rolling hills and valleys. And part of the beauty of the estate is not just the orchards and flower gardens, but the vegetable garden, too! OH MY … Be still my beating heart!
The soil was rich, the furrows straight, and the entire vegetable garden must have reached the length of two football fields! The garden is still farmed with primitive methods and includes an incredible variety of vegetables. As I gazed in awe at the garden, it reminded me how we’ve lost the appreciation for growing our own food … as well as the knowledge of how to farm!
According to the United States Department of Agriculture’s Agriculture Food and Statistics report in 2014, the number of farms in the U.S. has fallen from more than 6 million in 1935 to roughly 2 million in 2012. The family farm is on the decline while corporate-owned farms rises! One of the ripple effects? The experience and knowledge of how to farm and grow sustainable gardens will disappear as these family farms disappear, too…
My dad grew up on a farm in Iowa in the 1930’s. I’m so proud of that fact! Grandma and Grandpa were sturdy midwest folk and taught all they knew about farming to their kids, who worked alongside them on the farm. My dad and mom went on to raise eight children (yes, I have seven siblings!) on a small parcel of land on the outskirts of an Iowan town … and as you can guess, they turned a large portion of our yard into a garden!
I grew up snapping beans and shelling peas under the maple tree in the yard, eating tomatoes like apples, and grabbing grapes off the grapevine on the way to the school bus in the fall. We ate canned vegetables in the dead of winter and enjoyed homemade jam on homemade bread. And that is what we are losing … the art of growing food! And we aren’t teaching our kids! There is knowledge in gardening that comes solely from past experiences and generational teaching. My dad knew just what to do to make his Iowa corn grow, when to plant, when to harvest, what made great natural fertilizer, how to rotate his crops, etc.
My encouragement to those of us who live in the suburbs and want to embrace healthy living, is to connect with our history. LEARN gardening. For you and your kids! If you have a patio or a small backyard, you can plant vegetables in containers. You can do a raised garden bed near your house. Options. Simple. Start with just one type of plant. Get your confidence up and plant more next year. And let the kids own part of the work of “gardening” the plant. Second best option is to hit your local farmer’s markets! Not only do you support the local business, but you also know exactly where your food comes from!
There is such GREAT satisfaction in eating what you grew with your own hands. Your body will thank you, too!
Happy Easter! One of my favorite veggie dishes for any holiday is simply roasted vegetables! It’s a super easy way to fill up on this essential food group in such a way that you long for more! And I think you’ll love the simplicity so much that you’ll prepare roasted veggies year round!
I like to use mostly root vegetables with just a spattering of a few others. The root veggies help the medley to stay firm and not so mushy. Feel free to throw in any veggies you have on hand, but root vegetables work best. You can’t go wrong! Continue reading “Roasted Veggies”
Ever heard of interval training, otherwise known as HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training)? Yes, Virginia, there is a science to it!
The science behind it is twofold: