Year One of “The Good Life”

This week marks the one year anniversary of life change for me and my family. I have been “into” organic for many years, but April 29 is the day the contest started that changed my life (I believe) forever! I am so grateful to God for all the ways He is giving me the tools and blessings to do “the natural”, while He takes care of the “supernatural”. And note that I said “do”, knowing I have a part in this. This lifestyle requires choices and discipline and some sacrifice. God blesses me with untold blessings, that far outweigh any sacrifice I am making, but the two work in synergy to create change. Every breath I take comes from Him, so I want to take this time to be grateful for my good life. Very good life. If you want to read a long list of specific ways my physical body has positively responded to removing grains and sugars and only eating “real food”, here is the link. But I want this post to be more about how I’ve changed on the inside, and how my family has changed. The good stuff.

This was taken after our first 5k! What a special memory and huge accomplishment for us! Thank you, Susan (behind hubs), for all your training!

There seems to be a new girl in here who is quite happy to cook up these amazingly healthful meals, from scratch, almost every day of the week. I am blessed to live in a house with a functioning kitchen, and be able to buy the food we eat. I don’t take any of it for granted. Amazingly, we rarely want to go out to eat anymore.  And I’m not a great cook, people. This is new (and still learning) territory for me! I’m embarrassed to tell you I’ve had to watch a You Tube video this past year on how to boil an egg properly. For real. And that’s part of what I mean by God giving me “tools” like YouTube and other foodie’s blogs, some caring people, my iPhone, computer and internet! I have had to learn so much! And there have been sacrifices: cable tv and home phone to name only a couple.   But I look back with great joy over how I’ve changed and how these changes have affected my family.

We didn’t have sickness this past year. Maybe a sniffle or cough during flu season, for a day or two. The hubs made it through his company’s “busy season” in November and December without missing a day, when everyone (in close contact) around him was getting sick. My kids are trying new foods they’ve never eaten before, and I am shocked at what I’m learning about them. For example, I never knew they love asparagus! My kids (and hubs) are proud of their “weird” lunches at school (and work), and they’re very aware of how differently our family eats. My kids probably know more about grass-fed beef and hormone filled milk than most adults do. They’ve “bought in” to this lifestyle and really do believe me when I say “it’s good for you”. They’re seeing results like feeling great, no more belly aches, clear skin, etc., just like their mom. We’re all much more conscious of what we’re putting in our bodies and how it makes us feel. It’s been an “awakening” of sorts. I’m shocked we didn’t make the connection before. The kids have responded well to the change. The challenge has been on the other end: teaching them how to show grace, and when to “backoff”, so as not to sound judgemental about other’s choices. (I may want to re-think telling them, “we don’t eat crap like that anymore”. They tend to repeat it.) And of course that fine balancing act of knowing how to handle all of this with extended family who may see things differently. That’s always a fun one.

The hubs is thrilled with his cooking-like-a-maniac wife, of course. Being the Eater he is, this new life suits him just fine. He has seen results similar to mine, so the “sacrifice” is worth it for him too. He’s behind me 100% in this, so that makes it much easier for me to keep going, and it’s another thing I’m thankful for! Our only real challenge in doing this now is the budget, because I want more appliances, gadgets, and expensive specialty food items! In fact, I’d like a whole new kitchen, thank you! I’m still learning contentment (remember that whole “journey” thing I wrote about?). This last year has brought tremendous change for us. More than I ever thought could happen, actually. And we weren’t obese, nor did we have major health problems or food allergies before we started. We were just a “normal” American family. And that’s the part that’s strange to me. I thought we were doing pretty well. I had no idea all those things were symptoms that something was wrong with me, us,  and could be changed with our diet (and a few adjustments). I had no idea how much better things could be.

These last couple months seem to have plateaued for my weight loss, so I need to decide if I want to turn it up a notch to lose more, or keep happily doing this and maintaining where I’m at just fine. We shall see. I like where we’re going. I see all areas of my life improving along with my physical self. I am happy to know I can still do a lot of changing at 44. I am encouraged that my “best days are ahead”. I know they are. I am filled with more purpose than ever before, ready to tackle what God has next for me. I can feel Him preparing me for what He has prepared for me. All of this physical, mental, and spiritual change has been supported by some very special people who I want to thank here. My Pastor, Steven Furtick, for creating the contest and more importantly for teaching us every week how to implement change in every area of our lives; Buck Buhler for implementing the contest; Dr. Tony Hyser for taking good care of me and my family and showing us the way to true health, and Susan Black for training me in how to run (which gave me the confidence to even enter the contest). God’s been good to me, and I’ve made changes to improve my health, so I’m thankful for my “good, good life”.

I encourage you to just take that first step, whatever it is for you. Let me know what you’re doing to change, or what’s holding you back from doing it. Writing it out may be the first step towards your good life.

Encouraging Health,

Dana, the Organic Eater

I promised in an earlier post that I would show you an “in process” picture. Here’s One Year ago, and April 2012 (I’m still not ready to call it the “after” picture)

Easiest Chicken Tortilla Soup Ever (link + my suggestions)

OrganicEater.com 2012

I found a recipe that is SO easy and delicious, I HAD to share it with you. Bonus: it’s Mexican. Trifecta (again) in my life!! Vegan friends, or friends who are out of chicken, you can make it by using white beans or garbanzo, and vegetable stock. Maximized Living Advanced Plan or Paleo friends, this may have too many beans for you, depending on your starch tolerance.

Hop on over to The Humbled Homemaker’s recipe for Easiest Chicken Tortilla Soup Ever then come right back here to get my extra tips for making this ORGANIC and/or making it with a little extra nutrition I added (and a substitution).

“ONE-POT STOP” here: Pour some organic free-range chicken stock into your pot. Homemade stock/broth is your “best” here, but do what you can. I used a box tonight and felt not one bit of guilt. I also ADDED a spoonful of crushed garlic to the stock, because I try to add garlic to ANYthing I can, for extra nutrition. If you don’t have stock, you could just use water, but I would definitely add garlic for more flavor in that case. Of course I used organic free range chicken breasts. Two were plenty for this recipe. I cut them into very small pieces, cause who wants a big ol’ chunk o’ chicken to have to gnaw on, when this is “soup”?!  I cut up my chicken before I boiled it to save time (didn’t want to have to wait for boiled chicken breasts to cool before cutting/shredding).

Then I dumped in a jar of this:

pineapple salsa

which is NOT organic, but IS delicious and I think it was the “secret sauce” in how it turned out so fabulously!! Pineapple has fructose, so some will need to add a no-sugar salsa instead. I only had one jar, so…… I improvised and threw in half a jar of Trader Joes Marinara sauce (hey, it’s tomatoes, that’s all I cared about. And now my soup is Italian Tortilla soup, but that’s OK). I may not change that when I make this next time, cause it was soooo good! Again, home-made salsa would have been healthiEST, but I was in a hurry tonight and that is life.

Next, I threw in a box of drained organic black beans. Boxed are healthier than canned because they’re BPA free, but soaked/cooked at home are best, if you’re eating them at all. I saw her note at the bottom, about garbanzo beans, so I threw those in too! You could also add organic frozen corn here (regular corn is highly GMO, so buy organic or know your source). I try to cut grains every chance I get, so I did not add corn this time. If company was coming and I was trying to ‘stretch” this meal, I would have added it:)

Then I added the rest of my box of chicken stock and some s&p and let it cook about 5 minutes. THAT’S IT!!!! Chicken, stock/water (& garlic), salsa (marinara), beans. It could not be easier. I think this would work great in a crock pot too, so let me know if you try it that way. Another way to make this quickly is to have your chicken and beans and salsa ready the night before, then all you have to do is throw them in the pot with the stock. Done. You’re welcome.

If you have time, you could add homemade grain free tortillas from Mark’s Daily Apple, or Cheddar Biscuits from HomeCookedHealthy, which is my new favorite grainfree bread to keep in stock around here.  Quickfix: organic blue corn chips (small amount!). The soup is good enough all by itself, though.

The Print Friendly button will let you print only what you want to print from this post.

Encouraging Health,

Organic Eater

Natural Sunscreen Review (link to Kitchen Stewardship blog)

Beach 2007

KitchenStewardship has the most thorough review of natural sunscreens I’ve ever read. Reviews from a real mom who has to grease up kids, and knows what a good sun screen is worth. I’m linking this to you OE readers, so you have a resource before you buy this year’s sunscreen. Can you believe it’s almost that time?! After greasing up, go out there and soak in that  amazing Vitamin D  we’re almost all deficient in, but do it in a smart way! And for those who need very little protection (because you’re not in direct sun or you wear protective clothing, or you’re not out for long, etc.), do some research on the natural sun block protection of real coconut oil. Happy soaking.

Encouraging Health,

Organic Eater

PS: if YOU have a recommendation for a natural sunscreen, leave a comment for the rest of us!

Trifecta

Don’t you love it when things happen in three’s, and you think it may be “a sign” of some kind? Well, I guess if it’s a good thing, you love it. If it’s a bad thing, probably not. Anyway, three Hemp things happened to me this week, and I’m taking it as a sign I need to incorporate the hemp plant into my healthy lifestyle. See that link for benefits of hemp protein. (as an aside, buying anything hemp always makes me smile sheepishly because of what hemp can be used for. But keep in mind, it is only a PLANT, which can be used by man for many different purposes, good and bad, like anything else on this earth Gen 1:29-30). This post is ONLY about hemp as a plant and a protein source.

First, I went to the health food store and the only protein mix I could find (that was acceptable on every point; I had a long list that day) was the Nutiva Hemp Protein Mix. I bought it for the first time, after some unusual circumstances I won’t bore you with here.

The more Nutiva products I try, the more I love them.

Second, my Maximized Living webinar that same week included a Shopping List, that raved about the advantages of Hemp Protein. That was something I had never read from ML before. I started “thinking twice” about it…….

Thirdly, I found this Hemp video whose creativity is off the charts, and is so cute I want to squeeze it. I saw it originally at the brand new kirstieinthekitch.com blog, which I hope to see more often, because she already has a Mexican recipe which makes me love her even more. 🙂

So, maybe this series of events could be called the Trifecta Effect. These three signs were leading me towards hemp protein. Maybe my body needs this protein source. The Lord works in mysterious ways, so it’s always a possibility I guess. Or maybe not.

I had it in my smoothie for the first time today. (no picture because it’s not pretty when the green hemp and brown cocoa make a “sludge” color) I put cocoa in it, so the chocolate covered the hemp taste, so I can’t say if it had much flavor. Not that I wanted it to. I want to taste all the other stuff, not the protein. It did make me feel very happy shortly afterwards though. Just kidding! I may be using it to make some hemp protein bars this weekend. Let me know if any of you try it, and what you think about it.

Encouraging Health,

Organic Eater

Easy Tips to Avoid Obesity from Dr. Mercola

The link at the end of this paragraph is the “Dr. Mercola version” of what I did (Advanced Plan at Maximized Living) to lose over 20 pounds of fat: drastically reduce fructose & grains, eat healthy fats, cut out all artificial & processed everything, eat organic produce & grass-fed meats, and do burst training type exercise. The bonus here is that it’s something I want to keep doing; it’s my lifestyle because I’m getting results I like. We don’t keep doing what we don’t like. For me, the rewards outweigh the sacrifices. Here are the details if you want them Easy Tips to Avoid Obesity from Dr. Mercola. Yes, they’re “easy”, but you have to go beyond just reading this article, and actually implement the knowledge into your life. Reading this healthy advice does not make you healthier, application of what you read does

Encouraging Health,

Organic Eater