Friday, October 21, 2016

Pumpkin Chili (Tomato-Free)

I like to know why. I love Google so I can do research. I love Siri so I can quickly get answers. My poor doctor is always bombarded with questions when I visit.

When it comes to my health, I'm constantly asking why? Why is this working for me? Something isn't working - what is it? I eliminate things and add them back in to see what happens. I constantly experiment on myself.

Recently I had a food allergy/sensitivity test done. I was very anxious to get the results back because I knew something I was eating was making me feel bloated, sluggish, blah. Even being gluten and dairy-free since spring, something was still off.

The results came back and I was surprised by some of the things I need to avoid. Among many things, corn and tomatoes are on the list. That explains why Qdoba wasn't working for me: pico de gallo and corn salsa with corn chips. Bah! (I've discovered fajita peppers are a great substitute for the crunch and substance. Thankfully I can still eat peppers. And guacamole!)

But chili. Chili is a fall staple at my house. Double batches are made and eaten all week long for healthy lunches and dinners.

But now - no tomatoes.

I did a Google search for tomato-free chili and found a fabulous recipe from Lina at Strictly Delicious. (Check her Paleo Pumpkin Chili out here.)

I combined it with my chili recipe and came up with this awesome, healthy alternative. Tomato-free.

I promise - you won't even miss the tomatoes! Fabulous!

Pumpkin Chili (Tomato-Free)

20 oz ground turkey (or ground round)
Onion, chopped (large palm full)
5 - 8 cloves garlic

Sauté onion and garlic for 1-2 minutes in olive oil; add turkey and brown.

While browning, add (measurements don’t need to be exact):
1 ½ t salt
½ t pepper
1 t cinnamon
1/4 t cloves
1 t basil
2 t cumin 
½ t marjoram
2 t oregano
2 t chili powder
1 t Chipotle powder (optional)
Tabasco Chipotle sauce if desired

When turkey is browned, add:

1/2 can pureed pumpkin*
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
2 – 15 oz cans pinto/kidney/black beans, drained and rinsed
1 sweet potato, peeled and cubed

Simmer 20 – 45 minutes

Add juice of one lime.

If you're not diary-free, top with shredded cheese, Greek yogurt and green onion as desired. If you're not corn-free, tortilla chips would be great with this!

*Oh, that 1/2 can of leftover pumpkin? Tastes great with a tiny bit of maple syrup and some hazelnuts. (You can get 2 servings out of that.) Or mix one teaspoon into some scrambled eggs. Add it to oatmeal. 

If you try Pumpkin Chili, I'd love to know what you think. Just comment below. Also, what would you do with the leftover pumpkin?

There's still time to get $4 off my book, Be Real Health Journal: A Guide To Slowing Down For Better Health.

Use the code JOURNAL1 at checkout before 11:59 pm, Saturday, October 22! This would make a perfect Christmas gift! Click here to order!

Friday, October 14, 2016

How To Answer Your Bathroom Scale

My brother is three years younger than I am. When we were kids we fought like brothers and sisters do. I remember more than one occasion when we would say to each other, "You're not the boss of me."

As the older sister, of course I thought I was the boss of him! Where my older sisters at? Am I right?

As a health coach I know better than to be a slave to my scale, yet I weigh myself (and my self-worth) every morning. When I'm down 2/10 of a pound I rejoice. If I'm up 2/10 of a pound I beat myself up, analyze everything I had put in my mouth the day before and leave the bathroom feeling defeated, or at least frustrated.

I also know what the scale says doesn't mean a whole lot. It taunts. It lies. It is NOT my BFF.

I'm 51-years-old. Not yet older than dirt, but not so young anymore. My body is starting to do funky things. I have to try harder just to maintain, not to mention any improving I'd like to do. Muscle, hormones, fat - it's all a battle now.

The foods I choose to eat make a big difference in how my body handles things. So I'm very conscious of what I eat, making sure to get enough vegetables, drink enough water and get some decent exercise. Even when I do it "wrong", I'm still at least conscious of what I'm doing. Very conscious of that latte with 43 grams of sugar! Oy.

So when I step on the scale, I will not allow it to control me. It will not taunt me. It will not mock me. It will not lie to me. It will not determine my self-worth. It will not define my health. Because I know the healthy choices I'm making, and the scale cannot measure health - or self-worth; it's only one small tool in a large toolbox to measure where I am in the journey.

Making smart choices (healthy food, exercise) and journaling my habits (slowing down, making memories, getting rest) is helping me see the overall picture of my health. And I'm really doing pretty good!

A three-digit number alone is not at all a measure of health.

So when you step on the scale and it starts to lie to you, just tell it, "I don't care what you say. You're not the boss of me!"

Friday, October 7, 2016

Stress Relief In Your Why

A 2015 survey by the American Psychological Association reveals some of the top stressors for Americans. Money is the top stressor at 67%, followed by work at 65%.

Coming in fourth is personal health concerns at 51%.

Really? Only 51%? Considering the health crisis we have, I'm surprised that number isn't much higher.*

What Stress Does to the Body

A few of the many affects stress can have on the body are 
• Headaches
• Sleeplessness
• Depression
• High Blood Pressure
• Stomach Aches
• Weakened Immune System
• Back Aches

Psalm 62:7b-8 (NASB)
The rock of my strength, my refuge is in God. Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us. Selah.

It's not known exactly how the word Selah is meant to be used, but some suggestions are:
• rest, reflect, peace, pause and think, consider carefully

Stress comes from how we spend our time. 

We can't do everything we are currently doing. It's impossible.

I'm currently feeling stress to levels I haven't experienced in a long time. Some of the stress is because of the joy I have of being with my 14-month-old granddaughter four mornings a week. It’s fun, but it's work!

I also work 16 hours a week for my pastor, lead a health group at my church and want to write again. Mostly my time is spent working, babysitting and sleeping.

I'm exhausted. I know I can't do everything I'm currently doing, but I do have an end-date in sight. So I keep going, knowing the next few weeks are going to be the hardest, making sure to find time to breathe deep and sit outside for a few minutes to recharge when I can.

What about you? Are you keeping a schedule you find impossible? Are you spending time on things you wish you weren't; on things that don't matter to you?

Do you know your why in life? Your purpose?

When you know your why, that is what you should focus on. Then every decision you make with your time can be filtered through that. Maybe a movie with the coffee club would be fun, but how does it affect the time you spend on what's most important to you?

When you know your why, it will be easy to decide what to say yes to and when you need to decline invitations to events.

Right now, my why is supporting my pastor and helping my children as they work on making a new home for themselves. My why for writing is to encourage you to live a healthy life and have health to accomplish your why.

Live intentionally for your purpose.

If you need help or accountability, ask for it! Your friends and family don't know if you don't say something. Forget pride and be real - connect with someone who can help you. Open your heart to talk to someone so you can get free from the things that are holding you slave to time.

You need balance in your life. You need time to follow your passion and purpose, but you also need time to have fun with family; maybe that movie date is exactly what you need to take your mind away from stressors.

Be sure to rest and recharge, whatever that looks like for you. A day away on the lakeshore, a coffee date with your BFF, a Sunday afternoon nap - find your reset button and push it!

Jeremiah 6:16 (NASB)
Thus says the Lord, "Stand by the ways and see and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; and you will find rest for your souls."

The best rest is to take time with Jesus. Search His peace, follow where He wants you to go, listen for His voice in the stress and chaos.

II Corinthians 4:16-18 (NIV)
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 

In your stress, remember to keep perspective. Follow your why, your purpose, your passion - but remember, in the end, it's all about eternity. You'll always have stress in life, it will never go away. But keep your focus on Jesus for peace in your stress.

Do what you must, eliminate what you can. Simplify and find time to rest. 

Hint: I actually have "Nothing" scheduled on my calendar so I don't make appointments or commitments. Schedule "Nothing" sometime during the week, whether it's for an hour, or a whole day. Do nothing! (Which means, whatever you feel like. Even if it's just watching TV, you can tell people you have an appointment!)

"When you understand your why, your what has more impact." ~Michael Jr.

This man's singing is a beautiful example of pursuing your why!

Did you know my new book, Be Real Health Journal, is now available for purchase? Check it out here!

Friday, September 30, 2016

You Being You Is Enough

I have a friend who is going through a really tough time right now. It seems as though the world is crashing in around her. I know the feeling - I've been there done that - but there is nothing I can do to help the situation. I do what I can to help her and let her know how much she is loved.

In an effort to show her how much we love her, a couple of us took her out to lunch. I chose a local place they hadn't been to yet.

When we were seated our server greeted us. In typical Ed-fashion, he asked the server what words of wisdom he had for us. This catches most people off-guard, but this guy was on top of his game! "I don't have any words of wisdom, but we have great coffee! Can I bring you some?"

It's rare that Ed is speechless, so my friend and I were already laughing as he sat with his mouth open and no response!

We had a fabulous time at Anna's House (please go there if you live locally!) and Tim was one of the best servers I've ever had! We laughed - a lot!

We were amazed at how God placed us in that restaurant, on that day, at that time, with that server, who was perfect for what we needed - lots of laughter!

A few days later as I was thinking about Tim and the timing of that day, I was still amazed at how God arranged it all.

I thought to myself how Tim, being Tim, was all we needed. He didn't have to perform or do something perfect. He didn't have to do something he wasn't good at to be great. He didn't have to put on a front to be a blessing. Tim, being Tim, bantering and joking, was exactly perfect for us in that moment.

I'm asking you to remember that for yourself: You being you is enough.

It's perfect. It's exactly what someone needs at the location and time you meet them. Use what you're good at to bless others and that will be enough. Don't perform, don't strive, don't even be perfect - just be you, and that will be enough.