A friend recently posted about the song, "Blessed Be Your Name." That is one of the few songs with which I have a real love/hate relationship. I literally cringed when I hear the opening bars of the music. I know what is coming.
Yes, I am blessed. Yes, my desire is to praise God and bless His name, regardless of my circumstances. But still I cringe. Even reading her post about the song made the melody play in my head....and then the words came, too.
A few years ago, my husband was leading worship and kept adding this blasted song to the playlist. I really tried to encourage him to throw the chord sheets away, set them on fire, or anything that would cause him to cease and desist. I could not handle that song. In my mind, I had a valid reason.
"You give and take away, You give and take away.
My heart will choose to say, Lord blessed be Your name."
January 2010, I lost my Mom after a very short illness. Six months later, we found out I was pregnant with our second child. By February 2011, I was two weeks from my due date and got the call from my Dad that he was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. I knew this baby was going to be born smack dab in the middle of losing both my parents.
I learned to hate that song.
I didn't understand WHY the "give and take away" bridge was required to be played. I didn't want to hear it. The worst part for me was the fact that I was on stage SINGING those words as part of the praise and worship team. It took everything I had to hold back the tears.
Every. Single. Time.
Yet, the music continued to play. I continued to sing as best as I could. I continued to hate the song, while still loving my Savior. I never went through the "blame game" with God. I didn't question His Sovereignty or Goodness. I just hated that song.
I hated those words piercing my soul.
It made me FEEL.
And I didn't LIKE feeling that way. I didn't like feeling LOSS or GRIEF or PAIN. I am a strong person. I consider myself an encourager. I wanted to be the one LIFTING others up, not needing to be lifted.
It made me feel vulnerable.
I felt the NEED for God to carry me when I didn't know how to move myself forward.
I don't know that I have an ending to this story. I really believe it is one that is on-going. There is a transformation that continues on. It doesn't stop. I haven't ARRIVED yet. I am always learning, changing, evolving into the person I am meant to be.
The point is simply to show that THERE IS HOPE. It would be completely trite to say "There are brighter days ahead, hold on." So, I'm not going to paint the picture of rainbows and butterflies after a tough season of life. But I DO want to share HOPE with you.
My running life is a direct outpouring of my personal life. What I do in my business goes hand-in-hand with my story. I want to SHOW HOPE to those who need to see it.
Running clears my head and fills my heart.
Working out makes me feel strong.
Eating well nourishes my body and gives me peace.
My heart is full with the love of God and HE is my Sustain-er through all things.
Do you need to be encouraged in this season of life? Are you looking for a way to get healthy from the inside out? I want to set you up for success.
Join my next health and fitness accountability group called Inside Out Challenge Group. Prep week begins Monday, October 12, 2015. Encouragement to show HOPE in your journey to health.
This group will include:
I KNOW that it is possible to lose weight and get back on track on your own. I've been there. The problem is that it becomes such a struggle to go it alone. YOU DON'T HAVE TO DO THIS ALONE! Sometimes there are seasons in life when we need to LET GO and allow others to help us along the way. If this is a time where you could use some support, a shoulder, someone to guide you through when you don't know where to start, I am inviting YOU to join me. Let me share HOPE with you.
Fill out the form below to reserve your spot on this incredibly journey!
So the 3-Day Refresh SOUNDS like a great idea, right?
Yeah, that's what I thought, too.
See, I knew I would be going on a 4-day leadership retreat to Destin, Florida, that I had earned as a coach. I was excited to get away, but I planned on giving myself come "cheats" and doing the Refresh when I returned home. Sounds perfect, right?
During the trip, I ate well for meals, had my Shakeology and coffee for breakfast each day, and then grilled chicken on salad for lunches. Dinners were filled with yummy clean eats. It really was a perfect meal situation for a bunch of women who strive to model a healthy lifestyle.
The problem came when I ate WAY too many organic cashews throughout the day, and the night-time snacks were birthday cake, s'mores over the fire, and more celebratory cake on the last night. Mmmm...chocolate fudge cake!
So, needless to say, it was NOT 21-Day Fix portion-control-approved. I was ready to Refresh.
Here you will find my How-To Guide to Ruining Your Refresh:
I have made plenty of mistakes so that you don't have to. But, if you want to ruin your experience, take notes:
TOP 10 TIPS to RUIN the 3-DAY REFRESH:
1. Be sure to have a severe depletion of sleep before beginning the 3-Day Refresh.
2. Travel a lot and have motion sickness the day before you start.
3. Do not have your house prepared ahead of time.
4. Go shopping for the 3-Day Refresh meal items on an empty stomach.
5. Build your coffee intake to at least 4 cups/day before cutting it out completely on the Refresh.
6. Find your perfect Shakeology flavor with ingredients not allowed on the Refresh and get used to that. It will help when you have to drink it plain with water.
7. Do the Refresh while working an early morning job, getting up at 4:30am, and therefore, not getting more than 6 hours/night (after not getting any the previous four days).
8. Schedule your Refresh over a Wednesday night while they are serving breakfast for dinner at church (or whatever your favorite menu is).
9. Make the Fiber Sweep drink while at work, make sure to take a selfie, set it down, and then forget about it and watch it congeal.
10. Plan a long run the day after the Refresh is over.
Now, what did I ACTUALLY do on this 3-Day cleanse? Did it work? Keep reading.
Breakfast consisted of my chocolate vegan Shakeology blended with 1/2 banana and ice. Not my favorite, but it worked. Missed my coffee. I had my tea and Fiber Sweep, and snack, then Vanilla Fresh shaken with ice water, fruit, and veggies with hummus for my lunch. YUM. Lunch rocks on the Refresh. Dinner was another Vanilla Fresh, organic veggie broth, water, and veggie stir-fry. I made this so I could have the veggies, and the family could have the full dinner with chicken and rice. SUPER good. My biggest problem on Day 1 was the AWFUL headache I got that evening, likely from crazy caffeine withdrawal. Remember, 3-4 large cups/day? Yeah.
The meals were very much the same, except for dinner. Dinnertime I made a spinach salad because it seemed like it made a LOT of food. And it did. So much that I couldn't finish it all! This was church night and I was wishing for that breakfast food instead, but I really WAS full from my dinner. Day 2 I was just plum tired. I woke up tired and went to bed tired. I attribute this to my own failure to allow for at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night.
I felt like the choo-choo train...I think I can, I think I can. I DO LOVE a challenge, and I wasn't about to quit...no matter how much I wanted coffee and my regular shakeology and an apple and almonds for a snack. I stuck to the plan and decided to make an amazing dinner for myself: cucumber and tomato salad! This recipe ROCKS and I am excited to make it for the family! Day 3 nighttime I was craving junk foods, but I drank my water instead. It's hard to make the right choices and remain self-disciplined, but as you will see below...it was worth it!
A lot of people on social media have been asking for the Cucumber Tomato Salad Recipe. Because I love you all, I am sharing it with you. For more amazing Refresh recipes, you can get your own 3-Day Refresh here.
On to the results!
Disclaimer: I do not own a scale. I know that most people lose about 3-5 pounds on the Refresh, and I know of a few people who have lost as much as 10 pounds over these 3 days! Amazing, right? My proof has to be in the pics. You be the judge. Was it worth it? I think so.
Are you ready to give it a go? Want to see how you can look and FEEL so much better? Maybe kickstart a healthy routine? Check out my website here for more info about the 3-Day Refresh, Shakeology, and other programs to get you on the right track. You CAN do this!
Are you wondering what to make for dinner tonight?
Do you hate having to come home tired from work and scraping something together that everyone will like? Yup. Me, too.
So today I said GOOD-BYE to haphazard meals and HELLO to something that would keep us full and make those mouths happy...especially hubby's.
Tonight's dinner? Pulled pork, twice-baked secret mashed potatoes, green beans, and a homemade cranberry banana bread.
Everything was CLEAN.
Clean? Really? Yes.
No white potatoes were harmed in the making of this dinner.
No bottled sauces were opened.
What is "clean eating" mean, anyways?
These are the seven principles of clean eating found here.
1. Choose whole, natural foods and seek to eliminate or minimize processed foods.
Processed foods are anything in a box, bag, can, or package, and although there are always a few exceptions to the rule (like a bag of fresh green beans), the majority of your foods should be fresh.
2. Choose unrefined over refined foods.
While it may not be possible all the times, you can up your intake of whole grains like brown rice, millet, amaranth, and quinoa. Beans and legumes are also important. Clean sugars include honey, maple syrup, and dehydrated sugar cane juice.
3. Include some protein, carbohydrate and fat at every meal.
Most of us typically do well with carbohydrates and fat, but we often lack protein, especially in the early part of the day, like at breakfast and lunch. Protein is an important muscle-builder, and it can also help curb your appetite. When eaten throughout the day, it keeps us feeling full longer. Be aware of the kinds of meals you put together and space out your protein. (Which is why Shakeology is PERFECT for my breakfast every, single day!)
4. Watch out for fat, salt, and sugar.
This is easier than you think, particularly if you’ve cut out processed foods, which are responsible for most of our excess calories and high levels of fat, sugar, and salt. Clean foods are usually naturally low in all of these ingredients.
5. Eat five to six small meals throughout the day.
This usually pans out into three main meals and two or three hefty snacks. Eating this way prevents you from skipping meals and overeating. It also keeps your blood sugar levels steady so energy doesn’t lag.
6. Don’t drink your calories.
High calorie drinks like specialty coffees and soft drinks, on average, tack on an extra 400 to 500 calories a day. Choose water first, or my personal favorite, unsweetened tea (any flavor). Other clean drinks: low-fat or skim milk and 100 percent fruit juice diluted with sparkling water.
7. Get moving.
Regular physical activity is a must for many reasons. Not only does it decrease fat, strengthen and build muscle, and help you burn more energy at rest, it keeps your heart, lungs, and bones healthy and strong.
These are the principles that I started incorporating in my quest for better health a couple years ago. Through these "rules" I literally CLEANED out my pantry of processed foods, and redirected my brain on how to think about food.
OK, on to the meal.
I generally do not by pork. We eat a LOT of chicken breasts and turkey, while carefully watching to avoid added ingredients, antibiotics, etc. This week, I decided to splurge and buy the cleanest pork I could find and change things up.
I found this recipe on Pinterest a while back. It was time to give it a go. I threw this stuff together (literally) before I headed out to work in the morning. By dinner, it was done and AMAZING!!!
Check out the entire blog post here.
The Best Pulled Pork in a Crockpot
Next, I decided to make one of our family favorite side dishes: What I like to call, twice-baked secret mashed potatoes! The secret is that they are completely made from cauliflower, NOT potatoes at all! The best part? The kids LOVE them! AND I know they are getting that extra serving of veggies with no fighting! :)
Here is the recipe for our super secret yummy potatoes:
Ingredients (Serves 3 - 4) I doubled it for our family so we have leftovers!
Place cauliflower in a large pot covered with water. Bring to boil. Reduce to a gentle boil and cook with lid on for 8 - 10 minutes. Cauliflower should be tender but not mushy. Remove from heat. Drain well. Put the cauliflower back in pot with lid on and let stand for 5 minutes. This ensures the cauliflower doesn't get watery. Don't skip this step. Place cooked cauliflower in the food processor with Parmesan Cheese, Yogurt, salt, pepper, garlic powder and parsley. Pulse until it becomes whipped/consistency of mashed potatoes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place mashed cauliflower in a greased casserole dish. Top with onion, bacon and cheese. Bake for 15 minutes until heated through and then broil for a couple of minutes to crisp up cheese. If you make the mashed cauliflower ahead of time and it has been refrigerated bake for 30-35 minutes and then broil for a couple of minutes.
The greens beans were simply a big bag of frozen long green beans. Mmm...love green beans!!! Easy side there!
The last piece to the dinner puzzle was also used as our dessert: Cranberry Banana Bread!
I had made a promise to my son that I would make this particular bread recipe for him, so now it was time to make good on that promise. Breads and desserts were a staple in my house growing up, so I was used to having both of them at EVERY meal. Looking back, I can't believe that we didn't think about how many carbs and sugar we were consuming. I am thankful to be able to show my children moderation and replace those high-sugar treats with healthy, whole foods.
So, without further ado, the final recipe for the day...
Whole Wheat Cranberry Bread
1 ¼ c whole wheat flour (measured correctly)
2 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
1 tbsp oil or butter, melted and cooled
2 tsp vanilla extract
½ c + 2 tbsp mashed banana (about 1 extra long 9” banana)
2 tbsp plain nonfat Greek yogurt
2 tbsp honey
1/3 c chopped cranberries
So there it is! An entire, yummy, CLEAN meal your family will love! Let me know what you think when you give it a go at your house! Comment below and share this post!
Wife. Mother. Runner. Coach. Adoption Advocate. I strive to share HOPE through my journey and help others reach their goals.