The Imperfect Journey In Need of Grace

I haven’t checked in on Wednesday in awhile. This week seemed like the perfect time to start again as I find myself back in the trenches of a familiar battle.

My battle with food. Food as an idol. Food as a comfort.
Too much food. Not the right kind of food.
First world food problems.

In addition to my own food problems, my husband is a diabetic. When I bring unhealthy foods into the house and eat them, so does he. When I cook unhealthy foods to pig out on, so does he. So it was no surprise when his latest doctor’s appointment revealed his A1C’s were back up.

I walk my imperfect journey of health much like I walk the imperfect journey of my life. There are seasons of sprinting towards the finish line with the sun shining and a smile on my face. Then seasons of pouring rain and tripping in mud puddles as I try to figure out if I’m even facing the right direction.

The Imperfect Journey is Me.

This morning I took a moment to look out my window and try to be content after a loving reminder from my husband;

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. ~Philippians 4:12

As I watched blue jays and squirrels in the green grass beneath my bird feeder, the sun peeking through fog and clouds long enough to light the air golden and shimmer off the remaining burnt orange leaves of a Maine autumn, I realized I live “in plenty”.  How is it that I fall into a pattern of allowing my emotions to slowly bring me back to an unhealthy place?

So this morning I prayed for perseverance. Perseverance to overcome the cycle and break free of it’s chains. Perseverance to stay facing the right direction in sun or rain, whether sprinting or walking. I also prayed for the Truth of His Grace to pour over me. Grace for my imperfections. Grace to carry me through when weak. Grace to keep me centered in Truth. Grace to cover my imperfect journey as I continue to learn and realize only He is perfect.

The Perfect Journey is only found In Christ.
And it is walked imperfectly by imperfect people.

Which for today, brings me to the “health” part of my journey. After my husband’s doctor visit, we sat down and decided together we wanted to do another Whole30. Just like when we quit smoking, for us, we had to make the decision and go all in. We couldn’t hedge. We couldn’t have “cheat days”. The only way for us to break the addiction was to break it. So we decided when it comes to poor eating habits and “comfort food” that does anything except comfort our bodies physically, we needed to go all in and break them. So we started Monday.

We have already faced the reality of how unhealthy we have been. Last night as we sat down to dinner, we were both a bit moody and a smidge headachy. This morning at breakfast even though the meal was delicious and I am sated, we looked at each other and said “carb flu sucks”. I’m looking forward to coming around the bend of sugars and carbs in a few more days.  I’m also going to have a squash or sweet potato with lunch and dinner for the next few days to help the transition. (Carb dense veggies are a life saver.) The hubs sugars are already starting to trend down slowly. I’m making him test every morning so I can write it down and we can both feel encouraged by the real life results.

The hubs is also re-committed to joining me in Power90 workouts, and I’m committed to go walking more often with him outside. This week getting that started has not worked out too well, however, we are both pretty confident we will be exercising today.

I’m not enforcing a Whole30 lifestyle on my son, although I plan to get more whole foods in his diet. Like any kid he loves Lucky Charms for breakfast and processed lunch snacks. To avoid full rebellion I’ll be a little sneaky. Not buy as much cereal, processed foods, and figure out which whole foods he loves the most and learn fun delicious ways to turn them into school lunches. “Operation Healthy Food For the Man-Child”. More to come on that later.

For meal planning and prepping, repetition is my friend.
Sunday made an egg casserole which has been breakfast for the last three days. Every dinner is cooked as a double batch so the next day’s lunch is already prepared. I’m only having to prep and cook once or twice a day instead of all three meals. It’s a huge time saver.

The Weigh In part? I’m not sure how I feel anymore about “weigh-ins”. I came across articles this week in different forums and groups that pointed me back to one thought: “The world teaches our daughters/sons to be skinny. So who is teaching them to be healthy?” I am hoping my journey will be one that leads me to teaching my son true health and not the world’s “skinny”.

So I’m back for awhile to check in on Wednesdays. I am looking forward to where the journey will lead. 🙂

If you are on the same journey to health and are looking for accountability, encouragement, tips, help, and ideas, please think about joining me in one or both of these awesome places:

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Kim’s blog hosts a link up each week, and there is also a beautiful facebook group one can find encouragement through the rest of the week.
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A great resource blog where health/nutritional information is shared each week.
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You can also find me on Sparkpeople, a great tool for keeping track of goals and nutrition. I’ll be posting a “daily report” on my SP blog for this second round of Whole30.

In Love & Faith,
RaZella

My First Baking Wheat Free Recipe!

I’ve had a few hiccups in my Wheat Free journey. With each hiccup I’m learning how to navigate the situation the next time it arises. The biggest challenge – gatherings where wheat food is involved. I’ve learned the best way to handle the situation is with honesty. Explaining that I’m not going to eat something because it makes me physically feel horrible afterwards is sometimes necessary. The reality is, my friends are pretty awesome and understanding. 🙂 Yay for me! (The other times it’s a self-discipline issue on my part. Tee-hee…)

Today, I’d like to take a moment to share two wheat free recipes I came up with this week.
The first I’m sharing because I was impressed with my craftiness!
Due to some unexpected expenses and the kids birthdays coming up, we decided to go easy on the grocery budget and pull items that have been sitting in the pantry for awhile to incorporate into our meal planning.

Some of what I found were beans. All sorts of beans. Cans and cans of beans.
The first day I simply opened up a can of chickpeas and made everyone eat them as is.
TALK ABOUT BORING.
I knew that wasn’t going to fly for the rest of the week, so I stared at the beans, and the rest of the kitchen, and behold:

I discovered the ingredients for Four Bean Salad
Not only is it inexpensive, extremely tasty, and totally easy to make,
the family LOVES IT.

4 Bean Salad Info Stuffs
Created Using MyMemories Software – Coupon on Sidebar

You’ll notice the nutritional values (click on the picture and it’ll open up larger for you) are for 6 servings. These are pretty large servings, so you can make smaller portions to shrink the overall calorie count as needed. Right now with my exercising (more on that in a bit!) it’s a great pack of carbs and proteins!

The other recipe I wanted to share is a baking recipe I originally made by accident. I was supposed to make cupcakes. I read the recipe wrong. So I called the end result “muffins”. My husband then suggested I make the recipe “wrong” again and add raisins and carrots. BOY DID IT TURN OUT YUMMY!

carrot raisin muffins stuff
Photo Created Using MyMemories – Coupon on Sidebar

Now these do pack a punch in cholesterol. Once you see the ingredients you’ll understand why and hopefully see that it’s some good healthy fats. I limit myself to one muffin a day as a snack. They are delicious and my family is always wanting to eat several at once, however, I limit them too!

Carrot Raisin Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseeds
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 6 tablespoons coconut oil (melted)
  • 1/4 teaspoon sweetner (I use Somersweet)
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup shredded carrot
 Tip:

If you don’t have buttermilk – put 1/2 tablespoon of distilled white vinegar in a 1/2 measuring cup. Fill the rest of the measuring cup with milk. Allow to sit for 5 minutes and then use in place of buttermilk.

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 12 cup Muffin Pan
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together almond flour, flaxseeds, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together egg yolks, melted coconut oil , buttermilk, vanilla extract, sweetner, and unsweetened applesauce until well blended.
  4. In a large bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.
  5. Gently fold egg whites into egg yolk mixture.
  6. Fold egg mixture into flour mixture.
  7. Fold carrots and raisins into flour mixture.
  8. Evenly distribute in muffin pan and bake for 20 minutes or until tops are golden brown and a wood pick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  9. Allow to cool in pan for five mins, finish cooling on wire rack.
Carrot Raisin Muffins
These muffins have a wonderful, hearty, grainy taste to them. The raisins add a wonderful bite of sweetness. They really are delicious and are a keeper for my family.
So that’s the Wheat Free portion for today, now let’s move onto the Wellness and Weigh In!
I decided to complete the 30 Day Shred from start to finish, taking Sundays as a day of rest.
Today I completed Day 8 and feel positive with my progress. I’m up to 12 pushups before having to finish them on my knees. I’m also using 5lb weights on everything on level 1 except for the lateral raises with the side lunges. Those are TOUGH. I was sore up until about day 4, and the last two days I’ve woken up with no soreness whatsoever. I’ve decided to take that as an opportunity to really push my performance because in a few more days I’ll be moving onto level 2.I also started intervals on the elliptical. The cardio is good for my heart, so adding in some extra seemed to be what I needed since the 30DS is only twenty minutes of exercise. After I finish the 30DS, I replay the workout and run on the elliptical with the DVD. During the strength portion I keep a pace that matches the music, not too hard, not too easy. During the cardio portion I really up it and push myself to RUN. During the abs  portion I go backwards and bring the speed back down. I do this three times (with the three circuits on the DVD) and then cool down. I committed to doing this five times a week and this week I accomplished that goal! Today I could feel and see the difference than when I started this a few weeks ago.I personally see a difference in my arms, and I can feel the difference when I lift things. How is the scale concerned?

Last Weigh-In: 135.8lbs
Today’s Weight: 136.6lbs (+0.8)
Bottom Line: +6.6 lbs from Goal

All in all, I’m really happy with where I’m at and the new habits I’m establishing. I’m still having my daily mini “wellness” prayers with the Lord. I know He is helping me develop these new habits, especially in the areas of self-control and discipline. I also know because I’m praying and looking to Him for my worth and my fulfillment, I feel great about the progress I’m making, even on the weeks when the scale may not reflect it.

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Wheat Free, Wellness, and Weigh In.
That’s my Wednesday, how goes yours? 🙂

In Love & Faith,
RaZella

This post is linked up with:

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Intoxicated on Life – Check out their Wheat Free Info this month!

Learning How To Keep a Wheat Free Kitchen

Last week I made the decision to adapt a wheat free lifestyle.
Thankfully, this isn’t because of a severe gluten allergy or celiac disease. I do have a new appreciation for those with wheat allergies and/or severe gluten issues. Wheat is in as much, if not more, stuff than HFCS. Makes you wonder.

I made the decision because of my own research, my own cravings for wheat based things which keep me constantly battling my food addictions, and the fact that wheat is not a great thing for my diabetic husband.
Additionally, the tummy problems I do experience (bloating, discomfort, cramping) typically occur after eating wheat. Because my husband and I had such great success with the Whole30, we decided to give this Wheat Free living a try. Today makes day 13, with only one hiccup in the journey. I did break down and have some pizza at that rehearsal dinner I mentioned last week.

It was AMAZING pizza. We aren’t talking Pizza Hut or Dominoes here. They had specialty pizzas with things like butternut squash on them. They had a “Thanksgiving Pizza”. I can’t even remember the names of the other pizzas, just trust me, it was AMAZING pizza.

And all the way home I had an amazing bloated, uncomfortable, crampy tummy. Which for me, reinforced my decision to go wheat free. 🙂

Because I don’t have any severe reactions to wheat that would cause illness, keeping my kitchen wheat free doesn’t involve having to buy new utensils, bake ware, or searching to remove every last trace of wheat.

It does mean that the bags of flour are now used up or donated, and I didn’t buy anymore bread last week.

It also means re-stocking the kitchen with a new assortment of flours and taking time out of my day to bake. I decided for my schedule, the best thing to do was to block out a few hours on Monday to bake a few loaves of bread for the week. Over the weekend, I also made a “sweet bread”. I thought this would help the boys to not feel “deprived”. I even made Wheat Free waffles and Wheat Free onion rings.

 photo 20482b1b-e206-4613-980b-d284a042d21e_zps87b83ac2.jpg
Photo Created Using MyMemories Software

So how did all those Wheat Free things turn out?

  • Onion Rings: The batter was predominately made up of almond and coconut flours. While it smelled amazing, it did not crisp up as I had hoped it would. They were still delicious enough for my family to eat without complaint. Very flavorful. May try this again to see if I can get it to crisp, if not, may try a different wheat free approach. My only dislike – it feels like such a waste of flour for what’s leftover. Considering how much more expensive these flours are to use, I may try to figure out a way to bake something with the leftover flour next time.
  • Waffles: This is made predominately using almond meal and ground flaxseeds. For waffles, I added more milk than the recipe originally called for to try and get the batter more liquidity. Because of the thickness, it won’t spread out on the waffle maker. So I scooped it on, then quickly spread it myself before closing the waffle maker. Cooked nicely and had a very hearty/grainy flavor. I opted to top mine with fresh strawberries cut up and mixed with a little all natural sweetener.
  • Sweet Bread: Made using walnuts and raisins, because these are both items I can buy in bulk at Sam’s and therefore have some on hand for making more. This uses mostly almond flour and ground golden flaxseed. The raisins give it a touch of sweetness and the flavor of the bread is very “holiday happy”. We enjoyed it as an afternoon snack.
  • Loaves of Bread: The smaller loaf is made with almond and garbanzo bean flours, and ground golden flaxseeds. It is dense and very flavorful. It tastes like it has it’s own sweetness to it. My family loves it plain or with a little peanut butter on it. The larger loaf is made using Bob’s Red Mill Homemade Wonderful Bread Mix. This uses yeast and the hardest part for me is not over heating or underheating the milk before adding the yeast to it. It has a good flavor that isn’t as “hearty”. It’s a dense, cake-like texture. It’s great for sandwiches although if you add too many wet ingredients (tomatoes, condiments, etc.) it’s more likely to crumble and fall apart on you. We just pull out a knife and fork at that point and continue enjoying it.

The rest of our meals have looked more Whole30ish than not with dairy added in. My husband and I also have a breakfast shake (that is gluten free) in the mornings for breakfast made with a glass of soy milk. While it seems that soy is under the gun again for possible health issues it could cause, we love the flavor with our morning shakes and the protein punch it packs. It’s also the only time we drink/use soy during the day.

This week I am feeling like I did about my second to third week into the Whole30. I’m consistently finding myself with more energy and feeling “better” overall. The icky bloating feeling is gone. I also find that I’m not craving food in-between meals. I feel satisfied from one meal to the next like I did on the Whole30 which is fantastic. I contribute this to the overall healthier meals and the more nutrient dense breads we are now eating.

Did I mention too, even my nearly twelve year old son LOVES all the breads I’m making? Fantastic!

So how did I do on my goals?

  • Elliptical: Nope. HA! Second week in a row I didn’t touch the thing. However! I did two days of Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred. This upcoming week I think I’m changing the goal to exercising at least 3 times total this week. Who knows, maybe one of those will be on the elliptical. If not, that’s OK by me, I just want to get back into regular exercise.
  • Drink Water Before Coffee: Absolutely! It’s becoming a habit and I feel better first thing. I’m also doing great at NOT drinking coffee after noon most days. If I do have a cup after noon, it’s at 1 or so with 2 being my absolute cut off. Going to keep this up until I feel confident it’s my new habit.
  • Small Daily Health Goal I Pray About Each Day: Yes! It’s truly a blessing to give my victories and struggles to the Lord each morning. This is a great way to hold myself accountable every morning and I love the fellowship I have with the Lord in this area and other areas of my life.

So how does this all look in the numbers?

Last Week’s Weight: 137.6lbs
Today’s Weight: 135.8lbs (-1.8 YAY)
Bottom Line: +5.8 lbs from Goal

I hope everyone else is finding time to bring their health goals before the Lord and draw closer to Him in doing so. I’m finding the more I bring the “small” stuff to Him, the closer I feel to Him throughout the entire day. Next week I hope to go into a little more detail about the new flours I’m using, the best buys I’m finding for them, and how I store them and such. Until then, may your journey of Wellness be Well! 🙂

In Love & Faith,
RaZella

All recipes this week came from the book “Wheat Belly Cookbook” by William Davis, MD.

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Join me at Intoxicated on Life for Wellness Wednesday. Great place for all sorts of nutrition information and host of Wellness Wednesday Link Up!
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Join me at Kim’s blog for the WIW link up. Let’s encourage one another towards our health and weight goals!