Thursday, September 29, 2011

FORGIVENESS; A Healthy Choice

Have you ever had anyone to really hurt you to where it is hard to get over how betrayed and angry you feel? It is something that you hold to and just can't seem to get over it? Your stress level goes up; your blood pressure goes up; depression, and anxiety! You really have to get to a point of forgiveness, because if you don't, you may be the one who pays the most for what has happened.

Forgiveness is a decision to "let go" of resentment and even thoughts of revenge. Forgiveness can even lessen it's grip on you and help you focus on other parts of your life. Forgiveness doesn't mean that you have to accept what that person did to you. That person still holds the responsibility of his/her actions, and forgiving doesn't minimize or justify the wrong. You can forgive the person without excusing the act. Forgiveness can bring peace to help you go on with life.

The benefits of letting go of grudges and bitterness will make way for compassion, kindness, and peace within your soul. It can lead to better relationships, less stress and hostility, better health. Don't let being wrapped up in the wrong keep you from enjoying the present.

Forgiveness is a commitment to a process of changes. Recognize the value of forgiveness. Reflect on the facts of the situation, how you reacted, how this situation has affected your life, health and well-being. When you're ready, choose to not be the victim and release the control and power of the offending person. As you "let go" of the grudges and resentments, the anxieties, the shock of it all,  you'll no longer define your life by how you've been hurt.  Choose to forgive!

If you need a visual, I have one to share with you:
I pictured myself holding on to bags of trash, filled and heavy. I was dragging them around where ever I went. Bent over and tired, angry, miserable! I am tired of lugging this heaviness around on my back, shifting positions trying to get comfortable. There is no comfort carrying this load. I see a landfill up ahead and it is FULL of many overfilled thrash bags. I decide this is my chance to be rid of all these burdens. I take a deep breath and choose to THROW those bags as far away from me as I can; first one and then the other. FREEDOM! My load is light now. I can breathe!! I can stand up straight. Then I think, "can I make it without them?" I look for them, but can't find mine! I don't want burdens that belonged to someone else! There are too many! I think, "But they were heavy and I feel different now!"  I walk away feeling light on my feet; I can skip, I can run. I AM SET FREE!

And THAT'S what forgiving feels like...

The Lord heals your diseases, redeems your life from the pit, satisfies you with good, shows compassion to his children, and knows your frame. The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
Psalm 103:3-14

Picture taken by Brenda Stevens of one of her granddaughters. She looks as though she is praying.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A Healthy YUMMY Breakfast; FRENCH TOAST

I am always looking for better ways to serve healthy foods. I made this breakfast the other morning that is not only DELICIOUS, but also healthy.  I used Oatnut bread, dipped in eggs and Mootopia (HEB Brand) high protein milk and put them on the griddle, turning them a couple of times and placed on a plate. I cut up fresh strawberries and added the blueberries and placed some on top of the French Toast. And don't forget to sprinkle on the cinnamon! Cinnamon helps regulate your blood sugar. I used the sugar free syrup for this breakfast, but also "drizzling" maple syrup is also good, but not too much.  I also sprinkled just a little of the powered sugar over my toast, but remember to go light.  Maybe if you are using maple syrup, skip the powered sugar.  VOILA! A great healthy meal!

The Lord heals your diseases, redeems your life from the pit, satisfies you with good, shows compassion to his children, and knows your frame. The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
Psalm 103:3-14

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Keeping with the Rhythm

According to a study done in 2003, links between stress and weight gain were linked. The authors stated that over time the release of stress hormones, like cortisol, can do three major things to cause weight gain:

1. It excites the central nucleus of the amygdale, which is a major part of the emotional brain.
2. It magnifies our satisfaction from pleasurable or compulsive activities, such as EATING SUGAR  
    (which can actually act like a drug in some people).
3. It increases the amount of fat deposited in the abdomen.

#3 is the truest with women that have adrenal imbalance. I have been having this problem for so long, now I am starting to understand WHY I couldn’t drop weight like I use to.

OK! We now know that we can “heal” the adrenals by “light “exercises and by better eating habits. AND it is also important not to let ourselves get too hungry. Remember, my doctor had told me not to go 2 hours without eating when I first wake up in the mornings? Here’s why:

Low blood sugar by itself puts stress on our bodies and can tax our adrenals. Even as we sleep, our bodies constantly need energy. The primary adrenal hormone cortisol serves as a kind of moderator in making sure our blood sugars between meals, especially during the night, stays adequate. Long periods without food make the adrenals work harder by requiring them to release more cortisol to keep our bodies functioning normally.

It seems that cortisol has a natural cycle that works with our circadian rhythm.  Normally, it begins to rise around 6:00 AM and reaches its highest peak around 8:00 AM, then throughout the day it gradually declines, with small upward bumps at meal times, in preparation for nighttime rest. So it’s important to work with the natural cycle to avoid dramatic ups and downs. Eat the majority of foods earlier in the day, and eat an early dinner making it the lightest one of the day. The “night-eating” habit is due to the appetite-stimulating effects of residual cortisol, which unfortunately disturbs our hormone axis…So try to cut out that night time eating.

Giving our bodies the support it needs through natural rhythms by timing meals not only prevents dips in blood sugar, but also minimizes cortisol output and frees up our adrenals to perform their functions and gives us more sustained energy throughout the day!! And life becomes more enjoyable when we have the energy we need!!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Choosing Complex Carbohydrates and Proteins

My doctor had stated to me before to choose complex carbohydrates according to the carbohydrate content within the 3's and 6's, meaning 3% to 6% carbohydrate content. 3%: asparagus, bean sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, cucumber, spinach; 6%: string beans, beets, brussel sprouts, chives, collards, eggplant, kale, leeks, okra, onion (just to name a few.)  These are also richest in fiber and high in beneficial alkaline minerals.

I am also told by my doctor to choose a complex carbohydrate equivalent for each protein. One 15g portion of protein should be accompanied by one 20g portion of complex carbohydrate (e.g. match your 3 oz. of salmon with 1 1/2 to 2 cups of steamed string beans and beets and match 2 oz. of chicken breast with 2 cups of leafy green salad or 1 cup of steamed brussel sprouts.

OK! It can be a little complicated in trying to figure out all this stuff!!! I know that I am not going to get it completely right every time! But today I chose tuna on oaknut bread. I made my tuna with fat free mayo, mixed in onion and garlic powder, along with some other really nice herbs.  I had some vegetable stock from my previous vegetable meals and made a nice broccoli, zucchini, and corn soup. My choice may be on the higher carbohydrate content, but IT'S HEALTHY. I will try to pick the lower ones on the next tries!! 

I suppose BALANCE is the key. By balancing the protein and carbohydrate ratios helps our bodies produce balanced levels of two key hormones: insulin and glucagon. When balanced, they help promote normal appetite control, fat burning, emotional stability, mental clarity and physical endurance.  So all we can do is REALLY TRY! RIGHT!!?

The Lord heals your diseases, redeems your life from the pit, satisfies you with good, shows compassion to his children, and knows your frame. The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
Psalm 103: 3-14

Friday, September 23, 2011

Leftovers for Lunch - Make it Healthy!!

All those wonderful vegetables I had left from the other night's dinner, was used for leftovers for the next day's lunch. I had made my son turkey tacos also the day before and used that to add to my veggies. So within this awesome bowl are caramelized white onions, portobello mushrooms, zucchinis, broccoli, and corn. The taco meat set it off with a bound of flavor. AND IT'S HEALTHY!!

Try to make better choices everyday. Maybe it's not about dieting. Maybe it's just about eating healthy foods everyday!  Instead of snacking on chips, eat carrots instead.  When needing a little chocolate, drink a double rich chocolate protein shake or have a piece of fruit. For exercise, take walks in the park, or stroll through your neighborhood. If you can't get out, just walk around your coffee table. You might think that is funny; but you would be surprised at how much exercise you are getting. Turn on some music and dance around the house! I guess what I am trying to tell "myself" is GET OFF THE COUCH AND GET A LIFE!!

The Lord heals your diseases, redeems your life from the pit, satisfies you with good, shows compassion to his children, and knows your frame. The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
Psalm 103: 3-14

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Last Night's Dinner

Last night's dinner was very simple to make and is very healthy. I took 1 lb of ground lean turkey, added some Italian seasonings and made them into patties and placed them on the grill. Once that was started, I cut up some white onions, portobello mushrooms, zucchinis, and corn. I placed the broccoli in water to cook just for a moment to tenderize them (drained the water to set aside for soups later), then added them to the medley of vegetables and cooked them all on the grill. When they were ready (which is just a couple of minutes) I sprinkled them with sea salt and sweet basil. It was a delightful meal.
I also put hot sauce on the top of my turkey. It was DIVINE!! Now THERE'S some healthy eating for you!!

The Lord heals your diseases, redeems your life from the pit, satisfies you with good, shows compassion to his children, and knows your frame. The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
Psalm 103: 3-14

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Read the Bible and Read It Again

In searching for something to post this morning, I ran across this piece from John Bunyan that I would like to share with you. I was thinking on these things this morning and I do believe this is a "God Given," meaning
nothing is by chance and when your thoughts are on God things, He will see to it that you are GIVEN more information and understanding. He GIVES it freely and is willing to stand with you in your search. We just need to be open to Him. It is not that we first loved Him, but that He first loves us. I appreciate the writing below...

Read the Bible, and read it again, and do not give up on understanding something of the will and mind of God, though you think they are locked up tight from you. And don't trouble your heads if you don't have commentaries and expositions; pray and read, and read and pray, for a little from God is better than a great deal from human writers. Besides, human ideas are uncertain, and are often lost and tossed around, but what is from God is as securely placed as a nail in a hard board. Nothing remains with us so well as what we receive from God; the reason why Christians today are so lacking when it comes to some things, is because they are content with what comes from human mouths, without searching and kneeling before God to ask Him the truth about things. Things that we receive from God's hand come to us in mint condition; though old in themselves, yet they are fresh to us. Old truths are always new to us, if they come to us with the smell of heaven on them. (Barbour, The Riches of Bunyan, 1998, p. 46) ~ John Bunyan

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Whey Protein and Other Stuff

Not only have I been diagnosed with Adrenal Fatigue, the past few years I was diagnosed with IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), GERD, and Acid Reflux. I have been going up and down in my weight for those past few years, but was able to maintain until recently. Since my adrenal glands are working overtime, it has kept me in an exhausted state. But now I have a holistic doctor that is giving me some good advice on what to do. I have NOT lost control!

We established earlier that for GOOD HEALTH we need to eliminate stress in our life. Although stress will never be completely out of our lives, we need to understand how to keep it under control; moderate exercises, meditating, deep breathing; whatever your stress is, let it roll off your sleeve. It isn’t worth losing your health over.

The next most important thing is to stay hydrated. (I keep bottled water with me at all times and drink from it often.) My doctor suggested I drink 1 bottle of water when I awake in the mornings and to eat within 2 hours upon rising, whether it’s a couple of boiled eggs, a piece of cheese, or a protein bar/shake. So I purchased Whey Protein powder (24g of protein) and Mootopia milk. Some mornings I mix the protein shake with milk and sometimes with water. (My family loves the protein milk too and I can’t keep enough in the fridge! It’s good for my family, so I don’t complain. It is FAT FREE and has 12g of protein.) So upon rising and after getting ready for work, I mix the protein shake with 6 oz. of water or milk. (And if you noticed, I have my shake with Elvis!) I don’t use the blender since I’m up at 5AM and no one else is. I stir the shake and don’t even mind the lumps. I get the chocolate flavor and the little pieces remind me of a wonderful brownie! This also helps me with my cravings for chocolate. 

To help get my adrenals back in shape, the doctor suggested I take a multi-mineral multi-vitamin, 2 fish oil pills (1000mg each with Omega 3 & 6) with high amounts of EPA & DHA (1000mg), a natural supplement called Adapten-All, and 2 multi-enzymes (a digestive aid). I also include 10 drops of Licorice Root Liquid in my water. By the time I take all of these, I have used 1 bottle of water (and sometimes more).  Then on my way out the door I place Pregnenolone (10mg) and DHEA (5mg) tablets under my tongue for hormone balance. I do this routine three times a day. Also, as I’m leaving for work, I open another bottle of water to drink on my way to work. Once I am at work, I open another bottle and sit it on my desk; when that one is empty, I open another one. Get the idea?

My wonderful husband and I go to the local YMCA at least 3 days a week and use either the treadmill or the bicycles. It’s really great exercising side-by-side and getting in our 30 minutes, as prescribed by my doctor. That should be enough now until my adrenals are working properly. I will go back to her in another month or so for my check-up. I will keep you posted.

“When we are young, our thoughts are never on health, or getting old, or even what tomorrow will bring. We live life and are care-free. We sleep, we rise, we live. At what point did I lose my youth?”
~ Brenda Stevens

[By no means am I suggesting this is what you need to take or do. I am under a doctor’s care and if you believe you have any of these symptoms, you also should be under a doctor’s care for YOUR health. Taking some of these supplements can be dangerous to your health if not monitored by your doctor.]

Monday, September 19, 2011

Down Memory La La Lane

L to R: 1st row: Donny, Brenda (me), Robyn
2nd row: Charles (brother), Kathy, Terry (brother)
3rd row: Ray, Jimmy

1st row: Robyn, Donny, Kathy, Brenda (me), Charles (brother
2nd row: Ricky, Jeffrey, Jimmy, Ray, David

Down Memory La La Lane

Life tends to get hard sometimes
as we make our way to the finish line.
So many ups and downs, twists and turns
that we think our lives will never settle.

Then comes a time of remembrance to where
you can ease down memory lane in that La La
Euphoria. The times that seemed much brighter
and happier, and everyone is giving and kind.

Down Memory La La Lane you want only to
reminisce about the good old days; sending
laughter and sunshine to all who will listen.
Come closer and I will tell you a story.

It was a time of good cheer and much food
at my dad’s parent’s house. All the family
members were very close. The cousins
would always find mischief to get into.

It was a lovely Easter day and my mother
had dressed my brothers and I in white.
But while at my grandparents, we found
a creek and schemed a way of fun.

We dammed up the creek that had plenty of red
clay mud. The girls asked the boys to toss them
in (so that way it wasn’t their fault.)  The fun was
magnificent, but now the white clothes were red.

We were gone for hours, and by the time we returned,
the parents were "lovingly" mad. We said our goodbyes
and couldn’t wait for the next time.  The ride home
was cold, but BOY did we ever have a great time!

That’s one way to ease stress Down Memory La La Lane. You are more than welcome to share your memories with us!! In order to keep a healthy life, easing stress is the FIRST KEY to getting there.

1st photo: taken by one of our parents, circa 1957
2nd photo: taken by one of our parents, 2009
The first photo is of myself and brothers along with our cousins that found mischief when ever we were together. The others hadn't been born yet. The second photo is with some of those younger cousins at one of our reunions. To let you know, these are not all the cousins. Some couldn't make it that day. We hope some day to get us ALL together again, at least one more time. 

Friday, September 16, 2011

FIBER 101: Soluble Fiber vs Insoluble Fiber

No woman I know likes having flabby arms, chubby thighs, or bountiful hips. But fat in these areas is considered subcutaneous fat; meaning "under the skin". It's not pretty, but it's not as hazardous to your health as visceral fat; meaning "deep".

Visceral fat is found around the waist and belly and surrounding the vital organs. This type of fat may increase one's risk of high blood pressure and heart disease, according to an article in Science Daily.

In a study from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in North Carolina, you may be able to reduce the amount of harmful visceral fat by eating more soluble fiber. When participants consumed more fruits, beans, and vegetables, and got moderate exercise, they lost visceral fat, the study showed.

So fiber is a health benefit! It not only promotes good health, it also helps reduce the risk for some chronic diseases. It prevents constipation, hemorrhoids and diverticulosis according to some studies.  Also lowers the LDL cholesterol and the total cholesterol therefore reducing the risk of heart disease.

Adding soluble and insoluble fiber to your healthy eating habits for less belly fat! Both fibers are undigested. They are therefore not absorbed into the bloodstream. Instead of being used for energy, fiber is excreted from our bodies. Soluble fiber forms a gel when mixed with liquid, while insoluble fiber does not. Insoluble fiber passes through our intestines largely intact.

Functions of Insoluble Fiber: moves bulk through the intestines and controls and balances the pH (acidity) in the intestines.

Benefits of Insoluble Fiber: promotes regular bowel movement and prevents constipation; removes toxic waste through colon in less time; helps prevent colon cancer by keeping an optimal pH in intestines to prevent microbes from producing cancerous substances.

Food Sources of Insoluble Fiber:  Vegetables such as green beans and dark green leafy vegetables; fruit skins and root vegetable skins; whole-wheat products; wheat bran; corn bran; seeds and nuts.

Functions of Soluble Fiber:  binds with fatty acids; prolongs stomach emptying time so that sugar is released and absorbed more slowly.

Benefits of Soluble Fiber:  lowers total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol (the BAD cholesterol) therefore reducing the risk of heart disease; regulates blood sugar for people with diabetes.

Food Sources of Soluble Fiber:   oat/oat bran; dried beans and peas; nuts; barley; flax seed; fruits such as oranges and apples; vegetables such as carrots.

KEY MESSAGE: An average diet contains 75:25 insoluble fiber:soluble fiber. When making a food choice decision, don't worry about choosing a specific type of fiber. Many foods such as oats, oat brans, and flax seeds are rich in both fibers. Eating enough fiber is more important!!! The recommended intake of fiber is 25 g per day.  If you eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables as well as at least 6 servings of grain products per day (at least 3 of which are whole grains), you are very likely meeting the fiber requirements.

The Lord heals your diseases, redeems your life from the pit, satisfies you with good, shows compassion to his children, and knows your frame. The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
Psalm 103: 3-14

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Life Style Changes

The adrenal glands produce more than 150 different hormones, including adrenaline (sometimes called epinephrine), cortisol, norepinephrine and, most abundantly, DHEA. In an ideal world, the adrenal glands would have part-time jobs. BUT our human bodies ARE designed to survive stress, but can not strive with a steady diet of stressful events. CONSTANT stress means excess levels of stress hormones circulating through the body, which eventually leads to adrenal burn-out and sometimes, if it's bad enough, reduced immunity, and a host of chronic ailments take over. So it is important to maintain your stress levels and GET IT UNDER CONTROL! 

Now for the good news! 

Preventing -- or correcting -- adrenal burn-out requires lifestyle changes, like staying hydrated, exercising regularly (moderately, not excessively at first), eating well, and getting quality sleep.

Above is a dinner I fixed the other night of grilled Talapia fish seasoned with a little Tony's Chachere and lemon. I had some steamed broccoli left over from the night before, but first I grilled some onions until they were caramelized and then cut up the broccoli and finished grilling them together. I also served a little salad with it. IT WAS DELICIOUS!!  With fish like this, you can serve any kinds of vegetables with it. I have served it with portobello mushrooms and zucchini, sprinkled with lemon pepper and sea salt. YUMMY! Be creative; add seasonings and spices of your choice.

The Lord heals your diseases, redeems your life from the pit, satisfies  you with good, shows compassion to his children, and knows your frame. The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
Psalm 103: 3-14

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

We're all familiar with stress -- it's a constant element in a woman's busy life.

A couple of months ago I was starting to feel so exhausted by the end of the day that I could hardly walk to my car after work. All I wanted to do was make it to the couch. I felt so drained! When I went to my family doctor, he wanted to prescribe anti-depressants. I felt like he was telling me to just shut up and get over it. How was that going to help me get my energy back? Later, while in his office, I found a pamphlet that advertised a holistic doctor. I decided to call her and made myself an appointment. All of the ladies in this office were so very nice and pleasant. The doctor there listened to me!

A saliva test was suggested for hormone testing. She gave me these vials to spit in everyday; morning, noon, and night, for one day. I thought that would be an easy thing to do, but I had to really work at it, but I was finally able to fill to the line. These vials are sent off to the lab. I also had blood work done.

In a couple of weeks the results were sent back. My blood work was great; my blood sugar, my cholesterol, etc. As for the saliva test, it showed that I had Adrenal Fatigue which is something that I have never heard of before.

Our adrenal glands sit atop our kidneys to monitor our “fight or flight” responses. When faced with a stressful situation, our bodies rely on the adrenal glands to either release adrenaline, which makes us more alert and focused, and cortisol, which converts protein to energy and releases our stored sugar, glycogen, so our bodies have the fuel needed to respond quickly. In today’s society women are inundated with stress that doesn’t let up.  When chronic stress forces the adrenal glands to respond continually without any recovery time, either the adrenals start overproducing cortisol, which can lead to insomnia, anxiety, and the “tired and wired” feeling, or they become depleted to the point that cortisol production can’t keep up with demand, which can cause depression, fuzzy thinking, fatigue, weight gain, cravings, and mood swings.

So since STRESS (whether physical, emotional, or psychological) is a main factor, then it is important to maintain stress as much as possible through lifestyle modifications; diet, herbs, minerals, vitamin supplements.  My doctor stated that I should not exercise except to walk 3 times a week for 30 minutes each time. Any more than that can cause the adrenal glands to overwork.  So now I am on a regimen of supplements, diet change, and walking. I will keep you posted.

The Lord heals your diseases, redeems your life from the pit, satisfies you with good, shows compassion to his children, and knows your frame. The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
Psalm 103: 3-14