I was at work during New Years. I was on the stroke unit and we got as many patients as possible into the tea room to watch the fire works from the hospital windows. It was.... strange. I've been with D for the last 11 new years so to count down and enter into the New Year with complete strangers was funny. I care less and less each year though so was not overly upset at not being out at a party or celebrating with my hubby. I love being with my patients though so it was good.
I've been wanting to write this post all month... 2014. A new year and of course a fresh beginning.... right? We all consider our 'new years resolutions' at the close of each year. As I did this year I thought about what I want to achieve this year, what I want to change, what I want to learn and so on... and something I realised is that my resolutions stemmed from what I hadn't done last year, what I didn't achieve, what I hadn't changed and what I was unable to learn. But before I burdened myself with the todo list of how to go about getting all these things DONE I took a step back and here is my revelation and piece of encouragement for you....
Let your 2014 resolution be to start at the root. Our weaknesses so often stem from much deeper impairments or deficiencies or shortcomings. So if your resolution, for example, is to eat less sugar look into why you crave sugar so much to start with. Do you have a systemic candida issue you need to tackle before just knocking off the chocolate? This journey would allow a much deeper understanding and long term change. If you've decided to be a better spouse or mother, consider the possibilities of why you weren't so great at it last year. For me I know I can be a better mother... something I've learnt whilst being home these last 3 months is that I struggled a lot last year because I didn't have my village around me. What a difference it has made feeling supported and having a community around you that know you and journey with you. To be a better Mum, I have to be more intentional about pursuing a community where we live OS.
So its only simple... maybe too simple... but its my encouragement to you. Dig deeper. Find the root problem or cause to your new years resolutions and start by ripping them up from the depth of where they came from... or.... nourishing a good root that is already growing so the fruit may be abundant!
So one of the challenges that we have faced since Teddy was about 4 or so months was eating. Different types of challenges throughout the months that followed. The most recent being....not eating. Now, I'm not talking about eating a little or even just being super fussy.... I'm talking no food. He is a super fussy kid and has also now moved into the phase where spoons are of the enemy!!! He's getting a bit better and deciding to eat SOME food if he feeds himself but its still a challenge to find what he likes and get him to have a decent amount of it.
A few things have been a winner and I'll be posting about a couple of them... not only because they're foods he'll eat but because they're jam packed with super food goodness so would be good for you kids too... or even you!
So today I made yoghurt melts. Easy, full of goodness and protein and he can eat them himself! Also great for summer.
This is how I made it but you could add whatever yoghurt/fruits/veggies you wanted:
Blend all together with some sort of mixer - I used a bamix.
Add equal to double the amount of yoghurt - I added double and it was pot set, natural yoghurt.
Use a tea spoon or a piping bag to make little 5c size drops on baking paper/tray.
Put in the freezer till hard! Save in freezer. ENJOY!
Christmas is coming! I cannot believe another year has passed. Where we currently live, the Christmas decorations came up beginning/middle of October!! I swear it gets earlier every year... soon they won't bother taking them down!
Now I know we've all heard about the consumption at Christmas before. How crazy it is how much we spend, how much we shop, how much excess we shower over ourselves and our families. It is something to deeply think about and I do encourage you to do so - what is the meaning of Christmas for you and your family? (Religious or not)
But this post is not about rubbing that in or pointing out the dreadful amount of money we spend on ourselves at Christmas time... its to consider changing something up this year. You are able to embrace ethical living with as much gusto as you choose. So consider the levels of gusto you would be willing to embrace.
Part of thriving in our own lives is contributing to prosperity of others lives! Helping others to thrive. This can be your friend, your family, neighbour, fellow countrymen or fellow world citizen! :)
So... this Christmas I encourage you to change at least one thing in your Christmas celebrations. If you can change 2 things, 10 things, 20 things! Awesome but sometimes its overwhelming to shift everything at once. One step is better than none! Here are some ideas:
- Choose Ethical products for gifts - fair trade items that are free of child labour, slave labour and unethical treatment of workers
- Limit the gifts you give to your kids - they don't need anything.....so then anything is a bonus!
- Give experiences as a gift, something that adds to the memories or life experiences of the person as opposed to a "thing"
- Write letters to prisoners or refugees as a family
- Buy presents for organisations that will give them to the homeless or fostered
- Put a spending limit on the presents between you an your family
- Invite a lonely neighbour or nursing home resident to your family lunch/dinner
- Cook with organic and ethical food
There are so many more ideas I am just writing this post on the go so please feel free to comment with more ideas!!
What is Christmas for you and your family? Embrace a season of change this Christmas and watch your life, and other lives, thrive!
On this journey to becoming a "foodie", it has been interesting challenging the paradigms that were hard wired into my head. Cholesterol and fat = bad! Doesn't matter where it comes from or how natural it is, always go for the 'light' or 'low fat' option. Less fat the better!
I am a member of the Weston A Price foundation. Sally Fallon is definitely one of my heroes in the food deparment. Some things I'm still unsure about but I learn and read as I go. One thing I have definitely learnt and would encourage you to read up on is that fats (good ones) are SO GOOD for you! This includes oils (olive, coconut, macademia), avocado's, nuts, butter from grass fed organic cows, raw cream and milk, cheese, eggs, fish oil. These are SO good for you! It feeds your brain, it feeds your gut and so many more of your organs.
It might surprise you to find out how unhealthy low fat options can be! Seriously scary! And of course the good fats are raw, organic, cold pressed etc.
Below is a link to the "know your fats" page on the Weston Price website. There are heaps of articles and information about it so you can read up on more details of which fats are good and why they are good.
I've also attached a Sally Fallon youtube clip about butter... Mmmm butter! When you watch it there a few others that are directly link with this video and I encourage you to watch them too - they're all about a minute each.
Don't be afraid of fats... good fats... Eat up! You might find your health improves vastly!
This is my husband and I about 8 years ago. I'm 18 in this picture and my mum and I had gone to Norfolk,Virginia in the USA to see D while he was serving in the US Navy there. We were engaged.
My, what a way we have come from this image. D and I met on the bus home from school. My sister introduced us when I was 12 but we re-met and started to hang out every morning and afternoon when I was 14. He asked me out over MSN (although he argues it was AOL) a couple of months after we started spending time with each other.
Since then, we broke up 2 or 3 times (well... he broke up with me!), we got married, we travelled the world and saw our lives take a road we thought we'd never walk and we became parents. This December we will be celebrating our 6th anniversary and this past July we celebrated being together for 11 years.
D and I were seeking counselling 2 months into our marriage. The first 2 years were the hardest years of our lives. At times, calling it quits was a little too close for comfort. It was hard. We both got hurt and we definitely discovered what rock bottom was. But.... I'd do it again if it meant we became what we are today.
The details are irrelevant. I think the point of this posting for me is to encourage you marrieds out there to be real. Resentment is dangerous and can form scars that are hard to move past. Neither of us were ok to be in a mediocre relationship. We've fought hard to be here today but I can joyfully say that D is my best friend and love of my life. I think we're where we are though, because we opened up straight away. We talked about it... and we got a third party in pretty quickly. Sometimes without the third party you can be having the same arguments day in and day out with neither feeling heard or appreciated. Lets get real about marriage. Its awesome!! Its also really hard! Find other couples older, younger and your age that you are investing in to and are investing into you. Be surrounded by marriages that inspire. D and I have some friends and family who's marriages have spurred us on. Have a support system that stands around you when you are honest about being in a challenging season with your spouse. Don't let moments of hurt build scars of resentment. Don't try to walk the road alone... just you two... you might kill each other :) Don't settle for "mostly happy".
I was at one of my dearest friends weddings about 3 or so years ago and when the Dad gave his speech he said something so extremely beautiful and poetic that I pray over my marriage. He said "my prayer is that in years to come you will look back at today as the day you loved each other the least". I never thought I could love D more than the day I married him... well thats what I felt on that day. Now... I do look back and I feel like I didn't even know what love was or the depth it could go - and we're only 6 years in!! Many challenges in the road ahead I know, but I couldn't imagine walking through the fire with anyone else. Bring it on!
I have so much to learn (6 years in, I'm still a newbie wife really)! So please if you are reading this and are married and have wisdom to offer, comment below. Use this virtual community to uplift and support others.
This whole raw/real foods thing can be exhausting and overwhelming. From trying to wrap your head around the amount of information out there about good food and what we're eating, to finding the time/energy/money to do all of the things we've read about! Like I've said in previous posts, take it slow. Choose one challenge and take it one step at a time. God has grace for us to learn amongst the daily grind and will partner with us in taking it step by step.
So in my ideal world I have the time/energy/finances to have a kitchen full of daily fresh sprouted sourdough, yoghurt, kefir milk and water, fermented veggies and fruits, organic meat, raw milk, homemade cheese, a garden full of veggies and herbs... no actually a full on aquaponics system in my yard, chickens.... the list goes on. I know some of you have a few of these things and a lot of these things. I'm trying not to be jealous! ;)
My encouragement to those of you who are interested in overhauling your food habits and committing to a healthier lifestyle is to start with the basics. Don't worry about complicating life just yet with the array of different bacteria and fungi you can grow! Start reading your labels. Start avoiding all/most things processed. Make your own sauces. Soak and care for your nuts and grains. Stop believing advertising - the food industry is a business, remember. Start researching the choices you are making - does organic really make a difference or is it just a fad for our spoilt culture? Is "whole grain" helga's bread really nourishing my body or just filling it up? What are you eating today thats contributing to the health of your organs, your mood and your spirit? Is it healthy? Or do you just think its healthy cause the ad told you it was?
Start reading, researching and talking with people about real food. It is your responsibility to maintain and upkeep your own health.
Ways we are changing our habits and mindsets:
- natural fats are GOOD - oils (coconut and olive), avocados, animal fats (of organic pastured animals), creams and cheeses
- real butter is GOOD - eat a lot of it :)
- All vegetables and fruits are organic
- All meats are organic and pastured
- Raw milk where possible. But certainly unhomogenised
- food of the earth - vegetables, nuts, grains (gluten free), fruits and plants in their almost natural state.
- Trying to avoid all processed sugars, starches etc etc. Processed = bad. Thats the bottom line... if its processed, no matter what the label says, its not the best for you.
We do make yoghurt, kefir, fermented veggies etc when we can but we have shifted the foundation of our food mindset in our home. I encourage you to do the same. Question your habits and ask yourself if they are really contributing to your body thriving!
This year D and I started a "Joy Jar".
We got a simple glass jar and have it on our coffee table. When wonderful things happen we write them down on a scrap of paper and put them in the jar. At the end of the year we're going to empty it out and read through them all.
I think we can so often forget about the good things big and small. We often forget how one wonderful thing leads to another.... we forget how we got here. Its been so exciting already to fill up the jar with beautiful memories! Everything from new jobs to milestones for our son to special moments.
I think part of thriving as a family is learning to be grateful and humbled together. Reflecting as a family on all your blessings. Even in a hard year... there are blessings. It can help to uplift a darker year or even highlight a bright one to reflect on the good things!
Give it a try :)
The biggest revelation I have had in the last year is that we, as a westernised community, eat to survive.
No, of course I don't mean we gulp down a meal in desperation in case we don't get fed soon after... we are far from that!! I mean that we eat what we want, when we want and eat to satisfy in that moment. Now of course this is a complete generalisation so please don't be offended if this is not you. Also, I am not meaning to say that food should not be tasty and satisfying in that moment - it should be! But...
We rarely eat a meal thinking about how it will affect us in a week, a year or even 10 years. We don't eat with the mentality that we are using that meal to contribute to the constant cycle of our bodies trying to maintain themselves. Personally, I have taken for granted the work my liver, kidneys etc etc has done over the last 25 years. We don't control our organs....really. But we can help them do their job best!
So with that said I went on a goose hunt to find every lecture, paper and organisation that could tell me what the food industry isn't telling us. We have to remember that industrialisation has turned our food industry into
a business. "All natural" isn't organic, and "fat free" is actually worse
for you and more carcinogenic! Can you believe it!?
So then I started thinking about how to take in and deal with all this information. Do we go FULL hippy? Do we abandon the structure of society (in regards to food) altogether and go full RAW? Some people do and full kudos to them! The main thing that hit me though was my responsibility to care for what I've been given. Its like someone were to give you a brand new car... and you put what everyone else puts in it and generally the cheaper stuff so you can save some money. Of course its definitely not the best quality but it keeps it running. Then 10, 20, 30 years down the track you have a problem with it and take it back to the person who gave it to you and ask why they gave you a dodgey car! "Fix it please?" you ask... Often the body is so exhausted from trying to maintain itself without your help that full recovery is hard work! If you had taken more time to invest into the car and put the good
oil and the good
fuel in it, it would still be running strong! Moreover, is it not disrespectful to the person who gave it to you?
I have been inspired to care more for the body I was blessed with in order that I may live long and live well! I have a lot to do in the next 60+ years! I want to care for the gift of my families bodies too. I want to do whatever I can in my own power to make sure they are reaching their full potential in health and growth.
so that is where I am heading with this "thrive not survive" thing.... So many yummy recipes to come, interesting papers to post and pondered thoughts to share - please always feel free to engage in that discussion because I hope to continue learning from you!
As I said on the home page, this is a place where I hope to share what I'm learning mainly for the purpose of creating a space of discussion and even more opportunities for me to learn - from you!
I think I have been so excited and transformed by the things I've been reading and learning over the last 8 months that I almost feel a responsibility to share it. While some things I write may be my opinion, or simply information, I will also hope to share things I'm struggling with in regards to thriving and hope that you will participate and offer what wisdom and experience you have!
In my food - I am learning all about how good God is and how much he has provided us with to truly love and care for the bodies he has blessed us with. I am trying to feed my family well and offer them tasty and satisfying meals that benefit them for the years to come.
In my faith - I am learning about a God whose love is so much bigger than we can imagine. I am learning to be satisfied by his provisions and his goodness. I'm learning to thrive in love and not law.
In my family - I am learning how to be a mum and a wife. I am discovering new ways to love my husband. I am learning how I want to raise my son and how I want to parent him, which will affect the man he becomes. Thank God for mothers, sisters and friends who can walk through this with me, share their incredible knowledge, encourage me in new directions and stand by me when I feel l have fallen short.
I have read so many papers, participated in so many forums and signed up for so many blogs in the last 8 months since T was born. I am now a Weston A Price member (which I will do a post about), I am providing my family with raw milk, home made yoghurt, fermented foods and drinks. I am trying to link into my community to source my food from the closest farmer, market etc.
God has blessed me with many gifts (which I am very grateful for) but cooking is NOT one of them :) This for me is definitely a learned skill as opposed to something that comes quite naturally. I am not creative with food and I can't just "toss" something together. I have many days where I get frustrated with my lack of ability in this area but am continuing to push through and improve my skills.
I also want to take this space to write about women that have inspired me and are teaching me a lot about thriving. Although I will not use their names I still want to use this space to honour them and their incredible contribution to my life and others.
so with that said... please subscribe and enjoy. Participate! If we cannot physically live in community together lets create a virtual one right here!