Spring Clean your Diet

Today I wanted to write about health and fitness again.

I had some really positive responses to my last blog where I gave some of my favorite exercise tips.

Today, I wanted to simply share some of my favorite recipes that I have used to successfully shed over 100 lbs and go from a size 24 to a size 10…

And hopefully this summer I will reach my goal of wearing a size 7.

So here is my favorite CRUNCHY snack ideas.

My weakness is not necessarily sugar and sweets. I have a real weak spot for salty snacks that crunch.

So when I came across these recipes a couple of years ago, I had to try them, and have been loving them ever since.

My first recipe today is a Greek Yogurt Dip to enjoy with veggies.

Greek Yogurt Dip

Mix one container of plain non fat Greek yogurt with your favorite powdered salad dressing mix.

Serve with an array of your favorite vegetables— carrots, sliced cucumbers, celery and cherry tomatoes are crowd pleasers.

Add steamed fresh green beans and asparagus to kick it up a notch! My kids love this. I have also used a jar of artichokes in this dip and that was also really yummy.

The possibilities are really endless with this dip idea. 

My second recipe is one that I use often to satisfy that need for salty snacks that crunch.

download (8)

 

 

Whole Wheat Pita Chips

12 whole wheat pita pockets

2 Tbs. olive oil

1 tsp. parmesan cheese

1/4 tsp. each garlic powder, black pepper, dried basil and dried chives

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

In a small bowl combine olive oil, parmesan cheese and spices. Brush tops of pita rounds with this mixture.

Cut pita rounds into 8 triangles each.

Place on baking sheet sprayed with olive oil spray.

Bake for 5-7 minutes until crispy.

These have become my staple in place of high calorie chips and crackers. I will make a really big batch and keep it stored in my pantry in a zip lock bag.

Now my third recipe is my favorite thing to dip my pita chips in.

 

Homemade Hummus

(While there are many delicious prepared hummus options, making your own is quick and easy.)

2 15-oz. cans chickpeas, drained, reserving liquid

5 cloves garlic, minced

1/3 cup tahini (sesame seed paste)

1/4 cup olive oil

5 Tbs. freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/2 tsp. salt or Tony’s Cajun seasoning.

Place all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth and creamy.

Add some of the reserved chickpea liquid if a creamier product is desired.

Makers of authentic hummus will often drizzle the olive oil over the top of the dip and may garnish with parsley and paprika for color and more flavor.

I also like to add things like roasted red peppers to my hummus.

I hope you enjoy these recipes.

Please let me know in the comment section below when you try them, or if you have a favorite healthy snack I would love to have you share your recipe with all of us.

It is not possible to lose weight and get healthy if your constantly feeling deprived.

Food is such a big part of our lives and for me, whenever I tried in the past to avoid eating the foods I loved, it always backfired on me and I ended up binge eating.

So finding foods that satisfied my pallet, but didn’t contain tons of unhealthy calories and fat were a vital part of my successful weight loss.

The next big hurdle that I had to jump was my addiction to diet coke.

Again, just depriving myself would not work, I needed to find something to replace that drink with that would satisfy me and not leave me feeling deprived.

So here are a few of my favorite drinks that I sip on all day to stay hydrated and avoid the diet coke trap.

Minty Iced Green Tea

  • 1 cup fresh mint leaves, washed

  • 3-4 green tea bags

  • Ice

  • Honey or agave,

  • Place mint leaves in a large glass pitcher. Crush gently with clean hands. Add tea bags, and pour hot water over top, leaving a few inches of room. Cover and refrigerate for 4-6 hours. Remove tea bags; serve over ice. Add honey or agave to sweeten and a few fresh lavender leaves, if you have them on hand.

Peach and Mint Iced Tea

8 cups boiling water
8 tea bags
4 ripe peaches, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 small bunch fresh mint sprigs
Sugar, to taste (if desired)
Pour the water into a heat-resistant pitcher.
Add the tea bags and let steep for 10 minutes.
Remove and discard the bags and allow the tea to cool to room temperature before refrigerating.
Add the peaches, mint, and sugar (if using).
Strain, if desired.
Pour over ice.
I hope that you are able to enjoy a few of these recipes this summer and that you too can lose weight, regain your health, and start to feel better about the way you look in your clothes.
Good Luck and God Bless!

 

Advertisements

Retreat into the STILLNESS within

“Within you there is a stillness and a sanctuary to which you can retreat at any time and be yourself.”

– Hermann Hesse

After reading these two quotes, I knew what I would write about today:

Finding that Inner sanctuary.

Each and every one of us have our very own quiet place that we can go to escape the storms of life.

We all possess that stillness that lies ten feet down below the raging surface of the ocean of troubles we face.

Image result for calm beneath the surface of the ocean

But knowing that it is there, and finding our way to it can be very different things indeed.

Throughout my lifetime I have been witness to many people that I love suffering from depression, fear, anxiety, loneliness, and just trying to make it through a difficult situation.

As I have witnessed their struggles, and then tapped into the memories of my own struggles, and idea began to emerge in my mind…

Pity is the side effect of every single one of these conditions.

 

And once a person succumbs to pity they begin a downward spiral that is extremely difficult to recover from.

Pity is a drug that is more addictive than heroine.

Pity is the tool that Satan uses to entrap us in his prison.

There is only one antidote for pity…

and that is LOVE.

Love is the key to unlock the door to your inner sanctuary.

Love has the power to stop pity dead in it’s tracks.

Love will lead you gently by the hand to that quiet place within that we all desire.

(Just reading that quote makes you feel HOPE doesn’t it?)

I have been on a quest these past ten years to discover my own power, beauty, and stillness.

I wanted to leave behind the past that had tried so hard to convince me that I was powerLESS, ugly, and that life was meant to be hard.

I had seen firsthand several friends who had a special kind of peace about them no matter what was going on around them.

 I wanted to discover that peace for myself.

I have finally learned how to be that person.

I can finally face my fears head on with a calm resolve.

I know where my power lies and how to tap into my inner beauty.

I had some great teachers along the way that have shown me where to find peace. One of them is the famous author Eckhart Tolle.

I want to  share some amazing insights by Eckhart Tolle on how to find peace within yourself,

(These insights were life changing for me, and I pray that they will be for you as well.)

When you lose touch with inner stillness, you lose touch with yourself. When you lose touch with yourself, you lose yourself in the world.

Your innermost sense of self, of who you are, is inseparable from stillness. This is the I Am that is deeper than name and form.

Stillness is your essential nature. What is stillness? 

Whenever there is some silence around you — listen to it. That means just notice it. Pay attention to it. Listening to silence awakens the dimension of stillness within yourself, because it is only through stillness that you can be aware of silence.

See that in the moment of noticing the silence around you, you are not thinking. You are aware, but not thinking.

Look at a tree, a flower, a plant. Let your awareness rest upon it. How still they are, how deeply rooted in Being. Allow nature to teach you stillness.

When you look at a tree and perceive its stillness, you become still yourself. You connect with it at a very deep level. You feel a oneness with whatever you perceive in and through stillness.

Feeling the oneness of yourself with all things is true love.

Silence is helpful, but you don’t need it in order to find stillness. Even when there is noise, you can be aware of the stillness underneath the noise, of the space in which the noise arises. 

 Becoming aware of awareness is the arising of inner stillness.

Any disturbing noise can be as helpful as silence. How?

By dropping your inner resistance to the noise, by allowing it to be as it is, this acceptance also takes you into that realm of inner peace that is stillness.

Whenever you deeply accept this moment as it is — no matter what form it takes — you are still, you are at peace.

– Excerpt from Stillness Speaks by Eckhart Tolle

When I was reading his book, the Light bulb went off for me, and I finally understood where inner strength comes from.

It comes from a willingness to observe the noise without judging it, or trying to control it or manipulate it.

You just need to learn how to “ride the sound wave” so to speak.

Life will never be still or quiet.

Image result for life is noisy

But…

In order to learn and grow we must be tested,

Much like we test our muscles when we life weights.

 

We don’t life weights to punish our arms…

We lift to strengthen them.

So when I am in the midst of a storm in life, I have learned to shift my thoughts from resistance to acceptance.

 

I allow myself to experience all of the feelings and emotions that the situation is bringing up for me.

 

But instead of getting swept away by them, I sit and allow my awareness to observe them, question them, and learn from them.

By learning how to find peace within yourself,  you will notice immense benefits such as peace of mind, clarity, inner peace, joy, increased energy, calmness, happiness and bliss.

What helps you find peace within yourself?

Please share your insights and experiences in the comment section below.

 

A love letter to my Children

My Precious Children,

 

I write this love letter for you.

To you, I say I love you, and also that I love my life..

You are here to love.

To do anything other than love goes against all that you are.

Love everything and everyone—the light and the darkness, the bitter and the sweet.

Choose love over hate, pettiness, the need to be right.

In your lifetime, you will be tempted by the illusion of financial security, power, fame, or even just simple recognition. I pray that you will have the wisdom and courage to discern that those things are fleeting and temporary. None of those things even  come close to LOVE.

Remember that there are no do-overs in life.

You can’t erase the past or get back those moments that you missed so live now.

Enjoy each and every moment you are given.

Smile often.

Love deeply.

And show compassion every chance you get.

Know that each moment is a gift and an opportunity to live.

To my two little ones, never stop running in the rain. As you grow older and find your partner in life, run in the rain with them too.

I pray that each of you will discover the love that will make your heart sing. Take the time to enjoy your life together with them.

Treat each moment with your beloved as a gift. For that moment may be the last time you hold her hands, taste raindrops, and play like children with them. Love each other every day so completely that if it is your last, you will never have regrets.

Kiss your love every chance you get.

Hold hands with each other.

Laugh every chance you get.

But the most important wish I have for you, my beloveds, is that you will Know thyself!

You are spiritual-human beings, at your young ages you still have no clue who you are.

If you will  take the time to get to know thyself, you will discover the richness that life has to offer you. You will know true love, happiness, success, wealth, well-being, peace, and joy when you know you.

As a very young child, you all four knew who you were until the world told you that you were someone else.

You changed little pieces of yourself so that you could fit in, conform, please others, get or not get attention, and grasp for love.

In that moment, and each and every one since,  you decided that you were not enough so you became someone else.

It is my deepest prayer that you will discover, once again that innocent child that lives on in your heart, hidden but not lost.

To know yourself is to love yourself.

So commit to you.

Obey your conscience and have the courage to be you.

You have a choice to be who you are or to make up a story about who you are and be that inauthentic self.

When you choose your authentic self over the story, your energy is aligned with that of God’s, and when you are in alignment with Him, life flows easily and effortlessly.

You are His children, more than you are mine. Remember that!

I know the story may seem to be easier, but it’s a betrayal of your spirit, and is a cop-out to opt-out of all that you could be.

Take responsibility for your life: you are not a victim.

Life doesn’t happen to you.

Mind the seeds that you plant. That is, your thoughts grow your reality. Monitor every thought, carefully watching, and questioning its truth.

Thoughts are clever critters and will create drama. Remember, you are not the thoughts in your head. And, that which you do not master, masters you.

Be aware of those that vibrate at lower consciousness for they know not what they do. Pray for them! Love yourself enough to stand-up for you and also, accept responsibility for the role that you play.

So my children, and also my readers, I leave you with this parting wisdom—be gentle with yourself, all things are temporary, judge not, and you can learn something from everyone you meet.

Your Mom.

xoxoxo

Confessions of a former PEOPLE PLEASER…

hello my name is sign with blank white copyspace for text message

Today I want to have some fun with an issue that has defined me most of my life…

PEOPLE PLEASING.

So…what’s wrong with wanting to please others?

There’s actually nothing wrong with trying to please others… but only up to a point. 

You know you have reached that point when pleasing others begins to compromise your health and happiness.

Image result for people pleaser

This is when your aim to please becomes a serious problem because you base all your interactions with others on the positive approval you crave from them.

You will even compromise your very own feelings just to be pleasing.

 

When you recognize that you are doing this…

Ask yourself this very important question… 

Are You Being You?

The truth is, seeking constant approval from others forces you to miss out on the beauty of simply being yourself.

I spent the first 35 yrs. of my life shoving my wants and needs into the background so that I could be liked.

It worked.

Everyone liked me…except for myself. 

It wasn’t until I acknowledged that I was a person too.

That I had feelings too.

And started to protect my feelings, even if that meant that I upset someone, that I discovered how beautiful life can be.

To illustrate my point, I have created a list of the results you can expect when you are a chronic “PEOPLE PLEASER” like me…

 

Result #1. You Will Feel Unfulfilled

download (5)

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first sign that your heading toward “UN-FULFILLMENT” is that you will begin to shy away from saying what you truly mean and instead start dropping hints…

You desperately hope that your cues will be picked up.

You have trouble saying things like, “no, that doesn’t work for me” or I don’t want you to do that.”

Instead, you try to “sell” what you think as being a more attractive alternative.

The problem with this is that it involves someone being able to read your mind and no one can ever do that.

So you end up feeling unfulfilled, misunderstood… and maybe even angry!

 

Result #2. You Will Feel Uncomfortable

download (6)

 

 

 

 

 

You don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings so you choose not to share your thoughts.

You tend to agree with others without even considering what YOU believe or want.

You believe that when you don’t hurt anyone’s feeling, you can avoid unwanted reactions or rejection.

Think of the last time you avoided telling someone something to spare their feelings.  Did you do it out of kindness or did you do it to avoid what you suspected might become an uncomfortable situation?

If you were just trying to avoid an awkward situation, then you kept your real thoughts and opinions to yourself.

In the end, maybe the other person didn’t feel uncomfortable but I’m quite sure that you did! (I know this from experience)

 

Result # 3. You Will Feel Resentful

You find it difficult, if not impossible to say “NO”.

Everyone wants to be generous, and that’s a good thing. But, when you give to the point where it begins to affect you…

Your generosity has now taken on a different meaning.

You begin to do things from a place of:

“I feel that I have to”

INSTEAD OF

“I would love to.”

Generosity is a fruit of the spirit.

Fruit is intended to nourish and sustain you.

Giving from an empty place eventually leads to resentment.

Generosity has to be a choice from your heart, not from a place of obligation, guilt or expectation.

I had to face the cold hard truth that sometimes being Nice wasn’t a Good Thing …

Image result for nice vs mean

I had been spending my life ceaselessly trying to please people, who were incapable of ever being pleased.

I tried too hard to always be seen as doing what’s “right”.

The only thing I gained from all of that nonsense was a life of regret.

Image result for life of regret

I had to own up to the fact that my constant state of pleasing others, had created the misery I was experiencing in my life.

When my son died, it changed everything about me.

I woke up to a world that was fragile, and unpredictable.

For the first time in my life, I understood the value of each day the Lord chooses to give me.

I didn’t want to live with regret and pain any longer.

I started to ask myself this question that Steve Jobs poses here:

download (7)

 

 

 

 

 

 

I finally realized that allowing the opinions or criticisms of other people to dictate or manipulate my confidence was way too high a price to pay just so I could feel liked, accepted or validated.

So how do you know if you’re a “People-Pleaser”?

  • Do you give in to people because the thought of upsetting them is too much for you to deal with?
  • Do you want everyone to think of you as a “really nice person?”
  • Do you agree with people because you’d like to “fit in?”
  • Do you worry about what other people think of you?

If you answered yes to any of these questions…

Then Your A “PEOPLE-PLEASER”!

Because I am a People Pleasing Addict myself, I will give you some pointers on how I have been able to slowly wean myself off of the “good feeling juice” 😉

The first step in recovery is realizing that by doing or saying whatever pleases others to gain approval, you are really hurting yourself and often setting yourself up to be the target of adult bullies.  

I have developed this simple mantra:

This is my life, my choices, my mistakes, my lessons. As long as you are not hurting people, don’t worry what they think of you.

This helps me to remember and understand that someone else’s opinion is not my problem.

How many times have you looked at someone and totally misjudged them solely based on their looks?

How you seem to someone and how you actually are, is rarely congruent.

If someone forms an opinion of you based on superficialities, it’s up to them, not you, to reform those opinions based on a more rational viewpoint. 

The bottom line is the opinion that other people have of you is their problem, not yours.

The less you worry about what they think of you, the less complicated your life becomes.

Here is another LIFE CHANGING TIP:

Ask yourself, “Does their opinion of me even matter?”

People will think what they want to think. It doesn’t matter how carefully you choose your words, someone will inevitably misinterpret and turn what you said upside down.

How others see you is not as important as how you see yourself.

Stay true to yourself. Never be ashamed of doing what feels right. Decide what you think is right and stick with it.

When you stop trying to be all things to all people, you can achieve a greater level of satisfaction in your life. 

Be yourself.

When you honor who you are — and who you’re not — your life will begin to take on a greater meaning.

Life is too short not to…

April 2015 projects.

It’s time to Finally Get out of your own way.

inner-critic

 

 

 

 

On Friday I pointed out how dangerous the two words “IF ONLY” were…

Today I am going to dive into that idea a little bit deeper.

How differently would your thoughts be if the instant they occurred they would pop out and onto your forehead like a billboard?

Would you still talk to yourself the same way if those thoughts were visible for others to see?

Definitely NOT!

We all put on a brave face for the world to see, but inside most of us are being held captive by our “INNER BULLY”

Image result for inner voice

We have all heard the phrase, “You are your own worst enemy” about a million times…

But why?

In what way?

It’s partly because of the inner bully that lives inside of us and never shuts up.

Image result for inner voice

It speaks to us in our very own voice, says “I” (so we identify with everything it says), and blurts out an endless barrage of criticisms and put downs:

“I’m such an idiot.”

“Why did I do that after I told myself I wouldn’t?”

“Nobody loves me.”

“I’ll never change.”

Yadda yadda yadda….

 

It also likes to blame others:

Image result for blaming others

“Why did they do that to me?”

“It’s your fault that I’m the way I am.”
 
It’s all so painful — and none of it is helpful, healing, or true.

On the other hand —

this INNER BULLY, and the level of misunderstanding it represents —

is the REAL problem —

the ONLY problem — you have.

It is what stands in the way of your experiencing the happy, fulfilling life you’re meant to know.

It is what keeps you from attempting the things you are afraid to try. . .

It prevents you from connecting with higher sources of strength and wisdom that are just waiting to banish your heartache and help you over every barrier.

It’s the INNER BULLY that keeps you from reaching your true potential, and makes you your own worst enemy.

So, why do you put up with it?

And is there a way to get free of it?

The short answer is, YES — there is a way to be free of it!

The quickest way that I have found to banish the INNER BULLY that attempts to beat me up is to remember one simple fact:

I am a divine creation, created in the image of God.

This scripture keeps my mind focused when I realize the mean voice inside my head is trying to take over again.

I silence it, by surrendering my life, my heart, and my mind to the will of the Lord.

 

“The only problem you ever have is what you have yet to understand about yourself.” —Guy Finley

The wisdom found within that quote contains the solution to this dilemma.

Hidden away in all of us lives a

“Gang of Heated Demands”,

“Conditioned Beliefs”,

and Painful Self-Pictures

That we don’t even know are there until —

when the moment is “right” —

they pop out, distorting our experience of life.

 

But once we experience the miracle of sight, and understand the true nature of these dark reactions —

we can finally see them for what they really are —

And the very first thing that happens is…

They lose their power over us.
Image result for inner voice
What happens next is even more amazing:

The power they once had to hold us down Magically Becomes our power to harness their force and use it to set ourselves free!

But it’s not easy.

The process of gaining this much-needed inner knowledge is a challenge to all of us because at first it seems to be a field day for the inner bully, which gets louder than ever.

Here’s why . . .

There’s no denying that when you start on the road to self-discovery, where your aim is self-liberation, at some point you will face a bit of a difficult circumstance.
One day you will catch yourself in the act of hurting yourself,

or hurting others.

It’s a shock,

BUT…

It’s also an important and necessary step in the process of transformation.

The challenge is this:

For this valuable discovery to serve its healing purpose, you must use it the right way.

Unfortunately, this is where the inner bully often jumps in, chastising you for what’s been revealed.

BUT You need to remember that attacking yourself for what you see is not the way to freedom from your “Inner Bully”…

Far from it.

Attacking yourself will only perpetuate and strengthen the parts of yourself you don’t like —

And will steal from you the value of the revelation.

So, if letting the inner bully punish you is not an answer . . .

And turning the other way and pretending you never saw the thing at all is not an answer . . .

How do you change your attitude about yourself and life?

 
Image result for what is the answer

It starts with seeing that the revelation was a gift —

EXACTLY the kind of gift you’ve been working for.

The revelation is here to help you to stop hurting yourself.

You just didn’t know it.

But what are you to do with the gift?

What are you supposed to do when you uncover these aspects of yourself that you know are hurting you and all your relationships?

 

removing-mask
 

 

 

 

 

 

How do you turn everything around so that the very thing you didn’t want to see in yourself becomes the doorway to a whole new level of yourself?

This is an important question if you wish to unmask the inner bully.

I have had to learn to just let it go.

It is as simple, and as difficult as that.