1 Corinthians 6:19

"Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own..." 1 Corinthians 6:19

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Where Do I Start?

This blog was recently posted on the Allegheny Center Alliance Church livejournal blog:

While it has been a long time since I blogged a Healthy for Christ post, it hasn't been a long time since I thought about it, especially since Pastor Blaine's heart surgery. Having two of our beloved pastors undergoing heart surgery in such a short time, it really gets you thinking, you know? One of the things I thought about was when I was on staff at ACAC, I would cover for Sheran White when she went to Kenya. As the assistant to both pastors, covering for her made me privy to just how much stress these men are under in their calling to shepherd us. Their email inboxes didn't have hundreds of emails, but literally thousands. Okay, Pastor Blaine had thousands. Pastor Rock was and is, of course, on top of everything (wink, wink). I used to have fun sending Sheran little messages about how many saved voicemails I discovered or what crazy jokes Pastor Rock used to tease Pastor Blaine with.

Anyway, thousands of emails, I can't even imagine! Trying to convert the couple of personal email addresses I have into one has had me overwhelmed for years. Yes, years because no matter how many things I unsubscribe to, those darn inboxes just keep growing and growing. Ah, fah-ge-da-bowt-it. Then that gets me thinking about technology and how it has complicated our lives when it was supposed to make them easier, but that is another topic for another time.

Our shepherds have people pulling them in every direction and nothing irks me more than hearing someone complain that a pastor didn't get back to them right away or didn't say "hi" to them. I am the first one to admit to having tunnel vision when I have a list of projects needing my attention. I can be so focused, either while at my desk or in my head while running from here to there, that someone can call my name or wave dramatically at me and I'd have no clue. To quote my aunt, "A bomb could go off and Kathy wouldn't notice." And let's face it, in this day and age, we are all overworked and overwhelmed. We are connected 24/7 and the line between work and play has become blurred. I imagine most people feel the added pressure of being connected 24/7 as co-workers send them texts and facebook messages about work when they are "off the clock." That pressure is just a piece of what our pastors deal with, and they deal with it wholeheartedly because it is part of their calling from God.
(TINY PRINT: No pastor or leader of ACAC has endorsed this message. They don't even know about this message. This message is just the personal, ramblings of K.Rae.)

The next thing Pastor Blaine's heart surgery had me thinking about was the passion that still resides in me for God's people to be healthy. It's been hard for me because in spite of changing bad habits into healthy ones - by going back to the lifestyle I lived as a Certified Nutritionist - fibromyalgia somehow found itself cozy living in my body. I've been through so many different emotions, including grief and resentment, and blogging about being healthy was the last thing I wanted to do. There have also been days that I've wanted to blog again, but I simply didn't have the energy or brain power (my brain gets highjacked in a dance the experts call "fibro-fog"). So everything is harder for me, but the voice is still there, the one telling me that God's people (including myself) need encouragement to get healthier and all the jumbled, conflicting, confusing information out there concerning health and nutrition needs researched and simplified, needs to be accessible for His children who struggle with being healthy in a time they are connected 24/7, in a time they are too distracted and too busy to really deal with it.

And what about all our brothers and sisters struggling with chronic illnesses? I met a lovely woman with a huge heart for the Lord. She suffers from debilitating and powerful pain from the many, many back surgeries she's had. During the time I met her, she shared with me that she had been suicidal because she just couldn't take the pain anymore. What was more heartbreaking to me was that she was married and her husband loved her and was good to her, but she didn't share this with him. She had stopped sharing her physical struggles with her loved ones because they just couldn't understand her struggles no matter how she voiced them. She is not alone in this as time after time, I've met people with chronic conditions who no longer had a voice. There are so many reasons our modern-day Pauls (2 Corinthians 12:7-9) no longer speak, and Lord knows I don't have any problems opening my mouth on the behalf of others! I know, I know, that's not necessarily a good thing, but you get my point.

I was talking to Pastor Rock about this blog and I told him I didn't know how to get back into the groove. I've been out of the Healthy for Christ mindset for so long, you know, what do I blog about first? He said, "Just tell them, 'I'm back!'" ... Okay.

Readers, I'm back!

Please comment if you have any specific topics you'd like me to blog about (and to hold me accountable because I am very forgetful these days). In the meantime, I'll just pull stuff randomly from my head and pray it helps someone.

Have a happy, healthy day!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Sweet Potato & Black Bean Chili

It's that time of year. We'll run as many errands in the next month as we've ran all year. Gifts to buy, trees to decorate, calendars full of party after party requesting us to bring a dish. I was asked weeks ago by two different people if I would be making my Sweet Potato & Black Bean Chili. Yes, it's quite delicious and I'm always hoping there'll be some left to take back home! Today, I'm sharing the recipe with you, but first, click the links to see the amazing health benefits of sweet potatoes and black beans.

Sweet Potato & Black Bean Chili

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup red onion, diced
1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1-2 garlic cloves, minced (I often lean a little heavy on the garlic side so use your preference)
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut in bite-size cubes (I generally add the cubes to the crock-pot dish after peeling and cutting until about 3/4 full to determine "1 1/2 pounds")
14.5-oz can crushed tomatoes w/green chili
15.5-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 cups water
minced jalapeƱos or canned chipotle chiles to taste

1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, and garlic, cover, and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chili powder and cook for 30 seconds. Add the sweet potatoes and stir to coat with the spices.

2. Transfer the mixture to a 4- to 6-quart slow cooker. Add the tomatoes, beans, and water; season with salt, cover, and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.

3. When ready to serve, stir the jalapeƱos or chipotles into the chili. Taste to adjust the seasonings.

Serves 4 to 6 as full meal.

I adapted this recipe from Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker, a book I highly recommend as there are many amazingly tasty recipes that are super easy to make.

Until next time!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Water - The Source of Life

In light of this tremendous heat wave we're in, I wanted to re-post my previous blog about water.  It's so important this time of year to drink enough water.  Dehydration can sneak up on the best and brightest of us and it's effects can be detrimental.  Water - The Source of Life was originally posted on ACAC's blog page on January 20th of this year:

I just finished studying the Gospel of John in depth last semester. One of the well-known stories of this Gospel is that of the woman at the well. Jesus was claiming to be the Messiah to her when He tells of His “living water” that satisfies completely. Dear Readers, it is no coincidence that throughout Scripture, our Lord declares Himself to be our living water. Psalm 42 reads, “As a deer pants for streams of water... my soul thirsts for God, for the living God.” In Jeremiah, the Lord declares Himself to be “the spring of living water” (2:13, 17:13) and in John, Jesus tells the woman at the well that He alone could forever quench a person’s thirst for God.

Just as Jesus Christ is the sustainer of our eternal lives, water is the sustainer of all life here on earth. Approximately 70% of the earth is covered with water and approximately 70% of our bodies are made up of water, and while man can survive weeks without food, he can only survive a few days without water. We need water to live!

The amazing benefits of drinking water are numerous, so numerous that I decided to post them elsewhere so as not to clog up our ACAC Threads blog! You can view them here. You can also read about the symptoms of dehydration here.

I’ll end with some easy tips on how to increase your water intake, but first, take two minutes to measure the ounces of your drinking glasses and cups at home. You’d be surprised by how little 8 oz. really is. A couple big gulps is all... and secondly, be gradual. Again, I don’t want you beating yourself up because you couldn’t go from no water a day to 60 oz. a day overnight. Build up to it.
  • How much should you drink? Make it easy – drink the standard 64 oz. a day or half your weight in ounces (if you exercise, you’ll want to drink more). Don’t stress yourself out, just drink!
  • Start your day off with a quick 8 oz. glass of water. Before I drink my first cup of coffee, I have a small 8 oz. glass of ice cold water. It gets your blood flowing (and your metabolism).
  • Make it a point to take all pills and vitamins with water and water only (versus coffee, etc.). I drink a good 1/3 of my daily water intake this way.
  • The best thing I ever did to increase my water intake was install the free application “Water Your Body” on my phone. Not only is it easy to keep track of how much water I’ve drank, it reminds me to drink by making the sound of pouring water! There are several applications out there for drinking water; Water Your Body (by Northpark) is just the one I like best. You can also set reminders on your Outlook or phone if you don’t have an app phone.
  • Keep a Brita or PUR pitcher on your desk, in your break room, and in your fridge. You can also buy filtrated water bottles to carry with you throughout the day. We ladies in ACAC Operations have a Brita in our office and in the break room, plus at home. You have to make drinking water convenient.
  • You can drink filtered, spring, distilled, purified water, and a little bit of herbal tea. Caffeine prevents water from traveling in your body so it is definitely out. Sodas and flavored waters don’t count because the point in drinking water is to cleanse your body of junk, not add more to it. Room temperature or chilled, drink what you like best.
  • Soak your favorite fruits in water and the essence of the fruit will flavor the water.
  • Have another glass of water before you go to bed. It helps your body replenish while you sleep.
Lastly, whenever you drink water, remember this Scripture, “For with you is the fountain of life;” (Ps. 36:9). Think of Jesus, our living water. Picture the water washing away impurities, “On that day a fountain will be opened ... to cleanse them from sin and impurity.” (Zech. 13:1).

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Latest ACAC Blog Post

Treasures for Healthy Living

Don't you love how we humans try to change God's designs and then wonder why things aren't working in our lives? Not to single anyone out, I'm just as guilty. I can see God shaking His head after I've tried to do things my way (yet again) and thinking, "That Kathy sure has a hard time getting it." There comes a time in all our lives when we finally throw our hands up and say, "Okay, God. I surrender." I ask, have you done this with your health yet? Do you realize that one of God's plans for us is to be healthy, for you to be healthy? Created in His image, He loves you, He loves me, and He wants us to be well. He has given us everything we need not just on the earth, but in His Word to live long and healthy lives. "My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you peace and prosperity" (Proverbs 3:1-2, NIV).

I'm taking the ACAC-U class Treasures of Healthy Living. Named after the book, we are taken through Scripture and learning about God's design for healthy living. Being healthy isn't just about the foods we're eating. Being healthy isn't just about how much exercise we're getting (or not getting). Healthy living encompasses our physical, emotional, and spiritual health, and God's Word tells us this. 1 Thessalonians 5:23 reads, "May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through, and may your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ."

Our owner's manual for living healthy is the Bible and it is my belief that to live healthy is to live in obedience. It's true that God will sometimes bring illness upon us or upon our family members for reasons of teaching obedience or to bring us home, but how often has our lack of self-discipline or ignorance in matters pertaining to our health had dire consequences? What great things can be done for His Kingdom if we were to overcome our lack of discipline in matters pertaining to our health? Dear Readers, I'm in this with you. I struggle just as much as I know many of you do. There is a quote from the Treasures book that I've read over and over: "There will be a day when our health testimony will be one of the tools God uses to draw all men unto Him."

My prayer is that I may stay committed to this class and that I may stay on top of the homework, but not just for me or to just get it done. I pray that I would truly learn what His Word says about living healthy so that I can not only apply it to my own life, but share it with you so that you may apply it to your life. I pray we would not follow culture and man in our habits, but that we would seek knowledge, God's knowledge, that will in turn be used as a tool to bring the lost to Christ. You may not know me, or maybe you know me and we're just not that tight, but please know that with all my heart, I want to encourage you for God's glory to be Healthy for Christ.

ACAC's blog can be read at here.

Friday, May 25, 2012

I Survived My Detox!

I actually made it all seven days!  I haven't been able to get past day 2 in several years so I'm pretty excited about this!  It's been a very busy week for me, hence the lack in posts throughout the detox.  I learned a lot of things about myself and my habits, though, and I hope by sharing them they help you, too.

The biggest thing I noticed was the food routines in my life.  For certain places I frequent, there is almost always a food place I unconsciously stop at.  Example, my doctor's office is near three different fast food places.  Out of habit, I stop at one of them whenever I leave his office and head to work.  The Target store I shop at has a Starbucks and I almost always stop there to get a drink before shopping for what I need.  While I was detoxing, I couldn't make those stops and it was so strange, like I was out of my comfort zone.  I was literally uncomfortable because these are things I always do, part of my routine and suddenly I had to change that routine.  I kind of felt like Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man, but you know, my sisters have always accused me of being a control freak... :)  It made me recognize that I eat more junk out and about then I realized and so I want to challenge you to pay attention to the food places you always have to stop at.  Do you really have to or is it just part of your routine?

The second thing for me was the energy levels.  Okay, I'm not ready to run a marathon or anything, but a substantial burst of energy was where it hasn't been in awhile.  By 2pm, I'm normally at my desk yawning like a grizzly bear ready for hibernation and it typically doesn't stop until I go to bed.  Being fatigued all the time is so hard, I can't even tell you.  It effects every area of my life.  I noticed on Day 5, I didn't yawn until about 4:45pm.  On days 6 & 7, no yawning until bedtime.  That was such a blessing to me.  I felt more focused at work and everything.

Last little thoughts:
  • Although the thought came into my head a million times last night to just break the detox, I stayed strong.  Even if no one else knew, I would know and be disappointed in me.
  • Because of that, and having the strength to stick with it, I praised God on my knees this morning for helping me this week and being my strength.
  • I've been reminded how much I love pulling out the cookbooks and the spices and preparing delicious, fresh meals. 
  • I learned my cat likes avocado. 
  • I learned my cat isn't into any other vegetable.
  • I lost a couple of pounds.
So that's about it.  Not much more to say so this is the end of my Detox Diary.  I hope you learned some things about eating healthier!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Detox - Days 2 & 3

I've made it through 3 days of detoxing now.  Hard to believe because the last time I tried to do this (about a year ago), I didn't even make it one day, haha!  I truly believe I'm doing this for Christ, and I know I'm doing this only with Christ.  I pray to Him before each meal, thank Him for creating these healthy foods for us, and ask for strength to do this.  As crazy as it might sound, on the morning of day 2 as I was preparing my lemon water, I was overcome by a strong smell of toast.  No clue where it came from as I live alone and haven't used my toaster in weeks, but it was there.  A little bit of the dark side trying to temp me, or just my sugar/chemical deprived mind playing tricks on  me?  Who knows...  Either way, I just keep praying for strength and thanking God for the good food.

Both days, I was craving other foods and felt hungry a lot even though I ate about 4-5 times each day.  I had no appetite for the many herbal teas in my pantry so I stuck to drinking ice-cold water.  This doesn't normally happen.  I love tea and attribute this to the meds I take for my disease.  They take my appetite away a lot, but I found in these couple of days that eating good foods has my body acting as it should.  Why is eating more food good for me?  Because I lost 10 pounds in the first two months I was on these meds because I had no appetite.  (As a side note, most diets have you restricting calories - not eating enough - which causes your body to switch into "fat-storage" mode, but that's for another day/post.)

I do feel like a hypocrite each time I have to take my meds.  I'm cleaning out my body from chemicals and toxins and then putting the meds in.  Kind of defeats the purpose, but my body is already used to the chemicals.  Hmmm... how to explain?  If you are not taking vitamins before you start a detox, you shouldn't start taking them during the detox.  If you are taking vitamins daily, keep taking them during a detox.  That's the rule so I use it when I take my meds.

I've felt more tired than normal and worried for about a second if maybe I should have talked with my doctor before detoxing.  Why that worry didn't last was because I'm eating better than I ever eat and eating more than I normally eat.  This isn't a "starve yourself" detox.  It's a healthy detox.  I still recommend readers to see their doctors before doing something so drastic as a 7-day detox.  As I've been certified in nutrition and know what things to look for, to avoid, etc, I'm confident that when I see my doc this week (on day 5), he'll be fine with my 7-days of eating raw.

New things for the week:  I'm excited to share that I had my first shot of wheatgrass and made my first green smoothie.  I've been eating foods (and food combinations) that I never thought to eat before.  I'm researching recipes, using the healthy cookbook and spices my sis sent me, and just really feel good about doing this.  I see food differently and I'm not sure why, but I'm using parts of fruits and veggies I never thought I would...ever!  Like fruit and veggie leaves that I used to just throw away.  You've got to research them first, however, because some tops or leaves may be bad for you, but I believe God is giving me a greater appreciation for the foods He created for us.

Thanks for reading and I'll keep you posted!

Friday, May 18, 2012

My Detox Diary

I was recently diagnosed with an autoimmune disease and also graduated college.  Because of the disease, I'm always fatigued.  I was hoping to feel better with school being over, but am just as sluggish.  When I began researching autoimmune diseases, I've found that although they are not curable, many people have changed their diet and are living healthy active lives in spite of the disease.  I knew once finals were over that I needed to make a change.  I could no longer keep putting junk into my body, foregoing all I learned years before when I got my nutrition certification.  I gave up soda this week (you can read about my soda research here).  Five days soda-free, today I started a detox.

Some hear "detox" and think "starve yourself with a liquid diet."  Some hear "detox" and just think "?????"  The way I detox is to basically go raw for 7 days.  I start my mornings off with a warm 8-ounce glass of water with fresh lemon juice squeezed in.  This gets your gall bladder working (the gall bladder aids the liver in fat digestion).  Then I eat fruits and veggies (mostly veggies) with no condiments, maybe a little bit of lean protein, and drinks lots of water.  I eliminate caffeine for the 7 days, switching to herbal teas, and use a lot of spices and herbs in my food.  A small amount of olive oil can be used, but I try to stay clear of that, as well.

It can be tough those first few days.  A typical detox schedule for me is:
  • Day 1 - not too difficult so long as I keep shoving something in my mouth... might have caffeine headache and slight case of crankiness.
  • Days 2 & 3 - cranky as all get out!!  Irritable and dreaming about chocolate.  Did I mention cranky?
  • Come Day 4, my cat usually comes out of hiding and I start feeling like a human again. 
  • Days 5, 6, &7 - I begin noticing an increase in energy, may have lost a few pounds, and may be sleeping better. 
When I detox, I stay away from any strenuous exercise, but may go for a walk or do some stretching exercises.  I put it on my calendar so I'm not making all kinds of crazy plans.  Added stress is not good during a detox.  My advice is to wait if you have too much going on, like I waited for school to be finished.

Today is Day 1.  I'll keep you posted!