Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Power of Encouragement




To encourage, is to inspire, to stimulate, to promote, says Webster. I have often asked, in prayer, for the Lord to make me an encourager. But I don't think I really grasped what it meant, until now. Not until someone showed me--inspired me, stimulated me, promoted me. They looked for the good in me, the positive potential for greatness, that I did not, nor have I ever seen before. They brought it to light and promoted me to strive for more. They showed me a goal and inspired me to reach for it. They shared stories with me of great and mighty deeds God has done through them in their own personal prayer life and stimulated me to deepen the intensity of my communication with God. They promoted me by pointing out how God wanted to use me in ways I never dreamed, and nudged me when he actually did--saying, "See, what did I tell you?"

Let me take a moment, if I may, to inspire you. God is waiting, in suspense, for you to discover the potential that He has put in you. He knows it is there, because He put it there. It may be buried underneath feelings of inferiority and self-doubt, but it's there. If you could see what He sees when He looks at you, and what you could be--you'd spread your wings and soar. It takes faith to push past the layers of self-degradation. Faith in God first, then faith in yourself.

Let me promote you to prepare yourself for God to have His way with you. What are your spiritual goals? Sit down and write out a list of areas where you would like to see progress in--is it your prayer life? Is it a greater faith? Is it for power and anointing of the Holy Ghost to sing or testify?  Teach, lead, or step out in a brand new area of ministry? Seek God's face for His direction, soak it in prayer, then stand back and give Him a chance to work.

Let me stimulate you: when He sees a heart and a life that is open, yielded, and truly desiring to break out of its ordinary condition, He will be delighted. He will fill it to overflowing with purpose, passion, and fruitfulness.

Look around--do you see anyone who could use a little encouragement? Go ahead--inspire, promote, stimulate!



Tuesday, July 1, 2014

A Typical Week of Trim Healthy Mama Meals (southern style)

In continuation with my previous posts about Trim Healthy Mama, I am going to break it on down to what it's like on a day-to-day basis (for me). I'm a southern girl, and love some southern food. We also like Tex-Mex and Italian. Tex-Mex is probably the easiest types of meals to convert over. You don't have to do a lot changing up, just nix the flour/corn tortillas and replace with Joseph's pita or lavash bread. So you'll see a lot of that in this list.

Let's start with breakfast:
  • Eggs, eggs, eggs. Eggs boiled, eggs fried (in butter or coconut oil). Egg casserole, omelets, etc. Load on the cheese, the sausage, the turkey bacon. Anything with whole eggs are "S". 
  • Smoothies. The book has some very tasty smoothy recipes, and there are also tons of recipes out on the WWW. They consist of ice and whey protein as your base, with almond milk, berries, chocolate, peanut butter, and even coffee (think McDonald's frappe) combined to your preferences. Yum! The type of meal depends on what you put in it.
  • Trim Healthy Pancakes. These are made by grinding up oatmeal into a flour, adding a few more ingredients into the blender, and cooking with a little butter. I eat them with either SF syrup or some blueberries that have been stewed down with a little water and Truvia. These are "E". 
  • There are other options like Cottage Berry Whip and Ricotta Cream Parfait, which are recipes from the book. They are cold, ice-cream like dishes that are great for hot summer mornings.
  • Muffin In A Mug: Also a recipe out of the book. This recipe is on my THM Pinterest board. It's made with almond and coconut flour, truvia, an egg, and baking powder (along with your flavoring of choice).
Onto lunch:
  • When I can afford it, I buy salmon in the can. Red salmon, not pink (this is greatly encouraged in the book). I brown it with a little butter in a skillet and eat it on a salad with a baked sweet potato on the side. I use a light vinaigrette dressing on the salad and put just a teaspoon of butter with some cinnamon on the potato. Very slimming meal. If you eat this 2 - 3 times a week, you will have speedy weight loss. 
  • Green salads with all your favorite toppings and ranch dressing. Add in some diced chicken breast with full fat Ranch--"S". Or use a lower-fat, higher-carb dressing, go light on the cheese, and you've got an "E".
  • Sandwiches--oh, my. Joseph's pita or lavash breads are a great substitute and make great sandwiches/wraps. 
  • Tuna salad, Egg salad, chicken salad. Either on a Joseph's bread or with some celery sticks. 
Supper: A Few of Our Favorites
  •  Cream Cheese Chicken Enchiladas. "S". Throw some chicken breasts in the crock pot in the morning with a little bit of butter and fajita/taco seasonings. By suppertime, they will be fall-apart tender. Drain off some of the broth and add a block of 1/3 LF cream cheese and a can of Rotel or Salsa (be careful that your salsa does not contain corn).  Save some of the cream cheese mixture and set aside. Using your Lavash bread like tortillas, spoon the mixture onto the lavash and roll up, placing in a casserole dish. Spread remaining mixture you put aside on top and bake until bubbly. Serve with green breans, squash, or another non-starchy veggie. 
  • Chicken Alfredo: "E". The key here is to find a good alfredo sauce that has 3 grams or less of fat per serving. I can't remember the brand, but there is one at Wal-Mart that works. Cook up a box of Dreamfield's pasta (from WM) and you have Chicken Alfredo! I consider this an "E" because of the pasta, although it is low-crab, it's still pasta! Since you've got your "E" going on, have a starchy veggie with it--peas, butterbeans, etc.
  • Cheesy Broccoli Casserole with Hot Wings and Cabbage. "S". You make the casserole by pouring a bag of frozen broccoli into a casserole dish, adding one block of chopped cream cheese, chopped green onions, bacon bits, and whatever other cheese you desire. Bake until hot, stir, cover with tin foil, and bake again until bubbly. My, my, my! Tastes just like a loaded potato! Cook your hot wings however you like 'em, and cook up a pot of cabbage. Don't add sugar to the cabbage--this would mess up your "S" flow :). 
  • Victory Garden Casserole: "S"-- This is kind of like hamburger helper, de-carby-fied. I brown 3 lbs of ground beef (or ground deer when I have it on hand), sautee onions and bell pepper, add a can of Rotel or spaghetti sauce and about 1/2 head of cooked cabbage. The cabbage is your pasta sub and it is delicious! You're gonna love it.
  • Brown Rice Stir-Fry: "E"-- Cook up your favorite stir-fry with a lean meat, and serve with brown rice. Only a 1/4 cup of brown rice per serving at first, and as you start losing you can add in a little more, but no more than 3/4 cup per meal. You can have any starchy veggie alongside this. 
Well, I hope this gives you an idea of what the food is like. There are also lots of snack and dessert options, but I think I will save that for another post! 



Monday, June 30, 2014

Breaking Down THM {Things You Should Know Before You Buy The Book}




I am, in the 10th month of my journey to becoming a Trim Healthy Mama. I am 52 lbs lighter and 3 sizes smaller than I was this time last year. While I am very, very proud of these numbers, the fact that I still have some 30 lbs to go lends a certain amount of restraint to my celebration. And lest I exult in my accomplishments, prematurely, I am often reminded (by well-meaning complimenters) that I "sure am looking good". Which, in Swahili means, "compared to what you used to be, you look a hundred times better, but you've got a long ways to go before you're there, sista, so keep on truckin'!" So, truck, I shall! And, I want everyone who has unwanted pounds to shed, to do it with me, my way!

Which brings me to this blog post. I sometimes share my weight loss progress with my friends on Facebook, and over the past week, have received 2 - 3 PMs asking for more info on the plan. Of course, my first response usually is, "Buy the book", which is usually followed with "but before you buy the book". Because I realize that not everyone has $45.00 to spare, especially on something they are not 100% sure is going to be doable for them.

So, here are a few things you should know before you make that purchase:

  • You will have to say goodbye to sugar. Which means, if you like sweet things, there will be a process of trial and error before you find a sweetener substitute you are happy with. I started with Stevia--didn't love it, but lived with it--until I tried Truvia. Wall-a! So much better! I was happy with that for a while, but now I am using Swerve, which is even better (IMO). You can order a free sample here (just pay $1 for s&h).
  • Say goodbye to corn, white rice, white flour, white pastas, and white potatoes. What? Yes, I know that's like every single staple of our southern style of cooking and eating, but....that's also why we're all obese and riddled with diabetes by the age of 30.
  • You will learn to make delicious dishes by replacing the above-mentioned items with brown rice, coconut and almond flours, healthy pastas, and sweet potatoes.
  • Say "Hello!" to butter and coconut oil. Real butter, that is. I buy LuAnna brand coconut oil from Wal-Mart. It's relatively inexpensive and doesn't have the strong flavor that organic coconut oil is said to have. These will replace the vegetable and canola oils that you are going to give up :). 
  • Are you a cow's milk lover? You will replace this with almond milk (unsweetened) or coconut milk. I use Almond Breeze from Wal-Mart. I don't like to drink it straight, but use it to make delicious, slimming smoothies, cheesecakes, and puddings. 
As you can see, the plan does require a lot of change. A lot of trying new things, and letting go of those families "comfort foods". But if nothing ever changes, then nothing. ever. changes.  Kwim? It's baby steps. Do not try to jump in this thing with both feet in one day. Slowly introduce new things into your diet. Experiment with recipes from Pinterest and their FB page. It IS doable. Don't be intimidated by it.

Onto a few more points you should be familiar with:
  • You will have to learn some rules and some lingo. Your basically will eat two types of meals, the "S" and the "E". Each meal is based around protein (meat). 
  • "S" meal--S stands for "satisfying" and refers to a meal that is higher in fat, lower in carbs. Because fat is satisfying, right? When I say fats, I mean butter, cheese, mayo, sour cream, cream cheese, etc. Example: You could choose a fatty meat like steak and pair it with a cheesy broccoli casserole (delicious!) and some green beans. High in fat, low in carbs. 
  • "E" meal--E stands for "energizing" and refers to a meal that is slightly higher in carbs (good carbs), but lower in fat (think of a see-saw). Choose a lean meat, say a grilled chicken breast, and pair it with a sweet potato with a teaspoon or so of real butter on it, some cinnamon and salt sprinkled on, with a side salad topped with a low-fat vinaigrette dressing. OR diced chicken breast in some red beans and brown rice (beans are considered a carb, not a protein). 
To be perfectly honest:
  • They are going to introduce you to some pretty strange-sounding stuff in the book. Glucomannon,  konjac noodles, whey protein, who has ever heard of this stuff? It's OK, you can still apply the concepts without going full-fledged with all that. Although it is helpful.
  • The recipes are strange. Especially to people in southwestern Alabama and southeastern Mississippi. But, modify and roll with it. Be creative and make it work. If you want it bad enough.
So, is that clear as mud? I hope this gives you an idea how you will be cooking and eating on this plan. Please, please, do not feel overwhelmed. It takes little baby steps at a time, but once you get going, you will take off, I promise ya! The pounds will melt off so fast you will be amazed! Go ahead, take the plunge! 

Have questions? I'd love to answer them! Fire away!