All posts by Love Ann Joy

Role Call: A Mother’s Love

As the day to celebrate and honor mom approaches, I couldn’t help but think about motherhood and how it has changed my life. I must admit, as a child and young adult I didn’t really appreciate the magnitude of my mom’s role in my life. It wasn’t until I had children of my own that I fully understood the reason for the many “no’s” and “not now’s” I got growing up.

While I have always loved my mom and at an early age I learned to honor her (Ephesians 6:1-3), my depth of love and appreciation for her didn’t manifest until I had children of my own and she was there and is still there any time we need her. Raising daughters of my own has taught me a few things: 1) selflessness, 2) discipline is necessary, 3) lead by example and 4) pass on the wisdom learned from your mistakes to your children.

Selfless Nurturer
Over the years, I have learned that I need to re-define love. The foundation of true love is selflessness. This has proven to be difficult for me to apply to those who hurt me. Blessing and praying for those who hurt me (Luke 6:27-28) is far from how I originally defined love. However, raising daughters showed me how selfless love looks. It introduced me to how to truly love.

Related Post: The Ultimate Payback:  Lesson in Selflessness

As many mother’s know, motherhood is a thankless job. But, interestingly enough….we don’t require thanks. It gives me great joy and pleasure to watch my daughters grow into young ladies. Through the tantrums, rebellion and “I hate you’s”, I still love my daughters. I don’t believe there is anything they could do to stop my love for them. Much like how our Heavenly Father loves us….unconditionally.

I love the role of nurturing my daughters. Feeding them emotionally and spiritually is a required part of being mom. They receive so many messages from their environment (friends, teachers, and others) I’m sure it is difficult for them to determine which way is right…which way is right for them. So establishing Christian principles…introducing my girls to the Lord was not an option for our house. With every rejection, heartbreak and disappointment I want my girls to know: 1) they are loved, 2) they can do all things through Christ which strengthens them (Philippians 4:13) and 3) while challenges are an inevitable part of living, weeping may endure for a night but joy comes in the morning light (Psalm 30:5). I encourage them to pursue the dreams that God has placed in their heart (Psalm 37:4-6) and to be prepared for the obstacles that may be placed in their way to hinder them. And most importantly, test all things (I Thessalonians 5:21). God’s Word is the only authority and to be mindful of things that don’t align with His word. Looking at how my mother is still nurturing me, my brothers, my sisters and her grandkids, I look forward to my nurturing role being lifelong.

Disciplinary
As my daughters navigate their way through adulthood, there are many times along the journey that they may lose their way. As teens, it is my job to discipline them. While it is the hardest thing to do, it is also necessary. Just looking back on my teenage years, gives me an understanding of what teenagers and their parents endure. I believe it was during my teenage years that I most felt the disciplinary hand of my mom. I guess it is a rite of passage for teenagers. According to Psychology Today, the teenage years are

“considered the transitional stage from childhood to adulthood. However, the physical and psychological changes that occur in adolescence can start earlier, during the preteen or “tween” years (ages 9-12). Adolescence can be a time of both disorientation and discovery. The transitional period can bring up issues of independence and self-identity. Sometimes adolescents may be experimenting with drugs and alcohol or sexuality. During this time, peer groups and external appearance tend to increase in importance.”

The teenage years can be the most difficult times in families as moms and dads try to stay firm in instilling respect for others, especially their elders as well as for established rules and laws.

Teacher
Not only did I have to help my girls with their Algebra and Trigonometry, I also try to lead by example. If I want my girls to have principles and stand by them then I must do the same. The same goes for rules. If I want them to follow established rules I need to do the same. Believe me they are watching and taking notes. I remember driving above the speed limit and my oldest daughter was in the front seat reading the speed limit every time we passed the sign. As I said….they are watching.

“Teach your children to choose the right path, and when they are older, they will remain upon it.” Proverbs 22:6

Adviser
Anytime I can insert a “lessons learned” session with my girls I do so. Along the way I have made enough mistakes to create a “mini-series” and I don’t want it to be all for naught. I pray that my girls don’t make the same mistakes I made so as they get older and experience challenges, trials and tribulations I try to insert the wisdom I learned through “hard knocks.”

This thing called motherhood has been the most challenging but joyful part of my life. With the many roles mom play in their children’s life it is only appropriate that they are celebrated….honored.

So on this mother’s day, don’t hesitate to let your mom know how much she means to you….her job may be joyous but it is not easy.

“Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate (Proverbs 31:31)

References:
http://www.psychologytoday.com/basics/adolescence

I Can’t Maintain My Weight Loss! What’s the Deal?

Please tell me I’m not the only one…every year I bring in the New Year with the motivation and discipline of 10 armies. By the time February rolls around I have established a new eating and workout routine in which I typically stick with for 1-3 months so when spring arrives I am eager to feel the warm breeze whisk my “2 sizes smaller spring dress” in the wind. I am committed. I am disciplined. And, I am seeing results. So why can’t I maintain my weight loss?

Well, life happens. You know……stress at the job, at home, with my friends or extended family. Yeah…life. Without fail something happens to test my resolve. And for the past 10 years I have failed miserably at staying on course until I achieved my desired size and weight. Quite honestly, I am not so enamored with how much I weigh but more so my dimensions (inches/size).

In the past 10 years, I have tried at least 5 diets. Let’s see, I have tried Atkins, Medifast, Weight Watchers, the Lemonade diet and now I am sold on the Daniel Plan. In conjunction with my diets I have tried Tae-Bo Original, Billy Blank Bootcamp, Jillian Michaels Ripped in 30, Insanity, Hip Hob Abs and Cathe Friedrich Low Impact Series workout plans.

As you can see, I have inundated my body with the whole gamut of diets. And through it all, I discovered that my problem wasn’t that I couldn’t lose the weight. With every single diet and exercise plan I lost weight. I lost the most weight with Atkins but coming in close second is the Daniel’s Plan (veggie juice, steamed veggies and fish/chicken). Furthermore, with the Daniel’s Plan I felt great.

Since I am not taking any medicine nor do I have any illness that would inhibit weight loss, I have come to understand that for me, losing weight is purely a numbers game. 3500 calories equal a pound. So, if I eat 2000 calories a day but only burn 1850 calories per day because of my sedentary lifestyle then I will ultimately gain about a pound a month (12 pounds a year).

For years, I basically “followed the pack.” Whatever the newest diet or exercise craze, I followed. It wasn’t until my body started to rebel against the terrible way in which I had been treating it that I honestly put thought into my health. I physically wasn’t feeling well so I was forced to consider my health and ways to improve it. After a one on one with my doctor and some time for meditation, I discovered three reasons why I couldn’t maintain my weight loss.

1. I didn’t honestly consider my present circumstances
In other words, I set myself up for failure. For example, when I decided to follow the Atkins or Medifast diet, I didn’t have a long term plan on how I would implement it. I just jumped right in. Neither Atkins or Medifast are lifestyle eating plans. So, from day one I should have mapped out 1) how I would enter and exit the diet, 2) what my short term and long term goals were and 3) what my transition would look like for each milestone.

Furthermore, I should have taken notes on how my body was reacting to the diet. I was keeping track of how much weight and inches I lost but not how my health was reacting to it such as blood pressure and cholesterol. I recall when I was doing the lemonade diet, after 3 days I had to stop because I began to have bad heart palpitations. When I googled “heart palpitation and lemonade diet” I discovered that I lacked potassium which was important. So, while I was losing weight I was getting sick by it.

Today I try to be honest with myself and my level of self-control and self-discipline. I have come to learn that eating is not necessarily my biggest problem…meaning I don’t eat too much over my Basic Metabolic Rate * on a daily basis.  The foods I eat on most occasions are fruits, vegetables, fish, chicken or turkey.  In fact, I have acquired a taste for whole foods like fruits and vegetables. I prefer to juice my veggies in the morning and include veggies in every meal. There is a noticeable difference in the way I feel throughout the day when I begin my day this way.  I am conscientious of days in which I can’t get a veggie juice in the morning and try to fit it in as either a snack or a meal on that day.

Related Post:  Juicing:  My Way

I have also come to the realization that when I desire to eat a whole pumpkin or sweet potato pie it is because I am going through  emotional distress and I shouldn’t rely on food but God to pull me through it. I have been an emotional eater for so long that it is hard to break the habit but slowly but surely I will overcome. Now, when I get distressed and reach for sweets, I try to remember to get a cup of hot lemon water and sit a moment reading the bible or just praying. It works and with time it will become my norm.  This realization has been such a blessing.  Sometimes you may think everything is okay but your actions prove otherwise.  So, when I have this unusual appetite for lots of sweets, I take a moment to consider what is going on in my life.

2. I lacked conviction
When I began each new strategy to losing weight, I typically do so with the end goal of losing weight. But why? So I could look good in my clothes? Well that wasn’t enough motivation for me to stick with the diet so maybe I needed something deeper to have a true conviction. While I was overweight, but some accounts obese, I was happy. I am happy. Since changing your eating and exercising plan can be a big change in your life, how do you reconcile the need to take so much time out of your day exercising and planning meals when you are happy.

I think in my mind, I loved my life like it was (sorta’) so why change. I know I wanted to look like I did in my youth but not bad enough to make the short and long term changes it took to get there. I suffered from a lack of conviction. It wasn’t until those moments with my doctor and myself that the words of I Corinthians 6:19-20 truly entered my heart:

“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; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”

Now I am truly convicted to taking care of this temple. It has not happened overnight and I don’t expect it too. I plan to continue to strive to eat mainly whole foods, preferably organic with chicken, turkey and fish (Daniel’s Plan). Before the words of Corinthians 6:19 truly entered my heart, my body was trying to speak the truth to me as well. I just wasn’t listening.

3. I completely stop exercising
I know…shame on me. I actually love exercising….not the elliptical, exercise bike type of exercising. I actually get enjoyment out of High Intensity Interval training (HIIT) and weight lifting. I love the results I get from those types of exercises but I just need to determine a schedule that I can adhere to and stick with it. I always start out with these lofty goals like I am going to exercise everyday for 2 hours. Yeah, I never find those 2 hours so I let days and days go by. Now, anytime I have time to watch television for more than 30 minutes I get up and spend that time exercising. I figure eventually I will acquire a pattern/habit and my body will be in the shape God intended it to be.
I can’t say the past 10 years have been a waste, I have learned a lot about myself, physically, emotionally and spiritually. And, it is coming to those truths that is allowing me to break free from unhealthy habits.

Resources:
Basal Metabolic Rate Calculator (BMR)
Fitness Pal BMR Calculator:

BMR is the amount of calories burned if sedentary all day.

Review: 10 Juice Recipes

This week, I tried 10 new juice recipes.  I prefer to juice vegetables that I would eat steamed or boiled but this review I tried something new.  I added the following vegetables to my juice plan:  beets, cabbage (red and white), cauliflower, and Papaya.  And, I am happy to report that I was pleasantly surprised at how many of the juices I liked.  In fact, I plan to rotate all of these juices into my monthly juicing plan.

My grocery bill for the fruits and vegetables alone was more than $100 this week but keep in mind that I still have plenty of fruits and vegetables left over.  I picked 5 recipes from Drew Canole’s book and 5 recipes from Juicing for Health (see my article on Juicing vs Blending for the link to these books).  I liked the Juicing for Health book the most because 1) they named the juice after its health benefit, 2) nutrition facts were included and 3) there were details about the health benefit of the juice.   One caveat about the Juicing for Health book, I have the Breville Multi-Speed juicer and the amount of juice I yield from the recipe was more than was indicated in the book.  So, going forward I will be using half of the ingredients for the recipes in the Juicing for Health book.

Here are the recipes and ingredients:

Juice Name Ingredients Nutrition Facts
Anti Acne Juice Anti-Acne Miracle Skin
  • 6 Carrots
  • ½ Green Bell Pepper
Not Provided
Get Things Moving Get Things Moving (constipation relief)
  • 8 Large Carrots
  • 2 Kiwis
  • ½ Lemon
  • 1 Green Apple
  • 1 Large Beet with greens
  • ¼ cup Spinach
  • Serving: 16 oz
  • Calories: 137
  • Fat: 1g
  • Sugar: 24g
  • Protein: 4g
  • Carbs: 42g
Flu Fighter Flu Fighter
  • 1 Medium Carrot
  • 1 Small McIntosh Apple (Red)
  • 2 cups Chopped Spinach
  • ½ inch Ginger
  • ½ Cucumber
  • Serving: 12 oz
  • Calories: 49
  • Fat: 0
  • Sugar: 8g
  • Protein: 2g
  • Carbs: 14g
Acid Away Acid Away
  • 2 Granny Smith Apples
  • 3 Large Celery Stalks
  • ¼ head white cabbage
  • 1 small cucumber
  • 1 cup chopped spinach
  • ½ cup Parsley
  • ½ inch Ginger

 

  • Serving: 16 oz
  • Calories: 80
  • Fat: 1g
  • Sugar: 15g
  • Protein: 3g
  • Carbs: 25g
 Recharge Your Alkaline Recharge Your Alkaline Batter
  • Handful of Red Cabbage
  • 1 Cucumber
  • Handful of Spinach
  • 1 Lemon
Not Provided
 Body Purifier Body Purifier (Flush toxins)
  • 2 Carrots
  • 1 Cucumber
  • ½ Cauliflower
  • ½ Beet
Not Provided
 Simply Green Machine Simply Green Machine
  • 1 cup Spinach
  • 2 cup Kale
  • 2 cup Parsley
  • 1 Cucumber
  • 3 Celery Stalks
Not Provided
 Heaven Sent Heaven Sent
  • 1 cup Spinach
  • ½ Cucumber
  • 2 Stalks of Celery including leaves
  • 3 Carrots
  • ½ Apple
Not Provided
 Healthful Heart Ginger Healthful Heart Ginger
  • 1 Green Apple
  • 1 Pear
  • ½ Papaya
  • 2 Large Celery Stalks
  • 2 cups chopped spinach
  • 1 cup Parsley
  • 2 inch Ginger
  • 1 small cucumber
  • Serving: 16 oz
  • Calories: 95
  • Fat: 1g
  • Sugar: 16g
  • Protein: 3g
  • Carbs: 29g

Victory: The Plan for Me and You

Like many who live in the DC-Maryland-Virginia (DMV) area, I awake before the break of day to prepare for work. Typically, my television is tuned to the local news channel hoping that the weather forecast will be mild and sunny. But by the time I get into my car to head to work I’ve not only received the weather forecast, I’ve also received numerous messages of despair and dysfunction through the News. It’s discouraging and sometimes makes me afraid for the future. Where is the peace…the love…the unity?

So to overcome this fear and despair before it can convict my spirit, I like to take in large doses of encouragement. When I get into my car I immediately tune to my favorite radio station for praise and worship, Praise 104.1. Without fail, the song by Donnie McClurkin, We are Victorious, not only gets me inspired but it helps me put the day in perspective. After hearing it this morning, I put pen to paper to remind me and you that we are Victors. No matter what surrounds us, we will be victorious.

In my life, there have been three things that have impeded my victory: quitting, fear and not believing. When I searched the bible to find out what God’s word says about these things, I was empowered, strengthened and encouraged to discover that I am NOT a victim….loser….or defeated. Victory is God’s plan for me and you.

Quitting

What is the saying? When the going gets tough the tough gets going. Well, I’ve always interpreted that saying to mean that when things get hard it is okay to abandon ship. God’s word declares the opposite of how I interpreted that saying. Whether it be an illness/sickness or a closed door to a relationship or job (rejection), God’s word says that we are “more than conquerors”, “God will deliver us out of all our afflictions”, and if we will just wait patiently and not quit, “He will renew our strength.” We were not designed to lose this battle.  Victory is God’s plan for you and me.

The righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all (Psalm 34:19 NIV)

…but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint (Isaiah 40:31)

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do all this through him who gives me strength (Philippians 4:12-13 NIV)

You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world (I John 4:4)

No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it. (I Corinthian 10:13)

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?… No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us (Romans 8:35,37 NIV)

Fear

If you watch the television long enough, it is easy to reach a level of despair and fear for the future. But I tell myself that the “mess” this world has gotten itself into…we have gotten ourselves into…is nothing for my God. He can move mountains. He has parted seas, made the blind see and the lame walk. So, no worries! We are victorious! And, His Word confirms it.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4: 6-7).

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. (2 Timothy 1:7 NIV).

For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba,Father.”  The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. (Romans 8: 14-17)

If God is for us who could be against us (Romans 8:28)

I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, `Go, throw yourself into the sea,` and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him (Mark 11:23 NIV).

Not Believing in God and His Word

I believe part of my problem stemmed from me not truly believing that God wanted the best for me. Better yet, that I deserved the best from God. But I have learned that I am redeemed through the sacrifice of my Savior Jesus Christ and therefore I am heir to the many promises of God. I am of no help to anyone when I go around defeated. Taking a moment to allow the truth of who I really am in Christ is critical to me believing that I am worthy of God’s goodness…worthy of being an heir. This truth is taking awhile to cement to my being. I have to constantly remind myself that I am redeemed and that if God is for me who can be against me. And, most importantly God has plans to prosper me. I am victorious….we are victorious!

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit (Romans 8:1)

Eyes have not seen, nor ears heard neither have entered the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him (I Corinthians 2:9)

We live by faith, not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7 NIV).

Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. So let`s do it- full of belief, confident that we`re presentable inside and out. Let`s keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going. He always keeps his word (Hebrews 10: 22-23).

The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And, if children, then heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. (Romans 8:16-17)

But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently (Romans8: 24-25)

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28).

Knowing God’s truth has strengthened my resolve…my desire to live in the fullness of what God has for me. I declare that I accept the depth of God’s love for me and thus I will live for Him. I am victorious…we are victorious!

Juicing vs Blending (Smoothies)

What is Juicing?
Juicing is the extraction of the liquid nutrition from vegetables and fruits through a masticating or centrifugal process. The centrifugal process extracts juice using small blades that spin at high speeds while the fruits and vegetables are push down the chute of the juicer. The juice is separated from the fiber. Some avid juicers report that they use the left over fiber in soups and muffins. Others discard the fiber that is left in the wastebasket of the Juicer. The masticating process is a slower juicing process in which fruits and vegetables are crushed and the juices are squeezed out. Fruits and vegetables are exposed to less heat in the masticating process.

 

What is Blending?
With blending, fruits and vegetables are pureed. Blending uses the whole fruit or vegetable. Nothing is discarded.

Why All the Craze?
Well there are several reasons for this juicing and smoothie rave. I was thoroughly convinced that juicing was the key to better health for me after hearing Joe Cross story. If you haven’t read the book or saw the video, Fat Sick and Nearly Dead, please do so when you get the chance. It was all I needed to see. And, now I have my own testimony. Beyond the incredible weight loss that occurs, the improvement in your health is priceless. I have the results of my blood work to prove it. What’s key is that you are disciplined. With just one juice a day I saw an improvement in my health and weight loss.

Which One is Better For You:  Juicing vs Blending?
You receive nutrients from both options. There seems to be a disagreement in the juicing/blending community on which yields the most nutrients. Since blending uses the whole fruit or vegetable, some argue that you receive all of the nutrients but since juicing extracts the fiber you lose some nutrients.

I would recommend that you try both and see which one best fit your lifestyle. I have personal experience with juicing and can attest to the health benefits I experienced. Nevertheless, I like both juicing and blending. Which one I choose depends on the circumstances. For example, if I’m leaving the house and I want to avoid eating fast food while out, I make a smoothie so I will stay full (satiated) for hours.

JUICING PROS

  • In Drew Canole’s book, Juicing Recipes for Vitality and Health, he states: “Ninety-five percent of the nourishment from fruit and vegetable juice is immediately released into the blood stream because there is nothing interfering with the processing once it hits your stomach.”
  • In Drew Canole’s book, Juicing Recipes for Vitality and Health, he also states: “Vegetable juicing is always best when you’re trying to lose weight. The minerals and high-potassium content hydrate your cells and force out the sodium that causes water retention. Regularly drinking vegetable juice helps super-boost your health and remove toxins in your body. “
  •  Juicing makes it easier to get more than your recommended daily intake of fruits and veggies.
  • A 16 – 24 oz glass of juice requires a lot of veggies and/or fruit so you will more than likely get more than your daily allowance of veggies/fruits in one glass of juice.
  • Documented and proven results of improvement in health and weight loss.

JUICING CONS:

  • You lose the fiber when extracting juice so you don’t benefit from the fruits/veggies fiber.
  • Juices are not as filling as smoothies
  • Some centrifugal and masticating juicers can be quite expensive.
  • When juicing fruit you have to be mindful of sugar/glucose levels
  • You have to immediately consume your drink or store it in a sealed glass jar (mason jars) or it will begin to oxidized and may become rancid.

BLENDING (Smoothies) PROS:

  • Smoothies make it easier to get your recommended daily intake of fruits and veggies.
  • Smoothies are filling. I’m usually hungry within 2 hours after my juice. When I first started juicing, I was hungry within an hour.  However, I can go several hours between meals after having my favorite smoothie.
  • I have friends who have replaced 1-2 meals with smoothies and they appear to be losing weight.
  • Reap the health benefits of eating fruits and vegetables (Related:  “Best Fruits and Vegetables for Juicing”)

BLENDING (Smoothies) CONS:

  • You may need to have more than one smoothie to get all of your veggies and/or fruit. This could actually be a good thing. I love my strawberry/banana smoothie so two a day would be great!
  • The reportedly best blender, VitaMix, is over $500; however the Nutribullet is $100.

What are Some of the Best Blenders?

  • Vitamix CIA Professional            $500
  • Vitamix TurboBlend                     $375
  • Blendtec Designer Series             $455
  • Blendtec Total Blender                $400
  • Ninja Professional Blender        $100
  • Magic Bullet                                   $58
  • Nutribullet                                     $105
  • Oster 8 Speed Blender with Food Processor      $55
  • Oster 7 Speed Reversing Motor                           $63

I use the Oster 7 Speed Reversing Motor. I didn’t want to invest a lot of money in a blender because I don’t intend to use it frequently. The local Yogurt-Smoothie shop I sometimes frequent uses a Blendtec blender and they appear to be fast and thorough. With the Oster 7 Speed, I have to start and stop blending a couple of times because my fruit clogs the bottom and causes the motor to stop spinning. But, it is not much of an inconvenience for me because I don’t juice often.

What are Some of the Best Juicers?

  • Breville Juice Fountain Elite     $300
  • Breville Compact Juice Fountain   $100
  • Hamilton Beach Big Mouth      $50
  • Hamilton Beach Big Mouth Pro    $60
  • Cuisinart 5 Speed Juicer        $129
  • Omega Nutrition Center    $228

What are some Great Smoothie and Juicing Recipes?
As I mentioned in my Blog Post, Juicing: My Way, I basically stay on the same channel when it comes to juicing. SPOILER ALERT: I will review 10 Recipes next week, so be sure to subscribe so you won’t miss it.

Over the past year, I have accumulated quite a few recipe books. I have listed them below in ‘Recommended Reading.’ From this collection of recipes, I will pick 10 recipes to illustrate next week so Stay Tune! If you want me to review a specific recipe, be sure to let me know in the comments below. I will try to include it as one of the recipes.

My favorite smoothie recipe consist of ½ frozen banana, 4 frozen strawberries, 1 scoop of whey protein, about 4 ounces of Passion Orange Guava Juice, ½ individual container of Greek Yogurt, and ice. This recipe is delicious and very filling.

Recommended Reading/References:

This Thing Called Love

For a long time, I’ve had this love thing all mixed up. It is not until recently that I was brought to the realization that I’m wired all wrong and my way of thinking about love is flawed. And, from that flawed way of thinking I have left a trail of missed opportunities to love. I’m not sure where I veered off course but I’m guessing it was at a very young age. As I think back on my life, I begin to see where my understanding of love didn’t align with God’s definition and I thank the Holy Spirit for imparting this wisdom upon me.

Like many, my humble beginning consisted of two parents who loved me and anxiously waited for my arrival. Once I entered this world, my parents gave of themselves to nurture me. They served (bathe, clothed, fed, and sang) me. So, I guess I had to be a happy baby. To this day, I can remember moments of my life when my dad was alive…at age 3 and 4. Our memory is a fascinating thing. I can’t remember what I did last year on the 4th of July but somehow I can still remember moments when I was 3 and 4 years of age.

Things rapidly changed when my dad died which was about 5 weeks before my 5th birthday. Things weren’t the same. People weren’t the same. We moved from our home to an apartment and everyone was so sad.

Within six (6) months of my dad’s death, something devastating happened to me of which I am not quite ready to discuss openly but I believe it was the precursor to my distorted understanding of love. The first year after my dad’s death was a bit much for this five year old. The things I endured…the things that happened to me…happened in silence. My mom’s heart was heavy from the death of my dad and, at 5, I knew she couldn’t take much more so very little was said.

So as you can imagine, entering elementary school was a little rocky….at a time when social and emotional development begins. From elementary school through college, everything around me indicated that love was about me. Love was about how I wanted someone to make me feel and if they failed at doing so then they didn’t love me. Relationships were about perfection. If you lacked perfection in your relationship with me then I had no choice but to conclude that you didn’t truly love me. This thing called love was all about me!

Well, I had it all wrong. God has taught me through scripture that love is not about me…it is about how I serve others.

This is what God Says About This Thing Called Love:

Serving One Another

  • Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves (Galatians 6:2 NIV).
  • You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love (Galatians 5:13 NIV).
  • Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”(Mark 10: 42-45 NIV)
  • Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen. (I Peter 4: 10 NIV)

Esteeming Others Above Yourself

  • Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves (Romans 12:10 NIV).
  • Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification (Romans 14:19 NIV).

 Forgiveness

  • Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the nameof the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3: 13-17 NIV)
  • Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you (Ephesians 4:32 NIV).

Humility

  • Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. For, “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech. They must turn from evil and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed (I Peter 3: 8-14 NIV).
  • Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2: 3-11 NIV).

Coming to the truth has brought me such joy in my relationship with my children, husband, family, friends and colleagues. Instead of me asking “What have you done for me lately?”, I ask what have I done for them lately? I often look for ways I can edify (uplift) others instead of the other way around. I trust God will supply all my needs that includes the love and joy I need to thrive here on earth.

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.  This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.  Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.  No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.  This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit.  And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.  If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us (I John 4:7-16 NIV).

 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails (I Corinthians 13: 4-8).

Recommended Reading:

A Love Worth Giving: Living in the Overflow of God’s Love by Max Lucado

Love is…..6 Lessons on What Love Look Like by Jenna Lucado Bishop

Bold as Love: What Can Happen When We See People the Way God Does by Bob Roberts Jr.

Best Fruits and Vegetables for Juicing

 

My Juicing Experience:

I began my juicing journey in April/May 2013.  After feeling a lot older than my age, I began researching ways to feel better.  I thought my eating habits were okay.  For decades and decades, my primary source of meat was fish, turkey and chicken.  While my family does eat beef, we typically do so only about 5-6 times throughout the year.  I really don’t like the taste of pork so I don’t eat it.  I’ll admit that I wasn’t “big” on the veggies but I did incorporate several servings throughout the week (mainly broccoli, spinach and corn).

It wasn’t until I saw Joe Cross movie that I understood what the problem may be.  I never any considered the effect of processed food on my health.  All the sides I made to accompany my family’s meals were processed.  So I joined the “juicing revolution.”

Related:  Juicing vs Blending (Smoothies)

In my blog, Juicing: My Way, I outlined my slow and steady approach to juicing.  When I first started I was buying standard fruits and vegetables but then quickly changed to organic after reading about the pesticides used on standard fruits and vegetables.  It was an expensive decision.  Organic versus standards more than doubled my grocery bill.  Through my experience I learned that I didn’t have to buy all organic.  Instead, fruits and vegetables with a thick outer layer like oranges and pineapples I bought standard but vegetables and fruits like apples and cucumbers I bought organic.

This “juicing revolution” brought my attention to quite a few things.  First, I needed to be mindful of what fruits, vegetables and herbs I was juicing if I was taking medication.  This was not an issue with me but when recommending juicing to family and friends I asked that they checked with their pharmacist to be sure that the vegetables and fruits they use in their juice wouldn’t cause a negative drug interaction.

I no longer have to be convinced if juicing is good for me.  I can say with a resounding “YES!” that it is positively good for me.  Not only did I lose weight, I lowered my cholesterol and blood pressure.  My fingernails stay long, strong and healthy and my hair grew at a very good pace.  AND, when I had to stop juicing for a few months while we sold our home (the realtor made us put away everything on the countertop), I did not gain all the weight back.  Quite honestly, that was the most impressive to me.  I have tried many diets and eating plan which resulted in me gaining all of my weight back and then some when I stopped the eating plan/diet.  This didn’t happen this time and my eating habits got really bad because we found ourselves eating out a lot because potential buyers wanted to see the home around meal time.

Another thing worth noting, is the improvement of my eyesight.  While I can’t get any one in the medical field to confirm that it is possible to have improved eyesight.  It is true in my case.  I wear eyeglasses and the prescription was too strong for me after 2 months of including carrots in my juices.

Best Fruits and Vegetables for Juicing

In my experience, the best fruits and vegetables for juicing were kale, spinach, romaine lettuce, cucumber, apple, oranges, and pineapples.  There are a lot of nutrients in these fruits and cruciferous (kale, spinach, collard) vegetables and I attribute my results to having plenty of these vegetables in my juicing plan.  In his book, Eat to Live: The Amazing Nutrient-Rich Program for Fast and Sustained Weight Loss, Revised Edition, Dr. Fuhrman states:

Cruciferous vegetables have the most powerful anti-cancer effects of all foods.  Most of the phytonutrients function as antioxidants in your body, meaning they neutralize free radicals, rendering them harmless and reducing cancer risk. 

The phytonutrients in cruciferous vegetables also activate your body’s own antioxidant control system.  These unique compounds cycle through the body for three to five days after consumption, offering protection and fueling numerous bodily systems, enabling them to function more effectively.

Stanford Medical Cancer Institute Reports that “Research is discovering that intake of fruits, vegetables, and cereal grains may interfere with the process of developing cancer of the oral cavity, larynx, esophagus, stomach, colon, lung, prostate, and rectum. In addition to reducing the risk of developing cancer, the risk of developing heart disease, hypertension, obesity, diabetes, and other chronic diseases might also be prevented by eating more fruits and vegetables.”

Some of the Health Benefits of the Fruits and Vegetables I Juiced

Fruits & Vegetables

Nutrients

Health Benefit

Broccoli
  • Antioxidants
  • Phytonutrients(Glucosinolates)
  • Vitamin K
  • Flavonoids (kaempferol)
  • Lower risk of cancer
  • Helps detoxify body
  • Boost immune system
  • Helps lower   cholesterol
Celery
  • At least 12 Antioxidants
  • Flavonoids (kaempferol)
  • Protect  digestive tract and blood vessel inflammation
  • Improve integrity of stomach lining
  • Decrease risk of stomach ulcer
  • Helps lower blood pressure
Collard   Greens
  • Carotenoids (Beta Carotene, Lutein, Zeaxanthin)
  • Phytonutrients   (Glucosinolates)
  • Highest   amount of Antioxidants
  • Vitamin   A
  • Vitamin   K
  • Magnesium
  • Potassium
  • Omega 3 Fatty Acid (ALA)
  • Folate
  • Lower risk of cancer
  • Protects skin and eyesight
  • Helps detoxify body
  • Boost immune system
  • Helps lower cholesterol
  • Helps lower blood pressure
Cucumber
  • Lignans
  • Antioxidants
  • Cucurbitacins
  • Flavonoids
  • Reduce risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Reduce risk of cancer (breast, uterine, ovarian and prostate)
Kale   (superfood)
  • Carotenoids (Beta Carotene, Lutein, Zeaxanthin)
  • Phytonutrients (Glucosinolates
  • Highest amount of Antioxidants
  • 45   different Flavonoids
  • Calcium
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin K
  • Magnesium
  • Strengthens bones
  • Lower risk of cancer (bladder, breast, colon, ovary and prostate)
  • Protects skin and eyesight
  • Helps detoxify body
  • Boost immune system
  • Helps lower cholesterol
  • Helps lower blood pressure
Romaine   Lettuce
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin K
  • Folate
  • Molybdenum
  • Biotin
  • Folic Acid
  • Calcium
  • Protein
  • Helps lower blood pressure
  • Helps lower cholesterol
Spinach
  • Glycoclycerolipids
  • More than 12 different Flavonoid
  • Carotenoids
  • Lower risk of cancer
  • Helps detoxify body
  • Boost immune system
  • Helps lower cholesterol
  • Helps lower blood pressure
  • Help protect lining of digestive tract
  • Protection against aggressive prostate cancer
  • Help slow down cell division in stomach cancer cells
  • Reduce skin cancers
Turnips
  • Antioxidants
  • Phytonutrients (Glucosinolates)
  • Omega 3 Fatty Acids (ALA)
  • Folate
  • Lower risk of cancer
  • Helps detoxify body
  • Lower risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Anti-inflammatory benefit
  • Helps lower cholesterol
Ginger
  • Gingerols
  • Alleviates symptoms of gastrointestinal distress
  • Prevent symptoms of motion sickness
  • Reduce nausea and vomiting
  • Reduce rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis   pain
  • Inhibit the growth of human colorectal cancer cells
  • Induces cell death in ovarian cancer cells
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Reduce menstrual pain
Lemon/Limes
  • Flavonoids
  • Vitamin C
  • Limonoids
  • Stop cell division in many cancer cell lines
  • Antibiotic effects
  • Help fight cancers of the mouth, skin, lung, breast, stomach and colon.
Carrots
  • Caretenoids (Beta Carotene, Lutein)
  • Phytonutrient(Polyacetylenes)
  • Antioxidants
  • Inhibit the growth of colon cancer cells
  • Most protective against cardiovascular disease
  • Eye health
Apples
  • Flavonoids
  • Polyphenols
  • Help prevent spike in blood sugar
  • Lower risk of Asthma
  • Lower risk of lung cancer
Orange
  • More   than 60 Flavonoids
  • Vitamin   C
  • Lower high blood pressure
  • Lower cholesterol
  • Protection against cardiovascular disease
  • Anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor and blood clotting inhibiting properties
Pineapples
  • Bromelain
  • Antioxidant
  • Manganese
  • Improved digestion
  • Protection against Macular Degeneration
  • Anti-inflammatory and anti-clotting properties

References/Resources:

http://cancer.stanford.edu/information/nutritionAndCancer/reduceRisk/phyto.html

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=38

http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/the-truth-about-kale

http://www.kingoffruit.com.au/pineapple-health-benefits.html

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/aricles/265990.php

Joel Fuhrman, MD Eat to Live: The Amazing Nutrient-Rich Program for Fast and Sustained Weight Loss, Revised Edition, (p.  120)

Praying the Psalm When Words Escape You

bible series psalmsMy desire is to be a vessel for God to use to glorify His name but I know that means “creating a clean heart in me (Psalm 51:10).”  And, truth be told, I see that as a miracle in and of itself.  Oh! A wretch like me!  With all the “muck and gunk” I have built in my heart and mind over the years, I dare not think on how large a task, in my strength, it would be to clean this heart.  I simply trust God because I know He can and will do it.

I present myself to Him as humble and honest as I know how wanting to bear the depths of all that is within me so sometimes words expressing the weight of my heart escape me. It is at those times, I look to the Book of Psalms to present all that I am to God…all of my imperfections, pains, anxieties and disappointments.

Once I find a Psalm that speaks to my countenance, I meditate on it and then pray it. Here are four of the many that I found spoke to me:

  • The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.  He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He refreshes my soul.  He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.  Even though I walk through the darkest valley,I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.  You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.  You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.   Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever (Psalms 23 NIV).

 

  • Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions.  Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.  For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.  Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge.  Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.  Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb; you taught me wisdom in that secret place.  Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.  Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice.  Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity.  Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.  Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.  Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.  Then I will teach transgressors your ways, so that sinners will turn back to you. Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God, you who are God my Savior, and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.  Open my lips, Lord, and my mouth will declare your praise.  You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.  My sacrifice, O God, isa broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise (Psalm 51:1-17 NIV).

 

  • Teach me, Lord, the way of your decrees, that I may follow it to the end.  Give me understanding, so that I may keep your law and obey it with all my heart.  Direct me in the path of your commands, for there I find delight.  Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain.  Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word.  Fulfill your promise to your servant, so that you may be feared.  Take away the disgrace I dread, for your laws are good.  How I long for your precepts!  In your righteousness preserve my life (Psalms 119: 33-40 NIV).

 

  • I will exalt you, my God the King; I will praise your name forever and ever.  Every day I will praise you and extol your name forever and ever.  Great are You and most worthy of praise; Your greatness no one can fathom. One generation commends your works to another; they tell of your mighty acts.  They speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty—and I will meditate on your wonderful works.  They tell of the power of your awesome works—and I will proclaim your great deeds. They celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness.  You are gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love.  You are good to all; You have compassion on all that you have made.   All your works praise you, Lord; your faithful people extol you. They tell of the glory of your kingdom and speak of your might, so that all people may know of your mighty acts and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.  Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations.  You are trustworthy in all your promises and faithful in all you do.  You uphold all who fall and lift up all who are bowed down.  The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food at the proper time.  You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing.  You are righteous in all your ways and faithful in all you do.  You are near to all who call on you, to all who call on you in truth.  You fulfill the desires of those who fear you; you hear their cry and save them.  You watch over all who love you, but all the wicked you will destroy.  My mouth will speak in praise of You.  Let every creature praise your holy name forever and ever (Psalm 145 NIV).

Are HBCU’s Necessary?

Debate-2My boyfriend and I were having a battle royale, verbal debate to end all, epic discussion about the role and necessity of HBCUs or Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Before I proceed with the outcome and better yet substance of this Great Debate, I will give a bit of background information about each of us to give some context.

Background

First and Foremost, I am a proud Howard University Class of 2013 Alumna. I consider myself someone from humble beginnings. I was raised primarily by my mother in a lower middle class income family. I moved a lot across Illinois and eventually to the east coast in Virginia while my mother sought out opportunities. I was exposed to a myriad of cultures along the way due to the different populations of people I lived amongst. I was very much raised to love myself and the people around me, so I did.

Lastly, but certainly not least, I am an African American female. My background and life experiences collectively are the reason why I made a conscious decision to attend an HBCU.

Now, my boyfriend, Elias, seems to be polar opposite of me on paper. Elias grew up in a middle class two-parent home in one house, in one neighborhood his entire life up until college age. He currently attends Temple University, a PWI or predominately white institution. He is a white American male.

We have many things in common though. One of them is this: we’re both idealists, sometimes in disguise of “realists”.

The Debate

This debate started when I probed him on his views on economic separatism (Blacks buying from Black owned businesses exclusively). He responded that essentially he is in support of groups and communities supporting their own, BUT not exclusively. Meaning, “Buy black, but don’t shut off your business to others.” While expressing his viewpoints, he said, “I don’t think that anything should be catered exclusively to one group of people.”

Me being me, I pressed him further. I said, “Well Howard centers the education that the students receive on the people that attend the school, which is predominately black. So, evidently every course has a theme of what people of the African diaspora have contributed to the advancement of society.” I was prepared for a rebuttal and more than ready for a debate. I dared him to say that there shouldn’t be any HBCUs and HE DID!

At this point, I listed every reason why that statement is refutable.  Based on my experience at one of the most prestigious HBCUs, I highlighted reasons why I wholeheartedly believe that an HBCU experience is like no other. Allow me to preface this list by saying that in no way am I saying that a young Black student cannot find these values in a PWI. I’m just saying that a lot of these points are presented by statistical data, while some of it is just personal experience.

  1. HBCUs instill self-love, pride and the need to be a social justice activist in its students.  Howard’s motto, “Truth & Service
  2. HBCUs have the highest rate of Blacks graduating from college, not just attending.
  3. HBCUs encourage unity and support.
  4. HBCUs foster an environment where young Black students can get to know themselves.
  5. HBCUs provide the tools for students to be active in their communities to encourage growth and change.
  6. HBCUs produce world leaders.  This year Howard University was listed as one of the top Peace Corps Volunteer producing Universities and the top HBCU PCV producer! http://www.howard.edu/newsroom/releases/2014/20140211HowardRanksonPeaceCorpsTopCollegeList.html
  7. HBCUs are diverse. Yes, diverse! Therefore, it doesn’t “cater to one group”. There are people from all over the world, from every socio-economic class, and many cultural varieties.

If I wasn’t startled enough by his comment, his rebuttal to my list of reasons completely took me aback. His response, “I agree. I think that you think I’m saying that HBCUs are unnecessary and I’m not.”

He said, “Let me rephrase my statement. I don’t think that they (HBCUs) should HAVE to be necessary. I don’t think that we should have to have economic separatism. We are limiting ourselves by these devices. Ideally, we could support each other equally and education wouldn’t favor one group over another.” All of that talking that I did resulted in us coming to the same conclusion!

So, this battle royale, verbal debate, epic discussion ended in an essential agreement. Until we reach an idealistic solution to our very real social inequalities, HBCUs will be necessary and required.

Please, leave any comments, questions or new ideas below! I would love to hear from you!

Leave Us Your Comments Contest

We are a sucker for a compliment comment so to encourage your feedback we are giving away a Love Ann Joy Tote Bag to the first 10 readers who leave a comment today (4/14/14) thru tomorrow (4/15/14).

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Breville Juice Fountain Multi-Speed Juicer Giveaway

Enter to win a Breville Juice Fountain Multi-Speed 900 Watt Juicer!  Click Here!
Enter to win a Breville Juice Fountain Multi-Speed 900 Watt Juicer! Click Here!

Enter to win a Breville Juice Fountain Multi-Speed 900 Watt Juicer! Love Ann Joy is giving away one (1) Breville Juice Fountain Multi-Speed Juicer Giveaway!  There will be one Grand Prize Winner and five (5) second prize winners.   Click here to enter!

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 Second prize winners receive  one (1) Love Ann Joy Tote Bag.

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The Ultimate Payback: A lesson in Selflessness

Becoming self-less?  It’s a lot harder than it sounds.  I’ve been learning my lesson the hard way over the past two years and I have plenty of bumps and bruises to prove it.  I’ve been so closed to ending a 20 year friendship over selfishness it has taken me awhile to openly admit it.  The bible charges me to be “…sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing (I Peter 3: 9-10).” 

While I truly desire to be a woman after God’s own heart, I found it hard not to be in my feelings…..not to be selfish.

It all started about 2 years ago from out of nowhere, I guess that is how God works…when you least expect it.  And, I truly feel blessed that these emotions and flaws were brought to my attention because “for those whom the Lord loves He disciplines (Hebrew 12:6).”  But don’t we all think we are perfect….yeah…NO!!

Well, as usual, I called my friend Karen to just chat about our next girl’s night out when she quickly hurried me off the phone.  She said she had a meeting to attend in an hour and she needed to prepare.  Well, less than 30 minutes later she called me to rant about the recent behavior of her daughter.  Karen went on for an hour.  Yep….I was at work and Yep…I wondered about the meeting she told me she had to attend!  But, I couldn’t end the call when she needed someone to help her process her emotions.

A few months later, on my birthday, while I received numerous text messages and phone calls from friends and family to wish me a happy birthday, I didn’t hear from my best friend until later in the afternoon at which time she called to let me know that “she heard” I did not receive the promotion in which I requested.”  She later sent me a cold two word text message to say “happy birthday.”

This didn’t get better…it got worse.  She no longer wanted to have girl’s night out, she seemed irritated or hurried when our conversations were about anything other than her family, her career or her vacations.  For the life of me I couldn’t understand what had gotten into Karen.

For the better part of a year I made excuses for Karen’s behavior…her daughter is becoming a young adult, her husband is away a lot on travel, she just joined senior management team, etc.  The excuses went on and on.  It wasn’t until I FINALLY finished my graduate studies that the emotions came sweltering up and I couldn’t contain myself.

Both Karen and I started a family and a career after undergraduate school.  We found it challenging to find the time to return to school for graduate studies.  However, in 2010 I found the perfect opportunity to go back to school and was more than excited to be finishing in 2012.

The closer we got to my graduation I expected Karen to be just as excited as me….that was not the case.  She barely wanted to attend the ceremony and I found myself hosting my own graduation party.  Anytime she found me planning for the party she wanted to know “wasn’t there better things I could do with my money.”

But here’s the kicker, Karen finishes her graduate studies this year and she wants to know where and when I will be hosting her graduation party.  She has already informed me that she has a couple of co-workers, neighbors and family that she wants to attend her ceremony so I may not be able to attend.

You’re probably wondering if I had discussed this matter with Karen and I had….on multiple occasions.  Her response was that I’m “selfish.”   I was so taken aback by the audacity of that response I was at a loss for words.  I must admit that I have emotional needs as well and for the past 20 years, Karen has been my primary source of emotional connectivity.  I thank God for my husband, children, brothers and sisters but we all need that best friend.  Don’t we?

So, over the past 6 months, I’ve been wrapping my mind around letting go of a 20 year friendship.  The thought crushed me but what was I to do.  I thank God for wisdom from the Holy Spirit.  Shortly after thinking of ending our friendship, I received a word in my heart that my existence here is to bless others and if there is any unmet needs in my life that I should take it to the Lord to fulfill.  Perhaps, I was relying too much on Karen as an emotional crutch and for emotional guidance and not enough on God.  I am supposed to seek Him in all things but I had not.  I was being selfish (and yes Karen is too!).  But, I do not have to answer for Karen.  I have to answer for myself.

The Word says:

“Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. For, whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech.   They must turn from evil and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it.  For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil (I Peter 3: 9-12).”

“Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven (Matthew 5: 16)”

“Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives (I Peter 3: 1-2).”

I know in my own strength, it will be nearly impossible for me to just, as I see it, be used by Karen.  I stay in prayer over this issue.  I believe God has a blessing for me once I overcome this selfishness inside of me and learn how to be more Christ-like.  The reward is greater if I endure and overcome!

Stay tuned…I’m sure there will be many nights of heart ache and pain as I learn how to be selfless.

 

Promises Bank

At a very young age I was told that the bible is filled with God’s promises and He keeps every one of them. I have always wanted to create a list of all of those promises so that I could meditate on them and remember.  So, I have created this promise bank for all to “withdraw.”

For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, And do not return there without watering the earth And making it bear and sprout, And furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; So will [God’s] word be which goes forth from [His] mouth; It will not return to [Him] empty, without accomplishing what [He] desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which [God] sent it (Isaiah 55:10-11).

His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.  Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires (2 Peter 1: 3-4).  If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise (Galatians 3: 29).

Please leave a comment below if you know of other promises in the bible that are not listed here.  I will continually update.

Promises from Scripture

1.     Love

  • But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).
  • Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?   As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”  No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8: 35-39).
  • Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.” Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, “But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?” Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me (John 14: 21-24).
  • Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you (Isaiah 54:10).
  • Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.  I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him”.  The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. (Lamentations 3: 22-26).
  • Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.  No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.  This is how we know that we live in Him and He in us: He has given us of his Spirit.  And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.   If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God.  And so we know and rely on the love God has for us (I John 4: 11-16).
  • Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, he is the faithful God, keeping His covenant of love to a thousandth generations of those who love Him and keep His commandments (Deuteronomy 7:9).
  • As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.  The life of mortals is like grass, they flourish like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more.  But from everlasting to everlasting  the Lord’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children— with those who keep his covenant  and remember to obey his precepts (Psalm 103: 13-18).

2.   Hope

  • For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future (Jeremiah 29: 11).
  • For the Lord loves the just and will not forsake His faithful ones (Psalm 37:28).
  • Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls (Matthew 11:29).

3.   Peace

  • Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid (John 14:27).
  • For the waywardness of the simple will kill them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them; but whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm (Proverbs 1: 32-33).
  • Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.   And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4: 6-7).

4.   Joy

  • “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.  If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love.  I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete (John 15: 9-11).”
  • May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 15:13)
  • You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand (Psalm 16:11).

 5.    Eternal Life

  • Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them (John 3: 36).
  • Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes Him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life (John 5: 24).
  • For God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3: 16).
  • If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved (Romans 10:9).
  • My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.  I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.  My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.  I and the Father are one (John 10: 27-30).”
  •  At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another.   But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared,   he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by His grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone (Titus 3: 3-8).

6.   Forgiveness

  • In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.  In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us (Ephesians 1: 5-8).
  • If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness (I John 1: 8-9).

 7.    Strength & Power

  • I can do all this through him who gives me strength (Philippians 4: 13).
  • God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble (Psalm 46: 1).
  • For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline (2 Timothy 1:7).
  • He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.  Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint (Isaiah 40: 29-31).
  • So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand (Isaiah 41:10).
  • I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God (Ephesians 3: 16-19).
  • Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go (Joshua 1: 9).”

8.   Desires of our Heart

  • Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalm 37:4)
  • Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened (Matthew 7: 7-8)
  • Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.  Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them (Matthew 18: 18-20).
  • What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?  He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?  Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies.  Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us (Romans 8: 31-34).
  • This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.  And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him (I John 5: 14-15).

9.   Healing

  • Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he was healed at that moment.  Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?”  He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you (Matthew 17: 18-21).”
  • Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil.  This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones (Proverbs 3: 7-8)
  • Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits— who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases,  who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s (Psalms 103-2-5).
  • Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord.  And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up.  If they have sinned, they will be forgiven.  Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective (James 5: 14-16).

10.  Protection/Deliverance

  • The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them (Psalm 34:7)
  • The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles (Psalm 34:17).
  • “Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.  He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.  With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation (Psalm 91: 14-16).”
  • The Lord will keep you from all harm—he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore. (Psalm 121:7-8)
  • Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you (Isaiah 54:10).
  • God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.  Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging (Psalm 46:1-3).

 11.Wisdom

  •  If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you (James 1:5)
  • Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding, for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold.  She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her.  Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor.  Her ways are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace.  She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her; those who hold her fast will be blessed (Proverbs 3: 13-18).
  • With me are riches and honor, enduring wealth and prosperity.  My fruit is better than fine gold; what I yield surpasses choice silver.  I walk in the way of righteousness, along the paths of justice, bestowing a rich inheritance on those who love me and making their treasuries full (Proverbs 8: 18-21).
  • My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding—indeed, if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find knowledge of God.  For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding (Proverbs 2: 1-6).

The Allure of Italy

Our vacation in Italy has, to date, been the best vacation we have ever taken.  My husband and I usually get restless and bored after 5 days away but this was not so in Italy.  We found 9 days was not enough to take in all that Italy has to offer.

We consider ourselves “active vacationers” and while we appreciate the beauty of the ocean/beachside we prefer doing and seeing things that we can’t do at home.  With that being said, I’m not sure why my husband and I thought we could take in “Italy’s highlights” in 9 days!!  There was so much to see and do in the region of Lazio alone.

Booking the Trip

Booking the trip wasn’t as easy as we had hoped.  My husband and I decided we wanted to stay in the province of Rome near the coliseum.  After reading tons of hotel reviews on Trip Advisors we narrowed our hotel choices down to 5.  Next, we checked several online travel booking sites to compare prices on a vacation package (air and hotel) daily.  And, day after day after day we couldn’t find a package less than $3,500 per person or a non-stop flight less than $1600 per person.  After 2 weeks of waiting for prices to go down, I almost fell out of my chair when I checked online and found a non-stop flight to our destination and one layover returning home for $850 per person.  I immediately called my husband and we were able to secure our flight!!  Yeeeaaahh ……for Tuesday airfare sales!!! Flight….done!!  Now for the hotel.

Unfortunately, 4 of the 5 hotels on our list had booked all of their rooms by the time we tried to reserve our room.  We ended up reserving our stay directly with Hotel Capo D’Africa which was within blocks of the Coliseum.

Getting There

Our flight departed on Tuesday evening around 6:00 pm and arrived in Rome at around 9:00 am.  The airplane was a Boeing 777 and was larger than any plane in which I had flown.  We had the choice of watching a television program/movie or tracking our flight on our individual monitors.  I chose to sleep.  Within 2 hours of the flight, I was catching zzzzz’s.  I intentionally stayed awake for 24 hours prior to our flight for two reasons:  1) to minimize jetlag and 2) to avoid becoming restless on a 9 hour flight.

Italy:  Rome, Vatican, Ostia Antica and Sperlonga

Italy has about 20 regions.  We stayed in the Region of Lazio and the Province and city of Rome.  While we had hoped to visit Milan and Venice, we were unable to do so.  There was so much to do that we never had an opportunity to explore too far from the Lazio Region.

Our vacation started immediately upon arrival in Rome.  We did not have a problem with jetlag so we checked into our hotel, showered and immediately began sightseeing in Rome.

ROME:

Within walking distance from the hotel was the Coliseum, Roman Forum, Palatine Hill, Ludus Magnus, Arch of Constantine, the train station and lots of places to eat. Since we had an official tour of the Coliseum scheduled for the next day we spent the first day just walking around to become familiar with the immediate area.  We were so excited and awestruck with being in Rome that we didn’t realize that we had been walking around for 10 hours.  By the time we returned to the hotel my feet were no longer talking to me….they were screaming! While I could have used this occasion to “shop for the proper shoes to wear in Rome (wink ;-))”, I did not.  I came prepared with several changes of shoes.  I quickly learned my first lesson in Rome….wear the proper shoes for their cobblestone streets!!!!

Unfortunately, there was not enough time in the day to do all the things we had hoped to do.  Of the 678 things to do in Rome listed on TripAdvisor, my husband and I probably did less than 50.   Don’t get me wrong….we definitely tried to fill our days with lots of exciting things to do or see but we also wanted to enjoy our days.  We were usually ready to “get out amongst the people” by 7 am and we wouldn’t return to our hotel until after 11:00 pm.  Our days were long but we didn’t realize it.

Rome has such a deep history with Christian connections that we found everything of interest.    We didn’t have to go far to see the Coliseum, Ludus Magnus, Roman Forum, Arch of Constantine, and Palatine Hill.

The Flava Amphitheatre (aka “Coliseum”) is where gladiators, who were primarily slaves and criminals fought.  As I understand, this included Christians.  Animals also fought in the Coliseum.   On our tour we were taken to all 4 levels of the coliseum.  Underground is where animals and slaves were kept to manage the pulley system, dead bodies and animals and to wait to fight.

The Arch of Constantine is located between the Coliseum and Palatine Hill.  The Arch of Constantine was built to honor Emperor Constantine Augustus victory over Maxentius.  History indicates that it was this victory that led Constantine Augustus to Christianity.  He ordered that the persecution of Christians be stopped in Rome.

Like many of the sites in Rome, only ruins remain of the Ludus Magnus, the training school for gladiators.  Visit our slideshow to see the hundreds of pictures we captured during our visit.   Some of the other sites we visited include:

  1. Capitoline Hill
  2. Roman Forum
  3. Palatine Hill
  4. Ostia Antica
  5. Pantheon
  6. Spanish Steps
  7. Trevi Fountain
  8. Cappuchin Crypt
  9. Castel San Angelo
  10. Mouth of Truth
  11. River Tiber (Cruise)
  12. Vatican City
  13. Sistine Chapel
  14. Sperlonga

VATICAN CITY:

Before leaving for Italy, we purchased tickets for St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican.  We left early to avoid the crowds. In Vatican City we toured St. Peter’s Basilica (aka the Vatican), Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapels and St. Peter’s tomb (underneath the Vatican).  Giving and hearing praise and worship puts me at such peace that I recorded the sounds at St. Peter’s Basilica.  You may here those sounds here.

SPERLONGA:

To add diversity to our trip we decided to venture out to the nearest beach we could find.  We were a little concerned because Sperlonga was over an hour away from Rome via train and most people only spoke Italian or Spanish.  However, my husband’s Italian proved enough.  When we arrived in town we had planned to catch the bus to the beach but the bus never arrived so we asked one of the shopkeepers to call us a cab in Italian (yeah, my husband was showing off).

The beach was beautiful.  We both actually fell asleep on the beach in the sun which we have NEVER done.  The town was beautiful also with houses on hills.

I probably could write a short novel on the things we saw and did while in Italy.  If you’ve been to Italy share with us some of the things you did.  If you haven’t been to Italy yet, please let us know if it is on your bucket list!!

Juicing: My Way

Last year, after seeing Joe Cross movie, Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead, and doing a little research I tried “juicing.”  What is juicing?  Juicing is extracting only the juice from fruits and vegetables.  According to my research, a lot of the nutritional value of fruits and vegetable is found in the juice.  The information was compelling.  It was easy for me to see how this could be true because since the beginning of time, God saw it fit to bless his children with fruits and vegetables.  It only made since that if I reduced or eliminated the amount of processed food, my health would reap the rewards.

Related Post:  Juicing vs Blending (Smoothies)

Juicing had to be the most controversial decision I have ever made.  When I told friends and family what I was doing, they either supported my efforts or aggressively disagreed.  For the life of me, I didn’t understand why it would cause such strong opposition.  Those who disagreed felt removing the fiber from the fruits and vegetables were harmful.  Those who supported juicing fruits and vegetables agreed that there were benefits to doing so and, most witness a friend or family member benefit from it.  So, I was inquisitive enough to give it a try.  Slow and steady.

Related Post: Best Fruits and Vegetables for Juicing

Phase I

Like I said, I approached juicing with a slow and steady approach.  My juicing regimen was multi-phased.  The first phase lasted two weeks at which time I eliminated coffee, replaced my breakfast with a juice and for dinner I had a homemade salad with grilled chicken.  I still had lunch and snacks throughout the day.  For my breakfast juice, I only juiced fruits (mango, 4 carrots and ginger).  It typically made a 14 ounce drink.

According to some of the juicing books and information, juicing fruits should be kept to a minimum because of the possible sugar spike.  I didn’t have any problems but I probably didn’t lose as much weight if I had only juiced vegetables.  Nevertheless, I still considered Phase I a success because I lost about 3 pounds a week.

I was even able to continue my juicing while on vacation, I found a few juicing shops with tasty juices on the menu.  My husband joined me with a juice for breakfast every morning during our vacation (although he added granola to his juice).

While it was great losing weight, there were other health effects that I noticed within the first two weeks of juicing.  While I was typically addicted to my morning cup of coffee, I no longer needed it and I felt naturally energized.  I wasn’t drowsy by the end of the work day and I was able to accomplish more.

Phase II

By the end of the first two weeks, I felt brave enough to step up my “juicing game.”  Phase II lasted three weeks at which time I replaced one meal and a snack or two meals with a juice.  I still wasn’t drinking coffee and I had gotten use to drinking a juice for breakfast.  So, on a typical day I would have my breakfast juice, a snack, a vegetable juice (spinach, cucumber, apple. lime and ginger) for lunch, a snack and a grilled chicken salad or fish (salmon, tilapia) for dinner.  Sometimes instead of replacing two meals I would replace my breakfast and afternoon snack with a juice.  During Phase II I began to exercise regularly and the more I exercised the more my appetite was ravenous.  So, I would try to have a lot of protein at lunch like salmon or tuna and just replace my afternoon snack with a vegetable juice.

Since I was making up all the rules (LOL), I did not have any problems with getting two juice drinks in during the day.  I juiced vegetables and fruits that I would eat raw or steamed.   In phase II I lost about 5 pounds a week.

On occasion I read discussions about eating clean.  During those first two phases I felt like I was getting closer to eating clean.  My understanding of eating clean is eliminating as much process foods as possible.  I know, I’ve heard the argument that most foods are processed to some extent.  While there may be truth to that, eating clean would be to eat food that are minimally processed.  I even prefer to buy local fruits, vegetables and meat.

Phase III

Both Phase I and II was designed to help me get to the point in which I could do a juice fast.  I read some great success stories about detoxing your body that I really wanted to give it a try.   Food and I have an unhealthy relationship in which I have been working on for years.  There was a time when I couldn’t fast at all but I have since fasted for spiritual reasons for 24 hours.  My goal is to be able to fast for several days.

During Phase III, I replaced 1 meal with a juice Monday thru Thursday.  From Friday through Sunday I replaced all meals but one with a juice.  I tried to go a whole day with just juice but I lacked sufficient willpower at the time.  Phase III lasted 3 weeks for me and on the weekends I was losing nearly a pound a day.  I’ve gotten a variety of responses when I share my phase III results with family and friends.  They felt like losing a pound a day was too much.  I didn’t know how to respond to their feedback except to say that I felt great.  In fact, when I went in for a physical not only had I lost weight but my cholesterol and blood pressure had improved.

Related Post:  Best Fruits and Vegetables for Juicing

Which Juicer is the best?

I have tried three juicers.  One was a Hamilton Beach Big Mouth Juice Extractor and two are Breville Juicers.  I now own a 1) Big Mouth Juice Extactor (garage), 2) Breville Juice Fountain Plus (keep it in my office) and 3) Breville Juice Fountain Multi-Speed (Kitchen).  Of the two brands, Breville is the best and the quietest.  All three were not difficult to clean.  I yield the least amount of juice with the Hamilton Beach Big Mouth Juice Extractor and the most juice with the Breville Multi-Speed Juice Fountain.  Cost wise, Hamilton Beach was the cheapest.  My Breville was six times the cost of the Hamilton Beach Big Mouth Juice Extractor but saved me tremendously in the cost of buying fruits and vegetables.  The Breville Juice Fountain Plus and the Breville Multi-Speed Juice Fountain  were able to yield more juice from fruits and vegetables.

What are the Pros and Cons?

The Pros are endless.  First and most importantly I felt great.  While I usually “drag” in the morning without my cup of coffee, this was not so with my breakfast juice.  It provided me with the energy I needed to get my day going.  I believe it was the ginger in the drink that gave me such an energy boost so I never make a juice without ginger.

Second, my health was improving.

Third, I lost weight and I did it without feeling deprived of food.

Fourth, you can get so many nutrients with a small glass of fresh juice.

Fifth, there are no preservatives in the juice since it is fresh.

Honestly, I can’t think of any cons.  When I discuss juicing with family and friends their main concern is the loss of fiber that is extracted from the fruit or vegetable and our body needs fiber.  This was a non-issue for me because my meals still consisted of things like almonds, beans, peas and broccoli throughout the day.

Juice Recipes

My favorite sources for juice recipes were:

  1. http://juicerecipes.com:  I thought I wouldn’t like the Mean Green Juice Recipe but it was one of my favorite.
  2. http://blog.williams-sonoma.com/30-days-of-juicing:  When I wanted to add variety.  I got some great recipes from this site.  They all sound so tasty.
  3. http://www.rebootwithjoe.com/category/blog/recipes/juice: Of course, Joe Cross website has great recipes as well.