Changing Perspective {slow but sure}

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If you’ve spent any time milling around my blog, you know that I am constantly trying to discover new ways to improve my health and wellness through nutrition, fitness, faith, and general positive thinking. And slowly but surely, I’m noticing a change in my inner voice. It’s less harsh. It’s more encouraging. It’s more thoughtful. In OTHER words, I have been way kinder to myself lately. The idea that my body and mind and life is unique, and that God created my body and mind and life to serve Him and to love others is soaking deeper and deeper into my bones. I updated my kitchen chalkboard (above) to remind myself when I’m wandering around my kitchen aimlessly. Feed my body because I care about it. Workout for my body because God gave me only one to use while I’m here on earth. While I have a LONG WAY TO GO before everything I do is truly for the GLORY OF GOD, I am beginning to reap what I’ve sowed through years of studying The Word, being in a faith community, and surrounding myself with loving and Christ-loving people.

So whatever it is you are struggling with today – whether it’s health and body image, or something totally different – ask yourself if you’re doing it for the Glory of God. And then go dive into some good ol’ community!!

Best Boston Marathon Signs

Unless you were hiding from every news outlet in the world, you know that yesterday was the Boston Marathon. It’s a symbolic race for American’s now, and there were many inspiring stories that came out of yesterday’s race. But I also stumbled on this round up of the best signs from the race. And the signs on the sidelines are FOR SURE one of the most fun parts of any race. Click on the link and check them all out!!

These Hilarious Boston Marathon Signs Make Us Want to Run Faster

Coconut Ginger Balls

Once in a while, I get a hankering for something strange. Lately, it’s been coconut and ginger. Plus, I’m always wanting something sweet around the house that is still pretty “clean.” Trust me, I can do a number on some cookies or cake, but I always feel 100000x guilty afterward. So to me, this recipe is the perfect little something-sweet-and-guilt-free.

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Adapted from Every Last Bite, this recipe seriously took me like, five minutes to whip up. I made them into tiny little balls so I feel like I have more of them… I think these would be delicious spread on an apple, graham crackers, or just popped in your mouth after dinner. Or for breakfast. Or whenever. Enjoy!

Coconut Ginger Balls (makes about 1 dozen)

Ingredients

8 medjool dates, pitted
3/4 cup unsweetened coconut, shredded
2 tablespoons walnut pieces
2 tablespoons fresh ginger
1/2 tablespoon honey (optional – the dates are pretty sweet already!)

Directions

1. Put dates in food processor and pulse for about a minute, until a paste is formed.

2. Add in the rest of your ingredients and blend until combined. A soft, sticky dough will form. You may need to scrape the sides a time or two.

3. Form into tablespoon-ish sized balls. You may want to wet your hands just a little so it doesn’t stick. Keep in the refrigerator for a week, or in the freezer for up to a month.

 

April Ab Challenge

Oh gosh you guys! I wrote this yesterday and never hit publish…woops! Well here is a one-day-late April challenge for you…

I keep a “workouts” folder in my Dropbox where, over the years, I’ve thrown random workout plans, challenges, and PDFs. Occasionally, I look through it. And the other day I rediscovered this little 30-day challenge, and I was all like, hey April is 30 days! And THEN I was all like, hey maybe my blog readers want to do this with me?

So here we are. I’m not promising I will actually accomplish all these but hey, I’m gonna try! I’m also trying to guilt my hubby into doing it with me by taping it to the wall. I plan to put an “M” next to each one I do so he can see my awesomeness and want to be like me. Right, honey? 😉

Anyway, here you go! Do this with me in April, and I’ll give you a big high five in 30 days!

30 Days of Abs

When Envy Creeps In

In an effort to be as authentic as Bonnie, I want to talk a little bit about envy today, how it creeps into our lives, and what God has to say about it.

As Bon points out in her post on authenticity the other day, we all KNOW by now that the things we see in social media are only representations of OUR BEST SELVES and OUR BEST MOMENTS. I don’t show you pictures of when I wake up in the morning. I don’t talk about what makes me cry (and let’s be real, I’m a Crier, with a capital C). I don’t talk about how I have no idea how to get our old claw-foot bathtub completely clean and it taunts me EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. I don’t talk about real issues, like body image and marriage hiccups and finances. And if I do talk about them, it’s in a very general sense of “Sometimes people have body image issues…” Like, HELLO. I DO. You do. We all scream for ice cream.

So I found myself feeling very envious the other night, some having to do with social media, which I slap myself on the wrist for. But some envy coming from made up things in my head. Unrealistic expectations of how things SHOULD be. How I COULD be.

I took a step back. I dove into the Bible. Check out some of Galatians 5:

13 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. 14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.

16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

I know it’s a lot, but READ it. Seriously, read it. How many of the “acts of flesh” are you doing? How many of the “fruits” are you NOT doing? For me, it’s oh so many. Of both. Okay, so, I don’t partake in witchcraft and orgies, but I get jealous. I get angry and have little temper tantrums. I’m DEFINITELY selfish. And I definitely get drunk sometimes, which usually leads to one or more of those other things I just named.

If I acted lovingly to everyone around me, ESPECIALLY myself, would I feel so envious of others’ accomplishments, or would I feel more satisfied with my own? If I practiced self-control, in my eating, drinking, prayer, and reactions to others, would I be less jealous of those who seem to successfully lead a healthy lifestyle when I struggle with it? If I truly gave my husband all of the love I have to give, and put his own needs above my own, would I be envious of other marriages that seem to go smoother? I remind you and myself at this point that we only know so much of what other people are going through, and we only see BEST sides represented online. But yet, we become jealous of what others have and do.

How to remove this envious feeling from our lives. If I could really complete that statement, I’d probably be super wealthy right now. But have you considered that maybe it has NOTHING to do with all those other people, and EVERYTHING to do with you? Instead of getting hung up on everyone around you, turn the focus to yourself.

Remember this goody in Matthew 7?

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

I constantly fail at looking at MYSELF when dealing with any issue, be it envy, anger, or negativity. So my goals are to continue to be introspective, something I seem to keep failing at. What do you do to improve yourself? Any tools for assessing your own struggles?

My Favorite Every Day Smoothie

I’ve posted about a few of my favorite protein shakes, but I really do have one go-to that’s my favorite. My base is ALWAYS frozen banana (either a half or whole one), almond milk, and protein powder. Beyond that, the options are endless. But here is my FAVORITE daily one…

And it happens to be green-ish! Just one day after St. Patrick’s. SORRY FOR THE BAD PHOTO. I was trying to get out the door!

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Ingredients:

1/2 banana

1/4 cup blueberries

1 cup spinach

2 slices of pineapple

1 serving protein powder

1 cup plain, unsweetened almond milk (or milk of choice)

Directions:

1. Prep first four items in advance by slicing, bagging, and freezing. I make several baggies at once.

2. Combine frozen ingredients with your favorite vanilla or chocolate protein powder plus almond milk.

Whole 30 Wrap Up {Round Two}

This Whole30 was different. I felt JUST as amazing, and even more quickly than last time. I think this is probably because since my last whole30, I’ve still enjoyed eating a lot of paleo meals, making the transition a little less painful this time around. However, I also got bored with it a lot sooner. It didn’t seem AS magical, probably because my memories of the first one were “I felt like a million bucks!!” which set the bar pretty darn high as far as my expectations went.

I also, admittedly, sort of stopped a few days early. I know, I know…it’s not a TRUE Whole30. But I really felt ready. I feel empowered to make good decisions. I didn’t binge when I stopped. Actually, the thing I’ve been craving the most was popcorn, and I’ve had a LOT of popcorn in the last few days. I’ve also laid out a fitness plan to get me through the next few months, since I do a lot better once it’s all mapped out ahead of me.

My primary goal with this Whole30 was to TRULY make a lifestyle change. As a lot of people like to say, an 80/20 paleo lifestyle. To me, this means choosing paleo meals 80% of the time, and occasionally working in something like popcorn, wine, a piece of pizza, or some cheese. And the biggest challenge in this, for me, is to not make it a big deal in my head. Like, I’m choosing salad instead of a sandwich: no biggie! I’m skipping fries tonight: no biggie! The no biggie mindset will be a huge accomplishment for me.

A few of my favorite new recipes from this time around include:

Mexican Cauliflower Rice

Turkey Meatballs and Crock Pot Marinara

Deviled Eggs & Bacon Wrapped Pineapple

Salmon Cakes

A Whole Chicken in the Crock Pot

Have you done a second Whole30? How did you feel?