Finding Grace #70

I love giving God a shout out for what He has done. We don’t do that nearly enough!

You may have seen the acronym GRACE as God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense. Grace is also God’s unmerited favor, or God doing for us what we cannot.

I find grace overflowing in God’s love, joy, peace, blessings, mercy, power, provision, protection, and wisdom. Thank You, Jesus!

 Where did I find God’s love and favor—His abundant grace—this week?

This was an exciting week! In addition to work and our normal activities, I met with two amazing couples from church. We had great conversations related to the class I facilitate as a volunteer. It’s always fun to learn how God made us and how we “fit” with everyone else!

A friend posted online seeking help for a swarm of honeybees. I suggested she call a local beekeeper to come get them. Thankfully, the swarm was captured and found a new happy home. It reminded me of my beekeeping years (and also the hard work involved in managing several hives!).

Tuesday was Independence Day. Lydia and I enjoyed a relaxing day and later celebrated our freedoms with neighbors, dinner, s’mores, a campfire, and fireworks. We watched a beautiful sunset, made even more awesome by a storm passing through. The lightning made a great backdrop for the fireworks!

Now that Lydia is good at riding her bike, I want to take rides together. I haven’t ridden much for quite awhile, years really, since before she was born. My old bike was not a good fit, and it needed lots of work to make it rideable. So instead, I bought myself a new bike! It is a lot more comfortable and fits me well. Already, we’ve enjoyed several miles together! We’re ready for some great adventures!

As a foodie and Registered Dietitian, I always look for new foods to try. Today I enjoyed a farmer’s market and a new food co-op! I walked downtown Fargo this afternoon and enjoyed the warm, sunny day. I didn’t buy much, but did sample a few things. I did get a couple items for Lydia. At home, we tried a coconut-date roll (not bad) and an apple cider drink (it was interesting…but probably won’t buy again). Anyway, I am glad we tried something new! I also helped Lydia make strawberry-infused water. 🙂

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These are only a few examples, but God’s grace never runs out!

There’s grace in every situation we just need to look for it. God promises if we seek Him, we will find Him (see Jeremiah 29:13)!

Finding Grace #66

I love giving God a shout out for what He has done. We don’t do that nearly enough!

You may have seen the acronym GRACE as God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense. Grace is also God’s unmerited favor, or God doing for us what we cannot.

I find grace overflowing in God’s love, joy, peace, blessings, mercy, power, provision, protection, and wisdom. Thank You, Jesus!

 Where did I find God’s love and favorHis abundant gracethis week?

This week was good! I worked as usual, but also squeezed in an important (non-work) meeting in my car one day. I clocked out of work, drove around the block to find shade, and left my car running for the a/c while I made my phone call. I didn’t want to open my windows because the road construction nearby was stirring up a lot of dirt in the air. After my meeting, I drove back to work to finish out my day. I usually am home for that routine meeting, but didn’t have time to go home and come back. The things we do to make ends meet! Thankfully, no one really minded me talking for an hour in my car!

This week, Lydia attended Vacation Bible School. They talked about God making each of us for a purpose. Lydia enjoyed playing, singing, making art, and eating “really good” snacks. She had a great time and already has asked me to go again next year! 

I bought my first watermelon of the season this week. It was delicious, of course! One night at dinner, Lydia told me, “Mom, I’m feeling really loved because you’re giving me lots of watermelon.” I posted what she said on my social media page. A friend of mine hosts a morning radio talk show. She quoted Lydia, reminding us to savor the simple things of life. That was really cool! Later, I tossed some of the watermelon into a fruit salad with grapes, oranges, and strawberries. Yum!

Weather-wise, it’s been another warm week. Thankfully, the wind blew strong and it really didn’t feel too bad. We played with the neighbors on several days. Tonight, we ordered pizza with friends and ran outside to a local ice cream truck that was passing through our neighborhood. Always a fun treat!

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These are only a few examples, but God’s grace never runs out!

There’s grace in every situation we just need to look for it. God promises if we seek Him, we will find Him (see Jeremiah 29:13)!

Building Solid Habits

I heard a report this week saying that most people have already given up on their goals and resolutions for the year. Only three weeks in, old habits are creeping back in. I get it. I have been tempted to give up too!

For me, my only real goal was to get up earlier. And on a couple occasions, even that has been a struggle! 🙂 As such, I’ve also had to make a commitment to go to bed earlier…

One thing is clear: I can’t have a strong commitment without a strong conviction.

A few years ago, I joined a group called HelloMornings. I love the idea of waking up FOR your kids, instead of waking up TO your kids. Of course, even without kids, you can wake up early for other awesome reasons!

This year, I decided to step it up with the HelloMornings ‘3 Minute Morning’ challenge to help me rebuild my morning habit. I used to be good at this, but over time the habit, like many others, has fallen by the wayside.

I have been waking up early to get a few key things done before Lydia wakes up. I typically do light exercise while listening to the One Year Bible (via the YouVersion app on my phone). Then, I stretch or do yoga, followed by coffee with Jesus. I use that time to journal, read, pray, and power up my day.

Pretty simple, yet rewarding!

I enjoy each of these tasks and have done them successfully over the years. But, I haven’t done them in this order…or all in the morning! Still, I am finding my day goes much better when I do those things first.

Basically, I get as far along in that routine as I can before Lydia joins me. Then, I finish up and get her breakfast. It’s a work-in-progress, sure! And, it will have to be flexible enough to survive all the bumps of daily life.

But, I am enjoying the routine so far…and the quiet “thinking time” too! Eventually, I’d like to work on a few other goals as well before the day gets away from me. Though, if I try to start too many things up at once, I won’t be able to maintain any of them.

Yes, even rebuilding habits can be difficult at times. Maybe you have had a couple make-or-break moments, too. Remember, God is your Sustainer. He will help you fulfill all of His plans, if you seek Him first.

Many people set new goals for food or fitness in the new year. These types of goals can be difficult to maintain because it can take awhile to see results.

So, as a Registered Dietitian, I want to encourage you to keep it up!

Here are a few of my favorite websites to help with any nutrition goals you may have.

(FYI: There are no affiliate links…I don’t earn any money off these sites.)

I find it helpful to track the foods you eat on a daily basis. It’s like giving yourself credit for what you are doing right! Or, if you are making changes, it’s good to see the impact of your choices so you can self-correct. Check out MyFitnessPal and Nutrition Data.

For meal planning help, check out Plan to Eat and Eat Real America. (These are paid membership sites…though they do have great free trials).

If you are trying to eat more fruits and veggies, you gotta check out Inspiralized.com  and Fruits and Veggies More Matters (I can’t get enough of these two!)

If you have an Instant Pot, check out Pressure Cooking TodayHip Pressure Cooking, and This Old Gal. Lots of good recipes!

If you love chocolate and other sweets (like me!!), but want to make healthier desserts, check out Chocolate Covered Katie. She has some main dishes too, as does Angela at Oh She Glows. (These ladies make some very creative vegan options…and I’m not even vegan!) 😉

If you want to get your kids cooking, check out these Kids in the Kitchen sites!

I also love just about anything by these dietitians: Zonya Foco or Dawn Jackson Blatner.

Clearly, I could spend all day perusing nutrition and foodie sites…the bright colors, recipes, and flavor combinations always capture my attention! 🙂 So this is certainly not an exhaustive list. But, hopefully it encourages you and helps you keep at your goals!

Let me know if I can help or pray for you!

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Father God, thank You for being my Sustainer. Thanks for Your strength as I make positive changes. Help me listen as You direct me. Give me courage as I walk this path with You! In Jesus’ Name, Amen

Questions: Do you have a nutrition-related goal? What is it? Do you have an early morning music playlist? (Please share…I could use some ideas!)

Tasks: Pray when tempted to stray off your new habit. Use a journal to record your thoughts and emotions…see if you can detect a pattern in relationship to your new habit. Ask a friend to keep you accountable.

Finding Grace #40

I love the concept of giving God a shout out for what He has done.

We don’t do that nearly enough!

You may have seen the acronym GRACE as “God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.” Grace is also God’s unmerited favor, or God doing for us what we cannot. I find grace overflowing in God’s love, joy, peace, blessings, mercy, power, provision, protection, and wisdom. Thank You, Jesus!

Where did I find God’s love and favor—His abundant grace—this week?

  • We welcomed full-blown winter weather this week! We had a blizzard on Tuesday, which meant an unexpected snow day for us. A blizzard on the Great Plains does not necessarily mean tons of snow. It has more to do with the lack of visibility. Because of that, Lydia’s school was closed and I worked from home.  It felt like an ‘extra’ day, so that was fun! Later, I shoveled and used my snow blower to clear the snow drifts!
  • I had several good one-on-ones with people. During one meeting, I received meaningful feedback regarding a personal project. And, then a new friend came over to visit. She and I discovered we were quite alike, so that was so much fun!
  • My neighbor offered to help me put up our large Christmas tree. It has been in the closet for at least 5 years, mainly because it was physically and emotionally challenging to put it up on my own. This year, Christmas feels joyful as I see everything through Lydia’s eyes. So, I am so grateful my neighbor encouraged me and helped me set it up on Thursday! We also ate homemade cheesecake, sot that really ‘helped’!
  • This weekend, Lydia and I have been enjoying holiday traditions, such as watching Christmas movies and listening to seasonal music. Tonight, we attended a Christmas program at church. It was fun to see all the kids use their God-given gifts (singing, dancing, and playing instruments). Maybe Lydia will be up their next year or so!

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These are only a few examples, but God’s grace never runs out!

There’s grace in every situation—we just need to look for it. God promises if we seek Him, we will find Him (see Jeremiah 29:13)!

Where did YOU see or experience God’s grace this week?

Finding Grace #34

I love the concept of giving God a shout out for what He has done.

We don’t do that nearly enough!

You may have seen the acronym GRACE as “God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.” Grace is also God’s unmerited favor, or God doing for us what we cannot. I find grace overflowing in God’s love, joy, peace, blessings, mercy, power, provision, protection, and wisdom. Thank You, Jesus!

fall-scene

Where did I find God’s love and favor—His abundant grace—this week?

  • It’s been a relatively relaxing week, so Lydia and I have done special activities throughout the week. We’ve enjoyed watching the World Series, and I’ve been trying to teach Lydia about baseball. In the kitchen we made a few new recipes, including butternut squash noodles and arugula pesto. Yum! On Wednesday, she dressed up as a rocker-princess (or something like that!) for a kids’ party at church. We played and chatted with neighbors outside. Then today, we practiced roller-blading in the garage and rode on a Ferris wheel at Scheels (a large outdoors store, with other fun family activities). We might make cookies tonight during the next Cubs game 🙂
  • On Wednesday, I joined a class at church, studying a DVD series by Dr. Caroline Leaf. She’s a cognitive neuroscientist (aka brain researcher) and the information she shared was quite fascinating. I was in awe at the science showing how the human brain works. To think most of us use less than 1% of our brain, but we have millions of years of potential brain “storage”…it’s compelling if you consider we have all of eternity to praise God and know Him!
  • Otherwise, it was an insightful week for me. There were a couple of days where God showed me some not-so-pleasant areas where I need to grow change. Yet, in His grace, each time when I felt convicted of a bad attitude, etc., He showed me mercy and love. All throughout the week, I received well-timed hugs, phone calls, texts, and cards in the mail. I even received amazing pumpkin bars, homemade salsa and applesauce, as well as garden veggies from my neighbor and her mom. (Thanks!!) Instead of feeling discouraged, I felt loved—thankful that the Lord cares so much about me to gently correct me and help me move forward to Victory.

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These are only a few examples, but God’s grace never runs out!

There’s grace in every situation—we just need to look for it. God promises if we seek Him, we will find Him (see Jeremiah 29:13)!

Where did YOU see or experience God’s grace this week?

Finding Grace #31

I love the concept of giving God a shout out for what He has done.

We don’t do that nearly enough!

You may have seen the acronym GRACE as “God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.” Grace is also God’s unmerited favor, or God doing for us what we cannot. I find grace overflowing in God’s love, joy, peace, blessings, mercy, power, provision, protection, and wisdom. Thank You, Jesus!

frozen-yogurt

Where did I find God’s love and favor—His abundant grace—this week?

  • This week was more restful than expected! I still completed most of my normal activities, but for some reason it felt easier. I think it was primarily God’s grace and faithfulness pulling me through, because I certainly didn’t finish everything on my own! In fact, I postponed a few activities and am catching up on them today.
  • Instead of completing my to-do list each day, I simply did my best before putting it aside. Then, I relaxed by watching a movie with Lydia, accepting an impromptu dinner with some neighbors, reading some books for fun, and practicing some yoga.
  • Throughout the week, I felt God rearranging a few of the tasks…and some ended up not needing to be done after all. If I had rushed ahead to finish these items, I would have been frustrated to do the work for nothing. Thankfully, I let Jesus set the pace, which meant more peace for me!
  • Lydia’s preschool is across the river into Minnesota. This means a little longer drive and more refueling for me! It’s been chilly at the gas pump lately! But, the trade-off is that I am enjoying sunny skies and beautiful fall colors in red, yellow, and orange foliage along the highway!
  • In other news, it took two weeks for Lydia to get enough ‘tokens’ on her chore chart to beat her previous score….but we went out to celebrate with frozen yogurt this weekend! She’s had a better attitude (most days) and is eager to help around the house. Praise God we didn’t have to go another week because she might have lost some steam! 🙂

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These are only a few examples, but God’s grace never runs out!

There’s grace in every situation—we just need to look for it. God promises if we seek Him, we will find Him (see Jeremiah 29:13)!

Where did YOU see or experience God’s grace this week?

Gardens: Growing in Grace

Do you have a garden? I was considering the pros and cons of a garden this year. Though, after buying trees last week, routine car maintenance, and a few other expenses coming up, I decided to re-evaluate next spring. I could probably still do a small container garden, but the planting season is nearly over now.

But if I had a garden, I would plant leafy greens (such as kale, spinach, or lettuce), peppers, onions, and green beans, for sure! I could also grow zucchini and use it in my spiralizer. I love fresh garden tomatoes, but I haven’t had the best of luck in recent years!

tomatoes

There are many different kinds of gardens (vegetables, fruits, herbs, flowers). Besides several flower gardens, my parents re-purposed some old tractor tires to make a raised garden for tomatoes. They also have large pots of basil, rosemary, and oregano. Like a colorful oasis, it always feels like a retreat to go back and visit!

Perhaps it’s good for me to wait a year and see what size garden is practical to maintain! In the past, I had a CSA membership… and I always enjoy visiting our local farmers’ markets. Last year, the grass in my yard needed help. This year, I’ll focus on my new trees. Maybe I just enjoy playing in the dirt, but I love how gardening connects us back to the earth!

grapes

From Eden to Gethsemane, it seems God has a special way with gardens.

He plants us in just the right “soil” environment so that we can grow. For each of us, those circumstances are different. You may be going through an exciting time of growth, or a personal trial to refine you. Whether in a lush garden or a desolate desert, stay rooted in the Lord. Don’t give up hope! Drink in the water of His Word. He is faithful.

Jesus promises if we abide in Him, we will bear much fruit. Having fruitful lives is inevitable—if we remain close to Jesus (see John 15:1-17). We cannot bear fruit on our own.

Pruning isn’t fun, but take heart. It’s a good indicator that God is indeed working! In the process, the dead is removed and new life begins. Let Him do the work He needs to do in your life. He is the Master Gardener.

Galatians 5_22-23 with peaches

As evident in the verses above, the Holy Spirit plants seeds in our lives. Though if you look again, GRACE is not listed as a fruit of the Holy Spirit. Why is that?

Could it be grace is like His warm sunshine? Like sunshine, His grace is always present. Even when we cannot see it or understand it. Spiritual fruit grows in the midst of God’s grace. Growth is not easy, but is always for our good. So, rest in Him with quiet trust.

By yielding to the Holy Spirit’s process and receiving God’s grace, we are changed from the inside out!

vegetables

If you think about it, we also plant seeds in the lives of those around us. As we work together, we help each other grow and cultivate good fruit. What a blessing!

 If we are growing in grace, people around us should notice. “I can see the joy on your face!” or “I appreciated your patience with me.” or “That was so kind of you to help me.”

Life is difficult at times—but God’s grace empowers us to live victoriously. Let’s offer His support to one another. And, hold on tight for some “miracle growth!”

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Father God, thanks for Your grace that brings growth in our lives. Holy Spirit, work in us with Your power that we may bear fruit. Help us when the growth process is challenging. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Questions: What are your favorite items to plant? Do you see increasing amounts of spiritual fruit in your life (Galatians 5:22-23)?

Let me know in the comments below!

In With the New

My mom and I were on the phone recently, and we had a great conversation. Always my biggest fan, I count on what she says. Mom mentioned how much I have changed these last few years. She said, “This may not be the right word, but you’re not as uptight now!”

I got a good laugh out of that…you know it’s true if you don’t even mind when someone says it! I couldn’t agree more. And, I am so glad my mom and others have noticed!

2 Corinthians 5_17

Later, after some self-reflection and prayer, I retook an online personality test.

You can take your own short test here—I’d love to know your results!

I previously took this same test a year or so before Dave died. Some results were accurate, but others left me with questions I couldn’t resolve. This time, I was able to think of specific instances for each question. Some areas scored the same as before, validating my strengths. Just as I suspected, I received a completely different score for the final area.

I’m cautious to place too much value on “results.” But God showed me so much about myself! My doubts were cleared up when I realized the new results were a much better fit.

Now I have explanations for traits I wanted to overlook. I didn’t fully understand them before and considered them weaknesses. Now I can acknowledge them and use that information more effectively. What a relief as I switched my perspective. 

Psalm 139_14

At first, I didn’t know if I should laugh with joy or cry with gratitude at the new results. I love seeing myself in a fresh way. I think I was always meant to be this way because it feels so natural! It just took me a long time to get to a place where I could appreciate it.

Looking back, I think part of the tension from over-planning and perfectionism came from pushing myself to function in ways that were never my strengths. Wow.

Over the last few years, I have planned less and ‘flowed’ more. My stress levels have decreased as I have put less pressure on myself to do things ‘just so.’ I have learned to set better boundaries, say ‘no,’ and schedule downtime to avoid burnout.

Sometimes we need a shift in our thinking. Sometimes we need to do things differently. Sometimes we need to do both!

For example, I love cooking and trying new foods. However, I can easily get stuck making the same things. Even as a dietitian, it can be challenging to regularly think of innovative food options. With fresh summer produce just around the corner, let me tell you about one of my favorite foodie findsa spiralizer. It has brought new life to my cooking routine!

spiralizer

A spiralizer makes spiral cuts on your favorite fruits and veggies. It can make noodles or other shapes and is a lot of fun! I use this one (pictured) from Amazon. No affiliate links. I’m not earning any money off this postI just really like my spiralizer! 🙂

I have enjoyed making new dishes since I bought mine last year. My creativity flows while cooking and I enjoy the freedom that comes with God’s grace!

My favorite items to spiralize include apples, beets, carrots and zucchini noodles.

The first time I used my spiralizer, it was early afternoon and we had not eaten lunch yet. Excitedly, I spiralized some apples. Lydia started shoving them in her mouth! Realizing she was over-hungry, I melted some peanut butter on top and Lydia devoured them.

I love beets, though I recommend using gloves when handling them. I often purchase them already cooked. After spiralizing the cooked beets, I add a balsamic vinegar reduction, goat or feta cheese, and few chopped walnuts. Yum!

Carrot Noodles

Carrots (above) are so pretty when spiralized! I’ve added Alfredo sauce to Lydia’s carrot noodles and chicken with peanut sauce to mine. I have thrown them in with other dishes to jazz up leftovers during the week, too.

Zucchini is a great all-around vegetable. It’s versatile and can be used instead of pasta noodles. Or, you can chop the “noodles” to make something else, like muffins.

If you’re interested, Ali at Inspiralized.com has a great website. She has tons of recipes and tutorials for your favorite veggies. She used the same spiralizer from Amazon until she decided to design her own. I have not tried that one, but you might check it out!

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God, You are so patient and wise. You have made us wonderfully complex! Thanks for Your grace and love as You work in our lives. In Jesus’ Name, Amen

Questions: Have you ever taken a personality test? What is your favorite kitchen gadget? Let me know in the comments section!

Peaches, Sno-Cones, and Unexpected Grace

Peaches are loaded with nutrients, like potassium, and Vitamins A and C. They are also a good source of fiber. And sno-cones? Ummm…Not so much! They are comprised of sugary syrup, and other not-so-great ingredients…

Now, I am not going to bash sno-cones, but as a dietitian I certainly don’t promote or recommend them. In fact, no real nutritional comparison can be made! So, why link them together with peaches? Because of grace.

 Peaches in a Basket

Peaches remind me of the grace that comes with hospitality. My neighbor, Melissa, lives across the street. She recently brought us some amazing, “juice-dripping-down-your-face” fresh peaches. Melissa had some extras, and didn’t want to waste them. So, she graciously shared them with us. It was totally unexpected, but so appreciated!

I could have made something out of the peaches, though we ended up eating them in all their fuzzy glory. They didn’t last long enough! Yum!

We’ve had great “neighbor-friends” over the years. To start, we’ve shared meals and good stories. Neighbors have helped with yard work and snow removal from time to time. Some have hung pictures or changed light bulbs around the house. They’ve watered my plants; checked the front door for packages; and kept an eye on the house when we travel. A few have even watched Lydia for me in a pinch.

I am so thankful for the help!

Sno-Cone

A few days after the peaches, Lydia and I came across a local park event. It was an outdoor craft fair with many family-friendly events. We enjoyed a horse and carriage ride, music in the park, and perusing the booths. And yes, Lydia had her first sno-cone.

Lydia was excited to be at the park, as it was a last minute decision after our original plans fell through. It was an impromptu event for us, but I realized something. Many of the best times we have are the unplanned, in-the-moment ones.

Part of the definition of grace is that it is undeserved. There is an element of surprise as well—like an unexpected bonus that yields something good that would have otherwise been missed. Grace is in the simple things we so often overlook.

Back to the sno-cone. Lydia didn’t do anything special to deserve it. I was savoring God’s goodness, and enjoying the unexpectedly beautiful and unhurried day. Buying the sno-cone was merely an extension of that.

(For the record, Lydia really wanted to slurp up the leftover liquid (not juice!) at the bottom of the sno-cone cup. But, I declined since she was wearing a white shirt, and I knew would make a mess… And of course, she didn’t need it anyway!) 🙂

Thank You, God, for unexpected grace. Thanks for wonderful neighbors and friends, delicious peaches, and even sno-cones to remind me of the beauty and joy You provide. Help me slow down and notice. In Jesus’ Name, Amen

Grace for Food Choices

We need a lot of grace when it comes to food. As a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN), I often work with people who are confused about what to eat. Nutrition is not rocket-science, though it has become more complicated than it needs to be.

People may wonder why I don’t discuss major nutrition concepts on my blog. While I may decide to share an occasional recipe, there are several reasons not to discuss nutrition here.

1. I am not a fan of unsolicited advice, and hence, I don’t like to provide it. If you would like some input on what you should eat, I will certainly point you in the right direction (and suggest you connect with an RDN who has access to your personal medical records).

2. It is unwise to assume everyone has the same needs or goals—or that we all need to eat the same foods. I prefer to make nutrition personal. As a professional, I tailor each session to the individual, helping each person reach their goals (which may differ from my goals from them). I may tell several people to eat the same type of food—but the amount, method of preparation, and timing might be different. So, it would be difficult to meet anyone’s goals while providing general statements on a blog.

3. Each food topic is complex. I could spend several pages discussing background, pros and cons, and possible solutions. I don’t have the time nor is that my intent for this blog.

4. Food trends change often in the food world. So, my post may not be relevant for long. This week cucumbers are good, next week they might be less desirable. (Fickle pickles!!) Research, politics and culture can cause change to happen overnight. For the most part, that is not interesting to me. But eating well is in season every day!

5. There are many nutrition myths, and in the length of my typical post, I probably won’t convince anyone to change their thinking. So, I’d prefer to focus on other things.

6. I will always love nutrition. But after Dave died, I took a huge step back. I have spent many years in healthcare. I have seen several worst case scenarios. During the year that Dave was sick, each of those worst case scenarios ALL seemed to manifest symptoms on Dave’s body. I was thankful to be able to advocate on his behalf. But, I lost my taste for it all, and it took some time for the passion to return.

7. I love teaching people how to eat well (in person) but here, I am happy to write about life, fun food facts and metaphors. I don’t need to add to all the confusion. I am focused on giving and living in grace!

Fruit baskets in marketplace

I will share just a few thoughts, however:

Good Foods vs Bad Foods
Foods do not have morals! They don’t provide a moral benefit upon consumption.

Example: I am not a good person if I eat an apple, nor a bad person if I eat chocolate cake. I think both are delicious, but on a deserted island, please give me the cake! Precisely because it has more calories, fat and flavor! 😉

I like to think of the health or nutritional benefits to each food and start there.

Fitness vs Health
First, they are not the same thing.

Second, you can be really fit and still be unhealthy (physically, mentally, emotionally, and/or spiritually).

Know the difference for you as an individual.

Organic vs Conventional, Whole vs Processed
These topics cause a lot of debate, which is not necessarily bad—but in my opinion that leads to more division and even hostility at times. Not cool…

By all means, please buy, prepare and eat the best quality food you can afford. But, don’t overspend your budget and go broke. Be healthy. Be realistic.

Read labels and make choices that meet your goals.

Eat in season, buy in bulk, clip coupons, get a crockpot, join a co-op…do whatever you can!

Food vs Supplements
I am a fan of food first, and then supplements if warranted. But once again, do what it takes to reach YOUR goals.

On Sugar, Fat, Cholesterol, Sodium, Moderate Protein, Low Carb, Low Fat, Vegetarian, Omnivore, etc
It is your responsibility to steward your health. If knowledge is power, prevention is key.

Food choices are one piece to the puzzle. Learn some solid cooking skills.

Eat a wide variety of foods–and eat what you like!

Food Journals and Fitness Trackers
Are they the end-all be-all of tools? No. Are they helpful? Yes, if used in the right context.

I love using both a food journal and a fitness tracker, as they provide helpful feedback and accountability. I may be a nerd…but I think they are fun! 🙂

Final Thoughts
One of my healthcare friends likes to say, “You’re a one-rat study. What works for you, might not work for the next person.”

Listen to your body. Know what makes YOU feel best. It may or may not match your initial beliefs. So be open to trial and error, change and new tastes.

Set goals for yourself, and revisit them on a regular basis.

Seek professional input as needed. Let me know if I can help. 🙂

**I may update or add to this down the road. But that’s it for now!**