Sustainability

You want to get fit; and you mean it this time, so you clear all the junk out of your pantry and get a sitter so you can meal prep for six hours on a Sunday. You hire a trainer and commit to 5x/week. You eat chicken breast basted in filtered water, quinoa and steamed broccoli for dinner  e v e r y    n i g h t   for a week and a half.

Your results don’t come fast enough, so you…

quit.

It took you three, ten, thirty years to get out of shape, but you want to transform in two weeks.

If you can relate to this scenario, you’re not alone. So can most of my clients. Here’s what I teach them: sustainability.

A common characteristic of my clients who struggle the most is that they are “all or nothing” types. Extremists. They work out 7x/week, eat kale and ice chips…or they binge all night long and don’t step foot in the gym for months. I’m guessing they behave this way in other aspects of life too–relationally, financially, spiritually.

Perfection, though alluring, is not sustainable. It is much healthier to be “really good” in the long term than to be “perfect” in the short term. This means you’ve got to find balance and pray for self-discipline. Small, seemingly insignificant good choices yield massive results when compounded over time (The Slight Edge). Time is the main ingredient; the secret sauce. There are no short cuts for lasting health. effort-consistency-time

My Secrets for Sustainable Healthy Living:

  • Find recipes you look forward to–that you salivate over–so you’re not tempted to go out every night, “cheat,” or order pizza. No one can eat bland chicken, rice and steamed broccoli every night and enjoy their life. This means you should try new foods you’re not familiar with. You just might LOVE THEM if prepared properly. Eat REAL FOOD! Not chemicals, processed crap and genetically modified junk.
    • (If you need help here, click on my Online Training tab and order some recipes from me. If you have my cell phone number and we’re friends, text me and I’ll send you a few of our favorites.)DSC_0010-2-850x563
  • Hire a professional. A good nutritionist or personal trainer just may be the best investment you’ll ever make.
  • Get your spouse (or a close friend or family member) involved.
    • Look them in the eye and tell them you’re ready for change and you can’t do it without their help. Go to the doctor together and hear it from a physician. Remind them you’re a team. You’re better together. Set goals. Make it a family competition if that motivates you. IMG_7143
  • It’s easier to maintain a healthy habit than to start and stop.
    • Think about the dishes. What if you left dirty dishes balancing in the sink and spilling up onto the countertops all week long…then spent several hours washing and drying them all on Sundays. Your kitchen would stink, you’d have fruit flies (sick out!); you couldn’t invite anyone over for embarrassment. Wouldn’t you just dread Sundays?! The same is true of exercise and proper nutrition. tumblr_inline_n5baj7ZV1H1qbj2nm
  • Schedule your exercise, preferably before, during, or after work. Don’t go home first…you won’t want to come back to the gym. Put it in your calendar and set alerts.
    • Attend a group fitness class.
    • Train with a personal trainer at the same times weekly. I’d love to have you in one of my small groups at Sky! I’m currently booked for private training.
    • Set an appointment with yourself to workout at home. Put all distractions away; give yourself 15-30 minutes while the kids nap or once they’ve gone to sleep. 82a47d4ed769fc2f12770c83b6313016
  • Develop a “why,” a reason to invest in your health–one that gets you out of bed in the morning. If you’re a mom or dad, you’ve found your reason.img_3803
  • Find some products you LOVE. This will give you a few “go-to’s” when you’re tempted to choose something unhealthy or when you’re not prepared.
    • Here are a few of my favorites (we’re never without them):
      • Arbonne’s vegan protein powder (daily breakfast shakes, homemade protein bars)chocvan
      • Green apples (lowest glycemic index) with MaraNatha almond butter
      • Quinn Rosemary and Parmesan natural popcorn
      • KiZe Cocoa protein bars for me, Clif bars for Joeycoco_3cbb6e14793f226eea7d2220a2e68abe
      • Arbonne’s energy fizz sticks (My fav are pomegranate. Joey’s are the citrus.)
      • La Croix (Cerise Limon flavor) sparkling water
      • Terra sweet potato chips
      • Whole Foods hummus
      • Onyx or Brandywine coffeeSugar_Skull_Bag_Pic_3-20-17_800x
      • Arbonne’s herbal detox tea with organic, local honey
      • Target’s Archer Farms raw almond 100 calorie packets

My hope and prayer is that the healthy habits you develop and the wholesome foods you enjoy become the way you live; your lifestyle. They are not for a bikini or a wedding or a competition, but for every day. There is no finish line.

Jesus warns us, The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10

Don’t allow unhealthy habits or inconsistency to rob you of life–life to the fullest.

The Cookie

I hate making salads. I order them at restaurants because I don’t like making them at home myself. I’m a lazy salad-maker. I hate all the veggie chopping and dressing mixing and lettuce washing.

Cooking, I enjoy. Baking, I love. I make a mean hot fudge pie, dark chocolate mousse I would bathe in (thank you, Bread and Wine), delicious chocolate cobbler, and pretty darn awesome chocolate chip cookies–if I do say so myself. Notice something? It’s not dessert to me unless it’s chocolate. Dark chocolate.

Pascha found a frozen roll of my cookie dough in the recesses of her freezer last night. She held it out to me like a kitten in cupped hands. Eyes wide, she said it was “like gold.” My brother, Chad, is working as a chaplain at Yellowstone National Park. I think he washes dishes and works the restaurant cash register or something during the week, but gets to preach on a deck overlooking Old Faithful on the weekends.

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He won’t settle down, marry and get a “real job” like the rest of us normal people. Instead he does cool things like guides Holy Land tours in Israel, teaches Bible courses at a camp in California , and road bikes in the Sequoyah National Forest. Boring. 😉

Mom said Chad has lost 10 pounds this summer because they don’t feed him much at Yellowstone. So this morning I baked him my famous Fluffy Chocolate Chip cookies, packaged them between wax paper and sent them off to Wyoming. Love you, Chad.

I’m going to share my thoughts about the perfect cookie.

First, let’s define what the “perfect cookie” is to me: soft, plump and a little gooey on the inside with a kiss of golden brown crunch on the outside. Fluffy. Not too buttery or sugary or salty. The perfect balance.

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If you like crunchy, flat cookies, you will hate these. Sorry.

My Secrets for the Perfect Cookie:

1. Butter matters. It should be set out on the counter for at least three hours so that it’s softened. Don’t even try to soften it in the microwave. That’s called melting. Melted butter makes for flat cookies. Cool, slightly soft butter makes for yummy cookies.

2. Corn starch makes cookies fluffy.

3. Buy good chocolate chips. Ina Garden is one of my favorite Food Network personalities. She says elitist foodie things like “use only good olive oil.” “Cook with good wine.” “Don’t ever use imitation vanilla extract.” But when it comes to chocolate, I agree with her. I buy Ghirardelli dark chocolate chips. Guittard are also fabulous. Dark chocolate contains fiber, minerals, antioxidants, lowers blood pressure and risk of heart disease and stimulates brain activity. Yes, please. If you don’t like dark chocolate, try mixing dark with milk or white chocolate to make it sweeter.

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4. Roll your dough into balls before baking. This makes them puffier.

5. Use an Air Bake pan. I see (and taste) a noticeable difference when I use an AirBake pan vs. a roasting or regular pizza/cookie pan. And eww…I don’t like the taste of baking stones.

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6. Put the dough in the fridge for about 5 minutes before baking.

7. Bake at 350 degrees for no longer than 10 min. (using my recipe below)

 

Recipe adapted from one I found on Pinterest. But I only use one stick of butter…can’t justify pulling TWO from the fridge. Sorry. I bake for 9 minutes exactly. Not 8. Not 10.

 

Take your rings off for dough rolling purposes.

Take your rings off for dough rolling purposes.

Yum. Freeze into a log for later or share with friends. You’re welcome.

Grilled Cheese, Andy Warhol and a Family Meeting

Hope you had the best Christmas with family and friends! Here’s a recap of ours:

Christmas Eve service Tuesday night. One of my favorites all year! Joey did a fantastic job leading worship.

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My charismatic boys can’t take a decent picture…

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cLast year we made the mistake of thinking we could pick up dinner after the service, but McDonald’s was the only place open. And we don’t do McDonald’s. So this year, I packed french onion grilled cheese sandwiches for the 4 hr. car ride to Arkansas.

Recipe: French Onion Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Ingredients:

1 yellow onion or 3-5 shallots, thinly sliced

1 T. butter or olive oil

¼ c. white wine (I used chardonnay)

1-2 loaves French bread (depending on how many sandwiches you want to make); We use wheat.

One block yummy, melty cheese (Gruyere, asiago or white cheddar are my favs for this recipe)

Sea salt, pepper and oregano to taste

Directions:

1. In a skillet over low-medium heat, cook onions in butter or oil until they are translucent. Once the onions get soft, add the white wine and seasonings and allow to caramelize.

2. While onions are cooking, grate about ¼ c. cheese per sandwich. Slice the french bread down the middle and lightly brush with butter.

3. In a separate pan (I use a grill pan), place slices of french bread, butter side down. Add grated cheese on top of one half. Then spoon caramelized onions on top of cheese.

4. Place other half of bread on top of sandwich and press down, flattening sandwich. Flip over carefully to brown both sides evenly. Sandwich is finished once cheese is melty and crispy on the sides. YUM!

It’s Christmas morning! We received way too much. It was so fun to watch Finn unwrap gifts this year. He’d exclaim in his sweetest little boy voice, “Wow!” or “Oh Boy!” to each gift’s reveal.

Nana made Finn a stocking to match the rest of us!

Nana made Finn a stocking to match the rest of us!

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Twins!

Twins!

Chad made Finn a wood burned plaque. Blessing indeed.

Chad made Finn a wood burned plaque. Blessing indeed.

Papa and Finn

Papa and Finn

After opening gifts, we had our traditional San Antonio breakfast: pork tamales, southwestern egg scramble and home fries. We love food in this family.

The boys play “Bomb Squad” using their iPhones as devices. The whole family plays Settlers, Quiddler, Wizard, and Taboo throughout the week.i

A few quiet moments on the dock with Jersey.w x photo 4

Too much food. Need some exercise and fresh air. Beautiful walk around the lake in Bella Vista. Saw schools of fish in the creek, a bald eagle, Canadian geese, and two herons.

Went to Crystal Bridges, Bentonville’s modern American Art Museum. This place is incredible! Free admission to the public sponsored by none other than Wal-Mart. They had a new Andy Warhol and gave out bottles of Coca-Cola in its honor.photo 5

One of my parents’ gifts to Joey and I was a night away at their favorite hotel, 21c Museum Hotel, in Bentonville. (New blog post to come on this trip!…seriously one of the coolest places I’ve stayed).l

Today we had a “family meeting.” This was Chad’s idea. He’s like a wise old 76 year old in a 26 year old body. We discussed what we want our family to be about. What kind of people we want to be…to the world and to each other. Here’s what we came up with:

Intentional time together, Fun–games, cards, puzzles, etc., Service–every holiday, we’re going to do a service project of some sort together, Prayer–spending the time we are apart praying for one another, Fitness–staying active as a family: hikes, long walks, swimming, etc., and Honesty–something my family doesn’t particularly struggle with…sometimes we’re too honest with each other.

I’m just so grateful for these people in my life. I believe family is the foundation upon which we build our everyday lives. Whether yours is particularly good or not-so-good, I think we can all be building (or rebuilding, recreating) healthy family relationships…inching us closer to becoming healthy human beings.

Blessings to you.