A letter from me to YOU!

Today’s post is a letter I wrote to myself long ago that I thought I’d share with all of you.  I hope you’ll appreciate it for what it’s worth and perhaps take one little nugget of wisdom from it.

You should know that I wrote this to myself when I was really suffering with my fibromyalgia, feeling a little bloated, and really annoyed with my psoriasis.  I was already a Certified Health Coach and was feeling like a total failure for not having already “fixed” myself.  Since that time,….I’ve taken my own words to heart and seen wonderful results!

I pray that you will too! 😉

Dear Self,

What is a “diet”?

According to Miriam Webster, the definition of the word ‘diet’ is:

a :  food and drink regularly provided or consumed

b :  habitual nourishment

c :  the kind and amount of food prescribed for a person or animal for a special reason

d :  a regimen of eating and drinking sparingly so as to reduce one’s weight <going on a diet>

I hope you’ll notice that it isn’t until “d” where you see anything about ‘reducing one’s weight’.

“You go Miriam!” 😉

To me, a diet is “a” through “c”.  So please keep that in mind as you read.

Now,….

How do you know if you are choosing the right “diet” for YOU?

As a Certified Holistic Health Coach, let me assure you,….NO doctor, NO health coach, NO fitness trainer, NO ONE can tell you what diet is best for you except YOU!

How can that be?!  There are thousands of testimonies all over the internet of people who have achieved amazing (and instant) results and they look like models! Accept yourself.

Well, YOU know YOUR body BEST!

Every ‘expert’ on the planet can give you their theory as to which diet will work best for you, and they can speak to their own experience, but NOT ONE OF THEM can tell you which would work best for you!

Now, that is not to say that they might be right in their advice, but really, you need to try for yourself and learn to listen to your body.

What works for one person does not always work for another; even if their situations seem ‘exactly’ the same.

Yes, that means I am saying:

… “in order to LOSE weight, it is NOT as simple as ‘you must burn more calories that you take in’”

… “milk is NOT bad for everyone”

… “some people should eat carbs, and plenty of them”

…”EAT FAT,….LOTS of GOOD fat!!”

That also means that I am saying, “DO NOT take ONLY my word for it”.

Do your homework!

Be willing to make the time and if needed, sacrifice,  to get to know your body.  It’s an investment worth making! Love yourself.

Each and every one of us was created uniquely and perfectly, in order for each one of us to be exactly who we are.

Therefore, it is IMPOSSIBLE for all of us to follow the exact same diet and be the best ‘we’ can be.

My job as a Health Coach is to help you find out what works best, for YOU!  I use a combination of research, education, and experience to formulate and listen to what will work best for YOU! I do NOT know everything nor will I claim to know everything. There are many other wonderful health coaches out there, and guess what?!  They don’t know everything either! (If they claim a “one size fits all”,…RUN!)

You were not born instantaneously.  You were created and crafted, slowly and perfectly over a nine-month period.  Then, you were introduced to a big, beautiful, imperfect world.  BANG!  The perfect environment for your body was changed and affected by everything around it.

Therefore, you must be willing to put in time and effort, and a lot of patience and perseverance in order to achieve the health/results you are looking for. Don’t compare yourself.

There will be trials, errors, progress, regression, and lesson learned.  DON’T GIVE UP!

The body was created with perfect balance and due to all of the toxic things you’ve put into your body, exposed your body to, and things that couldn’t be avoided,….it’s going to take even longer to retrieve that balance that is right for you.

There certainly is a time and place for you to seek assistance.  Whether you choose medical help or holistic help, or a combination of the two, do it for YOU!

A few reminders:

1)      Be patient and don’t give up!

2)      Don’t expect instant results; you didn’t get where you are overnight.

3)      Stay active; challenge yourself.

4)      Don’t expect anyone to “know it all”.

5)      Have an open mind; LISTEN.

6)      This may take longer than you had hoped; focus on “progress”, not “perfection”.

7)      Opinion does not equal fact. (and everyone has an opinion!)

8)      Commit to change, not a trend.

9)      Accept yourself for who you are; being skinny does NOT equal being healthy!

10)   Be patient and DON’T GIVE UP!

Love, Me

**So readers, if you are feeling unhappy with your own body image, a skin condition, a food allergy, a food intolerance, side effects of antibiotics or anything else, please know that there is NO judgment here and I’m happy to help. 🙂

This is a place where you can consider me a resource for honest advice, and facts…..and not confuse the two!  ;)  And by the way,….I have yet to “fix” myself, but I have accepted myself,…a work in progress! 😉

Keepin’ it real,

Elena

“Our Daily Bread” (BEST recipe EVER!!)

While I greatly rely on the Word of God to be my daily sustenance for life, I too must nourish my body with healthy food.

Not sure about you, but I was raised on good ol’ white bread.

After I became a mother, I gave my first born children, good ol’ white bread.

As my spiritual life  grew, I learned so many new things, and began to make changes.

Believe it or not, my spiritual life changes included my food choices.

I began looking at what I was putting into my body, and my family’s, and realized that there were better choices out there.

I had learned that in the bible it clearly states, several times, that our bodies are temples bought with a price, and we are responsible for taking care of it.  It also speaks to the fact that we are to be good stewards of what we are given.

I realized that those statements included how I was caring for myself, physically and spiritually.

And so began my journey to health and wellness and my passion for educating others, hence my certification as a holistic health coach!  (Yes, I do private coaching.  No, I don’t know everything.)

If you’ve read some of my other posts or if you’ve known me long enough, you know that I believe in the “good”, “better”, “best” principle.    I believe that there is always room for improvement and BALANCE is key!

Back to the bread……..

I began feeding my family what I thought was ‘whole wheat bread’.  I later learned that it was not actually ‘whole wheat’ and what ‘enriched’ meant.  So, I knew, I needed to look for a “better” choice.

We then went to 100% whole wheat bread.

Soon after, I began trying to make it at home so that I could save money and more importantly, give my family a loaf of bread without any additives or preservatives.

I have soaked my flours, I have purchased whole grains and used my grinder to make the flour myself, I have tried multiple recipes and I’ve studied for hours………just about grains!   *did I mention that I have a tendency to go from one extreme to the other before I find balance?   (Hey, it’s all about learning and progress, not perfection!)  

Well anyway,…..the experience has paid off!

See, after all of that hoop-lah….. we learned that I, and some of our kiddos, have a gluten intolerance and I carry 3.5 of the 4 markers used for diagnosing Celiac disease.

So the process began, all. over. again.  *sigh*

But hey, if you stop learning, what fun is that?!

I started with purchasing gluten-free products.  I researched.  I bought grains. I make my own.

Today, thanks to the encouragement of my wonderful husband, who by the way, should get some kind of metal of honor for being the most loving ‘guinea pig’ on the planet for trying all of my recipes……….I’m sharing our favorite bread recipe.  I have to admit, while I’ve wanted to share it with y’all for a while, I wanted to make sure it was not going to be a recipe for cardboard.

It’s what we used daily.

I make it into sandwich bread, I modify it for rolls, I add different herbs and seasonings for  savory/sweet indulgences,….even my kiddos who can eat gluten, prefer this bread to any other!   (So I guess it really passes the test.)

Without further delay, here it is!  I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

Our Daily Bread

2 cups rice flour

1/2 cup potato starch

1/2 cup tapioca flour

2 1/2 teaspoons xanthan gum

2/3 cup powdered milk (not reconstituted)

1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt

3 Tablespoons sugar (I use organic cane sugar)

1 1/2 Tablespoons yeast

2 cups warm water (FYI–if you are doubling this recipe, I have found that 5 cups of water is needed)

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar ( I use Bragg’s)

3 whole eggs

*Mix all of your dry ingredients into a large bowl.

*Add your wet ingredients and incorporate well.  It will “batter-like”.  (this is the point I will add things like minced onion, herbs, cinnamon, dehydrated veggies, grated cheese, etc. to change the flavor of the bread depending on what I’m using it for)

*Place dough in your greased bread pan (OR ‘plop’ scoops onto parchment paper lined baking sheets for rolls) and bake for 35 minutes at 350 degrees. **that could vary a bit depending on how your oven bakes**

That’s it!

I hope you enjoy this versatile recipe as much as we do!  AND…..I hope you’ll tell me what fun things you do with it to “change it up”!

~By the way, I have also been eating less and less grains in an attempt to heal my body further from a few minor issues.  If you are interested in seeing my “grain-free” bread recipe, I’ll be posting that in the near future too.

Keepin’ it real,

Elena

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2014 IS A HAPPY NEW YEAR !!!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

What a great gift to be able to begin a new year and a new adventure!

I mean really, isn’t every day a new adventure?

GERMANY-ZOO-BEAR

As with every new year, I see and hear about everyone’s New Year’s Resolutions, and I decide NOT to make one.

I’m more of a “goal setter” as oppose to a “resolution maker”.

I believe in always looking at situations and going with the “good, better, best” option choices.

So, in evaluating 2013 and deciding what went well, what I’d like to do better, and what are my best options,….I’ve come up with this “word picture” for my new year goal setting.

Wordle: 2014blogchoice

While it may appear a little chaotic, that’s sort of the point.

See, life isn’t always neat.  In fact, if you’ve had any experiences like I have, you can agree with me that life is actually quite messy.

But despite the mess and chaos, there is GOOD STUFF! 😉

And that is how I developed my thoughts into my word collage.

The roots to my life’s tree are:

INTENTIONAL

PURPOSEFUL

THOUGHTFUL

The branches on that tree that come from the roots are:

Parenting

Living

Learning

Sharing

Loving

Eating

Writing

The things that I hope to blossom from my branches are my words in action!

Like this…..

I want to focus this year on being INTENTIONAL, THOUGHTFUL, and PURPOSEFUL in all that I do and say.

I want my actions to reveal my heart and my faith in Jesus to be shown through my Parenting, Living, Learning, Sharing, Loving, Eating (stewardship of my body), and my Writing.

Mother Teresa of Calcutta once said, “Faith in action is LOVE~ Love in action is SERVICE”.  Since I see my role here on earth as a servant of the Most High, and I love serving my family and friends, AND since I love writing and offering encouragement to others,…..I figured that my word collage summed it up pretty well!

As I was sharing my heart with my husband for the new year, and what I believe God has shown me and is asking of me,……we got into a great conversation about how my “word picture” is like a wrapping paper to the gift of life I’ve been given.

I hope you’ll find my focus this year an invaluable resource this year and you’ll share my blog with others.

Keepin’ it real,

smile ~Elena

Fall and Giving Thanks…..Part 1

give thanks 2

It’s that time again…..

The leaves have changed color, the air is cool and crisp, and I will get to see my college kiddos soon!  J

Fall is my all-time FAVORITE season!  Maybe it’s because I don’t really recall autumn breezes and scents like I have here in New England from my childhood.  I tease and tell my friends that growing up in South Texas, we had 2 seasons, HOT and HOTTER!😉

After marrying the man of my dreams and moving in to the beautiful mountains of New Hampshire, I’ve come to appreciate all the seasons have to offer. Yes, including the snow.  Okay…..usually …. Okay ….. I try to.

I can’t lie,….the length of winter is what gets me.  By March 1, I’m ready for spring planting, spring colors, and FLIP FLOPS!

Anyway, let’s live in this moment and enjoy today.🙂

So, what are the things I love most about fall?

1)      The smells.  Mmmmm…..cinnamon, pumpkin bread, wood stoves burning, and apple cider.

2)      The comfort foods.  Warm and stick-to-your ribs kind of foods.

3)      Shopping.  I get so excited to shop for everyone I love! Four of our 8 children have fall birthdays, and then there’s Christmas with two more children’s birthdays to follow.

4)      Snuggle time!  Our family loves to gather around the fireplace on a cool evening and hang out together.

5)      The spirit.  People are generally pretty happy.  Whether it’s because they didn’t like the summer heat or that they’re excited for the snow to come.  And of course,….Thanksgiving is upon us!

My all-time-favorite holiday is Thanksgiving!

I love cooking!  And I love cooking for LOTS of people!

If you read the calendar in my kitchen, you’ll see in BIG letters,…..”Full house=full heart”.

Now, cooking a feast like the one I’m preparing has it’s challenges.

Last year was our first year to have a gluten-free Thanksgiving.

This year, well, this year, will be gluten-free for sure, but it will be my first grain-free Thanksgiving!

Despite the fact that I will really have to work at making my Grandmother’s “famous” Dressing grain-free, I have a lot to be thankful for!   Wait, what’s that?  You don’t know what “dressing” is?   Well, that’s what folks from the South (that’s me!) call “stuffing”.  No offense to stuffing, or y’all from the North, but, I like dressing better.  Besides, I’d like to think I’m “dressing” up my meal, not, “stuffing” my waist line.😉

So, I’m off to work on my recipes!

I hope y’all haven’t forgotten about the bundle sale going on right now, it’s only available for a limited time!  *If you don’t know what I’m talkin’ about,…..here ya go!

ultimate-bundles-homepage

buy-now-button-RED

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Keepin’ it real,

Elena  :)

The ULTIMATE Opportunity!

I am so excited to share with you today, The Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle!

By the way, this bundle has more than just books!  So don’t stop reading yet!!!   This bundle has offers you won’t find anywhere else!

Grab your cup of coffee (or your kombucha) and pull up a seat!   I’ve got something to share with you and y’all are going to love it!

ultimate-bundles-homepage

Are you an ebook fanatic?  (Then THIS is perfect for YOU!)

Are you the kind of person who is very careful about how and where you spend your money?  (Then THIS is perfect for YOU!)

Do you ever wonder why things have to cost so much and if you could do it for less?  (Then THIS is perfect for YOU!)

Do you find yourself thinking, “How do they do that”?  (Then THIS is perfect for YOU!)

The Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle is more than just a virtual pile of books for pennies on the dollar! Although, truth be told, ebooks are easy to store, inexpensive, easy to transport  (laptop, tablet, iPhone, kindle….), they’re eco-friendly, and did you know that you can give them as gifts?!   Oh yeah baby!!

This bundle is full of information, yummy recipes, tips and solutions, creativity, discounts and deals, FREEBIES and offers the perfect opportunity to jump start your holiday season with healthy living!

You will get a FREE conference, 86 ebooks, AND $150 in FREE bonuses!!! 

ALL FOR JUST $29.97!!!!!

 

Hello!!!???!!

Where else can you get a deal like that!?!

Now, you may be thinking,…. “86 ebooks?! Who needs 86 ebooks?”  Well, you might not right now, but remember, you can give them away or just tuck them away.  I don’t know about you, but over the years, my life has changed more than I can count.

So while you may not need them all right now, it sure would be nice to have it if you need it!  ;)

Take a look!

1 HL skin care  1 HL real whole food  1 HL meal pre  1 HL allergy free      1 HL health concerns  1 HL healthy lifestyle

1 HL natural health  1 HL green

THIS IS AN INCREDIBLE DEAL!!

buy now

Not only will you save money upon purchase, but you will save money for years to come!

With priceless information about sustainability, natural health, kids, fitness, and living a healthy lifestyle, you just can’t go wrong!

Let’s face it…..

There are a lot of things in life we cannot control.  We’d like to think we can, but the truth is, we can’t.

But, we CAN do one thing, take responsibility.  As we take responsibility for our own health, for the health of those we love and care about, we can feel good at the end of the day about doing our best.

As I have gone through the journey of life and learning to live with psoriasis, acne, gluten intolerances, weight issues,….I’ve learned one thing.

I DON’T have to live with it, and neither do you!

Don’t give up!

That’s how I ended up going to school to be a Certified Holistic Health Coach.  I wanted more than just to help myself, I want to help others.

Just like you.  🙂

So, here’s the deal.

Check out this amazing deal, I mean really look over the bookshelves, and I guarantee you won’t be sorry.  But don’t take too long to decide to take advantage of this deal, because it doesn’t last long!

AND,….don’t forget about the bonuses!!

bonus offers

The sale runs only from November 4 – November 9!

Have questions? We’ve created a very detailed FAQ page with information about how downloads work, how to store your ebooks safely, how bonus offer redemption works, and much more. We’ve even added videos tutorials to talk you through some of the technical aspects step-by-step!

The fine print is also important. You can see that here.

Keepin’ it real,

Elena  😉

 

**If you run into any problems at all when purchasing, please let me know.  There are many of us involved in this and the system can get bogged down.  ;)  Thanks!

Disclosure: This post includes affiliate links, and I will earn a commission for each sale purchased through my links which allows me to keep this site running and offer giveaways. Thank you for your support of this site!

A book review and GIVEAWAY!

Happy Weekend Y’all!

Recently I read one of the greatest nutrition resource books!  It is sensible, easy-to-read, practical, adaptable, and humorous.

The title would make you think that A) You have to be a woman to want to read it, and B) You have to be interested in losing weight.  But I’m here to tell you that it is not the case!

The title, Trim and Healthy Mama, simply tells you about the authors.  They are both trim and healthy Mamas!  ;)  They talk about their journeys with food and share a wealth of information.  (www.trimhealthymama.com)

Here’s an excerpt:

One Size Does Not Fit All

This Trim Healthy Mama approach is fluid. It moulds easily to all personalities. It’s not only for

women who are able to resist junk food and naturally have a lot of will power. You don’t have to

be a scratch cook or a granola mom. In fact, if food is your weakness, that’s okay. If you’re the

indulgent type, it’s a good thing, because many of the meals we want you to eat are designed

to be just that—indulgent.

We want to help you customize your own way of eating that works for you and your family.

We don’t agree with stringent food programs you can never vary. As sisters, we have very different

personalities. Our households run differently, and while our core eating philosophy is the

same, we’re not identical twins when it comes to food.

I love that!

My philosophy on food has always been to find balance for yourself.

What works for one person just might be the death of another!

Research!  Seriously, do the work!  Don’t depend on Jenny Craig, Vegetarians, or anyone else to do the research for you and just assume it’s going to work for you.  (And then get upset when it doesn’t!)

Read.  Dig. Search.

It’s your body.  You know it best.  Listen to it!

Here’s another tidbit from the book:

A carb conscious approach to food, rather than a constant low-carb diet, is crucial to long

term health because most of us cannot constantly live on a very low-carb diet and remain

healthy. It is not long before glycogen (stored glucose in the liver and muscles) becomes

depleted and stays that way. This can lead to a lack of energy. Also, long term, very low-carb

diets can sometimes lead to other complications like a more sluggish thyroid and metabolism.

This is why our plan works. We promote an inclusive diet, rather than an exclusive one. It

includes all three essential macronutrients—fats proteins and carbs, even certain amounts of

starchy carbs. We can enjoy all three and stay slim.

Well I don’t know about you, but they got me at “inclusive”.

I don’t like feeling deprived.

I like feeling healthy!

And I’d like to add, SKINNY does NOT equal HEALTHY!

In addition,….

This book contains some FABULOUS recipes!

It accommodates food intolerances and offers resources.  The recipes include everything from breakfast eggs, smoothies, muffins, bread in a mug, meatloaf, spicy chicken wings, and cheeseburger pie to chocolate nut slab, macaroons, and peanut butter chocolate cookies!

And this weekend,…..I have the honor of being able to give all of you the chance to win a copy of Trim and Healthy Mama!!

All you have to do is leave a comment and tell me one activity you do that makes you feel healthy.  Maybe it’s walking, biking, hiking, crossfit,……just tell me one thing.

That’s it!

One lucky person will be chosen on Sunday evening and the winner will be announced on Monday, November 4!

Keepin’ it real,

Elena😉

I think God made a mistake….. ?

Do you know a family that homeschools?

Are you a homeschooler?

Have you ever wondered why some people choose to homeschool their children?

Well, I’m here to tell you that the first time God “called our family to homeschool”, that’s what we Christians say when we feel like God is asking us to do something that He feels is a good idea, I told my husband, “Honey, I think God has made His first mistake!”   (NOT)

See, my husband was a principle of a private school, I (among other things) was an Early Childhood Education major in college, and I personally come from a long line of public school teachers.  So, I just knew, that little nagging thought, that tug I felt on my heart, that “calling” I heard from God, HAD TO BE A MISTAKE.  (NOT!)

You know what I’m sayin’?

When,….you think about something, not sure why.

Then, …. You see it, everywhere.

All of sudden,…. It’s what you hear about on the radio and on the television every. single.time. you. turn. it. on!

You might want to consider that God is trying to get your attention.  ;)  Just sayin’.

Well, I prayed about it.  Okay, so I asked God to ‘knock it off’ and pick someone else.  Please.

Then, my husband came home talkin’ about it. (See, told ya.)

So, I prayed about it some more.  This time, the ‘right’ way…..asking for an email signed by the Holy Spirit or somethin’. 😉

And,….we decided we should just go for it.  I mean, how bad could I REALLY screw up my kids in 9 months.    (that’s a joke)

Anyway, not that God was surprised, but, it turned out pretty darn good.

Long story short, we’ve been homeschooling on and off, praying each year about each one of our children and following God’s lead.

This year, I’m homeschooling our 12-year-old daughter and so far, we’ve been having a great time.

Does that mean that every day, we do it perfectly? No.

Does that mean that every day, we lead this perfectly harmonious day while the blue birds sing and the mice do our chores?  No.

Homeschooling can sure be fun, but it is NO joke.  It takes time, dedication, perseverance, effort, self-less-ness, humility, patience, gentleness, organization, preparation,….did I say patience?

Any who……

Some days, you just think, I would love to hang out with my girlfriends, grab a cup of coffee, go to TJ Maxx, chat, giggle, and just hear someone say, “Girl, I get it!”  Some days, you yearn for someone to hug you and say, “It’s okay, tomorrow is a new day, I’m praying for you.”

Well, there IS a place to do some of those things!

It is the Homeschool Mom’s Winter Summit!

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This year, The Summit is expanding and having 2 locations!  One in Oklahoma and one in my home state, TEXAS!    *Can I get a WOOHOO?!!?! 😉

The Texas Homeschool Mom’s Winter Summit will be in the beautiful and historical town of San Marcos at the Embassy Suites on January 24-25, 2014.

And get this,….they are GIVING AWAY  a Summit pass AND a hotel stay!!  **Can I get another WOOHOO??!!! 😉

 

This is what YOU need to do:

1)**YOU NEED TO COMMENT ON THIS POST BECAUSE YOU COULD BE A WINNER!!**  (Well, if you’re a homeschool mom, you’re already a winner, but you know what I mean.) 😉

2) Check out the The Homeschool Moms’ Winter Summit website and registration page, and the Facebook page.

3) That’s it!  How easy is that???!!!

You can read some more posts about how refreshing the Summit was at The Pennington Point and The Marathon Mom from mothers who have attended in the past.  *Disclaimer: I have actually only dreamed of going,….BUT, y’all leaving comments could make my dream, AND yours, COME TRUE!!!

So please, leave me a comment!  **The deadline is Oct. 11, 2013**

* Tell me where you’re from (you don’t have to be from Texas or Oklahoma to attend) and that you followed your 2 assignments listed above or that this was just a really great post!😉 (that’s not a joke)

Praying I see YOU, on January 24-25 at The Homeschool Moms’ Winter Summit in San Marcos, Texas!

Keepin’ it real,

Elena