Spicy Sweet Potato Chicken Stirfry

If you’ve followed my blog for any length of time, you know I love fusing two different cuisines. Almost any meal can turn into a healthy stirfry. I make an Italian Stirfry that’s so good it’s become a monthly favorite here.

Today’s meal came to me when I was looking in my pantry and noticed I had a sweet potato…I couldn’t figure out when I bought it. I thought I better use it before I have to throw it out. My husband hates when I throw out produce because I hadn’t gotten around to making the recipe I had in mind when I purchased it. I’m sure I’m not alone in this conundrum. It goes in the same basket as losing socks in the dryer and that’s a whole other story I’m not touching.

Sliced ingredients

Spicy Sweet Potato Chicken Stirfry

  • 2 T + more olive oil divided
  • 1 Red Pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 large sweet onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 sweet potato, thinly sliced into 1/4 half moons
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 4 cooked frozen skinless chicken tenders, cooked and sliced
  • 1 can black olives, drained and sliced
  • 1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 T oregano
  • 1/2 t Himalayan Salt
  • 1/8 t ground Habanero pepper
  • 1 t ground coriander
  • 2 t ground cumin
  • 1/2 cup water
  1. Heat saute pan, add 1 T olive oil.
  2. Add peppers and onions. Saute about 3 minutes.
  3. Add sweet potatoes, chicken, garbanzo beans, and olives.
  4. Add seasonings and water. Cover and saute until potatoes are fork tender. About 5 minutes.
  5. Turn off the burner and add sliced garlic and 1 more Tablespoon olive oil.
  6. Enjoy

Serves 4

Spicy Chicken

Nutritional Info

  • Calories: 303
  • Fat: 15 grams
  • Carbs: 16.3 grams
  • Fiber: 2.8 grams
  • Protein: 26.7 grams

 

 

The Good Stalk!

It’s been a mainstay in my refrigerator for over 30 years and I never knew just how good this good stalk was to our health until now. An enzyme in this stalk that’s mostly water is apigenin.

Apigenin starves cancer cells of its main food source…glucose. It also interferes with molecular signaling…slows down the need for certain chemicals in those cells. Read all about the technical aspect of this important food component here: Celery and Cancer Cells

My first thought when I read about this Apigenin was “Where can I get it?” Seems the lonely good stalk in your Bloody Mary is there for a reason. Celery is present in many dishes and recipes I create, I’ve also been putting it in the veggie smoothies I make daily. I never really got into the practice of researching every vegetable that goes into my kitchen…that is until my husband got sick.

Since then, I have tweaked our veggie smoothies to incorporate the necessary nutrients helping all his health issues collectively and individually. Kale used to be a mainstay of our mornings. But I have recently learned that if you have thyroid issues you should stay away from Kale, spinach, and leafy greens except for lettuce. Kale is also a great catalyst in clotting issues. While it’s packed with nutrients it’s also packed with possible health deterrents.

Since I started making these veggie smoothies, kale was the first ingredient. Little did I know it would contribute to my husband’s health deteriorating? But we live and learn and move on.

So what did I use as a substitute? Wheat Grass which both cleanses and builds our blood. Clean blood is less sticky and less sticky blood is less likely to clot along the veins. Cleaner blood moves freer within our veins and lowers blood pressure.

This new food info prompted me to remake our breakfast smoothie. Celery is the good stalk and we can really use some good in our lives.

Clean Blood Smoothie

Clean Blood Smoothie

Clean Blood Smoothie

Creating Change

Creating change begins in our mind. Reading many articles and books on how the mind can be used to heal our boo boos has led me to finally understand the how and the why we humans can make or break our own lives. It’s been fascinating to watch as my husband transforms his cells from the inside out.

Different websites tout different foods cause inflammation and cutting back on the culprits will cut down the inflammation. The Arthritis Foundation says these foods are the eight worst.

  • Sugar
  • Saturated Fat
  • Trans Fat
  • Omega 6 Fatty Acids
  • Refined Carbohydrates
  • MSG
  • Gluten and Casein
  • Aspartame
  • Alcohol

As always I also read about inflammation on the alternative health websites. Dr. Axe says the following foods should be added to this list.

  • Corn and Soybean oils
  • Pasteurized Dairy
  • Conventional Meats

In reading the many journals on alternative health and inflammation I have found out that it’s associated with almost every health condition we know. By attacking the inflammation we can reverse these diseases and lead a vibrant life. So my husband and I have embarked on a journey to reduce the inflammation, not just with food, but actions, thoughts, and words.

Attacking the inflammation in our bodies begins with creating the change in our mind. We need to think about every we do, say, eat and think. We can think our way out of inflammation by visualizing ourselves becoming less inflamed. Our cells do what we tell them to. We think our cells do their jobs on their own, they do but to a certain point we can change their trajectory and create the change within us. If we think we hate a certain food and never taste it, then we create this ill feeling when we see or smell it. If we’re inflamed we can talk our bodies out of it by saying how much we love to exercise (lowers inflammation), for instance. We’re then finding ways to exercise. Same is true for giving up all the foods that cause inflammation. If we say how much we love their healthy alternatives, we’ll eat them more often.

We all have the power to create the change we seek right in our minds. If we think it, we can do it.

 

Love Equates Serving

The scattered mind. 
I can’t sleep, I’m not hungry, I’m not interested, I’m not me. Then who am I and what am I doing here? How did I get here? When did I let it all fall apart? I feel like Humpty Dumpty and I need to be put back together again. 
Life has been all about finding a cause and alternative therapies for my husband’s illness. My prayer life surrounds my words of asking God to make me have a servant’s heart. I want to love, serve, and help my husband in the manner that he needs without taking away his pride in doing things for himself. 
Make me a servant.
Serving each other is an act of love especially in the marriage relationship. When we look at it in this manner, we use our talents and gifts as loving offerings and expressions of love. 
An example of this. My husband needed some compression socks and knowing he didn’t have the time for such research, I took the bull by the horns and did the research on my own. Working with the criteria he gave me, I found exactly what he was looking for. He loves his new “Foot hugging socks” so much he went and ordered more. Everyday he thanks me for this little act of loving service and everyday I am thankful for having my capabilities. 
When we realize that our main responsibility in marriage is to serve one another in love our marriage takes on a whole new persona. 

10 loving ways to serve your mate

  1.  Take care of yourself. Don’t let the cares of this life bring you down. Pray, do your bible study, meditate, exercise, eat healthy. You can’t give what you don’t have. If you’re sick, it’s more difficult to serve. 
  2.  Ask your mate what he wants. I make my husband his two veggie and fruit smoothies every night before going to bed so he has them ready to go in the morning. This way I know he’s eaten properly and he doesn’t have to get up earlier than he does. (4 a.m. is early enough).
  3. Exercise together. Go for walks, bike rides, hikes etc. doing it together helps you encourage one another and brings you closer together. If you have children, bring them along or hire a sitter so you can have one-on-one time with each other.
  4. Turn off the TV and all your devices when you eat meals together. Give each other undivided attention. 
  5.  Use manners when talking to each other. Please, thank you, excuse me go much farther than demanding and condescending. 
  6. Encourage each other, especially when one of you is ill. Don’t let your mate’s illness stop your loving words of encouragement.
  7.  When our kids moved out of the house, we divided up the chores between us. If we can’t get to one of them, we let each other know and help each other out. 
  8. Relationships are a 100% commitment. Once we get this into our head and really understand it, we’re better able to clean a toilet, iron a shirt, or other mundane tasks. 
  9. Make allowances of our time for your mate. It only takes me 15 minutes to make two shakes for my husband. 15 minutes out of my day to say “I love you” and make sure he has a nutritious breakfast and lunch is a joy to me. 
  10. The first act of service we should do for our mates is to pray for them. Pray for their safety, their health, their wealth, their minds, their hearts, their visions, their works, their relationships, and whatever else you can think of that needs praying over. Spending time with one another will give you what you need to pray about. Sometimes my husband will tell me, “I’m having a problem with __________, can you pray about for me?” 

Love Equates Serving

Sleep Eludes Me

Listening to every sound around me…my husband snoring, the ticking clock, the melting snow dripping from the roof. My mind is everywhere but not where I want it to be. Unwinding after a long pain filled day is difficult but trying to unwind knowing the love of your life is in constant pain is a whole other beast. 

We never want to see the people we love in pain. 

We pray and beseech God to take away their pain and heal them. But the pain continues, the illness is still there. God does heal and He’s healed us in the past. I have no doubt He will heal yet again…It’s this patience thing I have a problem with. Waiting has always been difficult for me. 

Waiting in lines. 

Waiting in traffic.

Waiting in the doctor’s office. 

Waiting on God. 

Waiting and knowing that one day the healing will come all the while doing what we need to do. 

Our part in the healing process. Yes, praying. Yes, getting anointed. Yes, fasting. Yes, focusing on the joys. Yes, remembering all the miraculous healing God has done for us. Yes, continuing on with life. Yes, putting all our faith and belief in God to do what’s best for us. 

Acting on what we know. 

Faith and patience go hand-in-hand. You can’t have one without the other. 

But in the wee hours of the morning when the house is quiet, you’ll find me praying for God’s intervention in helping my husband be whole again!

Getting Back Our Health

It’s been almost a year since I wrote my last blog post. Why? The simple answer is I let one negative comment and subsequent email derail my writing. That one negative comment cut me to the core, and I began to question everything I did. I stopped writing openly. I stopped sharing my thoughts. I stopped my healthy life journey. I stopped being me. 

We live in such a negative world where people are constantly at odds with each other and themselves. We think it’s our civic responsibility to point out other people’s faults without taking consideration of our own. We see each other as competitors instead of brothers and sisters. We don’t make the world better by constantly correcting each other. 

Getting from there to here. 

The last year has been filled with hills and valleys. Making adjustments and accommodations as life threw me curve balls and granted me with abounding blessings. As my health took a self-made detour, the scale went up and has remained at the steady unsightly number I am too ashamed to say outside my bathroom walls. I’ve missed out on life changing moments only to eat away my pain in silence. Until only recently, when my husband’s life altering health challenge has shown both of us the dire need of getting back our health. 

Taking control of our health 

Most people don’t make changes to their health until the whistle blows and they’re lying in a hospital bed wondering “How did I get here?” Putting the pieces together in your mind, they really knew how they got there. Opting to sit in front of the TV instead of going for a walk, sleeping in that extra hour instead of working out, eating all the wrong foods thinking “It’s okay, it won’t hurt me!” Drinking everything else except water. Sitting, working, sleeping, eating too much. 

Now our quality of life depends on us making the necessary changes so we can get back to being as healthy as we can. It’s not just about food choices, it’s about quality of life choices. We’ll never know how healthy we could have been but we can make these changes now and be as healthy as we can be possibly reversing the damage we’ve done thus far. 

I know this journey will have its highs and lows…I hope we can travel this journey together, taking it one step at a time. All I ask is your love and understanding in hopes that we may turn this journey into a friendship. 

Life’s health

Pain

All of a sudden there it was and I couldn’t ignore it any longer. It made my life seem unbearable at times. It took away my sleep, my figure, my family life, my joy, my art. It made me look at life through a different lens and what I saw was not who I was but who I could become because of it. It is Pain.

Last year it became apparent that I could no longer let go of the notion that walking up and down the stairs while holding on for dear life was normal. Nor could I console myself by thinking that if I just walked more the pain would go away. Then there was this inflammation that was ever present, I didn’t need a test to let me know that I carried around inflammation, all I had to do was look at my swollen feet, hands, and face. The pain I carried was like none I had ever experienced through any of the surgeries I’ve had and it was way worse than natural childbirth.

Everywhere was pain and the pain was everywhere. When all the pain receptors in your body are all turned on at the same time, you simply don’t know which way to turn. I turned to the medical community when I had an animal bite that would not go away even after two weeks. I still have flare-ups of strange pain around the scar that has disfigured my leg. The medical community tested me for everything known to them. I was sent to specialist after specialist and spent thousands of dollars but they could not understand where the pain and the inflammation came from nor could they give me a diagnosis. They just prescribed me with a couple of painkillers and strong steroidal meds that messed up my body.

On the personal front, it hurt to stand, walk, sit, lay down, type, and hold my husband’s hand. My skin hurt. My fingers and face turned shiny.  I could no longer crochet which meant the special afghan I was making for my son and his new wife would sit in my craft basket longer. (I am better and work on it from time to time until my hands cramp up with pain.)

Last summer seems like a blur because of the constant pain I was in. And it seems like the pain flare-ups are still with me. No matter what natural alternatives I take or do. Pain is still a constant in my life. The lessons I’ve learned through this pain are never ending and I view life so much more differently than when this painful journey began.

Pain Lessons

1st: Never take a day for granted. If you were able to wake up and open your eyes, then you’re day is a good one. If you woke up and you were able to move your hands and bend your knees your day got even better. If you were able to walk 10 steps when you woke up, or if you did something you couldn’t do the day before then you’re winning over the pain.

2nd: People in your life will look at you differently, they will withdraw from you, treat you with kid-gloves, and they may even call you names but none of it matters. What matters most is that you show up, you put a smile on your face and you tell the world, your family, your friends, your coworkers I am still here and I am still worthy of love. I can still contribute.

3rd: Never miss an opportunity to share your story with others. You never know when what you say and the example you live by will help someone else also dealing with their own kinds of pain. Our stories, become our history and our history becomes our legacy. Let’s leave a legacy for those who come after us to see that we went after our dreams in spite of the pain. We lived life the best we could while dealing with the pain inside.

4th: When people ask you how are you feeling? Tell them you are happy to see them, you are happy to be able to get out of the house, you are happy to ____fill in the blank. But never tell them how you are feeling. People really don’t want to know what you’re going through, it’s just a nicety that comes out of their mouths. You’ll be looked upon as a buzz kill if you share that you’re in so much pain that every movement you make feels like razor blades digging into your soul.

5th: Find comfort in knowing that you are not alone in your pain. Support groups help in listening to what others are going through and how they deal with their pain. Always remember there is One who suffered greater than we could ever suffer. He hung on the cross and bared our sins for us. His body was scourged and beaten for us. Our pain becomes miniscule when thinking about what Jesus did for us.

6th: If you need help, ask. If you can’t carry something, don’t. Asking for help is one of the most humbling things an independent person can do. It will help you grow and it will help the person who is helping grow.

7th: Concentrate on the joys and blessings of your life. Look at old photos of your children, remembering the good times you had with them. Play with your pets, if you have them. Pets love you unconditionally, they see past your pain and they love your heart.

8th: Focus on the good things in life. Stop watching the news. Stay out of deep political discussions about the degradation of our society. Watch funny movies, old televisions shows, videos of animals and little children. Better yet get away from the electronic devices all together. Get yourself outside and soak up some vitamin D.

9th: Cry. It’s cleansing. It’s restorative. It releases healing and painkilling hormones. I didn’t believe this either but it’s true. Let go of the guilt trips that you put on people for whatever reason. I learned how to use guilt trips from my mother who did it do me, but that didn’t mean that I needed to let it continue. Let go of the negative impact of dealing with the stress of your life. It all comes down to that anyways. How we deal with the stresses in our lives can have a negative or a positive impact on our lives and those around us.

10th: Those of us who live with pain every day know that it’s going to be there with every step, every breath, and every movement. Resolve to be stronger than the pain. This is by far the most difficult yet most needed. Once you have this resolve within you, your strength in doing the everyday tasks like getting dressed, making your food, and taking care of the people in your life gets that much stronger.

 

I had a few months of almost no pain thanks to a new chiropractic technique. But last Monday that all changed when the pain came back with a vengeance to wreak havoc to my entire body yet again. I know it stems from the whatever diagnoses the medical professionals think I have now. In my head, it doesn’t really matter what name it has and I’m not even searching for a diagnosis anymore because the last one they said is rare enough. I won’t take the medication they offer anymore than I would drink poison.

I can’t always do the things I want to do in the same way I did them before but I’m learning new ways to accomplish them. I am opening myself up for new alternative therapies some are working, some help me maintain, and those that don’t get tossed aside. I’m forgiving myself for all the wrong I did in being a daughter, a sister, a wife, a mother, a grandmother, and a friend and will continue to do so, because only One is perfect and I’m not it.

Pain is a great teacher.