Art of Contentment

When I started thinking about the subject of contentment a couple of weeks ago, I began to notice the questions that began surfacing in my dreams. My subconscious mind told me there’s an art to contentment and I needed to concentrate on it to have it in my life.

  • What is contentment?
  • Is it the same as happiness?
  • Am I content with what I have and where I am in life?
  • How do I contribute to the contentment of my family?
  • Is my family content?

In my dream, the questions ran on like a ticker tape one after another waiting for my answers. But as I’d answer one question another appeared more in depth than the one before until I got down to the truth of the matter. For me, this is remarkable because my word study for this year has been “Truth.” The truth is I am not content with everything and I believe none of us is content with everything in our lives which is why we are always striving to do better in the areas of discontent.

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With my areas of discontentment all around me, I’ve decided to go on a fast and change two big areas in my life and that of my husband’s. It’s interesting to note that whatever change I want to make my husband is always on board with and tells me so, “I guess I will have to follow your lead on this!” The two big areas in my life, I think, go together. Health and Wealth. For 50 days we will follow variations on fasting for health and wealth. How do you fast for wealth? You join the Buy Nothing movement. Fasting for health is easy if done correctly and with a bit of medical and common sense.

My 50 Day Health & Finance Cleansing Plan

Health is first because being healthy is a wealth all its own

First 5 Days: A water fast (Preferably electrolyte water or distilled water that has Himalayan Sole solution added to it). Drink as much as you want and as often as you want. These first five days will prove interesting as you’ll be cleansing your body of harmful toxins and turn your body into a fat burning machine instead of a carb burning one. (I plan on doing a 5-day water only fast while my husband who is on medication plans on doing a 5-day fast with one fresh veggie juice once a day so he can take his medication.) This beginning phase is to help switch our bodies into burning ketones and gently move the toxins out of our bodies.

6th – 12th day: Add two alkaline veggie juices to your day along with all the electrolyte water or Sole Water you want a day. Notice you are having veggie only juices. The only fruit that’s helpful at this point is lemons and limes. You can also heat up some water with the juice of one lemon in it first thing in the morning. This will also help when not fasting as it will alkalize your system.

13th – 20th day: This is a two-parter:

  1. Add one piece of alkaline fruit.
    • Lemons
    • Limes
    • Avocado
    • Tomatoes
    • Coconut (oil, butter, water, milk) *No sweetener or chemicals added to the water or milk
    • Pomegranate
    • Watermelon (pH neutral)
  2. Try to have your first meal, veggie juice five hours after you get up in the morning your second meal, alkaline fruit, four hours later, and your last veggie juice four hours later. Try to have all your meals within a 6-hour window and use water for fasting the remaining 18 hours as necessary.

21st – 27th day

Along with what you are already doing add 1 fresh made, plant-based alkaline veggie salad to your meals and omit one veggie juice. Also, add 2 ounces of alkaline, organic, raw nuts. These include almonds, pistachios, pecans, cashews, Brazil nuts, Macadamia nuts, and hazelnuts. (I also recommend soaking nuts in fresh non-tap water overnight to aid in digestion.)

28th – 50th day

Continue with the eating plan as is and turn your veggie juice into a veggie smoothie with a scoop of plant-based protein powder. (SunWarrior makes the Warrior Blend that I like the best, but it does have some sugar in it. They also make Illumin8 blend which has brown rice in it. It’s a personal choice we have to make. I like both of them for different reasons.)

The Finance Cleanse

It’s simple. It’s easy. It’s enlightening.

Simple as this Buy Nothing. If you don’t need it, don’t buy it. Here’s what’s allowed: Food, medications, paying existing bills, and meeting your needs. Gone are multiple trips to the grocery store, cafes, fast food and everything we don’t need. When you go to the store, make a list ahead of time and only buy what’s on your list. If you’re in need of something and don’t want to purchase it outright, head to your local Buy Nothing Facebook group and ask if anyone has one that is willing to let go of it. I’ve done this with several items. I recently noticed that my four lonely wine glasses don’t cut it when I have a crowd of people over so instead of buying them, I found a set of 12 of them on my BN group on Facebook and asked if I could be considered for them. I’ve also found a 2 drawer filing cabinet for my tutoring business. I’ve even asked for a couple of items on there and people are willing to give up what they can in order to help. I had a friend who didn’t have a TV and I was able to get her a working one with a DVD player, so now she can watch her movies from the comfort of her recliner instead of an office chair. I’ve also given away the items I no longer use.

Besides buying nothing I need. I’ve also asked myself if I continually need the things I have. Do all these things make me content? Saving only those items that give me joy has helped us let go of the things and clothes we no longer wear.

Changing our health status has also allowed us to be more content with what we have. Change is a process it doesn’t end in 50 days or 50 years. Once we reach our goal we set another one and another one. The art of contentment comes from knowing we are progressing to what is of most importance to us. Find out what’s most important to you and work towards it.

 

 

 

The Joe Cookie

Everyone who knows me personally knows that I am married to the human Cookie Monster. He loves all kinds of cookies but can only enjoy certain ones at certain times of the year. Italian Donut cookies in the winter months, chocolate chip cookies for back-to-school and macaroons for the Spring Holy Days. Now with health conditions as they are and sugar not in his diet, we’ve I’ve been working on revamping recipes that are both sweet and satisfying but don’t mess up with his diet. Today The Joe Cookie was born.

I originally found this recipe online but tweaked it so much that it’s taken on a life of its own.


The Joe Cookie

  • 2 cups flaked dried coconut, unsweetened
  • 1/2 cup Essential Seven Mix
  • 1/3 cup yacon syrup (coconut nectar, honey, or maple syrup can also be used)
  • 1 cup full-fat organic coconut milk ( I love the Natural Directions brand)
  • 1/3 cup organic, virgin, fresh pressed, unrefined coconut oil (Dr. Bronner’s), melted
  • Grated peel of 1 orange
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange extract

Mix it all up in a bowl. Take a heaping tablespoon of dough and roll into a ball, flatten slightly. Place on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Bake at 325* for 35 minutes. Cool on metal rack.

Makes 18 cookies.

A variation on this is using the cookie dough as a crust, which I did below then filled it with a coconut cream filling (I added 2 heaping Tablespoons of raw cacao).

The Joe Cookie is a big hit with my Joe and he also loved the pie too. I’m still playing with the recipe, not really satisfied with my first attempt. But will let you all know when it’s done. Recipe remakes are sometimes a big hit the first time out but some need time to gel both in my mind and in the final product.

Enjoy!

Spring Pesto

If I had to choose just one sauce that’s the most versatile for me in my cooking adventures, it would have to be pesto. I’ve put pesto on almost everything from baked salmon, to stewed pesto chicken, a baked potato and even had it on popcorn. Yes, I said it! Pesto popcorn is the bomb!  While I am gearing up for my yearly May through September no oven use (more on that in a future post), I’ve been on a taste adventure to come up with unique ways to liven up our food. My husband said I nailed it with this Spring Pesto.

I’ve been experimenting with Pestos for over 20 years. It’s such a versatile sauce and can be made with many leafy greens without using basil at all. I’ve made pea pesto. It’s good only if you like peas…I don’t! I’ve also made pesto with carrot tops, cilantro, kale, spinach, beet greens, and my favorite asparagus! Nothing says Spring is around the corner like some good asparagus and it’s in season and on sale.


Spring Pesto 

  • 1 lb trimmed asparagus, steamed 8 minutes
  • 1/4 cup grated Pecorino romano cheese (If you are making it totally dairy free and vegan, use nutritional yeast)
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds or walnuts
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon Himalayan salt
  • 1 cup chopped greens (kale, spinach, Swiss chard or even fresh basil)
  • 1/2 cup fresh Italian Parsley

Pulse it all together in a food processor until smooth. Serve over zoodles (zucchini noodles) or use as a topping for baked fish and chicken. Dollop on a baked potato or as a spread for sandwiches. Use by the tablespoon on popcorn.

Enjoy!

Pesto makes enough for 4 servings.

Nutrition

  • Calories: 244
  • Fat grams: 22.5
  • Cholesterol: 14.7 mg
  • Sodium: 181 mg
  • Potassium: 276 mg
  • Total carbs: 5.9 gr
  • Fiber: 2.1 gr
  • Protein: 7.5 gr

Essential Seven Mix

I’ve read several books in the last few years about how we aren’t getting enough minerals in our diets. That’s probably because as a whole we eat more food made in a factory instead of grown on a farm. I remember as a kid the first time my mom bought peanut butter. It tasted great. Only three little ingredients…peanuts, sugar, and oil. We put it on everything from pancakes to sandwiches. Let’s fast forward about 45 years. Today, we have to get raw organic peanut butter to get that same taste because all the ingredients in the conventional brands are made in a factory all except for the GMO peanuts, which are genetically modified to withstand a vat load of pesticides….sorry, that’s another story for another time. What’s so essential about my Essential Seven Mix?

Minerals are found here. While nuts are good for a few because of the pesticides and allergies, seeds, on the other hand, are rarely associated with allergies and most are available in their organic forms.

Here it is all laid out for you.

Mix it all together in a bowl. Grind it in a coffee grinder or food processor till it looks like freshly grown coffee. Store in a mason jar in the fridge. Makes about 3 cups.

Serve it in smoothies, (I use 1 Tablespoon in my husband’s wheat grass smoothie every morning) in your oatmeal, tossed into salads, and even as a coating on chicken and fish.

If poppy seeds aren’t your thing then opt for raspberry seeds which are also beneficial but more difficult to come by. You can also opt out of the hemp seeds or hearts and add Papaya seeds or Watermelon seeds. Both of which will add a bit of heat to the mix as well.

The nutrients each of the following seeds contribute to the overall nutrient makeup of this mix.

  • Sunflower Seeds contain the following nutrients: vitamin E, copper, Vitamin B1, manganese, selenium, phosphorus, magnesium, folate, vitamin B3
  • Pumpkin Seeds: Protein, fiber, zinc, magnesium, potassium, iron, phosphorus, calcium
  • Hemp Seeds: Protein, Essential Fatty Acids (Omega 3, 6, 9, and GLA), All 9 Amino Acids, Iron, Vitamin E, Phosphorus, Magnesium, zinc
  • Chia Seeds: Fiber, Protein, Omega 3 Fatty Acids, Omega 6 Fatty Acids, Calcium, Copper, Phosphorus, Potassium, Zinc, Sulfur, Iron, Iodine, magnesium, manganese, niacin, thiamine, Vitamins A, B, E, & D
  • Flax Seeds: Omega 3 Fatty Acids, Fiber,  Protein, Manganese, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Selenium, Vitamin B6, Iron, Potassium, Copper, and Zinc
  • Sesame Seeds: Copper, Manganese, Calcium, Phosphorus, Iron, Zinc, molybdenum, selenium, Vitamin B1, Fiber
  • Poppy Seeds: Calcium, Phosphorus, Iron, Zinc
  • Optional Raspberry SeedsFiber, Anthocyanins, Linoleic Acid, Ellagic Acid

Obtaining minerals in our diet is so important they are the building blocks of our very existence.  This Essential Seven Mix is one of the mainstays of our health.

Seeds…Life

 

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.