Curried Creamy Carrot Soup

Curried Creamy Carrot Soup

Yes, I’ve been on gone from WordPress for some time now. I needed a break to catch up on my reading. I’ve been reading through the comments of other recipe and wellness blog sites. One of the most common comment I’ve read is that people don’t have the time or the interest in why you created the recipe or wellness tip. Most of us just scroll to the bottom to see the recipe. So, I’m changing it up. When I post a wellness tip or recipe, that’s all you’ll see. No explanation. Here we go Curried Creamy Carrot Soup

Curried Creamy Carrot Soup

  • 1 bunch orange and white carrots (8) chopped
  • 1/2 sweet Vidalia onion, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon organic virgin unrefined coconut oil
  • 5 Tablespoons veggie bouillon
  • 5 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 can (15-ounces) full fat coconut milk
  • 2 Tablespoons arrowroot dissolved in 1/2 cup water (opt)

In a medium saucepan, saute carrots and onions together in coconut oil until onions are translucent. About 15 minutes. Add the veggie bouillon and water. Bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer until carrots are fork tender. About 15 minutes. With a hand blender, puree the soup until creamy. Add the can of coconut milk. Whisk until blended. If you like it a little thicker, you can add the 2 tablespoons of arrowroot dissolved in a 1/2 cup of water. Continue simmering until soup has thickened.  

Makes 6 servings

Enjoy!

Well there you have it. Curried Creamy Carrot Soup just waiting for a spoon!

LMJ

2016 Priorities

Sensibility

Every year I get to hear all my friends and coworkers coming up with New Year’s Resolutions, it’s even crept into our schools. Teaching sensibility has gone out the window with common sense. Focusing on our priorities and goals instead of resolutions helps us focus on moving forward instead of only toward a date where you only do it for a short time and then by some magic you have permission to revert back to your old habits (the reason why you made the resolution in the first place.)

January-Calendar-2016-Colorful-3

Goals

The place to start is with goals. Now many of you know that I am not a goal setter because I get really hard on myself when I don’t reach my goals. It happens a lot to me. I spend all this time, working on setting up a goal, make my goal visual and even hang it up in several places around my home and even have it come up on my phone every morning. But what is the point when I ignore all my signals to focus on this goal?

build-your-savings-with-targeted-goals

Now, I am not saying you shouldn’t make goals. I have found a way that helps me reach my goals without focusing on the individual goals, instead, I focus on the priorities to reach my goals. Priorities change each month, week, and day. Goals stay the same. For instance, one of my goals in 2016 is to pocket away $1,000 a month. I have chosen one goal in each of the seven realms of wellness (social, emotional, spiritual, environmental, occupational, intellectual, and physical).

keep-calm-and-focus-on-priorities

Priorities

For each goal I have chosen, I have written down some priorities for the month of January.

  • Go through all our monthly bills and see which areas we can cut back on or eliminate.
  • See where our money is going. That $5 a day Latte has been cut out and I bought a one cup Black & Decker coffee maker (uses regular coffee, no K-cups in this house) that comes with an insulated coffee mug. This will save $130 this month.
  • Get to a Comcast store and see if we can get rid of our cable and still keep the Xfinity service to watch TV on our devices because we hardly ever watch TV on our TV. This would save us about half of our monthly bill ($165)
  • Keep a pantry shelf filled with healthy Paleo snacks or ingredients to make Paleo snacks instead of heading to the store when the “I have a taste for” moments come up. Yesterday I made some Paleo Chocolates and only a small square of chocolate is necessary to satisfy my chocolate cravings. Money saved $32 a month just on chocolate (What can I say? I only buy Theo chocolates because it’s organic from bean to bar at $4 a bar and I buy two bars a week.)

Jan 1 – Jan 9 priorities for this goal. There is no reason why two people can’t eat a healthy Paleo diet on $400 month (especially when one of those people only eats two meals a day).

  • Plan my menu around the weekly grocery sales ads. (It’s difficult to do this right now, since the two stores I normally shop at, both within walking distance, are closed; one for bankruptcy the other for remodeling. But will try to do with a couple of other stores in the area.)
  • Plan social gatherings but not centered around food.
  • Go through closets, book shelves, and storage to see if I can sell more items I’m not using and haven’t used in a year. Take photos and sell the items. I bought a bedding ensemble last year, put it on the bed and didn’t like the pattern at all. Instead of sending it back to the maker, I stuck it in the back of my closet. Wow, that really helped! So now I’m selling it for half of what I paid for it ($75)

Knowing that each week’s priorities will change because of what I want to accomplish and the timing. For instance, at the end of January, the grocery store that is remodeling should be open again. It will be different with a new name and what it carries, but at least, we will have a store that is within walking distance again. When you live in a city, you expect to have this kind of amenity, so when it closed last year it really changed the way we shopped. We were forced to go to a store that was much more expensive, then the bottom fell out of that too and that store closed because of bankruptcy. This all meant that we needed to shop at yet another store that was more expensive than the first expensive store or cross our toll bridge at $5 a to shop in a different city.

Pick your goals for the year then break them down and focus on the priorities. Make your goals meaningful whether they are SMART, CLEAR,  or DUMB goals choose the system of goal setting that works for you. Then set your monthly, weekly, daily, hourly, and moment priorities. Think of your priorities as the gasoline that keeps you moving toward your goals.

Wishing you wellness in 2016!

 

IF YOU ALWAYS HAVE A CRUTCH…

Too many people identify with their illness that they become their illness and their illness becomes a part of who they are. In having a conversation about this very fact with someone who has many illnesses but refuses to let these illnesses stop or diminish who she is as a person, I gained some profound knowledge about why we try to use whatever “flavor of the month” sickness, illness, or disease that people lean on as their crutch to get through life instead of reaching for our dreams.

What is a crutch? Dictionary.com says

1.   a crutch is a staff or support to assist a lame or infirm person in walking, now usually with a crosspiece at one end to fit under the armpit.
2. any of various devices resembling this in shape or use.
3. anything that serves as a temporary and often inappropriate support,supplement, or substitute; prop: He uses liquor as a psychological crutch.
Unless you have a real need to use crutches, i.e. broken leg, disease, missing limb, relying on something that is meant to be temporary stifles our growth. These crutches stop us from becoming the people we’re meant to be.
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Like the statements:
  • I’m to heavy to enjoy life!
  • I have this (fill in the illness) so I can’t do what I want.
  • I have a fear of (???) so I can’t go anywhere.
  • I’m too old to do (?????)

Ever hear any of these? Ever say these? How many excuses do we have that strangle our lives and keep us in that comfy place always watching the world pass us by instead of living? Saying to ourselves or even out loud “If only I didn’t have _______________ I could do that.”

Crutches give us a false sense of stability, they give us peace of mind but it’s fleeting. We miss out on life. We miss out on what our lives could have been.

 Jump for Joy
So how do we stop leaning on these crutches? How do we stop making excuses?
It’s easier than you think. It takes one small step, then another. These steps done repeatedly, ooh sounds like a habit to me, helps us to become strong where the excuse has no power over our lives anymore.
Pick one crutch. For instance if being overweight is holding you back from doing something you’ve always wanted to do, but you don’t, go do it anyways. I always wanted to learn how to dance, but thought I was too heavy. I’m doing it anyways. And I’m losing weight in the process.
Let go of your fear for a day, and do whatever your fear told you, you couldn’t. If a day is too scary, try an hour, or 5 minutes and work up to a day. Work up to two days of no fear, keep the process going and you’ll be able to say “What fear?”
Yes, at first it is scary to go it alone, with no excuses or no crutches of your choice, but your life will be richer and fuller without them.

If you always have a crutch, you don’t learn anything! ~Ben Savage

 

Wishing you wellness for a new day!

 

The Crutch of An Excuse

 

A New Year A New Look

Since moving in November, I’ve unloaded a lot of old baggage that I’ve been accumulating over the years. Gone are the knick knacks that once cluttered my shelves, and the “someday” pile of clutter that I told myself “Someday this might be useful.” Well someday never came and instead I had a storage closet full of stuff I saw no use for and didn’t want to bring it into my new home. After unloading our 7th car load of stuff and moving into our new home with only what we used daily, I felt the need to go into other parts of my life and do the same thing.

 

This brings me to my blog, yes it’s been some time since I wrote a blog post. Working full time, being a volunteer, and being a full time wife to a husband who began a new business gives me little time to write. I’m still working full time and I love my job, so that’s not changing, and nothing really has changed, except that I’m taking time to do what matters most to me. Write. It’s a hobby that I never want to give up. I’ve been looking for something to do that’s meaningful and writing has been staring me in the face this last month with me taking a blind eye. Well my eyes are open.

cropped-ocean-city-maryland.jpg

The new look for the blog is based on the beautiful photo that my husband took and has become a focal point of Harbor joe photos, my husband’s photography business. I’ve given the site a new tagline, Wellness for a new day because we take for granted all the new days we get but the photo reminds me of all the new days to get my wellness back on track, and to be thankful for each new day.

Here’s to our health in 2015

My Sugar Behavior

13 days ago I said my challenge this month was to eliminate sugar from my diet. Okay, it’s been 13 days and I now realize this behavior change is not easy for me. Ever since I made the challenge all I’ve been thinking about is sweet, sugary things. I’ve had peppermint gelato, chocolate cake, pumpkin pie, cookies, white chocolate mocha’s, chocolate candy, and buttery rich gluten free shortbread. I need to get to the bottom of my sugar behavior in order to change this action. On Friday, January 10th was my first day without sugar.

In the book Who Switched Off My Brain? by Dr. Caroline Leaf, I’ve learned that my behavior is fueled by my thoughts which are fueled by my beliefs. So I’ve decided to change my beliefs about why I think I need sugar. Yes, I know that sugar is bad for me in so many ways. I also know that I can do this because I’ve done it before. I’ve lived without sugar for six years once. I did fine; I stayed at my optimum weight with no problems. So what’s holding me back now? Why am I having so much difficulty eliminating sugar from my diet?

I think I’m using sugar as a comfort food right now. While I’m trying desperately to let go of some emotional struggles I’m going through, I turn to sugar, aka chocolate as my comfort. Today, I wrote down some of the reasons why I’m quite attached to this sweet ingredient and was pleasantly surprised at what I found out about myself.

Here are a few of them

  1.  I’m only 50, my grandmother didn’t get type 2 diabetes until she was 71.
  2.  No diabetes here.
  3.  I don’t do this all the time.
  4.  Once a day is not going to hurt me.
  5.  I have one kidney, I don’t want to put any added stress on my body.
  6.  I can eat what I want on the Sabbath.
  7. I deserve a sweet treat after dinner.

In looking at these and other beliefs I have about sugar, I understand I need to change these beliefs so I can change my sugar behavior. To help me illustrate my new belief with my thoughts and actions, I’ve used the table approach. As I add more positive thoughts and actions that support this new belief I’ll be adding more legs to the table.

Life is sweeter without sugar

My thoughts and actions support this new belief and help my new belief stay balanced.

With each new belief I am moving away from the grip that sugar had on my life. I am also moving forward in my quest to live a healthy and happy life. Changing my beliefs about certain areas in my life is a constant motion in moving forward.

If we stagnantly stand in the same place, we never grow and we never achieve a new level of wellness.

A BEACH BALL ON THE CUSTOMER SERVICE ROLLER COASTER

If you’ve never had the opportunity to spend hour after frustrating hour with poor customer service then you are one of the lucky ones. When you feel like a beach ball on the customer service roller coaster, then it’s time to rethink what customer service was, is, and should be. Serving customers is the crux of the issue.

Customer service was around before the invention of the telephone, but the telephone made it easier to contact companies when a customer had problems with the purchased product or service. I remember my mom calling many companies with complaints. Like the time I broke my tooth on a piece of plastic that was inside a box of stuffing mix. She called the company to complain about what happened. The company apologized profusely and not only gave my mom a case of their stuffing mix but they also paid for my dental bill. They also do a thorough investigation and found that part of their machine had broken off, it was the plastic part I broke my tooth on.

A Beach Ball on the Customer Service Roller Coaster

Today we have customer service centers all across the world. People working from scripts and if the customer’s problem is not one that is listed on their script then the customer’s are either hung up on or told that no one could help them. This happened to me recently in dealing with a telecommunication company. I was hung up on twice. I was talked down to. I was told that I didn’t live where I lived. When I asked to speak with the rep’s supervisor I was put on hold for 15 minutes and then they dropped my call. That’s not what customer service is about.

Customer service should be serving the customer in the best way possible the first time. Customers who are having a problem with the company’s service or product  don’t need to be tossed around like a beach ball from department to department only to be told, “Oh, I’m sorry we can’t help you!” “You need to speak to a different department!” “You don’t have an account with us!”

After having repeated issues with the telecommunication company I’ve been dealing with, a friend told me that to get better service from the company I would have to place my complaint on their public Facebook page. After doing so,  I could not believe how quickly my concerns were met with answers. I also could not understand why this company could not perform the task of great customer service before having to resort to this type of public complaint.

How does this tie into my wellness? The frustrations of dealing with poor customer service raised my blood pressure, gave me a headache, gave me nausea, and so much anxiety that I thought I was going to break something. It’s extremely difficult to remain calm when you spend 90 minutes on a call and you are transferred to 10 different departments when the last person you talk to gives you another number you must call first thing Monday morning because that department is closed. Over the weekend I put the matter out of my mind. Come Monday morning, I make the call at 8:00 am, only to become that beach ball again and get transferred around and around. With all that bouncing, I again felt my blood pressure rising and my anxiousness start to get the better of me.

Throughout my ordeal as the beach ball on the customer service roller coaster, I began wondering how many people have heart attacks caused by poor customer service. How many people become extremely anxious and have breakdowns because of poor customer service?

Poor customer service hurts more than just a company’s reputation it hurts our health.

http://www.resourcenation.com/blog/how-it-all-began-a-brief-customer-service-history-lesson/35082/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/07/ways-to-retaliate-against-bad-customer-service_n_1752383.html

IN THE MIDST OF THE JOURNEY

In listening to the memorial message of a good friend this last weekend. I’ve learned what the “Big Picture” is in my life. A big thank you goes to my friend Nina for sharing her words of wisdom about looking at the Big Picture in all that has occurred in her life. While I was listening to Nina’s loving words about her husband, I began to cry because I finally understood what the “Big Picture” meant for me. In the midst of the journey called life, it is focusing on the big picture that makes the seasons and changes in life all worth it.

It’s been 5 years since my husband and I made our way across our continent to settle in the most picturesque place we’ve been. It’s been 5 years since we left what we knew, what we loved, and what we missed to embark on a journey that has helped us grow farther than what we ever thought possible., Leaving family behind was one of the most difficult actions I’ve ever had to do. It was heart wrenching to know that my babies, even though they’re grown and on their own, would not be within driving distance away when either of us needed something. As a mother it was extremely difficult not to be a constant part of family’s life. As my children were spreading their wings and flying, I wan’t able to take part in it, but I knew they each had a firm foundation. And that foundation would help them to follow their dreams the way my husband and I had taught them.

HOPE

Sometimes as we’re sitting back and reminiscing about how life changed so rapidly, we are overtaken by the fact that God’s hand was in this. We didn’t know why at the time, but we felt comfortable knowing that God was working it all out for us. He is part of the big picture for us. Yes, 8 months after moving here, my husband lost his job. Everyone from his family told us to move back home. So we could be taken care of physically. After some thought, my husband and I decided that God moved us out here for a reason and we were going to follow through with staying out here to find out why.

Was it difficult? In a word, YES!

But we knew that God was working something out for us, we may not have known it then but we sure do now.

How does all of this pertain to wellness?

By staying the course and putting God first in our life, our marriage became stronger, and we’ve been able to make peace with the past; accepting fault where we needed to and apologizing for things we did wrong. Accepting fault, apologizing for wrong doings, showing emotions when needed are all a sign of strength not weakness. Our wellness began to flourish when all of this was brought to the surface, instead of hiding inside of us. There is more to big picture thinking than meets the eye.

By staying the course we both come to realize our passions, which we would not have known in our status quo life before. It’s interesting that we were able to teach our children to follow their passions and dreams but weren’t able to follow our own because we let the words of other people talk us out of them. Here is the crux of our big picture. By living out your dreams, you are living with the talents that you’ve been given. If you let the words of the people around you  (family, friends, coworkers), destroy your God-given talents you’re giving them permission to be in charge of your life and that’s not living.

In the midst of the journey, we became who God wanted us to be and where God wanted us to be.

“God first, Family second, Career third” ~Mary Kay Ash

SMALL CHANGES

Each day we are faced with the same tasks as we go about our routine in making our life the way we want it to be. Each day we are faced with the same choices as well. From what we want to eat, how we choose our clothing, and the conversations we have; it’s all a choice. We look at the difficult tasks of losing weight and getting healthy as too daunting to do anything. But it is the small changes we do each and every moment that matter the most.

Small Changes

I made a small change this week in my diet; I stopped eating bananas for breakfast and instead I’m eating two organic eggs (cooked anyway I want). This small change has made a big impact in my life, I don’t crave the sweet treats all day long. I am satisfied with the eggs, and my cup of Earl Grey tea. This small change has also affected my snacking throughout the day. I don’t feel the need to snack until mid-afternoon. Then I grab a handful of organic raw almonds, another small change I started. I’m no longer tethered to my cravings for sugar, or carbs.

Another small change that really helps is to stay positive. When we find ourselves in a negative, depressing mood we tend to binge on comfort foods. If we stay positive, it helps us in staying away from the foods that are keeping us from our desired health and wellness goals. You know what your comfort foods and offending foods are, the ones you run to when you’re depressed and mad at the world. If you have to, print out some positive quotes and tape them up around your home.

Every two hours while I work here at home, I set a timer that goes off and I turn on a YouTube 10 minute cardio video. This small change of doing 10 minutes of cardio every two hours helps me to get in 40 minutes of cardio a day. Plus for me it’s great because of my structural issues.

Other small changes that you can make:

  • Ordering smaller portions in restaurants: I usually order off the appetizer menu or I’ll ask for a box with my meal so I can take half the portion away.
  •  Bringing your own healthy snacks to movie theaters: My favorite is chopped apple and almonds
  • Scope out different activities that aren’t surrounded by food: have a healthy picnic and bring along a Frisbee, or a football, or go for a walk; Go on a hike, take a ceramics class with friends. Go to a clay-painting shop, a health seminar or a book reading. 
  • Park in the farthest spot from the door: I saw this yesterday on my walk. The lady looked like she was in her 70’s; she parked her car in the farthest spot away in the outdoor shopping mall I was at. She walked to a couple of stores, brought her bags out to her car and walked to other shops. I noticed she did this about 4 times. Then she got a cup of coffee and sat down at the table next to mine. We talked about her form of exercising. She said she hates shopping so she makes a game of it and tries to get in as much exercise in as she can when she has to shop.

Find some small changes that work for you.

In time these Small changes will add up in a whole new you!

 

ZIP IT & ZAP IT

I know what you’re thinking, “What does Zip It and Zap It have to do with wellness?” So much that you don’t even imagine how much sometimes. Both of these can go hand-in-hand when speaking of health and wellness. These two action steps go together like peanut butter and jelly; if we’re not careful in pursuing their end we will find ourselves in a mess of health issues all at the mercy of our own hands. If you Zip It and Zap It you’ll have many more days filled with wellness.

Zip It is in direct relationship to our mouths not just to foods that make us unhealthy and overweight, but to words that tear down. If your conversation and the words you use are not adding to the encouragement of others  then don’t say them. The words we choose can either build a bridge of wellness or leave a legacy of deceit. When was the last time you were in a conversation with someone and you heard more curse words than anything else? This person is filled with strife, contention, and animosity with others and with themselves. Learn to control your words for your health’s sake. People who don’t curse, edify conversations, and encourage one another are calmer, more at peace, and healthier than their curse word slinging counterpart.

ZIP ZAP

Zap It is totally connected to the negative energy that’s produced by negative people, negative situations, negative words, and negative thoughts. If you are yearning for better wellness then you’ll want to Zap all the areas that are negative in your own lives. Just like the microwave zaps all the nutrients out of our food, we need to Zap all the negative influences that cause us strife. Granted you probably can’t do anything with the traffic you drive in every day, but you can alter your response to it. Instead of getting agitated by it, listen to uplifting music, a book on CD, or leave a half-hour earlier.

Here are some ways to Zap It (the negative energy)

  • Get away from negative people: If you’re married to a spouse that is constantly negative then find your happy place in your mind and go there when your spouse is in a negative place. Talk to them ask them why they are negative all the time. Seek counseling if necessary. Find something that the two of you like to do and make a commitment to do it at least once a month or more. 
  • Stop using negative words yourself. Zip your mouth if you can’t say anything nice to someone. Hold yourself at a higher standard. Don’t let the negative words of others spur you into a negative world. If we praise our children for what they are doing right instead of constantly criticizing them for all the mistakes they make, they will be happier children and want to do better instead of not wanting to try at all.
  • Create a list of positive words to say every day. I know it sounds rather childish but if you are learning a new habit and need a little bit of prompting throughout the day. This list will help you. I’m constantly adding to my list. Click here to see it.
  • Stop watching TV shows and movies that are surrounded by negativity. When you’re in a negative place watching movies about arguments and listening to foul language will only fuel the fire within you.
  • Stop eating junk food. Junk food is filled with negative energy and zaps too many nutrients from your body just to digest it. Instead choose live food. Nothing packaged, with a label, or from the fast food restaurant down the street. Eat an orange, a banana, an organic piece of chicken, an organic salad. Choose as much organic foods that contain nutrients that give our bodies positive energy. The longer a person runs on negative energy the higher the risk of contracting deadly diseases and other illnesses.
  • Keep a notebook with you. Sometimes when I’m going through a negative situation I write down my thoughts about it, then I cross them out and write something positive about the situation. Write something positive about being stuck in traffic. Write something positive about all the negative situations in your life and you’ll begin to see those same situations as positive opportunities for growth.

When you put these two action steps of wellness, Zip It and Zap It, together with the other 25 to work in your own life you’ll begin to see that your wellness is in you hands. While each step has it’s own merit together they form a wellness plan that can propel you into a life that you never thought was possible. One filled with abounding health and magnificent wellness.