Eating, Featured, Health, Recipe
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My Health Story and Mexican Bibb Lettuce Wraps 

My journey towards a healthier physical lifestyle started 9 years ago. Before that, I made reasonably healthy choices but had a very American diet. One evening, my husband, Daniel, and I were on a date, completely unaware of what the evening would hold. We drove through Starbucks and, as we pulled away, my eyes crossed and I couldn’t straighten them for half a minute. That doesn’t sound like long but, believe me, when your body won’t function right, your life seems to move in “SLOW MO,” like a bad video editing job from the 80’s classic, The Bionic Man. Daniel rushed me to the ER where they conducted a CAT scan. They had no explanation.

This continued and other symptoms ranging from the feeling I was blacking out to being so cold I couldn’t tolerate it. That season of life was about as fun as wrestling with a stingy toilet paper dispenser in a public restroom. I mean, who mounts those puppies so low you can’t pull any down and out without it breaking off at each square?!

You know, there’s a beetle that I’ve found many times in my home in Colorado that moves like it’s on another time table. I want to shout to it before I smash it, “Ruuuuun for the hills! Save yourself!” I’m convinced its only line of defense is that it makes humans feel guilty over the extreme advantage. That was me after my health scare; I changed my life-pace. I heard God whisper to me, Spend this summer sitting in the sun, reading and resting. After numerous convincing tests that this could be something horrific, like MS or Lupus, further testing revealed nothing. Finally, three things the experts could come up with were 1. I had a vitamin D deficiency from multiple pregnancies, 2. I had hypoglycemia in which I had to have regular protein and low sugar to keep my blood sugar from dropping and 3. They suspected non-headache pain ocular migraines. Isn’t it fascinating that God told me to sit in the sun before the medical professionals came to the Vitamin D deficiency conclusion?

I immediately went off a medication I was on and began to focus on a clean style of eating. I also had my Mercury dental fillings changed and began taking Vitamin D, C, Calcium, a refrigerated probiotic, etc. Slowly, my strength returned, my sleeping improved and my symptoms went away. Eating that way and watching my stress levels, I’ve had 8 healthy years now, with migraines decreasing and very rare and stabilized blood sugar. As I ponder what happened, I believe in addition to the doctors’ conclusions, I had adrenal exhaustion, high stress and a diet that needed some work.

While my health improved dramatically by using this clean style of eating, my weight only changed a little. There are SO many weight loss theories; it can be overwhelming to decipher which one to try! While I’ve given my regimen a name – The Vibrant Life Diet – it is basically just what worked for me, plain and simple. It is a combination of many fitness ideas. I believe to lose weight you do have to eat less; we’ve become accustomed to larger portions than we need. Insert the squirrel, Hammy, from Over the Hedge, “But, I LIKE da cookie!” Also, true fitness requires you to sweat. Sorry but it’s true. I know, it sounds about as fun as riding a motorcycle with a monkey on your head. But, it’s got to happen. To achieve health and weight loss, I needed to add in exercise and I had to watch the quantity of good calories, as well as the quality, and get used to a fresh food based lifestyle. I have already described this fully in other blog posts.

Some of you might ask, “If I’m overweight and happy, why does it matter?” Well, first of all, I’m thrilled you’re happy! 🙂 Being at peace and having joy are great keys to health; science proves it! However, eventually, having too much weight does take a health toll. For me, it was twofold:  1) I had a blood test done 1.5 years ago that showed my thyroid numbers had inched right to the edge of “normal” and  2) I decided I wanted to be active again and be able to fully enjoy my family, hopefully for a long time.

Health is a journey. There are so many things to learn. My perspective is begin. Just begin. In small ways each week, improve your physical health. I am always learning and not perfect at it. Sometimes finding what is truly healthy can be difficult to navigate. My overall perspective is eat as close to the way God originally intended as you can and you won’t go far wrong.

My sense of value hasn’t come from being 50 pounds lighter. And, it hasn’t come from myself – some sort of pride in my own amazing abilities. Har har. But, I will tell you what, with God’s help, setting my mind on something tough, staying disciplined to keep going when it felt impossible and, then, actually reaching my goal, has been life changing for me regarding all kinds of discipline and has opened up a new freedom in me. It has taught me that God means it when he tells us in Psalm 18:29 “With my God I can scale a wall!”

Mexican Meal-2COMPANION MEAL #2

Mexican Bibb Lettuce wraps (serves 9, so most families could halve this)

  • Chicken Tenders (3-4 per person) Grill on lowest heat for 15 minutes (Watch them closely because they can quickly become overdone)
  • One large bundle of green onions, cut in tiny slices
  • Bibb Lettuce, 1.5 heads, carefully torn off as whole leaves, rinsed and laid whole on a platter
  • 3 Avacados scooped in small rounds
  • 2 15 Oz. cans of Organic Black Beans, from Costco, heated up (towards the end of the meal prep)
  • 1.5 pounds of Cheese, grated
  • 2 English style Cucumbers, diced
  • 1 lb. box of Grape style Tomatoes, halved
  • Light Sour Cream 
  • 1 Tablespoon of Fat Free Greek Yoghurt, from Costco
  • 1 batch of homemade salsa, (see recipe below)
  • 1 bundle of Cilantro chopped fine

Assemble all of these items on plates for serving.

Homemade 5-minute Salsa

Blend together:

  • 1 large onion
  • 1 large bundle of Cilantro, tails cut off
  • 1-2 Jalepenos, topped, leave seeds in (Start with one and add the next one by half after you taste test. Sometimes I use 1, sometimes 1.5 & occasionally 2).
  • 1 teaspoon of dry garlic
  • 1 28 Oz. can of Muir Glen Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes, no salt added
  • Salt to taste (usually close to a teaspoon)

Instruct your family to use the Bibb Lettuce leaves like a taco and use all the toppings to fill it, with Sour Cream and Salsa on top.

Vibrant Life Folks: use only 1 total Tablespoon of cheese, use Fat Free Greek Yoghurt instead of Sour Cream, use salsa and beans in a more limited way (because of the salt and the # of carbs in the beans also) and go lighter on avocados too.

Serve with watermelon on a hot day and you will be a hero. My family LOVED this meal!

5 Minute Horchata Ice-cream:

  • Quality Vanilla ice-cream
  • Cinnamon

For an easy, Mexican style dessert, reminiscent of Horchata (A vanilla cinnamon rice drink), serve your family a quality Vanilla Ice-Cream sprinkled with Cinnamon.

“For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving,”  – 1 Timothy ­ESV

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