Just Because Simply Wholly Living

I wish you enough

April 26, 2015
I wish you enough...

I wish you enough…

This was originally posted by Kindspring in 2007  but it is timeless and too true not to share.

“I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright. I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more. I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive. I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much bigger. I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting. I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess. I wish enough “Hello’s” to get you through the final “Good-bye.”

I wish you enough too…

Recipes Simply Wholly Eating

Shrimp Tacos with Lime & Coconut Cream

April 24, 2015

Seriously. It’s Friday and it’s been a hell of a week. So, you know what? I’m eating dairy and something sweet.

And I.FEEL.NO.GUILT.AT.ALL.

Shrimp Tacos with Lime & Coconut Cream

I hope you enjoy this yummy goodness as much as I did tonight.

Ingredient List

Bag of thawed raw and deveined shrimp*
1 tablespoon raw coconut oil
2 tablespoons fresh lime
1 tablespoon raw honey
1 Chobani  coconut greek yogurt
1 diced avocado
1 diced mango (Hint: How to peel a mango)
Quinoa Tortillas**
pinch of salt
pinch of pepper
1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro
10 oz of your favorite white wine

*Try to find a brand without Sodium Tripolyphosphate. I used 35-40 count but get more or less depending in how many you are feeding
**You would have to make these ahead or time or buy your fave gluten-free or whole grain brand.

Recipe

  1. Grab yourself a strainer and a bowl. Pour the bag of thawed shrimp into the strainer and drain out the extra liquid. Then begin the tedious, but really rewarding task of peeling each piece.
  2. Toss the container of the yogurt in a bowl, add one tablespoon of the lime juice and the honey and mix on up. Then be sure to taste it because it is flippin’ good. And then you can add more lime or honey to your preference. I personally like a little more lime. Set aside.
  3. Grab your mango and peel it. Then dice it and set aside.
  4. Then grab your avocado and peel it. Then dice it and set aside.
  5. Grab your wine. And drink. You deserve it.
  6. Snatch up a handful of the fresh and fragrant cilantro and chop on up. You will use this as garnish on the tacos before you serve or you can add some right to the coconut/lime cream you just made. Your preference.
  7. Heat up the coconut oil in a pan over medium/high heat. (You can test when the oil is ready bring adding a drop of the lime juice in the pan and seeing if it sizzles a bit.) While you wait take a sip of wine.
  8. Add the peeled shrimp to the pre-heated pan. Stir frequently adding in both the salt and pepper. You know the shrimp is cook when it changes in color on all sides from translucent to opaque. This really only takes a few minutes per side if your pan is giving off medium high heat.
  9. Take a gulp of your wine or 2. This is a judgement free zone.
  10. Once you are sure that the shrimp is cooked (which means leaving it in the pan for 20 minutes if you are my husband. “Just to be safe.”) then throw in the remaining lime juice and give it a stir to coat everything.
  11. Now you’re ready to assemble! So quickly grab that glass o’ vino because you won’t get another sip for at least 100 seconds.
  12. Grab one tortilla, add shrimp, layer on a spoonful (or 3) of the cream, a few pieces of mango and avocado and a garnish with cilantro.

Tip 1: If you need something a bit heartier, make some quinoa in advance as a side or as a layer in the taco.

Tip 2: Be sure you buy coconut oil that can handle high heat. If not, follow the oil’s heat settings so you do not burn anything. Burnt coconut oil is awful.

Now, get back to your wine!

 

 

 

 

 

Recipes Simply Wholly Eating

Seriously Easy Gluten-Free Protein Bars

April 18, 2015

This past week I spent my stay-cation at home with my husband working on our laundry room. Needless to say, I need a vacation.

But, if I had planned correctly, having these bars on hand would have made our snacking needs a lot easier. Instead I am making now for the week. At least, I will have super healthy snacks for the week.

This recipe is so easy.

I do suggest you find the 9×11 pan or use a 9×13 if you like thinner bars rather than brownie thick bars. The last time I used a smaller pan because I was afraid of over-cooking and they were a bit too thick for my liking.

Now, go preheat your oven to 350 and find your pan.

Ingredient List

1 cup almond, peanut or cashew butter (Whatever you prefer!)Easy gluten-free protein bars
3 ounces vanilla protein powder (You can go plant-based as well. I used what we had on hand.)
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 eggs
2 cups gluten-free rolled oats
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut
1 teaspoon baking soda

Steps

  1. Be sure to pre-heat to 350. Spray your cooking pan. I use EVOO from a mister rather than a cooking spray. It does not affect the taste!
  2. Use an electric mixer to mix, almond/cashew/peanut butter, protein powder, and maple syrup. Beat in both of the eggs.
  3. Then add the oats, coconut and baking soda. Be sure to allow the baking soda to really mix in thoroughly because a mouthful of baking soda tastes straight-up awful. Moving on.
  4. Bake for about 12-15 minutes (ish). Baking is not an exact science.  And depending on a bunch of variables, I will not bore you with, it may be a minute more or less. I like my bars a bit more firm, so I tend to cook on the higher end on the time – even maybe a little extra. Again, totally up to you.
  5. Take the pan out and LET IT COOL before cutting. I promise I already screwed this up more than once which is why I am warning you. I am just too impatient. But if you cut too soon, your lovely bars come out like an amoeba-shaped creatures and crumble apart. Let them cool so that the firm up nicely. Then cut into nicely shaped bars.
  6. Grab an air-right container and store for the week. Boom. Done!

I especially love these along with a piece of fruit and my green drink for breakfast because Lord knows I never have time to actually sit down and make a hot breakfast for myself in the morning.

 

Enjoy!

 

Simply Wholly Living

Connecting with others and healing yourself

April 12, 2015

The Power of Healing through Connection

As part of my journey to whole health, my primary focus is getting my soul, mind, spirit, chi – whatever you want to call it – “right”. I wholeheartedly believe in the power of the mind/body connection. My diagnosis was the slap in the face that I needed to take a long hard look at how the choices I was willingly, or unknowingly, making were sending my health into a death spiral.

My healing process requires me to reopen some of the closed connections and emotional walls/blocks that I unconsciously or consciously built to protect myself from feeling whatever it was that I didn’t want to feel: fear, jealously, insecurity, abandonment, etc. This has led me to some awesome and entirely unplanned chance meetings with some really inspiring people.

Last Monday, I had the distinct pleasure of sitting through Jury Duty and luckily avoiding impanelment on a Grand Jury.

Healing through Connection

Cathy, India and I

While reading, my attention kept being pulled away. I was overhearing bits and pieces of a very brave conversation unfolding right in front of me. Two perfect strangers started to chat it up and share intimate and private details about their lives with each other. Some of the things they were talking about deeply resonated with me.

At lunch break I could not resist the chance to introduce myself and tell one of the women, Cathy, how awesome I thought it was that they were sharing so honestly.

10 minutes later, Cathy, India and I were in my car and off to lunch together! In a matter of an hour we were sharing our stories, listening without judgment and offering each other empathetic hearts.

Empathy is our innate ability to “feel” what another person is feeling and truly sense what they are feeling. Empathy often oversimplified and described as a cognitive ability. But true empathy and the connection gained through an empathic experience goes much deeper than that. When we experience real empathy the separateness that exists between you and the other person you are sharing the experience with seemingly disappears. And it is deeply, deeply healing.

On the outside onlookers may have seen three women laughing it up. We definitely were. Unseen to the eye, was a transfer of energy to and from each of us. A loving, healthy, energy pulsing from one to another and cleaning up some of the little potholes, cracks and fissures in our hearts enabling our bodies to heal.

I left court that day a different, better, healthier person and I believe that they did too. And I know this to be true: We are the vessels through which the Holy Spirit spreads its grace.

Make the best of the week! Share and connect! You never know the positive impact you can have on another.

 

 

Simply Wholly Eating What's on my plate

What’s on Deacon’s Plate?

April 6, 2015

Here it is folks. A typical dinner for the wee one. He eats whatever we eat – for the most part. And there are plenty of nights that means omelets because, who has the time?

In this pic we got a little bit of a lot including: Avocado, grass-fed beef, BPA-free beans, Na-nana (AKA: banana) and blue-blues (AKA: blueberries). He probably also got some starch of some sort but, I forgot to photo it. Or maybe he didn’t because I forgot to make it.

I should mention that I hardly ever make dinner for my son but this is one time I got the chance to. My hubby gets home much earlier than I do and manages “Dinner Duty” amongst everything else. (Thanks, honey!)

The point is that dinner does not need to be complicated to be simple and whole.

What's on Deacon's plate

A Day in the MS Life Just Because What's on my plate

Happy Easter!

April 5, 2015

Ladies and Gentlemen, I call this piece of art made by my mother-in-law, “I am human”.

And yes, I ate one. And I loved it. Every last bite of it.

 

Easter cupcake

Simply Wholly Living

Soul Work

April 4, 2015

I’ve spent a lot of the last few weeks focusing on the topic of nutrition on this blog. The problem with that is that I am not offering you a true depiction of the real work that I do every day.

I know how powerful the right nutrition can be. I am a living example of that. No MS symptoms, replenished levels of energy, 10+ lbs lost, glowing skin, healthier nails, and healing scalp. The list goes on and on.

But the real work is happening in my soul – my spirit. And that story has been really scary for me to tell because my drama-queen, sensationalist, never content, worst enemy that lives in my head has been spewing a whole lot of nonsense and I’ve been listening even though I know better. Sharing like this, being vulnerable, honest, well…it’s fucking hard. Plain and simple.

I’ve started 5 blog posts this Easter week and finished 1 of them. This one. I knew every time what I wanted to share but would sit here and stare blankly. So, I took a break and dialed back in to me with some meditation (which I am absolutely awful at) and prayer. Then I grabbed yet another great book, asked my guides for a little help and WHAM! Right there smack before my eyes, were the words I needed to see/hear. And I think they are the words you need to see too.

The Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer

What a week this has been. Both personally and professionally, but more than that, it is a week of such deep significance for my faith and Easter Sunday wraps it up.  Stated in the most simply terms ever, actually oversimplified, Easter Sunday is a day of rebirth and redemption.

It symbolizes so much. But more than anything else, I feel like it’s an open invitation to start over. To put my past behaviors (my cross) and self-defeating ways where they belong – in the past – and truly trust in the higher good that is meant for me – and every one for that matter. How freaking amazing is that. I feel energized just typing those words.

It’s a new season. Literally. It’s Spring. And life is going to start to pop up everywhere and all the beautiful things are going to start to grow. We are some of those beautiful things. And I am not going to miss this this opportunity to grow by listening to that freaking crazy in my head. I am a going to honor my spirit that keeps telling my to be brave and share. Just share. Connect and listen.

During this weekend, I hope you can find a chance to relate to the story of Easter in your own personal way and tell that crazy voice to go fly a kite.

Happy Easter! xo

 

 

Simply Wholly Eating

The Dollars and Sense on Going Organic

March 31, 2015

Since starting this blog I get a lot of questions about the food I eat.
Especially about organic food and our family’s choice to eat organic and why it costs such a god awful amount over “regular food”. So, let’s clear a couple things up.

Farmers Market Strawberries

Do you always eat organic?

Look, there is no question in my mind that if and/or when I can select organic food, I do. There are a whole bunch of reasons and plenty of data to back-up the benefits of going organic. That said, if budgets or accessibility are an issue – AND THEY ALWAYS ARE – then just choose the best options you can! Your health is all that matters. And a banana over a candy bar is always the better choice. And no, we don’t always eat organic. It’s just not possible all the time – for us anyway. Besides, I still really really love cookies.

There is no one-size-fits-all plan for a healthier lifestyle, no get-better-quick pill that is going to cure all of your ailments forever. (Although the pharma industry may not agree with me on that one.) So as you start down this path to a healthier, more wholesome life, in addition to being kind to yourself during the process, you should not create unnecessary blocks like committing to only organic food. It’s not necessary. What is necessary is committing to healthier choices. A commitment to yourself because you are totally worth it.

If you want to buy some things organic but are not sure where to start, check out the Dirty Dozen Plus and Clean 15 lists from the Environmental Working Group to guide you. I love this site.

Why is organic so damn expensive?

Organic food it too flipping expensive. But most folks think that it’s because these (typically smaller) farms want to milk every penny they can out of us for healthier food. That’s just not the truth though.

Here are some of the reasons that organic food costs more. A bunch more can be found here*.

  1. Organic farmers don’t receive federal subsidies like conventional farmers do.
    Therefore, the price of organic food reflects actual cost of growing this food. There are no breaks for them. (So, if you use pesticides and other types of un-natural food stuff to grow your crops (conventional farming), you get a credit from our government, so you can sell your food cheaper. But, if you want to grow food free of all the nasties then, you’re shit out of luck. No breaks for you and the consumer gets stuck with the higher prices. Awesome how that works.)
  2. Organic farmers pay to have their farms certified and regularly inspected to label their food as organic.
    And you guessed it! Conventional farmers don’t.
  3. Organic farming is WAY more labor and management intensive.
    If you are not using all the “short-cuts” to yield fruitful crops, then you need more people, more time intensive methods, and more expensive processes. Period. (The best things in life are free. Except organic food.)
  4. Much better living conditions for animal and live stock.
    Have you ever priced out or purchased grain-free food for your pets? Well try doing to that on a farmer’s budget, with no government credits, longer processes, more people, less short-cuts and a hell of a lot more animals to feed. The bill adds up.

But if you get as fed up as I do about it, there are always options. Check out LocalHarvest.org, enter you zip code and find farmers markets near you. Cut out the middle man and save yourself some mula. Or checkout Thrive Market and get the food delivered to your door at wholesale prices. Who doesn’t like not having to go to the grocery store!

 

 

*I never thought I would share anything that originated from Fox News, but there is a first for everything. And it actually happens to be accurate.

Note: Any sites, links, vendors, etc. that I link to are not paid endorsements. Just me running my mouth about things that have made my health journey more manageable. However, if any of the said sites, links, vendors are reading this and want to pay me. Let’s talk. 🙂

 

 

photo credit: Fresh Strawberries via photopin (license)

Recipes Simply Wholly Eating

Derek’s Homemade Almond Milk Recipe

March 28, 2015

What else is there to do on a snowy day in the Spring? Make Almond Milk! Correction: My husband technically MADE the almond milk and I took the photos and wrote this lovely post.

Ingredient List

Almond milk ingredients

Almond milk ingredients

1lb. bag of Almond’s
1 Nut milk bag (like this one)
Sea salt
Dates*
Honey* (We use Carlisle Honey, but use whatever you have or enjoy.)
Nutmeg*
Cinnamon*
Vanilla*

*Optional Ingredient

Step-by-Step Recipe

Before you can get started, you will need to soak your almonds overnight or for at least 8-12 hours.

I’ve read various other posts that say you can get away with less. One blog even suggests 2-3 hours, but they were using a Vitamix and I am using a standard good ‘ole blender. So, if you have a Vitamix or Blendtec, then it may be totally possible to get started earlier.

Once the almonds have finished soaking, all you need to do is strain the water out. A pound of almonds ends up making about a gallon of almond milk. This means you can play around with your ingredients! We made a batch of plain almond milk (with just a pinch of salt) first. And then we played around with the water to almond ratio, as well as additional optional ingredients, for the next couple of rounds until we were both very happy. That’s the best part about making your own food. You have total control of what goes in and how on spot it is to your own taste preferences.

Raw Almonds Soaking

Raw Almonds Soaking

Strained Almonds

Strained Almonds

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moving on!

Now you are ready to go. Each batch starts by taking 1.5 cup of almonds and 3 cups of water and adding it to the blender. (Note: You will need to repeat this process about 4 times to get through the pound of  almonds. It’s not a perfect science.) This almond/water ratio was our preference because we like the nuttier taste, but 1 cup is totally fine. And if you have to be really cautious about calories, you can always add more water to cut it further. My daily lifestyle is pretty lean so I don’t know the nutrition info to this recipe – nor do I really care. If you are interested in general almond milk nutrition though you should definitely check this info out.

Almonds in the blender

Almonds in the blender

Blending away!

Blending away!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once the almonds have thoroughly blended you are going to need to grab your nut milk bag and a nice size bowl. This is where a partner in the kitchen becomes especially handy. Or you could even have a little fun with the kids and let them help out with this part. This can be done by one person as well as is evident from the pic below of my super coordinated husband getting his almond milk on. Don’t forget to wring our the bag and then set as the contents of the bag on a side plate or bowl for later. (More to come on this!)

Pour the contents of the blender into the bag. You need to pour fast enough to move the finely grated almonds into the bag and so the water sifts through. The easiest way to make this happen is to stir the contents of the blender up well and then start to pour immediately. Try not to let everything settle to the bottom. Otherwise, that’s where all the good stuff ends up.

Sifting the almond milk blend

Sifting the almond milk blend

Wring out the nut milk bag

Wring out the nut milk bag

Nutmeg and cinnamon for some extra flavor

Nutmeg and cinnamon for some extra flavor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now that you have strained your almond milk, you are good to start experimenting with the optional ingredients. We added:

2 finely chopped Dates, 2 tsp. honey , 1/2 tsp. nutmeg, 1/4 tsp. cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. vanilla and a pinch of sea salt.
If you want straight-up almond milk, you’re already done. But, we wanted to add some more flavor. I think even just honey and vanilla would be great. We’ll try that next time. We poured the strained almond milk back into the blender as well as the optional ingredients and blended one more time. Et voila!

Homemade almond milk!

Homemade almond milk!

PS: The taste is especially phenomenal in a stemless wine glass.

Repeat that process a few time more time until all your almonds are gone and you have about a gallon of almond milk that

Almond four!

Almond four!

you just made from scratch! By this point, you have a plate or bowl full of all the almond meal that you have been straining out. Spread the almond meal out on to a baking sheet . Turn your oven on to 170 degrees. Once the oven has hit the temp, put the baking sheet with almond meal on to the center rack and cook for about 1.5-2 hours (until dry). This will yield about 4 cups of almond flour.

The pros and cons of almond flour are pretty highly disputed. Just Google it. I personally have chosen to eat it very very sparingly because of its inflammatory properties. That said, it is incredibly nutrient dense so it may be a choice that you are totally comfortable with.

Recipe Summary

1.5 cup almonds
3 cups of water
2 Dates* finely chopped
2 tsp. honey
1/2 tsp. Nutmeg*
1/4 tsp. Cinnamon*
1/4 tsp. Vanilla*
Pinch of Sea salt

Any questions? Please feel free to leave a comment or contact me directly. xo