Wednesday, February 19, 2014

the breakfast club

I'm a morning person for sure.

I wake up early, enjoy a cup of coffee or two while adding to my 1000 gifts list, read in my Bible, spend time in prayer, get ready for work if it's a work day, and have breakfast before I leave.  In that order. 99% of the time. I'm also a stickler for routine.

I definitely can tell this regimen sets the tone for my day. If I press "snooze" too many times, rush through my quiet time, or miss breakfast, the rest of the day seems to be off a bit. Without a doubt, I need my Daily Bread to give me spiritual fuel to start my routine. To be honest, I also need little "scripture snacks" throughout day to keep going. One of my favorite quotes I've read about Bible reading is:

The Bible is meant to be bread, for daily use; not cake for special occasions. 

So true and so convicting! If I miss my time in the Word, I have noticed my attitude is affected-- my patience runs thin, my worries linger longer, and my heart just feels heavier.

Similarly, if I miss my breakfast-- I'm talking actual, physical food now-- I experience negative results: my energy is lacking, my mind is focused more on the next meal than the tasks at hand, and I'm usually not very pleasant.

One question I often ask my patients is "What do you eat for breakfast?" I have received lots of responses--some I like to hear and some are less than desirable...

"I don't like breakfast...
I don't have time for breakfast...
A well balanced breakfast...
Whatever my spouse/parent/roommate fixes...
Whatever drive-thru line is shortest..."
and many more...

Starting our day on the right note spiritually and nutritionally is so important! Here are some simple, quick, and nourishing breakfast ideas to fuel your day and set you up for success. I think we forget sometimes that our bodies actually need and use what we put in them in order to work. Would you ever put anything but gasoline in your vehicle's gas tank? Would you expect your vehicle to run efficiently with very little gas in the tank? Likewise, if we put junk, or very little nutrients, in our body, our bodies will not function as they should.

My go-to breakfast ideas: 
-Eggs: The perfect protein and full of healthy vitamins. I love them boiled, scrambled, and over easy. I also love preparing a quiche or frittata over the weekend to eat on for a few days. You can also boil several at a time and store in the fridge for when you are in a hurry or on the go. 

-Veggies: Aim to have veggies at every meal. The minerals and vitamins they provide are so important! Sauté some dark leafy greens. Reheat leftovers from last night's roasted veggies. Keep frozen diced peppers and onions in your fridge for easy additions to your meals. 

-Fruit: The original fast food. Keep apples, oranges, bananas, and berries on hand. Avocados are also a favorite alongside a breakfast sauté-- plus they add great healthy fat! Eat your fruit alongside your breakfast or blend into a smoothie! 

-LaraBars: I try to limit my convenience foods to ones that contain real ingredients. I like knowing what I am eating. Every now and then, when they are on sale at Kroger, I grab a few LaraBars to have for snacks or quick breakfasts. 

-Nut butters: Enjoy in a smoothie or with fresh fruit.

-Plain Greek Yogurt: Mix with fresh fruit or add to a smoothie.

-Leftovers: I used to think breakfast had to be "classic" breakfast foods. I now think outside of the box. Sometimes this means enjoying last night's supper again as breakfast, or at least reconstructed into breakfast. Get creative with your meals and repurpose your ingredients. 

Who else doesn't always use their time efficiently in the mornings? I am guilty of this! Maybe you check your email/social media and spend a little too much time. Maybe you start reading and lose track of the time. Maybe you're a chronic snooze-presser. Maybe you just take too long in the shower. Most of these breakfast ideas take 5-10 minutes to prepare if you have everything prepped and ready to go. I know a drive-thru takes much longer, costs more, and gives very little nutritional value. Plan ahead. Write down your meal ideas. Keep healthy items on hand. Designate one day to be your prep day and chop veggies for omelets/scrambles. Prepare a breakfast casserole to eat on all week. Make it your priority to fuel your body for a successful day. 

If you haven't joined "the breakfast club," give it a chance. Your body will thank you!

Also, if you haven't begun spending time in the Word each day, it will change your heart and life. Remember: it is our Daily Bread. 

What does your morning routine look like? Do you have a go-to breakfast idea? I would love to hear it! 

Friday, February 07, 2014

7 on the 7th: red favorites

Happy Month of Love y'all! I just love February-- the love in the air, the chocolate, the flowers, and the beautiful red color everywhere. I love love. Even though to some a holiday may be commercialized, I think it is nice to set aside a special time of the year to highlight love. When I think of love, I think of hearts, and then I think of that bold, beautiful color! This month's favorites include all things red! 

1. Go Red for Women
Today is National Wear Red Day, a special day to raise awareness for heart disease which is the number one killer of women in the United States. This year marks the 10th anniversary of National Wear Red Day hosted by the American Heart Association. While some risks for heart disease aren't modifiable (such as age, race, and heredity) there are many choices you can make to reduce your risk:
-stop smoking/don't start
-manage your blood sugar and blood pressure
-know your family history
-eat healthy, real food
-get active
-lose weight if necessary
As a dietitian, promoting the above healthy choices is so important to me! Be proactive in your health and raise awareness for this disease that impacts so many people by wearing red today.

2 & 3. Fruits and vegetables
I am a produce fanatic. I love the colors, the flavors, and the vitamins and minerals provided.  Red fruits and vegetables have so many health benefits. Aim to consume fruits and/or vegetables at every meal. Lycopene and anthocyanin give many fruits and vegetables, their red color and may also help maintain heart health, boost the immune system, and prevent cancers. Add red to your menu this week through apples, bell peppers, raspberries, red onions, pomegranates, beets, red potatoes, and tomatoes. 

4. Polish
Red nails are my favorite and always make me think of my Momma. 99% of the time her nails are painted red. I have many shades of red polish but my favorite right now is Momma's go-to: OPI Red. It's bright and cheery, with the slightest shimmer. 

5. Decor
Red is my favorite color to decorate with-- you can find it in almost every room, especially this time of year! My mother-in-love Debbie helped me arrange our mantle via text for Valentine's Day. My dad and Karen gave us a red vase and the "twigs," as Dustin calls them, that were used in our wedding arrangements. I love the frame in the middle of our mantle with 1 Corinthians 13 written on it. Although the milk glass and hobnail are not red, I still love them. In addition to the mantle, I set out some heart tea towels I picked up a couple years ago at Target and updated my piggy chalkboard. I must admit, I have had to fight the urge to check out the new loot at Target this year so that I can stay on track with The Contentment Challenge. However, it is fun to move different pieces and items around in your home to decorate in new ways! 

6. Wear
Since today is National Wear Red Day, it only makes sense to share a favorite red item I wear! My sister-friend Rhiannon gave her bridesmaids adorable monogramed scarves. I love a monogram and especially love that my scarf is red! My high school's colors are red and black, as well as my college sorority's, so red has infiltrated my closet for years. 

7. Red Letters
Since this month's is considered the Month of Love, I started thinking about scripture mentioning love-- 1 Corinthians 13, John 3:16, Ephesians 5:2, 1 John 4:7-21, and many more. Love is mentioned in the Bible hundreds of time, making it clear that love is such an important part of a believer's life. It makes sense, seeing that God is love. He created us out of love to live lives of love. That's a lot of love! Jesus, the Red Letter man, gave us the greatest commandments in Matthew 22:37-40:

"Jesus replied: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest command. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."

Love God. Love others. Those are some beautiful red letters and words to live by.  

So what red produce fills your crisper? What are you wearing today for National Wear Red Day? Did you decorate for the Month of Love? Do you have a favorite Red Letter passage? I would love to read your red favorites in the comments! 

Have a lovely day! 

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

the excellent wife by martha peace

This post has been a long time coming... Kirby at Fried Green Tomatoes sent me a copy of a book last Fall after she returned from a mission trip and heard rave reviews about it. Kirby explained to me it was a book with a Biblical perspective of being a wife and suggested we read it together and discuss what we were learning. The past few months we have gained some truly invaluable insight from this book and I am so excited to share about The Excellent Wife by Martha Peace in The Library.

First, let me start by being honest. I thought I knew a lot coming into our marriage-- I knew how to cook, I knew how to clean, I knew many of Dustin's habits, I knew what we discussed during our premarital counseling, I knew what we learned at a couples' conference we attended, and I had several ideas of how I thought things would go. What a wake up call I had once we were living under the same roof and sharing everything! I learned quickly that expecting Dustin to just love and join in on all of the habits I have formed --good and bad-- over the past 20 years was really unrealistic and unfair. Can I just say that I am so thankful that God has shown me over and over that I have so much to learn about being a wife and believer? I also extremely thankful for a husband who gives me grace daily and loves me. Our marriage has humbled me, taught me so much about true love, exceeded every expectation, blessed me immeasurably, and pushed me to seek Christ more than ever. Reading The Excellent Wife has helped me come to this realization.

There are all kinds of martial advice experts, books, videos, blog posts, and Facebook pages. Some give good advice, some give horrible advice, and others give great advice. We have to be careful about who we seek for counsel. I would file The Excellent Wife under the "great" category. The layout of the book is really reader friendly in that the chapters are short, in an outlined format, and full of charts and diagrams. The charts were our favorite! The book is separated into four parts outlining the following:
  • A Wife's Understanding: Foundational Truths for the Excellent Wife about God, sin, relationships, marriage, and the wife's role.
  • A Wife's Responsibility: Faithful commitments in Christ, the home, love, respect, intimacy, and submission.
  • A Wife's Submission: Fulfillment through Biblical submission, God's provision, honoring Christ, communication, and conflict. 
  • A Wife's Special Concerns: Sin problems such as anger, fear, anxiety, loneliness, and sorrow. 
What I love the most about the book is that is absolutely based on Scripture. You can hardly read a couple sentences without a passage of the Bible being referenced. I admire and respect many authors and perspectives; however, when it comes to living as a believer, I want to align my choices and actions with what God explains in the Bible. I want to fill my heart, mind, and mouth with the Word so that I can then live it. The Excellent Wife revealed so many areas of my life that were not mirroring what God commands of and desires for wives. I have felt so convicted and so encouraged while reading. Not only are the principles beneficial for marriages, they absolutely apply to other relationships as well.

Whether you are a newlywed or just celebrated your Golden anniversary, I am confident this book would benefit you and your marriage. Grab a copy of the book and invite a friend to join you in reading like Kirby did for me. The accountability, encouragement, and mutual growth will be so amazing! This summer, Dustin and I will celebrate being married a whole two years! (I'm currently brainstorming cotton gift ideas... Any suggestions are welcome!) I am so thankful God showed me that I have a lifetime to learn about being a wife and the importance of seeking His Word daily. I am so excited to experience more lessons He will teach us. I also can't wait to read through this book again and see what new points stick out to me during different seasons of life-- I did my fair share of circling, underlining, and starring my favorite parts.  Now, I know better than to think I know it all about being an Excellent Wife and I am definitely seeking the One who does...

An excellent wife, who can find?
She is far more precious than jewels.
Proverbs 31:10