Friday Favorites: Top 7 Favorite Images from July 2020

As we wrap up another summer month, I am taking a look back at July and reflecting through pictures! You can see my June recap here. Let’s now take a walk down memory lane of this past month:

I love their smiles and pure excitement for the fireworks we saw on the Fourth. It was just so much fun to watch the fireworks through their eyes and the inflatable mattress and pillows in the back of my hubby’s truck was so much fun!

Oh our little cuddler! He loves to grab you and pull you close and hold on…and fall asleep 😉 We don’t cuddle every night…but sure will take these while we can!

Our liltte first grader started homeschool just four weeks ago! We are loving Sonlight curriculum and just having so much fun with the work. I am so proud of him…he is rocking it and so smart and doing such a great job!

This little tank is just flying on his bike! We dropped the training wheels not too long ago and he just won’t quit! 😉 He never ceases to amaze me…and keep me on my toes! 😉

Our boat rides are made so sweet when he falls sleep. Why do I love their little precious faces so much when they are sleeping?! Those lips just get me! Love my boys 🙂

We enjoyed an adults-only boat ride for our bi-monthly Supper Club and my precious friend snapped this pic of me and my hubby. We don’t get too many pictures of us together (you know how it as a parent…one is taking and one is in it…rarley both are in it at the same time).

These two are just so much fun! I love the joy and the laughter that they bring to every day! I pray that they love each other and remain best friends for life!

BONUS

These two pictures are my absolute favorite so far from my morning walks and both happened on the same day…a morning that I needed encouragement and felt God leaning in and whispering to me. Love when God shows off! 😉


Also….some GREAT news!

Now through August 4th, you can get 50% off your first month of a new subscription order. 

That’s right! Truvani decided to offer their amazing special again!!

Now is the perfect time to try any of Truvani’s products, and they’ll take 50% off your first month when you checkout! Plus you can cancel your subscription any time without hassle.

Click my link here to snag your 50% off code!

*Subscribe and save 50% off your first order of any full-priced Truvani product when you subscribe. Discount is taken at checkout on product price only, excludes tax and shipping. Offer cannot be combined with any other offer or discount and cannot be applied to previously placed or pending orders. Offer is limited to new subscriptions only and will not apply to any previous product subscriptions. Offer subject to change or expire at any time. Other restrictions may apply.


Well I can’t believe July is practically over already!

I’ll see you all back here in AUGUST!!


What’s Up Wednesday – July 2020

It’s my third edition of What’s Up Wednesday! 

You can catch my June post here and May here.

The last Wednesday of the month I link up with Mix and Match Mama and share all the things! It’s a little food, a little family, a little what we’re doing, a little what we’re watching and a little bit of everything else, all in one post.

So let’s look at July!

WHAT WE’RE EATING THIS WEEK:

I am literally meal planning as I type this!

I am making ALL NEW recipes this week (scary and exciting all at the same time)! First, a HUGE THANK YOU to my amazing neighbor who happened to have the Thug Kitchen cookbook that I could look over! And I printed a couple recipes from the Thug Kitchen website as well as one from Skinnytaste. So here’s the plan for the week:

I am going to have to make a few adjustments with some items to make it gluten-free and I will swap maple syrup in some of the recipes for honey. Hopefully it will work just fine! I am making my own homemade nut cheese from Danielle Walker’s cookbook and her marinara sauce. I also have a delicious homemade enchilada sauce recipe that I will make Thursday for Friday’s recipe.

WHAT I’M REMINISCING ABOUT:

An adults-only night out on the boat! It was sooooo long overdue! It was nice to social-distance on the boat with two other couples and grill dinner, float, and just enjoy the sunset sans kids.

WHAT I’M LOVING:

I am absolutely LOVING my early morning walks! I go as soon as my littlest wakes up (about 6:30am) and get him situated and then I head out the door (don’t worry…Daddy is home!) and walk for about 20-30 minutes and soak up the sunrise, quiet, and all the nature sounds!

WHAT WE’VE BEEN UP TO:

We went on a little family bike ride last weekend and took a trail that lead to the lake. The boys got a little muddy but we all had fun exploring!

We are about to finish our FOURTH week of homeschool and we are loving it!!

We are enjoying the lake as much as possible before summer is over!

WHAT I’M DREADING:

Honestly not much right now! I am trying to love each day and just taking things one day at at time.

WHAT I’M WORKING ON:

Homeschooling! Haha! That is seriously a wonderful task all on it’s own. I was working on a preschool curriculum for our 3-year old so I could have more of a plan for him…but I think I got a little too courageous and need to go back through and edit some stuff 😉

I am also in the thick of writing a feature article for a local magazine and can’t wait to see it all put together!

WHAT I’M EXCITED ABOUT:

There are a couple of things that I REALLY excited about but waiting a bit longer before I can share with all of you…but I promise I will share with you as soon as I can!

WHAT I’M WATCHING/READING:

We just finished Down to Earth and I absolutely loved it!!! Got me so fired back up to take better care of this planet. Each episode stood alone and was about a different country and topic. I highly recommend watching it!!

I have been replaying the Hamilton soundtrack a bit too much over here (but can it really be too much?!? Haha!), and so interested in Hamilton and his life…so much so that I downloaded this book:

WHAT I’M LISTENING TO:

Whenever I am on my morning walks, I listen to Ruth Cho Simons and Troy Simons podcast, Foundations, and it is so calming, refreshing, comforting, encouraging…all the things. Listening to these two talk about God and basically preach to my soul…it is so needed and so nice. Their website describes Foundations as follows:

“Families are shaped one day at a time through the Word of God. The Foundations podcast helps you direct your family as you explore 12 key truths to connect your children’s hearts—and yours—to the heart of God.”

https://ruthandtroy.com/podcast/

I usually leave one earbud in and leave the other out so I can still hear the birds while I walk. Each podcast is usually the length of my walk, too, which is perfect! I hate starting and stopping podcasts, because I usually forget what was previously mentioned 😉

WHAT I’M WEARING:

I purchased two adorable bracelets and anklet from Pura Vida and absolutely love them! They are simple, cute, light, and have PURPOSE as well as being fair-trade:

“Pura Vida was given a chance to expand its artisan community to include a family of more than 800 artisans in Costa Rica, El Salvador, India and more, who can count on a steady income and positive work environment thanks to the incredible support of Pura Vida fans. Giving back has always been at the core of what we do, which is why we also created the Charity Collection. Over the last few years, we’ve partnered with more than 175 charities around the world to donate nearly $2.4 million to causes you care about. We’re always striving to do more and are constantly on the lookout for more charities that can benefit from Pura Vida Bracelets.”

WHAT I’M DOING THIS WEEKEND:

Every summer post is going to be pretty much the same…GOING ON THE BOAT! Haha!

WHAT I’M LOOKING FORWARD TO NEXT MONTH:

My hubby’s birthday is in August and it is going to be worth celebrating! I love birthdays and his is no exception! I will cook his favorite foods (cause thats my love language!) and we most likely will go on the boat that weekend.

WHAT ELSE IS NEW:

Not much else!! Just enjoying my quiet walks in the morning, homeschooling, reading, watching shows, cooking, cleaning…same ol’ same ol’!


Well, that’s it for July!! It seems like the months are just FLYING by!

Have a blessed rest of your week/month and make sure to come back on Friday to read my latest Friday Favorites!


Are the Foods You’re Eating Healing or Killing You? – Part 1: Calories and Fat

I have shared briefly about my rocky relationship with food in the past and how I did not have a healthy relationship with food. I had enough of battling my eating disorder and unhealthy lifestyle, but didn’t know where to start or how to have a love for food. I thought “fat-free”, “light”, “skim” was what was best…that was all I knew!

I did some research and found the book The Eat Clean Diet by Tosca Reno and absorbed all the information like a sponge! It finally made sense! I learned all the basics to eating clean and what that term actually meant. Reno states that “clean eating is avoiding all processed food, relying on fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains rather than prepackaged or fast food. It may sound counterintuitive, but eating clean allows you to eat more and weigh less because you are making smart food choices.” For me, that also means that what I am eating is organic and free of GMOs and pesticides (which I will go into more detail in my next posts). It took some prep work and planning, but I loved eating clean! I loved feeding my body nutritious, wholesome food!

Then about seven years ago I started following Vani Hari (aka The Food Babe) on Facebook and started reading her blog. Man, did that open a can of worms…in a good way 😉 Haha! I learned so much more about ingredients and additives…which then led me to watch more and more documentaries (like What the Health, Food Inc.Forks Over Knives, GMO OMG, and many more!) and researching more about our food and where it comes from and how it is made/raised. To me, eating healthy is more than just “eating clean.” It is plant-based, organic, pesticide-free, eating sustainably. It is a lifestyle. It is necessary. It is important. God gave us this one planet and this one body, and in order for it to work with us and for us, we need to fuel it the best way we can. In order to prevent illnesses, cancers, diabetes, obesity, we need to give our body wholesome, nutrient-rich foods, free of cancer-causing ingredients. 

Over the next few months, I will post some myths about food and share more of what I have researched over the last seven years, including factual information from reliable sources.

This post we are looking a two big myths:

  1. That calories are created equal and
  2. That fat makes you fat.

So let’s dive right in!

Calories are Not Created Equal

Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto

“While cutting calories might help you lose weight in the short-term, it can be horrible for your long-term health. This is because the ingredients that the industry is packaging up for us are designed to increase their profits while expanding our addiction to their “food-like” concoctions – which eventually expands our waistlines too. Many packaged low-calorie diet foods contain ingredients that can rob us of our health, some cause us to eat more than we should and most of which you would never cook with at home.”

The Food Babe

I use to be obsessive about counting calories and would restrict myself to a completely unrealistic number of daily caloric allowances. If only counting calories, I could eat two chocolate “fat-free” cookies and be thrilled because I stayed under 300 calories…or I could drink a massive chocolate protein shake that is full of healthy, nutritious ingredients with no added sugars and still be at 300 calories. Dr. Mark Hyman stated, 

“It is true that, in a vacuum, all calories are the same. A thousand calories of Coke and a thousand calories of broccoli burned in a laboratory will release the same amount of energy. But all bets are off when you eat the Coke or the broccoli. These foods have to be processed by your metabolism (not a closed system). Coke and broccoli trigger very different biochemical responses in the body—different hormones, neurotransmitters and immune messengers. The Coke will spike blood sugar and insulin and disrupt neurotransmitters, leading to increased hunger and fat storage, while the thousand calories of broccoli will balance blood sugar and make you feel full, cut your appetite and increase fat burning.  Same calories—profoundly different effects on your body.”

Please, stop counting calories! Healthy food is just that – HEALTHY. Stop counting and start living! Enjoy your food! Enjoy the goodness that comes from great nutrition.

Fat is Not the Enemy

Image: Brook Health

In the 80s/90s, “fat-free”, “reduced-fat”, and other “health” trends emerged and we all quickly jumped on board thinking that fat was the enemy. We started drinking the skinny drinks and eating the ‘fat-free’ items, but for some reason obesity was on the rise faster than ever.

Coincidence?

Dr. Mark Hyman stated, “When people eat less fat, they tend to eat more starch or sugar instead, and this actually increases their levels of the small, dense cholesterol that causes heart attacks. In fact, studies show 75% of people who end up in the emergency room with a heart attack have normal overall cholesterol levels. But what they do have is pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes.”

A review of all the research on saturated fat published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found no correlation between saturated fat and heart disease.

Let’s shout that out again…

There is no correlation between saturated fat and heart disease.

As with all foods, quality becomes key here. The fats in a fast-food bacon cheeseburger will have a completely different effect than the saturated fat in coconut oil. So we need to stop classifying it as all the same.

However, some fats are unhealthy, like trans fats and inflammatory vegetable oils, like corn, soy, and safflower oils. “These fats have increased in our diet and foods and they actually make us fatter and cause a rise in inflammations, and that plays a role in most every chronic disease found on the planet. Trans fat is the only kind of fat that has been shown to be categorically detrimental to health.”

You probably have seen the term “partially hydrogenated oils” on some of your food labels. That is a byproduct of an industrially produced trans fat. This ingredients was so common and found in so many processed food items that it was linked to more than a half a million coronary heart disease deaths worldwide…in just one year.

Think the food system won’t do you in like that? I mean, if the FDA allows it in our food, we should be ok, right?

WRONG.

Just look at this data that another reporter found:

“Industrially produced trans fat was banned in the US in 2015, and all products were supposed to be phased out by June 2018, but manufacturers received an extension until January 2020.

Here is the ACTUAL FDA statement from their website:

“In 2015, FDA released its final determination that Partially Hydrogenated Oils (PHOs) are not Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS). The determination is based on extensive research into the effects of PHOs, as well as input from stakeholders during the public comment period.

PHOs are the primary dietary source of artificial trans fat in processed foods. Removing PHOs from processed foods could prevent thousands of heart attacks and deaths each year. To learn more about trans fat, see our Trans Fat page. It’s important to note that trans fat will not be completely gone from foods because it occurs naturally in small amounts in meat and dairy products, and is present at very low levels in other edible oils.

Implementation

FDA is extending the compliance date for certain uses of partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs). For the majority of uses of PHOs, June 18, 2018, remains the date after which manufacturers cannot add PHOs to foods. However, to allow for an orderly transition in the marketplace, FDA is allowing more time for products produced prior to June 18, 2018 to work their way through distribution. FDA is extending the compliance date for these foods to January 1, 2020 (there is a chance that some products you are currently buying could still have PHOs and may still be on the shelves!). This action balances the health benefits of removing PHOs from the food supply with the need to provide an orderly transition in the marketplace.

At the same time, the FDA is denying a food additive petition from the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) requesting approval for certain limited uses of PHOs. To allow for time for reformulation, the agency is extending until June 18, 2019 the compliance date to stop manufacturing foods with these specific, limited petitioned uses of PHOs, and until Jan. 1, 2021 for these products to work their way through distribution.”

https://www.fda.gov/food/food-additives-petitions/final-determination-regarding-partially-hydrogenated-oils-removing-trans-fat

The FDA is aware that PHOs are BAD for you and can KILL you, and have known this since 2015…but products can still be on the shelves till 2021…SIX YEARS.

It just makes me so mad. And unfortunately, it is not just with PHOs, but a slew of ingredients that are banned in other countries but allowed here.

And the thought that eating fat makes you fat is completely WRONG. We have GOT to get that OUT of our heads!! Dr. Mark Hyman states that eating fat can actually make you lean:

“Healthy cell walls made from high-quality fats are better able to metabolize insulin, which keeps blood sugar better regulated. Without proper blood sugar control, the body socks away fat for a rainy day. The right fats also increase fat burning, cut your hunger, and reduce fat storage.  Eating the right fats makes you lose weight, while eating excess sugar and the WRONG types of fat make you fat.”

Also, did you know that your brain about 60% fat? Yup! 60%! “Of that percentage, the biggest portion comes from the omega-3 fat called docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Your brain needs DHA to spark communication between cells. Easy access to high-quality fat boosts cognition, happiness, learning, and memory. In contrast, studies link a deficiency of omega-3 fatty acids to depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia (Dr. Mark Hyman).”

The right fats can improve your mood, skin, hair, and nails, while protecting you against Type 2 diabetes, dementia, cancer, and so much more.

Now when it comes to cooking, there are some great healthy oils that are a must to use…and some that you need to toss in the trash immediately.

Canola oil is one of the highest GMO, chemically-laden oils on the market. If you change ONE thing, please swap out your canola oil for avocado oil. It is so simple and the swap is created equal…you won’t even notice it…but your heart and body will feel sooooo much better! I personally love organic avocado oil to cook and bake with, and I also use it to season my cast iron skillets. Organic unrefined coconut oil is another great oil. I use that in baked goods and even raw in my smoothies (and I use it to take my eye makeup off at night!). Organic olive oil makes its way into my diet daily as well! I use it for my salads with a squeeze of lemon and sometimes use olive oil it to bake and cook. Organic grapeseed oil is another good one for baking.

To read more about cooking oils, read The Food Babe’s post about it here (click the image):

To sum up…

Calories are NOT created equal. So don’t worry about how many calories a food has…worry more about where it comes from, how it is cooked, the ingredients and if they are organic or highly processed. Stop counting and start enjoying.

Fats will NOT make you fat! Enjoy healthy, high quality fats, like avocados, nuts and seeds, coconut, hemp, flax, and more! Stop using the highly processed, GMO-laden corn oils, peanut oils, cottonseed oils (don’t forget to read your labels on shelf-stable foods, like bars, cereals, breads, chips, etc. as many companies use these oils because it is cheap. They don’t care about the health effects it has on you…they just want your money).


I hope that this helps to answer some of your clean eating questions and helps to squash some unhealthy thoughts you had about food.

Check back next time for ‘Are the Foods You’re Eating Slowly Killing You? – Part 2: Ingredients’ where I will share a list of ingredients to watch out for and why.

See you all back here Wednesday for my ‘What’s Up Wednesday: July’ post!

Sources:

Top 20 Nutrition Myths

Dr. Mark Hyman: Separating Fat from Fiction

Dr. Mark Hyman: Time for an Oil Change

Dr. Axe: Top 8 Healthy Cooking Oils


Friday Favorites: At-Home Workouts Edition!

Happy Friday friends! We made it to the end of the week! We have officially ended week THREE of homeschool and I am still loving every minute of it! Monday provided such sweet encouragement and words from both of my boys and it just reinforced our decision to homeschool.

Today for my Friday Favorites, I am sharing some of my favorite at-home workout plans and products!! Please share below what you are loving and what is working for you!

Note: Click the image to go directly to the product on Amazon.


Have to start with shoes! These are by far my favorite jogging shoes! I have them in the color Blue Mirage/Purple Plumeria. I got them at a local running store last year, where they watched me walk and I tired on so many different shoes. This one provides JUST ENOUGH foam, not too thin, not too much. I usually love Aesic’s but it had too much foam compared to these. Now, I go in running spurts…I will run for a few weeks, then be over it! Haha! Recently I’ve been into walking and these are prefect for my morning walks. But they are great for running, too!

I LOVE weight lifting and need to be better about doing it! My favorite at-home DVD routine is this one! Even my 7-year old son asks to do Body Beast! It is nice because it is more like how I use to workout, with reps and drop sets. I love it!

Another plan that I LOVE is the Tone It Up app! I love how fast the workouts are, that they workout multiple body parts at one time (thing lunge with a bicep curl), and it’s just fun! The app also has a nutrition center with all sorts of recipes!

Currently I am on Day 5 of the 21 Day Challenge and it is really great! I am totally sore and feel a difference already!

Now to do both of those workouts, you need a little bit of equipment, but not much. I LOVE our Powerblocks, but it is so hard to find weights right now that don’t cost an arm and a leg! We found our Powerblock set on Craigslist, so search around and find a few weights that work best for you (recommend a set like this where you can easily move up and down in weights but it doesn’t take up a ton of room. Or get light, medium, and heavy individual weights).

These resistance bands are fabulous! They don’t ride up on you, don’t slip or fold, are durable and hold up really well! The TIU workouts use resistance bands (and sometimes puts a weight behind your knee for donkey kicks, but with my Powerblock, I can’t do that…so I use these bands and they are perfect!).

We have this DYNAPRO exercise ball (in pink!) for Body Beast workouts since I don’t have an incline seat and it works really well. And right now this one is on sale!!

I try to get some yoga in a few times a week at least, so a good yoga mat is key. And it is nice, depending on your floors, to have a yoga mat for workout moves that you go on the floor for (sit-ups, donkey kicks, push-ups, etc.). I love that these Jade Yoga Mats are made with sustainable materials, they plant a tree with Trees for the Future for every mat sold, and it is American-made.

For my yoga workouts, I do free yoga videos with Yoga with Adriene. She has a ton of series and yoga for specific ailments. And can’t beat free!!

Speaking of yoga….THESE PANTS ARE THE BOMB!!! I don’t buy expensive workout clothes and when I heard these pants are like some of the more expensive brands, I had to try it! And boy oh boy…they DO NOT disappoint!!! So soft, stays in place, love the pockets and the high waist…they are just fabulous!

Always need a good protein powder to fuel your muscles and recovery after working out and you all know my love for Truvani’s super clean, organic, plant-based protein powder! I drink a smoothie EVERY DAY and love love love it! You can see some of my smoothie recipes here:

Not Your Traditional Vanilla Latte

I am loving starting my day with a smoothie and having so much fun playing with different smoothie add-ins and options! The other day I was missing coffee…which I haven’t had since November! My husband grinds the beans fresh every morning and the smell of fresh brewed coffee enveloped and consumed me! I decided to … Read More

Vanilla Almond Smoothie

Y’all. This is my new favorite smoothie!! It is so so easy to make and tastes like an almond butter vanilla dessert. I can’t even describe it well because it tastes so dang good! You could easily swap the almond butter for peanut butter or other nut butter of your liking. I used only seven … Read More

My Favorite Chocolate Smoothie Recipe

Since battling Candida and other health issues (which I will address all of this Wednesday), I had to avoid most all fruit (until recently). Which meant I could not have my normal fruit-loaded smoothies. I also struggled to find a protein powder that tasted delicious and was safe for my Candida. That is until Truvani! … Read More


What else do you use for at-home workouts? Comment below!

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend! See you back here on Monday!


What I Eat in a Typical Day

Happy Wednesday friends!! We made it half way through the week!

Today I am sharing what my typical day looks like. Since finding Truvani’s plant-based protein powder, my breakfasts have changed to a daily delicious morning smoothie. I LOVE it and it’s so easy first thing in the morning! But I am also including my other go-to breakfasts, as well as what I snack on and what I drink throughout the day.

So let’s go!

Breakfast

Option 1: My favorite coffee smoothie

Not Your Traditional Vanilla Latte

I am loving starting my day with a smoothie and having so much fun playing with different smoothie add-ins and options! The other day I was missing coffee…which I haven’t had since November! My husband grinds the beans fresh every morning and the smell of fresh brewed coffee enveloped and consumed me! I decided to … Read More

Currently, I am in a vanilla latte smoothie kick! I am LOVING the recipe above and drink it every morning!

Option 2: Scrambled eggs with steamed veggies

Before I found Truvani’s clean protein powder, I was making a veggie bowl with scrambled eggs (and still do occasionally) or a veggie omelet. Both basically use the same veggies…it is just how I am wanting my eggs that day! 😉

For either one of these, I just grab some veggies that I like (zucchini, onion, bell pepper, broccoli, asparagus, whatever I’ve got!), chop it up, sauté it in organic avocado oil, and if I am scrambling eggs, after the veggies get a little soft, I crack two eggs in the mix and scramble it all together. If I want an omelet, I put the sautéed veggies in a bowl off to the side, scramble two eggs and pour into my well oiled pan, cook it for a minute, then add back in the veggies and press it into the wet egg, cook an additional minute or two until it isn’t sticking and a little brown, then flip it all (over the sink…just in case!), and cook for an additional couple of minutes. Then flop it over onto a plate and fold over. For both, I top with 1/2 sliced avocado and pinch of Himalayan sea salt and ground black pepper.

Morning Drink Mix

Alkalize and Mineralize

Currently I am out of my CBD 😦 BUT I usually mix one scoop of Alkamind Daily Minerals with my CBD and fill up my big Starbucks cup…that no longer holds any Starbucks 😉

I am literally on a “subscribe and save” for Alkamind! Perfect because as soon as I start to run low, one just magically appears at my door! 😉

  • WHAT ALKAMIND DOES – Eliminate acid reflux, better sleep, improve constipation, reduce sugar cravings, fast workout recovery and mental clarity.
  • HOW IT DOES IT – 4 pure alkaline minerals plus organic lemon juice powder, 1:1 ratio of calcium to magnesium, most bioavailable minerals, chelated mg for highest levels of absorption and bioavailability, medical-grade minerals and fast acting powdered delivery system.

Lunch

Fresh raw salad

Pretty self explanatory here 😉 I basically take a whole bunch of veggies that I love and chop them up! I use all organic – green leaf lettuce, purple carrot, bell pepper, celery, tomatoes, sprouted arugula, walnuts, avocado, hemp seeds, drizzle with olive oil, juice from 1/2 lemon, and a pinch of Himalayan salt.

Afternoon Drink Mix

Schisandra Berry + Ashwagandha

I totally forgot to snap a picture of this BUT I use that same big Starbucks cup and fill it to the top with water and a little ice, add 1/2 tsp of my Schisandra Berry powder (which is sold out!! BUT you can still get it here) and about 1/3 tsp ashwagandha plus juice from 1/2 lemon.

Benefits of Schisandra Berry:

  • Anti-Inflammatory
  • Liver Detoxification and Purification
  • Increased Intracellular Glutathione Levels
  • Anti-Aging at the Cellular Level
  • Mental Clarity and Energy
  • Improves Digestion
  • Balances Hormones
  • Boosts Immune System

Afternoon Snack

Fruit + Almond Butter

My snack is pretty much the same every day. I love a crisp, organic green apple with a big tablespoon of organic almond butter. It is pretty much what I eat on the daily.

Sometimes if I need a little something sweeter, I will grab a couple of these.

Dinner

Dinner changes daily! This is where I have the most fun with my meals. I love using Danielle Walker’s cookbooks and Minimalist Baker (you can read more about my favorites here) and pretty much cook dinner every night of the week, minus a couple of leftover nights.

Dessert

…sometimes 😉

Sugar-Free Lemon Mug Cake!

If you know me, you know I LOVE lemon anything!! Lemon pies, lemon cupcakes, lemon bars, lemon anything! However, some of my favorite lemon recipes are loaded with cane sugar and dairy…which I cannot have because of my health issues (you can read about my health journey with Systemic Candida here). This microwavable lemon mug … Read More

Sugar-Free Chocolate Almond Butter Mug Cake

This mug cake is one of my favorites for satiating that chocolate craving! I use tiger nut flour instead of almond flour for this recipe because of its natural sweet flavor and health benefits. Chufa, also known as tiger nuts or earth almonds, are not actually nuts! They are small edible tubers. They are about … Read More

Sometimes a girl just wants something sweet! I love making my lemon berry mug cake or my chocolate mug cake, but I also really love this snickerdoodle mug cake recipe, though I made a few substitutions, it was still really good!

One day a week (usually Wednesdays because that is the night my husband and I watch The Challenge…which is over now! *insert sad face* 😉 ), I indulge in a SmartSweets Sweet Fish. SmartSweets are free from sugar alcohols, artificial sweeteners and added sugar plus they are plant-based!! They seriously taste so much better than my old fav fish! 😉

BONUS DRINKS

IF I am on my A-game, I prepare these drinks ahead of time and drink the Jamu Juice before I eat (or drink) breakfast and the refreshing Ginger Lemonade later in the morning or afternoon for a little pick-me-up. It is also perfect to take to the pool, beach, or lake as it is a natural hydrator and reduces bloat!


Well that’s it for my day! What do you love to eat for your main meals? Do you eat the same thing everyday or change it up? I’d love to hear! Share below!

See you all back here on Friday for my Friday Favorites: At-Home Workout Edition!


Hydrating Ginger Lemonade

This yummy, refreshing Ginger Lemonade is full of metabolism boosting, anti-aging, blood purifying, bloat-minimizing ingredients! And it is oh so simple to make!! This immune-boosting, hydrating delicious lemonade is only made with five simple ingredients!

Hydrating Ginger Lemonade

Makes 2 large servings (drink one fresh and store one for the next day!)

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups water
  • 2 TB fresh grated ginger root
  • Juice of two lemons
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • For serving: 2 tsp raw honey (or more to taste)

Instructions:

  1. Place the water in a saucepan over high heat and let it come to a boil.
  2. Once boiling, add your fresh grated ginger and let simmer for about two minutes.
  3. Take off heat and let cool for 30 minutes.
  4. Once cooled, add the lemon juice and cayenne pepper and mix.
  5. Strain the ginger lemonade into a large jar (with lid). Let cool completely.
  6. When ready to drink, pour your fresh Ginger Lemonade over a bit of ice and add just a squirt of local raw honey and mix. Enjoy!

Did you make this recipe?

Tag #lifestylewithlauren on Instagram!

*Recipe adapted from EarthyAndy


Immune-Boosting Jamu Juice

This Indonesian anti-inflammatory elixir is so refreshing and full of fabulous immune-boosting ingredients and phytochemicals! Traditional Jamu Juice, or Jamu Jamu, is an Indonesian medicine made from natural ingredients, like roots, fruits, flowers, seeds, and leaves. More recently, Jamu has been kicked up a notch with the addition of turmeric. Jamu is a natural anti-inflammatory tonic that boasts a ton of health benefits. You can drink it cold, how I like it, or warm it up like a tea.

This recipe will make you more than enough to get you through your week! I usually freeze a jar and keep another fresh jar in the fridge.

Immune-Boosting Jamu Juice

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup fresh organic ginger roots
  • 1-2 TB organic turmeric powder
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 fresh organic small pineapple
  • Juice from one organic lemon
  • 1/8 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1 TB raw organic honey

Equipment Needed:

  • Heavy-duty large blender, like a Vitamin, or a juicer
  • Fine mesh strainer and spatula
  • Quart-sized jars with airtight lids

Instructions:

  1. Pull out your large heavy-duty blender (or you can use your juicer instead) and have it ready!
  2. Wash your fresh ginger roots really well with warm water and slice into disks (no need to peel). Toss into blender.
  3. Add in the turmeric powder and 3 cups of water.
  4. Slice up your pineapple and add it to the blender.
  5. Add in your fresh lemon juice and 1/8 tsp black pepper and honey.
  6. Blend on high speed for about one minute.
  7. Grab a fine mesh strainer and pour the blended Jamu through the strainer into a large bowl for a smooth drink (you might need to smash the pulp through the strainer with a spatula to get all the goodness out of it!). From the bowl, pour your strained Jamu into large jars with lids!
  8. Now it’s time for SHOTS! 😉 Pour a bit in a glass and enjoy hot or cold!

Store in the fridge with an airtight lid or in the freezer and thaw a couple nights before drinking!

Cheers my friends!

Did you make this recipe?

Tag #lifestylewithlauren on Instagram!


Human Trafficking is Happening Right Next Door

I was scrolling through Instagram when a story stopped me in my tracks. This was what I read:

View this post on Instagram

PART 1/2: ⁠ “Emily” was 6 months old when she was advertised for the first time on Craigslist to be raped. ⁠ ⁠ Her middle-class family had a film studio set up in their basement. They discreetly advertised that any buyer could come to their home and sexually abuse her. The family would film it, and then sell that video for more money online.⁠ ⁠ When they were eventually caught 4 years later, they said they liked that model because there were two ways to make money: the buyers would pay them to come to their home, and then hundreds more would pay them online for the video footage.⁠ ⁠ Emily was rescued when she was 4 years old and immediately placed with a loving family to begin healing. ⁠ ⁠ We cannot let these vile acts happen to the most innocent among us. We must RISE UP and fight for these vulnerable children. ⁠ ⁠ JULY 30TH is #WorldDayAgainstTrafficking. Text HELPTHEM to 51555 TODAY to join us in the fight this month. Will you stand with us? #RISEUP⁠

A post shared by Operation Underground Railroad (@ourrescue) on

//www.instagram.com/embed.js

Every emotion came as a flood as I read that story: anger, heartbreak, sadness…it is just so shocking, horrifying, to know that there is so much evil in this world.

In 2013, the General Assembly of the United Nations dedicated a day to raising awareness about human trafficking, the situations of the victims involved, as well as how to promote and protect their rights. July 30th is the official day that the General Assembly chose to make World Day Against Trafficking in Persons.

I cannot sit by and think that others will speak up, others will help, others will spread awareness. I need to as well.

Human trafficking is defined as the “exploitation of a person through force, fraud or coercion for labor or commercial sex against their will. While it is most often associated with commercial sex, trafficking can take many forms, including child labor, domestic servitude and migrant working. Victims include men, women and children from all backgrounds and walks of life. It can happen anywhere: in homes and on the streets, in factories and mines, and on fishing boats and in fields.”1

Five Types of Human Trafficking

The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center states that the World Day Against Trafficking of Persons raises awareness for five different types of human trafficking2:

1. Forced Labor – when human beings are forced to work for no pay or under the threat of violence.
2. Bonded Labor/Debt Labor – slavery in which an individual is compelled to work in order to repay a debt and cannot leave until the debt has been paid off.
3. Sex Slavery – when women, men or children are exploited in the commercial sex industry, which may include: prostitution, pornography, erotic entertainment, strip clubs, online escort services, hostess clubs, residential brothels or fake massage parlors.
4. Child Slavery – when children under the age of 18 are forced into child labor, which could be debt bondage, armies, prostitution, domestic work or other forms of hazardous work.
5. Domestic Servitude – when slaves are forced to work in extremely hidden workplaces and have no option of leaving.

The International Labor Organization estimates that traffickers make more than $150 billion in profit annually. According to the latest global estimates, 152 million children are in child labor and 25 million adults and children are in forced labor, including in global supply chains. One in four victims of modern slavery are children.”3

Whether it is the trafficking of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, the exploitation of Central American migrants bound for the United States, the sexual enslavement of women and girls in Europe, or the forced labor of sub-Saharan Africans or refugees from the Middle East, desperate families and individuals often feel they have little choice but to risk exploitation in an effort to survive.

UNICEF

National Statistics

  • In the United States, California has the most trafficking reported, followed by Texas, Florida, Ohio, and Georgia.4
  • Estimates suggest that about 50,000 people are trafficked into the US each year, most often from Mexico and the Philippines.5
  • In 2018, over half (51.6%) of the criminal human trafficking cases active in the US were sex trafficking cases involving only children.6
  • Reports indicate that a large number of child sex trafficking survivors in the US were at one time in the foster care system.7

State Statistics

Texas is ranked number two in the country for human trafficking. Dallas ranks second in the state. Human sex trafficking accounts for over 314,000 victims in the state of Texas alone every year, this includes nearly 80,000 who are minors. 400 teens are sold on the streets of Dallas each night.8

One predator can abuse an estimated average of 100-200 children in a lifetime.

In 2018, the National Human Trafficking Hotline identified 2,108 victims in Texas, 701 traffickers, and 399 trafficking businesses located in Texas. Further, there were 719 sex trafficking cases, 118 labor trafficking cases, 89 sex and labor trafficking cases, and 74 unspecified human trafficking cases in Texas.

While these figures are shocking, they represent only a small glimpse of the whole picture. These statistics indicate only reported cases. Many, if not most, cases are not reported. Victims rarely come forward on their own because they fear retaliation by their trafficker and because they may not even know that they are victims of a crime.

Texas Attorney General – Strategic Plan 2020

North Texas Statistics

The North Texas Coalition Against Human Trafficking (NTCAHT) states that in North Texas, people are exploited at construction sites, farms, homes, restaurants, hotels, factories, and many other places.9

It is not just the impoverished that are sold into slavery and trafficking. According to Traffick911, a Dallas-based organization dedicated to fighting human trafficking, the average age at which girls become victims of prostitution is 12-14 years old. And one out of three youth in the United States are at high risk for being approached by a pimp within 48 hours of running away or getting kicked out of their home.

The Collin County Homeless Coalition Point in Time Homeless Census Report (from April 2019) states the five independent school districts that participated in the Homeless Census were Allen, Frisco, McKinney, Plano, and Wylie. The total number of students identified as experiencing homelessness in the five Collin County school districts at the end of January, 2019 was 1,30010. If taking the statistics mentioned in the above paragraph, that would mean that a pimp or trafficker may have approached about 433 children in Collin County in 2019.

According to ChildrenatRisk.org, there are hundreds of illegal massage businesses (IMB) acting as fronts for human trafficking and sexual exploitation. These businesses are often found near some for the wealthiest neighborhoods and can even be found within walking distance of public schools. According to a 2018 Children at Risk analysis, over 35,000 Texas children attend public schools within 1,000 feet of a suspected illegal massage business, including 4,000 PreK-Kindergarten students. Many IMBs are implicated in human trafficking. The women trapped in these places are made to provide sexual services to as many as ten men a day through force, fraud, and coercion11.

So What Can We Do?

There are many ways that we can fight human trafficking and modern day slavery:

  1. Raise awareness! Use your social media accounts to spread the word and share other stories to your feed. Use hashtags like #liveunited, #endslavery, #endtrafficking, #worlddayagainsttrafficking, #riseup
  2. Report! If you suspect someone is a victim of trafficking, the National Human Trafficking Hotline is your best resource. Call the hotline toll-free at 1-888-373-7888 or text ‘HELP’ to 233733.
  3. Report missing children or child pornography to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) at 1-800-THE-LOST (843-5678) or through Cybertipline.
  4. Join the United Way movement to end human trafficking by texting ‘ENDSLAVERY’ to 51555
  5. Join the fight with Operation Underground Railroad.
  6. Volunteer or get involved with a local anti-trafficking organization.
  7. Demand action from lawmakers and report suspected IMBs.
  8. Join the Blue Heart Campaign.
  9. Know your slavery footprint. Whether it is the clothes we wear, the coffee we drink, or the phones we use to communicate, products that we use or consume every day may have been produced with trafficked or slave labor.
  10. Pray. The power of prayer is incredible! Join others and pray together, pray by yourself, pray with your kids, pray with your church group. God can do amazing things!

Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.

– Ephesians 6:18 NLT

Sources:

  1. https://www.unitedway.org/our-impact/featured-programs/end-human-trafficking#
  2. https://freedomcenter.org/voice/world-day-against-trafficking-person’s
  3. https://www.unicefusa.org/mission/protect/trafficking/end
  4. https://humantraffickinghotline.org/states
  5. https://aspe.hhs.gov/report/human-trafficking-and-within-united-states-review-literature
  6. https://www.traffickingmatters.com/2018-federal-human-trafficking-report/
  7. https://www.state.gov/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/2019-Trafficking-in-Persons-Report.pdf
  8. https://www.nbcdfw.com/news/local/covid-19-putting-human-trafficking-victims-at-further-risk-of-exploitation/2372921/
  9. http://www.ntcaht.org
  10. https://www.friscotexas.gov/DocumentCenter/View/18901/2019-Collin-County-Homeless-Report
  11. https://catriskprod.wpengine.com/human_trafficking_near_schools_analysis/
  12. https://www.texasattorneygeneral.gov/sites/default/files/files/divisions/human-trafficking/TXHTPCC-StrategicPlan2020.pdf

Not Your Traditional Vanilla Latte

I am loving starting my day with a smoothie and having so much fun playing with different smoothie add-ins and options!

The other day I was missing coffee…which I haven’t had since November! My husband grinds the beans fresh every morning and the smell of fresh brewed coffee enveloped and consumed me! I decided to make a little coffee smoothie with a small splash of coffee…and it was so delicious!

But why just stop with ordinary coffee?!? Might as well get some great health benefits! So I purchased some one-size serving samples of Four Sigmatic’s Instant Mushroom Coffee with Lion’s Mane and Chaga.  

Healthline states that “lion’s mane may protect against dementia, reduce mild symptoms of anxiety and depression and help repair nerve damage. It also has strong anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and immune-boosting abilities and been shown to lower the risk of heart disease, cancer, ulcers and diabetes in animals.” In regards to chaga, Healtline states that it is packed with antioxidants and its extract may fight cancer and improve immunity, chronic inflammation, blood sugar and cholesterol levels.

I am LOVING my new morning smoothie! I hope you love it as much as I do!

Healthy Vanilla Latte Smoothie

Prep Time: <5 minutes

Ingredients

Coffee:

Smoothie Base:

Instructions

Prepare your Four Sigmatic’s Instant Mushroom Coffee with Lion’s Mane and Chaga as instructed on the directions. Only use 6 oz and after mixing, add in the ice cubes to start cooling it down.

While your coffee cools, fill your blender with all of the smoothie ingredients. Add in your coffee mix and blend!

Optional: Drizzle with a little homemade sugar-free chocolate syrup or sprinkle with cinnamon for a little spice kick!

Did you make this recipe?

Tag #lifestylewithlauren on Instagram!


Truvani has extended their 50% discount through July 17th and it now applies to ANY new subscription to ANY of the products!

You can try any of Truvani’s products and they’ll take 50% off your first month when you checkout!

Woohoo!!

If you don’t love it, Truvani has a 30-day money-back guarantee. So simple…just like their ingredients! 😉

Click here to get 50% off ANY new subscription!

Have a a blessed weekend friends! See you all back here on Monday!

Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. If you purchase a product through an affiliate link, your cost is the same but I automatically receive a small commission. The money I make from these links, I use to further my blog and support my family. I only refer products that I personally use and trust.


Target Homeschool Haul!

I haven’t been inside of Target since March (so I think I got carried away!) Haha! I needed to make a return so decided to go and get a few snack items for our boat outing on Saturday…then walked away with a ton of homeschool items as well!

As soon as I walked in, the Dollar Spot was right in front of me so naturally I had to make a run through…y’all! All the teacher stuff is out!! There were so many storage containers, book boxes, posters…all the things! I tried to keep it reigned in but did walk away with quite the loot:

Here’s the run down of what you see and how much it costs (a lot of items were on sale so I went ahead and stocked up on a few things while there):

  • Shower bath tote (grey, also was available in white) – perfect for organizing pencils, markers, art supplies – $5
  • Target markers – $0.65
  • Elmers liquid glue – $0.50
  • Glue sticks – $2.49
  • Watercolor paints – $0.99
  • Washable kids paints – $2.99
  • Pencils – $1.19
  • Pencil sharpener – $0.50
  • Tape – $3.39

This super cute math concepts preschool workbook that I got for our youngest is only a dollar! They also had a few other options for different grades!

I had to get a this cute treasure box for weekly incentives! I filled it with a few of the dollar spot reward items, plus some candy I had at home:

  • Prize box – (I can’t find the price of this but I’m thinking it was only $3)
  • Pencils – $1.00
  • Spinning top markers – $3.00
  • Bag of erasers – $1.00

This former reading teacher just HAD to get this $3 dry-erase poster set! It has all the charts and graphs: plan your story, five w-s chart, sequence chain, characters, timeline, predictions, conclusions, opinions, topic triangle, informative writing chart, outline, cause and effect, graph, and two blank lined-pages. I just love it! And for $3!! Can’t beat it!

  • Construction paper – $4.99
  • Lined spiral notebook – $0.25
  • 8-count blank storybooks – $3.00
  • Dry-Erase board (one side is lined and the other is blank) – $1.00
  • Dry-Erase pockets – $1.00

Everything is now organized and ready for our school days!

Currently we are working in the nook area where I have the chalkboard set up. Eventually I will have a separate space set up for school, where I can hang more things and leave items out for both the boys. But for now, I just grab what I need, set it on the counter, and we work at the kitchen table.

Today starts week 2!

I will head back to Target in a few weeks and see if there are any other awesome items for homeschooling/teaching/back-to-school! I’ll keep you posted!

See you back here on Wednesday! Have a wonderful Monday friends!