🎉 Joie de Vivre – An Exuberant Enjoyment of Life ❤️

🎉 Joie de Vivre – An Exuberant Enjoyment of Life ❤️

Have you noticed that “the truths” of nutrition and health seem to change every day? Coffee’s good for you again. Eggs are in. No, wait, they’re out. Just kidding, we don’t know. And has anyone figured out coconut oil? It’s either magical, or it’s poison.

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Consider trends in lifestyle diets and weight-loss diets as well. High-protein, low-carb diets were quite popular in recent years (Atkins, South Beach, Zone, etc.); then high-fat, moderate protein, and even-lower-carb took the stage (Keto), and then high-carb (some forms of Vegan, Vegetarian) came into the spotlight again. People seem to have attained their best bodies or best lives on all of these types of diets, never to look back. None of these ways of eating are “bad” (though dietitians do generally advise a diet high in veggies and fruits, that provides a good balance of all 3 macronutrients, and you should definitely supplement correctly if you cut out any food groups) – but none of these are the only healthy way to eat, either. Scientists’ “unbiased research” and personal success stories surrounding certain restrictive diets can be so convincing – and so often it makes folks just wanna jump on the bandwagon real quick. I’ve been there.

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However… most dietitians will agree that one-size-fits-all diets shouldn’t be a thing, because we all legitimately have different needs. Nutritional genomics is really up-and-coming, and we’re just now discovering the magnitude of the impact that genetics has on the dietary patterns each body will thrive off of. Every single body functions a little bit differently – we may react differently to the same foods, and digest food at different speeds. We also have different goals, likes and dislikes, schedules, budgets, and lives. We can each find our healthy diet that works for us. It may even evolve and change over time, as our bodies and our lives do. So, it’s hard to pin ourselves to a diet named by one or two words, because there’s so much more to it than that.

We as humans love to have something to belong to and to follow – we were created that way. We also love to feel like we’re doing life right. Eating food that makes us feel good and good about ourselves can be a real positive – but we should certainly never feel that diet is a moral issue or something to take sides on, because according to my God, it’s not. As for Christians, diet should also never become a cause we champion more than Christ’s.

It’s not what goes into your body that defiles you, but what comes out – from your heart. (Mark 7:15)

Don’t worry about what you eat, drink, or wear, says the Lord, for he is your good Father who knows everything you need. (Matthew 6:31)

“I commend the enjoyment of life, because there is nothing better for a person under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad. Then joy will accompany them in their toil all the days of the life God has given them under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 8:15)

If you’ve ever struggled with feelings of inadequacy affected by what you eat or how you look, you might have trouble believing that these statements are as true for you as they are for others. I’m telling you firsthand that they’re absolutely as true, real, and powerful as every other word of the Lord. He cares less about what you eat, and more about how you act. It matters more how much Jesus you take in daily – how much we worship, look for Him in our daily lives and the Bible, and give our hearts to Him in prayer – than how many grams and what type of protein we ingest. Though nutrition has the power to affect us, spiritual things are infinitely more important.

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Over the past few weeks, I’ve discovered this timeless foundation of dietary advice that has been there for us in God’s word for centuries. Though the world’s thoughts may waver, and though the science of nutrition is always evolving, some things can remain the same. If we can nail these down, we’ll have a filter to use on any new ideas that come at us.

If you’re not into what you’ve read so far, you’re still gonna want to hang with me. I’m serious. These truths are reassuring and helpful, no matter what you believe. They have the power to change the way you view nourishment. I’ve experienced the benefits of this advice to such an extent that I’m sure I’ll never again rely on a restrictive dietary pattern.

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  • 1 Corinthians 10:31 – Whatever you eat, drink, or do – do it all to the Glory of God. Food can easily become an attention-thief if we give it too much importance. My best tips are to enjoy food, enjoy how it enhances fellowship with others, and do your best to eat amounts that fuel you well without holding you back. Let go a bit on worrying about types of foods, and eat with a thankful and positive spirit. Food or the lack of food shouldn’t be an excuse to be grumpy or upset – not at yourself, not at the waitress, not at life.
  • Romans 14:15 – Be considerate of others by not making diet a big issue. In the early church, they worried about whether or not to take food from others because they might not know if it had been offered to idol gods. This is rarely our problem today, however, the guidance Paul gives to those struggling with that issue is still helpful for us. Don’t let something as trivial as food choices negatively affect your relationships, or your witness. Whether this means relaxing your diet a bit on certain occasions and enjoying whatever’s offered at a restaurant or somebody’s home, or, on the flipside, not indulging in a drink if dining with someone who alcohol presents a struggle for, or simply skipping the complaints about feeling fat or full – our friends/family deserve more concern than our food. You never know what others are dealing with – disordered eating, insecurity, depression, addiction – or how your hesitancy toward or overvaluing of food might affect them. By all means, treat yourself well – but consider others, too. Nothing we do is done in a vacuum.
  • Luke 12:16-21 – Don’t spend your life storing up grain (in our terms, this might relate to building up the perfect diet or body). Don’t get me wrong, preparation is good. Bettering ourselves is good. We just need to keep in mind that we never know when our last day will come. We don’t wanna have wasted our life on storing up things that’ll be gone! Focus more on the eternal. 💪🏼
  • Genesis 3:6 – Don’t let the temptation of food or drink keep you from something better. Remember that apple? She couldn’t look past it. When we become fixated on one thing, and that thing’s not God, it can really hurt us.
  • Luke 22:19 – When we eat, remember Him. Jesus refers to bread and wine here, but honestly every meal is an opportunity to remember what he did for us and who he is in our lives. So, let’s eat with gratitude! Remember that God sanctifies all foods that are received with thanksgiving.
  • Philippians 4:12 – We can find contentment in Christ whether full or hungry. 🙌🏼
  • Matthew 4:4 – Man doesn’t live on bread alone, but on every word that God speaks. God nurtures our souls through his word, which contains an invisible sort of provision for us. When Jesus said that we don’t live on bread alone, he was 40 days fasted. Sort of makes it a little more believable, right?
  • In regard to food restrictions on moral terms – Honey, meat, cheese, fish, bread, and wine (in moderation) were all consumed and positively noted in the bible, in too many verses for me list – try Proverbs 24:13, 1 Kings, 17:6, and John 21:13 to start. If Jesus wasn’t too good for ’em… neither am I.

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And my personal favorite verses on this subject:

He reached down from on high and took hold of me; He drew me out of deep waters. Ps. 18:16

He brought me out into a spacious place; He rescued me because He delighted in me. Ps. 18:19

If you have ever worried yourself to death about what you ate – because you couldn’t control it and felt guilty, or because you became obsessed about it and controlled it too much, God can set you free from that. It’s not for us to stress over. When we stress over it, our world gets small – and He wants it to be big! I can personally say that God has drawn me out of deep waters of anxiety and worry concerning many things, including what I eat. He continually brings me out into a spacious place where he reorders priorities in my mind – giving me freedom and the ability to make better choices for myself. He also reaches down from on high on the regular and takes hold of me when I need it. And it just so happens that I need it a lot, so I get a lot of love and “hugs.”

And you can too. All you have to do is ask.

xoxo 😘

Rae

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Blueberry Chia & Coconut Flour Muffins 🙌🏼

Blueberry Chia & Coconut Flour Muffins 🙌🏼

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Blueberries getting too soft gave me a good excuse to bake yesterday! 😉

I had some coconut flour on hand, so I just googled “blueberry coconut flour muffins.” I found a great recipe on the kingarthurflour.com site, and made a few changes. Because why not get fancy?

I swapped butter for coconut oil, and instead of sacrificing three of my eggs, I whipped up an egg substitute with chia seeds and water. I had both butter and eggs, but I’ve seen other recipes where people used these swaps and thought it might be cool to give it a shot. These muffins are gluten-free, dairy-free, and paleo-friendly by coincidence!

Blueberry Chia & Coconut Muffins

Ingredients:

1/4 cup coconut flour

1/4 tsp baking powder

3 eggs, “chia eggs,” or “flax eggs”

3 tbsp honey

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp salt

3 tbsp coconut oil (melted)

Makes 6 muffins 😊

–> If you’re game, go ahead and preheat your oven to 400F.

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Egg substitute: 1 egg = 1 tbsp chia or flax seeds, ground, + 3 tbsp water. This is referred to as 1 “chia egg” or 1 “flax egg.”

I ground up 3 tbsp of chia seeds in my blender, and then soaked them with 9 tbsp of water for about 10 minutes. The seeds develop a texture similar to that of an egg, and function similarly during baking. Now, I can save those 3 eggs for yummy omelets. #Efficient since I have to use up all these chia seeds somehow!

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And the omelet was super yummy with one of my muffins and some sautéed baby kale 🍃

Chia and flax seeds are full of healthy fats, like ALA – an Omega-3 fatty acid family member that’s good for brain health, even helping to prevent conditions such as Alzheimer’s, dementia, and depression. ALA is not as biologically active (efficiently used by the body) as Omega 3’s like DHA and EPA that are found in seafood, however – so if we really want to keep our brains healthy, we’ll have chia seeds at breakfast and fish at dinner (whenever we can – ideal would be a couple times per week! You can also take a fish oil supplement, which is what I’ve been doing lately 😊🐟 It may be just a placebo effect, but I feel like it’s improved my joint health as well).

Back to baking – while the chia seeds were soaking, I went ahead and sprayed 6 cups of this muffin tin lightly with some PAM. You could use butter, coconut oil, or any other spray you like.

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Then I mixed the coconut flour and baking powder together in one bowl, and the “chia eggs,” vanilla, salt, honey and melted coconut oil in another, and combined. After mixing the batter just until smooth, I rolled the blueberries in a little coconut flour (keeps them from sinking) and folded them into the batter. This was actually tough because the batter was super thick! But it works.

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It’ll be about a play-dough like consistency if you use the chia eggs. If you’re going for it guys, portion all your batter into half the muffin tin, and add any blueberries that didn’t mix in well to the top.

Bake for 20 minutes or until tops and sides appear golden and a knife or toothpick comes out clean.

IMG_4369That’s it! Let em cool, and then flip your tin over with a cutting board underneath to remove muffins easily without them falling apart.

You can keep them in the fridge after you sample one, and they’re great reheated for 15 seconds in the microwave. If you’re feeling fancy, throw a little almond, cashew, or peanut butter on top before microwaving. YUM!

My takeaway here is that there’s always a way to use what you have! Overripe fruit? Just ask google 👀

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Keep your eyes open for my next post – it’s one I’ve been working on for a while, and you’re not gonna wanna miss it. I am seriously so excited to finally put it out for y’all.

Much love,

Rae

Pancakes That’ll Make You Wanna Slap Somebody (Sugar free, Refined Flour-free, Dairy-free) 🥞

Pancakes That’ll Make You Wanna Slap Somebody (Sugar free, Refined Flour-free, Dairy-free) 🥞

I think I’ve stumbled onto something great.

There are a ton of recipes out there using oatmeal, eggs, bananas, and other simple ingredients to make pancake-like creations. Until now, most of my attempts have been just that – “pancake-like”.

But, I had some leftover oatmeal last week, and an idea struck me. I blended about 1/3 to 1/2 of a serving of cooked oatmeal with 1 egg (my last egg) and 1/3 of a banana (also left-over) in my blender. I stirred a pinch of baking powder into that batter as an afterthought, to help it rise. Then I sprayed a skillet with some cooking spray, and made 6 cute mini pancakes.

Oh. My. Gosh.

They were so good! So good that I immediately pulled up the blog and started typing away.

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And this may be the secret –

When I cooked my oatmeal, I had stirred in a couple of heaping spoonfuls of pumpkin puree, which I had bought for another recipe, and some cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice. It’s good in any season 😉

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And, when I cooked the pancakes, I sprinkled in a few chopped pecans. Then, after cooking, I topped them with a few more pecan pieces, a sprinkle of ground flax seed, about a tablespoon of melted almond butter, and BLUEBERRIES. Fruit and almond butter just cannot be beat as a pancake (or anything) topping.

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And I began the hot (rainy) summer day in Fall bliss 🙂

Highly recommend a cup of Blueberry Muffin Dunkin’ Donuts Coffee with unsweetened Silk Soymilk. Absolutely perfect with this breakfast, and rounded it out with some more protein.

Why was this breakfast so exciting?

#1. It was delicious.

#2. It made me feel awesome.

#3. I knew it was healthy, but it tasted like it wasn’t 😉

Every meal should feel this way, shouldn’t it?

It doesn’t have to be butter-smothered to be delicious. No matter your health goals, you can enjoy awesome food. Just be creative! (Or get a little help)

I hope you like these pancakes if you give them a shot. I used things I had on hand, clearly, so feel free to substitute different fruits or toppings for things you have around or things you love.

Be blessed, be bright, & Happy 4th of July!

Rae

 

The Satisfaction Factor

The Satisfaction Factor

There’s something about a good day with friends. Especially sharing good meals and good laughs with people who get you.

Do you ever finish dinner and feel full, yet somewhat unsatisfied? It hits me occasionally, and I’ve even wondered aloud about that feeling. Sometimes a little chocolate will fix it – but sometimes, food isn’t what you’re missing.

Proverbs 15:17 says, “Better a bread crust shared in love than a slab of prime rib served in hatred.” I’d go so far to say I’d rather have salads with love than a steaming hot pizza with indifference. When your relationships are just, well, meh, sometimes you’ll leave the table with something unsatisfied in your heart. It feels like your taste buds, but it might not be. If you’ve ever shared a meal in love, you’ll know what I mean – it’s not about how good it is, but about how warm your heart feels when you leave the table.

Photocreds Jenna Oden (whatsheeatsblog.wordpress.com)

Tonight I started thinking about this idea of satisfaction when I had the greatest healthy chicken nachos with two of my track teammates. We were so proud of our cooking, and it was delicious- but it just felt so relaxing to have a great day with great people, exploring Troy and hanging out at the pool (yes, pool weather in February – thank you Alabama!). A day like this can only be a gift from God.

Shopping at Publix really helped, too, because that just always puts me in a great mood. We managed to make this entire meal for around $5 a person, and then whipped up some yummy mini pumpkin pies for dessert! You can read the full details of our nacho recipe at my friend Jenna’s blog.

Here’s a sneak peak:


Ps – you won’t believe this is vegan cheese. Tastes amazing. I highly recommend Follow Your Heart brand mozzarella and American. I’m not vegan or lactose intolerant, but I think it’s cool to eat dairy-free cheese sometimes and get different nutrients than you would from the same old cheese. This one’s made from coconut, primarily, but you’d never know it. Black beans, shredded chicken, and crushed olives made this recipe to die for. We even made the “chips” homemade from little corn tortillas!

Here’s the final product – a big batch of oven-baked nachos. We all just dug right into the pan, no plates or anything, and it was so epic!


And here’s desert, made from canned pumpkin, cashew milk, spices, and eggs in mini pie crusts.


Those nights where you roll into bed without second thoughts about needing a snack first? Those are good nights! 💕 I love my girls. I challenge you to a share a sweet meal with someone you love today – it really makes a difference.

Be blessed,

Rae