Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Soups and More Soups!

Fall is the time of year for hearty soups to warm the tummy.  They fill the kitchen (and house!) with wonderful aromas, leaving you drooling while you wait for the soup to be ready.

Soups are a wonderful addition to a meal, or can be a meal in itself.  They can be very nutritious, as well as tasty, and make planning meals much easier.

My favorite soup is one I make from scratch, called "dump soup".  Why "dump soup"?  I dump in a little bit of left over this or that into a pot, and add in bone broth I've made off some chicken or turkey bones, and then fill in around the broth and left overs with whatever I can find in the veggie bin, freezer, or cupboard.  Once the soup is made, I tend to make a pot of rice, and with each bowl of soup add in a little bit of rice as well.  This is my favorite winter go to meal.

Below is a list of links to various soup recipes I've collected from across the net.  If you have one you'd like to share, by all means leave a comment with the link in it!

Gooseberry Patch Soups/Stews Recipe Round Up

Gooseberry Patch Slow Cooker Recipes

Eating Well's Hearty Soup and Stews

Hearty Hamburger Soup

Taste of Cuba Soups 

Three Guys from Miami's Soups

My Big Fat Cuban Family Classic Cuban Chicken Soup

Cooking Light's 25 Best Soup Recipes

Kraft Soup Recipes

Taste of Home Soups

This is just a small list, as I make most from scratch or just refer to these or the Betty Crocker cookbook.

If you would like to add yours, leave it in the comments section for all to see!!

Shared with Time Warp Wife, Cornerstone Confessions

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Sunday, September 28, 2014

Weight Loss Challenge--Week 4 and 33 Pounds Gone

It's been a great week so far!  Oh, there's been challenges for sure, but each day gets a little better as it goes along.

I weighed in Thursday, 9/25, and came in at 368 pounds.  401-368=33.  So, 33 pounds gone since I started on 9/4/14!  Yay!!  Praise the Lord!

This week brings a birthday party for our oldest child.  He turns 13.  He has requested a cake, and so he has not 1 but 2 cakes--he must share with other children.  So, I baked them, and yes, I licked the beaters.

This week has also brought about nice changes.  More inches have left, and a huge blessing came in the way of an old coat I had hanging in the closet.  Now, what in the world would an old coat have to do with a blessing?  I've had it a while, and the last 2 years, I've not been able to get the zipper to even remotely touch to zip up.  It would have a good 4 to 6 inch gap and not have a prayer of touching to zip.  Today I put it on, zipped it, and it fit nicely.  It's a 22/24.  Yes, still a plus size, but still much smaller than just 4 weeks ago.

Something I've experienced this week is how I see my size.  I measure now at a 24/26.  I *know* there are significant changes in just about every area, with fat leaving all areas and in different levels.  I *know* the scale shows a smaller number, and clothes fit much better and in smaller sizes that I was.  But in my eyes, I'm still the beginning size, and over 400 pounds as in the very first picture of me in the gray top/blue skirt.  I have heard this is a normal reaction when you've been heavy a long while.  The Lord continues to work on that, and it is my prayer if you are having this as well, that He help you see yourself as He sees you.

I've also been so encouraged by all the comments you all have been leaving.  You all are such an encouragement, and I'm also grateful to be encouraging to others who have a lot of weight to drop.  There's many of us out there who have fed the heart with food instead of the Word, who have to continually work on that temptation and try to remove it.  Just as with any sin, the Lord can and will forgive it and you can move on and live for Him.  When you are walking along the way the Lord gives you, you will have temptations, whether it's a Snickers bar, a piece of cake, an extra serving of whatever.  The devil doesn't like it when you turn away and listen to the Lord, pray for Him to help and protect you, and follow Him.  When/if you give in to temptation, pick yourself back up, start back where you were, and keep going forward.  This isn't a sprint, it's a marathon!

Remember as well to stay in His Word!  That is the most important part of the journey, for without God this is for nothing.

Matthew 4:4 - But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

God loves you so much!  Be encouraged dear friend, and keep on going!

Shared at:  The Modest Mom, Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth A Proverbs 31 Wife, What Joy Is Mine, Time Warp Wife, Cornerstone Confessions

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Friday, September 26, 2014

Your Most Important Meal of the Day!

What do you use for your fuel for the day?  Do you grab a cup of coffee and run, sit down to a small breakfast, or enjoy a large banquet of farmer's proportions?

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, not just for kids, but for us adults as well.

Why is breakfast important?

It is an awesome way to help with weight control.  Seriously!  When you choose a healthy breakfast, with proteins and complex carbs, you give your body proper fuel to work with, so that when lunch and supper roll around, you're not a ravenous animal willing to attack anything that doesn't eat you first.  You'll make better choices in what you eat.  You won't be dragging through the morning (unless you haven't had much sleep, and then no amount of food will help that), looking for a sugary pick-me-up.  You'll have energy and stamina to be productive in whatever tasks you have.  You won't be starving by lunch, and willing to grab a Snickers bar for a quick boost, but instead be able to take the time to enjoy a nutritious meal.

I've been guilty of this, skipping breakfast and choosing to chug espresso by the mug full instead, or neglecting to keep adequate breakfast items in the house.  Some days I've gotten so wrapped up in tending to the family's needs I've neglected to tend to my own.  During the winter months and on weekends, I'm up making from scratch biscuits and gravy, pancakes and eggs, baked french toast (or Dutch babies), and so on, and with the wildness of our tribe, I get sidetracked.  But, I need to eat too.
Oats before harvest

This past month, my own breakfast has returned.  I now start the day with a cup of old fashioned rolled oats.  Yes, the kind you cook a while on the stove.  Since I'm the only one in the house that enjoys oatmeal, I make enough to last 3 to 4 days and keep some back in the fridge.  To my cup of oats, I add in milk and a piece of chopped fruit.  This week has been pears and a dash of cinnamon and splenda.  There's the protein, complex carbs, a little fruitiness, and sweet.  It's just enough to help stave of hunger pangs and stop the ravenous monster that lurks within that seeks out the Hershey's bar.  This allows me to have a small lunch and supper without eating everything in sight.

There's a growing movement that takes the stance against grains, but I choose not to follow it.  Why?  Our bodies need the complex carbs that are found in whole grains.




This helps stabilize blood glucose and keep spikes and crashes at bay.  It provides the energy needed to do long term tasks through the day.  It's like a marathon runner who needs fuel to last more than the first feet.  Whole grains provide the carbs that last for the entire marathon, instead of short bursts.  I've learned much about what each food group and fuel is needed, especially for those who have diabetes and must watch intakes down to the last unit of each.  But..to each their own, right?

There are benefits to adding whole grains to your breakfast, or diet in general.  According to the Whole Grains council:

The benefits of whole grains most documented by repeated studies include:
  • stroke risk reduced 30-36%
  • type 2 diabetes risk reduced 21-30%
  • heart disease risk reduced 25-28%
  • better weight maintenance
Other benefits indicated by recent studies include:
  • reduced risk of asthma
  • healthier carotid arteries
  • reduction of inflammatory disease risk
  • lower risk of colorectal cancer
  • healthier blood pressure levels
  • less gum disease and tooth loss
For folks who choose a gluten free style, there is a list of whole grains that are naturally gluten free, found at Whole Grains Council.    You'd be surprised the amount of whole grains that are listed!

Don't bypass your first meal of the day, and enjoy the benefits of breakfast!

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Psalm of Encouragement

Psalms 121:1-8 

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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Be Strong and of Good Courage!

Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God [is] with thee whithersoever thou goest.

Joshua 1:9

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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Thrifty Nutrition--Planning for Next Growing Season

Let me start this by saying I'm by no means an expert on nutrition.  If I was, I wouldn't be needing to lose 200 pounds.

Many of us are on budgets.  Food prices go up much faster than incomes.  (Can I get an Amen here??)  It gets harder each week to feed the family, let alone feed them nutritional foods.

But you can!

Sure, it doesn't look easy on the surface, but with some work, some planning, and willingness to roll up your sleeves and put some elbow grease into the mix, thrifty nutrition can happen.  You can have healthy, satisfying foods on a budget.

Since we are nearing the end of the growing season in most of the states, produce options and prices will be changing very soon.  But, this is also a good time to think about the things you've enjoyed this past summer and into the fall.  Did you enjoy corn on the cob?  How about freshly snapped green beans?  Cucumbers?  Zucchini?  Yellow squashes?  Salad?  If you said yes to these, or can think of others, you can possibly grow these for yourself in the next growing season and save yourself a tidy sum of money while getting healthy homegrown foods!

We are blessed in our rural area to have plenty of land to work with.  We personally live in town, but have access to my husband's family's yard, which in the growing season through the hard freeze is a jungle of vines and bushes and all kinds of yumminess.  Papa's back yard is a bounty of over 40 years of tender loving care and the richest soil one can imagine.  In our own yard, it needs a bit of work, but can be easily done.  If you don't have a yard to work with--don't despair--simply purchase 5 gallon buckets and smaller pots and you can have your own garden on a smaller level.

We are slowly plotting out ideas for next year's garden and flowers, and using what worked this year as a guide for the coming year.  This year, the tomatoes produced up to 2 pounders a piece.  Yep, those will be returning!  Cuban beans will make a trip through the garden again, as will butternut squash, green and red bell peppers, zucchini, and asparagus.  I hope to add in rhubarb.  Black seeded simpson lettuce and various spinach seeds always make it in as well.  Then there's radishes, garlic, potatoes, sweet potatoes.  Yes, it's a rather large garden!

At home, I grow herbs.  This year has been many started but lots of failures due to not realizing what the soil needed--this is our first growing season here in this house/yard.  I put out basil, lemon balm from our old house (brought with us), spearmint from our move, thyme I started a year ago by seed, lemon thyme, peppermint, chocolate mint, rosemary, pineapple sage, greek oregano brought along with us, italian oregano, borage, citrus mint, coneflowers, and fern dill.  There were others tried, but they simply didn't survive.  Not biggie, there's next year's season!

I also put out edible flowers.  The borage (also known as star flower) is edible, as is marigold.  And I had "mini" sunflowers that grew to 8 feet tall.  They were supposed to be a foot and  a half, but they had an awesome bed of horse manure from a wonderful family in our church, and the flowers and herbs grew absolutely beautifully in that bed.  I love fresh roasted sunflower seeds, as does hubby.  In past years we've grown the 12 foot Russian Mammoth variety and would get a half gallon bag of seed off of one head, and we'd have out at least 20 to 40 sunflowers.

If you don't have room for a garden, by all means use anything that will hold dirt.  Potatoes will grow in a bucket, and there are tutorials on how to accomplish this.  Tomatoes will grow in big pots or buckets, with plenty of water needed to keep the dirt hydrated.  Peppers do well in pots.  Lettuce is a mini garden of its own in a pot or bucket, as are spinach and other greens.  If you have a trellis or cage, you can grow things that vine, like beans or varieties of squashes.  Zucchinis can be potted as bush zukes.  You can also purchase potted dwarf fruit trees!  Fruit bushes can be potted as well.

Herbs do very well in pots.  If you purchase a pot large enough for room to grow, you can have a full herb garden and never have a root touch the ground.  Oregano, thyme, and others that are perennials tend to stay low and spread, and will trail over the sides in time.  Mints almost need a pot to keep contained or they take over any place they touch.  Sprinkle seeds of any type of herb into a pot of good soil, such as Miracle Gro, Scotts, or other brands, keep moist and in plenty of sun, and you've got yourself a good shot at an abundance of flavor.  It is easy to do, and you'll enjoy the benefits when you prepare your home cooked meals, when you want a glass of mint tea, and so on.

You do have the basic costs of your containers and dirt....look for sales at your home improvement stores and you'll catch some bags on sale at good prices.  Containers can be anything as long as it has some drainage.  Seeds can be as little as 20 cents at Walmart for off brands (which in my experience grew as well or better than the name brands).  One package of 20 cent basil for us produced enough to dry as well as freeze into cubes of olive oil to last a year.  One package of 20 cent lettuce seed produced an abundance of greens.  The same goes for marigold and zinnia seed, they produced beautifully.  If you enjoy more of a variety, seek out places like Baker Creek  Heirloom Seeds, Burpee.com, Gurnseys, and other seed/plant/tree venues.  For starters, look at your local nursery first, then work your way out.

It doesn't have to cost a lot to get started, and the reward at harvest is worth it.  A little sweat goes a long way!

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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

How Do You Start Your Morning?

How do you start your morning?

Do you hide under the covers and pretend it's not time to get going?  Do you bound out of bed and hit the floor running?

I'm a morning person 99% of the time.  I thrive on early mornings and am usually ready  for bed by 10 to 11pm.  This could be from the years living out on the farm, with early mornings, early bus arrival for school, and extra time for getting ready especially during months with chopping ice and vehicle prep.

Now, I'm the first one up most of the time.  Our middle child is known to beat the alarm at times, and I lovingly call him my "Bubba Alarm".  It is a quiet time until the rest of the family wake up, if it's just me.  I put on a pot of coffee (dark roast or Cafe Bustelo espresso), tend to the cats' needs before they trip me, and pray about the day's needs.  Soon, I'll be getting up a tad earlier to make sure the house is fairly warm for the family, as the nights will grow cooler.

While the family one by one awakes, I sit and read the news from overnight, usually Drudge or Fox, and watch the Bible come to life in the headlines.  I tend to their needs as they arise, and we get our morning routine under way.  Each child dresses, takes their meds, brushes teeth, makes their bed, and prepares for school or appointments,  and hubby and I indulge in hot cups of coffee with homemade creamers for flavoring.  It is far from quiet, and activity abounds once everyone is up.

These first hours of morning are the most important.  It shapes our day, how we will look at the rest of the day.  A bad start more often than not leads to a poor attitude and a "woe is me" type day.  A good start helps to have a positive outlook for the day ahead.  Praying first thing in the morning, reading your bible if at all possible (which when there's children at home isn't always possible until the quiet later in the day), makes a difference in your day.  You fuel up with thoughts of Him.  You talk with Him, and He can talk to you, with verses brought to mind, a hymn that sings in your heart, a gentle peace.

How do you start your mornings?

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Monday, September 22, 2014

Cast Thy Burden

Psalms 55:22 - Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.

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Sunday, September 21, 2014

Weight Loss Challenge --Week 3

It's now 3 weeks in, and I will admit it--it's been rough.  It's been 3 weeks of changing habits, learning to use less, and teaching the body new ways of doing things.  The body has not been a happy camper.

Where I was before:

This week has been a good one overall despite the body resisting efforts.  This week has been the beginning of walking outside again.  This summer, I had a hard time walking 2 to 3 blocks.  I just couldn't handle it.  This week I walked one day 14 blocks, another day 20 blocks, with our hefty beagle in tow.  He gave out before I did.  At first he was pulling me along in 4 wheel drive, but at the end I had to encourage him to make it back home as he wanted to poop out a block from home.  Along the way we got to make some little yipper snappers (little bitty house dogs) unhappy and caused lots of commotion, so that made the day complete.  (grins)  I also started doing more floor type exercises to help tone as fat leaves.  I've discovered more flexibility than I had before as well, which is nice.

I haven't made it to the clinic to weigh in this week, due to scheduling constraints.  In the meantime, I've found that it is a lot easier to climb the stairs to the top floor of the house.  The stairs and I don't groan near as much.  I can make it across our house faster, from the back end to the front, when the phone rings, and don't have to let it go to voicemail as often.  Before, I would make it hopefully by the 4th ring, but seldom, now I am at the 3rd ring most of the time.  Hey, I'll take any improvement.  I'm walking a bit faster, feeling a bit lighter.   The aches and pains are mostly gone, from shoulders to ankles and pit stops in between.  Whether these were caused by too high of glucose or from weight I don't know, but either way they are greatly diminished.

This week I also measured around with measuring tape from my sewing box.  In comparison to the last clothing I purchased, and according to the company's measurement lists, I have dropped 2 sizes from the top, and 1 from the bottom.  The bottom is rather stubborn!  I call my shape a bell bottom butt (aka pear).  In my original picture found at the beginning of this challenge, I was at a 4x top (that shirt in the picture is a 3x mens) and a 5x bottom.  Now, I am at a 2x women's top and 4x bottom.

Prayer and encouragement has been a bigger issue this week.  I've needed it a bit to keep going.  As mentioned in last week's challenge update, I started on Victoza, which is a medication that helps with diabetes.  It is an injection taken daily.  While it works internally on the pancreas and such to help with producing insulin naturally, it has the side effect of acting like a gastric bypass without the surgery.  Food intake is suddenly greatly limited, and things high in sugar, fats, etc come back to
visually haunt rather quickly.  As a gastric bypass limits your food intake to about a cup of food at a serving/meal, so does Victoza.  Things I've loved for years are nibbled or non-existent.  Chocolate is a no go, not for lack of want, but for the reaction it causes.  Even a small snack size piece.  I've avoided the ice cream cones that we give the kids after church on Sundays and Wednesdays, as much as I love ice cream, as I don't want the after effects.  Instead, I've sipped on Sprite, teas, and morning coffees, and water.  I prayed the first day of the challenge for God to help me with gluttony, to help me fight the temptation to shove anything sweet, chocolate, or just overall bad for me into my mouth, and I keep praying each day for help in fighting temptation.  It's not as much of a temptation anymore when the things you've loved to pig out on cause a reaction that isn't too appealing.  I've instead been pointed toward more veggie soups, broths, small protein amounts, and so on, which are filling in small amounts, and the body does not reject.

Despite the rougher time with changing amounts and testing what I can and can't have, I keep praising the Lord for allowing me to change.  I don't have to deny myself anything--I can have whatever, it just may not stay long, so it's a matter of "I don't want this anymore" instead of "I will deny myself this today", which makes me want it more.  He allows me to see results of the last 3 weeks, which encourages me to keep going on.

To God be the glory, great things He has done!  He has worked on the heart, and working on the outside as well!

Shared With:  A Proverbs 31 Wife, Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth, The Modest Mom, What Joy Is Mine, Essential Thing Devotion, Time Warp Wife, Cornerstone Confessions, A Wise Woman Builds Her Home, So Much At Home Juana Mickels My Daily Walk In His Grace

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Friday, September 19, 2014

Thrifty Weight Loss---Using What You Have

Weight loss plans and programs don't have to break your bank account in order for you to lose weight and size.  Whether you have a large income or small, dropping pounds and regaining your health doesn't have to cost your first born child and some extra arms and legs.  Nor should it.

There's advertisements all over the tv and web about products that are touted to help you lose weight.  They can cost as little as $6 a can (Slim Fast) to hundreds of dollars for pills and powders and miracle working equipment.

If you're like me and on a tight budget most of the time, you'll find this a little daunting.  You may have a goal in mind, a desire to get there, and then see the dollar signs attached.  It may be enough to say "forget it!" and return to regular scheduled eating.

It doesn't have to be that way!

The first thing you can, and should, do costs you nothing but time.  What is it?


Without the Lord, our plans go nowhere.  Talk to Him about what you want to do, with your health, your weight, with what issues helped get you weighing more than you desire.  He paid the price to be Lord and Savior over your life...talk to Him first and foremost!

The second thing you can do without breaking the budget--replace a lot of processed foods with homemade, from scratch foods.  Make your own meals!  Bake your own breads and other baked goods.  This way, you control the ingredients that go in, the level of fats and sugars, and so on.  You can make your meals as flavorful (or not) as you like, without all the extra salt, sugar, and preservatives.  Fresh fruits and vegetables in season are much less per pound/piece, and easy to work into a scratch meal.  Grow a small garden (or a large one!!) to work with your scratch meals.  Can/preserve foods as well for healthy choices through the cold months when fresh foods are higher at the stores, and you get the good foods without the extra added preservatives.

The third thing is educate yourself.  Learn about nutrition.  Go to your local library, or go online and search out information about nutrition.  There's so much to learn!!  Start with the simple basics, like what you need for a day, what to look for on labels, what minerals and nutrients and so on do what in your body.  Build on that basic knowledge and learn more about different areas of nutrition and health in general that appeal to you.  The more you know about what you are doing, the better equipped you'll feel in implementing your plan to reach your goal.

The fourth thing, learn about frugal exercise.  You don't have to join an expensive gym to get in some exercise each day.  Read up on activities you enjoy, and learn how to adapt them to your personal situation.  Activities don't have to cost anymore than the time you put into it--walking is free, as is jogging, basic exercises in your living room, etc.  A little bit of movement makes a monumental difference in your goal!

There's much more to frugal weight loss, and more avenues will be explored much more in depth as the journey continues.  Some of these I've been doing for a long while (but counteracted with poor choices), others are things I'm just getting started in.  I can't wait to share with you things I've learned through years of trying to lose (and losing a lot of weight--just jumped off the wagon and found what I lost), and what I'm doing now.

I'd love to hear from you too!  What do you do, or are interested in, concerning a more frugal way of losing weight?

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Thursday, September 18, 2014

All For The Glory

I ran across this verse today, and I believe this is a good verse to have on hand for my weight loss challenge.

I Corinthians 10:31:  Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.

This is a bit convicting!  When I put something in my mouth, am I doing it to simply fuel up so I can go on with my duties, or is it for gratification, filling a void, giving in to a temptation?

Something to think about today!

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Peace, Perfect Peace (Hymn)

Peace, perfect peace, in this dark world of sin?
The blood of Jesus whispers peace within.

Peace, perfect peace, by thronging duties pressed?
To do the will of Jesus, this is rest.

Peace, perfect peace, with sorrows surging round?
On Jesus’ bosom naught but calm is found.

Peace, perfect peace, with loved ones far away?
In Jesus’ keeping we are safe, and they.

Peace, perfect peace, our future all unknown?
Jesus we know, and He is on the throne.

Peace, perfect peace, death shadowing us and ours?
Jesus has vanquished death and all its powers.

It is enough: earth’s struggles soon shall cease,
And Jesus call us to Heaven’s perfect peace.

from Cyber Hymnal

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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

What a Joy!

What a joy it has been to read the kind comments coming in!  I wasn't sure how my "confession" would go over, as it's not exactly "cool" to come out and admit when one is sinning as such.

And I've found I'm not alone.

Thank you all who have responded so far!  You are a blessing, and a real encouragement.  I hope that the journey will be of encouragement to you and anyone else who reads it.  This isn't a short term thing, as it took 15 years to put it on, it'll take a few days to take it off.  It's more than just watching what goes in the mouth...it's a change in heart, attitude, and direction.  It's repentance for a sin that is just as bad as others, according to scripture.  It's turning around and walking away from the temptations that the devil lays out for us, as he knows our vulnerabilities.

It's trusting in the Lord to handle the areas of our lives that stress us the most, that tends to lead into overeating, eating without hunger, using poor choices in foods, and not moving around to keep the body in shape.

In the end, it's giving this area of life over to Him.

You're welcome to join along, by blog or Facebook (see right hand side of page), or both.  I'd like to develop this out and see what all resources one can find and share that would be beneficial to us who need to take off 30 or more pounds.  Yes, mine is a lot more than 30, but 30 is still a good size number.

Again, thank you all who have responded!

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Herbs for Common Tummy Troubles Series, Part 1

This is the first of a multi-part series on herbs for common stomach problems. This specific post takes a close look at getting to the root of heartburn, indigestion, acid reflux, and GERD. Then, I’ll show you some easy, quick-fix herbs to take, and help you create a game plan with herbs and food for a long-term solution. Following posts in this series will continue to look at other common tummy troubles and herbs and diet changes that have been k... 

Read More at www.deliciousobsessions.com/2013/07/herbs-for-common-tummy-troubles-series-part-1/ © Delicious Obsessions

Herbs for Common Tummy Troubles Series, Part 1

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Tea to the Rescue--Mint Tea

Citrus Mint

Tea has been a big helper in these past 2 weeks.  It's flavorful, and when using certain herbs, can be beneficial to your body.

I grow various types of herbs in the yard, such as peppermint, spearmint, chocolate mint, basil, Greek oregano, Italian oregano, lemon balm, lemon thyme, citrus mint, and so on.  The variety changes from year to year, based on the desire to grow things new to us.  Each year I like to dry the mints and lemon balm to use in teas through the winter months, and use some fresh leaves during the growing season for a nice glass of iced tea.

My absolute favorite is the chocolate mint, with some sweetening, as it tastes similar to the thin mints.  (YUM!)

Are there benefits of drinking mint tea?  Yes!  Not only is is flavorful, but it is good for you.

Did you know that:

Mint is a relaxant?  It has menthol in the leaves, which is a natural muscle relaxant.  When you drink mint, you are drinking a de-stressing tea that will help you relax and possibly sleep.  Nice huh?

Mint can help with indigestion?  This is common during pregnancy, and mints are widely used to help with the queasy feeling.  Sip on a cup of mint tea to help with bloating and gas, and in the evening to help with digestion and easier rest.

Mint blends can help as an appetite suppressant?  Brew up some mint tea using your favorite varieties of mint, and add in some green tea for an extra boost.

Mint can help decongest when you're having sinus issues?  A hot cup of tea in general helps when you are congested, but peppermint is a natural decongestant!

Use your favorite sweetening, and enjoy a cup of mint tea!  There's many varieties, you can grow your own for fresh leaves, or purchase tea in bags or loose leaf form from your local grocery store or online.

Give it a try, and see what you think!

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Sunday, September 14, 2014

Week 2 of Weight Loss Challenge

This has been a good week.  Of course, the first week is the most trying as well.

When I started this challenge, I was at 401 (or more) pounds, according to the physician's scale.

Saturday, 9/13, I weighed in at 378 pounds.

401 - 378 = 23 pounds.

I'm sure a lot is the "water" weight, which is normal for starting any program.

What also helped in so much to go away the first week?

Lots of prayer first and foremost, asking the Lord for strength to fight temptations and hunger pangs.


Getting my diabetes under control.  Seriously!  I restarted the Victoza shot, which makes a significant difference in how one eats.  It isn't insulin, but helps push the body to make more of it's own insulin.  It also has the side effect of suppressing appetite, and if you indulge in much more than a piece of fruit or an ounce of meat, you are sick.

In essence it's a gastric bypass in a shot.

So it's been lots of drinking teas (with no calorie sweeteners) and water, eating fruits and partial sandwiches as the medicine allows.  For exercise, lots of housework, breaking sweats doing multiple rooms of mopping and vacuum duties, dusting, baseboard wiping, door frame washing, loads of laundry, dishes by hand, climbing up and down the stairs to the second floor's bedrooms, and so on.  There's also a dog to walk, a yard to mow, and walking around town for exercise.  Unfortunately, we do not have a gym or YMCA in town to walk to.

In my years of trying to lose weight, this is the most I've dropped in a short amount of time.  But, that is an encouragement as well, as it is 10% of my goal.  I can see bodily differences, and am fitting back into my cape dresses better, and have to start taking in the ones I'd made a little larger to fit the expanding body.  My skirts are fitting looser, and will have to be readjusted with elastics and taking in seams.  I can handle this!

The biggest difference that I've found so far--I feel so much better physically!  I can move around without feeling like there's lead weights attached to my legs.  Arthritis, while still present, doesn't hurt near as much in knees and ankles.  The early morning aches and pains haven't been aching and paining.  I have more energy to do what I need to do throughout the day without a rest every half hour.  I did an 8 hour canning session Friday with no breaks until the 7th hour.  It feels wonderful to not have that "dragging" feeling!

I'm hoping to have hubby do monthly photos to have something to show the progress.  My first photo shows the start point at over 400 pounds.

I never dreamed I'd ever be that big, but then, who does?  When you're used to being fat, it is nothing for extra pounds to sneak up on you and you not realize it until you're so big a normal scale won't handle you, or you hurt walking, or you can't fit into normal movie theater seats or waiting room chairs.  It's embarrassing as well, in a world of smaller people, to be the heavy one.

It is through this challenge to  keep accountable and lose the size/weight that is needed for a healthy body.  To keep the diabetes from taking over every aspect of life, to be able to lead a normal life and be around for my kids and potential grandkids.  I want to enjoy outdoor activities again, walking trails, fishing, swimming, etc, that is hard to do when carrying so much extra weight.

And with the Lord's help, strength, and encouragement, I will.

Shared With:  A Proverbs 31 Wife, Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth, The Modest Mom, What Joy Is Mine, Time Warp Wife, Essential Thing Devotion, Cornerstone Confessions, A Wise Woman Builds Her Home, So Much At Home Juana Mickels My Daily Walk In His Grace

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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Original Weight

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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Diabetes and The Journey

So, since this is the beginning of the weight loss challenge, let's look over an issue that is common amongst those of us who are obese.


This is pretty common regardless of size/weight, although extra weight and size doesn't help it.

Today we're focusing on type 2, as this is most common amongst us heavy folks.

What is type 2 diabetes?

According to the American Diabetes Association:

Diabetes is a problem with your body that causes blood glucose (sugar) levels to rise higher than normal. This is also called hyperglycemia. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes.
If you have type 2 diabetes your body does not use insulin properly. This is called insulin resistance. At first, your pancreas makes extra insulin to make up for it. But, over time it isn't able to keep up and can't make enough insulin to keep your blood glucose at normal levels. - 

Putting it nicely, we're too sweet for our own good.

For some this is something that runs in families.  This is true in mine, with both parents, many siblings, uncles, and aunts who were dependent on insulin due to diabetes.  About half of the total people were normal/average weight, the other half were above.

Diabetes affects not just glucose in the blood, but does damage to your entire body if left unchecked.  Your eyes are greatly affected in time, which can leave you blind.  Your nerves throughout your body are affected, which leads to neuropathy.  Skin complications, ranging from yeast and bacterial infections to necrosis, easily happen due to poor circulation, inability to heal quickly, especially in the lower extremities.  Ketoacidosis can happen among people with diabetes, especially if blood glucose levels are left unchecked.  There are other complications possible as well, depending on how long glucose levels have ran high and not treated.

This is a battle I've been engaged in personally for a few years.  I was at risk due to close family having it, and then moved on to insulin resistance in my late 20's or early 30's.  About 4 years ago, I was feeling horrible, and had my husband (an RN) check my glucose just for a base level before going to see a nurse practitioner, and it read 498.  He was a tad upset, as was I, and I was able to get in for treatment immediately after the clinic heard the number.  My therapy started with insulin and Metformin, which had a dual use in treating Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), which also deals with insulin resistance issues.  In the subsequent years I've been able to stop insulin therapy, and move on to Metformin only, and sometimes Victoza (another shot, but not insulin, and it helps the body produce it's own insulin and also really helps with appetite control.)

While diabetes is not confined to the overweight population, it is most definitely common.

If you're following in my journey and you have diabetes, feel free to comment and share what has worked for you!

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Monday, September 8, 2014

The Fat Lady's Weight Loss Challenge--Week 1

I'll admit it.  I'm fat.  Not just a little pudge at the waist, but...obese...

I wasn't always fat.  At a time in my life, I was in shape, able to pass the Missouri State Department of Corrections physical, which included running 1/4 mile, climbing stairs, then going down and finding a ball underneath and placing on top of the stairs, pulling a 150 pound sandbag 18 feet backwards, and so on, and had to do it in a hair over 2 minutes and under 3 minutes.  I worked hard and trained to be able to do it--I was never a runner, but strength I had.

I had gotten to a size 26 and worked out religiously, dieted strictly, and dropped down to a size 14/16.   I built muscle and endurance, and was in the best shape of my life.

Then life got in the way.  Stress.  Depression.  Gluttony.

So here I am, 15 years later, at that same size or a hair larger.  My weight is more than when I started back then.  I've gotten older, developed bad habits, let the sin of gluttony get out of hand.

Today it stops.

Today the gluttony ends.

My goal is to drop 200 pounds.  Yes, that's a lot.  And it will take time.  But it has to start somewhere, with that first step, that is officially today.

Today, my diabetes will get under control.  Today I will be very careful what is consumed.  I will work harder on my housekeeping, as you really can get a good workout just keeping home.  There's other activities to do to get exercise in without having to join a gym.

There is no fancy diet to follow.  Simply controlling portions, limiting sugars (which a diabetic should do anyway), calories, and drinking more water.  Nothing fancy at all.

Today is the day.

It took this picture to get me to the realization I needed to do something.  I'm in the gray coach's shirt, peeling a plantain and learning how to make tostones at my father in law's house.  I didn't realize I'd grown so big, that I'd let myself get to that point.

But now I know.

And now, I can do something about it.

You're welcome to join along with me with weekly updates.  This is week 1 of the journey.  It will be hard at the holidays, with making goodies for family and friends, but with God's help, all things are possible.  He is in control, He's still on the throne, and He can help me get to where He wants me to be.

Thanks for stopping by!

Shared with:  Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth, Modest Mom, What Joy Is Mine, So Much At Home , Cornerstone Confessions, Time Warp Wife, A Wise Woman Builds Her Home, Raising Homemakers, Proverbs 31 Wife, Essential Thing Devotions  Juana Mickels My Daily Walk In His Grace

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Changing The Pace

It's now into the early days of September, and the seasonal changes are fast upon us.

Shorter are the days, with darkness coming upon us much quicker in the evening and staying with us a tad longer in the mornings.  The temperatures are slowly cooling and becoming more bearable as summer winds down.  Some north of us (way north) have already had snow and freezing temperatures.

Our trees are slowly changing from greens to yellows and reds, with our yard filling with a multitude of shedded leaves.  Dew now covers the yard in the mornings where earlier it'd mostly evaporated or been nonexistent during the heat of summer.  Crops are preparing for the end of the growing season, with corn dried and ready to take to the bin and beans just starting to turn from green to the pretty yellows and reds, creating a beautifully painted field.  Other grains are at a head and nearly ready for bringing in to store.

The pace here has changed as well.  Gone are the days of rushing to the pool, the library, outdoor activities that took us all over the local area.  Soon, the cold will remove the soccer and basketball outside at the public courts, replacing them with high school football.  The pool no longer operates until the next season at Memorial Day.  The library has changed hours to reflect a less number of patrons during the days while school is in session.

There is a sense of preparation in the air.  Some are starting to work on roofing projects, others with wrapping windows and sealing around basements inside and out.  Others are working on fall gardens and removing growth from the summer crop that has stopped producing.  Vehicle preparations are under way, and slowly the gathering of winter necessities has started.

Here in our home, we are preparing for the coming chill with bringing out the blankets and comforts put away in the spring.  Soon, winter clothing will find the light of day again, with some handing down to others as the children grow through the year.  The fall cleaning has started, dusting out corners and eaves inside, washing doors and baseboards again, trying to stretch to reach the tops of shelving that were not designed for short fat folks, and bringing in more scents that are reminiscent of fall--pumpkin pies, apples, cinnamon sticks, nutmeg, and so on.

My own change of pace has taken me to sitting quietly in the evenings, with my family, and stitching by hand on quilts.  Each stitch helps hold the quilt sandwich together, that will keep the recipient warm as the temperatures dive.  These are not perfect pieces by a long shot, but made with love.  This allows me to be thrifty, using scraps and pieces of clothing handed down from my own parents, things my stepdaughter has outgrown, and things of my own that no longer suit my needs, with only a sheet needing purchased for a backing.  Inside, fleece from my stash works to warm the person underneath, including me as I work on each quilt.  I've near completed a string block quilt to give at Christmas, and will soon start a new string quilt in one of the boys' favorite colors.  My goal is to make a quilt for each child before winter is over.

I've also started working on winter wardrobes on the sewing machine.  For me, that means more dresses with a little more room for layering underneath.  We keep our house heaters at 68, and it usually stays a few degrees below that, so layering is a must.  So, myself and stepdaughter need to have plenty of layers to put under our dresses and skirts, for working inside the home and outside--we all enjoy a snow ball fight or running around with the beagle no matter how cold.  The boys enjoy new pajamas in their favorite themes, from ninja turtles to Nascar, so I sew up some pairs of those as well.  I hope to learn how to make more warm items as time and funds allow.

What are you doing to prepare for the coming season?  Has your pace changed with the calendar and cooling?

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