Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Thoughts on Modesty

So, lately I've been really struggling with some convictions about modesty. It's so incredibly easy to get caught up in body image as a woman, let alone as a woman in the fitness industry. The constant comparisons and strivings toward "perfection" can be endless. And, in a word, totally unbiblical (okay two words). Thankfully I had a gracious friend, who I respect very much, that was willing to sit down and talk through this with me a couple of days ago. Since then I've been studying more about what the Bible has to say about a woman's physical body, and how it can affect our walk with Christ AND OTHERS' walks...

1. Proverbs 31... everyone knows it, it's one of the most talked-about passages involving a woman. It tells us how we live lives of noble character... what we should strive to be, and that charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. (v 30)

2. 1 Timothy 2:9-10 says, "And I want women to be modest in their appearance. They should wear decent and appropriate clothing and not draw attention to themselves by the way they fix their hair or by wearing gold or pearls or expensive clothes. For women who claim to be devoted to God should make themselves attractive by the good things they do." I don't necessarily think we can't wear jewelry or nice (budget-friendly) clothing--I think the emphasis should be on the not drawing attention part. I know that I catch myself regularly, after teaching a class, hitting the store quickly afterward and getting some glances because of my tight pants or tops (or both)... and thinking I probably should have run home to change first, or at least thrown something over top.

3. In Matthew 5 (v 28) Jesus warned men, not women, when he said, "But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart." How does that apply to us? Here's what the book, Created to Be His Helpmeet says:

"It is impossible for a woman to understand a man's visual drive. She can only believe what an honest and candid man tells her, but few men are willing to admit their weakness. A woman's body, moving within visual range of a man, unless it is modestly covered in a way that says to the man that you have no interest in him taking pleasure in your appearance, can be as stimulating to him as disrobing completely. He may be a better man than the woman who is dressing immodestly and may have the fortitude to deny his eyes the stimulation you offer, but it makes you a source of temptation to sin, rather than someone to whom he can relate."

We need to remember that we, as women, have the power to lead a man down the wrong path. If so, we are just as in trouble as they are--maybe even more.

As you can see from these passages (and there are others!), God is VERY clear about modesty in the Bible. How can we apply that to our lives? Here are a few ideas (for myself--you can use them or find your own):

1. Think about what you are putting on, and for what occasion. Exercise wear, and it can still be modest--midriffs and booty shorts need not apply--should be for exercise classes. Even on the hottest of days you can throw a loose shirt on or tie a long-sleeve shirt around your waist. Are you going to church? Throw a little sweater over that strapless summer dress that was too cute to pass up. The air's going to be on in the building anyway, right?

2. Think about how much of your body is showing and why. Have great arms? That may lead to you wanting to show them off in less-than-modest ways. Personally I think sleeveless shirts are totally fine, but sometimes they can be a little low-cut, or have cut-outs in more places than are appropriate. So just think about it before you go out. When in doubt, throw it out... or ask your husband if what you're wearing is appropriate for the occasion. Mine's pretty good about telling me if I ask (without throwing a fit if he says it's not!).

3. Remember your daughters and sons! Especially the girls... if you've got a daughter, she is already going to be subjected to all kinds of societal views on beauty. Unfortunately it's the age we live in, and it's getting worse. So we need to prepare them well for the struggles ahead, and set good examples now. As for sons, they are equally susceptible to societal views on beauty AND they are going to be looking at the girls... whether we like it or not, right moms? So let's teach them that they should value women for much more than appearance, as well as teach them the importance of finding a wife of noble character.

4. Save the skivvies for the bedroom... your husband will thank you. Enough said.

I do have some really awesome news for you too... this will help your self-esteem and self-worth, believe it or not. We don't have to compare ourselves to others! We don't have to wear super-tight clothing to show off the super-toned bodies we may or may not have, so who really cares about that extra layer around the thighs!? As long as you're healthy (or striving to be so), perfect is all in the eyes of the beholder. The Bible also says that God looks at the heart, NOT at the outward appearance, and finds beauty in it--so let's try to do more of that too.

Understand that this is something that I struggle with--I make mistakes all the time, and am aware of that. I have a feeling many others do too, for one reason or another, so...
Please simply pray with me over the issue, daily even if you struggle, and let the Lord be your guide. He will be, if you let Him.

I know, I know, I'm such a prude now... totally fine with that.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

A Little of This, A Little of That...

After a week of being sick... let's catch up!

Hmmm... Sid got a haircut. Correction. NOAH cut Sid's hair, then I chopped it all off to make her look less like an 80's throwback. She took it well, better than me. But now I love it!

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Last weekend one of my girlfriends almost killed me with an on-post run, up and down hills. If you know me, you know I despise a good run... but I did owe her for taking three classes in a row at The ARK. And it did feel good. Afterward...

Then I got sick, thanks to another girlfriend... you know who you are. And the week would have been way too long, except the weather here as never been better. So I sat outside a lot, and watched the kids play--they were happy to oblige, and I was happy to sit and eat things like this, to make me feel better:


Seriously, if you haven't tried the Miso Tahini Dressing... you're missing out. You can put it on everything!!!!

In a blender, throw in a Tbsp of white miso, 2 Tbsp tahini, 1 Tbsp tamari, 2 Tbsp Agave, then slowly add water a Tbsp at a time until it tastes the way you want it (or is as thin or thick as you want it, I usually add about 3). Ummm... so delish, and you get some amazing health properties out of it too!

The kids and I did spend a short amount of time planting a small garden, and refilling our herb pots. Wish me luck, I've never had good luck growing things--usually because I forget to water them and they die. No idea how my kids are still living. But we have a cute little plot working, so I'll let you know how it goes (or not, if everything dies).

Which brings me to today... the perfect family day. No work, no commitments, and beautiful weather. We ran down to the market to pick up some meat and eggs. We spent lots of time outside, picked some of the first herbs


Had a picnic lunch, which we do once every weekend. Always looks something like this, with different variations depending on what we have at the house. This week it was fresh veggies, spicy garlic hummus, almonds, kale chips, jalapeno chips w/ salsa, and fresh strawberries.


After a rest time for all we planted the flower bulbs Granny Janny sent us for Easter (probably in the attempt to nonchalantly help us improve our seriously disturbed landscaping--hey, we live on post...). Then we feasted on burgers (yes, the real meat kind) and salad, took a family walk, and had some ice cream (yes, the dairy kind) before bedtime. What a great day.


Oh, and I can't forget this

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Cherry Chia Kombucha

Right about now everyone at The ARK is riding the Kombucha train... have you tried it? This flavor is a new one for me and I had high hopes. Have to say, although it tastes good, it's not the original. If you're a texture person, you might struggle. Chris compared it to drinking tadpoles (not that he's done that) (I don't think). So I'll save this chia kind for the need-some-omega-3's in mass quantities days. I mean, there's some serious goods in this stuff (which is good, because it's totally Starbucks priced):



Most of us are seriously lacking in Omega-3's. We get way too much Omega 6 fatty acids from corn, soy, sunflower, and safflower oils... and not enough of the EPA and DHA necessary for fully functioning brains, from wild fish and certain nuts and seeds (like flax, hemp, and chia). Low levels of Omega 3's have been linked to depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder & criminal behavior, schizophrenia, ADD, autism, dementia and other neurological diseases. A good-quality fish oil supplement is another great way to make sure you get enough! Or you can just drink the tadpoles.








Sunday, March 18, 2012

Spicy Hummus

We love some hummus around here--we could go through about one container a day if we wanted... and we do. But our budget doesn't agree. So I've been on the hunt for a really great recipe for the spicy hummus that we love. I feel like hummus is a hard thing to nail down, it just never quite tastes the same. But then I created this one, and realized it doesn't have to--this stuff's awesome!

Spicy-As-You-Want-It Hummus

1 can garbanzo beans (aka chickpeas)
1 can white beans (or a second can of the above--I like the white beans because they make it creamier)
1 lemon (juice of)
4 minced garlic cloves
3 Tbsp. tahini
1/2 Tbsp. oil (I used grapeseed, for it's mild flavor, but olive or canola would do too)
1 1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp pepper
dash cayenne
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1/2 tsp garam masala (you could probably leave this out, but I think it adds just a tiny bit more heat and flavor)
water

Process all ingredients until smooth, begin adding water a little at a time until you reach desired consistency. Add more cayenne & crushed red pepper, depending on how spicy you like it!

Makes... A LOT. About 2 cups. Score!

In Spiciness,

Cara

Friday, March 16, 2012

GF/DF Blueberry Muffins

My family loves some muffins in the morning... and so do I... so I'm always searching for amazing, yet more-healthful recipes. This one takes the cake. Or, muffin, I guess.

2 c. Bob's Red Mill GF all-purpose flour mix
1 1/2 tsp. xanthan gum (a must for gf recipes!)
1 c. organic brown sugar
3/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
1 Tbsp. pure vanilla extract
Dairy-free milk (around 3/4 c, I used soy)
1 organic egg (or equivalent)
1 tsp cider vinegar (love Bragg's)
1/4 c. canola oil
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. frozen blueberries

Preheat oven to 375
In a large measuring cup, add oil, egg, and vinegar. Then add enough milk to equal 1 1/4 c. total liquid, then add vanilla. Set aside.
Mix dry ingredients well. Add wet to dry, stir until just combined, then fold in berries. Mixture will be thick. Drop by 1/4 cups into greased muffin tin. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown (they will be a shade darker from the brown sugar).

I would love to share a picture with you... but I can't, because they're already gone.

Enjoy the weekend!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Noah Turns 4!!!

So much has been going on... can't catch ya up on all of it... but it's all good because Noah J turned FOUR today! We had a visit from Granny, a beautiful day to celebrate, a trip to Cracker Barrel (thank you Grandma, for creating a monster), and some ah-mazing vegan chocolate cupcakes. Doesn't get much better than that, right?
I know you want the cupcake recipe, and as much as I would LOVE to share it with you... you'll have to buy the book. It's awesome. And totally worth the money. So I don't want to cheat the authors. You can find it here! Happy Birthday Noah Joseph!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Catching up!

I've been on a hiatus, I can't get caught up! Here's a cute pic of Noah and his new favorite toy, the dancing skeleton, that sings, "the club can't even handle me right now..." thanks Grandpa Joe. :) And here's an idea for a rainy-day activity. I got the idea from my sis, and it turned out well. Easy and fun, and lasted about an hour from start to finish! AND the kids were bathed after we finished. Take the clothes off (except diapers), give them the water colors, and let them go at it! When they're done, turn on the water, wipe it all off, then give em' a bath! I had pics, but they're taking too long to upload... unpatient? yes. So you don't get any :) Next up, a recipe for some easy, healthy muffins. Try these instead of those full-fat, sugar-laden preservative-filled kind: Orange Almond Muffins 1 c. fresh orange juice 1/2 c. agave nectar 1 tsp. almond extract 2 large egg whites 2 Tbsp. oil (canola or grapeseed) 1 c. unbleached flour 1 c. whole wheat flour 2 tsp. baking powder 1/2 tsp. baking soda 1/4 tsp. salt 1/2 c. ground almonds (or chopped--my kids just don't like to know they're there!) *you could also use almond butter Preheat the oven to 350 Mix the wet ingredients. Mix the dry ingredients (except the almonds). Add the wet to the dry, stir to combine, then fold in the almonds. Fill the muffin pan full, because they won't over-rise. Bake about 20 minutes. These are so good, not too sweet, my kids loved them! Muffins for breakfast make kids happy. Healthy muffins for breakfast make moms healthy. Win/Win. AND I have one more for ya. I threw together this turkey chili in a snap. It was great, loaded with veggies. The kids'll love it over whole wheat pasta! Veggie Chili w/ a Hint (of meat) 3 medium peppers, chopped (I used green and yellow) 2 red onions, chopped 2 medium zucchini, 1-inch dice 6 cloves minced garlic 1 lb lean ground turkey 2 Tbsp. olive oil 28 oz. tomato sauce 3 cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes 3 cans chili beans 3 Tbsp chili powder 1 Tbsp cumin Salt to taste Saute the onions and garlic over med/high heat in the olive oil. Transfer to large pot. Begin to cook the turkey over med/high. Meanwhile, add all other ingredients to the large pot (don't drain any of the cans, just throw them right in!). Add turkey after browned. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer on low for an hour, stirring occasionally. Add salt to taste. We had a ton left to throw in the freezer individually portioned for healthy go-to meals!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Lentils, 2 Ways

Did you know that along with being breast cancer awareness month, October is also vegetarian awareness month? So, here's a challenge for ya--cut some meat this month! And no, not with a knife... cut it out of your weekly diet!

If you're a crockpot freak, as most busy moms are, here are two veggie recipes you MUST try. They are inspired by some recipes in a crockpot cookbook that I have, but without the meat, woohoo! And P.S. lentils are full of nutrition, including iron!

Lentil Tacos
serves 6ish

1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves minced garlic
1 Tbsp EVOO
1/2 lb. dried lentils, rinsed and sorted
1 Tbsp. taco seasoning (or more if you like it spicy)
1 tsp. dried oregano
2 c. veggie broth
1/2 c. salsa
shells and condiments that you prefer

Saute onions in oil for a few minutes, add garlic, and cook about a minute more. Add onion/garlic mix to crockpot with the rest of the ingredients. Cook on low 4-6 hours (depending on a. how you like your lentils cooked and b. how strong your crockpot tends to be--mine is like the Incredible Hulk and cooks in half the time). Add water as necessary if you start to run out and want softer lentils.

Sub the lentil mix in for the meat and enjoy! These were awesome last night, Sidney loved them (of course) and even Noah got his down (he can't stand ground beef tacos).

Oh and if you can find these shells, they are awesome.




They are light and thin, but don't totally fall apart when you fill them. AND they don't have a bunch of unneccesary ingredients.



They did well! Nice and healthy... just the way we like it.





Sloppy Joes, Veggie Style

1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 large carrots, finely chopped
2 large celery stalks, finely chopped
1 c. dried lentils, rinsed and sorted
2 1/2 c. water
3/4 c. ketchup
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 Tbsp. Worcestershire
2 Tbsp. cider vinegar
salt to taste

Combine all ingredients in crockpot, except vinegar, stir well. Cook on low 6-8 hours, adding water if necessary. Add vinegar a little before serving. If you like them thicker and little less messy (although they are called sloppy joes for a reason), mix a couple spoonfuls of cornstarch in a tiny bit of cold water, then add to the mix until thick. Serve on whole wheat buns.

These are two easy, family-friendly ways to incorporate meatless mains into your menu this week. And, as an added bonus, you will also save money at the grocery store... you can just drop it in the mail to me, thanks.