Sunday, March 31, 2013

New Life, New Lifestyle

First of all, happy easter everyone! Isn't this such a grand, super duper joyful celebration? Today, we celebrate our second chance, our salvation, our new restored self, our new life...all given to us FREE, at absolutely no cost to us! Jesus, You are really amazing. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

As we celebrate a fresh, new start, I'd like to start writing about our family's slow but sure turn towards a healthier lifestyle. It's been an overdue change for us, what with my husband and I enjoying our food a little bit too much and sporting not-so-sexy bellies now. I, for one, don't want to look and feel losyang when I'm only in my early 30's! Besides, when one starts having a family, it seems natural to start making healthier decisions. For us, it's about quitting or minimizing unhealthy habits (such as softdrinks and eating processed food) and forming better ones.

So, in our effort to get healthy, I’ll document our little baby steps toward a healthier lifestyle. Note that there won’t be any dramatic stories of big changes here as what I’m aiming for are small, sure and progressive steps that gets my family in a better state than we are today. What I want to make are doable and sustainable decisions.

To begin with, below are some kitchen do’s that we live by:
  • ·      We use Canola and Olive Oils only for all our dishes. Canola Oil has very low saturated fats and contains Omega-6, Omega-3, high levels of Vitamin E and a-linolenic acid. Olive Oil contains monounsaturated fatty acids.
  • ·      I try to use as much spices, all-natural broths instead of packed flavorings (such as Maggi Sarap) or Knorr cubes (those contain high levels of MSGs and other synthetic flavorings) as much as I possibly can. Pepper, oregano, basil, thyme and cumin are just some of our spice favorites.
  • ·      We like our breakfasts hearty and filling but I try to find non-processed meats to go along with out eggs, rice and coffee in the morning. This is especially challenging and I’ll share some non-processed breakfast ideas I’ve come up with. If you have some, too, please share as I can always use fresh new recipes!

It’s not easy, and planning the weekly menu comprising of healthy and tasty dishes can sometimes drive me nuts.

But I’m not about to back out on the challenge. Living healthy is God’s will for this family and we’re going to make that happen, by God’s grace!

For this post, I’ll share my all-time favorite healthy breakfast omelette recipe that you might appreciate too:

 Spinach & Cheese Omelette
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 3 large eggs - (we use organic, free-range Bounty Fresh eggs which sells for P79/10 pcs)
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ cup spinach, washed and shredded
  • dash of salt, pepper, oregano, dried basil
  • 1 tbsp Wheat Germ (we bought a jar of this super healthy nutty wheat product at Shopwise—easy to add to dishes for added vitamin E and folic acid) 
  • 1/4 cup grated mozzarella (the low-sodium variety would be better)

This bottle of Wheat Germ is pretty handy for a lot of dishes

1.    Whisk eggs, milk together. Add salt, pepper, oregano, dried basil, wheat germ.

2.    Saute garlic in 1 tbsp Olive Oil. When softened, add the spinach.

3.    Once the spinach has cooked, pour the egg mixture. Wait for the egg mixture to form and harden a bit.

4.    Sprinkle the cheese all over the egg formation. Then, fold into half.

5.    Can be served with toasted whole wheat toast or brown rice. Enjoy!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Worry Is Every Mom's Enemy

What do you do when your child is sick?

I think that, for every parent, this is one of the most heart-wrenching moments of parenthood. When your little one is helplessly ill, and there’s nothing you can do to make the “ouwie” or the thing that’s making him feel bad go away. And we tend to do what seems easiest to do: Worry.

My little Gabbie has been sick on-off for almost a month now. He first contracted Bronchitis early February and just last week, his colds and cough are back. Just today, his doctor read his x-ray result to me and it was Pneumonia. Thank God that he started on his anti-biotics three days back (during his first check-up with the doctor) and today, the doctor said he is much better, on his way to recovery.

It hasn’t been easy. Not for my little boy who had to contend with runny nose, incessant, sleep-interrupting sleep, and diminishing appetite. Not for his mom who worried every single day with every cough, increase in temperature or untouched plate of food.

Carrying a sleeping, sick Gabbie

I worried and worried. And I was exhausted from it.

For parents, worrying seems like a default emotion, configured in us the minute we get pregnant. We do it by instinct, on cue and with abandon. Some of us even relish it, using parenthood as a “license” to worry.

But let me tell you, as a mom who faced WORRY the last couple of weeks, boy, I’m sick of it! And I’m really not fond of it anymore. It sapped me of strength, paralyzed me, and offered no relief from itself. When I worried, I worried all day, everyday for I was reminded to do so every now and then.

And the thing I hated most about it? Worry brought me to a desolate place.

Jesus Himself said, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:34)

Worry is rooted in fear, and fear is the opposite of faith. Each time I allowed myself to worry, I moved myself farther and farther from faith, which is my connection to God. Even as I looked to Jesus, worry blurred my vision.

Yet, Jesus was pretty clear about it: Do not worry.

I may not understand everything, I may be looking at my sick son now, but I am called not to worry. How can I not? Well, I can look to the things that I know for sure: My God is more powerful than any illness, He promised to look after my household (Psalm 91), and His will for us is good, pleasing and perfect (Romans 12:2).

For worrywarts like me, my most practical tip whenever worry tempts you into its trap is this:

Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7
And as I prayed this, I remembered. I remembered how God, the Almighty has come through on all of our heart-breaking moments as a family. We went past the experience of the premature birth of our son, with his health constantly in question then even by his doctors at the NICU everyday. God carried us through a half-million debt with nary an incoming amount in sight back then. And on a more personal note, I remember how I, as a woman fallen and wretched, was forgiven cleansed, loved, and put together with my husband and given a family filled with love and joy every day. I remember now, Lord, how can I forget?
It was you Lord back then, and it is still You right now. You are the same yesterday as you are today. You are faithful to me now as you were in the days past.
Truly, with a God as mighty and as faithful as He is, what room can worry occupy in my heart?

So parents, moms in particular, rest in the knowledge that it is God Himself who is taking care of you and your family. It is God who will equip you to take care of them best way you can. The rest, God will handle. So, breathe easy Moms, God is there, always ;)

Feeling better already: God is good!