Bean Rut

In the past couple years, I have bounced from one dietary plan to another.

Randy and I were vegans for a summer.  We didn’t eat any meat or dairy products.  We filled up on whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.  Both of us felt amazing eating that way, but it was very difficult to maintain outside our home especially when at the mercy of summer camp menus.  In the end, I ditched it because I was worried that I was screwing up our children’s health and development.

We tried out Emeals.com eating plan.  For a fee, they send you recipes complete with grocery lists for your convenience.  It was very convenient, but almost every meal was meat-based and cost us a load of money.  Also, we do not own a grill and there were quite a few grilling recipes.  We let go of that after our subscription expired.

Next we gave the high protein, low carb diet a shot.  We did this affordably by eating a lot of nuts too.  This was a big fail and didn’t last long.

I love reading about nutrition and food science.  Across the board, there is one common theme among everything I have read.  Let go of sugar and processed grains!  Make your food at home and let it be mostly fruit and vegetables!

So this is where our diet stands now.  And by “diet,” I mean our eating habits, not a plan to drop a couple pounds.

Since everyone agrees that fresh and frozen produce is so very good for you, that is what we are emphasizing in our meals.  In an effort to save money, we are eating bean-centered meals again.  Dr. Fuhrman coined the phrase “flexitarian.”  That’s what we are doing.  Lots of produce and plants, light on the grains and meat.  And avoiding red meat altogether per recommendation of our general practitioner.

Here’s where I need your help.  I am in a bean rut.  We have tried every variation of rice and beans known to man.  Slurped lots of bean soup.  I make homemade hummus.

We need your favorite bean recipe.  It does not matter what bean is your favorite, please send me a link to your favorite recipe.  I need something new.  I am even willing to try tofu.

“What?  You were vegan for three months and didn’t eat tofu?!”

Yep.  We actually had tofu for the first time this week in the form of mabo tofu, a delicious entree made with the distinctive flavor of bean paste.  Num!

Also, here is a quick bean trivia fact.  Peanuts aren’t nuts.  They are beans.  Nuts grow on trees.  I know a woman who grows peanuts in her vegetable garden.

What is your favorite bean?  How do you like them prepared?

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What you ingest, you become

As a child, my free time was spent reading.  Even as my life increased in responsibility during high school, I made time for literature, mostly fiction.  In college, the world of nonfiction was opened to my mind and I adored this newly discovered facet of the written word.  That love didn’t end when I got married, nor when I had children, three of them.  I have always made time to read.

During high school, I held an afternoon job doing paperwork for a financial planning company.  One summer, the regular receptionist went on vacation.  I had a memorable conversation with her temp.  This middle-aged woman had teenage children and commented on my pulling a novel out of my bag to read while I waited for my ride.

“I used to read so much, but I never have time for it anymore.  My life is too busy.  I can’t even remember the last time I sat down to read a book.”

Voracious reader that I was, I was shocked and horrified.  I made an internal vow that I would never, seriously never, allow my life to become so busy that books were crowded out of my life.

I have thought about that vow throughout the years and have always kept a book by my side.  Sometimes fiction, mostly non-fiction, I have always been reading.

Recently, our pastor preached a phrase that has stuck with me: “What you ingest, you become.”  The Spirit used this to convict me.  In the words of Paul, “‘All things are lawful,’ but not all things are helpful.  ‘All things are lawful,’ but not all things build up.”

For years, I have literally kept a book by my side and read any chance I could get.  Bathroom breaks, waiting rooms, kitchen counter, living room couch.  And a book always by my side.

Now, I have not been reading trashy romance novels, filling my mind with poison.  I have been reading books about nutrition, health, spiritual life, being a better parent.  These topics and books are all good and worthy to read and study.

But, at the same time I was reading these admirable subjects, I was neglecting to study my Bible.  I wasn’t ignoring my Bible, but out of balance in what I was ingesting.  Instead of consuming mostly fruits and vegetables, I was eating a lot of candy and cake.  Too many carbs and not enough protein.

I do not believe my love of reading is sinful.  However, if I want to become a wholehearted disciple of Jesus, the bulk of my literature diet needs to be his Word.  If I want to become like Jesus, I need to ingest his Word.

Since receiving this conviction, I have swapped out my book on the counter for my Bible on the counter.  Instead of cracking open my latest examination of nutrition while I am sitting down to nurse my son, I pull over my Kindle version of the Bible.

It’s true!  Instead of obsessing over the salt content in my canned soup, I am contemplating how Jesus taught his disciples.  Instead of recounting the details of the latest Duck Dynasty memoir I’ve read, I am turning over the fervor of the early church and how that relates to our small group Bible study.

Here is my pleasant discovery.  The more that I read the Bible, the hungrier I become for it.  What you ingest, you become.

Introductions

Allow me to introduce myself.  I am Naomi Jones.  Here’s what you need to know about me.

I follow Jesus.
I am married to Randy.
I have birthed three kiddos: Phoebe, Eliza, and Silas.
I was homeschooled.
I was a missionary in Eastern Europe.
I have struggled with depression.
I am a stay-at-home mom.
I am a Rochesterian turned Midwesterner.

There are the facts.  They give you an idea about who I am.  My deepest desire is to help you grow in your faith in Jesus Christ, no matter where you are on your walk with him.  I will write from the lessons that the Lord has taught me through these circumstances of my life so that you may grow and learn from my successes and mistakes.

My desire is to be as candid as possible.  I firmly believe that the truth will set you free.  The greatest truth is that Jesus came to die for us that we might be forgiven of our wrongs, and he was raised from the dead so that we might be raised to new life.  All the truth that has occurred in my life and all the successes in my life hinge upon the fact of Jesus.

Enjoy and may God’s peace permeate you as you share in my life.

Turkey & Wild Rice Soup

After Thanksgiving, I created this soup to not waste leftover dark meat.  We are not fans of slimy turkey so we had quite a bit laying around.  We discovered that the soup masked the texture of the turkey.  And it tasted delicious!

6 oz mushrooms, sliced
2 cups turkey, diced
1/2 package kale, torn
1 cup wild rice, uncooked
1 carrot, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
1 can cream of chicken condensed soup
10 cups water
3 bouillon chicken cubes

Dunk all the ingredients in your crock pot.
Heat on low until wild rice is cooked, 6-8 hours.

That’s as easy as it gets!

Turkey & Wild Rice Soup

I made this soup after Thanksgiving with all our leftover dark meat.  We are not big fans of slimy turkey so there was a lot left.  However, you couldn’t tell the texture in the soup.  It was delicious!

6 oz mushrooms, sliced
2 cups turkey, diced
1/2 package kale, torn
1 cup wild rice, uncooked
1 carrot, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
1 can cream of chicken condensed soup
10 cups water
3 bouillon chicken cubes

Put all ingredients in your crock pot.
Cook on low until wild rice is cooked, 6-8 hours.

That’s as easy as it gets!

The Lord’s Table

In an effort to increase self control in my life, I am doing an online Bible study.  The focus of the Bible study is to reflect on why I lack self control with my eating habits and place my desire for food in the hands of the Lord.

You can find this Bible study at settingcaptivesfree.com.

So far, it has been very helpful.  My lack of self control with eating is often because I use food as a coping method whenever I feel stressed or overwhelmed.  The key in this area is immediately going to the Lord for the comfort I desire.

Other times, I just really enjoy sugary treats!  I have read books that show how sugar is literally addictive and has similar effects as illicit drugs in its interactive with the brain.  (See Sugar, Salt, Fat by Michael Moss and Fat Chance: The Bitter Truth about Sugar by Robert Lustig).  Though I know it isn’t healthy for my body (nutritionless calories) or my brain (unnatural highs and lows), it is just so nummy!  Yes, I am addicted.

However, I believe any addiction can be overcome through the power of the Spirit.  This Bible study is aiding more in that direction.

Since starting, though I have only completed three lessons, I feel like the “power” of food has lessened its grip on me.  I no longer feel guilty when I don’t eat something that is completely healthy.  I am realizing that it isn’t wrong to enjoy as long as I savor.  When I go crazy and eat nine cookies, I feel guilty and my body isn’t happy.  When I savor one, I not only get to enjoy the taste of the cookie, but I also enjoy knowing that God is helping me grow in self control.  Not mention that one cookie isn’t chased by emotional highs and lows.

I do not agree with all the exegesis found in this study, but overall, I believe you cannot go wrong when anything based on the Bible.  Be discerning and study the Scripture for yourself, and you will find the help you need.  God is good!

The Fruit of the Spirit’s Not an Apple

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Years ago, my best friend told me that she noticed that when she was disciplined and self controlled in one area of her life, other areas that had been lacking became more disciplined.  That statement stuck with me.  I wondered if it was true for me.

Guess what?  It is!

When I exercise, I also tend to eat right.  When I am disciplined to wake up early, I have more control over my emotions during the day.  When I study my Bible, I am more likely to focus on teaching the children.  When I do all of these things, our home life seems to run more smoothly and I feel great!

Lately, there has been a huge lack of self control in my life.  I sleep in, eat junk food, gorge myself on sugary sweets, don’t exercise, am inconsistent in my Bible reading, don’t give myself needed down time during the day.  As a result, I feel poorly about myself.  Lacking self control makes my days seem to crawl by as I seek one stimulant to the next (books, movies, sugar, coffee, rich foods).

I realized this tendency in myself and also perceived the distance in my relationship with God that was happening at the same time.  I know when an undisciplined life and lack of communion with God meet, sin and depression are soon to follow.

I need more work of the Spirit in my life.  I need to get back into the flow of self control.  I need to set parameters for myself to limit my indulgence and encourage healthy behavior.

I am going to dig into the Scripture to see what it says about self control, letting the Lord speak to me and strengthen me through his Word.  While doing this, I will also tr to add some healthy habits back into my life.  This is a daily struggle, but, with the help of the Lord, self control can increase in my life.

Not Too Cheesy Broccoli Cheddar Soup

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I lurv broccoli cheddar soup so much.  However, My Man does not appreciate the loads of cheese in most recipes.  Too heavy on the fromage.  Too light on the vegetables.

So I decided to create my own version.  This has a much nicer vegetable to cheese ratio, says My Man.

Cheddar Broccoli Soup
1 tbsp oil
1 small onion, diced
1 carrot, shredded
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 12 oz package frozen chopped broccoli
1/2 bunch kale, torn
4 cups water
1 chicken bouillon cube
1 10.75 oz can condensed cheddar cheese soup
1 cup shredded cheese

1. Saute the onion, carrot, and garlic in oil until the onion becomes soft.
2. To the sauteed veggies, add the broccoli, kale, water, and bouillon cube.  Bring to a boil; reduce to simmer for half an hour.
3. Turn off burner and stir in condensed cheddar cheese soup.  Add shredded cheddar cheese and stir until melted.
4. Serve warm with crusty bread.  Nummy!

Secrets

Yes, I know I haven’t posted in a while! I have not been devoting any time to writing. Had to share this though.

Tonight, I was whispering “secrets” into Phoebe’s ear. Telling her that I loved her Daddy, that he is ticklish on the bottom of his feet, that he is my best friend, etc.

She got an excited look on her face and said, “I’m going to tell you MY secret now!”

She leaned in.

“I killed Mufasa.”