Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Gratitude: Appreciating Your Spouse

I came across this article written by Elizabeth Scalia (don't you just love her!) and it really resonated with me.  I'm taking her advice and "writing it out to see it".

Chris and I celebrated our 25th anniversary in June and our kids think it is completely hokey that we truly think of each other as being our best friend, but it is true.  As it is in every marriage, and every friendship, there are days when we don't like each other all that much.  For us women, it can become a real pity party when we aren't exactly getting along with our husbands, culminating in feelings of unworthiness and unlovableness.  In hindsight, we hopefully end up seeing most disagreements are a result of hurt pride and not much more.

It is too easy to take each other for granted.  Let's take the time to offer up some gratitude and appreciation for our spouse.  Do it in writing, so your can really see it.

In our 25 years of marriage, I cannot think of a single time Chris has ever told me no.  I'm a pretty reasonable person (at least I like to think I am), but even the most reasonable person has to throw out some pretty outrageous requests and ideas.  It has never mattered how outrageous, crazy, or expensive an idea I've asked him to support.  Not only does he support it, he often outdoes what I've asked.  In those 25 years I've asked him to attend church--not only did we begin attending church, he began praying for people to come into our lives to help us live out our new faith and within 2 years of that request we were both fully "initiated" into the Catholic Church.  I've asked him if I could go off birth control--not only did we say goodbye to the pill, we've had 7 living children and taught NFP for many years.  I've asked him to homeschool--this year marks our 18th year of homeschooling.  When I suggest giving charitably to a particular organization he always gives more generously than I'd requested.  What a blessing it has been to be married to such a genuinely generous man.

Chris enjoys being a homebody and spending time with me.  We nurture our friendship by hiking, fishing, hunting, playing games, watching movies, or just sitting with each other.  I know he actually enjoys my company and presence.  What a blessing it has been to be in such a caring relationship.

Chris encourages my spiritual life.  Since suggesting we begin attending church services, we have not missed a single mass unnecessarily.  We have been late to mass only once in 22 years.  Think about that for a minute.  We have 7 children and are never late.  He has helped make weekly mass an absolute priority. I attend a weekly holy hour in front of the blessed sacrament due to his encouragement.  We endeavor to pray the family rosary each night.  He forwards articles to me he feels will enrich my faith.  He suggests books he feels I would benefit from the wisdom they impart. What a blessing it has been to have his spiritual support.

Probably my favorite quality of Chris' is his sense of humor.  Rare is the day in which he has not made me laugh out loud.  Married life has not all been a joyride.  We've definitely had our bumps and bruises, but for the most part it has been a real blessing being married to this man.  I thank God for the man Chris has become and I thank God for the many graces he has bestowed upon us during these 25 years. Print Friendly and PDF

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Whole30 Journey

Confession time.  As 50 years is brutally creeping up on me and pre-menopausal symptoms have reared their ugly heads, I've had a very difficult time keeping extra weight off.  For nearly 3 years I've toyed with the idea of trying the Whole30 diet, but my love of a creamy, sweet, morning latte prevented any serious attempt.  After an indulgent trip to my home town for my dad's 70th birthday, I came home heavier than I'd been since giving birth to Leo 5 1/2 years ago.  I knew I needed to do something more than just behave moderately.

Thankfully, I'd already eliminated sugar in my coffee during this past lent.  I even began enjoying my creamy latte without any sweetener.  To make my morning coffee Whole30 compliant, I just needed to give up the dairy.  10 pounds of vacation weight gave me the motivation and I convinced Chris to join me.

If you are unfamiliar with Whole30 here is a link to the website: Whole30.com  In a nutshell, the philosophy behind Whole30 is to eat only foods which actually nourish your body.  This means eliminating foods which are considered filler foods, foods which might trigger autoimmune responses, and foods which are not naturally part of the historic human diet.  No sugar of any kind (no honey or agave and no sugar substitutes, including stevia).  This helps break any habitual cravings for sweets.  No dairy (no cheese, milk, etc. from animals and no dairy substitutes, like almond milk,  unless you make it from scratch canned coconut milk is ok). No grains (wheat, corn, oats, etc.) No recreating baked goods using flour substitutes such as almond flour. No legumes (no peanuts, or beans but green beans and peas are ok because of all the green matter they contain).  No alcohol. Fruit is ok, but limited to a certain extent, you don't really want to start your day with fruit and if you are craving sweets or a snack, fruit is not the best choice as you are perpetuating habitual craving for sugar.  Lots of meat, eggs, and veggies with every meal and this is not limited.

We've already completed 30 days and are currently in the middle of a second round.  Chris lost 10 pounds and looks absolutely great, but he really misses his sugar.  I've lost the 10 I gained on vacation plus 5 more and I feel awesome.  My skin and hair look awesome.  The food really is really good and I haven't felt deprived in the least. I'm hooked.  The biggest difficulty has been finding all the ingredients I'd like to have without any added sugar.  Bacon, and other cured meats are the biggest culprits and the most difficult to find sugarless varieties.

We have had a couple "cheat" days, and I'll tell ya, I felt absolutely miserable afterward.  Even just one slice of Sinclair Oil 100th birthday cake made my stomach churn.  I'm not sure what I will do, once this cycle is over.  I might stick with it completely, or phase just a few foods back in.  I would really like to lose just 7 or 8 more pounds.  I'm just not sure Chris is on board for the near permanent long haul.

Here are links to a few of my absolute favorite Whole30 compliant meals.  These were all huge hits with the entire family.

Dinners:  (With Dinners I serve either a huge salad, sautéed or roasted veggies, and fruit or fruit salad to round it out)
Chicken in Coconut Mango Verde Sauce

Prosciutto Wrapped Pork Loin

Italian Sausage and Potato Quick Skillet

Stove-top Pulled Tandoori Chicken

Lemon Harissa Chicken  (I made my own harissa paste using this recipe)

Five Spice Beef and Broccoli

Green Curry Scallops

Slow Cooked Jerk Pork with Caribbean Salsa

Indian Coconut Korma

Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Chicken

Greek Meatballs with Avocado Tzatziki Sauce

Creamy and Smoky Chipotle Pork Chops

Pad Thai


Cranberry Tuna Salad on Apple Slices (be sure to get fruit juice sweetened cranberries)

Turkey BLT Salad

Burrito Bowl (I like this dish much better over raw broccoli slaw)

Curried Chicken Salad

Nectarine Ginger Sesame Chicken Salad

Buffalo Chicken Soup

Zesty Lime Shrimp Avocado Salad

Avocado Baked Egg

Sweet  Potato Hash browns topped with Lox and a poached egg (this recipe cheats a tad as it calls for almond flour, but in reality it is fairly compliant as you're not recreating a baked good recipe using a flour substitute)

Berries Nuts and Coconut Shreds  (We only have this once a week as it is more of a fruit laden meal, but it is soooooo good)

2 Ingredient Banana Pancakes (I know, another fruit breakfast, but these are sooooo yummy.  We top with softened almond butter and diced apples with a little cinnamon or with berries, toasted nuts and coconut shreds)

Easy Paleo Chorizo and Tomato Frittata

Often I'll throw together a quick breakfast skillet by sautéing some veggies, adding some cooked bacon or prosciutto, and then tossing with some scrambled eggs.

Snacks: (While snacking is discouraged, it sometimes can not be helped be sure to reach for something loaded with protein which will be much more satisfying than a handful of veggies or a fruit)

We love the Whole30 compliant Larabars for a quick, convenient snack

Rosemary Mixed Nuts

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