Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Sugar- The Enemy?

If you've been following my blog at all, you'll remember that I've been trekking along, exploring and researching nutritional health and lifestyle changes for our family.  First there came dairy.  Or actually, there it went.  With Toby's severe allergy to it, I mainly cook dairy free although after our recent trip to the states, we have a bit more hanging around than normal.  So we are a soy and almond milk drinking family, we use a lot of soy cheese and vegan margarine and we try to avoid it as much as possible.

Then there came meat.  Now, I'm not going to pretend that we're full on vegans, cause we just spent 3 weeks BBq'ing in Hawaii.  But after much reading and some creative recipe making, at least 50% of the time we go vegetarian and I hope to continue in that direction.

But this doesn't mean we're healthy eaters.

I prided myself on the fact that I make dinners from scratch all the time and we rarely go out to eat. Simultaneously, I've let my kid's snacks (and my snacks) go to the wayside.  "Too much time, too much work, not worth it, fishy crackers it is!"  Meanwhile, I've started to wonder about sugar.  I am the LAST person on the earth who wants to give up sugar.  I just heard myself say to a friend the other day "you'd have to pry chocolate from my dead, lifeless hand because there's no way I could do without it."  And I feel somewhat similar with sugar.  I am not a salt eating girl.  I never walk down the cracker and chip aisle. I don't drink pop and avoid most juice, but watch me dump 5 spoonfuls of sugar in my coffee, make sweet and yummy cookies, eat chocolate chips and dried fruit like I'm invincible.


Then, I did something stupid last night and watched this lecture on YouTube: Sugar: The Bitter Truth.

Crap.  Now I've been informed.  And I believe it. From what I see in the hospital, sugar IS terrible for our bodies and if we buy processed, we eat it in everything!  Shucks. I mean, sucks.

So now what?  People I know having been taking out sugar all around me and I've kind of shrugged and thought "you're crazy."   I've even had people tell me that it's toxic and I've kind of chuckled.  I mean really, toxic?  Isn't that going a bit too far?!

I had one friend say that, "why would we teach our kids that doing drugs is bad, not just some of the time, but all the time, but teach our kids that sweets are okay some of the time when they are toxic for us?"  Yikes.  

But what if it's true? I see diabetes and cancer and all kinds of things in the hospital and it's clear that these medical conditions are on the rise.  I think I'm so immune but do I really eat well?  Am I really paying attention as I dump sugar down my throat and my kids' throats?

All this guilt and shame is well and good, but what actionable steps should I take?  I gotta start simple cause this change is a doozy for my family.  I don't want to be legalistic with "always" and "never" statements because in this social-eating world, sometimes you gotta forget your food restrictions (I think) to accommodate others and not the other way around.

So we're starting with this:
1. No more juice. Now my kids know what it tastes like and it's one of Toby's first words, so that kinda sucks, but milk and water.
2. Research some sugar replacements- any ideas anyone?  Stevia?  Coconut sugar?  What's good, what's bad, what's uglier?
3. Start phasing out the processed snacks like granola bars and stick to fruits, veggies, nuts, and dried fruit (sparingly).  And make less sweetened snack breads: zucchini, banana, date breads, etc.
4.  This one is hard: experiment with changing up our breakfast routine.  Not sure how to get around toast, or maybe we don't need to (?)  But a healthier, more protein-rich breakfast would do us good.
5. And lastly, get rid of cereal altogether.  It's our 'late night snack.' And it's expensive, sugar-full, and nutrient poor.  

First problem: get rid of all that's in my pantry, or slowly phase it out?

Notice I mentioned nothing about my coffee or chocolate?  So, I'm sticking to dark chocolate for now (or else I'll die) and I've started putting coconut sugar in my coffee.  Rome wasn't built in a day, right?

I do hope and think that Silas' behavior issues might be helped as well by limited processed foods and slowly eliminating sugars.  Wouldn't that be interesting...

Just a disclosure though: if you invite us over, I'm not going to show up at your door and tell you "I'm not eating that meal or cake you made us" because it's a pet peeve of mine.  I do think health is important, but would you believe, I actually value relationships more than health?  That being said, whenever it's possible, I will let you know what our current eating habits are like to spare us both the confusion and frustration of kind host and picky guest conundrum.

p.s. Please inform me even more on my blog comments- anything I'm missing? Tips?  Great recipes?  I'm very open to suggestions and helpful hints.  I'm a very baby researcher when it comes to nutrition.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Mahalo Hawaii

Aloha Hawaii.
You were the perfect backdrop, serene and surreal, for us to listen to your great Creator.  For a romantic escape with our Savior.

We heard about His relentless love for us in the pounding of the waves upon your shores.  A love that is beautiful, fierce, deep and wide like the ocean.  A love that crashes over shame, breaks down walls of indifference, wave after wave pounding down fears and swallowing up pride.  A love that erodes imperfections.  Smooths, transforms, what is sharp and angular to what is pleasing to behold. What was once sharp and in congruent lava rock becomes pristine beaches of beauty and splendor.

We marveled at His limitless power and sovereignty as we stood beside your brewing volcano.  A power that bends knees and opens hearts.  A power that moves and shapes us, destroys but rebuilds, divides and conquers but brings new birth.  The maker of your power lives in us and we tremble.

We remembered anew His gracious provisions and faithfulness to us as we savored the nectar of pineapple, mangoes and papaya.  Extravagant, needless, abounding, are His gifts to us.  Sweet to taste, satisfying, and unearned.  Beyond necessity, His generosity towards us is humbling and romancing.

We were reminded of His glory as we woke to the sound of birds singing His praises, a chorus never ceasing to bring their Creator His due.  The vibrancy of teaming life shout about His creativity, His limitless wisdom and magnificence.

We were spectators of His grace, bringing life and redemption to a land of lava rock and stone.  What was dead, came to life.  What was all but abandoned in the middle of the ocean, birthed brilliant colours.  The work He did in you reminds us of what He is doing in us: bringing beauty from ashes, a garden from a volcanic desert.  His redemption is pleasing, perfect, and awe-inspiring.

We heard His voice in the whisper of still mornings, beside the serenity of flowing waterfalls, and in the quiet wind upon the rolling hills.  Our Creator is a God who restores by quiet streams, heals, and rejuvenates body, soul, and mind. We experienced His care, His comfort, His healing touch as we glimpsed peaceful fishes serenely under the blue, walked with soft and silky sand under our bare toes, and rested beside endless sky.  We were invited in to His rest and are ever grateful.

We thank you, Hawaii, because you showed us glimpses of your Creator.  And oh how we needed to be reminded of who our God is.  We were inspired, renewed, and joy-filled as we learned more about Him and walked with Him in your land.  A taste of heaven.


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

the Heart of Adoption


Rejected and Abandoned.
Neglected among the unseen and the unknown.
Utterly helpless, a slave to hopelessness.
Not even a cry worth speaking.
A life snuffed out, a future stolen.
A soul buried beneath glassy eyes.
Bearing the weight of sin and imminent death.

and then
Undeservedly, unexpectedly, miraculously...
A touch, a hand.
Gentle, insistent.
Arms encircling, an embrace.
Heart to beating heart, cheek to tear-stained cheek
Lifted and carried.
Out and away, to a life, to a future, to a home.
Helped and cared for.
Loved and included in a new destiny, a family.
Potential unleashed, hope awakened, voice spoken out and answered.
Fully seen and known.
Chosen, Rescued.


I begged God at the beginning of the year to open my eyes to what I have not wanted to see.  Who are the least, the most neglected, the poorest and neediest of the world?  I am starting to see, but instead of just seeing, my heart is breaking.  The weight of the hurting pulling me apart.  I have been urged to think about adoption.  As I have begun the journey to ask how (not if) God would have me care for the orphaned and widowed in the world, the answer has been surprising.

God has been teaching me about the real adoption, the ultimate adoption.  He has reminded me that I too was an orphan.  I am understanding in a greater way, how great His rescue was, of me.  I was as helpless as the unkempt, naked, orphaned child in a crib.  Nothing to earn anyone's interest or affection.  I was that doomed to a life without comfort and care.  I was that poor and that helpless.  

But God...rescued, redeemed, and ransomed my life.  I didn't earn His love, I never could.  He chose to love me because He wanted to.

I didn't expect to be blessed by the first step of my journey as I think and pray about adoption and the care of orphans, but I have gained a greater understanding of who I am as a child of God- not a foster child, a daughter.  Not chosen because I was prettier or friendlier or better than the child in the crib beside me, I was just rescued.  Just chosen.  Just loved.  Given a new name, a new life, a new inheritance, a new identity.

Blessed be the name of the LORD, my Father.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

7 days 6 Beaches and 1 Feverish Toddler

Falling asleep during dinner, poor feverish boy
Boys, their dads, and the ocean 

Oma and Toby watching the waves
Silas was in his element

Best playground we've ever been to

Falling asleep on me at the beach.  At least if he's sick, I get some extra cuddles and reading time!
Surf's up!  (This expression finally makes sense!) 
Snow cone!

Volcano ice cream for dinner!


An old japanese man with a long beard, a helmet and a surf board.  Running down the street in bare feet to hit the high surf.  This place is stinkin' awesome.

Ah!  I'm mesmerized, awe-struck and terrified of the ocean at the same time.

It totally felt like it was gonna run right over us.

ha ha.  He didn't want me to post this.

Toby has been tired at such weird hours- this was at 6 pm.  He fell asleep in the car on the way back and we were planning on bathing him, but as soon as we even laid him down to get him undressed for his bath, he was flat out asleep.  Poor guy.  We had mercy and didn't bathe him- put him straight to bed.  (We'll be paying for it tomorrow morning I'm sure).

Monday, June 3, 2013

Hawaii so far

Sand in toes, living in swimsuits, reading by beautiful beaches, eating simple and delicious meals, listening to the sound of waves, exploring, running along shorelines, playing outside all day with the kids, going to bed early, enjoying coffee on the lanai with the breeze floating past, lots of praying and contemplating.  Each day's goal: be in the moments, be together, hear from the Lord, Sabbath, rest. 
Loving. Every. Minute.


Sticky, sweaty, beach haired boy.

Can't get enough of the flowers.

Date time with the husband!  (Having my amazing in-laws come with us has been a huge blessing!)

Went for a walk, came back without clothes!  The Ocean was too difficult to resist jumping around in!

Every beach is so different...

Opa time

Silas finally got to see turtles!

35 years together!

Exploring arch city

Oma time!

Coconut ice cream?  Kona coffee ice cream?  A-mazing.

Dinner by the ocean.

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