Journey Back to Me

Lately, I’m been getting my health together. Nutrition is important in any kind of emotional recovery.

I am so elated with my life after leaving my past behind. One of the great things about thinking for your self is that you find your way back to your identity and the real you. When you shed the fear of people from your life, you can soar. I think of SOAR as Survivors Of Abusive Religion.

People from my old life ask me how I’m doing. I’m doing great.

Lately, I’m been getting my health together. Nutrition is important in any kind of emotional recovery. I am learning how to properly feed myself. It seems weird to say that but we’re all a product of our environment. I learned how to cook southern style with all the oil, sweets, fried foods, and veggies cooked to death. During this time of COVID-19, I’m sure everyone is considering what they eat, as well we all should.

My whole food plant-based eating is going well. I’ve even got my husband on board and in the last month I’ve discovered the following.

  1. It’s a myth that you need meat for protein. The differences are in the amino acid profiles. Protein can be taken in without eating eggs and tons of chicken and fish and without the negative effects that go along with animal protein. Instead of meat being the most important thing in your diet, it really should be sparingly or not at all. Our society loves and reveres meat and so the myth persists. Many articles talk about the quality of the protein better in the meat but that leaves out the negative after-effects.
  2. Oils are not necessarily healthy. I used to slather everything with olive oil thinking this was the “healthy” oil. But oil is simply another food that the food industry has promoted just like they promoted “fat-free” junk for years. Now, most people understand that fat is not an enemy. When I first started on this journey I said “no way can I live without oil”. But I’ve done it and my blood vessels have thanked me. We have endothelial cells that line our blood vessels and when we consume oils it not only messes with our gut bacteria but also the function of these vital cells is diminished. ( See this article on the subject).
  3. Fat is not evil. Whole-food fats are necessary for proper body function: nuts, seeds, avocado, nut butter, beans, but not oils.
  4. Keep veggies nutritious. One of my discoveries this month was making sauces out of cashew butter. That’s right. Cashew Butter. Cashew butter can be the base for numerous sauces and salad dressings. These sauces can make any veggie a delicious meal paired with brown rice or sweet potatoes. I use it so much now to make sauces. It is bland on its own, but that’s what’s great. You can make it taste like anything, Italian, Mexican, spicy, sweet–you name it.

Here’s my recipe for Ceasar dressing. It’s a tweak of a Fork Over Knives basic Ceasar Dressing recipe:

2 TBSP Cashew Butter

2 TBSP Red Wine Vinegar or to taste

2 tsp maple syrup ( the pure stuff, not the commerical pancake stuff)

2 garlic cloves ( or garlic powder)

Dijon or brown spicy mustard

Nut milk ( I like Oat milk, but experiment with what works for you)

and salt to taste.

This recipe makes a great creamy salad dressing with a tanginess to it.

Bon Appetit!

Creamy whole-food Ceasar Dressing

Day 7 -WFPB Lifestyle

Whenever we change it’s a challenge.

So it’s been 7 days since I decided to go plant-based and the change has been good. My mobility is better, not perfect but it’s only been a week or so. Since I’m a researcher at heart, I’ve been educating my self about plant-based whole food eating. Man, I made it but this week was tough, mostly because of my ailments, it was difficult to stand such a long time to do all the prep required to be successful. My husband, bless his heart, stepped in to help me finish. But the prep was a monster. It is only because I’ve been so “convienced” out.

All the on- the- go foods:

Dunkin’ D ( America runs on this stuff? No wonder we’re in trouble)

and Burger King ( I’m dating myself –but I’ve had it my way too long)

and MickyDs ( I’m not lovin’ it)

It all has to stop somewhere.

This is going to be a lifestyle change and a good one because I’ve long needed to be more organized and routine oriented when it comes to my eating. It’s been a journey to get to this point.

PREP, PREP, PREP

I made two bean soups/stews (spicy black bean and thai lentil curry), roasted veggies, my own salad dressings,and thai peanut sauce. I ate great the whole week. I’m going for progress as I learn more about this lifestyle but I love what it’s doing for my joints, achilles heel pain, back pain, and blood pressure so far. I was shocked my heart rate was not elevated like usual.

Usually, my blood pressure is on the higher end. My blood pressure was great at 119/71 today. I’m convinced after seeing other people’s stories that what you eat can change your life.

CHANGE IS A CHALLENGE

Whenever we change it’s a challenge. What I’ve dealt with more than once is situational hunger. Picture this. I’m not hungry but because I’m in the car, passing fast-food restaurants, and got a little money, then a feeling courses through me. What kind of feeling? The feeling I should stop and get something. I know no one has fixed dinner. You’d think I was starving.

But also, I know I’m not going to throw the last 7 days of success down the drain.

I stopped by Walgreens and usually, that’s my snack place and my weakness. I rarely leave without a pack of M & Ms, Chips, Popcorn, or those awesome Butter Cookies Walgreens sells from local bakeries.

UUUGH! But I walked out today with just what I went in for–my meds.

Do ya’ll hear me?!

The fact that I’m in there to get MEDICINE! You would think that would slap me in the face and make me stop and think but it never did, or rather I choose not to stop and think, feeling I deserve some sweet-confectioned comfort in my life. My taste buds and the need to get a treat to relax with that evening would take over. Was I really that stressed? Was food the answer to my stress? No, it wasn’t, but it sure felt like it. Illusions.

It’s amazing how convincing we are to ourselves in those moments. Today, I succeeded, I left the store like I should have, without the goodies, but oddly I felt like I left the store empty-handed. I was left to ponder what was in my hand and why. We all tend to think “it’s not going to happen to me” until it does. I reminded myself that all of this was hard just because it was a divorce from bad habits. Habits I have to change.

I’m gonna need some new hobbies.

OMG! WFPB

One of the things I’m embarking on (re-visiting actually) is a goal of going plant based in my eating.

After getting myself together with a family move and getting my son settled in college. I’ve decided to turn my eyes on me for a change. One of the things I’m embarking on (re-visiting actually) is my goal of going plant based in my eating. I hate the word diet because it sounds so faddish and temporary. WFPB is WHOLE FOOD PLANT BASED eating. It’s not a diet or the latest fad. Its just eating plant based whole foods.

I knew a guy one time who said he was a vegetarian, but he ate, fries, bags of cookies, potato chips, cake and finally my husband teased him saying ” oh, I get it, you just don’t eat meat”. But he ate everything else under the sun. I guess he told himself that he was being healthy not eating meat.

unhealthy but vegan/vegetarian allowed
https://www.peta.org/living/food/top-accidentally-vegan-foods/

I still don’t understand vegetarians eating tons of unhealthy stuff but I suppose any reduction of meat on the scale of things is better. Maybe. I guess. I don’t judge. Everybody is on their journey and it’s a process. But isn’t it truly the processed foods that are killing us? I watched Forks Over Knives years ago (currently on Amazon Prime) and tried it. Many of my ailments improved (and I have quite a few) but I slid back in to the meat dungeon after a while. It’s really hard when you’re a professed meat-aholic and you’re altering decades of bad habits. You have to be determined and get your mind focused until it becomes a part of you. I refuse to just give up on this.

Currently, during COVID shutdowns, I am taking in the documentatry “Foods That Fight Disease” which is a mixture of interviews with Dr. T. Colin Campbell, and other experts and cariodologists on the value of plant based eating, tips on avoiding disease and ways scientific journals keep us confused about what to eat. If anyone else has suffered the overload confusion, please weigh in below.

86 years young, Dr. Campbell does not label himself as a vegan or vegetarian. Wise man. He simply espouses whole food plant based eating as the most advantageous for health. He can talk because as a biochemist in nutrition,he authored The China Study, which is touted as the most comprehensive study of nutrition ever conducted.

Dr. T Colin Campbell , Biochemist

This particular film is not for the faint of heart – 3 hours long – with cooking shows in between the interviews–you read that right. I haven’t finished the film. But I keep revisiting and getting more tidbits of info. The information on nutrition from these experts is really good.

I’ve been overweight for years and I’ve written about my struggles but this seems to work the best for me out of all the things I’ve tried. I really want to be able to improve my arthritis and mobility. That’s a big goal.

So today, I’m on my 3rd day of a juice cleanse to cleanse my palate. I know how to WFPB eat and I enjoy it. So hear goes to a better commitment. I just have to deal with the emotions that I’ve connected with eating meat and certain foods.

The way we eat is really is an emotional and societal thing. Here in the United States we equate meat eating with being American. What do you do at a baseball game? Eat a Hot Dog. What do you do at a football game? Grill kale and cucumbers? No! You tailgate. You put steaks, burgers, bratwursts or sausages on that grill. And who would dare have a 4th of July barbeque with just veggie? Sacrilege! Most of us would head to the nearest McDonalds after a BBQ like that.

You have to learn how to cook this stuff. I unfortunately grew up in a home where my mom would boil broccoli to death and barely season it and throw it on our plates. Telling us, “you better eat that”. I grew up hating veggies. But learning how to cook delish bean stews, Soups, great sandwiches and air fried veggies that smack with a dip has made all the difference. I can do this.

It’s Between You and God

God held me when I cried and struggled –He understood why.

I gave my life to God with joy and He understood.

I joined a church that seemed filled with love I had never experienced; people that paid attention to you — God took me from an agnostic to a true believer.  God knew what I needed.

God Loves youI lived and believed their doctrine and rules—God understood why.

I got married and raised my children under their strict teaching — and God knew why.

God called me to teach and preach under their banner –and He knew why.

Then one day, I realized the deep flaws in my church, it’s ways of teaching, and the hypocrisy in the way it was held –God understood that and I didn’t.

I was so blinded to these things for so many years —  God knew why.

One day, I had enough.  I asked my Pastor for a sabbatical – -God understood why.

I stopped my church activities, preaching, and positions and struggled with things we were teaching and holding people to live, I ask questions but got no response — God showed me why.

God held me when I cried and struggled –He understood.

jesus lovesI left my beloved church – God knew why.

For a while, after I left, I was just tired of religion and church after 30 years of being the “perfect” Christian –and God understood why.

For a while, I couldn’t bear committing to a church.  I would simply visit, enjoy fellowship, and go home — and God understood why.

I didn’t trust organized religion — and God understood why.

I didn’t trust myself that I would go too far with religion again  – and God understood why.

I was angry at myself, angry at God for not showing me sooner, and angry at lost time – and God understood.

I didn’t feel much like reading my Bible or praying—and God understood.

original

The idea of starting a Bible study or recovery group was there and it sounded good, but I wasn’t emotionally ready for that.   God knew that.

I still had a lot to learn– about me — and God knew it.

God has brought me back full circle and ignited my love for him again and showed me how to approach him– the right way this time–He understood when.

He waited on me to recover and re-gain my bearings – He understood how.

God has kept me in love with Him; I’m a real person, a valuable person,  with the heart of a healer, and a wiser person; He showed me who I was and where I’ve been, deepened my relationships, given me true friends and a new zest for life and hope for the future.

He loves me and He understands the whys.

 

 

 

Standing Strong

I found that when I preached the actual truth of what I was reading, it conflicted with my church’s teaching. 

My son in Massachusetts has a lung infection and is at high risk in our current COVID- saturated environment. So he’s been quarantined for a month by the doctors but through prayers and good medical care, he is doing better. He had me scared there for a minute because when he called, he could barely breathe or talk. Mama was going to be on the next plane out, but an ambulance was called and got him to the ER. His friends and his landlord have been making sure he gets food and what he needs. Thank God.

On another note and the real point of this post is that I wanted to make belief statements today. In my journey to more honest Christianity, I’ve been amazed at the influence church organizations can have over how you read your Bible, how much you read your Bible and how honestly you read. I think it’s something to be vigilant about on our spiritual journey.

I used to read and preach from the Bible with my mind confined to my denomination’s teaching and not honestly reading for truth. Even though I thought I was doing just that–reading openly and honestly.

ohmy-god-youguys-thats-not-what-isaid-leaeret-meme-maker-49996907

I found that when I preached the actual truth of what I was reading, it conflicted with my church’s teaching.

Oh yeah. For real.

People would get confused and start questioning my loyalties and what I was saying. I finally realized what was wrong with that picture and finally took the step of leaving my beloved church and not trying anymore to change their system, but staying with God. When people have such a paradigm shift it’s possible that they would leave Christian life altogether, but one thing I knew was that the Lord had saved me and I held to that. Of course, to them, those two things-leaving them and staying with the Lord – could not co-exist. If you leave them, you’ve left God. But I had to get over that and move on. freedom in Christ

freedom in Christ

I Believe…

I believe God wants Christians to commune and be influenced by Him more than their Pastor or fellow Christian friends. I believe we should have our mind and heart focused on Christ and his words alone and live by them and love those principles from the heart, and I believe that is all that matters.

I believe God wants us to develop our walk with God based on his personal revelations to us from His words about our lives rather than other folks’ revelations.

blue freedomI believe that a personal relationship with Jesus Christ is just that. One where you are not judged by the next man about your personal convictions regarding non-gospel related things. Of course, you have some that believe everything in life is tied to the purpose and goals of their church organization, but that is not what the Bible teaches. As it’s often said, God didn’t call us to church but to Christ. Having lived under strict teaching about outward things, I can say the bible is correct. This is the doctrine of the Pharisees. People create strict rules to make themselves more holy, but more often than not, those same people will tend to act fleshly in attitudes and conduct, which is the more serious offense. Those man-made rules have no value in changing or cleansing the spirit.

I believe that a personal relationship with Jesus Christ is just that. One where you are not judged by the next man about your personal convictions regarding non-gospel related things. Of course, you have some that believe everything in life is tied to the purpose and goals of their church organization, but that is not what the Bible teaches. As it’s often said, God didn’t call us to church but to Christ. Having lived under strict teaching about outward things, I can say the bible is correct. This is the doctrine of the Pharisees. People create strict rules to make themselves more holy, but more often than not, those same people will tend to act fleshly in attitudes and conduct, which is the more serious offense. Those man-made rules have no value in changing or cleansing the spirit.

18 Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, 19 and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God.

20 If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations— 21 “Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” 22 (referring to things that all perish as they are used)—according to human precepts and teachings? 23 These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh. Colossians 2:18-23

I believe that freedom in Christ is the freedom to do as Christ leads according to his words and guidance. It is grace to live as we should and submit ourselves to the will of God as he reveals it to us.

I believe God has a truth that transcends petty differences that divide men.download (1)

download (1)

I believe it takes a long time for Christians to realize that although we have truth in Christ, it is not our job to be judge and jury. It is our job to love humanity and show God’s unconditional love as much as it is in our power. That’s a hard lesson for most of us to learn.

God does not always fit into our small box of judgment, as he has proved time and again.tiny box

tiny box

8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.

9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9

Amen to His Word