Can you feel the Love……

Today isn’t just Valentine’s Day at our (Shannon’s) house, it is also my baby girls birthday!

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This little miracle has changed my perspective on soooo many things and God has used her to teach me so many lessons!

#1  With God all things are possible!

26 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”Matthew 19:26

When I found out I was pregnant I have never been so scared!  My babies were 7,6, and 4 I thought I was done with the baby stage.  I had given EVERYTHING away!  I thought I was in good shape, after having 3 kids I didn’t think I looked so bad but now 4 Surprised smile!  We have a very small house, we had a small car, how in the world could I handle a business, homeschooling, and a newborn?!?!?  Yes, totally impossible with man but not for God!

#2  God’s plans for our life are better than we could ever imagine!

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us” Ephesians 3:20

My dreams and plans were the complete opposite of what my life currently looks like.  I can’t stress to everyone enough, NO MATTER how wonderful you think your ideas are for your life, when you give your life to God He will ABSOLUTELY do “immeasurable more than all we ask or imagine”.  This will look different for everyone but God knows you perfectly and knows how to give you happiness better than you could ever find it for yourself!

#3  God guides, God provides!

“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:33

This is just one little verse, but the bible is loaded front to back with story after story of people trusting God and Him Always providing every need. It’s also filled with people not trusting God and making a big mess of their life.  The lesson is that we can’t worry or stress about anything but in all things trust God and He will never leave us.  We got a new car, we are moving to a new house, and the icing on the cake is a body that looks better then it ever has Surprised smile Seriously God is amazing!!!

Whatever your dream is for your life, I challenge you to let it go and let God’s plan be the only plan you seek, but hang on tight because it will be crazy, amazing, and more fun than all you could ever imagine!

Here is our Valentine/ 1st Birthday Cake, it is delicious and a fun treat!  Here is the trick to having cake #1 make it from scratch #2 use quality ingredients and #3 share it with loved ones!

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All Day Every Day Cookies!

I hope you had a great weekend and even if you didn’t remember there is NO GIVING UP, every day is a new day and a Clean SlateSmile (go to that link to try our laundry basket workout if you haven’t already). We also hope you have a better reason why You Do What You Do  so you stay motivated for all the right reasons.  Now get ready, maybe you should sit down…..that’s right we have an EVERY DAY ALL DAY COOKIE!

Oh to be able to eat cookies all day!!! Well ladies this could be the healthiest cookie EVER!

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Every Day All Day Cookie

1 1/2 cups of chopped carrots (or baby carrots)

1 large zucchini cut in chunks

3 frozen slices of Ezechial Bread

1egg

1tsp of vanilla

1tsp of baking powder

1Tbl of cinnamon

Blend all ingredients in a food processor or good blender than in a separate bowl mix

1 cup of old fashioned oats

1/8cup of Truvia or sweetner of choice

1/4cup of white chocolate chips chopped good

Mix all together and drop by rounded teaspoon on a sprayed cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 for 15-20 min. depending on how done you would like them!  These are loaded with good stuff and I wouldn’t even call them a cookie but more of a veggie, hope you enjoy!

Who’s Hungry?

Oh how I love food (I say that a lot) so I need to find great recipes that are

 #1 EASY, #2 DELICIOUS, #3FILL ME UP (which isn’t easy to do)

Are you ready for my latest and greatest invention?2013-02-11

And the recipe..                       

turkey meatballs

The ways to use them are endless but here are some ideasSmile

Turkey Meatball Parm

A little sauce, mozzarella, on a lightly toasted Joseph’s Pita bread (love them)!

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Turkey Meatball Soup

This is super healthy and an ultimate comfort food, does it get any better?

IMG_99511 Tbl olive oil, 1 onion chopped, 3 celery stalks chopped, 2 garlic cloves – sauté in a large pot

Then add 2- 32 oz. cartons of low sodium chicken stock and bring to a boil

add 1/2 tsp of black pepper, 1 head cabbage chopped, 3 chopped carrots

Simmer 10 min. stirring occasionally

  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can Italian-style stewed tomatoes, drained and diced, and a tsp of italian seasoning and let simmer another 5-10 min. Then add your turkey meatballs!

    Hope you enjoy these recipes and

the rest of your weekend!

Love, Shannon

End of the week Confessions :/

In case you put me (Shannon) on any pedestal get ready to knock me off it!  What a week, I’m not sure where to start?  How about my baking experiments…..

So I shared my typical day of food with all of you only to fall severely off the wagon!  I decided to try some new healthy recipes for my “kids” (just so happens it’s that time of the month too).  The problem began when my kids weren’t crazy about my new healthy treat and unfortunately I found them irresistible (again, that time of month).  I’m giving you the recipe because #1 I found them delicious, #2 they are packed with fiber, #3 they are a great sweet, and crunchy snack In Moderation!!granola bars

In moderation was my problem and let’s just say I ate far to many and these delicious little granola bars are not safe in my house Sad smile!

My next picture of pathetic happened on my Wednesday run (it’s supposed to be my day off).  After consuming all the granola bars I thought I would throw an extra little workout in. I haven’t gone for a good run in a long time and Becca thinks we should do a 10 mile race in March :0.  I’ll make it brief – I ran slowly, complained in my head the whole time, I wanted to stop 75 times, and I did stop a couple of times to adjust my socks but still got a big blister on my heal anyway.  Please tell me you can relate to a miserable workout?

Now hold on to your seats this is officially THE STUPIDEST THING I HAVE EVVVVEEEEER DONE! Honestly I can’t believe I’m even sharing this but you have seen me in my bikini so here it goes.  I woke up Thursday morning at 4:45am as usual; I get my things together and jump in the car in the pouring rain.  I throw the car in reverse only to quickly remember I forgot my gym back….oops I jump out of the car run in the house grab my gym bag and as I’m running to my car it is running away from me…..AHHHHHHH!!!!!!!

That’s right folks, I left my car in reverse and it flew down my driveway, across the street and came to an abrupt stop as it hit a log in my neighbors yardSad smile So instead of going to the gym my husband and I in the dark and pouring rain, pushed, pried and wrestled my car free from a mud pit….so humiliating.

Would you like to know what I learned from my mistakes and discouragement?

God is good!  He loves us just the way we are! He knows how imperfect I am and that I will make a million mistakes but as long as I continue to seek Him, He is ALWAYS waiting with open arms.

“If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.  But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the win.  That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.”  James 1:5-7

It’s not about how you start but how you finish!  Whether that pertains to your life, your week, or the last hour.  Nothing can keep you from your dreams and goals except giving up.

You WILL mess up but DON’T give up!

                                      IMG_9891                                                                                                                                     Be present!  After getting my car out of the mud and coming to terms with my stupidity I realized how much I spend my life on auto pilot. I always have a “to do” list running through my head instead of focusing on what I am doing.  This picture is a chunk of mud left on my car to remind me to live in the moment, fully present!

Did you have any victories or failures this week?

Becca’s Food Diary

Its been so important to me to not follow a diet, but make a life style change that fits you!  I love the foods that I’m eating and that’s the only reason it works.  Through my hardships, God has truly shown me what foods that I need to avoid and what foods are good for me so that I can stay healthy the rest of my life!

Here are 10 Simple Guidelines that I follow:

#1 – I do not count calories – I really can’t imagine adding one more thing to my agenda, so I just watch my portions and eat safe foods.  I try to eat every couple of hours, so I’m not starving, but  I really try and listen to my body for hunger signs.

#2 – I eat about 90% “Gluten Free” – I do however eat sprouted grains, like “Food for Life” Ezekiel English Muffins and many of their products, but for the most part I do eat Gluten Free.  We also bake with “Spelt” Flour which is a sprouted grain as well so its easier to digest because of its high water solubility and the nutrients are absorbed faster into your body.  Many people with gluten allergies can tolerate “Spelt” flour so you may want to check into it.  Keep in mind just because it says “Gluten Free” does not mean its healthy, look at the ingredients and make sure your can pronounce everything.  Healthy Grains:  Quinoa, Brown Rice & Sweet Potatoes

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#3 – I eat Organic or Locally Grown Fruits & Veggies, Grass Fed Beef & Chicken, and Wild Caught Fish. I try to only eat fresh produce and these types of meats and fish to avoid the harmful stuff they put in our foods and spray on our produce.  My motto is shop the perimeter of the grocery store because everything in the middle is filled with all of the preservatives.  If you think about it, its almost like getting back to the way they ate in the bible, whole foods, healthy and fresh – if you cannot pronounce the ingredients, you may want to think twice about eating them.

#4 – Dairy Intake – Typically no milk & no cheese – but I do have plain “Fage” Greek Yogurt in the morning and I still eat eggs.  Milk & dairy are trigger foods for me and definitely don’t agree with my body in large quantities.

#5 – Sweeteners – I do not use any artificial sweeteners or any sweeteners for that matter.  If I do need to sweeten something its typically with Organic Raw Sugar, Beet Sugar or Honey, I just use a touch.  I put French Vanilla Coconut Milk Creamer or Vanilla Almond Milk in my Coffee in the AM, both have very little sugar and I don’t need to add anything else.

#6 – Beverages – Water, Water and more Water – I drink 1/2 my body weight in water everyday – you would think I go to the bathroom all the time, but you get used to it.  🙂  I drink coffee, red wine here and there.   When I’m craving something other than water, I will drink Coconut Water.  Its amazing after a hard work-out, it helps to keep you hydrated.  It also contains tons of electrolytes and potassium to help restore your balance!!  They even have Chocolate Coconut Water that I give to my daughter every once in a while instead of Chocolate Milk, much healthier, also lower in calories and fat.

#7 – Good Fats – Your body needs healthy fats for many different reasons.  I do not use any products that say “Low Fat” or “Fat Free.”  I use organic unsalted real butter, olive oil and coconut oil for cooking.  We avoid margarine, canola oil and partially hydrogenated oils, these are all processed and very hard for your body to digest.

#8 – Healthy Snacks – I’m in sales and in my car all of the time so its important to have healthy snacks on the road.  I bring fruit, veggies and raw almonds with me so I have something healthy to eat.  I also love Lara Bars, they have all different flavors and the ingredients are very wholesome.  Mary’s Gone makes great crackers and even pretzels that have very healthy ingredients and are “Gluten Free.”  Every once in a while I will have a protein bar, but I have yet to find one that is actually healthy.   I will eat the “Think Thin” protein bars, they are Gluten Free and sometimes on the road its the best that I can find.

#9 – Desserts – So we all crave sweet things at times, I try to keep some healthy “Gluten Free” treats in the house and once again watch the portions.  We make our healthy cookie recipes that are made with spelt flour, all organic ingredients and taste good too.  They are typically sweetened with honey and often do not have any added sugar.   This is one of my favorites from the “Well of Life.”

#10 – My Food Has to Taste Good – I love food,so the things I eat have to taste good.  I do have one secret, my husband loves to cook, and he makes dinner every night.  We both find great recipes and he will substitute any ingredients that do not follow our guidelines. I feel very fortunate and I don’t know what I would do without him.  But we both work full time and the key is to find meals that are quick, easy, healthy and that ultimately taste good.  I will do my best to upload pictures of some of our favorites and post the recipes.  In addition we all fall off the wagon at times, its important to know that it happens to everyone and remember to pray and ask “God” for the strength to get back on track.  I love the verse, “Everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial.”  1 Corinthians 10:23  It helps to keep my choices in check!!

Sample Menu
Breakfast
  • Fage Plain Greek Yogurt with Fresh Berries

  • 1/2 Ezekiel English Muffin with Butter

  • Coffee with Coconut Creamer

 

Lunch

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  • Typically a Salad with tons of fresh veggies, avocados, and a protein like Grilled Chicken or Roasted Turkey.  Here is a picture of one of my recent lunches.  I’m also on the road throughout the week, so I love going to different places and getting a nice big healthy salad.  My favorite greens to have in the house are Spinach and Arugula.  “Braggs” Health Vinaigrette is amazing too!!  I’m a big fan of leftovers for lunch too, so the days I work from home, I definitely will re-heat leftovers for a healthy lunch option.

 

Dinner
  • We always have some sort of protein with a vegetable and  a healthy carbohydrate.  This is one of photo (35)-003our favorites, “Grilled Chicken Stir-Fry over Brown Rice Pilaf or Quinoa.”

Snacks

  • Throughout the day I always snack on fruits, veggies, nuts and some “Gluten Free” crackers and hummus.  I also love “Kale” chips they are amazing!!  I try to eat every couple of hours so I’m not starving by the time I get to dinner!!

I’m excited to share all our healthy and delicious meals with you!

Shannon’s Food Diary

Becca and I have both lost a lot of weight and gained muscle but our approach to food is different.  The most important thing is you listen to your body and ask God to help you crave things that will benefit you and not harm you.  I hope this helps you find some tricks to incorporate into your diet!

Ok, I love food, I’m hungry often and I hate to be hungry so this is my tricks to be satisfied, feel my best, and keep me from junk food! I try to get protein, a healthy carb, and lots of vegetables at almost every meal. 

So here it goes!

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4:45am Depending on what I ate the day before and what we are doing at the gym I will sometimes grab a 1/2 of a protein bar (like a Luna or Cliff bar) to give me some fuel at the gym.

7:00am  I love breakfast and go to bed dreaming about it, weird I know.  Sometimes it’s egg whites and oatmeal but right now I’m in love with 1 cup of plain Greek yogurt (not that sugar loaded stuff), mixed with 1Tbl Chia seeds, whatever fruit I have on hand, my favorite is bananas or strawberries (nothing fresh = frozen blueberries), then a 1/4 to 1/2 cup of Kashi Go Lean crunch, or Fiber One!!

10am I don’t leave the house without snacks and I love Fiber One and an apple in case I’m hungry.  So sometimes I have this and sometimes I don’t.  Listen to your hungerclip_image003

12pm Lunch sometimes happens at 11am ( I told you I’m hungry!)  It’s always leftovers- always a clean protein (homemade turkey burger, chicken, salmon), a healthy carb (brown rice, sweet potato, Quinoa), and lots of veggies that are either cooked or in a salad!

1:00pm I don’t have this in the picture but after lunch I want something sweet and I’m tired so my favorite thing to make up is a cup or two of Chai Green Tea (I just boil water and throw in tea bags) it’s the perfect afternoon pick me up!  This is a dangerous time of day because if you are tired your body naturally craves sugar for energy so if the tea doesn’t help then I move on to veggies!

2:00-5:00pm I munch on raw veggies all afternoon and I use a little Bolthouse Ranch dressing and this keeps me from eating dinner while I cook it and it fills me up so I don’t go crazy at dinner!

5:30-6:00pm Same as lunch, we have clean protein, veggies all different ways, and a healthy carb.  We will post lots of our favorite meals for you guys to enjoy!

7:00pm I have a sweet tooth and if I don’t have a little something then I’m depriving myself and I go crazy, so again BALANCE!  I make a cottage cheese dip with apples that I love, don’t worry I blend it in the blender and it’s smooth and creamy (I promise to post the recipe) or I will have just a couple almonds and dark chocolate chips if I’m craving something sweet and salty.

Wow, I eat a lot but it has gotten me to where I am today!  My rules are I stay away from too much processed food, no trigger foods in the house (things that cause me to eat way too much, example: hummus, technically healthy- but who can eat 2 Tbl. of that stuff, not me).  I drink tons of water, I have a 32 gallon jug that I try to fill 3 times, I also pee a lot :/ Lastly, I stay away from sugar I’ve loved it too much, for too long so I broke up with it! Every once in a while I do have sugar but in very small doses and I treat it with CAUTION!

I have come such a long way with my food issues (I’ll forever be a work in progress) but the most important thing to me is balance!  If I’m hungry I eat and some days that means I eat A LOT but I know the next day I probably won’t be as hungry and I’m not going to be crazy about it.  God wants us to trust Him in this and not make ourselves crazy.

“For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  Matthew 11:30

When you trust God the burden is light, and if you are still stressing, depriving, bingeing, ask yourself this –

Are you really trusting God?

With Love, Shannonclip_image003[1]

Becca’s Transformation Story

Everyone has a story; I’m only sharing mine in hopes that it will help someone going through similar struggles with their weight, faith and starting a family.

So here is my family now, that I truly thank God for everyday, but it took a while for us to all get here…..

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Here are my before and after pictures, but once again, I am a work in progress and it took battling through a few road blocks to get here…..

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My Story………………

You could say my life started being surrounded by food. My dad ran a restaurant with his brother that my Great Grandparents started back in the late 1940’s that served good “Old Fashioned” Pennsylvania Dutch food. When I hit the teenage years, I was always concerned about my weight; I played sports and was always active, but was never thin. When I went off to college I had no idea what I wanted to do and being that I “LOVED” food, grew up in the restaurant business and was always trying to figure out how to lose weight, I thought that majoring in Nutrition would finally help me get on track. After 4 years at WVU I graduated with a BS in Human Nutrition & Food! Wow you would have thought, that after studying the human body and how food affects it, I would have been able to figure out how to lose weight, but unfortunately it didn’t happen. After college I spent 6 crazy years working at my family’s restaurant.  While making work my main priority it completely put my life out of balance. I now weighed close to 175lbs and was struggling with food, exercise and my faith was non-existent.

My mom was the most amazing Christian women you could ever imagine. She made “God” a huge part of our lives. When we were younger, I remember vividly reciting bible verses with her from memory in our kitchen. Although I always considered myself a “Christian” I relied on my mom’s faith and didn’t have my own relationship with God.

Over the next couple of years I continued to struggle with my weight.  I went on and off diets, I would start to exercise and lose some weight, but it always came back. Fast forward several years, I got married to my college sweetheart at 26 and after 5 years of marriage we welcomed our first daughter into the world. Eight months after the birth of my first daughter I developed random hives, severe joint pain and swelling and found out that I had a positive ANA. After several trips to different specialists, no one could figure out why I had hives. The only suggestion that each physician had was to take a daily allergy medication and if the hives were really bad, steroids.

For the next year or so, I just lived with the hives and joint pain and accepted it for what it was. However, when we started trying for our second child, things changed. I became pregnant right away, only to find out at 14 weeks, the baby did not have a heartbeat. This is when God began to work on me, one of many times in my life but now I was “almost” ready to listen. About 8 months after my first miscarriage, we were so excited to find out we were pregnant again, only to have another miscarriage at 7 weeks. OK, I knew the saying that “God is never going to give you more than you can handle”, but this was truly devastating. I continued to pray and trust that God did have a plan for us, but it was difficult.

I needed to know what was going on so I started doing some research on-line in regards to my diet and ended up going to a holistic nutritionist. She gave me amazing nutrition advice that helped me tremendously. I completely changed my diet, cut out all of the things I grew up loving, like Gluten, Sugar and Dairy!!! It sounds terrible, but it was amazing how instantly things started to change. My hives had started getting better and my joint pain was completely gone. The bonus was I started to lose weight and I was feeling great. The only problems was the nutritionist had put me on 25 different supplements and I was putting all my faith and trust in her to help heal my ailments rather than God.

I woke up on New Year’s Day of 2011 and picked up my bible and said Lord, I need your help, please give me peace about this situation and help me through this journey, because it’s consuming my entire life. That day I read this verse, “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.” Colossians 2:8. I could not believe what I was reading; it was definitely a message from God saying “Becca, Trust Me, stop taking everything and just trust me!” I stopped every supplement and gave the whole thing to God, knowing His plans are better than my own. Whether I ever had another child or not I was giving it to God although it was hardest thing I ever did. Exactly 2 years later from our first miscarriage we welcomed our second beautiful baby girl!! Every time I see her it’s a reminder of how much God has truly blessed us!

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Now with God’s help it was time to finally conquer the life-long weight battle. I started back on my Gluten-Free diet and running intermittently.  In addition, my cousin Shannon started dragging me to the gym with her at 5:30am, which I never thought I could do at the beginning, but now look forward to. Needless to say, after 7 months of crazy training, spiritual growing and back to my healthy eating I’ve lost over 55lbs and am happy to report I feel amazing. My hives and joint point are completely non-existent.  I give all of the credit to God, for giving me the strength to take care of my body and teaching me through my hardships how to fully trust him and not this world!! I also thank God for putting Shannon in my life and helping me stick with a regular exercise program.

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When we listen to our bodies and eat the proper foods, it’s amazing how your body can truly transform, heal itself and stay healthy and fit not just for you but your family and God! My hope is that “Our Story” will help women find their “Inner Strength” in God, because through him all things are possible.

“I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13

-Becca