recipes

Black Bean Sweet Potato Breakfast Tacos

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I love a good tasting, easy meal that I can make ahead for the week. I made myself a batch of these black bean and sweet potato tacos to have for breakfast this week and boy are they good and filling!

The fiber, potassium, folate, vitamin B6, and phytonutrient content of black beans, coupled with its lack of cholesterol, all support heart health. This fiber helps lower the total amount of cholesterol in the blood and decrease the risk of heart disease.

Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene). They are also a very good source of vitamin C, manganese, copper, pantothenic acid and vitamin B6. Additionally, they are a good source of potassium, dietary fiber, niacin, vitamin B1, vitamin B2 and phosphorus.

Ingredients

  • 4 corn or gluten free tortillas
  • 1 15-ounce cans organic black beans (look for cans that are BPA-free)
  • 3 small/medium sweet potatoes, diced
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • salt + pepper

Preparation

1. Heat olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the sweet potatoes and onions and season with salt and pepper. Cover and let cook, for about 10 minutes stirring every few minutes for even cooking. Remove the lid and cook for another 5-10 minutes or so until the potatoes are soft and lightly browned.

2. Add the black beans to the pan and season with salt and pepper. Cook until warm, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat.

3. Directly before serving: Over a low flame on a gas stovetop, place the warm tortilla directly on the burner. Heat for a few seconds on each side. Remove from heat and place in cloth towel to keep warm.

4. Serve the tacos with guacamole, diced avocado, cilantro, salsa or your favorite hot sauce.

 

That’s it! It’s super easy, will keep you full and energized and is healthy. I just assemble all the tacos at the same time, roll them up in some aluminum foil and when you’re ready to eat them, just heat in a toaster oven or microwave and enjoy!

health · recipes

Immune Boosting Ginger Turmeric Lemon Wellness Shot

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It’s that time of year again when the nasty bugs are going around getting us all sick. So what can we do to stay on top of illness and give our immune system a little extra boost when we need it most? Make your own wellness shot of course!

Lemon juice is high in vitamin C, helps to stimulate the gastrointestinal tract, and boosts metabolism while ginger root is an excellent anti-inflammatory that’s also anti-aging and can aid in weight loss. Turmeric is a wonderful spice that can suppress the growth of fat tissue as well as prevent DNA damage and slow down the aging process.

Make a big batch of this at once and freeze it into ice cube trays so you have it ready to go whenever bugs strike. If you don’t have time or the tools needed to juice it, you can get fresh pressed turmeric and ginger juice at your local juice or smoothie shop which makes this even easier to make.

Ingredients

  • 3 lemons (peeled)
  • 2 inch chunk of ginger
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons turmeric powder
  • 1 glass water

Preparation

1. Juice the lemon and ginger, mix in turmeric powder and water, and pour into an ice cube tray to freeze.

2. Every morning as needed, remove a cube and add hot water. Stir for 30 seconds, and it is ready to drink.

 

It’s that simple! You can also add some honey to sweeten it up a little plus it adds additional bacteria killing properties, win-win!

recipes

Constipation Stopper Prune Smoothie

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Drinking healthy smoothies is a great way to rebalance your digestive system. If your digestive system is in order, your elimination will be in order. Instead of reaching for over the counter aids when things go wrong, try a healthy, safer alternative.

If you don’t move your bowels everyday, chances are you’re constipated. They may be hard, small and difficult to pass causing discomfort and hemorrhoids. Constipation occurs when the colon absorbs too much water or if the muscle contractions in the colon are weak. It can be due to dehydration, lack of fiber, inactivity, medications or diseases like irritable bowel syndrome.

Next time things go wrong “down under”, give this smoothie a try and be sure to use organic ingredients when possible to reduce exposure to pesticides and toxins.

Yogurt Prune Smoothie

6 pitted prunes (look for brands without added preservatives)

1 cup organic apple juice (preferably fresh squeezed)

1 cup ice

1 cup organic Kefir or organic plain yogurt

1/4 tsp cinnamon powder

pinch of nutmeg

Put ice in the blender first, followed by the other ingredients and blend well. Drink and enjoy the benefits!

blog

In Sickness And In Health, Loving Your Spouse Through Illness

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Many people suffer from chronic illness, some visible and some not. As one who suffers from several chronic illnesses, I can honestly tell you it is difficult to be married to me. Some days are good, some are really good. Some days are bad . . . and others even worse. You never know how you’re going to feel from day to day, or even hour to hour.

Being married to a person with a chronic illness is not much fun. It’s really taking the “in sickness and health” vow to the extreme. I’m not trying to compare my chronic illnesses, which are minor in the grand scheme of things, to a spouse who has lived through ALS or cancer with their husband or wife, but there are days I feel like my husband got the raw end of the deal.

Did he really mean to sign up for this?

Is he sure he wants to stick around and deal with this the rest of our lives?

He assures me he did and that he’s not going any where, but I still can’t help but wonder what his life must be like from day to day. Never knowing what “condition” I will be in by the time he comes home from work. Never knowing whether or not this is the moment I’ll have to go to the hospital. It’s not easy being married to me. These few reminders can help anyone going through difficult times.

  1. PRAY. Pray for your spouse and for your marriage. A chronic illness is something that will stretch the limits of your patience and test the boundaries of your love. It isn’t easy and it won’t just “go away,” so you need to pray. Pray for your spouse as they maneuver the difficulties of the illness, and pray that you will know just how to love them through it all.
  2. Communication is KEY. This goes for marriage in general, but especially when the spouse has a chronic illness. Their level of activity can vary greatly from day to day. Their level of comfort in those activities will vary greatly as well. Talk about EVERYTHING. This is the most important thing I can tell you. It won’t be easy, but it is necessary. But running from problems because they’re hard to talk about will only strain your relationship and tear you apart.
  3. It’s not their fault. Although you may tell yourself this, know that it’s not because of anything they did. They didn’t wish this illness on themselves and wouldn’t wish it on their worst enemy. It stinks. Know that they want to feel better. They want to be involved. They want to be active; they just can’t some days.
  4. Don’t be offended. Some days will just be more than they can handle, and the best thing they can do is say no. They still love you and want more than anything to be with you, their family and friends – but sometimes it is better they stay home and rest. Don’t take it personally; it isn’t you – really.
  5. Don’t pressure them. Your wanting them to feel better won’t make them better. And just because they want to feel better won’t make it happen, either. If they say they’re not up for a day trip, don’t make them feel bad for not going. If they say they can’t take the trip, don’t make them feel worse for the change in plans. They are already beating themselves up about it. Know that when they feel better, they will make it happen.
  6. Be patient. There will be days, and sometimes weeks (or months), when they will feel sick or just completely out of energy. They will continue to try and keep up for someone else’s sake or to keep up appearances or whatever other reason they can think of, but they will eventually hit a wall. And when they do, they will go down hard. Be patient with them as they recover. Be patient with them as they find a “new normal” with this illness and balancing their other “duties” as wife and/or mom, or husband and/or dad. It isn’t easy for them to admit defeat.
  7. Don’t ignore their issue. As with anything else, ignoring their issues will not make them disappear. In fact, ignoring them will likely lead to them shutting down and/or depression. And that is a scary, slippery slope. They likely suffer from bouts of depression when flare-ups occur anyway, so don’t ignore them when they happen.

Do you or your spouse live with a chronic illness? What ways have you found to love them through the difficult times?

lyme disease

4 Ways To Help Someone With A Chronic Illness

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If you ask someone who has a chronic illness how they’re doing, chances are they will answer with sometimes along the lines of, “I’m fine” or, “I’m OK.” I can tell you with confidence that they may not be be “fine” or “OK.” They don’t want to mislead you, but it can be difficult to be vulnerable about being sick because that answer typically does not change day after day. Many, including myself, feel like they are a burden to those around them, and it is easier to continue to put on that “I’m OK” face than to admit that life is hard and the pain continues to be too much to handle.

As someone who struggles with multiple chronic illnesses, I have dealt with many emotions when it comes to telling people how I’m actually doing. Most times I start with only mentioning a few things that hurt, or a few emotions I’m dealing with, to gauge the waters on how receptive the listener is to my pain. I’m always worrying that they are tired of hearing about my disease and just want me to stop sharing, and that definitely contributes to why I tend to not to share as much as I want to. After sharing with people, I have many people tell me over and over, “I wish that I could do something, but I just don’t know what would help you.” Most times I don’t know what to tell them either.

As someone with a chronic illness, my heart wishes so desperately that I did not have to feel like a hindrance on the friendships or relationships I have. I sometimes need others to express love, effort, and patience, in a creative way. As much as I hate it, I can understand that many get tired of hearing of my aches and pains, my struggles with treatments and side effects, and how broke and lonely I am from it all. But for those of you that stay and listen, you are the real deal and the champions of loving me selflessly. You will never know the impact of what it means to those that are deep in the trenches of this fight, but know that you are right in there with them.

 1. Offer your help before being asked. I know it may be your first instinct to say something like, “Let me know what I can do to help,” but that actually can be a bit hard to answer. When I’m asked that question, many things run through my mind such as: What would they be willing to help with? Are they really just saying that hoping I won’t actually ask them, or would they be willing to do what I need that week, even if it’s inconvenient? You see, it’s easy to offer help, but harder to listen for a need and offer to fill it. If you don’t know what to offer, chances are they could use a meal, because it can be exhausting to cook meal after meal when they are weighed down by pain. (They may have food restrictions, so make sure to be willing to make something to fit those.) Do they need help cleaning their house? Offer to come spend a Saturday afternoon and help them clean and do laundry. When someone offers to help me clean, I am so relieved, since that is something that typically gets left behind because I don’t have the energy to do it.

2. Learn all you can about their disease/condition. Have you spent time reading about what they go through each day so that you can better understand? Is there a documentary that you can watch with them to help show them that you care and want to be educated on their condition? It goes an incredibly long way when you can work hard to learn the basics and be able to ask informed questions about how they are doing. Maybe even offer to attend their next doctor’s appointment or treatment with them, depending on how comfortable they are with that.

3. Plan an event with them in mind. I know in my daily life, I miss being able to spend time with people that I care about and participate in activities that now would put my pain over the edge. There are many things I am unable to do because of my disease, and many time I feel left out because of it. As a friend or family member of someone with a chronic disease, find out the activities that they can enjoy and make an evening out of it. Whether that’s an evening movie night or a quiet picnic in the park, any sort of planned event that they are able to enjoy will be cherished. And a special note that when asking those with chronic illnesses to an event -please never take it personally when they cancel. They cannot control their pain levels that day, and if they are canceling on something they are looking forward to, then the pain is more than you can imagine.

4. Offer to buy groceries or supplements. When I think about my daily struggle with my disease, finances top the list. Every extra cent that my husband and I have goes directly towards treatment, tests, supplements, and a specific diet catered to my body’s needs. Eating organic and taking over 20 supplements a day adds up quickly, and it has taken a huge burden off my shoulders when someone has offered to buy groceries for a day,or to buy my month of probiotics so that I had one less item on my list. I understand that not everyone has the financial means to give, but if you do, this can be so helpful.

I hope that some of these suggestions give you a guiding point that goes past asking how to help, but by also being able to take that step and love on that person in your life that is hurting. A strong support system is crucial to the healing process, and sometimes being that support can be confusing and difficult, since many times there doesn’t seem like options are out there that will help them. At the end of the day, just the fact that you’re there, you’re listening, and you are loving them through it is enough.

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