Part I of II
This post is for all my fellow believers who are also parents. We are one body, meant to glorify Christ, and I have felt lately that along with myself, a few of us, (okay, more than a few) are really doing a slack job of being “on fire” for Christ, especially when it comes to raising our children. This is not meant for those of you who do not follow Christ, but of course you are more than welcome to read it. In fact, please do read it, as I pray it will possibly awaken you to the fact that although Christians have a perfect God, we are far from perfect ourselves, and most of us desire to make Christ known including our closest friends and family. Sometimes we just aren’t bold enough to do so, which is why I’m posting this.
Brothers and sisters, do you want your children to grow up to be godly men and women of Christ? Do you desire to see them following Jesus all the days of their lives? Does eternity with them sound like what you had in mind? I certainly never want to be separated from my children, especially for eternity. So I bet you’ve read every parenting book under the sun, already aligned yourself with a certain parenting method, or even taken a stand against the world by protecting your children from the media. Your kids can walk the walk, and they know who Jesus is right? Do you think you are doing an acceptable job? I know I can improve in many areas, but there is one main area that I need major improvement and was totally convicted of this past weekend after talking with a very good friend and fellow Christian.
How deep is your faith friend? Have you examined yourself lately? Are you too “busy” with parenting, marriage, working, etc that Jesus is only getting your full attention on Sunday, or maybe just leftover time you find here and there? What does the world think of you? Do your co-workers or your “play date mommies”even know you are a believer? Are you being persecuted because you live for Jesus? Are your children mocked or ridiculed because they like to shout it from the rooftops that they are Jesus’ child? We all can be amazed at the words that come out of our children’s mouths…Is it something that Jesus would be proud to hear your child say? Do they look and act different from the children of this world? Jesus said that if he was persecuted, then so would we…Not really feeling persecuted? I ask you then; Why not? Why aren’t you feeling the sting of the world’s hatred for you and your beloved God? There can be a myriad of reasons, but I feel like I know a good place to start…At least for me, it’s my outward behavior. Shall we start there?
Do you ever think or say; “Do as I say, don’t do as I do?” Of course not, as that is such a passé thing to utter, even in jest. But is that philosophy of thinking permeating your behavioral life? We instruct our children to always tell the truth, but then we ask them to lie for us when the phone is for us and we don’t want to take the call…We instruct them the right way to use “kind words” and then yell at our spouse when they don’t get home on time, miss an important event or don’t cook the meal the way we wanted? We talk about Jesus with our children, telling them how much we love Him, but do they ever see us talk with another adult about our love for Jesus? It’s always sports, or activities, or work…A lot of time they hear us complaining about something. (Insert personal conviction here) So we read stories from the bible telling our children about how people had nothing but the clothes on their back, or how the disciples left everything they had to follow Jesus, and yet we work towards earning more and more money every year so we can indulge in that exotic family vacation. Or we strive to have every new electronic possession under the sun. How many TV’s, computers, or square footage of home do you have? I’m not trying to say we should sell all our possessions, I’m trying to point out our sin; namely our sin of hypocrisy, materialism, idolatry, I could keep going down the list… And we wonder why the world mocks Christians? Probably because we are all lumped into a huge category together, the good and the bad…Just a nasty pile of hypocrites. They rarely see us as anything that stands out from the crowd; unless it’s obvious because we are wearing some outdated and/or legalistic form of head covering or skirt. Every once in a while we shine for Jesus, maybe just because things are going our way, and someone happens to ask us why we are so happy, or wonder what we’ve got that they are missing. It’s these moments of truth that I long for every day…That we ALL should long for. Even more so when life is going horrible and we are in the middle of the “biggest trial ever” people around us should see Jesus. It’s just so rare…Our fellow believers see us during these times, because we lean on them, rely on them for physical help like watching our kids, or making us meals, and we are so grateful for our “Christian groupies” where does that leave our lost friend or even the random unbeliever at work? Unable to see Jesus through us.
Our behavior is shameful to our heavenly father. It’s embarrassing at the least. Even if you aren’t frequenting the bars or racking up thousands in debt, non-Christians see our hypocrisy like a tattoo of “stupid” across our forehead. If you are just perfectly happy to attend your weekly bible study, church service, children’s program, I say wake up! You should be content only in Christ, and you should confess your sin of apathy and passive indifference. You should stand out mightily from those around you (unless your in a crowd of believers, then we all should stand out) making it apparent to everyone you meet that you are a follower of Christ. How many times has something “more fun” than growth group come up mid-week and you go to that instead of group? One of your kids is sick, so you both stay home from church Sunday? Why can’t one spouse go and then bring home the sermon for a family devotion time? When you invite an unbeliever into your home, they should feel right away that you care more about their soul than what you fill their glass with! Matthew 6:45b says “For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.” What we do and say comes from within us. And every believer knows that “the heart is desperately wicked (and sinful) who can know it?” Jeremiah 17:9 I find that I complain in front of people only when I truly want advice. Who are you getting advice from? The world? I love the song I hear all the time on Christian radio, I believe it’s the band Mercy Me; “This world had everything and yet nothing that I need.” There is nothing in this world that can satisfy us, help to make us better people or solve our endless list of problems. We need to be cleansed of this world, escaping every day to a place spirit filled and where we can connect with Christ. Only He can solve our problems if we are willing to let Him. Only Christ can help us show our kids how to respond to the problems of this world. Only Christ can save our children, but we also can be the biggest help or the biggest obstacle in doing that. Which will you chose to be?
Consider the following: if the frequency you washed your clothes or took a bath were the same as the frequency you confess your sins, how comfortable would you be? How long might it take before you noticed your really close friends keeping some distance from you? Just because you don’t look dirty doesn’t mean you don’t need a bath or that you don’t need to wash your clothes. What makes you think your soul is any different? Just because you can’t think of anything bad you’ve done doesn’t mean you have no sin. Because Christ has died for our sins and as believers we have trusted and believed this to the point of repentance, we understand our need for confession of sins. Just because you did it once, doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen again. (Sin that is) Working out our sanctification through the constant renewing of our hearts takes work. We must constantly be on guard to sin and it’s negative effects in our lives. Does your spouse point out sin in your life? How do you respond? Do your children see this? I know we are all very quick to point out sin in our children…What if they did the same? How would you respond?
Maybe a definition of “sin” would be helpful here. The Greek word for sin “AMARTIA” means “missing the mark.” It is an archery term. If you hit the target dead center you “hit the mark.” If you hit the first ring that was one “amartia”, two rings away was two “amarties”, etc. In this definition sin can be considered the lack of perfection. Since no one is perfect all the time everyone is guilty, so to say, of “amartia.”
Another definition is also helpful to visualize this circumstance. Sin can be defined as active rebellion OR passive indifference toward God. When God says, “Thou shall not…,” you do; when God says, “Thou shall…,” you don’t. That’s active rebellion. Passive indifference is when God says “Thou shall…,” you say, “O.K., when I get time…,” and you may or may not get around to it. We all are born sinful and by that very nature, we must have a redeemer. Christ has become that sacrifice for us on the cross that we may have our imperfections cast as far as the east is from the west. Christ alone is our atonement of sin, and whether you are a felon convicted of a heinous crime, or an old woman who believes her life has simply been “good enough” for heaven, everyone has sinned. Big or small, important or negligible. Christ died for those sins, and we must show our children in every way we can the importance of living for Him by following his commandments.
Our kids know we aren’t perfect. It’s how we strive to change and ask God’s forgiveness that will impact our children. Do they see you pray? Do they see you reading God’s word? If we do actually spend time with the Lord in quiet devotion, it’s usually early in the morning or late at night when the 6 month old, 4 year old, or 12 year old “distractions” are asleep or occupied. But doesn’t that mean they’ll never see you doing this?…This is why a lot of Godly authors push for family devotion time. So father’s can effectively minister to their children, so mom’s can have a reason behind the discipline that seems so punitive at the time…if only to help the child grow later. There is a reason behind it all. Don’t you love it when you have the perfect teaching moment with your child because of some wonderful thing you recently heard your pastor say, or the Christian radio DJ just said? I love those moments, but they are too few and far between to make life a changing impact on our kids.
This section below is basically the ten commandments broken into new testament teachings that can help us to understand how they reach every facet of our daily lives. These are questions that we should ask ourselves regularly so as to understand our sin, confess it, and with the help of the Holy Spirit turn away from it so that we may lead lives that our children will want to model and that are Christ honoring. Our children are going to mimic our behavior as a pattern for their life, so I urge you to give them a good model. Not just every once in a while…daily. I know this list was a huge “ouch” to my spirit when I read through all the things I am guilty of. But I want to change, and I need Jesus to get me out of my comfort zone of American culture. Read it and meditate on the things you need to ask God to help you change. Confess your sins to him. Copy and paste this list into a word document and highlight the things you know you struggle with, that you need to repent of.
“THE TEN COMMANDMENTS BROKEN DOWN
FIRST COMMANDMENT: ‘I am the Lord thy God: Thou shall have no other Gods before me.’ – Have I loved God as much as I should? – Have I been more interested in my own will rather than God’s? – Have I failed to pray sincerely and regularly? – Have I failed to trust in God and His mercy? – Have I complained against God in adversity? – Have I been thankful for God's blessings? – Have I tried to serve God and keep His Commandments? – Have I given way to superstition? – Have I been afraid of man’s judgment instead of God’s? Am I afraid to be persecuted? SECOND COMMANDMENT: ‘Thou shall not make unto thee any graven image.’ – Have I put another person or object before God in my life? – Have I been insincere about my faith? – Have I made an idol of any person or thing? – Have I given to anyone or anything the worship that is due to God alone? – Have I set before myself the life of Jesus and tried to imitate Him? – Have I read the Bible regularly? – Have I neglected communion or been lazy to prepare my heart before the Lord? THIRD COMMANDMENT: ‘Thou shall not take the name of the Lord in vain.’ – Have I broken any solemn promises? – Have I profaned the name of God in any way? – Have I cursed anyone or anything, or lied? – Have I had due respect for the leadership and elders of the Church or disrespected them by spreading gossip, lies or slander? – Have I entered into any unlawful contract or made an unlawful promise? FOURTH COMMANDMENT: ‘Remember the Sabbath Day to keep it holy.’ – Have I stayed away from Church on Sundays or prevented others from going? – If I could not go to Church because of illness or other grave cause, have I prayed or been in the word at home? – Have I caused anyone else to profane the Lord's Day? - Have I honored my church by not spreading discourse regarding the doctrines and teachings or even the teaching methods? FIFTH COMMANDMENT: ‘Honor thy father and thy mother.’ – Have I argued disrespectfully with my parents? – Have I respected my parents and been obedient to them? – Have I been guilty of deception, or caused them pain by my words or actions? – Have I neglected them or failed to help them? – Have I done my duty towards my family? – Have I been wanting in love or kindness towards my mate or harmed my mate in any way? – Have I set my children a good example and tried to bring them up properly? – Have I corrected their faults with patience and not with anger? – Have I over-indulged and spoiled them? – Have I neglected to pray with my children thereby failing in my obligations toward them? – Have I worked for my employers honestly and diligently? – Have I treated fairly all those who have worked for me?
<!–[endif]–> SIXTH COMMANDMENT: ‘Thou shall not kill.’ – Have I harmed others by ridicule & sarcasm or contempt & stubbornness? – Have I fought with my family and friends? – Have I caused the injury or death of any one, or wished that they or I were dead? – Have I done anything to shorten my own life or that of someone else by injuring health, or through evil and intemperate living? – Have I given way to anger, or harmed others with words or actions? – Have I defamed others who needed help, or failed to stand up for those unjustly treated? – Have I been cruel to anyone or have I mistreated or destroyed any life unnecessarily? – Have I failed to forgive anyone or harbored evil thoughts against them? SEVENTH COMMANDMENT: ‘Thou shall not commit adultery (or infidelity).’ – Have I given way to impure thoughts, words, or deeds? – Have I committed any unworthy actions alone or with others? – Have I degraded myself in any way, or forgotten human dignity? – Have I read immoral books or magazines, or delighted in obscenity of any kind? – Have I associated with bad companions or frequented unsavory places? – Have I eaten or drunk or smoked too much? – Have I been lazy, idle, or wasted my time? – Have I led others to commit sinful acts? – Have I been unfaithful to any trust confided in me? EIGHTH COMMANDMENT: ‘Thou shall not steal.’ – Have I ever stolen or wished to do so, or shared in stolen goods? – Have I given to my Church the due offerings from the bounty that God has blessed me with? (tithe) – Have I kept anything that did not belong to me? – Have I tried honestly to find owners of lost articles I have found? – Have I cheated anyone? – Have I paid my debts? – Have I lived within my income, and not wastefully and extravagantly? – Have I given to charitable causes in proportion to my means? – Have I been honest and upright? NINTH COMMANDMENT: ‘Thou shall not bear false witness.’ – Have I exaggerated or let others take the blame? – Have I told lies, or added or subtracted from the truth? – Have I made careless statements or spoken evil of anyone? – Have I told any secrets entrusted to me, or betrayed anyone? – Have I gossiped about anyone or harmed their reputation? – Have I concealed the truth, assisted in carrying out a lie, or pretended to commit a sin of which I was not guilty? – Have I tried to see the good in others rather than their shortcomings? Have I followed biblical discipline with a brother or sister who is in sin, or have I spread it around as gossip? TENTH COMMANDMENT: ‘Thou shall not covet.’ – Have I envied anything good that has come to others? – Have I been jealous of another's good fortune? – Have I wished for anything that was another's? – Have I damaged or destroyed the property of others? – Have I wished for things God has not given me, or been discontented with my blessings?? – Have I been stingy? – Have I held back anything due another? – Have I hoped for the downfall of anyone so that I might gain by it? – Have I failed to be gracious and generous to anyone? – Have I expected God to give me that which I would refuse one of my fellow men?” Part II continues tomorrow: Application for Life…
In an effort to use what is in my pantry already, (without going to the store) I invented my own recipe for Turkey Chili today. It's cold and cloudy outside, so today is the perfect day for it…It' still simmering away in my slow cooker, but I did a "quality check" and it already tastes wonderful.
Saute one medium chopped onion and one chopped red bell peper in 2 tablespoons veg oil, 5-7 minutes. Add 1-2 teas chopped garlic and cook until fragrant. Add 4 teas ground cumin, 1 teas salt, 1 teas marjoram, and 1/2 teas red pepper flakes. Mix to combine. Once the flavors are combined, dump pan into slow cooker along with the following: 1 small can Ortega green chili's, two cans drained and rinsed cannelini beans. (I puree one of the cans) and 3 1/2 cups of chicken stock or broth. In the saute pan, add another tablespoon of oil and place one package of ground turkey (don't use beef in this recipe) breaking up with a spoon and cook until no longer pink. 7-10 minutes. Sprinkle some hot sauce of your choice onto the cooked turkey and then add entire pan (juices included) to crock pot along with 1/3-1/2 cups of pearl barley. (I'm not too sure how much I had left, but it was between these two amounts) Season with a little more salt and definitely some fresh ground pepper and cook for 6 hours on low, or 3-4 hours on high. (Kind of depends on your crock pot, mine seems to cook really fast, and considering there is nothing raw in the recipe, it should be fine with whatever amount of time you use. You can also simmer all these ingredients together on the stove top for probably only an hour. Serve with chopped green onions, and jack or cheddar cheese.
If I get motivated today, I just may make a few bread bowls to serve these in…Maybe.
Here are a few ways that we are trying to raise obedient children:
God has set parents in place as the authority figures in the lives of children. Hebrews 12 speaks of how discipline is actually a privilege of being a son. Don’t fear that your child will resent your discipline. On the contrary, they will soon realise that it is a sign of your love for them.
The counting-to-three routine undermines your authority and places your child in the driving seat. You are training them that, essentially, obedience is a negotiation and they can determine the timing of their obedience. Train them to think, “I must obey straight away.”
Several times a year there is a clash between what my “boss” is asking me to do and what my family and I would like to do. I always seize these opportunities to explain to my children that I must obey my boss straight away and with a good attitude, and that although I would much rather spend Saturday morning with them, I must obey my “boss” and go to that meeting.
Avoid petty rules. Pick your battles. Be merciful and compassionate. When you are in the wrong, say a sincere “sorry” to them. Also, make sure that you are giving them sufficient attention so that they are not compelled to rebel just to get some time and attention from you.
We discipline mostly for three D’s: disobedience, disrespect, and destruction (of property or your sister’s nose). Punishment must be proportional to the offense and also proportional to the child’s stage of life. If it is not then you will find that you exasperate a growing child. Also, the mode of punishment must be what will best help the child. Different parents have more “faith” in some forms of punishment than others, and different children respond differently to different forms of punishment. I acknowledge and respect that, although we have had continued success with the primary biblical form of disciplining children with a wooden spoon on their chubby bottoms.
The joy of parenting increases dramatically when you have obedient children, and most importantly, you are equipping your children with the vital life-skill of obedience, which will stand them in good stead in their obedience to God, life, at school, and in the workplace.
A friend posted this on Facebook, and I couldn't agree with it more.
It's from October 2010 @ Theresurgence.com (http://theresurgence.com/2010/10/22/missional-mothering)
Missional Mothering Young mother, it seems like everyone wants something from you. And you’re probably already giving way more than you ever thought you could give. But even with all your giving, you might struggle with guilt—lingering, joy-drenching, energy-sapping guilt—that you should be doing more, giving more, accomplishing more. Don’t waste that guilt. Pay attention to it. Use it. Take it out of the shadows and examine it in light of Scripture. Is this a godly grief that leads to repentance or a worldly grief that produces death (2 Cor. 7:10)? Is it life-giving or life-depleting? Ask yourself, does this bring fresh joy and peace to those nearest me, or does it add unnecessary stress and strain to my home? Mother: You have a mission field Our first and primary mission field is our children. God values our children. Jesus became indignant when the disciples didn’t embrace the worth of children in God’s expanding kingdom (Mark 10:13-16). God tells us that children are his blessing to us (Ps. 127:3). And he places great importance on our teaching our children to love and serve him (Deut. 6:7-9). Don’t feel guilty over making your children your primary ministry investment in their early years. Your availability, sensitivity, affection, and unhurried attention are irreplaceable. There are no neutral moments in a young child’s life. Someone is going to be influencing your children, inculcating values and imprinting standards on their impressionable young minds. Let it be you! Accept your calling from God to serve your family. As a mother, you are helping to shape the souls of your children for Christ and ultimately influence the world. Your children are your gift to the future. Stay on mission Does this mean you will never invest in others outside your family? Goodness, no. But if you are a young mother, stay on mission. Use your primary ministry of mothering to serve Christ now. Don’t let anything diminish your unique role as a wife and mother. It is not godly guilt that would call you away from a wholehearted investment in your little ones for his sake. “ Don’t feel guilty over making your children your primary ministry investment in their early years. ” This season in your life is just that—a season. And each season is a divine calling from our creator and king. Organizing a new event at church is important. Teaching your little boy to be kind to his sister is also important. But which one can best be done by you during this season? Serve God well by ministering to your children first. Very soon they will be grown and gone, and you will be unable to recapture the teachable moments you have now. Mothers, listen to Psalm 78:4-7: “We will . . . tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might, and the wonders he has done . . . that the next generation might know . . . so that they should set their hope in God.”
The Following is a post from raising homemakers. I wish I had the wisdom to write something meaningful like this, but maybe if I keep reading the Word and reading other wise words from women like her, I’ll one day be equipped.
“Thinking about homemaking brings to my mind many different ideas, but the main thing that stands out is the need for us mothers & wives to build our homes. The kind of building that you don’t see immediately with the eyes, but the kind that you understand with your heart.
Our homes do require a lot of work on our part to keep them running orderly and to be a healthy and thriving place to live, but let us not get so caught up in the workings of the home that we forget or neglect the better things. (Luke 10:40-42) What are the better things? Nurturing and training our family. Building relationships that will endure and thrive in this chaotic world. Making the Lord Jesus Christ the center of your home. We need to be building strong families that will serve the Lord and do the kingdom work that He has called each of us to do. As wives and mothers we have been given our assignment. You may want to run or hide from it like Jonah, but don’t—your family needs you. If you are struggling in this area ask God to give you the desire and contentment that you need to see your job through to the end. It will be well worth the eternal results. We have been given our assignment: the wise woman is to build her home (Proverbs 14:1a). But how does that look in the day-to-day life? Well, since each of us are in different stages of life with varying ages and numbers of children it will look different in each home – but the principles in God’s word can be put into action in each of our homes. Put Jesus Christ at the center of your life and everything you do. If you belong to Christ, you are not your own. Die to selfishness and live for Jesus Christ! This isn’t something that you do once and then have mastered. It is a daily decision, hourly and yes, at times, second by second. Selfishness tears down your house. Dying to yourself builds your home. Titus 2:2-3 and Ephesians 5:33 talk about us respecting our husbands and showing Christ’s unconditional love. We need to work on this daily. Ladies, if you are having a hard time respecting/loving your husbands then you need to be praying for God’s help and asking Him to not only help you respect/love your husband more, but to reveal to you your character flaws so that you can begin dealing with them. Usually when we are having a hard time respecting/loving our husbands, our own attitudes are pretty rotten and we are not very lovable. Then decide to respect/love your husband! Put it into action! Your children are watching you and taking notes on how to put that in practice in their own families one day. That should be enough of a motivation right there to get you headed on the right track. You are building your home every time you choose to honor your husband instead of getting frustrated. Love those children that God has blessed you with. Spend time with your children. Speak words of life to them with kindness (Proverbs 15:1-2, 31:26). Talk to them about life, read great books to them, train them how to work and to be diligent. Not only what you say, but how you say it will reveal your heart attitude toward God and your children. These times of talking with your children can become wonderful times of growth for your children and yourself. With your husband, discipline your children biblically so that they understand right and wrong and what it means to respect authority. If you find that your children are driving you crazy, then you really need to look at how you are disciplining them. Are you being consistent and teaching them to have a servant’s heart? Again, you need to model a servant’s heart toward every member of your family so that they will see it lived out and want to copy you. Well, they will copy you rather you are doing a good job or not. Again, great motivation! Let your family see you being joyfully submissive and content. Be quick to ask forgiveness when you fail, and be quick to offer forgiveness when others sin against you. Putting all these things into practice takes time and diligence. It is not a quick fix. It is a life-style founded on the Scriptures. It is a healthy dose of both stabilizing law and sanctifying love. It is the way to building up your home. It is being a wise woman. “But the Lord answered and said to her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; But only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.’”
—Luke 10:41-42 (NASB)” http://raisinghomemakers.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/RH2-2button1.jpg
"While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warns that raw milk can carry disease-causing bacteria, what they completely overlook is the fact that these bacteria are the result of industrial farming practices that lead to diseased animals, which may then in turn produce contaminated milk.
They make no distinction whatsoever between disease-riddled factory farmed milk that commercial dairy operations produce and the milk from clean, healthy, grass-fed cows. The former MUST be pasteurized in order to be safe for consumption. The latter does not.
Further, not only does raw milk contain good bacteria that are essential for a healthy digestive system, raw milk also offers protection against disease-causing bacteria!
Mark McAfee, owner of Organic Pastures, the largest raw dairy in the United States, performed the following test: He inoculated pathogenic contaminants such as E. coli, Listeria and Salmonella into his raw milk, and into pasteurized milk.
In the raw milk, none of the pathogens survived because the natural bacteria were able to protect the milk. In the pasteurized milk, however — in which the bacteria and enzymes have been destroyed — the pathogens were able to take over.
To think that pasteurized milk is safer (even if you don't believe it's healthier) than raw milk from a healthy, grass-fed cow is simply not true.
Raw milk also contains vitamins, which are virtually eliminated by the pasteurization process of commercial milk. But it's the presence of beneficial bacteria that make raw milk such an outstanding food source to promote the growth of healthy bacteria in your intestine, which in turn has a significant, beneficial impact on your overall immune function.
Other health-promoting ingredients in raw milk include:
- Valuable enzymes that are destroyed during pasteurization. This includes phosphatase, an enzyme that aids and assists in the absorption of calcium in your bones, and lipase enzyme, which helps to hydrolyze and absorb fats.
- Natural butterfat, which is homogenized or removed in pasteurized milk. Without butterfat, it becomes very difficult for your body to absorb and utilize the vitamins and minerals in the water fraction of the milk. Butterfat is also your best source of preformed vitamin A, and contains re-arranged acids with strong anti-carcinogenic properties.
- Healthy unoxidized cholesterol
- Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which fights cancer and may help reduce your body fat.
- High omega-3 and low omega-6 ratios, which is the beneficial ratio between these two essential fats
So if you enjoy dairy products, do your health a favor and choose raw milk and raw milk cheese over the commercial varieties that are so heavily advertised. By joining the fight to make access to healthy raw milk a right for all Americans, you are not only standing up for raw milk; you're taking a stand to protect your freedom of food choice.
Have you read Real Food Basics yet? Baby steps to starting your real-food kitchen plus recipes your family will actually eat, like pizza, fries, and ice cream! Makes a great gift for the real food beginners on your list!
Welcome to 2011! This month we're going to be talking about a lot starting-over type of things (and a lot of other stuff too). Part of this means I'll be talking about some rather basic issues, which hopefully will be nice for those of you newer to real food. So today I'll be sharing a list of food additives that you especially want to avoid and why.
Let's be honest: it can be overwhelming to read all the labels and just avoid things. As you make changes towards real food, though, you'll be selecting products that just naturally don't contain most of these. At that point, the very few times you'd consume these additives might be "worth it" given your situation. But that's up to you to decide.
MSG (Monosodium Glutamate) — Migraines, neurological issues, seizures, depression, heart irregularities.
Autolyzed Yeast – A form of MSG (see above).
Hydrolyzed Soy Protein – A form of MSG (see above).
Mono- and diglycerides – A type of trans fat used to keep products with oil from separating, and increase shelf life.
Soy lecithin – Often genetically modified, linked to infertility, allergies, and gut issues.
Sodium Nitrite – Linked to migraines and colon cancer.
Sodium Nitrate – Linked to cancer in large amounts.
Citric Acid — Only a problem if sourced from GMO foods.
Malic Acid – In larger doses, linked to chest pain, allergies, and other adverse effects.
Cellulose — Modified and possibly GMO, heavy on fiber.
Potassium Bromate – Causes cancer.
Polysorbate 80 – Allergies, infertility, other problems. Found in vaccines as well as foods.
Propylene glycol – Eczema, allergies, kidney damage, liver damage.
Polydextrose – A type of modified, low-calorie fiber; too new to know if it is harmful or not.
Red 40 – Hyperactivity, cancer (petroleum-based)
Yellow 5 – Hyperactivity, cancer (petroleum-based)
Food Coloring – ADHD, allergies, etc. Contains propylene glycol, as well as petroleum-based dye.
Aspartame, Sucralose — Artificial sweeteners linked to cancer, allergies, lots of other health issues. Do NOT consume!! (I'm currently working on this one myself-C)
These food additives are everywhere! Be careful of them. You will even find them in organic processed foods, which is why it's best to avoid even those. There are very few safe food additives. If you recognize and can pronounce the ingredients on a product label (and there should not be too many), it is probably safe. The longer the ingredient list, especially if there are unfamiliar/unprounceable ingredients, the less safe it is. Skip it! Go for whole, real foods every time.
Being deprived of sleep is very detrimental to us physically, mentally, emotionally, and even spiritually.
"Sleep isn't a luxury… It's a biological necessity!" - Unknown
We know what a lack of sleep can do to a child. An overtired child is cranky, irritable and inconsolable. And we all know how we feel when we don't get enough sleep, but we may not know how important sleep really is for our bodies, minds and souls. Sleep is restorative, rejuvenating and regenerative :: Every part of the body benefits from – and requires – sleep. The body's ability to rebuild itself during sleep is amazing! Damage is repaired on the cellular level during deep sleep stages. Sleep is your body's opportunity to restore itself from the effects of stress, toxins, ultraviolet rays and other harmful exposures that occur during the day. Sleep reduces illness and disease :: Due to our body's ability to rebuild itself, the immune system greatly depends on sleep to function. With other systems of the body in rest mode, the immune system can go to work fighting and protecting. With a lack of sleep also comes a depressed immune system allowing harmful germs and exposures to wreak havoc on our systems. Sleep reduces stress :: As we prepare for sleep, our body releases the calming hormones, serotonin and melatonin. These hormones help us relax and also cause the stress hormones, adrenaline and cortisol, to deplete, reducing the stress our bodies feel. In contrast, being sleep deprived puts our body in a state of stress as it releases the stress hormones so that it can function under those less-than-ideal circumstances.Having these hormones being pumped through our body too frequently is extremely detrimental to our health. When we sleep, we give our body and minds the opportunity to rest and restore from the day and adjust and balance hormone levels. Sleep can help control weight :: When our hormone levels are out of balance from lack of sleep, it increases our appetite, making us eat more than we would if we weren't sleepy. There is also concern that lack of sleep changes the way our body digests carbohydrates, which can cause weight gain. Sleep improves memory function :: While our body is resting, our brain is working! When we sleep, our brain analyzes the events of the past day, making connections and creating links. These links become our memories! By getting sufficient quality sleep, we are giving our brain the opportunity it needs to process and commit new information to memory. Sleep = Safety :: Brain fog caused by lack of sleep can cause car accidents, falls, medical mistakes and much more. Researchers have found that a sleepy driver behind the wheel is just as dangerous as a drunk driver. Sleep balances emotions :: Sleeping gives our brain the opportunity to correct and adjust all the hormone and chemical levels that the body requires. Having proper levels of these vital elements helps us remain balanced and steady throughout the day, with increased ability to handle the day-to-day stresses. Not getting enough sleep can leave us feeling irritable, irrational and impatient.
Research shows that the average adult needs between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night. However, the exact amount of sleep that our bodies require is very individualized, varying from person to person. This can also change rather frequently as we face different situations in our lives that may require more or less sleep. For example, if you are sick or going through a particularly stressful period of time, you need to allow for more sleep. Children, teenagers and the elderly, as a rule, need more sleep than healthy adults. Experts say that finding the right amount of sleep requires a little experimentation. By varying your bedtimes and wake times, you can find the right amount of sleep that leaves you feeling well rested and energized throughout the day. As your situation and circumstances change, you might need to adjust your sleep times to allow enough time for adaquate sleep, without sleeping too much. Sleeping too much can be just as detrimental to your health and well being as being sleep deprived, so find the right balance that works for you.
"A satisfying sleep, like a satisfying meal, can leave one happy and content, without feeling too full, and with room, perhaps, for just a little more." - Jim Horne, sleep expert
Make sleep a priority :: Look at sleep as the restorative period that it is rather than an inconvenient obligation. Give your mind, body and soul the opportunity to rest and rejuvenate. Establish a routine :: Bedtime routines aren't just for children. Try to go to bed at the same time each night and wake up at the same time each morning, regardless of the day of the week or if you've had a rough night's sleep. Wake up within 30 minutes of your waking time each day of the week. This will help your body clock set itself correctly. Relax :: Can't sleep? We're not able to will ourselves or make ourselves go to sleep. We need to lie down, close our eyes and relax , waiting for sleep to overtake us. But the relaxing part of that equation often fouls up the entire formula. Drink a cup of chamomile tea or warm milk, take a warm bath or read a book for a few minutes before turning off the light. Give yourself time to slow down and unwind, letting your body know it's time to prepare for sleep. Add a mind purge :: When I can't sleep because I've got too much on my mind, I've found that simply having a pad of paper and a pen by my bed comes in handy. Thoughts, plans and worries can often interfere with our ability to relax and fall asleep. Write down everything that comes to mind in a 1 to 3 minute period. As simple as it sounds, it will enable you to free your mind of those thoughts and avoid carrying them to bed with you. With less on your mind, you are free to relax and drift off to sleep. Body movin':: Getting some form of physical activity during the day will help your body differentiate between daytime and nighttime, making it easier to get to sleep and stay asleep when you want to. Avoid strenuous exercise and activity within 4 hours of going to bed so your body will be able to relax in time for sleep. Eat well and wisely :: Ditch the Standard American Diet and eat real food. Make your noon meal the largest of the day rather than your biggest meal being a few hours before you are going to try to sleep. Digesting a large meal will keep you awake and unable to drift off to sleep. Make your bedroom a restful place :: Keep your bedroom free from unnecessary clutter and distractions. Remove the TV and designate another area of your house for your desk and computer (or put them behind doors if they must stay in your room) so as to free your mind from thinking about work and other things. Limit caffeine (or better yet, quit it all together) :: Use coffee, pop, caffeinated teas and even chocolate in moderation. Caffeine is a powerful stimulant. Even if you only drink caffeine in the mornings, it makes it more difficult to fall asleep at night and affects the quality of sleep that you are able to get. It is difficult to quit (I know! I used to be a Diet Coke junkie.) but it's worth it. Check this out for inspiration! If you can't get going in the mornings without your cup of joe, try Dandelion Root tea as a worthy coffee alternative. Do the same only make iced tea as a replacement for Diet Pop! Dandelion Root tea sounds odd perhaps, but it's yummy!
Unfortunately, we all know the frustration of a short night's sleep. Whether it's a new baby, sick kids, noisy neighbors or irritating insomnia, we've all been there. Here are two tips for surviving those terrible nights: Don't worry :: The stress and anxiety over getting a poor night's sleep will actually be harder on you mentally and physically than the poor night's sleep itself. Practice an attitude of acceptance and go about your day. Try to remain as positive and optimistic as possible and you'll get through a less-than-ideal day much more ideally! Strategic naps will save you :: Even if you're not necessarily a nap taker, a strategic nap will help you get through your day, minimizing your struggle from a poor night's sleep. Getting a 10 – 20 minute nap (or two, if necessary, one in the morning and one in the afternoon) will help you feel refreshed and energized, ready for the next portion of your day. Be careful, however. Napping anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours puts your body through sleep cycles that will cause you to wake up feeling groggy and perhaps worse than you felt before. Aim for the power nap to get you through your day. We all know how wonderful we feel after a great night's sleep, and unfortunately, we all know how terrible we feel when we sleep poorly. In our fast-paced, over-worked and stressed-out society, getting a good night's sleep is crucial. Our bodies, minds and souls depend on our ability to sleep for rejuvenation, repair and restoration. Make a New Year's Resolution to make sleep a priority this year! Your mind and body will thank you.