Fleeing the Dark Side With A Smoothie In Hand

If you’re with me on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook, then over the last week or so saw photos of a spattering of our adventure highlights through Montana and Idaho:

  • A drive through Spokane, Washington where spots we frequented in college had me feeling nostalgic;
  • A visit to my brother-in-laws art studio;
  • The Montana Folk Festival (which we didn’t spend nearly enough time at);
  • Gold panning (where we worked really hard for specks of gold in one of the most beautiful, secluded spots I could have imagined);
  • Breakfast at Butte’s Hummingbird Cafe where we took over the outdoor patio; and,
  • Dinner at THE BEST place we ate the entire vacation: Casagranda’s. (I must add: if you are ever in Butte, DO NOT MISS THIS PLACE. They serve happy cows, and even consider kids real people who eat real food, which was evidenced by their kids menu that offered steak and potatoes in a kid-sized portion, and even a chicken breast with vegetables!)

We ended our adventures with two days totally unplugged in a remote river-front cabin in Idaho. It was idyllic – a real throwback to days before television and cell phones. The kids did ‘kid’ things, like poke at the fire, make smores, whittle, throw ninja stars against trees, read magazines, fly along the zip line, and learn to skip rocks. I woke up early each day and, and was rewarded with a glimpse of a moose tromping up the river about twenty yards from me as I sipped my hot, rich coffee.

In spite of the great adventure and the joys of our vacation, unfortunately… there was a dark side.

A dark dark side… a side we’ve since escaped, but we are still recovering from.

You ready?

The dark side of fake food.

Fast food. Gas station snacks. Grocery store packages. Ready-to-eat ‘meals’. Crackers. Chips. Hotel continental breakfasts with muffins, and little boxes of cereal, and bagels, and toast, and flavored-yogurts-so-full-of-sugar-we-might-as-well-had-a-candybar.

UGH.

We tried to keep it together. We made stops at grocery stores for fresh fruits and easy to eat veggies. We ordered eggs off the hotel menu (only to have the kids say the scrambled eggs were hard and didn’t taste like eggs). We tried to stop at the ‘good’ fast food places, and we drank lots and lots and LOTS of water.

None of it mattered, though. The ‘ease’ of the processed food and necessity of eating out and depending on others to ‘nourish’ us took us so far down that a peach or apple here or there couldn’t save us… and, by the end, we were hurting.

Battle worn. Sickly. Bloated and lethargic and flat-out gross.

I longed for my kitchen… longed for quinoa, raw nuts, fragrant herbs, dark leafy local greens, and berries off our Oregon bushes. Even my kids we begging when we were just a few hours out from home: “Mom, when we walk in the door can you cut me up some fruit and make me a smoothie?”

Oh, how I love them… and, you bet I obliged.

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Fresh. Clean. Green. Delicious.

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We fled the dark side with a smoothie in hand… and it was a glorious return to freshness.

If you’re not in the habit of doing smoothies at home, can I just tell you: you are missing out.

And, can I just encourage you: get to making them.

Here’s our favorite basic (that make with our Magic Bullet):

  • ice
  • frozen fruit (you can use fresh fruit, but using frozen fruit adds to the iciness)
  • sliced banana (gives creaminess)
  • raw spinach
  • water
  • ground flax
  • protein powder (the type bodybuilder’s use – we buy ours at Costco)

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That’s it! Throw it all in a blender and blend til smooth.

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Here’s a couple of tips:

1) Don’t overdo the ice when you’re using frozen fruit because it will end up too thick. Start with just a couple cubes of ice – you can always add more if you need to.

2) You don’t need juice for flavor. Juice you’ve juiced yourself is exceptional; juice we buy at the store is not. Don’t bother with it when you’re making smoothies – let the real fruit be your sweetener.

3) Proportions? I’d say about 1/2 cup frozen fruit, a small handful of raw spinach, 2 TSBP flax, 2 TBSP protein powder, 2 ice cubs, 1/2 diced banana and just enough water to allow it to blend.

Let me know if you make it… or, better yet: let me know what your favorite smoothie recipe is!

Cheers!

DSC07513(Now off I go to whip up some quinoa… I have a long way to go to feeling like myself again.)

Practical Health

There is a beautiful verse in the Bible that gives instruction on how to imprint Truth on the generations that follow us, and it says:

Fix [these Truths] in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates…

(Deuteronomy 11: 18-20)

While this verse was written for a people desiring to teach spiritual truths to their generations, it is great instruction for anything we wish to imprint on our children. Our children are our “mini-disciples”, if you will. Everything we do and say is funneling straight into their hearts and minds whether we like it or not. Pretty humbling, isn’t it.

So, when it comes to the concept of “health” in our home, I take this verse to heart:

Our principals of health are FIXED. The same rules for health must apply whether we are in our home, or out in the world. Even when we are pressed for time or on the go-go-go, we make it a point to make choices that support what we want our children to learn about being “healthy” and living a “healthy lifestyle”.

Our principals of health are OBVIOUS. We are not “deceptively delicious” in our home. The food I buy, the food I cook, what I put into their lunches, what I put into my own lunches – all of these things are “symbols” to my children of what “health” looks like. They can identify they healthy foods they’re eating and they know why it’s good for them.  Furthermore, my physical body (as well as my husband’s) is a “symbol” to my children, as well. If I want to raise children that will be fit, I (we) must first be fit myself. If I want my children to be active, I (we) must be active myself.

Our principals of health are TAUGHT. We are teaching our children through conversation; we TALK about health and healthy choices at all times of the day and in all things. We talk about how our bodies and minds are a reflection of what we’re putting into them, so we must pay attention to what we look like and how we are feeling. We talk about how food makes us feel and how the right choices will empower, and the wrong choices will wear us down. We talk about food commercials we see; we read and discuss every label; we educate on the vitamins, minerals and nutrients our bodies need from the good, whole foods we intake.

Our principals of health are WRITTEN. Our truth is “written” on our home in the sense that anyone who enters will clearly understand how we live. You will an abundance of whole foods – veggies and fruits of every color and variety, beans, grains. Our freezer is stocked with fish and chicken, our pantry is stocked with nuts and dried fruit. We keep our “treats” in what we call the “naughty cabinet”… any the stuff in the “naughty cabinet” is the stuff we don’t eat on a regular basis – the stuff that doesn’t nourish us and make us feel good, but that we all want to have because it’s nice to have a treat sometimes.

The world is full of junk and, I’m not naive: my kids are going out into the world and are going to have to make choices on their own. But this is why my heart is not to force good food on them or “deceive” them with cookies made out of yams, but instead to empower them to live well with knowledge, understanding and practical ways to make choices in a junk-filled world.

My goals are simple:

I want my kids to live amazing lives and I never want their physical body to prevent them for doing whatever they may desire to do.

I want my kids to have a desire for health so deep within them that they make choices not because I said so, but because they want to.

I want my kids to know the taste of real, whole food and crave it because it makes them feel so darn good to eat it.

I want them to use food to nourish themselves – and to always feel they can exercise self-control no matter what goodies they’re faced with.

I want my kids to know that being healthy is not a burden; and, that even when pressed for time, good choices can still be made.

I want my kids to THRIVE and LEAD and SHINE. THIS is why I make the choices for our home that I do.  Because it’s not about me  – it’s about them, and it’s about their children, and it’s about their children’s children.

A healthy, prosperous life for generations to come starts with ME. It starts with YOU.