So we’ve made it to the post-pandemic era (we hope and pray☺️) and we’re just trying to get back to “normal” whatever normal is for us. Our world will forever be changed with “zoom” conference calls making it unnecessary to meet in person; a large percentage of the work force is now permanently working from home; rampant burnout in the service industries; restaurant take-outs are the du-jour choice for dining because of national work-force shortages; crippled supply chains make purchasing choices and repairs much more challenging and our treasured children (the future of our world) are currently making up for lost time in school, each with challenges of their own.
And it’s no secret that staying in tip-top physical or mental shape in this pandemic period was definitely on the back-burner for most of us. We were just trying to get by with our families in this uncertain and potentially life-threatening period in our lives that none of us living on this earth (right now) had ever experienced!
Hey, but I promise! It’s all good!! I’m writing you today to talk about taking that control back, that intrinsic treasure called your HEALTH. You know, it’s funny, the choices you make for a healthy lifestyle, even though sometimes challenging when balancing the time and prep involved, have this way of liberating you because YOU are the captain of your ship in those choices. You don’t rely on anyone or anything else (like supply chains- 😆 !!!)
To help me illustrate what hasn’t worked and what has the promise of working for you embracing a healthier way of living, I’m borrowing a timeless fable from the 1800s, “The Three Little Pigs”.
Ever since I’ve become a Grandma, I’ve allowed myself to go back to my kids’childhood, using the stories I read to them to teach them a lesson about life. I’m using this story as an analogy for what a joyful healthy life can be for you and me going forward, for we all are human, slipping back into our negative, non-productive ways. We just need a re-boot to unlock our positive potential!!
1. Straw House Little Pig, A/K/A making an unsustainable (for you) way of life your mantra.
You all the know the story, three little pigs went out and built themselves houses. The first little pig took a severe shortcut with his building material, both bucks and labor-wise. He had his house up in record time because he took the easy route by utilizing straw for his primary building material.
However, when the Big Bad Wolf came by for a visit:
Straw House Little Pig quickly figured out his building material shortcut might make him the next dinner choice of the big bad wolf.
So how are we like Straw-House Little Pig?
I’m sure many of you have tried numerous weight-loss methods. For me, in my youth it was diet pills, the “cucumber only” diet, all protein and fat with no carb diets, or just outright starving myself to attain a certain “random” weight. All of these methods promised a quick weight loss with the thought that you could maintain your new-found weight loss by suddenly eating “nutritiously”, without actually learning that from the outset. Each and everyone of those “diets” were failures because they were not nourishing my body as it needed, remember food IS medicine and your body will eventually crave what you’re failing to fuel it with.
What about those exercise choices you endured for any number of reasons, weight loss being a primary. Maybe you’ve made a regular exercise program your yearly January resolution. You always started it with good intentions, but the bar you’ve set for your own expectations was just too high to maintain on a permanent basis. Or maybe you’re on the other end of the spectrum as I once was, I embraced the “over-exercise” diet (I could eat anything I wanted because I was exercising 3 hours a day when the kids were all in the school) and then I paid the price with major foot surgeries on both feet (I totally ignored the nagging foot pain) to correct the damage I’d done to my totally flat feet!
What Can we Learn About Our Health From Straw House Little Pig?
Whatever healthy lifestyle choice we make, for any of the pillars of health, be it nutrition, movement, stress relief, sleep or our faith in God, they all have to be something we enjoy pursuing and learning about in some fashion everyday. Our healthy lifestyle has to be sustainable for us, as individuals, and no one else! And (hopefully) we’re going for a holistic (natural) approach before or in tandem with prescription drugs for our medical issues. Please know that I am on a prescription drug for hypertension, so I’m not calling out taking prescription drugs, but I’ve tried and am currently pursuing those holistic approaches first, nutrition and exercise as my primary pillars for this, AND I’m still working on improving my “stress response” when the heat is on 😃 . I have no doubt were it not for a mostly healthy lifestyle, I would require more prescription meds.
Now let’s visit Stick House Little Pig….
2. Stick House Little Pig, A/K/A relying on the world’s measure of what your health goals should be, not your own.
Stick House Little Pig did not learn from his brother for he also took some short-cuts in building material, building his house in record time with sub-par material, sticks!
So again, the big bad wolf made short work of those sticks!
So how are we like Stick House Little Pig?
We sometimes want the happiness, wealth, attractiveness and fulfillment everyone else seems to have, largely because of our accessibility to social media without all the hard-work that is needed to sustain it. It’s this constant comparison game to everyone else’s accomplishments that sometimes causes us unneeded angst!
Thankfully the “Twiggy” or anorexic-look is getting phased out:
But you all know, with social media, everyone is putting their best face forward. You see pictures of the beautiful Mom and Dad with their kids wearing matching clothes, their hair-dos done masterfully, and they’re showing their completion of an amazing community service at the end of some type of life-struggle.
You don’t see the “bad” takes on social media, where the kids just threw-up on Mom and she had to change her clothes or Dad trying to get his little girl to stop crying so they can take a “happy” pic!
This is a real pic of our family this last Christmas. It definitely wasn’t perfect as you can see (we’re all not facing into the camera, the “gnomes” were being held by us in weird ways where it looks like the tips of their hats were picking our noses, BUT, I think it reflected real life, totally imperfect!!! 😆
What can we learn about our healthy lifestyle from Straw House Little Pig?
Even though we all share the Earth as our house and we are called to take care of ourselves, along with our family, friends and neighbors when they are in need, we are, however, NOT to live capriciously at the whims of whatever are the latest fads because we’ll ALWAYS fall short of mere human goals. As far as mis-guided health goals, to expect to look the same as you did in your youth (and be depressed about it) OR thinking you don’t have to modify your exercise routine based on your “older” physical capabilities is what I’m talking about. But hey, you still can have lots of fun the older you get, Randy and I are!!
Randy and I went on a brisk walk yesterday in the woods at our farm with the dogs.
We also did a little eagle nest watching! Yes, the past few years we have been blessed with a nesting pair of eagle on the farm.
3. Brick House Little Pig, A/K/A your own “custom fit” healthy lifestyle you can joyfully follow for the rest of your life.
So Brick House Pig had his act together. He didn’t cut corners like his brothers but instead invested in reliable, long-lasting material (bricks). You can bet it took quite a bit of time putting it together, but it was worth it!
And here’s what happened to Brick House Little Pig’s house when the Big Bad Wolf came to call:
It stood the test of endurance, where Stick and Straw House Little Pigs failed!
So what can we learn about our healthy lifestyle with Brick House Little Pig?
Two magic words apply here: SUSTAINABILITY and LONGEVITY. Those two words rock the healthy lifestyle stage!
As an initial step toward a long-lasting healthy lifestyle (especially after this crazy pandemic period), I’m going to encourage you, if you haven’t already, to go back to your healthcare clinician and get your annual exam with all the necessary routine preventative care (like mammograms, prostate exams, colonoscopy if over 45 and shingles shots if you’re over 50). This will give you a baseline of health screening you might need to address.
Next I’d like to gently remind you when embracing new choices to improve your health, like amping up your nutrition, getting more movement in, dealing with stressors more healthfully, getting more quality sleep or improving your relationship with God, to take baby-steps at first. Remember, life is a marathon, each of these lifestyle changes is going to take time if it’s going to be long-lasting.
Please ask yourself one pivotal question when adopting any and all of these pillars:
Am I enjoying the process of embracing each of these lifestyle changes?
Here’s an example:
Nutrition- Are you learning how to prepare both nutritious and delicious foods you can enjoy with the diet plan you’ve embraced? That is key for healthy nutrition longevity! I’m also a fan of having a balanced macronutrient diet of carbohydrates, fat and protein, because eventually, if you just focus on a limited number of macronutrients, your body will crave what it’s missing (I know, I’ve been there and done that with imbalanced diets, and I “fell off” quickly!)
I’ve mentioned before, I track my macro count in MyFitnessPal daily, just to make sure I’m on track. I was introduced to this plan in 2017 by my daughter Sammi who has a thriving fitness business Sammi Gregory Fitness, where like her other clients I also learned about resistance training, that I still embrace and love!
Here’s a typical dinner meal Randy and I will have:
And if you don’t have time on one of those dinner nights for prep, (I know, I’ve gotten back to the workforce part-time as a volunteer Medical Assistant and time is at a premium) you’ve got to make it easy for yourself and a fix a pre-packaged (healthy) meal that’s easy to slide out of the fridge:
Now I love this way of eating for it allows me to make nutritious choices, I can adapt recipes easily to lower my macro count if need be, the food I create is not only nutritious but delicious, I can take short-cuts by buying macro-friendly pre-packaged foods for those days on-the-go and finally it’s easy to get back on the plan if I’ve taken a vacation from it!
Now this nutrition plan has worked for me. Tracking your daily food choices might not be your thing. However, I encourage you to embrace an eating plan you can easily follow, fueling you with healthy choices of all three macronutrients and always having a critical eye toward your own “custom” plan that is right for you, be it nutrition or any and all of the other pillars I’ve mentioned.
4. Brilliant fast thinking by Brick House Little Pig A/K/A unlocking the God given talents you have.
There was quick thinking going on by Brick House Little Pig when the Big Bad wolf tried to enter from the chimney. He used his creativity to think of a way to thwart the wolf’s uninvited entrance with a boiling cauldron of water to welcome him at the end of the chimney:
How can we unlock those God given talents like taking on new challenges and creativity ?
God has endowed each of us with amazing talents, which we are called to discover on our own. Creativity and taking on new challenges has definitely taken a back seat in this pandemic period because we’ve been frozen with fear at times with the unknown.
I’ve been embracing a new challenge for this past year, I’m training to be a Medical Assistant in the clinic. It’s a whole new skill set but it’s really been fun and I’ve learned so much. Here’s Randy showing off his new model of a woman’s upper genital tract (uterus, tubes and ovaries) he shows to his patients to educate them:
It’s also time to get back to those creative outlets we’re all capable of in some capacity. My thing I like to daydream about, is creating new and exciting nutritious and delicious meals, like this No Guilt Clam Chowder with A Cauliflower Base:
My daughter Shannon just used her creativity for a bee-themed one-year old birthday for Remi:
And my 92 year old Mom really used her creativity and dressed like a bee to match the theme:
Please just go back to finding joy in each little thing you do,just like my granddaughter Evie is here, just enjoying throwing leaves in the air,
(instead of the fear that has plagued us for the last 2 years) and stay in The Word of God to understand how thankful we all should be everyday. I promise your willingness to take on new challenges along with your creativity will once again be a part of your life if you go back to capturing the moment.
5. The pivotal importance of the foundations of ALL The Little Pig’s houses, just as God/Jesus/Holy Spirit should be a pivotal foundation for our lives-
Foundations are non-arguably the MOST important part of a house for the integrity of the entire house relies on it:
Even though not seen….
Just like our Lord, we don’t see Him but we see his creations and blessings upon all of us everyday.
Brick House Little Pig knew the score by not only building the part of the house you see with strong brick material, but also the part you didn’t see, the foundation, for without it, the house wouldn’t stand (his Stick Little Pig & Straw Little Pig brothers learned their lessons on this one!)
So how can we get back to re-discovering what should be the foundation of our lives, our relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ?
I’ve shared before in A Graduation In Faith how I had to be on my knees with what I viewed as family problems that were my fault as a Mom before I entered into a meaningful daily relationship with our Lord, all under the tutelage of a wonderful God-led retired teacher who I will be forever thankful to God for leading me to.
Reading The Word daily has been a joy for me, but according to the world’s measure of what is important, reading The Bible definitely isn’t listed as a top priority. YOU must make it a priority because I promise, it’s life changing, helping you understand God’s ways, providing you with that foundation we all crave (just like our need nutritionally for all three macronutrutrients- 🥰 ).
Remember one of the primary reasons for a strong foundation for a house is to help it resist the movement of the earth around it. We, as God’s children are constantly under attack by The Evil one, a strong daily Biblical foundation keeps us on God’s page, to guard our souls and everyone whose life we touch!
“Everyone then who hears these words and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods cam, and the winds blew and beat on the house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods cam and the winds blew and beat against that house and it fell, and it fell with a great crash”
Psalm 62: 5-7
“My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; his is my fortress, I will never be shaken.”
Recap of: Healthy Lifestyle Mind Adjustment-Courtesy of The Three Little Pigs
1. Straw House Little Pig, A/K/A making an unsustainable (for you) way of life your mantra.
2.Stick house Little Pig, A/K/A relying on the world’s measure of what your health goals should be, not your own.
3.Brick House Little Pig, A/K/A your own “custom fit” healthy lifestyle you can joyfully follow for the rest of your life.
4.Brilliant fast thinking by Brick House Little Pig A/K/A unlocking the God given talents you have.
5. The pivotal importance of the foundations of ALL The Little Pig’s houses, just as God/Jesus/Holy Spirit should be the pivotal foundation for our lives-
Would you like to start making your own hummus and skip the store bought stuff? This Cauliflower Hummus recipe’s counts for fat and calories are significantly less than store bought, there is a higher carb count but you’re eating a star cruciferous vegetable (cauliflower) and the protein count is much higher (to keep you feeling full) YET, it tastes deceptively decadent! If so, please try this one!! I served it with roasted carrot fries and I brought out the pre-packaged frozen turkey burgers with a multi-grain bun to round out this weeknight, low-prep meal. Enjoy!!
Servings: A little more than 5
Equipment: Medium to large pot, colander and either a blender or food processor
400 g (14 oz.) cauliflower cut in 2” bites
10 g (2 tsp.) minced garlic
1 tsp. ground cumin
80 ml (1/3 cup) lemon juice
½ tsp. smoked paprika
4 oz. (1/2 cup) butter beans
70 g (3/4 cup) Tahini
Salt to taste
- Use a medium to large cooking pot and fill ¼ of it with water. Set it on the stove and boil the water.
- Place cauliflower in boiling water and boil until it’s soft consistency (about 10 minutes). Remove from stove and drain.
- Place drained cauliflower with all other ingredients in the blender or food processor and blend until creamy. Salt to taste and have veggies ready for dipping!
*Recipe adapted from Prevention Magazine
Yields 586 grams with these measurements, each serving is 100 grams or ½ cup- Nutrition for each ½ cup or 100 gram serving: Calories 144/ Carb. 13.2 g /Fat 8.9 /Protein 5.7 g