Dealing with Foods that Trigger Overeating

April 29th, 2015 - Disordered Eating, Food News, Inspiration

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Have you ever been moving steadily down the path of balanced, healthy living and BAM, out of nowhere, one food can cause things to spiral out of control before you even know what hit you? Me too, you’re not alone.  

I felt the Lord prompting me to share with all of you some of the ways He’s helped me to keep trigger foods in check. I pray these help free your mind and spirit today!

Out of sheer frustration one-day, I really took my struggle with certain foods to the Lord in hopes of understanding how to handle them appropriately. Truthfully, I was tired of feeling helpless to enjoy certain foods without the risk of binging. I was confused and frustrated.  I’d overcome most of my disordered eating why did certain foods so often leave me feeling out-of-control and frantic? I began to press into the Lord for help.  Now before I begin, I’d like to say that there are volumes of information and opinions on the addictive qualities of certain foods. I’m not going to address those; rather, my purpose for this devotional is to simply share what I believe the Father heart of God chose to share with me for the purpose of granting me more freedom and abundant life. 

Is it the food or is your soul starving?

Above all else I’ve come to understand that if my spirit is starving, my flesh is very vulnerable to over eating. When I’m slipping into a pattern of overusing food, the first place I need to look is at the condition of my spirit. Have I been consistently feeding on the Word of God? Do I need to spend time with Him in prayer and praise? Almost without fail, if my flesh is crying out to be satisfied, the answer is no. In times like this, I need to be very purposeful about seeking the Lord to fill my spirit so that I use my body to glorify Him. 

Proverbs 4:20-23 Amplified Bible “My son, attend to my words; consent and submit to my sayings. Let them not depart from your sight; keep them in the center of your heart. For they are life to those who find them, healing and health to all their flesh.”

John 15:4, Jesus said, “No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine.”

Understand the trigger!

I used to use food as a source of punishment. I would overeat as a “weapon” against myself. After I was restored and healed from that I was confused about why I would still over-do-it with certain foods. I took it to the Lord in prayer and He revealed something quite unexpected. He showed me that I was no longer using food to abuse myself; I was using it as a source of misdirected “self-care”. I began to understand that my need to feel good was actually a healthy instinct that just needed some redirection. 

When I realized that my body was pleading for self-care I had a whole new outlook on how I viewed trigger foods. Up to that point, I believed that as long as my spirit was full I wasn’t vulnerable to over eating. While that is a KEY factor to successfully overcoming binging, the missing link for me was realizing that I also needed self-care. I began to make a connection. I realized that when I was purposeful about caring for myself in healthier ways, I could eat the same foods I might otherwise abuse without struggle. Now if I’m feeling that way, I quickly make room and time to do other things that restore me: I sit in the sun by myself doing NOTHING, enjoy a nap, I make time to get away for a little while, read something just for pleasure, or treat my body to a bath or at-home spa time. I’ve discovered that it actually takes very little to restore myself and when I enjoy a little self-care to “fill my tank” the trigger foods don’t have power over me. 

Mark 12:31 “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  This implies that to love others well, we must also love ourselves well. 

Enjoy trigger foods in the company of others

I don’t know about you, but I rarely struggle with trigger foods when I’m in the company of others. It’s only those times I’m alone at home that I feel vulnerable.  I believe the Enemy uses that time of isolation to make us weak and with no accountability we are far more vulnerable to stumbling. For that reason, I also recommend enjoying foods that may trigger you when you have the support of others around you. For instance, if peanut butter is something that you may easily overuse, trying making it something you enjoy outside of the home. Make a peanut butter sandwich to take with you for lunch or a snack.  Maybe it’s dessert. Make dessert something that you enjoy when you are out to eat with family or friends. It allows you to enjoy it with praise and thanksgiving without the risk of overeating which often leads to shame and condemnation. 

Ecclesiastes 4:12 (MSG) “By yourself you’re unprotected. With a friend you can face the worst. Can you round up a third? A three-stranded rope isn’t easily snapped.”

If God says it’s not beneficial, listen!

I am a huge proponent of embracing balance in both food and exercise. After years of life learning, I have a firm understanding that any extreme is very hard to sustain long-term. Considering too many foods “off-limits” or “bad” makes it easy to stay bound to a diet mentality. That said, scripture does make it clear however, that though all things are permissible, not all things are beneficial. Even after having walked the journey to diet recovery, I still struggle with keeping chocolate within healthy boundaries.  Sometimes I can eat a very reasonable portion, enjoy it, and move on – most of the time I can’t. After praying about this, I’ve heard over and over from the Lord, “chocolate is the food you need to resist.” Of all the glorious, tasty, abundant choices the Lord generously offers me to enjoy, He has lovingly directed me to stay away from only one. He knows me better than I know myself and He knows that this one food can easily lead me to a place where my flesh struggles to maintain self-control. I will tell you that when I listen to His leading on this, I am free. It’s a relief for me and increases my peace. God has told me this for years. I’m a work in progress. Most of the time I listen and obey, sometimes I don’t. But, I’m always blessed by freedom in my mind and peace of my body when I do. If you have something that repeatedly causes you stumble, I would encourage you to seek the Lord in prayer to ask if that’s something you need to abstain from as an offering of sacrifice for His blessing.  In return He will give you amazing peace and freedom. 

1 Corinthians 10:23 (AMP) ” All things are legitimate [permissible—and we are free to do anything we please], but not all things are helpful (expedient, profitable, and wholesome). All things are legitimate, but not all things are constructive [to character] and edifying [to spiritual life].”

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25 Skinny Pizza Recipes on Dashing Dish

April 24th, 2015 - Food News, Inspiration

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I don’t know many people that don’t enjoy pizza in some form or fashion! Here are 25 ways to enjoy it in a healthier way! Simply click on the picture to take you to the recipe!

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Cauliflower Pizza Bites

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BBQ Chicken Pizza for One

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Skinny Layered Pizza Dip

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Pizzuchini

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Pizza Fritata for One

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Skinny Pizza Rolls

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Pizza Chicken Salad

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Greek Pita Pizza

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Mini Deep Dish Pizzas

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Pizza Hummus

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Pepperoni Pizza Zucchini Bake

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Pizza Pinwheels

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Dashing Dish Membership Pizza Recipes:

No-Noodles Pizza Lasagna

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Mexican Pizzas

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Sweet Potato Pizza Crust Pizza

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Meatza Pizza

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Cauliflower Crust Buffalo Chicken Pizza

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Personal Pan Cauliflower Crust Pizzas

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Grain Free Pizza Puffs

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Pizza Chili

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Pizza Stuffed Peppers

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One Skillet Pizza Pasta Bake

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Flourless Pizza Crust

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Spaghetti Squash Pizza Bake

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Pizza Burgers

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Dashing Devotional: Against all Hope, Believe in Hope!

April 22nd, 2015 - Dashing Devotionals

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Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast. Hebrews 6:19

Do You Need Hope?

Have you ever had a time in your life where you were praying about something and you started off in faith, but as time went on with no obvious answer, you eventually started to lose hope?

If this sounds familiar, I will tell you that you are certainly not alone! In fact, if you are believing God for anything at all in your life, you most likely will face a situation like this, (I know I sure have!)

So, what do we do when we are believing for something, and we don’t see it come to pass in the timing or the way we were hoping?

When I have questions, I look to the Bible, and see if I can draw from people who had similar experiences to answer my questions.

There are various places throughout scripture where we can see that against all hope, God made a way when people put their trust in Him. Just a few of my favorite stories include David defeating Goliath, God parting the Red Sea for Moses and the Isrealites when they were being chased by the Egyptians, and Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego being thrown into the fire, yet coming out without any burns, or even the smell of smoke! 

With all of these amazing stories of God’s faithfulness, we can certainly be encouraged in our own journey, however, what do we do when we feel like the hope that was once blazing starts to dwindle to a flickering flame?

What Does the Bible Say About Hope?

This is where Hebrews 6:12-20 comes in to give us wise instruction on how to believe in hope against all hope! In fact, this passage of scripture is titled, The Certainty of God’s Promise in the NIV translation! Let’s look at what it has to say:

We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised. “When God made his promise to Abraham, since there was no one greater for him to swear by, he swore by himself, saying, “I will surely bless you and give you many descendants.”And so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised…Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath. God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.”

This passage of scripture was written to a group of Hebrew Christians that were being harassed by others because of their profession of faith in Christ. They were outcasts, impoverished and even being physically persecuted. And we can see that because of these circumstances, they were growing weary, and becoming discouraged.

For us, this same passage of scripture can be encouraging, regardless of what circumstances we may be facing. In the very beginning of this passage, we can see that Abraham was used as an example to us of someone that inherited what they were believing God for by faith and patience.

This passage also encourages us to keep on hoping! It tells us to let hope be an anchor to our soul, (or our emotions), keeping us steady and secure when we are trusting in His promises!

Another passage of scripture that echo’s this same message is Romans 4:18-21, which says:

Even when there was no reason for hope, Abraham kept hoping believing that he would become the father of many nations. For God had said to him, “That’s how many descendants you will have!” And Abraham’s faith did not weaken, even though, at about 100 years of age, he figured his body was as good as dead—and so was Sarah’s womb. Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God. He was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever he promises.”

What I love about these two passages are that they are parallel in so many ways, both painting a picture of hope, using Abraham as our example! When we look at Abraham’s life, he certainly had good reason to doubt God would do what He said in the natural. The scripture tells us that him and his wife Sarah were past childbearing years, yet he did not allow this, or the time that passed between God’s promise and the birth of Isaac (which was 25 years) sway him!

How do We Handle the Waiting Time?

We can see from these scriptures that Abraham’s hope was based on the promises of God. Because he knew God, and had a relationship with Him, Abraham was able to be fully persuaded that God would do what He promised. This leads me to my first point, which is that without an intimate relationship with our Father God, we can have a hard time receiving at times, because we have a hard time trusting Him, and His nature. For this reason, I would encourage everyone to pursue their personal relationship with Jesus before anything else, because as you get to know His heart, and what His will is (by reading the bible), you will have a much easier time developing trust in Him, and knowing what His will is for your life. (This is crucial, because if you don’t know that it is His will or promise to you, how can you be assured in hope that He will provide it?)

The second thing that we can see that Abraham did in the waiting was patiently endure in faith. Those two words (patience and faith) are used time and time again in scripture when it comes to describing Abraham, which shows us how essential they are in the waiting time. I have found many times in my own life that God has me waiting on things that I know are His will for my life, simply because He is teaching me something in the process, or it is not the right timing yet. It’s times like these that we need to hold onto hope as we patiently remain in faith, trusting that God will do what He promised at the right time.

Now don’t get me wrong, there are things that are provided for us in our covenant with Jesus (Isaiah 53:4-6), which God gives to us the moment we ask, because Jesus died to provide it, and it’s a free gift that we simply need to receive. However, there are times of trial, temptation, and testing that we can see that even Jesus went through in order to strengthen Him (Matthew 4:1-11 ). We can also see all throughout scripture that God is very orderly, and He cares more about our hearts than giving us something that ultimatley could harm us if it is too soon.

What if I’m Not Perfect?

When it comes to faith, the bible is very clear that when we ask God for something, we need to believe we receive what we are asking for without doubting, (James 1:6). So, when it comes to asking and believing God for something (according to His will), the bible says that we have to stand in faith without doubting. This doesn’t mean that we will always be perfect in our faith, and we can ask God to help us overcome doubt when we feel a lack of faith (Mark 9:24). This scripture goes on to say inJames 1:6-7 goes on to say, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord. This tells us that we do need to deal with unbelief when we are struggling with it, because it can hinder our receiving from God, even if it is His will and timing to provide it. 

So, does this mean that in order for God’s promises to be fulfilled in our lives, we have to do things perfectly? Certainly not! If we look more in depth at the story of Abraham, we can clearly see that he didn’t do things perfectly. In fact, he got off of God’s plan in a pretty big way when he stepped out ahead of God, trying to make the promise come to pass (see Genesis 16).I don’t know about you, but this is a bit reassuring at times to me, because I know that at times I run out ahead of God and lean to my own understanding as well.

This goes with out saying that Abraham’s disobedience cost him greatly, (just as it will when we don’t follow God’s plan), but God still brought His promises to pass in Abrahams life, despite him not being perfect. This my friends is a beautiful picture of God’s unconditional love and grace in action…and Praise God, He is still in the love and grace business today!

How Do We Remain in Hope? 

If you take nothing else with you today, I want you to grab hold of the very essence of this message, which is HOPE! How do we get and stay in hope when everything around us seems to be falling apart? Let’s look again at Hebrews 6:19, which says, We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.

This verse paints a picture of hope being like an anchor, which I love, because it is generally in the ‘storms’ of life, when it feels like we are being tossed around, and out of control that we we need an anchor the most. I like to think of it this way, when we put our anchor of hope down deep in the Lord, and we make the choice to trust Him of focusing on the wind and the waves, He will keep us steady and sure all the way through our circumstances. It is only when we get our eyes on the problem, and allow the waves to get in our ship that we will start to sink…but hope in God is a powerful force that will keep us anchored no matter what storms come our way!

The good news is, hope is not something that we need to muster up on our own! God loves you so very much, and wants to fill you with hope, so he made it very easy…all you have to do is ask! Today, if you feel like you have lost hope, or just want to be re-assured of your hope in the Lord, I would invite you to pray this prayer with me!

Prayer for Hope:

Jesus, I thank you for the hope that is only found in you. I thank you for your Word, which fills me with assurance of your great and precious promises for me. Lord, I pray that today you would fill me with hope, and that you would help me to be anchored deeply in you. Help me to keep my eyes on you Father God, instead of the circumstances, and I pray that you would calm my emotions, my anxieties, and that you would flood me with your perfect peace as I keep my mind stayed upon you. I trust you Father. I know that you are working all things together for my good, and you will turn this situation around for your glory. I thank you Lord for filling me with hope, until it overflows. In Jesus’ Name, Amen! 

Were you blessed by this devotional? Find more just like it in my new devotional book, Devotions for a Healthier You!  

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The Daily Dish: Some Current Happenings & Favorites!

April 17th, 2015 - Daily Dish

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Hey everyone! I feel like it’s been a while since i’ve done a daily dish! So, where do I begin!?! I wanted to share a few of my latest happenings behind the scenes of Dashing Dish, but also some of my current favorites!

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When it comes to HAPPENINGS, I have pretty busy since the release of my new books in the new year! Busy in a good way though! From interviews, to speaking, and book signings (where I have met some amazing people), it has been a whirlwind and so much fun! The best part about my book release the past few months to has been seeing my cookbook and devotional book in stores…and hearing stories, seeing pictures, and hearing how you guys enjoy them! Nothing blesses my heart more!!!

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If you follow me on Instagram you know that I have been doing something called Fan Fave Friday, where I share a picture from one of you guys when you tag photos from recipes you create! It’s been surprisingly hard to pick just one! You guys take awesome pics of the food! So fun!

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In February I had the opportunity to be on The Harvest Show to discuss my new devotional! It was a blessing, and I had the opportunity to meet such a wonderful team of people!

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Also in the month of February, my older sister threw a Valentines Day theme book signing party with some friends!

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In March I flew out to San Antonio, where I did a cooking segment on The Difference Show with Matt and Kendal Hagee. So fun!

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We also celebrated my dad’s birthday! People always say I get my ‘young face’ from my dad…how great does he look!?! He just returned from a missions trip to Ethiopia- he’s one of my greatest hero’s! :)

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The weather was a bit on the warm side for March here in Michigan (yeah), which calls for frozen yogurt for sure!

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I welcomed spring around our home by adding some spring flare to our decor!

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I also started to take regular walks again, which is always one of the GREATEST treats when the weather finally warms up! It is a time I look forward to most, because I feel like I have nothing else to think about/do but listen to worship music and just think about the Lord! He downloads so much into me when I walk, and I think it’s because I don’t have any other distractions! I treasure this time with Him!

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In March I also had a book signing in my home town, Ann Arbor Michigan. It was so much fun meeting so many of you and hearing your stories! I love how the internet can connect us, but meeting you guys face to face is the absolute best!

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At the end of March I went to visit my beautiful childhood best friend, who lives in Virginia to celebrate her first baby! She is having a little girl, and I couldn’t be more excited for her… I just wish we lived closer!

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How beautiful is this momma-to-be!?! I just love her!

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The beginning of April marks an especially cheering version of myself every year, because I know spring is officially here (or at least on it’s way here in Michigan!) Spring has always been my favorite season. Seriously, something about it has always been so amazing to me, and so representative of how the Lord brings things that seem lifeless back to life!

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Spring always brings with it the celebration of Jesus’s resurrection on Easter! How fitting is it that it that Easter falls in the beginning of spring. Jesus represents new birth and new life..and a fresh start which pairs so perfectly with the new season!

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We celebrated Easter with family. We went to visit my sisters church (she lives about an hour away), then went back to her house and spent the day with my family!

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April 8th marked an amazing day for my sisters and I when we had the opportunity to minister at the Brave Women’s Conference together! God’s poured out His love and presence in a mighty way in each and every woman there, including the three of us! It was a night I will never forget!

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I shared my testimony and about finding your identity and value in Christ to the young adult women’s group at Freedom Center. What an amazing night this was! God did some amazing things in the area of restoration and healing women’s hearts.

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I have also had the opportunity to speak at a few different MOPS groups this month, which has truly brought on a huge passion that I didn’t even know was there until recently! I have always known that I had a desire to help busy mom’s with cooking and eating healthy here at Dashing Dish, which is why most of my recipes are kid friendly, and made with a few simple ingredients that are easy to find and inexpensive. However, meeting so many precious women that are caring for little ones really opened my eyes to see what a huge impact mom’s can have on their children’s self worth and identity, especially when they are young! I also feel like God has been putting a desire on my heart to help mom’s meal plan and get their kids involved with cooking and learning nutrition. What a powerful impact that could make on the next generation coming up!

And last but not least, I wanted to share about one of the most impactful dreams I have had to date. Normally, I would never share a dream on social media/Dashing Dish, but this dream was one that I knew was not just for me, but rather to minister to others.  You can read more about the dream here if you’d like! It brings tears to my eyes just to think about it! Surely it will be something I will remember forever!

 

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As far as FAVORITES go, here are a few things that I am currently enjoying!

Another favorite has been these amazing books/resources written by my friend Jen from Unveiled Wife. Her and her husband are doing amazing things in the Kingdom for promoting healthy marriages Gods way!

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My journal from my sweet friend Dayna has been an every day favorite of mine. I use it for journaling. Ilove it because it has scripture at the top of each page, and the cover alone has reminded me of the truth so many times!

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As far as music goes, I have been loving this remix of Brit Nicole’s album! I have been listening to it when I’m working out, and I love every song! It has a great beat for getting you motivated!

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My sister Sarah surprised me with some of her favorite all natural cleaning and food products…The best part!?! It was just because!!! What a fun package this was to open!!! I have been loving the Branch Basics cleaning supplies!

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As far as meals go, well I am always in the mood for one of my protein shakes for breakfast. For lunch lately, I have been loving my Clean Eating Creamy Egg Salad. It is quick, easy to make, and super filling and delicious!

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For dinner I have been making a variety of things, but one of my favorites has been my 15 Minute Peanut Chicken & Broccoli recipe!

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For snacks I have been enjoying my No Bake Peanut Butter Protein Bars. They are the perfect pick-me-up mid-day, and they cure that sweet/salty craving that often strikes around 3 pm! ;)

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And for dessert, lately I have been making my Clean Eating Chocolate cake from my cookbook!

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Or my 3 Ingredient Strawberry Slushie! 

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Other FAVES are my sweet husband who supports me, prays for me, and is by my side through everything (he even comes to MOPS groups with me! ;) Now how is that for support!?!) He has also been pulling double shifts working on his client graphic design work, along with working long hours on the new Dashing Dish site and iPhone App! I couldn’t be more thankful for this creative genius God placed in my life! And this brings me to another fave- the new site!!! It is coming together, and I am beyond excited!!!

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And of course my little sweet pea Zoey- the most faithful giver of joy daily! :)

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How to Detox from Sugar

April 8th, 2015 - Food News, Inspiration

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When someone has decided to start living a healthy lifestyle, I always suggest making small changes over time in order to develop new healthy habits that will stick. One of the first places I suggest when it comes to cleaning out the pantry and fridge is to get rid of everything that has white sugar and white flour in it. There are so many reasons that white flour and sugar are bad for your health, and I highly suggest you do some research for yourself if you don’t already know why that is. Personally, I have found that my weight, my energy, my health, and my overall well being has been dramatically improved since I removed all products with sugar and flour in them years ago.

The purpose of this post  however is not necessarily to discuss why sugar and white flour are bad for our health, (although I have done so in various places on Dashing Dish), but rather it is to help you learn some easy ways to detox from sugar, and still enjoy sweets!

Where Do I Start? 

One of the first places that I would suggest detoxing from sugar is to toss your processed and sugar packed foods and start filling your fridge and pantry with natures sweets! I personally love fruit, because it is naturally sweet, and it is packed with nutrition! I know that it can be tough to think about ‘getting rid’ of some of your (or your families) favorite treats, but once it is out of sight, it will eventually become out of mind! It is so much better to not even have the temptation for sugar in your house!

But what about those days that you are craving chocolate, cookies, cake, etc!?! Well, let me be the first to say that I am a ‘sweets’ girl, so I totally get that! So, instead of cutting out your favorite sweet treats all together, I suggest you replace them with a healthier option…Which is what I provide here at Dashing Dish!

What are Some Swap Outs for Sugar?

We all know sugar is not the best thing for our bodies, but all those artificial sweeteners aren’t good for our health either. So what is a good option that won’t spike your blood sugar, or add unnecessary chemicals to your diet?

After much experimentation in a quest to find a natural no-calories sweetener, I found a couple of great options. And the great news is, many grocery stores are starting to carry these products! So here are some different options to swap out with sugar, with a little review about each one! (Note: There are more options than the ones listed below, but these are the ones that I have personally tried.)

Stevia: This is by far the best natural sweetener I have found.  It is derived from a stevia leaf and has been used for years in other countries.  It is starting to be used more and more in things like diet soda and drinks.  In my opinion, the best brand by far is NuStevia (found at many health food stores, and on Amazon). You can find stevia in the form of powder, a baking blend, packets, or liquid stevia.  They even have made flavored liquid stevia, which is great for coffee!

  • The Pros: The brand NuStevia has no bitter after-taste and proportionally it is as close to sugar as you can get.   (It is still sweeter than sugar… as are most substitutes, so you generally need less than the amount of sugar you would use.)
  • The Cons: Well, I haven’t found any yet, except some brands do have a bitter taste, which is why I prefer Nu Naturals brand, as it is not bitter at all.

Truvia: Truvia is made from the stevia plant and is mixed with another natural sweetener, erythritol.  Erythritol is the naturally fermented sugar alcohol found in fruits such as pears and grapes.

  • The Pros:  Truvia can be found in most supermarkets. It has the texture of natural sugar, which makes it great to sprinkle on fruit.
  • The Cons:  This brand is not as sweet as stevia and it does cause GI discomfort, if used in excess.

Xylitol: This is a natural sweetener found in the fibers of many fruits and vegetables.  You’ll find that most of your sugar-free gum has xylitol in it.

  • The Pros: Research has found that chewing gum with xylitol in it can actually reduce the risk of cavities.
  • The Cons: This sugar alternative unfortunately isn’t calorie free.  It has 2.4 calories per gram… but hey, its better than sugar!  It also does cause a bit of gastrointestinal discomfort if you use it in excess.

Honey and Agave Nectar: These are both natural sweeteners made in nature. Agave is a natural sweetener made from the plant from which tequila is made. It has a similar texture and consistency to honey.  So for those that love honey in their coffee or recipes, this is great for you.

  • The Pros: Besides the mentioned comparison to honey, some studies state that it is low on the glycemic index, which makes it a better option for diabetics and for weight management.
  • The Cons: The only downfall I have found with this is that it does add calories (about 60 calories in 1 Tbs), and it can’t be added as easily to baking recipes, because it is a liquid.

Sugar in the Raw and Coconut Sugar: Sugar in the Raw is sugar made exclusively from sugarcane.The juice is extracted from the sugarcane and then crystallized through evaporation to maintain its natural molasses, golden color and distinctive flavor. Coconut sugar is a sugar produced from the sap of cut flower buds of the coconut palm. Coconut sugar has been used as a traditional sweetener for thousands of years in the South and South-East Asian regions where the coconut palm is in abundant supply.

  • The Pros: Depending on the brand you purchase, they could potentially be less processed than white sugar. They also can be swapped out for sugar exactly in baking recipes.
  • The Cons: Both of these sugars have the same number of calories and carbohydrates as regular white sugar. They can also negatively affect your blood glucose levels, especially if you are diabetic. Overall, there is not proof that either of these sugars are any better for you than white sugar.

 How to Swap Out Sugar for Stevia in Recipes:

When it comes to sweeteners, I personally like to use baking stevia and stevia packets like I mentioned above. However, all of these recipes call for a sweetener that measures like sugar, which includes any sweetener that can be measured the same as sugar, or you could use sugar if you prefer.

If you prefer to use stevia or another sweetener, you will have to alter the amount based on the conversion table below, or according to your desired taste. This can take some experimenting, but once you get a feel for baking with different sweeteners, it is very simple to know how much to use. To get you started, I have provided a simple conversion table that works with stevia.

Please also note, that the amounts listed below may vary based on the brand of stevia you are using. The following chart pertains to NuNaturals stevia, which is the brand I personally recommend. If you are using baking stevia, simply use 1/2 of the sugar the recipe calls for. I also provide a ‘sweetener of choice that measures like sugar’ in all of my recipes, and if you do choose to use sugar in the raw, coconut sugar, or regular sugar, you can use this for determining the amount to use in the recipe. 

I hope that this information helps you on your journey to health! To find sugar and flour free recipes that still allow you to enjoy your favorite sweets, be sure to check out the Dessert section on Dashing Dish, and my new Cookbook 100 Simple Recipes for Clean Eating, which is packed with sugar and flour free sweet snacks and treats!

 

 

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Dashing Devotional: Finding Freedom in Forgiveness.

April 3rd, 2015 - Dashing Devotionals

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Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. –Colossians 3:13

With today being Good Friday, I had plans to write about the most amazing gift that God ever gave, His Son Jesus.

However, when I went to write this devotional, God placed something different on my heart than the traditional Easter message. As I began to think about Jesus, I couldn’t help but think about a common theme of His life and death, which I believe comes down to love and forgiveness.

I know that forgiveness isn’t necessarily the most enjoyable thing to talk about, and it can be a hard topic for some. However, when we think about Jesus, it is impossible to separate the two.

Romans 3:25 tells us that, “God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood.” Jesus’s sacrifice was the greatest act of forgiveness that the world has ever and will ever know.

There is truly no need to go in depth beyond this perfect sacrifice, but it goes without saying that Jesus also displayed forgiveness countless times in His own life to various people who ridiculed and mocked Him. One of these people included His disciple and close friend, Judas, who betrayed Him when He needed him most. And we can’t forget the act of mercy He displayed to the thief hanging on the cross next to Him, even at His own darkest hour.

This my friends is why I want to talk about forgiveness on this Good Friday. Because on the day that we set aside to think about what Jesus did for us, and how He died while we were yet sinners… We would be unjust to think that we have a reason or a right to hold unforgiveness towards anyone, when Jesus paid the ultimate price for us to be forgiven of so very much.

Regardless of who you are, one thing is true for us all, and that is we have all been hurt by people.  Relationships can be one of the most uplifting things in our lives, and at the same time,  one of the most damaging.  There may be things done or said about you that seem unforgivable.  You may find yourself in a place wanting to forgive, yet the hurt and pain is still gnawing at your memory.  Often we find ourselves in self-protection when we have been hurt, and we put up walls to shut people out. 

So, how do we get past the pain and find freedom in forgiveness? One of the most important steps is realizing that forgiveness is not a feeling. It is a commandment from the Lord, and it is ultimatley for our own good.  It is also not an excuse for what was done to us.  When we forgive, it is not allowing that person to get away with what they have done.  Forgiveness does one thing… it sets US free.  When we hold on to the hurt and pain of our past, it keeps us bound there.

When we find it hard to forgive, we can go to the Father and ask Him to change our hearts towards that person, and to help us see them through His eyes. Ultimatley, He would never expect us to do this on our own, and He would never ask us to do anything that is impossible for us to do with His help. In fact, Jesus knows exactly what we are going though when we are wronged by others, yet He was the perfect example of forgiveness.  We see in the Bible that He didn’t just forgive the people of their sins, but He prayed for them, and blessed them.

Anytime we are tempted to hold on to what someone has done to us, we need to remember how Jesus was beaten, cursed, and crucified even though he was innocent.  Despite the pain of those words and physical pain of the crucifixion, he still prayed, “Lord, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34)

Today as we meditate on the goodness of our Savior, let us remember the legacy of love and forgiveness that He left as an example to us. He is ready and willing to and pour out that same love into our hearts towards those that have hurt us, all we have to do is be open to receiving. When we forgive those that have hurt us, it is then that the healing can begin in our hearts, and we can be free.

Prayer:  “Lord, I pray that you help me to forgive _____ for hurting me.  Help me to remember your nature of forgiveness and that you have forgiven them and love them the same as you do me.  Help me to act in the same forgiving power that you did as you were on the cross.  Thank you for remembering my sins no more and removing them from me.  Help me to extend the same mercy towards this person.  I pray that you take away the hurt, anger, and bitterness, and bring healing, restoration, and forgiveness.  In Jesus name, Amen!”

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The Story Behind Devotions for a Healthier You!

April 1st, 2015 - Announcements, Articles, True Beauty

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Here is an inside look explaining the heart behind my new devotional book!

What about Devotions for a Healthier You do you want the reader to not just read with her mind but embrace with her heart?

Over the years, I have filled countless journals with precious gems that the Lord has revealed to me through the promises in His Word. This devotional book is filled with devotions that have been inspired by my personal journal entries, which range in topics from body image to understanding and receiving God’s great love for us. I truly want every woman to know how precious and beautiful they are to the Lord, and I pray that this book teaches every reader just how valuable they are to Him!

In addition to building the reader up spiritually, I also hope this book will bring practical knowledge on how to live a physically fit and healthy lifestyle. For that reason, I have included recipes, tips, and a meal plan to equip the reader with the tools they need to build a healthy foundation.

What is the thing that surprised you the most about writing this book? Any thoughts or stories on something you had to take to heart again yourself in the book?

When I was writing this book, it allowed me to dive into the Word of God in a deep and rich way, spending countless hours pouring over the scriptures that tell us who we are in Christ. It was truly a refreshing time for me, as I was able to meditate on the great and precious promises that the Lord has made to us, His daughters! I was also able to go back and read journal entries from years past, and see where the Lord has brought me, and how he truly did take the ashes of my life and turn them into something beautiful.

Why do you believe women struggle so much with eating, our thought life, our body image? How will your book help them?

I believe that a lot of the struggles that women face when it comes to body image and feeling beautiful comes from our society today. There are pressures coming from many different sources, all of which bombard women with the false expectations to look a certain way, and have it all together. I truly believe that this message is meant to target women’s deepest desire, which is their need to feel loved, and worthy of love. Ultimately, this love and feeling of worthiness can only be filled by our creator, but it is not until we have a revelation of this that we can finally be freed from these false expectations and pressures. 

God never created us to all look the same, be the same, or act the same, and His Word tells us that He created each one of us as His masterpiece. My devotional book teaches women how to find the fullness of their worth in the Lord, and it will draw them into a deeper understanding of His Great love for us. 

What is the most rewarding thing to you about offering a devotional for women to refer to when they are feeling like they need some encouragement and a way to focus their thinking and beliefs toward the Creator?

I feel so incredibly honored to be able to share the truths that God has revealed to me in His Word with others! I have always said that I wish I could download everything that God has poured into me over the years that has allowed me to find my identity and value in Him…and I can honestly say that I was able to do just that when writing this book. I am filled with gratitude, humility, and thankfulness to the Lord that He has allowed me to share the truths that brought me so much freedom me over the years with other women!

What have you experienced personally that led to you creating The Dashing Dish, recipes, and connecting with God when it comes to something we do everyday: eat or think about eating?! 

I believe that much of my passion in the kitchen was developed as a part of the healing process for me when I was recovering from eating disorders. I can now say that each and every recipe that I create is truly inspired by Him, in order to bring health and enjoyment to every one that I am able to share them with! 

As I create each recipe, I do so with the belief that God wants us to enjoy our every day life, which includes sitting down to eat our meals each day! This is evident in the fact that He gave us taste buds, and in the fact that He filled the earth with plenty of wonderful tasting foods to nourish our bodies! This is why it is my passion to create simple and healthy meals that not only feed the body, but nourish the soul. 

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Renewing Your Mind with Seeds of Truth by Sarah Shaffer

April 1st, 2015 - Inspiration, True Beauty

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Spring is such a beautiful time. It represents awakening, renewal, and life. Where once lay a dormant seed, life and beauty begin to spring forth.  A seemingly simple seed is such a profound visual for understanding the power of God’s word in our lives. A seed unplanted doesn’t provide much inspiration or beauty. But, when that little seed is planted deeply into fertile ground, watered, cared for, allowed to have light shine upon it, and waited for patiently, gives birth to breathtaking beauty and nourishing fruit. It transforms barren landscapes into glorious panoramas. 

The Word of God refers to itself as a “seed” more than 40 times in the New Testament.  Why? Because the Lord understands that we can imagine the process a seed goes through,  we can observe it because He gave us a real-life, visual understanding of it. Just like a flower seed, the Word of God must be planted in our fertile hearts, fed and cared for, spoken for light to expose darkness, and persistently and patiently pursued to produce the fruit and beauty we desire in our lives. In Mark, Jesus taught three parables about this very concept. The word of God is to our experience of God and His plan for our lives what a physical seed is to spring blossoms and rich harvests.

Unfortunately, lies can also be planted and produce fruit. What we feed grows. If somewhere along the way in our lives, a lie is accepted as truth, planted and fed, it produces fruit of doubt, anxiety, fear, anger, etc. The good news is that those lies can be plucked by the root and replaced with seeds of truth! 

As you enjoy the physical splendor of spring, I’m inviting you to begin preparing the soil of your heart for awakening and renewal as well.  We can experience a true spring in our spirits by digging up the weeds that entangle us and begin to replace them with the beautiful bouquet that comes from planting God’s truth into our lives.  

Beginning April 1st, I invite you to join the Facebook Group “Renewing Your Mind with Seeds of Truth”, where there will be daily posts with some of the most common lies we accept as truth. Accompanying this will be your opportunity to dig up that lie and replace it with truth. To replace each common lie, there will be a scripture to declare over yourself as you plant new seeds of truth in your heart. 

There will be a printable version of every post so you can print and post God’s word to be seen and declared over and over. Remember, a seed doesn’t blossom into a daisy in a day, and neither does replacing truth for lies. But, keep declaring them over yourself and you will reap a rich harvest! It’s not just my promise, it’s God promise!!! 

1 Peter 1:23 “23 You have been born again [or anew], and this new life did not come from something that dies [a perishable seed], but from something that cannot die [an imperishable seed]. You were born again [or anew] through God’s living message that continues forever [the living and abiding/enduring word of God].”

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Top 30 Clean Eating Spring Recipes

March 25th, 2015 - Announcements, Food News, Inspiration

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Tips for Prioritizing Exercise when You Have Kids

March 20th, 2015 - Fitness News, Inspiration, Kids/Family

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Prioritizing exercise is challenging at any point in life, but it can become even trickier after having kids. However, exercise is an important part of caring well for yourself and when scheduled as a priority into your day makes you feel better and sets a great example for your kids. Here, I’ve shared some of the ways I’ve learned to make exercise a daily habit even with kids. I hope it blesses you.

Get up early

Getting up early to make exercise a priority is easier at different stages of our kids’ lives than others. I remember after my little girl was born, I would get up at 5 a.m. to work out after having been up 3 or 4 times during the night to nurse her. I was choosing that for the wrong reasons. I was exercising out of panic and not out of a desire to treat my body well. I strongly believe the season of infanthood should be more about self-care than running yourself into exhaustion (literally)! If that’s your season, be kind to yourself, the time to exercise will come! For those of us with older kids though, early mornings are the perfect opportunity to get a workout done for the day. Making the decision to get up instead of hitting the snooze button can be a challenging one, but it always worth it. I’ve come to cherish that quiet time while everyone is asleep. By the time my family is waking up, I’m filled up from some quiet time with God and feeling great physically. It’s good for all of us!

Have the Kids Join You

Last summer I was having a hard time prioritizing exercise myself. Our routines were off. Too many late summer evenings and too few regular early morning work outs were becoming the norm. I was working to find a healthy balance between restful home days and busy fun days. Despite my attempt to strike a healthy balance, my exercise routine was suffering. About three weeks into summer break, I decided to institute “home-days” boot camp. After breakfast while it was cool or in the evening after dinner we would all put on our gym shoes and get to it! We would run laps around the yard, have sprint races, jumping jacks, and do push-ups. We would each take turns calling out an exercise and try to do it for two minutes. Can I just tell you that I not only got a legitimate workout, but we had a blast! The kids loved it and it was a great way to burn off some of their energy.

Let them Watch

I’ve discovered from my own journey, and from speaking with many moms that one of the hardest challenges of prioritizing exercise when you have kids is often based on one common factor – guilt! It’s taken me eight years, but I can finally say that I am able to exercise with my kids guilt-free. I’ve settled into the peace of knowing that it’s really ok for them to entertain themselves for an hour or to watch an hour of TV while mom gets her exercise done. I think not only is it ok, but actually sends a really healthy message. It tells them that I value my health and that I’m choosing to care well for myself. I’ve also discovered an added bonus. Because I only listen to worship music while I exercise, they see me worshiping and spending time with the Lord. I overheard my daughter playing “mommy” one day and realized she was pretending to go for a run and I saw her praying and worshiping. It was a wonderful confirmation that it’s ok for her to just hang out and watch while I work out.

Use Childcare

I’m so incredibly blessed to belong to a gym. If you get to enjoy that blessing as well, I would encourage you to take advantage of the childcare they offer. This was another source of “mommy guilt” I unnecessarily carried for years. I felt so guilty taking my kids to childcare at the gym. I was certain they were miserable and that I was being selfish. Thankfully the Lord used my sons’ words to release me of that last summer. About half-way into summer I asked him what he was enjoying most so far about summer break. Without hesitation he answered, “I love going to play with new friends at the gym.” I vowed to take off mommy-guilt that day over using childcare too.

However you choose to prioritize exercise, I pray that you always choose it as an act of worship and self-care.

Prayer: Lord, we thank you for our children and for our bodies. We thank you in advance for showing us how to balance caring well for both gifts. Lord, please reveal to us “hidden” times in the day when we can enjoy a workout. Release us of guilt over taking time for ourselves and remind us of the truth that our bodies are a temple, a dwelling place of the Most High God, worthy of care and blessing. We thank you ahead of time for faithfully providing the time, the resources and the ability to make exercise a priority in our day. In Jesus name, amen.

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