Food/Health Myths said at Social Gatherings

With the long weekend here this is an appropriate time to address some food/health myths that are said quite frequently at social gatherings. These statements are made to justify food choices, whether we realize we are doing this or not. I’m sure I have been guilty of saying some of these in the past and I’ve certainly nodded, laughed, or smiled when these comments have been made around food. Here they are:

1) “Everything in moderation”. This statement denies that there are items that are bad for us – foods that we should never eat. Trans Fats are an example where “everything in moderation” does not apply.

2) “Better to have too much food than too little”. North American’s tend to eat and waste too much food. Thinking that it’s better to have “too much” food for a social function tends to encourage over-eating and the wasting of food. The goal should be to have “just enough” food and if there isn’t enough that’s OK. It is unlikely that anyone will leave the function with true starvation.

3) “I would rather die early than stop eating foods that I enjoy”. I have heard this statement several times. A counter statement would be, “are you eating to live or living to eat?”

4) “We are on vacation! We’ll eat better next week”. Why does being on vacation = junk food consumption + over-eating? We all know that it can be hard to go back to eating healthy after satisfying our taste buds for sugar + fats. Being on vacation is a perfect time to eat a variety of vegetables, fruits, and to not feel so stuffed that we become sluggish and feel gross. The latter sounds more like a waste of a vacation.

5) “I can eat this ’cause I worked out today”. Sure, a person may not gain weight while eating unhealthy because they burned calories to compensate but what do their insides look like? Has their brain received the nutrients that it needs for optimal functioning? A person can be fit from working out but still be deemed unhealthy and malnourished.

As you enjoy social gatherings and vacation this summer see how many of these food/health myths you hear people say. Be empowered to no longer agree and if daring, challenge some of the food/health lies. Taking it a step further, bring “just enough” or “just under enough” food to your next social function and relish in the reality that everyone will live and have fun regardless.

Happy Canada Day (July 1st)! And to my American friends, Happy July 4th!

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5 Marriage Tips

We have been married for 5 years now. Over the years, we have been given various marriage/relationship tips. Some of the advice has been extremely helpful and others not so much. With that in-mind, here are some tips that I’d give to married couples:

1) Sometimes, it’s okay to go to bed angry. As newlyweds we were told to never go to bed angry, ever. This resulted in me trying to talk things out while hubby just needed some time and space to regroup. There were some evenings where we stayed up way too late trying to resolve conflict that couldn’t be resolved in one evening. Going to bed angry does not mean that your marriage is doomed. The important thing is to seek to resolve conflict and don’t let things fester. Pulling an all nighter isn’t always the best way to resolve conflict. Sometimes issues are best resolved after a full night of sleep.

2) Use “I” statements. This one I cannot stress enough! When arguing, replacing “you” with “I” will help tremendously. An example of this is, “you don’t give me enough compliments.” Taking away the “you” and replacing it with “I” could look like: “I feel hurt when I make the effort to dress up and I don’t hear a compliment.” You causes the other person to feel under attack. Using I instead really helps the person to see your heart and as a result, they are more likely to want to listen and respond positively. Believe me, get rid of “you” and use “I” and see the results!

3) Don’t lose sight of your own shortcomings. It can be easy in a relationship to start focusing on the other person’s faults. If your mind keeps replaying a “record of wrongs” it may be helpful to sit down and try the following exercise. On half of a piece of paper write out all of the positive things about your spouse. On the other half of the paper write a list of your own shortcomings. This exercise can help a person out of a mental rut of fault finding. While your spouse may have negative traits, they also have positive ones. And we each need to remember that while they may have shortcomings, we do as well.

4) There is one saying from the Love & Respect conference that can radically transform your relationship for the better. Dr. Emerson repeats through out the conference, “not wrong – just different.” I wish that I grasped this sooner in our marriage. It is not wrong for our spouse to be different from us. Yet, our default is to want them to operate just like us. When our spouse puzzles us or frustrates us, repeating: “not wrong – just different” can go a long way!

5) This last one I’m not so great at but I believe in the rewards from doing so. Get in the habit of hugging or kissing your spouse every time you come home from work. This can set the tone for the rest of the evening. Instead of being rushed, spend a couple of seconds showing that you are happy to be together again.

If you have marriage advice that someone gave you or you’ve learned along the way, I’d love for you to leave a comment below.  Marriage is a journey, we never “arrive” so to speak. Learning new ways to improve our relationship is something each of us can do until death do us part.

Real Life Pastor Funnies

While being a pastor or a pastor’s wife isn’t always fun or funny, there are times when its just priceless! Here are two of the funniest things said to us to date:

1) After we bought our house but hadn’t moved yet, the children next door were having a conversation with their grandfather. The youngest boy said to his Grandfather, “we’ll have to be very careful when we go fishing”. When Grandpa inquired as to why he said this the boy explained, “we need to be extra careful that we catch and release properly because the ministry is going to be living next door soon!”. He had heard that a minister had bought the house and assumed it was the Ministry of Natural Resources!

2) A couple told their non-churched neighbour that their minister was coming over for dinner. The man said with his girlfriend present, “oh, we could get married when he comes over!”.  Funny that he thought he could just pop on over during dinner and get married by the minister. But then he went on to say,  “shoot, no we can’t, I’m not divorced yet”.

Never a dull moment! 🙂

Belly Fat

In this video, Dr. Oz sits down and speaks with Pastor Rick Warren about heart health, belly fat, and the “white foods”.  I have watched it 4 times! I’m sharing this with you as there’s so much knowledge and truth in this video: Dr. Oz/Rick Warren Health Talk

How to loose 5 pounds in 2 weeks (the healthy way)

I didn’t think it was possible to loose 5 pounds in 2 weeks while being healthy at the same time. I recently lost 2.5 pounds per week! Average weight loss with diet and/or exercise tends to be 1 pound per week. From June 6th to June 20th (exactly 2 weeks), I have lost 5 pounds. Have I been starving myself? No. Have I been more active than usual? Unfortunately, no. What changed in the last two weeks was believing that what I put inside my mouth is important. I have not been counting calories. Rather, I have been viewing food as “medicine” for my brain, heart + body. Simply, if the food has low to no nutritional value, I haven’t been eating it. Here’s what’s on the no-go list:

– no junk food at all (not even a little bit). meaning no chips, cookies, cakes, candy, etc.

– no easy frozen foods. nothing breaded. no french fries.

– no drinking calories. besides water, coffee or tea are the only ones that I drink.

– cut down on sugar. I no longer have sugar in my coffee – just milk.

– eating less meat and when I do, mostly lean meat (chicken, turkey)

– no white stuff. no white rice, potatoes, and wheat (pasta, bread, wraps, pizza, etc!)

I have hypothyroidism which causes my metabolism to be super sluggish. I think cutting out all the white stuff and replacing it with vegetables instead has been the biggest contributing factor to the weight loss. I have heard Dr. Oz explain that a lot of the white/processed foods make us want to consume more food. This is due to the reality that our brains keep track of nutrients and not calories. So when we eat chips, our brain sends signals to eat more as our brain received zero nutrients.  This may explain the whole, “just can’t eat one” saying 🙂

While I lost 5 pounds in 2 weeks, others may loose even more or may loose less. It depends on a lot of factors. What matters here is that this isn’t a crash diet – this is a lifelong commitment to eating healthy. This is remembering the reality that what we put in our mouths really does matter. Is it easy? No. Is it possible? Most definitely.

If you want to learn more about what I’m eating, see this previous post: The Daniel Plan: Post 2

Parent Confessions

My first parent confession happened several years ago. Out of seemingly nowhere, a father shared with me that if he could go back in time he would choose not to have children. This surprised me as he seemed to love children and was a doting and devoted father of two.

Recently,  I was out for lunch with an empty nester. She said the following to me, “I didn’t think it through before having children.” She stated that she was happy in her marriage and thought that the next logical step was to have a baby.  She shared with me that she didn’t think that the sacrifice was worth it in the end.

While I was surprised by the two “wouldn’t do it again” confessions, I found myself even more surprised by a different kind of statement.  In the lunchroom, a mother said to the group of us that she could see her life as equally fulfilled whether she had a biological child (she does), or adopted instead or had no children at all.

I am not sure why I was told these parent confessions. Maybe because we don’t have children? Maybe they saw me as a safe person to share their regrets with? Whatever the reason, it now causes me to pause when I hear people say,  “you’ll never regret it (children)”. The internet provides anonymous confessions by parents who say that they regret having children.  I wonder if a more accurate expression may be, “it’s likely that you won’t regret it – but I can’t say for certain, you just might.”

Date Night Ideas for $10 or less

While engaged, we had several people strongly recommend that we guard and protect a weekly date night. For the most part, Friday nights have been our date nights. Date nights are a wonderful time to re-connect and have fun together.

Playing board games can be a fun date night!
Playing board games can be a fun date night!

While the positive benefits of date nights for a marriage are numerous, there are really two common themes why couples don’t go on date nights. The two biggest reasons for couples not going on date nights are: 1) children and 2) money. Children certainly make date nights more challenging. There’s both the scheduling and paying for a babysitter. Yet, I do know several married couples with children who go on weekly date nights. I have heard the argument that it’s even more imperative to have weekly date nights while raising young children.

Financially speaking, date nights do not need to break the bank. While on a budget, date nights require creativity. Here are frugal date night ideas that we have done:

– coffee at Starbucks and an evening of reading in Chapters ($10 for the drinks)

– hike through a local conservation park ($3 in fuel to get there and back)

– found local (free) events such as the Buskers and walked around ($7 for fuel)

– rented a movie and bought snacks for our @ home date night ($5-10)

– half price apps at a local restaurant ($8+ tip)

– gone biking (me) and rollerblading (hubby) on waterfront trails ($7 in fuel)

The list could go on and on. Sometimes our date nights include face-to-face time which means we spend a lot of time talking (something females tend to prefer). Other times it’s side-by-side activity (something males tend to prefer) where we are doing something fun together but it’s not really heart-to-heart time. Both are OK and necessary in a relationship. But now you are left wondering, how do parents achieve $10 or less date nights when they require a babysitter? Here are a few ideas:

– see if there are any family members or friends willing to babysit for free

– if you have friends raising children as well, see if they will babysit yours for your date night and then offer to babysit theirs for their date night

– sometimes date nights can be done by staying in. just be intentional that one (or both of you) doesn’t fall asleep on the couch or isn’t doing laundry during date night!

In regards to money and date nights the popular saying, “where there’s a will there’s a way” is true. Are you now or have you ever been intentional about date nights? I’d love to hear about it by you leaving a comment below. If you have other ideas for affordable date nights, I’d love to hear them!