Spiced Apple Pumpkin Butter

Spiced Apple Pumpkin Butter

My Mom came a few days ago for Christmas.  Today she was finishing cleaning out my pumpkins.  Yes, I know it is Christmas and a month passed Thanksgiving.  I have been using my pumpkin for smoothies, but today I made Pumpkin Energy Balls, roasted pumpkin seeds, and Mom made a pumpkin pie….Joshua has been request one every time she comes. She has made sugar cookies and I made cranberries and my hot cranberry drink at the request of family members.

I then decided to try a new recipe, Spiced Apple Pumpkin Butter I found on Dr Amy Myer’s website.   I have tried a few of her recipes and all have been yummy.  Check it out on her site if you want the recipe.  However since I have a Vitamix I just put all of the ingredients into the blender, no cooking at all.  I did add 5 drops of stevia since the apples are a sour variety. It turned out yummy.  I love the taste, and it is a great way to use apples I got from my sister’s tree and my pumpkin.  It is supposed to be used as a dip for crackers, fruit or vegetables.  I tried it with celery.  Definitely a winner.  If you eat bread, it would make a delicious butter for bread as well.

So have you tried any new recipes this holiday season?

Charity Auction Quilts

Pinwheel Quilt

Last evening Catholic Charities of North Dakota held a Baskets and Bows Auction and Silent Auction to raise money for their many programs they provide for the public.There adoption, pregnancy and counseling services are phenomenal. We support this charity when we can, and our calendars were clear.

I knew they had several quilts for auction.  I wasn’t able to win the Up North Quilt that had a woodsy feel, but I was lucky enough to win 3 quilted items in the silent auction..  The beautiful pinwheel quilt above is gorgeous.  It is in shades of navy blue and gold and is about 63″ by 80″. I think it will be a favorite of mine for a long time to come.

Winter Table RunnerThis Winter Runner is about 38″ x 12″ so it can be used on the table or a side table.  Love that it is double-sided so I can use it on whichever side strikes my mood. Probably will be on the snowman side more since I decorate with many snowman in my house.  Why?  Not sure since I really don’t like snow and cold.

Changing Seasons Quilt

Finally I came home with this Asian inspired Changing Season Quilt.  It is more of a wall hanging.  I plan to hang it on the wall somewhere this spring if I can find a place.  Love, love, love, the colors.

If you ever have a chance to go to a charity fund-raiser, check out the handmade quilts.  You may be able to get some well-made quilts at a great price while helping a worthwhile charity.  Just don’t bid against me.

 

Food Is My Medicine

Hippocrates

For most of my life, food was my poison, and I didn’t even realize it.  However, for the last few years it has become my medicine.  I am hoping I can help others make food their medicine as well.  I am so excited to announce that I am studying to become a Health Coach.  I started in September at Institute of Integrative Medicine.

Let me start at the beginning.  I have always had hormonal and stomach issues.  It was my normal. At different times in my life I would go to a doctor, have tests and be told, “All tests look good; there is nothing wrong with you.”  When you don’t feel well, those words do something to a person.  I started to doubt myself.  It must be in my mind.  Am I a hypochondriac? Am I crazy?  I know I am not making it up.  I guess this is just the way I am.

Tomatoes

I won’t go into all the different issues, but some of my issues ranged from lack of energy, brain fog, bad breath, and acne to  horrible PMS and periods as well as four miscarriages.  Then in early January 2011 I had testing done because I felt like there was always something stuck in my throat. I finally received one diagnosis of GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease) and Barrett’s Esophagus.  Even though I had stomach aches all of my life, (when I was young I used to sleep with a bucket next to my bed because I always felt like I might throw up), I was surprised at the diagnosis. I always thought acid reflux had symptoms of burning in the chest which I never had. No doctor had told me that acid reflux could be causing the feeling of something stuck in my throat.  It is a symptom of acid reflux, so if you have that, go get checked out for acid reflux.

The diagnosis scared me. Not only was I told that I could have a higher risk of having esophageal cancer, but besides watching what I eat, raising the head my bed, and taking pills for the rest of my life, there was nothing I really could do.  That did not sit well with me. Oh and by the way, the diagnosis was given to me in a letter from the specialist. Some how that seems wrong.

I was not willing to accept the fact that I had to stay on a proton pump inhibitor that clearly was labelled, “Do not to take for longer than 2 weeks” and had many side effects.  That just didn’t make sense to me. The first thing for me was to figure out how to change my diet.  I worked with a nurse practitioner who specializes in nutrition.  I also took a blood test to look for food sensitivities.  It came back with a large list of items that I was sensitive to.  Two of them, peanuts and yeast, were staples in my diet.  What I found out is that when someone has acid reflux many times the only time they feel good is when they are eating.  That was the case with me, so I ate snacks throughout the day.  My snacks were sugary, white flour items, and peanut containing items.  Most white flour items contain yeast, so I would eat to feel a little better, but eat the foods that I was sensitive to which only made me feel worse.  It was a downward spiral.

By the end of Dec 2011 I got off my proton pump inhibitors.  Let me tell you it was so hard.  I got down to just one a day, but I couldn’t stop.  I felt miserable if I didn’t take it.  The best thing happened to me…I got the flu.  Yep, I couldn’t eat or take anything for about 4 days. When I finally could eat, I didn’t take the proton pump inhibitor.  I got past the “addiction”.  I have not gone back.

Squash

Over the past three years health, food, and nutrition has become my passion.  I continued to work on my diet.  I have tried eliminating foods from my diet to see how that effected me.  I worked on adding regular exercise to my life.  I walk at least 10,000 steps almost every day as well a few other eccentric and burst type exercises, and I am working on sleeping more and better.  I even stopped drinking my daily Coke.

Health is a journey.  It is not a one time event or change.  Our bodies are always changing, so we need to change as that happens.  I have spent hours reading, listening, and researching to understand food, nutrition, and health better for myself and my family.  Some days I think…why don’t I feel 100%, but then think back to how terrible I felt for most of my life, and I see how far I have come.  I am making good changes and creating great healthy habits that continue to improve my health.

So what is a health coach and why am I studying to be one?  A health coach is someone who is trained on how to coach people to reach their health and lifestyles goals by making small incremental changes in a practical, enjoyable way, so they eventually become a habit.  I want to help others focus on food, exercise, stress, relationships, faith and other aspects of their lifestyle to support them to improve their health and lives.  If I can make changes to help me feel better, so can others.

Broccoli

As I looked at my life I knew I was on the precipice of a new stage.  My oldest was going off to college and my youngest was starting his sophomore year of high school. My days as a homeschooler were numbered. What did I want to do next? As I spent time in reflection I knew that it had to be something around health.  Before I had children I had been a Human Resources professional.  One of my strengths was coaching employees and managers.  What could I do with that strength?

As I learned more and more about health and food, and as I realized that my health was forever changed because of the changes I made in my eating, exercise, sleeping and spiritual practices I knew I wanted others to know that too.  It was so hard to make the changes mostly on my own.  It was so hard to stay the course when a change didn’t give me an immediate positive benefit.  In my busy-ness I would slip backwards.  Physicians aren’t trained in nutrition and diets.  They don’t have time to work with their patients to make sure the changes needed to help them keep on track.  That is where I want to come in.  I want to help others who want to help themselves.

A health coach would be a perfect fit for me, so I started studying over 100 diet and nutrition lifestyles in September 2014 through Institution of Integrative Nutrition (IIN), and I am loving it.  I chose IIN because of their emphasis on bio-individuality and primary foods.  Bio-individuality is a concept that all of us are different and all of us need different foods and lifestyle changes to make us feel and live at our best lives.  Primary foods is a concept that not only food but things such as exercise, relationships, careers, and spirituality all impact our health.  Those key concepts were right in line with my values.  By late winter, I will be ready to start working with others, and by September 2015 I will be a certified health coach.

Life has taken an unexpected turn again in my life.  I am grabbing on and running with it.  I continue to make food and other aspects of my life changes, so they can be my medicine.  It is exciting and am filled with energy to see where the next year takes me.  Because life is good, it is all good.

 

I Do Not Drink Coke

Coca Cola Stain Glass Tulip Glass a

Today I was listing some glasses that were in a box I recently purchased at an auction.  This set of Coca Cola Stain Glass with Red Tulip are so pretty.  It got me thinking….when was the last time I drank a Coke?

I told you back in 2011 that I was a die-hard Coke fan.  I used to drink a regular Coca Cola or a Diet Coke with Lime almost every afternoon.

I dramatically reduced my Coke intact in late 2012 and early 2013 as I mentioned in this post.  It is amazing that I no longer eat any of those snacks in that photo.  I still would love to eat the Nature Valley Sweet and Sour Almond Nut Bar, but haven’t had one since late August.  Not sure how it would taste if I did eat one.  All of them are loaded with sugar. After a lot of research, I realize how bad sugar is for me.

Coca Cola  Pine Glasses d

I also listed these White Evergreen Pine Coca Cola glasses today.

Then I reduced my sugar intake in February of this year.  Do I still eat sugar?  Yes, but not nearly as often.  My sugar mostly comes from the fruit I eat, but I will sometimes eat it when I am outside my home.  I rarely eat it when I am home.  That is a good thing. I still love sweet things, but it is amazing how things are tasting sweeter and sweeter to me.

So when was the last time I had a Coke?  I have had only a handful of Coca Cola’s this year, with my last one that I shared with my Mom at an auction sale in Jun or July.  The funny thing is it didn’t taste right at all.  I would say that I have broke my Coca Cola habit.  I am not a fool, and therefore, I know that if I started to drink it again for a few days, the habit would probably come back quickly.

Part of my process in breaking the habit was making sure I was drinking plenty of water a day, drinking green tea, and finding a healthy substitute if I really need something besides water.  My current favorite is a tall glass of water with about a tablespoon of Organic Apple Cider Vinegar, a tablespoon of lemon juice and a drop or two of Stevia. Something about the bite of the ACV cures my craving for a soda pop.

Now that I have broken my habit, I tell myself, “I don’t drink Coke.”  For some reason saying that instead of “I can’t drink a Coke” gives me the control and the power not to feel sorry for myself. It is my choice, and a choice that I know is so good for my health.

How about you have you given up a food or habit that is bad for you?  Do tell.

Follow My It’s Still Life Facebook Page

Coca Cola Clock a

I have not been as good showing my thrifting and auction finds on this blog, but I am still out there looking for treasures.  I am still listing and selling my finds in my ItsStillLife Etsy Shop.  If you want to keep up with what I am listing, just check out my ItsStillLife Facebook Page and follow.  I will be posting my listings on my page.

The Sprite Boy Coca Cola Clock is my latest listing.

Keep on junkin’.