Category Archives: Fitness, Health, and Weightloss

Comforting “Sustain Latte” Is Yummy!

Last week I tried making my first cup of Bulletproof Coffee, and I have been enjoying it every day since.  I learned about this method of making coffee several months ago when I was researching fitness and natural healthy beverages to help with weight loss.  I found it on several Paleo diet websites and blogs.  To be honest with you, it sounded gross, so I never made it. Those ingredients are expensive, and I didn’t want to make something that possibly tasted gross and then have to throw it out.  Boy was I wrong!  This method of making coffee is delicious!

Bulletproof Coffee
(Makes 1 Serving.  Bulletproof Coffee from the Bulletproof Executive)

16 oz prepared coffee using Upgraded Bulletproof Coffee beans
2 Tbsp of grass fed unsalted butter (like Kerrigold)
2 Tbsp of high grade MCT oil (concentrated coconut oil)

Blend all in a blender until frothy.  Drink on an empty stomach.  Enjoy!


Basically, the method to make “bulletproof coffee” is to add grass fed butter and high grade MCT coconut oil (six times more potent than regular coconut oil, or even higher concentrations up to 18 times stronger than regular coconut oil) to organic “mold free” and low acid black coffee (easier on the digestive system), blend it all up and drink it first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. 

At first, this method sounded “Yuck”!  It doesn’t sound good at all if you are just learning about this for the first time.   It is supposed to sustain you with energy for 4 to 5 hours until you are ready for lunch.  The point of this coffee is to continue to help the body burn fats for fuel early in the morning, as it did while you were sleeping, and feed the brain with healthy fat for maximum cognitive processes.  The cells of the brain only use fat and oxygen in the blood stream for fuel.  When you add in carbs, the body sends out insulin to regulate the sugar in the blood stream.  This often results in brain fog for many people.  Bulletproof Coffee is supposed to feed the brain and help you avoid the pitfalls of carbs for breakfast.

The Bulletproof Executive guy, Dave Asprey, invented Bullet Proof Coffee.  He has all the scientific proof of how good it is for you.  Could he know something I don’t know?  Perhaps.  I think after seeing his results, and the results of numerous people who have used this method, that he must have tapped into some biological secrets for improving health.  He was able to raise his IQ by 20 additional points, lower his weight by 100 lbs without dieting or exercise, and overall improve his health with a few improvements or “upgrades” to his food consumption and lifestyle. You can read more about Dave Asprey on his website and he sells all the UPGRADED ingredients for you to make the best cup of coffee too. 

Dave Asprey has also developed a FREE Bulletproof Food Sense app for your iphone to help you identify foods you are sensitive too.  Learning what foods you are sensitive too by monitoring your biological and psychological reactions to them, and reducing or eliminating them from your diet can potentially help you have a healthier life.  Dave refers to this process of figuring out your body as “bio hacking”.  He has learned to “bio hack” his own body and maximize his physical and mental potential. 


Just My 2 Cents: 

Dave Asprey is an interesting person, and I am in the process of learning more about him and his research.  I don’t know if I agree with everything he has to say, so I am not recommending his teaching and videos to the homeschool community.  But I am willing to learn and investigate it more before I decide to follow much of his advice beyond his coffee method.  I would encourage you to investigate it too before just diving in to all of his recommendations.  I have seen a lot of people report that they incorporated his suggestions with a Paleo eating plan and it helped them loose weight and regain their health and reach their peak performance.  My personal hesitation is that I am concerned first and foremost if he is or is not a follower of Christ and that his teachings could contradict the scriptures.  He may or may not be concerned with faith when it comes to faith in God, and his place of man in relationship to God and acceptance of Christ.  That is his personal choice.  But from what I have read so far, I think he may have a mix of New Age and Humanism in his teachings, so I want to proceed with caution.   Lets get one thing straight right now…Man is not God!   I don’t want to follow a man who might be really smart, but is spiritually lost because of his rejection of God and worship of the human body.  It is too soon for me to decide if some of what I am reading leans toward this.  He is very smart, he is an athlete, and he is a scientific researcher on the human body.  So it stands to reason that a lot of his recommendations are slanted toward athletes and body builders, etc..  I think there is a lot of scientific merrit to his research and its application to the human body in what I have read so far.  So I plan to read and learn more, with my usual caution, and always comparing his advice to scripture and prayer.  What you do is up to you, but this is just my word of caution and my 2 cents!


My Experience:

For me to enjoy coffee, I have to put in lots of milk, cream, and sugar.  I want sweet creamy flavor!!! Give me cream, and give me either vanilla or chocolate !!!  My favorite coffee drinks have lots of chocolate!  So since I know lots of sugar is not so good for me, I usually just go without coffee and only splurge on it maybe once a week or less.

Though I didn’t think Bulletproof Coffee was going to be something I would like, and I had already formed my opinion about it, I started seeing “bulletproof coffee” notes showing up on some of my friends blogs.  They were starting their day with it.  They are not athletic.  They are not Paleo die hards, and many have never even heard about the Paleo diet. Could it be the same “bulletproof coffee” I was reading about from Dave Asprey?  My immediate thoughts were “how can they drink this flavorless, oily brew and enjoy it?”  “How can they drink this every day and still loose weight?” every time I saw it mentioned.

I am slowly trying to make adjustments in my nutritional habits.  I have made huge strides overall this year towards better health for me and my family.  Check out some of my Walk and Talk Wednesday posts for healthy fitness lifestyle tips. But recently my weight is not budging at this time.  I lost 17lbs when I did the 28 day Fa
st Metabolism Diet (FMD) challenge a few months ago, but I have not been able to repeat that success since.  I do not know why. 

A lot of my blogging friends have used the Trim Healthy Mama (THM) program with ongoing success.  So I have recently purchased the Trim Healthy Mama book to see what it is all about.  I am still following the FMD recommendations as I read through the 600+ pages of THM.  I am impressed how they encourage the “Whole Mama” in every area of your life (spiritually, physically, mentally, intimately).  I am making even more adjustments in my food choices.  I’ll tell you more about the benefits of these different food programs in future stories. But for now, I am still in the learning phase and don’t have it all figured out.  While I am reading the big book, I am trying out some of their recipes especially for beverages as I know I don’t drink enough fluids.  I am continually looking for easy make beverages to add to my day.  I am learning to like a few of their suggestions such as NuNaturals Pure White Stevia to sweeten foods without the use of sugar. 


So I gave some more serious thought to this bulletproof method.  I have added coconut oil to my coffee and hot tea before, because it is recommend by the Weston A Price Foundation and Mary Enig from Eat Fat Loose Fat for good healthy habits.  I learned about this method over 10 years ago and love adding coconut oil to my hot herbal tea.  I normally make hot herbal tea, 1 tsp coconut oil, and 1 tsp+ raw honey.  The coconut oil does rise to the top, and it took a while to get used to drinking hot tea this way in the beginning.   It is good, satisfying, and the oil slick on top of the tea doesn’t bother me if I use about a teaspoon. 

Now add the addition of butter too?   This was a bit of a dilemma for me.  I have always enjoyed adding butter into my cooking.  It is healthy and nutritious and the Weston A Price Foundation has a huge amount of scientific research to support using it.  But I did agree to abstain from dairy while on the FMD.  The FMD does not encourage the use of dairy while on their program, and it was really hard for me to follow that protocol.  But since I am reading the THM and slowly switching some things over, they do recommend some grass fed dairy, such as butter, Greek yogurt, and cottage cheese, etc. in moderation.  With a little more thinking on this, I decided that since butter is basically cream with the whey removed, and I believe butter is good for you anyways, I might be able to drink this in my coffee.  I have made butter many times.  It is the same every time.  To make fresh butter, I take fresh cream, shake it up or mix it up until the fat and whey (protein and water) separates.  Then I drain off the whey and wallah, I have butter!!!  I have also whipped cream for desert before and let it go to long and made butter by accident too.  So why not use butter in coffee if it is just a form of condensed cream?  The idea of adding butter to a hot drink became more and more appealing to me when I looked at it from this point of view.


Revisions:

My REVISIONS and experiments I did to make the “bullet proof coffee” method into a no carb and low carb comfort food and very satisfying are posted below.  First of all I sweetened it with a carb free natural sweetener.  Second I am using a good quality organic virgin coconut oil instead of MCT.  It is what I have on hand at this time.   



I  also reduced a serving to 1 cup rather than the original 2 cups in Dave Asprey’s recipe.  If you want 2 cups then just double the ingredients.  I call it the “Sustain Latte”, or just “Sustain” for short.  Lattes are comfort food, kind of like desert, and this reminds me of that. 

Also because I don’t want to go for 5 hours without eating, I am only drinking one cup in the morning.  I am trying to heal my metabolism and thyroid, and eating every two to three hours is my goal at this time.  So I am just consuming one cup of this each morning on an empty stomach and waiting two hours or so before I eat.  One morning I went ahead and drank it with my breakfast, but found it really filled me up more than I wanted.  This was a Phase 3 FMD breakfast of boiled eggs, bacon, califlower hashbrowns, and blueberries with my Sustain Mocha Latte.



I have tried drinking a cup of it in the late afternoon occasionally as a desert too.  When I make it in the afternoon, I add an additional 1/4 of a cup of unsweetened almond milk to the mix.  Prepared either way, this would make a great cup of coffee to serve your afternoon guests for tea time too.

If your are doing the THM program, this drink would be used for S beverages and S snacks (S is for satisfying).  I still have a ways to go learning the THM program, so I don’t know if this drink can be used during other meal types.  There are several meal and snack types in the THM and it is a big learning curve for me, so I will defer to others with more knowledge about it than me until I understand the program fully.  I have read a few chapters and I hope to finish the book in the next week or so.  I want to start implementing the THM program soon.   

If you are doing the FMD program, this drink would be used for Phase 3 of the week (Each week has 3 phases.  P1 is two days that focus on unrefined carbs and lean proteins, P2 is two days that focus on lean proteins, and P3 is three days that focus on healthy fats in addition to low glycemic foods and protiens in the diet). 

If you are on a Paleo program, or a Paleo / Primal program, this drink can be used everyday.



My One Goal:

I was determined last two weeks to avoid sugar so I could reduce my blood insulin levels and reduce my cravings for sweets.  I tried to avoid all added sugar and refined carbs in any form in my diet.   I have not been perfect and have had a few sweet treats.  But overall, I have made a lot of progress toward this goal.  I decided if I could sweeten the bulletproof coffee without sugar, and still give it flavor, without anything artificial, and yet not break the rules of this one goal to live without added sugar, I would try it. 
 
Now I can tell you, this “bulletproof coffee method” is a game changer!  It is a real comfort food!  It is helping me reach my goal.  I have drank it several times already the past two weeks.  It tastes better than Starbucks!  It really has sustained me on the mornings I have incorporated it into my day.  Sometimes I am rushed in the mornings to get the kids and dad fed, and start our schoolwork for day.   I don’t always get to eat first thing when I get up (even though this is recommended by the Fast Metabolism Diet), and it might be 10 am or later before I get to eat breakfast.  By then it is almost time to start making lunch for the rest of the fam
ily and I often feel defeated by TIME!

I drank the original “bulletproof coffee” recipe for several days adding only NuNaturals stevia to sweeten it, and I have fell in LOVE with coffee!  I have also tried adding Just Like Sugar chicory and it is even more awesome with no aftertaste.  My husband is a purist and likes his coffee VERY black.  He agreed to try the coffee too, and he likes the bulletproof coffee with just black coffee and butter.  He did not prefer the coconut oil or stevia sweetener.  He said bulletproof coffee tastes like cappuccino from a gourmet coffee house. 

You can read more about Chicory and about Stevia as sweeteners from Wikipedia (the online encyclopedia).  Here are pictures of the brands I am using:

 

So far, I have made several comforting and sustaining lattes with the “bulletproof coffee method”, several different flavors and they are ALL delicious and carb free and sugar free!  You can adjust the sweetness to your liking.  You can also create delicious sugar free and carb free ice cream by using your blended coffee mix and freezing it in ice cube trays, then re-blending until it makes ice cream.  Or use the liquid blended coffee in an ice cream maker too. But I just use the blender. I let the coffee cubes just start to thaw so the will blend nicely.  Or if I am in a hurry, I add just a little water to get it to blend easily in to a frappe!  If you want to, add some coconut milk or nutmilk to make it even more creamy. This is so delicious!  I just love coffee ice cream!  If you are like me, you just have to give this method a try!



Sustain Latte
Makes 1 serving (multiply if you want more servings).

6 oz coffee
1 Tbsp to 2 Tbsp unsalted butter (grassfed butter has more nutrient value)
1 tsp coconut oil (MCT coconut oil has more concentrated nutrient value)
1/8 tsp Nunaturals Pure White Stevia powder or 1 tsp Just Like Sugar (ground chicory root)

(Optional: 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk changes it from carb free to low carb with 1 gram carb coming from fiber.  It also makes it even more delicious and creamy.  I am leaving it out in my morning cup to prolong the body’s fat burn, but adding it to my afternoon cup to boost my metabolism and level of satisfaction).

Blend together in a blender until frothy, about 1 minute. Drink hot, or pour over ice and drink cold. Delicious both ways.




Vanilla Sustain Latte
Makes 1 serving (multiply if you want more servings).

6 oz coffee
1 Tbsp to 2 Tbsp unsalted butter (grassfed butter has more nutrient value) 
1 tsp coconut oil (MCT coconut oil has more concentrated nutrient value)
1/8 tsp Nunaturals Pure White Stevia powder or 1 tsp Just Like Sugar (ground chicory root)
1 tsp vanilla extract

(Optional: 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk changes it from carb free to low carb with 1 gram carb coming from fiber.  It also makes it even more delicious and creamy.   I am leaving it out in my morning cup to prolong the body’s fat burn, but adding it to my afternoon cup to boost my metabolism and level of satisfaction).

Blend together in a blender until frothy, about 1 minute. Drink hot, or pour over ice and drink cold. Delicious both ways.


Mocha Sustain Latte
Makes 1 serving (multiply if you want more servings).

6 oz coffee



1 Tbsp to 2 Tbsp unsalted butter (grassfed butter has more nutrient value)
1 tsp coconut oil (MCT coconut oil has more concentrated nutrient value)
1/8 tsp Nunaturals Pure White Stevia powder or 1 tsp Just Like Sugar (ground chicory root)
1/2 tsp organic vanilla extract
1 tsp or more of natural or raw cocoa powder (raw cocoa has more nutrient value)



Here you can see how the oil and butter start to rise to the top of the hot coffee before blending them together.



Blend together in a blender until frothy, about 1 minute.



Drink hot, or pour over ice and drink cold. Be sure it is well blended if pouring over ice as the fat in the drink will solidify.  This mocha latte is satisfying and delicious both ways.




(Optional: 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk changes it from carb free to low carb with 1 gram carb coming from fiber.  It also makes it even more delicious and creamy.  I am leaving it out in my morning cup to prolong the body’s fat burn, but adding it to my afternoon cup to boost my metabolism and level of satisfaction).

I plan to post more recipe variations like pumpkin spice and chai and more pictures soon.  Stay tuned as I share my health and fitness journey stories along the way!

Whether you buy Dave’s “upgraded” Bulletproof ingredients for your cup of coffee, or make do with similar quality ingredients available locally as I have done, I think you will agree his bulletproof method of using unsalted butter and coconut oil to make a creamy frothy and super healthy gourmet coffee at home is AWESOME!
 
Finally, I can enjoy a great cup of creamy comforting sweet coffee and I don’t feel guilty about drinking it!   It really does sustain me, it is yummy, and I hope it results in healthy weight loss too.   I am happy, happy, happy!


This post will be linked up with:
Raising Homemakers
Sharing Time
Change 3 Things Challenge 
Walk and Talk Wednesday



 

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Let’s Swim!

My kids are enjoying swimming this summer.  All four of the older children ages 6, 8, 10, and 13 can swim independantly.  Our daughter, the 6 year old, just joined the ranks of the independant swimmers this summer and she is having so much fun.  The younger two children ages 1 1/2 and 4 still need assistance and hold onto mommy or daddy while they are in the pool.

The kids learned to swim from the few times we have gone on vacation and swam in the hotel pool, and a few summers ago, they swam on vacation when they visited their aunt who had a backyard pool.  The older three boys spent a little time honing their swimming skills during our family fitness adventure at the YMCA last winter.  After we worked out, they would swim in the pool for 30 minutes to an hour once a week. Sometimes I joined them, and sometimes I skipped the pool and enjoyed the steam room instead.  The YMCA provides a lifeguard and will watch the children ages 7 and over if they know how to swim, so the parent can workout in the facility if desired. I never left them to workout, but I did watch them play in the pool from the glass windows of the steam room.   It was good to know they were safe, and could swim, and at the same time I could have some time to relax and detox in the steam room.  Though we all enjoy swimming, we are not very experienced swimmers, and there have been plenty of summers when we did not get to swim.



To be honest, before this summer, I probably would not have bought a swimming pool if given the choice to do so while my kids are little.  I have thought that perhaps I might have gotten them a pool when they are all older and strong swimmers, and if there were funds to do so. But I wouldn’t have considered it while the younger children are so little, because of safety issues, and the expense of having a pool. 

But when we moved to this homestead the end of May, we found a
n above ground pool that had been seriously neglected.  Though my husband had seen the homestead twice before moving, I had never seen it before.  That’s right folks.  I moved sight unseen!  Crazy?  Maybe! 

When I arrived with my 6 kids, my first question for my husband (as I held back more than a few tears about the condition of the delapadated house), was what in the world are we going to do with this? 

Well, my husband had a vision of our family using the pool to have a great summer. He had a vision for the potential of the homestead and everything that is here.  He just needs me to get the same vision too.  It took a lot of work, some pool supplies, and through due diligence, my husband was able to get the old delapidated above ground pool up and running and manifest it’s potential.   I hope the potential for the house manifests soon too!



My husband diligently cleaned the pool daily for two weeks before we could use it.  The bottom of the pool had two or three inches deep of decayed leaves, moss, and debri.   The water was brown and the bottom of the pool was brownish/greenish/black.  YUCK!



It also had a few holes in the liner that needed patched too. 



Slowly for an hour or more after work each day, my husband worked on cleaning the two or three inch thick slimy bottom of the pool.  He probably put in 15+ hours of vacuming and netting the water to remove the debri.  Day after day, the process repeated as he worked on the pool.  Honestly, his heart sank as he realized how bad it really was, and each hole in the liner he found, and new problems he would discover like a broken net, broken pool steps we can’t afford to fix, broken pump, etc.

I told him it would be easier to take down the pool as I was too worried about safety for the younger children.  I also told him if he was determined to keep this pool, it might be easier to drain the whole thing and clean it and refill it with clean water if he absolutely was determined to make this pool work.  But he assured me that he could make it like new, to trust him, and he kept working at it little by little. 

The first task was to replace the broken pump.  Then he added some pool chemicals and kept testing the water.  Then he kept straining, filtering, and vaccuming.  I don’t know how he had the patience to vaccume and use the hand net over and over.  He had to get out of the pool several times each time he used the vaccume to unplug the pump and clean out the lines.  He saw the potential for a fun adventure for our kids that I couldn’t see at the time. 



The pool deck needed several gaps in the lattice fence replaced.



The pool also needed a gate to protect the children from access to the pool. 



Be sure to read the story about the kids helping daddy build the gate.
 


The kids had fun learning carpentry skills, measuring lengths of boards with a measuring tape, marking lines with a carpentry pencil, sawing, and drilling screws with the cordless drill, while helping daddy build the gate. They had lots of opportunity for several weeks to practice patience as daddy worked to fix the pool.



“Can we swim?”  “Can we swim?”  The kids asked daily if the pool was ready, and if they could swim yet.  Day after day they watched daddy.  They helped too.  They ran the hose for him, or fetched the hand net, or whatever he needed. 

After much work cleaning and shocking the pool, several repairs to the liner, repairing the deck safety fense and railing, building a gate, and replacing the broken pump and filter system, the water is now crystal clear, and the bottom of the pool is ocean blue. 

“Yes, let’s swim!”  The kids let out the loudest “Horay” w
hen daddy told them the pool was ready and it was time to swim.



The pool is now running smoothly and we have enjoyed it almost everyday.  How did he see the potential of this old pool?  How did he know it would turn out this clean and inviting?  I don’t know, but we are so glad he did! 

This pool has been a great summer adventure for us.  We have enjoyed swimming in the backyard.  We can hear the birds, crickets, and cicadas singing praises to God while we enjoy splashing, swimming, and playing in the pool. 
 



I want to say a BIG THANK YOU to my husband’s sister.  Swimming in the pool this summer would not have happened without her help too.  My husband spoke with his sister by phone several times about what to do to care for the pool, how to clean it, repair it, etc. as we have never cared for a pool before.  She walked him through step by step of everything to do from cleaning to how much pool chemicals to use and how to take water samples and check for safety.  She also sent the supplies needed to care for it.  Caring for a pool was not in our budget this summer, so it would not have been possible without her advice, encouragement, and generous gift.



We were certainly blessed!  Her gift seems to keep giving and giving as summer progresses on.  The kids love swimming in the pool.



The old farmhouse is hot this summer.  It was very hot for several weeks in a row, and we still have a lot of summer to go!  Somedays, I didn’t think I could bear another minute of the heat and the sweat running down my neck and back and I don’t dare heat up the oven to bake a meal for fear it will raise the tempeture in the house even more.  

This pool is a great fitness activity we can all do together, and it has been a good way for our family to cool down in the evenings.  We have swam a few times during midday, but usually we wait until about 6pm or so when the sun goes behind the trees, but we still have about 3 hours of daylight to swim and play.  Then we don’t have to worry about sunburns too.   

As a Coppertone Water Mom, we have lots of Coppertone Water Babies Tear Free Sunscreen Lotion on hand to use on sunny days if we want to swim when the sun is higher too.  We take it with us everywhere.  We use it when we play at the park, visit the zoo, the lake, when we swim, and go on other outings during the day.  It works really well.



But most of the summer so far, we choose to swim later in the day. The kids think it takes forever for evening time to come, and I agree with them.  Summer days are long!  But thankfully, the evenings are long too.  It doesn’t get dark here in Indiana until 9:30 at night during the summer, so the kids have plenty of time to swim in the evenings. They also sleep better.  Swimming helps use up their energy, and makes them more tired at bedtime, their bodies are cooled down and they handle the heat of the house and sleeping much better after swimming in the evening.



I am so blessed!  WE ARE SO BLESSED!  I am so thankful that this pool was fixable, that my sister-in-law sent advice and supplies, that my husband was willing to work so hard to fix the pool, for all six of my great kids, and for long Indiana summer days.  My family is on vacation in our own backyard, swimming in our own pool, and they are having so much fun! 

Let’s SWIM! 

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Glen Miller Park Richmond, Indiana

We have been visiting the Glen Miller Park in Richmond, Indiana for our weekly family fitness outings this month.   There is so much to see and do at this park and it is a great place for families.   Glen Miller Park is a beautiful 196 acre park full of tall mature trees, creeks, springs, a lake with a fountain, ducks and geese, tennis courts, walking trails, 11,000 square foot concrete and fenced skateboard park, a walk through rose garden, outdoor theater and band area, picnic areas, shelters, concession stand, bathrooms, and an awesome playground with two very large play areas and a water / splash play area.



Glen Miller Park was established in 1885.  I found that fact amazing!  Folks wanted this area kept as a park and appreciated its value for families clear back in the 1800’s.   It is one of the most beautiful parks I have ever been to and I can see why they would have wanted to preserve this beautiful area for future generations to enjoy.  There are large glacial rocks left behind from the time in history when the area was covered in glaciers.  The kids love climbing on these beautiful rocks.  I love the tall mature trees, water features, and rolling hills in this park.  It makes it such an interesting place to explore. 



Situated at the front of the park is a statue of the “Madonna Of The Trail” built by the Daughters of the American Revolution.  It is a tribute to all of the pioneer women who traveled through this area and cared for their families in covered wagons as the country expanded westward.  My grandma is a member of this national organization and I was very excited to learn about this memorial they have built in the park. 


 

There is also a plaque marking the site for the “First Toll Gate” established in the state of Indiana in 1850.  I found this exciting too.  I used to live in a brick Federal house about 15 minutes from the park and the house was built in 1850 too.  It was built by the Bond family who also dedicated land to the city of Richmond where Earlham College is.  So I was excited about this connection to history.  Another neat connection to this time in history I have is that my mother’s father’s family traveled through Richmond, IN and possibly through this toll gate when they migrated across the country on their way to Kansas.  The Richmond Historical Museum houses a trunk owned by my family that passed through here.  I will share more about this in a future story.



The lake at the park is very peaceful with lots of geese and ducks and a fountain to enjoy.  There is a small fishing dock and you can also fish from the banks.  We found lots of small fish near the top of the lake feeding on slices of bread folks threw out to feed the ducks and geese.  I hope to bring the kids out to fish and feed ducks and geese soon.





The park has three natural springs where folks come and fill up their own bottles for fresh spring water too.  Sometimes there are long lines of people waiting to fill up their containers.  Thankfully, on this day, we waited in a very short line and the kids had lots of fun filling our water bottles.  Be sure to check out our story about filling up that I will post soon. The spring water running through the creek is ice cold and absolutely clear.  It is a beautiful spot to get out and enjoy on a hot summer day.

 


The park hosts many concerts and community activities.  There is a large field that goes up hill from the theater and you can set out your chair or blanket and enjoy the show.



Another fun feature of this park that is very appealing to teens and young adults is the concrete skate / bike park.  We saw lots of teens doing tricks on their bikes and skate boards.  It looks a little dangerous, but I am sure it is a lot of fun.  How they can do these tricks without padded clothing and protective pads / gear is amazing.  You can skate or bike at your own risk.



My kids favorite feature of the park is the playground and splash area. I really like that there are picnic areas, parking, bathrooms, paved sidewalks, and concessions right near the playground too.  It is easy to push a stroller or a wagon if you want to.  Everything you need is close by.   



The playground is truly amazing and it is every kids dream!  It is jam packed with slides, tunnels, bridges, climbing walls, ladders, nets, fire poles, and so much more.  There is even a long expansion bridge to walk on above the playground.  You can play so many games on this playground.  My kids love tag, hide an
d seek, freeze tag, pirates, capture the flag, racing down the slides, and so much more.  Though they get tired running and playing, they never get bored!!!



 
 

There is a smaller playground for younger children, and lots of swings too.  Everything is handicap accessible.  And you don’t have to just play on the playground.  Be sure to bring a ball, frisbee, or kite and enjoy the grassy areas as well as the lake too.

The city of Richmond, Indiana has 16 developed parks and 3 undeveloped parks.  Wow, that is a lot of parks for a city of about 37,000 people.  If you would like to learn more about this wonderful town in east central Indiana, check out the summary listed on this web site.


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Tailgate Market Hendersonville NC

For this Walk and Talk Wednesday post, I wanted to focus on local foods.  

                                

Have you ever sat down to a meal and looked at where each item was grown?  It would be very easy to sit down to a breakfast for example, and eat eggs from Illinios, bacon or sausage from Idaho, bread from Kansas, orange juice from Florida, strawberries from Chile, blueberries from Brazil, butter from Pensylvania, cream cheese from Wisconsin, and so on.  How far did your food travel before it made it to your home for your family to eat? 

What is local food?
Local food by definition is food produced within a 100 mile radius of the consumer. 

I don’t buy everything local, but I try to buy as much as I can.  For example: honey, jams, bread, free range chicken & eggs, fresh garden produce, fresh orchard produce, raw milk, soaps, lotions, cleansers, etc.  There are plenty of meats locally raised, but  I have yet to find 100% grass fed beef and organic local grains among other things in my immediate area here in NC.  But I try to buy what I can, and support local producers and the local economy as much as it fits into my family’s lifestyle and budget.

When I lived in Indiana, I was so blessed to have folks support me as a farmer and store owner and my my products.  The Weston A Price Indy Chapter and Cincinnati Chapter,  and the Cincinnati Locavore movement supported me and purchased lots of my products that I raised on the farm. People from all over Indiana (north, south, east, and west), Dayton OH, Cincinnati Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, and lots of places in between came to load up on our beef, chicken, eggs, and produce.  Folks who came from over an hour away would always bring big coolers to load up on meats and other cold products.  Sometimes even whole coops would have an order filled and bring a truck load of coolers.  Even local folks came regular and in addition to meats and cold items, they bought bulk grains, locally bottled coconut oil, local raw honey, local maple syrup and other several other items in our country store too.  In addition, we had lots of crafts made by local artisans for sale too including some dear Amish friends who made handmade items like greeting cards and candles, a local farmer who made goat milk soap and lotions, and more.

I have been on both the farmer’s side of raising local foods, and the consumer’s side of supporting local farms and local foods.  When I moved to NC, I went on a search to find the freshest nutrient dense local foods I could find.  We visited several farms directly and traveled near and far.  One great resource we found was the local farmer’s market called the Tailgate Market in Hendersonville, NC.   It is a special gem on the journey of local foods and local farmers and producers meet in downtown Hendersonville, NC on Saturday mornings.

I love to take my children with me and walk and talk at the Tailgate Market. 



It is still spring, but items already in season included: chicken eggs, guinea eggs, turkey eggs, whole frozen chicken, pork (assorted cuts), various breads, cookies, deserts, jams, turnip greens, collard greens, radishes, lettuce, herbs, flowers, plant starts for the garden (tomatoes, squash, lettuce, greens, peppers, hebs, etc.), early strawberries, soaps, lotions, cleansers, local wood carvings and art, etc.



We bought some chickens and fresh free range pastured eggs.  These chickens are moved daily in moveable pens in a pasture and allowed to free range on grass.  They are fed grains, but they are allowed to supplement their diet by eating a full range of bugs, seeds, and a variety of weeds and grass every day.



We also bought some fresh baked goods from the Balson Bakery.  They are a local homeschool family that produces a wide range of baked goods, jams, applesauce, fresh eggs, fresh plants and potted herbs for you to grow in your own garden, and they make recycled market bags that are hand sewn by their daughters.



My kids love picking out a few bags of their homemade cookies and jars of jam. 



These recycled market bags are sewn from re-purposed feed sacks.  Aren’t they cute?



You can find venders selling homemade soaps, lotions, bath salts, remedies, and more.



My kids enjoy walking around and meeting each of the local producers and learning about what they have grown or made to sell at the Tailgate Market.



From fresh breads . . .



To delicious edible flowers, beautiful plant arrangements, and herbs . . .



The kids have a great time exploring at the market.



This vender had turkey eggs (sold out), guinea eggs, and chicken eggs.
Can you guess which of these are guinea eggs?



I used to raise a variety of eggs on my farm in Indiana too.&nb
sp; FRESH EGGS ARE DELICIOUS!  I used to raise free range chicken eggs, duck eggs, goose eggs, turkey eggs, and guinea eggs.  My favorite eggs to eat fresh were chicken, turkey, and guinea.  My favorite to bake with were duck and goose eggs.  I loved to make cakes and homemade noodles with duck and goose eggs.  Yum!!!

These are guinea eggs.  I love these eggs for breakfast!



This farmer spent a long time teaching us about edible mushrooms.  I will share some great pictures and things we learned from him in a future story.  But he was a wealth of information and I was so glad to meet him and learn about different kinds of local mushrooms he was selling.  He has agreed to come and teach kids a life skills class for our outdoor programs we have in the park.  I can’t wait!



I bought some fresh collard greens from this vender.  He also had fresh eggs and rainbow chard for sale. 



Another farmer with a variety of eggs and hand crafted wooden art for sale.



She had chicken eggs in various colors of brown, white, blue, and green.  Some of the light brown eggs almost look pink.  These colors are natural variations from various chicken breeds.  The green and blue and pinkish brown are produced by the Aracauna chicken.



Seems we just can’t help ourselves when surrounded by all this great produce, but to buy some more locally grown fresh vegetables.  It is a good experience for my children to learn to clearly ask the vender for the product we are want and to pay the vender.   As we walk along the market and talk to the farmers, and buy their products, the kids are learning how to do business, exchange currency, count money, meet local producers, and choose healthy food for our family.  These are all valuable life skills.



I encourage you to see if you can find a local farmer’s market in your area to support.  If there is not a market close by, perhaps there is a local farm that will sell to you directly. 

Your body will thank you from the fresh nutrient dense foods you feed it!  Your local farmers will thank you for your support.  Your kids will thank you for quality time together as they spend time walking with you outdoors and meeting other people from your community and they feel they belong to something special.  They become connected to the people who make their food and it becomes important to them.

Check out Local Harvest to find a local farm near you.  Other places to look might be your local news paper classified adds, a local 4H extension office, and the farm and garden section of craigslist.org .

Be sure to read about other great adventures we have made in our search for local foods and other stories written about the Tailgate Market too.

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Walk and Talk Wednesday


We really enjoyed spring this year in the Blue Ridge Mountains.  It was great weather for playing outdoors, walking at local parks, enjoying nature and checking out all the trees and plants that were blooming. 

        

We have gone to so many places to enjoy the spring weather outdoors.  The Blue Ridge Mountains are full of unique and beautiful places like waterfalls, creeks, rivers, mountain sides, mountain tops, produce farms, orchards, and more.  But our favorite regular place to go is the local parks. 

On this beautiful spring day we took a nature walk and I think every tree was in bloom.  What lovely colors and fragrances flowers permeate the air with!  It is truly a burst to the senses to enjoy these spring flowers.



As we walked along the paths, we enjoyed learnig about different plants and their cycle of life.   We talked about spring and how many things are born or “reborn” this time of year.  We also talked about how we as people are born and reborn too.  We can be reborn each spring into a new year of person growth and blooms.  We can also be reborn into a relationship with God through believing in his son Jesus Christ.

 

We took time to walk a couple of laps and walked about two miles today around the paved paths.  

        

Each time around, the children noticed a new plant to look at in a new way.  Some plants, like this ivy growing on this tree and the ground had signs of both death and life.  It was easy to see the new life and the old life on the same plant.  The scriptures say we need to prune away the dead branches in our life.  When a farmer prunes away the dead branches of his apple trees, grape vines, or rasberry bushes, it promotes new growth and healthy life in the plant and it enables it to be more productive and bear even more fruit.  Pruning away the dead or diseased parts of our own lives that don’t line up with God’s plan for us can help us also be more productive and fruitful too.

        

After our walk was over, we enjoyed a picnic lunch together.  We shared sandwhiches, cheese, yogurt, sweet potato chips, grapes, and juice.  

        

After lunch, we spent some time on the playground climbing, swinging, jumping, running, and laughing together.



We played for several hours on the playground, made new friends and visited with old friends.   


        

It was a beautiful spring day.  

                                

Be sure to check out our entire series of Walk and Talk Wednesdays where we focus on family fitness in many areas such as physical activity, outdoor learning, nutrition, relationships, and faith.
 
This post will be linked up with
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Walk and Talk Wednesday

                                Week 11
                      New Season

It has been a good week.  We had 5 days of physical activities as a family this week and it felt really good.
  
                Tuesday: YMCA
                Wednesday: Backyard Ball
                Thursday: Biking and Backyard Ball
                Saturday: Fletcher Park
                Sunday: East Flat Rock Park

The new season is here!  The weather is becoming warmer, though windy, sunny, and trees are budding and spring flowers are blooming.   We have had a lot of rain here this winter and these drier days this week have been very enjoyable to get outside and enjoy the sunshine and mild temperatures.

Family Fitness Activity Journal

This week we spent a couple of hours enjoying activities at the YMCA.  I really enjoyed doing the cardio dance class with Natalie.  It is a Zumba class and she has the funnest chorography with her songs. 

My boys love this class and they love Natalie too.  Three of my sons have participated in this class with me over the past three months and gotten to know Natalie, her assistant Mike, and several homeschool families who also take the class.    

We are in a new season of our life, just like a new season in the weather.   Our time with this class and Natalie teaching us fun dance moves to songs, will be coming to an end soon.  We have paid our YMCA fee until mid April, and then we won’t be coming here anymore.   The Y costs our family $80 a month, plus gas money, and an hour driving round trip.   Also there is an age limit of 7 and older for these classes.  Our family has three children under the age of 7 and it means we cannot do the class together.  In our family, we prefer to do activities that all of us can do together.  We don’t like leaving anyone out.  We were able to make the dance class a priority in the winter and cold weather, but we just don’t have it in our budget to continue long term.  Hopefully we will continue to enjoy beautiful weather and we should be able to get our family activity time done outside for free for the coming season.  We will be in a new season of our life soon, and will have to make lots of adjustments.  We talked with Natalie today about how much she has meant to us.  She shared that she is very fond of us too.  We still have a few more weeks to enjoy our time together and learn from her before it is over.

Next my 10 year old son and I walked a mile on the indoor track with another homeschool mom.  We enjoyed talking with her about kids, parenting, activities, etc. 

My 10 year old son played basketball and walked a half mile.  My 8 year old son played basketball and watched several bigger kids play competitive game of basketball.  He was very interested in watching these young men play the game.
He is looking forward to getting older and bigger.  Oh, why do they want to grow up so fast?

 

The homeschool mom I mentioned that we walked with today has 4 kids and three of them were at the YMCA with her tonight.   After working out, they invited us out to eat with them.  She has a sweet family!
 

We went to Neo Buritto.  I enjoyed a delicious 1/2 order of nachos.  Even though it was a half order, it was HUGE!  It was a bowl of tortilla chips covered in black beans, seasoned chicken breast, guacamole, sour cream, raw spinach, raw Cilantro, pic degio, corn and black bean salsa, and a side of pesto, etc. I left the cheese sauce off this dish to cut calories. (Next time I might leave the chips off to lower the carbs too.) But it was still YUMMY!  My boys each had burittos and a side of rice and chips.  Thank you Ellen and family for a fun time out to dinner and delicious food. I will post a review of the restaurant and link it here. It is definitely a place to check out if you are in the area.

On Wednesday, we played ball for two hours in the backyard.  It was a bit chilly, but lots of fun!  The kids set out bases and had so much fun playing in the sun.

On Thursday, we played tag, rode bikes, and played more baseball in the yard.  It was a lot sunnier, but still very chilly.  But each passing day seems a little warmer than the day before.  We are looking forward to warm weather.

 

On Saturday we drove out to Lake Julian Park as we had done the week before, but decided it was way to busy to stay.  The park was packed with families enjoying the lake and the beautiful weather.  So we drove to Fletcher Park. 

Though it was also busy, there was still plenty of open space.   This is a huge park with tons of stuff to do.   The park sits in a valley, with a creek and a pond, and you can see several mountains off in the distance to the north and east of the park.  Look at this path and beautiful sky!

 

We spent several hours walking paths (paved and gravel), exploring nature trails, a pond, and cane creek.   I am guessing by the distance and time we spent walking we accomplished at least two miles or so.   I pushed the stroller the majority of the time, over paved paths, over gravel paths, over grassy fields, and in the sand down to the creek too. I was totally tired at the end of the day.  We did a whole lot of walking!

 

We finally finished up with some time on the playground.  Besides playing on the equipment, the kids made several new friends and played several rounds of tag.  They had so much fun!

On Sunday, we enjoyed a couple of hours of play time at East Flat Rock Park.

I walked the paved path with the stroller while the children played on the playground.

They had so much fun, they did not want to leave.

 
 


Goals For Next Week

My goals for next week are the same as last week.  Yes, the same goals.  I want to continue my research about nutrition and the human body, reduce my carbohydrate intake, increase my intake of healthy protein and healthy fats, continue with the cardio dance class at the Y, play with my kids outdoors, complete two sessions of T-Tapp (which I did not do this past week), and begin some form of strength training twice this week, create healthy meals for my whole family, pray and read the bible daily.  One additional goal I want to ad is to get some organization done in the house and get ready for spring cleaning soon. 

This post will be linked up with:
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        Walk and Talk Wednesday Link Up

Please join us on our Walk and Talk Wednesday Family Fitness Journey. You can read other Walk and Talk stories from January and February and read about all our friends who have linked their stories.  I hope you will find inspiration and encouragement as you follow along on the journey.

You are welcome to leave your story in the comment section below, or if you write stories about family fitness, nutrition, weight loss, etc. on your web site you can link up. The blog hop link is open all month long, so link up as many fitness stories as you want all month long. Just be sure to grab this story link and include it somewhere on your post so others can find the link back here to read more stories of encouragement. You can also grab the blog hop code and place it at the bottom of your story too. Thank You!




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Walk and Talk Wednesday

                                WEEK 10 
                   Carbohydrates & Glucose

This week the kids and I spent a lot of time reading and renewing our understanding of how the body uses the food and nutrients we feed it.  All week long the kids and I have discussed if certain food choices were wise. I want my kids and myself to know details and proof about nutrition and health.  I don’t usually believe what I am told just because somebody said it, and I want my kids to have common sense and think beyond the food hype that is common in our culture.  Dietary advice needs to be backed by solid, historically true, scientific evidence.

Now why would I say historically true?  Because much of the “science” and the foods we consume today are recent modern inventions and recent history, not historically true for the human race.  Much of the “science” is tainted by the profits of big food conglomerates who want the public to believe their “man made” products are safe to eat.  Much of the science is also used to get USDA and FDA approval to sell a profit making agenda to the public.  Those are motives that don’t set right with me. 

I believe I have a right to eat natural food that my ancestors ate for a healthy vigorous life, not a man made substitute to tempt me into a food addiction and make somebody rich.  I once heard someone say that every human being has an inherent right to healthy food, safe housing, clean water, and freedom and these basic elements of life should be easily acquired and not cause one to go into poverty to get them while a few become rich from controlling access to it.  This sounds like a very good place to be to me.

If it has been historically true that humans have consumed foods that were low in carbohydrates and high in protein and fats such as meat, fresh butter, fresh milk, fresh eggs, fruits, and fermented / soaked seeds (nuts, seeds, grains) and fermented starches (vegetables especially root vegetables) for 6,000 years, and it has was nourishing for them.  Why would or should I believe the current food hype who say to avoid meat, eggs, fresh milk, and butter, but instead eat grains, artificial foods, soy based products,  “egg beaters”, skim milk, soy milk, and margarine for your health?   Obviously, with the evidence of increased health problems in our country, those who perpetuate this food hype are WRONG!  Somebody told them, and they are repeating it, and modern industry is getting rich on marketing it, but it is not true!  Humans are becoming SICK and FAT, because of our “modern” diet.

The kids and I studied about how cells in our body use two main dietary sources of fuel for energy, both glucose and fat.  The body does not have to have dietary glucose because it can create its own glucose from fats and protiens.  But in our modern culture, the first “go to” fuel for the body has become glucose.  It is quickly metabolized and excess glucose and dietary fat is then stored away for future use.  However if dietary glucose is not available, the human body processes dietary fat and stored fat into fuel for energy. 

The body turns many things you eat into glucose through a metabolic process.  You might eat glucose directly in foods, but other carbohydrates are turned into glucose too.  So if you eat any grain, sugar, honey, most fruits, starchy vegetables, legumes, etc. these things all get turned into glucose in the body.  They all turn to glucose at different rates and in different amounts. 

There are two main scales of measure used to determine carbs.  The Glycemic Index or GI to measure the amount of carbohydrates in a food, and the more accurate Glycemic Load or GL measures the carbohydrates in the food and the load of carbs it places on the body.  The GL is a more accurate measure and is used by scientists, but rarely used by dieticians. The formula to figure GL is

GL = (GI x amount of carbohydrate) divided by 100

Measuring carbohydrates in foods has very little to do with whether they are healthy food choices or not.  Instead it is a piece of the puzzle of human nutrition.  It does not show you how much vitamins, minerals, fats, protein, etc. are in a certain food.  It is only a reflection of how quickly the human body turns the carbohydrates into glucose.  Glucose in moderation is not a bad thing.  Glucose in excess of what the body can manage is a deadly thing.  Measuring carbohydrates can help you make better choices to choose foods that are nutrient dense and low in carbohydrates for your dietary needs.


Image by Dean Madden, Source from http://www.scienceinschool.org/2006/issue1/diabetes

During my research this week, I read that an ideal human diet would include a significantly less amount of carbohydrates than the standard American diet.  Hum. . . significantly less. . . what exactly does that mean? 

The Standard American Diet:


                                                        Image source mypyramid.gov

Most Americans consume over 300 grams of carbs a day.  Current government suggestions on a 2,000 calorie diet are 300 grams, and 375 grams of carbs on a 2,500 calorie diet.  They are also encouraged to eat a small portion of lean protein, and very little fat.   Just check the nutrition label on the food you are eating.  If it is a big enough label, such as those on a box of cereal, it will show you the carbs, protein, fat, sodium, etc in the food and also on the label it will include the government’s current recommendations.  

Even though the government has recommended this level of consumption, everything I am reading points to this amount of carbohydrate consumption putting a strain on our bodies.  It is way to high to consume on a daily ongoing basis and is making Americans very unhealthy and prone to disease. 


Image from WebMed Image source and more info about diabetes

Consumption of a high carbohydrate diet puts extreme stress on the pancreas to produce insulin to regulate the glucose levels in the blood stream.  Insulin regulates the amount of glucose allowed through the cell membrane.  Eventually the cells through out the entire body become insensitive to insulin or insulin resistant.  The body keeps sending more and more insulin so the cells are not overloaded all at once with the fuel, and eventually the cells do not recognize the insulin, the pancreas may get out of balance, reduce, or even stop producing insulin, because the whole system is out of whack.  Too much glucose, too much insulin, and not enough insulin can all cause severe bodily harm.  A person eventually will become diabetic.  Over time the condition known as diabetes will continue to deteriorate the body, and cause additional problems such as kidney failure, blindness, neuropathy, and may even kill you.  Please read the article from Science In School for more information about diabetes or do an internet search yourself. The amount of information available is mind bogling, but it is doing little to stem the tide of this wide spread illness.

This high amount of glucose in the body from too many carbohydrates in our diet also lowers the immune system’s ability to fight disease, specifically the white blood cells become disabled.  As high blood glucose is hindering the immune system, damaging the pancreas, and causing insulin resistance, it is actually feeding pre-cancerous and cancerous cells.  Cancerous cells consume glucose for fuel.  Unless a person who has cancer is able to remove it with surgery, chemically kill the cancer with chemo and radiation, or stop feeding the cancer, it will continue to grow.  But the good news is that many end stage metastatic cancers can be stopped if the cancer no longer has a food source.  If glucose is cut off, then the cancer dies.   Wow, knowledge of this could and should be life changing for all of us.  Please read the article by Dr. Mercola to learn more about glucose and cancer.

Ideally, the amount of carbohydrates we consume should be somewhere between 100 to 150 grams a day for maintenance and 50 and 100 for weight loss and healing.  There are a few disease conditions such as cancer and epilepsy that may require even less carbohydrates to heal.   Check out this chart below from Let’s Get Primal and be sure to check out their article for more information.


                                                Image source Let’s Get Primal

The actual amount of carbohydrates each person needs is an individual number for each person based on weight, lean body mass, insulin resistance, how much protein and fat are in our diet, and other factors.  A healthy diet should also include carb re-feeding days too if you are athletic. So consuming carbs of 50 to 100 grams for several days in a row, then include a day when the carb consumption is up higher so the body can re-boot and repair muscles that were overused during athletic events.  I also read about intermittent fasting where you spend one day a week not eating breakfast, (or not eating breakfast and lunch) and only consuming supper that day.  This day of partial fasting gives the body rest and also resets several metabolic processes.  Be sure to read Dr. Mercola’s article about intermittent fasting to learn more. 

If you consume below 50 grams of carbs a day, you should be monitored through urine ketosis tests and blood work through a physician for the safety of vital organs, especially the liver.  There are many popular diets out there today that are promoting low carbs below 40 on an ongoing daily basis, and these should only be done with a doctor’s supervision for good reason.  

I am GUILTY of over-consumption of carbohydrates.  I grew up eating a high carb diet, we had things made with grains and starch at every meal (bread, gravy, biscuits, pudding, potatoes, pasta, etc).  In my 20’s I continued this high carb lifestyle.  Eventually in my 30’s I began to learn the importance of protein and fats and other nutrients in the diet, and changed my eating habits to include nutrient dense foods.  But these changes have not been enough to help me be at a healthy weight.

Now I am making strides to change my family’s nutrient balance even more.  I am currently consuming close to 200 to 240 carbs a day, and about 2,200 calories.  My carbohydrate intake is too high.  I am overweight.  My body has maintained my current weight (I am not saying how much) since having my last child.  It seems that toward the end of my pregnancies I gain weight that I keep even after the baby is born and I never get back to my prepregnancy weight.   I am using all the calories I am consuming, so my weight is stable, but I am not yet loosing weight which is my goal.  I am still nursing my youngest son who is 14 months old.  I generally nurse all my kids until they are around 2 years, though my daughter was 3 when she finally weaned.  Nursing requires around 500 calories a day or so, and I don’t want to jeopardize my milk flow by reducing too many calories for the sake of loosing weight at this time.  I don’t know for sure how much carbohydrates the children are consuming, except that I do know it is more than me.  They eat a lot of snacks that are high in carbs.  I am hoping by talking to them about their food choices, and providing them with nutrient dense foods, I can steer them better into eating nutrient dense foods that are lower in carbs so they are not overloading every day.

But instead of drastically reducing calories on a diet, I want to change the majority of the calories we are consuming from carbohydrate based to fat based.  I want to offer more fat as a fuel.  I want to nourish my family with good fats such as avocado, eggs, coconut oil, butter, cream, etc. pastured and grass fed meats, fresh raw dairy, and adequate amount of high quality proteins from grass fed beef and dairy,  pastured free range poultry, and wild caught fish.

A lot of material I read said to not jump into a low carb diet, but to slowly wean your body down as you increase protein and fat intake.  Wow, this is so radical!  To burn fat, you must eat fat in addition to reducing the carbs.  I need to train the body to use fat as fuel instead of using glucose for fuel.  This is done by reducing the glucose and allowing the body to consume fat.  If done incorrectly, in addition to possibly causing organ and liver damage, you can also induce your body to store fat, and burn muscle for fuel instead of the goal of burning fat.  My goal is definitely to burn fat, so I am going more slowly and making small changes to reduce my carbohydrate intake.  I will share more about this next time, but fats are a key player in this whole nutrition puzzle.  I will keep a food journal that tracks all three areas: carbs, proteins, and fat.

I will be writing more about this and sharing lots of links to research and articles soon.  So stay tuned for much more.  I think you will be amazed how easily we, and the last two or three generations, have been mislead by dietary information through food conglomerates, food manufacturers, education and schools, health care, grocery stores, tv, resturants, etc.   If you want to learn more about historically healthy foods, and how to prepare them, please check out the Weston A Price Foundation.

Disclaimer:   I am sharing my opinion about my own experience and lifestyle choices and my experience may be different from yours.  I am not a doctor.  Please consult your personal health care provider before changing your diet or routine as these choices may have an impact on your life.   Please use wisdom when making any changes in your lifestyle. 

Family Fitness Activity Journal

This week we had bad weather on the night of our Cardio class so we did not go.  I just will not drive in fog in the dark on the highway in the mountains.  It is not safe.  I have never seen more wrecks than I have since living here near this stretch of highway near Asheville North Carolina.  The evenings during the rest of the week got busy and we skipped the Y.  We also did not do our T-Tapp video.  Why?  I don’t know.  However, we played a lot of indoor games though and made it to the park too. 

One game the kids play inside that gives them some physical movement is army crawl tag.  They have to crawl around with their bellies or hips touching the floor as they use their legs and arms to scoot along.  They laugh so hard and get a lot of exercise playing this game.  They also jumped on a mini indoor trampoline a few minutes each day.  I love having a mini trampoline in the house.  You can buy an inexpensive one for about $25.      

We spent some time enjoying the great outdoors at a local park on one of the few nice days we had.  Below are pictures from Saturday at our favorite local park, Lake Julian in Arden, North Carolina.  It is about a 25 minute drive from our house.  We picked up some lunch and had a picnic and we spent an afternoon feeding the ducks, geese, fish, sea gulls, and playing together.

Be sure to check out the story about our trip to Lake Julian this week and see some awesome pictures of birds, boats, fresh water clams, and more.  This was a great physical activity to do together, and a fun learning adventure.

Goals For Next Week

My goals for next week are to continue my research about nutrition and the human body, reduce my carbohydrate intake, increase my intake of healthy protein and healthy fats, take the cardio dance class at the Y, play with my kids outdoors, complete two sessions of T-Tapp, and begin some form of strength training twice this week, create healthy meals for my whole family, pray and read the bible daily.

Further The Learning With Your Kids:

For a fun activity with the kids this week, look through your fridge, freezer, and cabinets at nutrition labels and discuss the nutrients listed with the kids. Also try having the kids
make a nutrition label with a free online nutrition label maker.
 

This post will be linked up with:
Raising Homemakers
Domestically Divine
Sharing Time

                Walk and Talk Wednesday Link Up

Please join us on our Walk and Talk Wednesday Family Fitness Journey. You can read other Walk and Talk stories from January and February and all our friends who have linked their stories and follow along on the journey.

You are welcome to leave your story in the comment section below, or if you write stories about family fitness, nutrition, weight loss, etc. on your web site you can link up. The blog hop link is open all month long, so link up as many fitness stories as you want all month long. Just be sure to grab this story link and include it somewhere on your post so others can find the link back here to read more stories of encouragement. You can also grab the blog hop code and place it at the bottom of your story too. Thank You!



 

 

 

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Boats, Birds, and Clams, OH MY!

This week we did a family fitness activity at a local park called Lake Julian.   In addition to a lake, it has a boat marina, a sail boat club, a rowing club, a playground, picnic shelters, and lots of wooded and natural areas to explore.  We visit this park several times through out the year because there is so much to see and do here.  It is a great place to observe the seasonal changes too.  Besides family time together, it is a fun place to explore natural science.



It was a beautiful day with bright sunshine and with a slight chill in the air.  There were a dozen or more fishing boats on the water. 



The kids and I spoke with one of the fishermen as he slowed his boat down not far off shore.  He was using a paddle to check the depth of the water in the shallow areas and checking out his trolling motor and gear.  We inquired about how the fishing was going.  He said he had not caught anything yet.

 

There were lots of sail boats on the water too.  The other side of the lake had more sail boats than I could count.  They looked so beautiful.  Their large white sails were such a contrast against the winter backdrop of “hibernating” trees and the blue water of the lake.  It was amazing to watch the sails catch the wind and push the boats along in the water. 



We spent some time feeding and observing the birds on the water.  There were several varieties of ducks, geese, and sea gulls.  The kids noticed that like the fishing boats and sail boats, ducks and geese can float on the water. They use their feet like the boat propeller to push themselves along in the water. Birds can take flight and sailboats do not fly, but there are similarities in both the sails and wings. The wings are similar to the sails on a sailboat because they can open and close and catch the wind to glide along. 
 

The sea gulls were very competitive with the ducks and geese.  They had a distinct advantage of speed and craftiness.  They would fly high in the air, swoop down fast to the water and steel the food away from the ducks and geese.  The kids remarked how the sea gulls could fly both quickly and slowly depending on how they held out their wings and the placement of their feet.  They are true pirates of the air and water.



We had so much fun feeding and watching the birds on the lake.

 

Then being the hands on young scientists we are, we had a great time exploring near the shore.  We walked quite a distance of shore line, noticing small changes, observing the water, rocks, waves, plants, wind, and various birds.

 

The kids hoped to find small fish and crayfish.  They used a small stick to poke around small pools near rocks.  They lifted a few rocks to see if they could entice a crayfish out of hiding.



We did not find crayfish today, and we only saw one small fish.  We hypothesized (guessed) that we did not see lots of small fish, because it is not yet spawning season.  The fish count in the lake may be low this time of year, and most of the small fish may have been eaten through the winter months by the bigger fish and birds.

We did however find lots of other treasures.   We found moss growing on rocks.  And feathers left by the birds. We found some goose poop too (no picture).  The kids were fascinated with different rocks and the contrasting soft texture of the feathers.

 

Check out these fresh water clam shells.  Some of the shells were separated from each other and laying side by side in the water, and some others we found in the water were still attached to each other.  

 

The kids wanted to know what the animal that lives inside of the shell looks like.  They also wanted to know where the clams went and why these shells were left behind? So we decided we would investigate more about fresh water clams when we returned home.

 

We observed the ducks feeding on fish and plants.  They bent forward and dipped their heads and upper bodies under water to reach for food. This also gave the children a closer view of the ducks webbed feet they use for swimming. 



The mallard ducks were a little pre-occupied with competing for a mate to care about the children throwing out bread to them, or the sea gulls stealing the bread.  The geese and the wood
ducks were obviously offended by the sea gulls and squawked at them when they swooped in. There were hundreds of birds on the lake today. Aren’t these ducks gorgeous?




For More Information About Fresh Water Clams:
               
Definitions, classifications, and pictures
                Images 
                Fact Sheet
                Coloring Pages



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Walk and Talk Wednesday

                   Week 9
                       Plan B

Do You Have A Plan B In Your Family Fitness Plan?  It can be challenging to work in time in your lifestyle for physical activities if your family is not inclined to joining sports or athletic teams, and if you don’t have daily physically demanding chores (such as on a farm or job) to do.   If this describes your family, and you are like me and you homeschool, you might feel the additional need to include PE in your child’s weekly curriculum line up.

I try to include some form of physical activities in my family’s schedule each week. Sometimes it is as simple as playing in the yard or riding bikes, and other times we go to the park, on the weekend go site seeing with dad, or do other activities. 

Plan A

There have been times when I have found myself wanting more than just a “playing in the yard” level of activity for my kids.  We have a lot of young children, and doing much more than playing in the yard is difficult many days.  Currently, we are not on a sports or athletic team.  We also don’t have the extra money to afford fees for teams, uniforms, gear, etc. at this time in our life.  We would like to do some sports in the future, per the kid’s interests as they get older, and as we have the finances to do so. One of our kids is interested in baseball, one is interested in football, one is interested in soccer, and all three of those are interested in tennis (which we did take lessons twice in the past).  The other three are too young to know what they would like to do.  So for now, we try to find activities that we can all do together and don’t cost anything, like the park, or activities that cost very little for supplies, like workshops.  

Needing a consistent level of physical activity each week is one of the reasons I started Take Action Tuesdays, and Walk and Talk Wednesdays.  I had prayed for almost two years for a specific direction for our family.  The Lord inspired me to start Take Action Tuesday and invite other families in the area to join us.  In addition to other things we do, Take Action Tuesday is time we set aside each week for being active and learning outdoors in local parks.  This has been such a positive activity for our family.  It has been almost two years since we started the TAT program and it has been a blessing.  I am so thankful God put this in my heart.
 

Plan B

If the park is our Plan A, then in the winter, and on days when it is chilly, raining, or too hot, we need a PLAN B.  We need an indoor place to enjoy being physical and out of the weather.   The YMCA has been our Plan B this winter and it is a perfect place for us to get physical, learn something new, and enjoy our time together.

The Possibilities

Do you have a plan for family fitness or PE in your weekly schedule?  What are your ideas for places to go and things to do for family fitness? 

The possibilities are endless.  Grab a piece of paper, sit down with your kids and spouse, and ask them what things your family could do inside and outside for physical fitness that they would enjoy.  You could organize their answers according to location, season, Plan A, Plan B, time of day, skill level, etc.

Sometimes we just need to see the possibilities written down to spark our excitement and work some new activities into our schedule.  Here are just a few of the possibilities for family fitness activities I thought would work well for us at different times/ seasons of our life.

Outdoor Ideas:
Park Play
Walk
Bike
Play In The Yard: tag, ball, run, hide, chase, sandbox, games, etc.
Climb Trees
Outdoor Workshops
Camping
Hiking
Swim
Baseball
Softball
Soccer
Football
Basketball
Kickball
Dodgeball
Volleyball
Tennis
Tetherball
Jump Rope
Horseback Riding
Mowing the grass with a push mower.
Weeding grass and weeds with a weedeater
Gardening
Stacking firewood
Skateboard
Walk your dog or someone else’s dog
Frisbee
Kite Flying
4-Wheeling

Indoor Ideas:
Basketball
Indoor Walking / Jogging Track
Gym Membership (YMCA)
Swim Indoor Pool
Exercise Machines: treadmill, elliptical, cycles etc.
Weight Machines: work your legs and arms with resistance and weights
Indoor Skateboard Track
Racquetball
Jump Rope
Aerobics Class
Wall Climbing
Roller Skating
Bowling
Exercise DVD
Dancing
Gymnastics
Jumping On The Beds!!!! (my younger kid’s favorite thing to do!)
Pillow Fight

 
Activity Journal

It was a crazy week this week.  We had an ice storm, then a power outage for half the day, and then rain all afternoon, and fog that afternoon / evening, and I opted not to drive to our regular Cardio Dance class at the YMCA that evening.  I don’t like driving in the fog on a busy interstate highway, so I opted to stay home.   Instead we went the to the YMCA the following evening when the bad weather had cleared.  There was no class for us, but we still found lots of activities to do.

Rock Climbing:

 
 
   
  
  

Studio B:
 
We love using this room.  It brings us lots of laughs, brotherly competition, and lots of fun.  I wish we had a room like this at home.  I think it could help settle some differences at times and keep them busy when needed.

I am not sure what it is called but this machine helps you do an upside down reverse sit up and it works your back.
  

We jumped rope to see who could go the longest and farthest.  A couple of weeks ago, my 8 year old learned to do crazy pushups with his feet on the big ball, and his arms balancing in an upside down half ball.  However, this time he wasn’t able to maintain his balance on it.

 
  
Did arm repetitions with the heavy medicine balls.

 

Leg lifts on this machine, works the stomach and the back.


 
Squats using the wall and the big ball.

 

Push ups with the big ball.  It is a lot of fun and somewhat comical to work out in this room together.

 

The Gym:

We walked a mile on the indoor track.  That is 18 laps around the track.

 
 
Kickboxing with a machine.  It lights up where you are supposed to kick. It keeps your score too.

  

Two of my boys also enjoy boxing with the bags (speed bag and heavy bag).

 

Basketball.  Need I say more?

The Pool:

Swimming for over an hour.  They brought their snorkels and goggles, and hunted for diving rings on the bottom of the pool.  They swam and raced each other, and had a great time.

  

I did not swim today, but I did enjoy the steam room, the sauna, and the hot tub! Oooh,  La La!

This post will be linked up with
Raising Homemakers
Sharing Time
Healthy Habit

                                            
                  
        Walk And Talk Wednesday March

Please join us on our Walk and Talk Wednesday Family Fitness Journey.  You can read other Walk and Talk stories from January and February and all our friends who have linked their stories and follow along on the journey. 

You are welcome to leave your story in the comment section below, or if you write stories about family fitness, nutrition, weight loss, etc. on your web site you can link up.  The blog hop link is open all month long, so link up as many fitness stories as you want all month long.  Just be sure to grab this story link and include it somewhere on your post so others can find the link back here to read more stories of encouragement.  You can also grab the blog hop code and place it at the bottom of your story too.  Thank You!




 

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Walk and Talk Wednesday

                                Week 8

                                    Life Line

Check out a little buddy of mine climbing this wall!  He is a 12 year old homeschooler and he climbed all the way to the top, several times!  I have known him for five years and it is amazing how much he has grown and what a confident climber he is.
 

The wall is 26 feet high and has small little knobs that jut out from the face of the wall.  The knobs are small, and they are difficult to grasp with your hands and even more difficult to put the toes of your shoe on.  The higher you climb, the harder it is to hang on.  It requires strength and balance to climb higher and not fall.

You might notice in the picture some of the safety gear that he is wearing.   He has a helmet to protect his head in case he was to fall, or bang into the wall on the way down.  He is also wearing a harness around his waist. The harness makes a seat by wrapping around the waist and looping around the top of the legs.  The harness is attached to ropes.  The ropes go through a pulley system that is attached to the ceiling.  As he climbs higher, he creates slack in the line above him, but the slack is removed with help from a person on the ground.  This helps provide safety and control when it is time for him to descend.

Slack in the rope is removed by a “spotter” on the ground who uses a special ATC device that acts like a break.  It takes up slack by feeding the rope through a small hole and keeping it out of the way.  It also provides friction against the rope to slow the climber’s descent.  The climber is able to land softly on the ground, instead of hitting the ground with the full force of gravity. 

A spotter is a person holding onto the other end of the rope.  The spotter is making sure the rope and pulley system, the life line, is working properly at all times.  He or she is the one who is quick to intervene at the first sign of trouble.  The spotter is watching the climber’s progress.  If the climber needs help the spotter will take action.  At all times the spotter is waiting for the sign from the climber that he has gone far enough and is ready to descend.  Once he has descended, he can choose to take a break or go up the wall again.  The climb would be to risky, dangerous, and foolish to take on without having this life line.  

                            Do You Need A Life Line?

“Life Line” or “Lifeline” definitions:
1) a line or rope saving ones life
2) a vital line of access or communication
                                                                source

Sometimes fitness and weightloss are like the climbing wall or like a mountain.  There is excitement at the bottom (beginning) as you put your body into your plan.  The plan is like the harness and it goes with you as you climb the mountain.  The harness (plan) needs to be attatched to a life line, or have a life line built into it.  Step by step you reach for the next “knob” that marks your progress as you push forward toward your goals.  Balance takes practice, and you may loose your footing the first few attempts you make to climb.  It takes strength in your legs to push you up to the next knob.  Grabbing the knobs takes strength in your hands and arms.  It takes time to build strength, time to learn how to balance and shift the body forward toward the wall, time to develop the coordination. 

Reaching the top takes stamina too.  But sometimes your stamina wears out, you get tired of operating outside of you comfort zone, and you get tired of climbing, tired of standing on a small ledge on your toes, tired of hanging on with your finger tips.  Sometimes the harness is uncomfortable. You haven’t reached the top yet, and despite how hard you try, you fall backwards and have to start over.  You rely on the life line knowing at all times it is ready to assist you when you need it.  You might need to come down, take a break, re-assess your progress and the methods you are using to reach your goals, and start again when you are ready.

As you work toward your family fitness goals, consider this:  What life line(s) have you set up to help you when you need it? 
Possible life lines:
                Friends
                Family
                Faith & Bible Study
                Prayer Chain
                Prayer Journal
                Fitness Binder or Scrap Book
                Access To A Gym
                Access To A Safe Place To Exercise
                Rest
                Water
                Nutrition
                Physical Trainer
                Support Group

Personally, I am back at the bottom of the mountain of fitness, and I am re-assessing my plans, my nutrition, my stamina, and more.  I shared with you last week that I had hit a period of loss of motivation and loss of momentum.  I didn’t realize it at first, but I needed to use my life line to safely land at the bottom for a time of rest.  I made really big changes in my life since early December though I didn’t start writing about it on here until January.  I had maintained those changes until mid-February, about 12 weeks or so, but I had finally run out of steam.  

Now I am using this time at the bottom of my mountain for reflection and re-evaluation, and testing my “gear” including my “life lines”.  Though I have still gone to the YMCA for eight weeks straight, I have not done daily workouts, including the T-Tapp workout or the food journal.  Instead, I am currently using that time differently.  I am searching the scriptures to see myself through the eyes of my creator.  I am praying and spending time talking with the Lord.  I am combing through cookbooks for healthy recipes.  I am putting a fitness (physical and spiritual) binder together.  I re-vamping my schedule, and making plans and goals for the next phase. This is not failure, but a time of rest and re-booting, so that I am ready to climb the mountain again.
 
“If you are tired from carrying heavy burdens, come to me and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28 

                        Family Fitness Activity Journal

YMCA: Our trip to the YMCA was very good.  I took my 10 year old and 8 year old sons with me.  We did a 1 hour Cardio Dance class.  There were 34 + people at the class, and we had so much fun.  Here are two of my boys with some of our friends in the class.

Then we walked a mile on the indoor track, and played 30 minutes of basketball.

Next we spent about an hour playing in the pool.  We swam, jumped to see how high we could splash the water, and played more basketball in the water too.

 

I also spent some time in the steam room and the jacuzzi tub.  I loved how the bubbling water felt on my feet and aching back.  It was very relaxing and therapeutic. 


Club:
We spent a 1/2 day at our local Lego and Robotics Academy club.  This is a very physical activity for us.  All six of my kids attend this with me.  We have to start getting ready about 6am.  By 7:30 am we load the van with lots of huge boxes of supplies.  We leave the house around 8:15 or so.  By 8:30 we were setting up tables and chairs at the building.  It often takes us 20 minutes or more to get the whole room set up.

Then I am on my feet for the entire 2 and 1/2 hours of the meeting, usually teaching and guiding the students.  Sometimes this can be stressful if the kids are not behaving, or if someone is having a problem.  The meeting was stressful this week and we did have a child not behave and he took constant redirecting from me.  It is just a part of life and teaching / guiding kids, so it is to be expected to happen from time to time.  But not all meetings are like that, and sometimes it goes smoothly and there are no concerns.  But the whole process of preparing, teaching, and cleaning up at the end has its own stress that naturally just goes along with hosting it.  

Finally, another 30 minutes or more cleaning up trash, sweeping the entire building, and putting away all the tables and chairs.  We really work up a sweat before we are through.  I am so thankful for my kids and their work ethic and good attitude to jump in and help me get it all done.

When we are finally back home, I unload the van again, and put it all away until next time.  Finally I am able to take a deep breath and relax, nurse the baby, and give my own kids my full attention again.  Sometimes it is 2 pm or later before we can settle back down into our routine again at home.  It is an incredibly exhausting day, both physically and mentally!  We have been hosting this club and keeping this routine for a little over a year and a half.  Whew!

Outdoor Play: Though the weather is not freezing, or blizzard conditions, and it is fairly mild for winter, it has been chilly and rainy.  Winters (December, January, February) here on the southern edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains is alot like March and April weather in the midwest (Indiana and Kansas) where I have lived most of my life.

But on the few days that were not raining, misting, or chilly, or the very few days we had a little bit of snow in the air, we either head over to the local parks or take full advantage of the yard. 

We were able to play two afternoons this week.  One day we rode bikes and played basketball.  But it was so windy that it was not that enjoyable for long.  The next nice day we had we kicked around the ball, played frisbee and basketball, and a fun game of freeze tag on these stepping stones.  This really made the game of freeze tag even more fun.

 

How Was Your Week?

This post will be linked up with:
Healthy Habits 
Raising Homemakers
Domestically Divine Tuesday 
Sharing Time 

          Walk and Talk Wednesday February Link Up

                                           

So what have you been working on this month? What fitness goals are you taking steps to achieve? Are you making progress? Is your momentum strong or slowing down? What motivates you?  Leave a comment below. 

If you are writing about health, fitness, nutrition, or anything else that pertains to family fitness, feel free to link up your story here. Please put a link back here on your story so others can find inspiration and encouragement too.  This is a blog hop and you are welcome to share the code below the linky on your fitness stories too.




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