Flaky.

Credit: Buzzfeed

No, I don’t mean flaky like the crust of a croissant, quiche, or baklava…even though I do wish this post were about food…that’s more fun to discuss. But what I’m going to address here is food for the soul, rather than for the physical body.

Also known as the opposite of integrity, flakiness is, basically put, not keeping your word. It’s being someone whom others can’t count on. No one likes these people…but it’s easy to become that person, justifying it so much that you don’t even realize that reality about yourself. 

That’s scary — that lack of self-awareness. Which can, and does, happen to all of us from time to time. Which is why surrounding yourself with wise community and staying vulnerable with the right people reveals character flaws and helps correct them when others point things out in us we didn’t see before. 

I say all of this because I’m in a season of learning what it means to be flaky and how to come out of it. I’ve seen the negative consequences of this character flaw and noticed how it’s intertwined with trying to please everyone in my circle…that’s unhealthy and not gonna happen. I’ve also noticed, simply put, how just telling someone you’re gonna do something and then making ridiculous excuses why you’re all of a sudden not gonna do it, hurts people — sometimes irreparably. 

To elaborate with examples, I heard Joyce Meyer speak on this topic at church the other day by saying she told people they could come visit for a week (but didn’t really mean it) and learned to always only speak what she means. 

Personally, I have been very swayed by people’s opinions in the past, making my foundation shaky rather than solid and my life full of indecisiveness, always worried about disappointing someone.

I always looked at that as, rather than a bad thing, a selfless act…until I saw it affect me and others around me negatively. I didn’t get a job offer because my resume is all over the place as I’ve been listening to everyone’s opinions and going with the wind, with no real direction or goal.

I’ve listened more to people’s reasons why I shouldn’t be a teacher than to the desires God has placed in my heart and His promises to strengthen me (praise God that now I’ve finally decided to be committed to pursuing the teaching route).

I’ve seen how telling someone I’d sign a lease and then, suddenly, changing my mind to go with what seems like a better option that just came up, causes my plans to crumble months later (probably part of God teaching me this lesson…with painful consequences). And how those things cause other people harm in getting their hopes up and wasting their time. 

I’ve seen how a lack of self-awareness and pride in thinking I know best hurts the ones I love the most because I get defensive and angry.

Having reflected on all of this…I see why Jesus tells us oaths and promises are important to keep…let your yes be yes and your no be no; nothing more, nothing less. And I’ll close with that passage from His Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5:

Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but fulfill to the Lord the vows you have made.’ 34 But I tell you, do not swear an oath at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; 35 or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. 36 And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. 37 All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.

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Why I trashed my makeup

…And lotion and shampoo.

So much of my makeup, lotion, face wash, shampoo, and conditioner — as it turns out — has one of these toxic chemicals, or one not even on this list (click here).

I was reading about some of the ingredients in my lotion, and here’s one of the many things I found wrong with it:

Phenoxyethanol

Used as an anti-bacterial in cosmetics and stabilizer in perfumes, phenoxyethanol is actually very harmful. It is harmful if swallowed, inhaled or absorbed through skin, especially to nursing mothers or infants. Phenoxyethanol can have an effect on the brain and the central nervous system. It irritates skin and eyes, and can cause blistering on skin as well. Although many skin care products (even some organic products as well) use phenoxyethanol in small amounts that is “not harmful” to skin, if you use the product multiple times a day, every day, it can cumulate and possibly affect you.

Source: click here.

Not to mention, I’ve got a million and one food allergies and who knows what else wrong with me. If I wouldn’t eat it, WHY WOULD I PUT IT ON MY BODY which soaks it up anyway?

I highly suggest being careful and reading labels. So many toxins get put into the products you use multiple times a day, and if you’re not careful, an overdose can cause many long-term health problems.

Call me overly sensitive, but I’m gonna err on the side of caution and feel better about myself and the environment.

So, what’s the solution?

  • Favorite face wash/moisturizer: cocokind.com
    Favorite foundation: satin matte in beige from Alima Pure
    Favorite mouth wash: coconut oil
    Body butter recipe: 1/4 c coconut oil, 1/4 c almond oil, 1/4 c shea butter (melt in saucepan, let cool, hand whip with a whisk, add a few drops essential oil)
  • …and more to come 🙂
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    Avocado spread

    Courtesy – https://natashaskitchen.com/open-faced-avocado-spread-sandwiches/

    Serves 1-2

    Ingredients:

    -1 avocado

    -Lemon juice

    -Salt & Pepper

    -Cilantro (for garnish)

    -Fresh French bread

    Directions:

    Mash that baby up and I probably add a tablespoon of lemon juice? Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. Spread onto some fresh bread. Rip off the leaves of the cilantro and add a generous portion to your slice!

    Why cilantro? It’s known to remove harmful metals from your body. And it tastes amazing 🙂

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    The meaning of life

    42C18F97-C583-4C88-ACA8-B643BEABA152.jpeg

    I read two really good books over the holidays — Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl and Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis. They’ve really helped to reshape my perspective over the last several weeks of 2018, in perfect timing for me to enter 2019 with a fresh perspective on what God wants from me and what I was created for.

    Once, an elderly general practitioner consulted me because of his severe depression. He could not overcome the loss of his wife who had died two years before and whom he had loved above all else … I confronted him with the question, “What would have happened, Doctor, if you had died first, and your wife would have had to survive you?”

    He said, “for her this would have been terrible; how she would have suffered!” Whereupon I replied, “You see, Doctor, such a suffering has been spared her, and it was you who have spared her this suffering—to be sure, at the price that now you have to survive and mourn her.”

    He said no word but shook my hand and calmly left my office. In some way, suffering ceases to be suffering at the moment it finds a meaning, such as the meaning of a sacrifice. —-Viktor Frankl, Holocaust survivor

    One of the greatest ways we can live is by finding opportunities to serve and bring value to people, and upon realizing what value we’ve brought them, we can shift our perspective from depression to fulfillment. There are always more ways we can go out and meet a need, from the small ways we help out in the kitchen, to the larger ways in which we sympathize with a friend or volunteer at a charity or adopt a hurting child. Small or large, they are all equally meaningful and important.

    We say that people are proud of being rich, or clever, or good-looking, but they are not. They are proud of being richer, or cleverer, or better-looking than others. If everyone else became equally as rich, or clever, or good-looking, there would be nothing to be proud about. It is the comparison that makes you proud: the pleasure of being above the rest.

    Greed may drive men into competition if there is not enough to go round; but the proud man, even when he has got more than he can possibly want, will try to get still more just to assert his power. Nearly all those evils in the world which people put down to greed or selfishness are really far more the result of Pride. —C.S. Lewis

    Comparison is a dangerous trap. That’s why, as part of my New Year’s resolution, I’m being more cognizant of my heart’s motives. It’s not okay to worry that I’m not prettier or more successful than that other girl. I’m created unique, in the image of God, for a purpose no one can accomplish but me. And so are you.

    To all of you: take care of your physical and mental health, and outdo one another in kindness. Happy New Year.

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    Vegan-vegetable-protein loaf!

    2EE81AD5-34F0-4AB5-857A-E6C54EEFAB95.jpegcourtesy – https://www.ilovevegan.com/the-ultimate-vegan-thanksgiving-loaf/

     

    Ingredients

    • 1 tbsp vegetable oil (changed original recipe of olive oil as sautéing olive oil is toxic…it doesn’t have a high heat tolerance)
    • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
    • 3 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 medium-large carrot, grated
    • 1 rib celery, thinly sliced
    • 1 1/2 cups kale, shredded and tightly packed
    • 1 1/2 cups mushrooms, thinly sliced
    • 1/4 tsp thyme
    • 1/4 tsp oregano
    • 1 tsp salt
    • black pepper to taste
    • 1 cup overcooked green lentils
    • 1 cup cooked brown rice
    • 1/3 cup oat flour (or ground oats)
    • 3 tbsp ground flax seed
    • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
    • 1/2 cup ground walnuts
    • 1/4 cup dried cranberries

    Instructions

    1. Cook your brown rice and lentils. The whole cooking process will go by much faster if you happen to have leftovers of either ingredient on hand, but cooking them fresh is perfectly fine too.
    2. Prep and chop all of your ingredients. Try to keep everything relatively small, your loaf will hold together better that way.
    3. Preheat your oven to 400°F.
    4. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large frying pan and heat over medium-high. Once your frying pan is heated, add the onion, garlic, carrot, celery, and kale. Sauté until the onion starts to become translucent (about 2 minutes.)
    5. Add the mushrooms, oregano, thyme, salt and pepper and continue sautéing until everything is just tender.
    6. In a large bowl, combine the sautéed vegetables, brown rice, lentils, oat flour, ground flax seeds, nutritional yeast, walnuts, and cranberries.
    7. Mix everything VERY thoroughly. It’s best to mix everything quite roughly so that you’re mashing some of the ingredients together. This is really important for proper binding in this recipe.
    8. Firmly press the mixture into a parchment paper lined loaf pan or 9×9 cake pan.
    9. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from oven, pour the glaze over the loaf and bake for another 10-15 minutes.
    10. Remove from oven and let sit for 10-15 minutes to fully set.

     

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    Vegan green bean casserole

    D06A741F-E044-44A6-888B-5E5194DFCAD6.jpegCourtesy – https://minimalistbaker.com/vegan-green-bean-casserole/

    • 1 pound green beans (rinsed, trimmed and cut in half)
    • Sea salt and black pepper
    • 2 Tbsp vegan butter or olive oil
    • 1 medium shallot (minced)
    • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
    • 1 cup finely chopped mushrooms (button, baby bella, or cremini)
    • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
    • 3/4 cup vegetable broth (DIY or store-bought)
    • 1 cup unsweetened plain almond milk
    • 1 1/2 cups crispy fried onions (divided // I love Trader’s Brand – check ingredients to ensure vegan friendly)

    Instructions

    1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (204 C). Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt well – it will help season the green beans. Add green beans and cook for 5 minutes, then drain and place in an ice water bath to stop cooking. Drain and set aside.

    2. In the meantime, start preparing sauce. In a large oven-safe skillet over medium heat, add vegan butter or olive oil and shallots and garlic. Season with salt and pepper and stir. Cook for 2-3 minutes, then add mushrooms and season with a bit more salt and pepper. Cook for 3-4 minutes more or until lightly browned.
    3. Sprinkle in flour and whisk to stir and coat the veggies. Cook for 1 minute, then slowly add in veggie stock, whisking to incorporate.
    4. Add almond milk next and whisk to stir again. Season with a touch more salt and pepper and bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to low to thicken. Cook for 5-7 minutes more, or until thick and bubbly. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

    5. Remove from heat and add 1/3 of the fried onions (1/2 cup as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size) and all of the cooked green beans. Toss to coat well, and top with remaining fried onions.

    6. Bake for 15 minutes, or until warmed through and bubbly and slightly browned on top. Serve immediately (handle pan carefully).
    7. Leftovers store well in the fridge for up to a few days.
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    Pumpkin pie chia pudding

    9CF05AA8-530E-4999-BA94-79EB627DA390.jpegCourtesy – https://jessicainthekitchen.com/pumpkin-pie-chia-pudding/

    INGREDIENTS
    • ¼ cup (42g) chia seeds
    • 1 cup So Delicious Vanilla Coconutmilk
    • 1 tablespoon agave syrup or maple syrup
    • ¾ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
    • ½ cup pumpkin purée
    • Pinch sea salt
    • Chopped pecans, for garnish

    Mix it all up and place, covered, in fridge for 4 hours or overnight. YUM!

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