The Cost of Health?

food blogAround this time of year, I get a statement from my bank, detailing my purchases on my debit/credit cards over the course of the year. I always find it interesting to look back and see where my money goes, and this year the longest list is by far for groceries. My first initial reaction was, “wow I spent a ton of money on food!” But as I kept looking over this statement, I realized that the bulk of my money really does go into other things…various household bills/insurance, etc. Most of you know this song and dance.

The more I thought about it and started breaking it down in my head, I realized that it was only around 10% of my income that actually went to food. I am even accounting for purchases that were made outside of this particular account…in my case, this includes the grass-fed beef that we buy in bulk. Ten percent, in the grand scheme of things, seems so small. Especially where our health and nourishment is concerned.
One of the things I hear most when I get on my “healthy eating” soapbox…eating like this (ie: eating organic and buying wild raised meat) is expensive. Yes, it is more expensive when you put it right next to the cost for the conventional produce and meats. But there are some things we can learn here.

  • You are not spending the extra money on the cheap snacks or junk food. These things add up! If you just drink water, you are not buying soda or juice, so that saves money right there.
  • In 1901, about 40% of a household income went to food.
  • In the 1950s, a mere generation ago, it was about 34%.
  • Fast-foward to a more familiar 2002-2003, and it was 13%.
  • The last report I could find was from 2010 where food had dropped down to 9.8%.
  • During this time, what has happened to our health? Lets look at just one chronic condition; type 2 diabetes. These rates have gone up so much that the name had to be changed from Adult-onset Diabetes to Type 2 diabetes. Why? Because too many kids were being diagnosed!
  • What really concerns me is I know too many people who have worked and worked, saving for retirement, only to retire and have their entire lives savings wiped out when they have a heart attack/stroke/cancer. Usually far to early in life.

Fun fact: aging happens inevitably, as the cells in our body are copied and reproduced over and over again. Like a copy of a copy of a copy, the quality of these copies simply decreases over time. The rate of these copies is determined by the stress and demands that our lifestyle puts upon our bodies over the years. If our cells are allowed to make copies at a their normal, homeostatic pace, we should get like 110 years out of our bodies before the copies simply become unreadable and we meet a peaceful end to what should theoretically be nice long life on this earth!

So lets talk about my eating habits and where my 10% went. Do I eat organic and wild meats? Yes, I really do, most of the time, on most things. My priorities towards food quality go to the things I eat a lot of. If I eat eggs 5 days a week, I am going to make sure they are good, free-range eggs from chickens that spend time pecking around outside and in these winter months, are not being stuffed with GMO soy and corn. This is important to me. If I am out at a restaurant, do I go hungry if the salad is not organic and the burger is not grass-fed? Of course not! It is the things we eat/do the most that matter the most.

That 10% really seems nominal when I think about the monthly cost of the now-mandatory health insurance bill. I really find it quite disconcerting that my family pays the same in healthcare costs and the family who is on 5 prescriptions or insulin injections. Apart from well-baby checks, no one in my family has been to the doctor in almost two years.

Please note, I do think there is a time and a place for modern medicine. Two years ago, when I did make my last trip to a hospital, it was because I split my shin open and exposed bone/muscle. I was super grateful for the actions of those medical professionals who helped me clean and dress the wound to help prevent infection. No amount of healthy food and stress management would have fixed this acute injury. (I did not include the photo. You’re welcome. 🙂

Notice that I have now used the terms “chronic” and “acute.” This is where we need to differentiate between the use of hospitals/doctors and the use of say chiropractors/exercise/healthy lifestyle choices. If you fall and break an arm, I hope you are not going to try and treat it with a grass-fed steak and salad. If you have a heart attack, I do hope you get to an ER and a cardiologist, not a gynecologist. However, after the heart attack, are you going to take nutrition/lifestyle advice from that same heart doctor? I hope not. This doctor will have had little to no education in food and nutrition for the body. It would be like calling the fire department back to rebuild your house after they put out the fire. They simply do not have the right tools.

Healing from chronic conditions really is like healing your house after say mold/fire/flood. You have to do some rebuilding on your house and that can start with the food you put into it. Food and the nutrients it provides, are what replenishes all of the cells in your body. Your skin is your body’s biggest organ and it replaces the outer layer (the epidermis, the part we see) every 35 days. Every 6 weeks you get a new liver, and every 2 months you get a new brain! Every 5-7 years you actually pretty much get an entire new body. We are amazing creatures! If you give your body what it needs to do all of this, you really can heal yourself from the inside out. The ideal situation would be to just keep the proverbial house clean as the years pass. Basic maintenance if you will. When it comes to the only place you truly have to live, it is in your amazing, wonderfully complicated body. Don ‘t you think you deserve to give yourself and your family the best chance possible?

Advertisements

Trick or Treat?

Halloween really feels to me like the kickoff to the holiday season. Let’s get right to the point and call it what it really is: The Holiday Season of All Things Sweet and Tempting. There is good news; you can still be healthy and enjoy some holiday treats. There are many things I have learned and here is an important one: You don’t have to enjoy every single holiday treat that comes your way. Pick and choose the stuff that is worth it! Let’s just focus on the upcoming celebration of Halloween.

candyThe truth is, most manufacturers are only out to make money. Unfortunately, when it comes to food products, this hurts more than just your pocket book. They don’t care about quality or your health; they care about how inexpensively they can make a product and how much they can still sell it to you for. Over the years, most ingredients have changed. More sugar, in many different forms, has been added, cheap fillers have been popping up and the things that are sold and fed to us are becoming less and less like food and more and more like a chemistry experiment. Let’s take a look at one of my old favorites: Reeses Peanut Butter Cups.

Straight off of the Hersheys website:

REESE’S Peanut Butter Cups INGREDIENTS:

MILK CHOCOLATE (SUGAR; COCOA BUTTER; CHOCOLATE; NONFAT MILK; MILK FAT; LACTOSE; SOY LECITHIN; PGPR, EMULSIFIER); PEANUTS; SUGAR; DEXTROSE; SALT; TBHQ (PRESERVATIVE)

reesepbsmaller0504This doesn’t look too bad at first. Honestly, it is not even as bad as I had expected. The one good thing this candy has going is that there is at least no high fructose corn syrup in it. But what happens when we break down what’s in it?

MILK CHOCOLATE: (SUGAR (1st ingredient in milk chocolate? What happened to chocolate?); COCOA BUTTER (getting closer…this is the fat separated from a cocoa bean); CHOCOLATE (here it is! Thank goodness…); NONFAT MILK; (dairy-stripped of the fat-which leaves the sugars and proteins that are harder to digest without the fat) MILK FAT (added back in because the nonfat milk was nasty without it); LACTOSE; (a milk sugar-aka more dairy and yet more sugar.) SOY LECITHIN; (an emulsifier. Soy- one of the most genetically modified crops in existence. Soy Lecithin – literally a waste product made after crude soy oil goes through a “degumming” process.  It contains the solvents and pesticides from the soy crop and ranges in color from dirty tan to reddish brown. But wait! Let’s not waste it, lets bleach it and put it in food! *note sarcasm) PGPR, EMULSIFIER (Short for polyglycerol polyricinoleate…this is a goopy yellowish liquid made from castor beans, used in place of cocoa butter so your chocolate is creamier. One of the aforementioned fillers that cuts costs and increases profits. I even ran across some sources that said “The FDA deemed PGPR safe for humans as long as you restrict your intake to 7.5 milligrams per kilogram of body weight.  Otherwise you’d be open to reversible liver enlargement at higher intakes, as shown in animal studies) PEANUTS (here is some actual food at least); SUGAR (because we all need more of that); DEXTROSE (ok, maybe just a bit more sugar); SALT; TBHQ (PRESERVATIVE) (TBHQ (also known as E319) stands for Tertiary Butylhydroquinone, which is an antioxidant which keeps the peanut butter from becoming rancid. A quick Wikipedia search says: Both the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have evaluated TBHQ and determined that it is safe to consume at the concentration allowed in foods. The FDA sets an upper limit of 0.02% of the oil or fat content in foods. At higher doses, it has some negative health effects on lab animals, such as producing precursors to stomach tumors and damage to DNA. My question: What happens if someone eats a lot of Reeses? Cancer does seem to always be on the rise these days…)

Granted, a lot of this is inconclusive and when you see sentences that include “open to” and “linked with” it means that the verdict really is still out on this stuff. There are many reasons for this…such as how most of these food-like substances are still new; making long-term effects undetermined. You also have to think about how many things there are in this world that are linked to something like cancer. To pinpoint one cause of cancer would be nearly impossible. As far as food is concerned, what we eat is supposed to nourish us; it is supposed to make us feel good. It is supposed to come from nature, which means food is supposed to spoil. It is a living thing that feeds our living bodies, to helps us to live better. All of these preservatives that are added to make food last longer on a shelf? Well, when I start having to break down the alphabet in my food, I become hesitant to put it into my body. There are so many questionable things in this world that are out of our control, but we CAN control what we put into our mouths and the mouths of our children.

Halloween-Pumpkins_2560x1600_1192Now I swear I am not out to ruin Halloween. I have no plans to be the mom who will never let my kid trick-or-treat or eat candy. One night here and there is not a big deal. My personal opinion is that the poison really is in the dose. It is when these things become part of routine, or even a regular reward that the problems begin. I have a strong passion and firm belief that the answer to correcting the healthcare crisis is in our children. In order to change our broken system and help turn the health of America around, we have to start teaching our children the correct path. We have to change the reward system! Am I saying to hand out apples this Halloween? Of course not. Nothing screams “Please TP my house” like an apple on Halloween. I usually spend about $25 on Glo-Stix and Silly Putty and most kids get really excited about this. It’s fun, and it doesn’t break the bank. Stick with just Glo-Stix and you can get away from the dollar store for super cheap. Plus, kids get enough candy, so something different stands out a bit.

I am also not going to say I am never going to eat a Reese’s again. Saying something like “Never Again” is negative and sets you up for failure. Plus, I love them too much! (Especially at Easter when they have the eggs with like, double the peanut butter…OMG…) However, if I do decided to eat a peanut butter cup, I am probably going to at least consider one that is organic. (Justin’s Peanut Butter Cups perhaps?) Or better yet, make it myself, with real food and almond butter. The last point I want to stress on this matter is that if you DO decide to have a treat, ENJOY it and MOVE ON! (Please see recent blog post titled On “Cheating” for more on this topic.)

real foodTo conclude here today, I want to step away from the treat topic and focus for a minute on the children. I mentioned above how I think we need to change the reward system. This is something I strongly believe in and want to elaborate on. Just getting kids to eat their vegetables is not enough anymore. We live in a generation where for the first time in history parents have a longer life expectancy than their children. It does not have to be this way, and we have the power to change it!

Birthday parties today don’t just mean cake. The last kids birthday party I went to included cake, ice cream, bowls of several different candies and then a goodie bag full of candy that they sent home with the guests. Sugar, topped with sugar and then some more to take home for later?!? And we wonder why kids have trouble focusing in school… I promise, if you put a birthday cake on a table and surround it with fruit and veggie trays, maybe some snack sized meatballs or a meatza, (meat pizza = best invention ever) NO ONE will miss the bowl of M&Ms or the goodie bag of candy. Why? Real food tastes good! Plus most kids have more fun with balloons and playing together anyways.

So what can we as parents do to encourage healthy eating in our children? Here are some of my own ideas and things I plan to do as my little girl grows up:

  1. Help children learn where their food comes from, who grows it, and why it’s vegetable gardenimportant to share meals with friends and family. This leads right into growing your own food. I am writing this from the Midwest and suspect many of my readers are from the same area. The soil here is awesome. I barely have to pay attention to my garden.
  2. Create your own reward system. I plan to treat Charlie to things she enjoys doing. Good grades may mean a day trip to a water park or a mani/pedi. Kids don’t need a treat, they need time with you. Create an experience with them!
  3. Keep yourself educated. There are TONS of books/podcasts/blogs out there with GREAT information and thanks to the World Wide Web, it is available with a few quick key strokes.
  4. Play games. More and more computer and video games are incorporating food, like DooF (the word ‘food’ backwards), a combination of computer games, videos, and a website where kids can read and learn about food-related topics. DooF takes a comprehensive approach to food, exploring not only the food itself, but also the culture, science, and history behind it. Kids can play “Planet DooF,” geared toward teaching children the origin of healthy food, such as fruits and vegetables.
  5. Encourage kids to try something new, all of the time. If they don’t like something one week, try again. They are still growing, their taste buds are changing every day! Preparing it differently helps too. Plain steamed cauliflower doesn’t even smell good. If you steam it with some garlic, throw it in a food processor with some butter and salt to make a mash…then you have a whole different thing going on.
  6. Include kids in meal planning. I bet if a child picks out a pretty red bell pepper at the store, they will be more inclined to eat it when they get home. Create shopping lists together, take trips to the grocery store and the farmer’s market…this will help them understand the process of where food comes from and what goes into getting a meal together.
  7. Establish family meal times. This is something I REALLY want to get better at in my own home. I had some wonderful memories of everyone taking their place at the table when I was growing up. My mom used to make us share one good thing about our day over dinner. I was always annoyed about it at the time and now I miss it!

This is just a start…just the opinions of one person. The possibilities are endless! As always, I hope this helps. And if you have hung with me this far, I hope that means you foundIMG_3827 something that you can try for you and your family. I have a strong passion for nutrition and nothing but a desire to give this face —->  the best possible start to her life!

On “cheating”

Buddha-Quotes-Health-is-the-greatest-gift-contentment-the-greatest-wealth-faithfulness-the-best-relationship.I ate a cookie yesterday. A big one. I ate the whole thing. In one sitting.

I was grocery shopping and when I passed the amazing thumbprint cookies in the bakery at the Co-op and I decided I wanted a treat. It was delicious and, for the most part, worth every bite. I felt a little sluggish for the rest of the day, a typical reaction for me if I eat too much sugar. I did manage to stick to my gluten-free rule, mostly because wheat really upsets my stomach. Here is what I didn’t do: Beat myself up about falling off some proverbial wagon. Binge for the rest of the day. Run more, workout more or do anything extra to “make up for the calories.” I didn’t decide it was all over and give up on other healthy choices just because I “cheated”.

I hate that term, especially when applied to food. Cheat. Merriam-Webster defines it as follows:

: to break a rule or law usually to gain an advantage at something

: to take something from (someone) by lying or breaking a rule

: to prevent (someone) from having something that he or she deserves or was expecting to get

None of these definitions even sound good, I almost feel guilty just reading them. Guilt really just means that you innately know that whatever you are doing is wrong. In the context of food: food is fuel for our body, food should bring us energy and life, it should make us feel good after we eat it! And when the opportunity for a treat presents itself, you should be able to indulge if you want, then move on. Make the conscious decision to just enjoy a treat, versus thinking of it as a cheat. It really does kind of come down to a perspective shift. I have personally set some of my own rules. Most of the time, when I do have a treat, I prefer it to be made from real, whole-food ingredients; and often try to make it myself. These rules are the reason that a sheet cake from, say Wal-Mart, does not even appeal to me. (On the flip side, if I am at a wedding and grandma made the cake from her secret double chocolate recipe…well then I may decide I need some cake!)

I recently read Jason Seib’s book, The Paleo Coach. He makes a lot of good points in there and there were a couple on this topic that stood out to me. The first went something along these lines (with my own two-sense thrown in):

You take a bath every day, you eat every day. What you eat every day is simply called your diet. Now say you don’t shower for a day. Are you “cheating”? Do you decide that since you didn’t shower today that you are just not going to shower at all anymore? That maybe since you missed your shower on Wednesday then to heck with it this week,  “I’ll just start over again on Monday.”

10612632_557212754406163_2693953602703583206_nThe second thing he talked about was that how out of all 5 senses, taste was the only one that we (often knowingly) sacrifice our health for. If someone told you that you could never see, smell or touch a rose again because it would encourage the growth of cancer cells…I bet you would not have a hard time steering clear of the offending flower.

When you start to think about certain foods from this different perspective, it puts a whole new spin on “everything in moderation.” (Another cliche I am not fond of…) It hopefully also make you think about the addictive properties of certain foods. Think about what you would call a comfort food…I had a hell of a time letting go of macaroni and cheese, and it horrified me to think I may never eat cheesecake again. But I bet you would have a hard time finding someone who called steak or brussels sprouts their comfort food…

We all have to honor where we are at in our own journey. For many of us, this is what moving towards health is – a journey. Hopefully one that is leading you towards a more fulfilled life worth with living, versus a life you are just surviving. All I can do is offer my opinions and thoughts, and share with you the tricks I have learned along my own journey. So here I will offer you my personal rules/tips for treats or indulgences!

  • First, set rules for yourself, then honor them! It helps, and will help you say “no” to the crap-filled donuts in the office.
  • Find a plan that works for you. I like to let treats come to me. I used to try to plan for a Sunday Funday, but would often find myself going for that extra drink on Friday night or making some paleo pancakes on Saturday morning. It became easier to just kind of work with how I felt.
  • Get the treats out of your regular routine! You don’t “deserve a treat” at the end of every day because you were “really gnon-gmo-foodsood all day.” You deserve the healthiest body possible and that means filling with with the healthy stuff!
  • Change your reward system. Don’t “reward” yourself or your children with junk food that ultimately damages your health and their growing bodies. I plan to have little toys for Charlie and hopefully she will enjoy a good pedicure as much as I do!
  • Make it yourself or make sure it is made from REAL FOOD! Red dye #40, carageenan, maltodextrin, MSG, partially hydrogenated ANYTHING, canola oil and much much more are all things that have no place in the human body. Read your labels! (Here is a handy link for some GMO Free brands!)

I really hope that this helps even just one person! Please note that the things I have marked off in “parenthesis” are all things I have said to myself at one point or another and are things I have had to work really hard to stop saying/thinking. They are not good, they can be downright destructive and create a perspective set for failure. It now helps me to think of them in an extremely sarcastic tone, so those of you who know me should re-read this with my voice in your head… 🙂

~Until next time dear readers! Namaste

100 Days of Gratitude continues…10-18

mayaangelouDay 10: So grateful today for my job. Not only do I love it, but it makes me flexible enough to work from home if I need to and to accomodate crazy babysitting hours! For anyone who is miserable in their job, I too have been there. What did I learn? It is NOT worth it, especially if your health is suffering. There IS something better out there if you are brave enough to never settle and get out and look for it!

Day 11: I am grateful for my friends today! I am also fortunate to be able to call many family members friends. I remember hearing something along the lines that people come in and out of your life for a reason. I feel like I have accumulated a very eclectic collection of friends over the years! I have someone I can call for no reason other than being bored, someone who will listen to me if I just need to vent, someone I can share nerdy nutrition ideas with, friends who keep me grounded, friends I can share my faith with and friends who will best comfort me when I need to cry. I have friends I sometimes won’t talk to for months and when we finally reconnect it was like we were never apart. I believe you should tell people how you feel about them so most of you should know who you are! And I apologize to the ones who fall into more than one of these categories…as I probably call/text you often…

Day 12: My hubby Kevin…today I am feeling grateful for you. As your week long trip to Canada draws to a close, I find myself eagerly anticipating your return. Tomorrow, I plan to hug you so long I may never let go. I don’t know how all of you single moms out there do it! Kev, I appreciate you (and the extra set of hands and feet that you bring to my life) more than I can say right now. I survived the week…barely…and am so grateful that it was a temporary situation! p.s. I am sorry the house is not clean, that I may not be clean and the dogs may need a walk…but the pets are still here, the baby is happy and kicking, well fed and (kind of) clean.

Day 13: I am grateful for so many things today, picking one was hard! I am going with yoga. I love taking and teaching yoga! Today, one of my gratitude 1friends in the class I taught asked me if I get anything out of teaching the class, since she felt like she got so much from it. The answer was yes, to a certain degree! I really feel like yoga inspires love, positive energy, presence and peace and I really can feel it radiating off of a class. While teaching is an entirely different experience that taking a class, I do feel like I get a whole different reward from it! And this morning it was a MUCH NEEDED reward! So thank you to my yoga class this morning, Namaste!

Day 14: Couch day, Netflix binge. Enough said.

Day 15: I am grateful for my garden full of veggies that are paid for and made into delicious dinners! Grateful for the knowledge I have gained about food, and super grateful for the healthy body I have gained from it. I have developed such an appreciation for food and the vibrancy good real food brings. I can’t wait to pass this onto my child!

Day 16: Amidst a stressful day, I found gratitude in spending the morning with Charlie. I am grateful for a noon workout and the fatigue in my arms that followed, as this means I did it properly! I am grateful for a husband that loves to workout, and the chance to do it together today. Things like this make me feel more connected with him! Now, at the end of my long day, I am grateful for a warm bed to sleep in. (even if only for a few hours.)

Day 17vibramsw: VIBRAMS! I love them. I don’t care how much people (my sisters) make fun of me. And nothing beats a new pair, especially my new pair…which I think are super cute…so if I have to wear shoes, it will be Vibrams. That is all. #gratitude

Day 18: I did the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge with Kevin yesterday and honestly, until I was nominated, I was not even sure what ALS was. After the challenge, I was compelled to look into and donate what I could to the research fund. This stuff is some scary stuff! Now I am always pretty leery of the causes I donate my money to, but it seems that ALS is something that affects a fairly small percentage of the population, and I decided that helping to find out more about something that has not gotten a lot of attention is not a bad thing at all. This has all made me reflect on how ever grateful I am for a healthy body!

 

100 Days of Gratitude…the front 9

I was having a discussion with a friend the other day about expressing gratitude. It started because I was frustrated and venting about some stupid things regarding family and she ever so subtly dropped in a question about whether or not I kept a gratitude journal. This is whBuddha-Quotes-Health-is-the-greatest-gift-contentment-the-greatest-wealth-faithfulness-the-best-relationship.y I love her…it was just the reminder I needed about what is really important in life! So I decided to track 100 days of gratitude and share this with you in sets of 5-10 days. Take care of the mind, take care of the heart, take care of the body…health really is a package deal!

Day 1: Today, I have to say I am grateful for the motivation of my 5 a.m. class at work. Kettlebell circuit down, 150 burpees down. In turn, I am grateful for the capability of my body to be able to do these exercises! What a blessing it is, to be fit and healthy. One of the greatest stories my boss tells is about a patient he sees who is confined to a wheelchair and talks about how much she would love to do just one burpee. I WILL NOT WASTE  the incredible gift of a healthy body!

Day 2: Today my patience was tested while trying to manage some things with work, while also having my niece, Emma, and the baby. My first thought was that I was really grateful for coffee, without which I may not have survived my morning. But after I managed to escape to work, (I practically ran out the door) I have found myself wishing I was at home with my family. So today I grateful for the wonderful time with my niece Emma. She has taught me so much in the short time she has been here, she has made me laugh and helped me re-develop a sense of humor about certain bodily funtions. After repeated instances of “crop-dusting” you do eventually have to laugh…

Day 3: I am kind of liking the fact that I have to do this even on stressful days. Keeps my mind working towards the positive and that always feels like a step in the right direction. Today I am grateful for my little sister Mallory, who will rearrange her whole life to be there for her family and the people she loves. We can all learn a thing or two from her, and I am so looking forward to spending the aftegratitude-quotes-attitude-quotes-A-moment-of-gratitude-makes-a-difference-in-your-attitude.rnoon with her!

Day 4: A bittersweet day as I said goodbye to my sweet niece after her week long visit. She was crying, wanting to stay longer and talking about how unfair it is that we don’t live closer. Times like this really make me think about how unfair it really is for families to be so far apart. So today I am grateful for the love I have for my family, for the connection we have even though we are so far apart. I would so much rather feel the pain of saying goodbye than not know the powerful feeling of a love that makes you miss someone enough to cry when they leave.

Day 5: Today I am grateful that it is Friday. This day seems to put nearly everyone in a better mood, which in turn makes the gym members happier. The tone of the whole day is changed by the mere fact that the end of the workweek is here. A testimony to the power of mindset. I love that I can say this even though I have to work for a bit tomorrow, so I guess I am also grateful for a job I love!

Day 6: I got to spend the WHOLE DAY with my little Charlie! We went to work for a few hours, stopped at the mall, went for a walk and she watched me clean the house. 🙂 I am so grateful to be a mommy!

Day 7: Grateful for a lazy Sunday, Netflix and the ability to just shut down and enjoy snuggling my baby on the couch. Un-productivity has never felt so good!

Day 8: Hit the ground with both feet running today and have spent most of the morning yelling at the dogs and making a bijillion work phone calls. Grateful that I can do most of this work from home where can still here the chatter of my baby, where I can stop and pet my fur babies and where the coffee is already paid for.

Day 9: I have been thinking too much this morning. Specifically about, no matter how bad we think we havegratitude-quotes-1 it, or how bad our day is, there are just so many people out there who are worse off. Kids who have to go to school on an empty stomach, people in other countries who live in unsanitary conditions, people in abusive relationships, people loosing loved ones, people who will live their entire lives feeling sorry for themselves and thinking the world owes them something, people who will never know what it feels like to wake up in the morning feeling good; good about themselves or in good health…Today I am grateful for so many things! The roof over my head, the ability to forgive myself for past mistakes and to learn from them, the freezer full of food to feed my family, a happy healthy baby, a loving husband, a close-knit family, and the grace of the God it has all come from.

Until next time readers, please take care of your body, your mind and your heart!