4 Mood-Enhancing, Tempting Recipes

recipesRECIPES: Did you know what you eat affects your mood? 

Here are four eco-friendly,

 energizing,

mood-enhancing

healthy and oh-so-delicious recipes for you.

These recipes were first published in my book Energy Eating, Peak Nutrition for Maximum Physical Performance, Brain Power, Body Strength and Mood Enhancement!

What makes these recipes eco-friendly? They’re vegetarian! Eating green is earth-friendly because it make the best use of the earth’s resources. Also, they’re light on sugar, which affects mood, and high in healthy plant-based protein, carbs, and fats that help improve your mood. Let me know if you’d like more mood-enhancing recipes.

Quick Black Bean Burritos

Need a speedy dinner? This dish pairs legumes and healthy carbs — and it’s ready in just 20 minutes.

Sauce:

1/2 onion, chopped

1 tsp. minced fresh garlic

1/2 tsp. ground cumin

One 14 1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes

1 to 2 Tbs. minced green chilies, fresh or canned, seeded

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Burritos:

Eight 10-inch flour tortillas, preferably whole wheat

One 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 red onion, diced

3/4 cup cooked brown rice

3/4 cup shredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese (optional)

1/2 cup nonfat sour cream (optional)

1/2 avocado, diced

2 Tbs. fresh cilantro leaves for garnish

Sauce: Place the ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth, about 1 minute. Set aside.

Burritos: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. lay a tortilla on your working surface. Spoon about 1/4 cup black beans across the center of the tortilla, followed by a tablespoon each of onion, rice, and cheese if using. Roll up and place the burrito seam side down in a 9-by-13-inch lightly oiled baking dish. Repeat with the remaining tortillas, onion, rice, and cheese.

Spoon the sauce over the burritos and backe for 12 minutes. Serve the burritos topped with the sour cream if using, avocado, and cilantro. Serves 4.

Spicy Sesame Noodles

I could eat pasta every day, especially soba. Yum!

1 pound whole-wheat soba noodles or regular linguini

1 Tbs. sesame oil

6 scallions, green parts only, sliced

1 red bell pepper, sliced

1 tsp. peeled and minced gingerroot

1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves

1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper, or to taste

2 tsp. low-sodium soy sauce

1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds

Prepare the noodles according to the package directions. Drain. Transfer to a serving dish. Cover.

In a medium skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat and saute the scallions, red bell pepper, and gingerroot for 2 minutes. Add the cilantro, cayenne, and soy sauce, and saute a minute more. Toss with the noodles. Sprinkle the sesame seeds on top. Serve warm or cold. Serves 6.

Strawberry Orange Ice

This refreshing meal-ender is a pretty, deep pink and vitamin-rich.

1 cup calcium-fortified orange juice

2 cups stawberries. fresh or frozen

1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup granulated sugar (optional)

Orange slices for garnish

In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients except for the orange slices. Pour into a shallow, nonmetallic pan and freeze, stirring occasionally, until almost frozen, about 3 or so hours. (Freezing time depends on the shallowness of the container and the temperature of the freezer.) Spoon into four dessert dishes, garnish with the orange slices, and serve at once. Serves 4.

Raspberry-Peach Smoothie

A breakfast drink or dessert, this drink delivers choline-containing soy, betacarotene, calcium and other phytochemicals.

2/3 cup frozen unsweetened raspberries

1 peach, peeled, pitted, and frozen

1 banana, peeled and frozen

4 ounces reduced-fat soft silken tofu (or plain Greek yogurt)

1 1/2 cups calcium-fortified orange juice

Combine all the ingredients in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Makes 2.

Sharing Hope (and recipes) with Your Heart,

Worry: Is It Making You Sick?

worry
Worry is EVERYWHERE today, and it’s making you sick. Scrolling through Facebook is enough to churn anyone’s stomach nowadays. So much hate, so little grace!

Yet God says, “Do not worry” about anything. But how?!

In this short article, you’ll discover:

  1. Jesus’ wise words on worry.
  2. Worry makes you sick.
  3. How to stop worry.

Wise Words on Worry

Read this peace-filled passage, these Jesus words:

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! 

Luke 12:22-24 (NIV)

Birds and wild flowers — valuable, yes. But God values you so much more than them. Don’t his words calm your soul?

Worry Makes You Sick

Here’s what happens to you when you worry. And almost anything contributes to worry-stress: grumpy kids, a messy house, an overbearing or passive husband, gossipy coworkers. . .but especially your attitude about your circumstances.

So what’s your main stressor? How do you respond?

You feel stress in your body. Stress may tighten your neck, tense your back, or bring on a migraine. It can mess with your digestion and raise your blood pressure.

You eat poorly. You are more likely to turn to more snacks and less fruit, plus LOTS of chocolate and skipped meals. Here’s a better choice right here

You skip exercise. When stressed, you may lack the energy to work out or take a walk when getting moving will actually energize you. And it wil give you more time to ruminate on my worries.

Wouldn’t you like to know how to stop worry?

How to Stop Worrying

Simply, FOCUS. Focus on Jesus and his love. Focus on God and his greatness and protection and care. This thought journal right here helps you do transform your thoughts.

Stop focusing on yourself. Be other-centered. Be God-centered.

With a new focus, right now decide one thing you can do — yes, action! — that helps someone. I’ll start with a few ideas and I’d love to hear yours.

Write a thank you note and mail it.

Help your child with a school project.

Phone a family member or friend and ask about her life.

Think About It

How does the action of helping someone help squash worry? What are other choices you can make to stay safe from worry sickness?

Sharing Hope with Your Heart,

 

 

Self-Care: Changing Bad Habits into Good (part 3)

self careSELF-CARE: As you follow in step with Christ and make godly habits that come from a changed heart, you’ll also experience joy.

In case you missed them, here are part one and part two in this series. So far, we’ve looked at the role of the heart in true self-care (part 1) and the first three steps in whole health wellness: recognizing emotions, choosing godly thoughts, and acting on renewed beliefs (part 2).

In the final part of this self-care series, let’s consider:

  1. Making new godly habits and sticking with them.
  2. Experiencing the joy-filled life.

Making New Habits

Acting on my renewed beliefs a time or two isn’t enough to make a genuine difference in my thoughts, emotions, and actions. We need a fourth step: making new habits that stick.

I used to eat super healthy foods and was a vegetarian for 14 or so years, and exercised regularly too. In recent years, however, I believed the lie I was too busy for regular meals, exercise, and rest.

God helps you and me break ungodly habits, including things like critical speech, self-pity, worry, smoking, chewing fingernails, people-pleasing, pornography, and more. In my case, the bad habit of neglecting self-care came from a heart of pride.

Sinful habits are not disorders or defects. Jesus Christ gives us victory over sin. You and I no longer have to live in slavery to sinful thoughts, attitudes, beliefs, and motivation. God himself provides the way out.

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:13

Putting off pride, renewing my attitude, and putting on humility: This is my new thought habit.

New Habit Plan, Detailed

To successfully change a habit, we need a plan. The more detailed, the better. First you’ll see an overview below. Then I’ll share a detailed plan a counselee and I wrote together.

  1. Put off: Identify the ungodly habit that needs change. For me, I was irresponsible with diet, exercise, and sleep. For a counselee I meet by Skype, she is quick to argue with her mother.
  2. Renew my attitude: Me — I agreed with God that I was sinning by erroneously thinking that I was too busy for self-care, as if God didn’t stuff enough hours in a day. My counselee agreed with God to honor her mother and to choose Christ righteousness over self-righteousness..
  3. Put on: Me — humility. I am not Super Woman! I need good food, exercise, and rest…just like Jesus when he walked this earth. My counselee also needed humility as well as determination to speak the truth in love.

Together my counselee and I wrote a plan for her that looked like this:

  • When mother says something mean, quietly thank God for an opportunity to practice the new habit.
  • Remind myself of James 1:19, which says, “… Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry” and that I need to change my attitude, desiring most of all to honor God.
  • Then speak the truth in love. Depending on what mother says, I may say, “I feel hurt when you suggest I’ve put on ten pounds and am lazy. You know I am an honor student and my clothes fit as they always do. I want you to know that I’m making a new habit to speak the truth in love. This is what the Bible tells me to do.”
  • Proactively and regulary choose words that build up, saying something like, “Mom, I love you” or “Great to see you!” or “Just want you to know I appreciate that you want the best for me” or a simple “Thank you,” always with a loving tone of voice and friendly body language.

body languageWhen making a new habit pattern, we need to repeat it many times for it to take hold. In counseling others, I’ve discovered that this step of forming new godly pattern is challenging and part of the reason why we need our brothers and sisters in Christ to come alongside us and encourage us.

What bad habit does God want you to replace with a godly habit? What obstacles are in the way? How might other Christians helped you?

Receiving Joy in the Journey

What I learned in this self-care journey may sound kind of crazy. It’s counterintuitive. My avoidance of true self-care fed my sinful appetite to live self-sufficiently and was, in fact, self-indulgent. Does this make sense?

For me, counseling my heart has meant stopping to rest and eat well and exercise.

I thank God that my poor self care didn’t create a health crisis. Rather, fear crept in and settled in my heart and mind. This is equally bad, this unsettling. Yet it has resulted in my obeying God’s call for heart change, which is always good. He knows what you and I truly need.

A quick review of the biblical counseling journey:

1. Recognizing your difficult emotions.
2. Identifying your faulty thinking.
3. Acting on renewed beliefs.
4. Making new habits.

As I continue my journey, how may I pray for you? All of us need God’s help, and he’s faithful. How we handle our everyday problems reveals our hearts: our desires, our motivations, our beliefs, and our thinking.

When God shows us that our hearts are self-centered, he gives us everything we need to live life according to his plan, which is what any true Christian really wants, right?

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. 1 Peter 1:2-4, ESV

Sharing Hope with Your Heart,

Self-Care: Your Emotions and Thoughts (part 2)

self careSELF-CARE: For the best self-care, recognize your emotions and choose godly thoughts so you can act on renewed beliefs. And God will heal your heart in the most important way.

In case you missed it, here’s part one in this series where you learned the role of the heart in true self-care. In part three, you’ll also discover how to change habits that hurt your heart.

This brief article shares my own journey in embracing self-care, beginning with these steps.

  1. Recognize emotions.
  2. Choose thoughts that line up with God’s word.
  3. Act on renewed beliefs.

Recognizing Your Emotions

I’m tired of my own crazy fear of self-care that it is extravagant. This is how I’m changing, a step at a time. You can too.

The first step begins with recognizing your emotions.

The emotion of fear tells me something’s wrong with my heart. In the bible the word heart refers to the inner self. Your heart is the control center of your being; it is the immaterial part of you that includes desires, motivations, beliefs, and thoughts.

As in water face reflects face, so a man’s heart reveals the man. Proverbs 27:19

We do what we do and feel what we feel because we think what we think. More simply, your thoughts determine your emotions and actions.

Personalizing this truth, I recognized that my thoughts led to fear and to the actions of working overtime, and failing to rest, exercise regularly, and just enjoy this wonderful world God created. I knew I had a problem when I became too busy to notice my hardy red geraniums had turned brown and crunchy. Have you let busyness crowd out your self-care?

I love my work as a biblical counselor and counseling hearts to hope. I love love love finding treasures of truth in books by Ed Welch and Paul Tripp and Elyse Fitzpatrick and Bob Kellemen and other biblical counseling leaders.

But when I choose Ed, Paul, Elyse, or Bob over eating dinner, wouldn’t you agree I’ve gone too far?

Identifying Your Thoughts

Recognizing my faulty thinking and choosing new godly thinking is a second step in true self-care. When one’s thinking is out of line with God’s thinking, this means the heart’s desire is off. My focus was pleasing me not God.

My thoughts sounded like,

I need to work harder.
Self-care is a waste of time.
My worth depends of what I do.

food cravingsNote the emphasis on self. Having battled self-sufficiency since childhood, I know that God was giving me another chance to deny the sin of pride. This time it’s pride in thinking I can defy God-ordained limits in my physical needs. Jesus slept, ate, and had fun too. Am I above Jesus?

Where do you tend toward faulty thinking?

Acting on Renewed Beliefs

To choose to change faulty thinking is life transforming. At Biblical Counseling Center where I counsel hurting people in person and by Skype, we often say, “Faith is believing the Word of God, and acting upon it, no matter how you feel, knowing God promises a good result.” So the third step is acting upon biblical truth.

Namely, get enough sleep, exercise, and spend refreshing time with family and friends while trusting God.  I’m learning to view and practice consistent self-care in a new way: an act of worship.

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31

Do you agree consistent, true self-care an act of worship? Please leave a comment. Thanks.

Sharing Hope with Your Heart,

Self-Care: Heart Checkup for Your Soul (part 1)

self careSELF-CARE: The best self-care is a heart checkup.

In part one of this 3-part series, you’ll discover…

  1. Why you may bristle at the word “self-care.”
  2. A definition of heart checkup.

Self-Care Hangup?

Self-care may sound…extravagant, even selfish. But for some of up — my old me! — I didn’t think I deserved self-care. Then I dared to ask myself, What’s my hangup?

Also I considered that Jesus took time to rest, didn’t he? He got away to the mountains and rejuvenated. He hung out with the broken people and lunched. I can imagine him smiling and laughing and cracking jokes.

And I asked myself, Am I denying the reality of my own humanity when I think I’m too busy to watch birds flit about my neighbor’s feeder? Or take time for a walk?

Could I reek with. . .twisted pride?

Reminder: The self-care of rest, exercise, meaningful work, eating well (and, for me, chocolate too!) isn’t selfish when your self-care is “onto the Lord.”

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31

But divorced from a Godward focus, self-care can be selfish, wouldn’t you agree? Your motivation matters.

Heart Checkup

Most people think the heart is the emotional part of a person. Scripture suggests that it is your mind, emotions, and will. It is the center of your being. You can compare it to a control center. Your heart controls what you think, feel, say, and do.

Proverbs 4:23 says it well:

Above all else, guard your heart,
for everything you do flows from it.

Everything.

But there’s bad news. The Bible says your heart “tricks or deceives us into thinking that our desires are pure, that we want what we want because it is good and God approves,” writes Elyse Fitzpatrick, biblical counselor and author.

And this is why you need a heart checkup.

During the check up you’ll see whether your thoughts align with God’s thoughts. Also, you’ll find out if your actions and emotions are rotten or good.

By the way, in the counseling office, we focus on the heart. And when the counselee’s heart changes so does her life. But the goal isn’t life transformation per se; it is growth in Christlikeness.

3 Parts of the Heart

As mentioned, “heart” is the word the Bible uses for your mind and your emotions and your will altogether. Your mind, emotions, and will influence one another. Let’s look at the parts of the heart.

Your mind: Your mind involves your ability to understand, reason, and discern. It includes your beliefs and opinions.

Taken aback with news from angels about her son, Mary the mother of Jesus “treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart” (Luke 2:19).
The power of God’s word “judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).
As a man thinks in his heart so is he (Proverbs 23:7, NLT).

Your emotions: You emotions include your moods as well as your longings, desires, and hopes.

But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation (Psalm 13:5).
If you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts. . . (James 3:14).

Your will: Your will is the part of your inner person that chooses what actions to take. Your mind and emotions inform your will what to do.

Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve (Joshua 24:15).
Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth (2 Corinthians 12:6)

I pray this three-part series helps you understand why your do what you do, so that you can choose God’s best always. Next time will focus on your emotions and thoughts. If you haven’t signed up for my blog and complimentary eBook, please do. Then you’ll get parts 2 and 3 delivered to your inbox.

God bless you as we grow together.

Sharing Hope with Your Heart,

 

Are You Too Nice? 3 Solutions

niceAre you too nice? Do you sometimes say “yes” when you should say “no”? Then you may be a people pleaser.
A number of years ago, a person at my (then) church asked me join the hospitality team and greet people as they arrived on Sundays. I said “yes” even though this meant dragging my kids out of bed a half hour early.
Then a few months later, I was told I had to come even earlier to pray — and I’m all for prayer — but I said “no.” The hospitality team leader said he was disappointed. “In me?” I wondered. “What did I do wrong? I’m a nice person, aren’t I?”

Have you said “yes” when “no” would have been the wise response?

Did you take on an extra project at work to be nice to your boss when your inbox was already overflowing? Did you say yes to running a fundraiser for the PTO or Music Boosters and later regretted it?
Your too-nice-ness may cost you.

3 Everyday Costs of Being Too Nice

We all do it — say “yes” when our honest response should be “no” — at a high cost. Here’s the short list:

Your physical health

Saying “yes” may shortchange self-care. Sleeplessness and overwork tax us. Neglecting self-care may also mean less physical exercise and more stress eating.

When you’re too nice and over-commit, in what ways has your health suffered? For me, I may skip my walks, and I love to walk because it not only gets my heart pumping but also sends me outside breathing fresh air.

Your emotions

When you say “yes” to keep up your nice-girl image, you probably feared what others think of you. Another term for this is people-pleasing. God has a completely different view of people-pleasing. Listen to what the apostles Peter and John told the Jewish leaders 2,000 years ago when they told them to shut up about this guy Jesus:
Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ. Galatians 1:10, NIV

Your familiy and friendships

Do you ever feel compelled to help a friend and you begin texting and calling, then she starts sending messages throughout the day and evening? And even your family is wondering why you’re spending so much time on your cell phone?
More than a decade ago I made this mistake with a friend I’ll call Tina. Tina’s husband watched porn. He wanted her to watch it during their lovemaking. In addition to marital problems, Tina has a special needs child.
At first I enjoyed encouraging her to make wise choices then resented the time she stole from my family. The problem wasn’t her. It was me. I had made myself too available out of niceness. God prompted me to have a loving and truthful talk with Tina, letting her know I cared but that our texts ate up too much time. I suggested that we get together just once a week and no text messages except in an emergency and she agreed.

When you’re too nice, you may hurt people you care about most.

Before You Say Yes

Endless things and people demand our attention everyday. Untold numbers asked Jesus asked Jesus to do what they wanted, but He prioritized his “yes,” doing only what his Father wanted him to do.

I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. John 17:4, ESV

Here are three practical solutions for too-nice-ness:
  1. Say “let me think about it.” This will give you time to think through whether a “yes” is being too nice or if you sense God wants you to help.
  2. Count the cost. When you say “yes” to one thing, you’re saying “no” to something else. This something else could be needed sleep or time with family or you-name-it.
  3. Check your heart motivation. I often remind counselees to dig deep and ask themselves what is motivating their decisions. From our motivations and beliefs flow our thoughts, emotions, and actions.

What would you add to the list? What has worked for you?

May I Pray for You?

Lord, when faced with choices and fearing others’ opinions, we’re tempted to say “yes” when you may want us to say “no.” Give us the wisdom to know when we’re acting out of love and when we’re acting from fear. We want to please you above all. Thank you for giving us your hope and your promises. Amen.

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6, ESV

Sharing Hope with Your Heart,

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5 AMAZING NAMES GOD CALLS YOU!

Blessed, Daughter, Saint, and more!

In this delightful, four-color ebook, you’ll discover the precious names God calls you. Today so many Christian women don’t fully know their wonderful identity in Christ. Isn’t a time to know yours? Filled with scripture, photography, personal stories, and encouragement!

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