An Undivided Heart

My New Hair / TiffanyAOlson.com

 

Teach me your way, LORD, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name. Psalm 86:11

No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other…  Matthew 6:24

When I was diagnosed with cancer I became immediately aware of the things in life that were no longer in my control. For those 9 months of treatment, I went where I was told to go and did what I was told to do. I endured the coldness of some medical staff who had forgotten or had never known what it’s like to be scared and vulnerable. And to be fair I met some really awesome people who love what they do and the people they serve. I took the medicine I was supposed to take and I allowed an ungodly number of people to see me disrobed. Honestly, if I had a nickel for the number of medical staff I have paid …PAID in the last two years to see my naked body I would be a millionaire.

Most people it seems become great researchers once they have been diagnosed with something unfamiliar and scary. I am no exception. Along with studying about the type of cancer I had I also began to educate myself about nutrition and healthier eating because with everything that was being done to me, I wanted to learn about something I could do for myself. I wanted to learn about how food was affecting my everyday health and what I could do about it. I won’t go into great detail about this as I have posted on this subject before here and here …It went quite well for a while. Fear and control were great motivators. I could control what I put into my mouth.

It’s been 15 months since my last treatment and life has settled back into somewhat of a normal routine. I have done a good job with not allowing my schedule dictate my life and recreating the hecticness of my life pre-cancer and have kept the demon of “busyness” at bay. I have done a good job at scheduling my time but I have not done a good job of watching what I am eating. The sugar and simple carbs have reentered my life, I feel fluffy and weak and I find myself a bit out of control again but this time I am willingly choosing the misery by choosing not to keep certain foods out of my life. I still spend a lot of time looking up healthy recipes and reading about the effects of sugar on the body and how incredibly addicting it is. I know how bad it is and what it does to your body but I also find a lot of ways to make excuses about why I am eating unhealthy foods … “just this one time.” My “just this one times…” have allowed me to make excuses for bad decisions just about every day. My favorite jeans no longer fit and I am desperate to find a way to be rid of sugar for good.

There is a book that came out in 2010 by Lysa Terkhurst called, Made To Crave. I knew it was about eating and the struggles the author has had in her life in regards to food. I also knew that it was about God creating us to be people that crave… people that crave Him. I put off reading it for quite some time but I finally checked the book out at the library the other day and oh, I am so glad I did. I was expecting to feel convicted and lame about not doing what I know I should be doing. I couldn’t have been more wrong.Made To Crave / Tiffanyaolson.com

I didn’t feel convicted, instead I began to feel empowered with verses like 1 Corinthians 10:23

You say, “I am allowed to do anything”–but not everything is good for you. You say, “I am allowed to do anything”–but not everything is beneficial.

Permissible but not beneficial…

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Ephesians 2:10

Made anew so I can do the things God has planned for me… I was made for more.

The truth is that everything in excess is sin. God wants more for me. He wants more for you.

We are knee deep in baseball at the Olson household right now and I likened this whole food thing to Mr. Wonderful the other day using a baseball analogy. Choosing to indulge is like hitting a home run and stopping at third base. A triple is soo cool! All the way to third base! Wow, what an amazing accomplishment. But the problem is that I had actually hit a home run! Why do I continually stop at third when I could be experiencing the full glory of running ALL the bases! People clap and cheer for you at third base but when you choose not to stop at third and instead go all the way home all your teammates come out screaming and yelling and jumping up and down. The crowd goes wild and the thrill is so much bigger than the third base feeling.

ALLSTARS FLORENCE 3RD Place 2014!!

At Lysa’ s suggestion I have started to talk to myself every time I am tempted to eat in ways that don’t serve my purposes. I say to myself, “You were made for more. God has bigger plans for you, do not give in to the downward spiral that this one decision will create. It’s permissible but not beneficial.” I have spent most of my adult life choosing food over God so armed with this truth, I am doing better. My jeans are not fitting any looser yet but I am going to keep doing the things I know are good for me and press on.

Have a fabulous day my friends!

 

 

 

Food For Thought…

On a date with the hubs / Tiffanyaolson.com

On A Date With Mr. Wonderful At The Coach House in Coos Bay.

I love food. I love everything about it. Most of my favorite memories in life evolve around food. The greatest part about most of the holidays we celebrate here in America is the food that we consume during the celebration. When we (my family) think about celebrating anything food is the first thing that gets planned out. Camping, long road trips, a visit with friends. Just about everything in my life evolves around what is going to be eaten at the event. As I am writing this I am thinking about the bible study I will attend in a few hours and I am in charge of the snack. Thursday night is our 1st Dave Ramsey Financial Peace class with our buddies and I am going to call Pam to see what food I can bring.

This is the deal (my friend Heidi always says this… this is the deal) it’s really not about the food. On the surface it feels like it but the reality is that the food is the ice breaker for the gathering. Nibbling/eating/gorging is something everyone in the room can do and feel like they are part of the group. The simple act of having a table to gather around makes everyone in the room feel included and connected.

When I was 15 my family moved from Oregon to Southern California. On our 1st day of school we came home to a chocolate cake that my mom had made because she knew that it was probably not the easiest of days. I remember it to this day not because the cake was so stellar but because she took time out of her day to do something special for us. Cake was typically a birthday thing so to get cake on a random day of the year was cool. When my kids were little and they got shots I took them for ice cream and as they have gotten older I take them for ice cream for a good score on a test or grade in a class. Now that I have had cancer I am much more aware of what I am eating and have realized that my food rewards are not very creative nor helpful to me or my kids. What I am trying to do is connect with them in a tangible way. I want them to know that I love them and that I am proud of them and not just with words. I’m so chatty that I think most of what I say goes in one ear and out the other so these little rewards reinforce the words, and  like the cake when I was younger it doesn’t happen often so its special.

Easter Cake 2014 / Tiffanyaolson.com

Easter! 2014

As I am writing this I am realizing that my penchant for food has more to do with connecting with the people that I care about rather than the food itself. This is good for me because if its the connection that I crave then it goes to say that the quality of the food I am bringing should match the depth of the connection that I am trying to create, whether this is around my table at home or wherever the gathering is occurring.

My goal is to cut out refined sugar and most grains. If that is my personal goal than what I am serving in my home, offering at gatherings or giving as a reward should reflect that goal. The reality is that I am not doing all that great with it personally and it is reflected in all those other areas as well. Today, I will go back to writing down what I eat. In the money world Dave Ramsey calls it planning to spend. In the food world it’s planning to eat. I heard this quote once that said, “If you fail to plan then you are planning to fail.”

I am tired of failing.

So my friends, do you have any tips or suggestions on how to live and eat healthier?

Have a fabulous day!

Food … The Easy Way

I have a secret. Ok, it’s not really a secret because lots of people know about it. But just in case you haven’t heard about it  I am about to revolutionize dinner at your house. It’s called emeals. I discovered it years ago when we first began following Dave Ramsey. He is a promoter as is another organization called Focus On The Family.

I share my love of emeals to all my friends and family. I share it so much that I looked them up to see if  I could become an affiliate for them so that if you click the link in my blog then I will receive a small commission. Every little bit helps right? Honestly though whether you click a link here or just go to their website, you really need to check this out.


Emeals is life changing. Here’s how it works: you sign up and then choose what kind of food  your family likes to eat, high protein, low carb, paleo, clean eating, crockpot comfort food, crockpot clean eating, regular comfort food… the list is really quite long and spans almost every type of menu you can come up with. So, you choose your food style and then emeals, emails you a menu every Wednesday along with a shopping list to purchase all that you need to prepare all the meals. Pretty awesome right?

When we first began using this service I was working with Mr. Wonderful a lot at the office, I was tired at night and healthy eating was getting non existent. It was more important to get food, any food on the table. I chose the crockpot clean eating menu and all of my dinner problems disappeared. I had all the ingredients I needed for every meal for a week and honestly I stretched the food out to a week and a half most of the time with all the leftovers. We have a gluten free eater in our household and the clean eating menu pretty much solved the guess work in trying to decide how to accommodate everyone.

When I got cancer, food prep was so easy for everyone that came to help out. Mr. Wonderful purchased what was on the list and then whoever was here that week didn’t have to think about how to feed everyone. There was a recipe for each day and it made life so much less stressful as removing the food decisions out of the equation made it easier to focus on everything else that was going on. I’m not gonna lie and say that as a chemo patient that the smell of the crockpot going all the time was pleasant but I knew that the food being prepared was healthy and that my family was being taken care of.

As I have gotten healthier I have switched us over to the paleo plan as I am trying to eat grain and sugar free. The cool thing about emeals is that you can switch around the plans whenever you want. They also have breakfast and lunch options but we just use the dinner. I have really loved it and it has saved us a lot of money. I improvise when I need to and there are weeks when I like to come up with my own plans but overall emeals has been a true bacon saver.

Go check it out. Treat yourself to the whole notion of worry free, hassle free dinners.

Pizza!

So about 14 years ago our friends the Hocker’s introduced us to the tradition of Friday nite pizza nite. We would have it with them when we would go to visit for the weekend over in Madras, Oregon. Kristin gave me her famous crust recipe and well, the rest is history. There have been very few weekends in the last 14 years that we have not had homemade pizza at some point during the weekend. It’s our thing. Sometimes we have friends over and sometimes we take the pizza to friends houses but no matter who is here or where we are, homemade pizza is usually involved.

One would think that after all these years of pizza making that I would have super fantastic, creative, mouthwatering topping ideas to share. Ummm no. The only thing I have really experimented with over the years is the crust. My family likes meat and olives. I squeeze mushrooms and artichoke hearts in every now and again but even that is pushing it. So why post about pizza? Well, in my attempt to go grain free I almost had a heart attack when I realized that I wouldn’t be able to participate in our most beloved tradition. So I did what any self respecting mama would do and I went straight to Pinterest,

and this is what I found… Paleo Pizza Crust!!!

I’m not gonna lie, I was a bit intimidated and nervous about this but friends  I pressed on… even when this happened and my daughter was laughing at me.

Crust / Tiffanyaolson.com

Nice huh? (bear with me on the whole photo quality thing… it too is a work in progress. (- :  )

I poked a hole in that fluffy side, all the air leaked out and I forged ahead. I got all of my toppings out and expertly decorated my prize pizza in only a way that someone who has been making pizza for years and years can do…

Pizza / Tiffanyaolson.com

Just as I was patting myself on the back and snapping a photo of my masterpiece I noted that in all my excitement that I forgot one main ingredient. Cheese! There is no cheese on that pizza! So what do I do in a situation like this? Laugh at myself and then scrape all the toppings off and add the cheese and put the toppings back on. Rest assured the toppings didn’t look quite as pretty and mouth watering for the second go around.

When Mr. Wonderful got home, I told him about my mishap, he laughed and asked me why I didn’t just put the cheese on top of the pizza. I told him that is not how pizza is made. I should know because I am the expert.

All in all I was very happy with the outcome of this crust recipe. It was easy and there were no complicated ingredients or steps which I loved. Friday nite pizza nite is my favorite family tradition, all of us look forward to it every weekend, lots of our friends look forward to it too and will gently remind me when they haven’t been invited over for pizza nite in a while. I don’t want to eat salad while all my people are enjoying pizza and this crust was the perfect solution.

For the record I have tried lots of other grain free recipes lately and many of them have been expensive lessons in something that  I do not ever want to make again. Cheesecake made with cashews? Nope. I made pumpkin pie over the holidays. The filling tasted great but the crust? Not so much. You should have seen Mr. Wonderful’s face with that one on Christmas Day. He was less than impressed.

As you all know learning something new means that there is a lot of trial and error involved. There is a huge learning curve with this whole no grain thing. I really like food and I want it to taste good. As with anything however it’s a slow process that will take time to become second nature. What’s more important is that I have found a way to keep my favorite family tradition in tact. So thank you, Lea at Paleo Spirit for posting that pizza crust recipe you have saved Friday nite pizza nite and this makes me one happy mama.

Have a great day, All!

ps. I did make some grain free/sugar free chocolate chip cookies.. Yum! And today I am attempting banana chocolate chip bread. I’ll let you know how it goes. Wish me luck!

The Good Stuff…

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This is me on Easter Sunday of 2014. I had baked a lemon cake from scratch and was feeling pretty proud of myself. I love to bake. It makes me happy and it makes the recipients of my baked stuff happy. This particular cake I made for a friend who cannot stand even the thought of cream cheese. There are a lot of Easter desserts out there that involve cream cheese and I was on a mission to make something spectacular for my friend as her family was coming over for brunch.

Everyone who knows me at all knows that I love to bake. Mr. Wonderful is the great cook and I am the great baker. Ok, great is relative but I really enjoy doing it. Baking for me is a stress reliever. I love coming into the kitchen, getting out a recipe, new or old and creating something from nothing. I don’t do super well with long drawn out projects which is why baking is such a great outlet. You can go from nothing to something in a relatively short amount of time. I love the process and I love the oohs and ahhs from my friends and family when they feast upon my creations.

One of the many things that Breast Cancer has changed for me is that my intake of refined sugar and anything that changes to sugar quickly in your system ie. potatoes, rice, flour, corn etc. has to be drastically reduced or eliminated altogether. There is conflicting reports out there on whether or not sugar actually feeds cancer cells but I figure cutting out most of those simple carbs can’t hurt and my cancer was pretty hard to detect in the 1st place so I’m not taking any chances. Ok, maybe a couple of chances but overall I’m cutting waaay back.

So what is a lover of baking to do with out flour and refined sugar? Well, I’ve decided to continue to pursue my passion of trying new things and try some recipes that although don’t have refined sugar, they use other things like maple syrup and honey. The only other obstacle I can see is that whatever I bake has to taste good. This can be quite an issue when you try to bake your famous sugar cookies… without sugar. I have already had lots of trial and errors and the bummer is that baking with coconut flour, almond flour, maple syrup and honey is more expensive so you really don’t want to waste any of it on something that tastes bad and that your dog won’t even eat.

My 1st real success was a few weeks ago when I made some scones. I actually really liked them and didn’t feel left out when my friends were eating the sugar/flour version. I found this recipe on a blog by Laura Fuentes.Grain-Free-Blueberry-Scone-Recipe-A-682x1024

This is her photo of the delactable little morsels…. and here is mine…

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As  you can plainly see 1st off, I have never taken a photo of food before and secondly it doesn’t look much like Mrs. Fuentes’s scone. But the good thing is that it really tasted good! Not just a, “I’m gonna fake it because nothing tastes as good as sugar and white flour kind of thing.” I truly enjoyed it and I didn’t feel left out as my girlfriends were eating the real stuff. The reality is that mine looks so different from the original because I didn’t use a biscuit cutter and I misread the recipe and added all the milk in at once instead of  leaving a little out for brushing over the top.

So there you have it. Errors and all. I need to make some more so I can freeze them and use them on those busy mornings when I don’t have time to make eggs. They are made with almond flour so there is a lot of protein in them and I am trying to make sure to get some protein with every meal.

So another adventure has begun for me, I will let you know as I find things that I enjoy. It’s funny because I really only learned to cook when I got married. I didn’t get married till I was 30, now I get to relearn it in a whole new way. I’m kind of looking forward to it and kind of feeling a bit intimidated by it but that’s kind of how life is, always changing and evolving into something different. The choice is whether or not you embrace the change and make the most of your circumstances or fight to keep things the same and risk making things worse.

If anyone has any Paleo type recipes that you have baked, please send them my way. Christmas is here and I want to try some new stuff!

Have a great day, All!

ps. Here is another link to take you over to the recipe. Enjoy!