Dirty On The Outside; Clean On The Inside

When we moved to Cambodia, God as He always does, showered us with an unexpected blessing: dirt, less access to medicine, and no processed foods.  Today, we get to reflect on this lesson and share this unexpected healthy lifestyle with you!

fat baby in dirt
Getting dirty is good!! It worked for Eli.

Our first few years we craved it.  At times we would drive through the city in our old beat up not air-conditioned truck to try to find it. And, our mouth watered to think of indulging once again.  Sugar and processed foods.  We left most of it behind in America.  Not by choice but lack of access.  Desserts were not readily available here and when they were did not taste anything like the American desserts we grew up with.  What we didn’t know is that we were helping ourselves by being away.  That craving is long gone and we now realize the energy and happiness we feel has so much to do with what we fuel.

This week, we both read a book called The Microbiome Solution: A Radical Way To Health Your Body from the Inside Out which completely opened our eyes to the new research about our gut, its relationship with most all diseases, weight, health, and what we are doing to destroy it.

Basically there are trillions of microbes living inside your gut.  There are “good” ones and “bad” ones.  The more we put things in and on our bodies that are not natural (antibiotics, antimicrobial cleansers, pesticides, food ingredients you can’t pronounce), the more we feed the “bad” ones.  The more we fill our bodies with the most natural foods and contact the natural environment, we feed the “good” ones.  And, the impact is on every aspect of our health.

“An immune system that doesn’t get up close and personal with enough germs early on is like a kid with overprotective parents, ill equipped to deal with problems when they inevitably happen.  Inadequate exposure leads to defects in immune tolerance and a trigger-happy state of heightened activity where essential bacteria, proteins in food, and even parts of our own body are treated like the enemy and attacked.” Robyn Chutkan: The Microbiome Solution

pumpkin seeds
Preparing Pumpkin seeds in bags to distribute to the poor. Pumpkin plants are an incredible plant to have at home because of the enormous benefits of the seeds, leaves, stalks, and fruit.

As we apply these lessons to our lives, we love to teach and impact others lives with this teaching.  The villages we work in know how to buy local, eat balanced, snack on whole foods, and plant the most nutritious foods such pumpkin instead of sugar cane.

What happens when the poor agricultural based countries outlive the wealthiest ones in the world?  That is where we are heading today.  We have over sterilized our lives and foods and need to return to a more natural way of life.  Did you know that even living around concrete as opposed to grass or dirt increases allergies in adulthood?  Our modern ways of living and convenience are catching up with us. That is why today we want to share with you the benefits of getting back to balance.  You will be shocked about how this imbalance has affected your life and those you love!

The Benefits of a Healthy Microbiome:

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Healthy immune system

70% of your body’s immune cells live in your gut. 1  A healthy gut can help to improve your overall health. 2

Improved mood

A healthy human microbiome consists of 10-100 trillion microorganisms. 3  Some of these bacteria are known for secreting serotonin 3 —the feel good chemical. 5  Just how much serotonin is produced in your gut? A whopping 90 % of your body’s mood-boosting serotonin is produced in your gut! 6

Weight management

Regular consumption of probiotics contributes to healthy weight.  The microbes in our gut produce even smaller molecules that are then sent to our blood. These smaller molecules boost the metabolism. Females using probiotics during a study lost 4 more pounds during a 12-week period. 6

Overall health

One of the most popular “good” bacterium, lactobacillus, helps the body to maintain overall good health.  In addition to regulating the digestive tract, lactobacillus also produces lactase and vitamin K, both of which are necessary to maintain good health. 7

Reduced stomach discomfort

Due to poor diets and misinformation about proper gut health, it’s no wonder that stomach discomfort is rampant in North America. Nearly 60 % of people in North America suffer from an imbalance of the gut flora. An overgrowth of the “bad” bacteria can lead to an unhappy tummy. 8

Reduced stress levels

Unfortunately, experiencing stress at some point in your life is unavoidable; however, from yoga to yogurt, there are many ways to help reduce stress.  Studies on mice continue to demonstrate that a healthy gut teeming with good bacteria tends to produce less stressed mice. 8  Grab that yogurt and de-stress!  How much yogurt should you eat to get a healthy amount of probiotic? Message me to find out!

Improved mind

A healthy microbiome is linked to a sharper mind and improved mood.  The microbes produce hundreds of neurochemicals; these neurochemicals are then used by the brain to regulate mental functions such as learning and memory. 9

Age better

Frailty is so prevalent in aging populations and your microbiome has so much to do with absorption and use of the calcium and Vitamins in your diet.

The battle is on!

Our immune system is always on alert, always ready to fight any intruders.  Again, the majority of the body’s immune cells are housed in the gut, which makes a healthy gut the perfect line of defense against toxins and “bad” bacteria.

Do I need to supplement to get a good micro-biome?

Marc and I personally have decided the answer to this is “yes.”  We have spent years putting in processed foods, sugars, and toxins, and our body needs to be cleansed.  Because we cannot eat 6-10 servings of homegrown vegetables with a variety of colors each day, our body needs the nutrients, omegas, and probiotics to be at its peak.  If you want to know what we do, please message me.  We love to share.

The benefits of a healthy microbiome extend far beyond an effective digestive tract. In the spirit of good health, give yourself a gut check and experience all the benefits of a healthy microbiome; your trillions of microbes will thank you.

To receive health tips, weight loss information, coaching, and encouragement for better health join our Facebook group: Healthy Weight Motivation Community

References
1 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2515351/#b8
2 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3076704/
3 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23426535
4 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3426293/
5 http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/kc/serotonin-facts-232248
6 https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140128103537.htm
7 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20974015
8 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3448089/
9 http://www.apa.org/monitor/2012/09/gut-feeling.aspx

Infograph originally published in: Trust Your Gut: Benefits of Healthy Microbiome.

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Find your Upward Trajectory In Leadership

“God did not make you a leader to respond to stuff all day. He made you a leader to move things forward.”  Bill Hybels

There is something new in me and I can’t put my finger on it.  As a leader, I use to find my myself preparing for each meeting, leadership events, and mentoring opportunities but these days I feel that I need less prep time because my leadership and ability to influence others is simply a part of who I am and flows naturally from me.

It reminds me of being a parent.  You don’t have to prepare to be a parent.  A good parent takes what they’ve learned from life lessons, prays for wisdom, and puts it to practice each day.  We don’t rehearse what we teach our children.  It’s there.

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I now have a confidence and faith that what is in me is out-of-this-world powerful and needs to be gently packaged and delivered to the world.  I have something to give.  I want to give back.  I’ve come to realize that this is what leadership is about.

After being in leadership roles for 18 years, I have come to realize a pattern.  I am either moving upward in my leadership or downward.  There is no stasis.  At which point I’ve come to see a direct parallel with my spiritual maturity.  In knowing all wisdom comes from God and all power to love and influence others comes from God, I realize that my leadership power comes from Him.  Therefore, my spiritual maturity feeds others.

Spiritual Maturity impacts leadership.  Leaders can be on an upward spiritual maturity or on a downward trajectory.  There is no such thing as static spiritual maturity!   Leadership by definition is leading others onward and goes hand in hand with spiritual maturity.

Lets put this into practice! With trajectory in mind, think back and compare 10 years ago till now.  Where were you spiritually then compared to today?

Ann praying
Barefoot Teaching!

My 10 Year Trajectory

Past Spiritual Condition vs. Present Spiritual Condition

  • Prepare to share vs. I am His; therefore He pours out.
  • I feel God’s acceptance if I work hard vs. I have God’s acceptance at all times.
  • Unworthy to be used by Him vs. I never will be worthy but He wants to use me today.
  • I have to change my sin vs. He has to change my sin because I’m incapable.
  • Guilt because I didn’t do what He asked of me vs. Forgiveness immediately raining over me when I look towards heaven even before the words come out.
  • Habitual sin vs. His presence is too wonderful for sin to take it away.
  • I must hurry vs. God is not in a hurry.
  • Burdens are heavy vs. light and free in faith and obedience.
  • Not sure if God will answer that prayer for salvation vs. praying in His will means the answer is yes whether I see it or not.
  • Fear disapproval of man vs. His approval is all I need.
  • I’m on my own in this vs. there are armies around me constantly that I cannot see.
  • He is on the big things. I have to take care of the little things vs. He wants to help with both because often the killer is in the little things.
  • God is serious 100% of the time vs. He is also humorous, joyful, happy 100% of the time and loves to laugh with me!
  • Some people are being drawn to God vs. all people are being drawn to Him.
  • Some days are ministry days and some days are not vs. all days are His.
  • Love when I feel it vs. love as a choice through His power.

Look at your own spiritual journey and the changes in you.  These are your pearls of wisdom from God to help bring momentum and life to those you lead!  These are teaching points but even more than that, they are powerful because they were learned through trial, pain, and fire.  Even more incredible, your pearls of wisdom look different from mine!  We all have something to give back as we grow.  Take your journey and use it to lead others through theirs.

This reminds me of an incredible event that God puts in place each year to feed thousands of poor people in Cambodia.  Their homes are over dry land with no water 6 months of the year and then a dramatic thing happens where a river suddenly and predictably changes directions to fill their land with an enormous lake teeming with fish and watering their rice fields.

tonle sap

What causes that switch?  Monsoon rains push the fish into dry land where even puddles have food for the hungry!  Give those you lead regular predictable God sized pushes.  Encouragement. Gifts. Prayers. Love their children and family for who they are and not what they can do for you.  Give good things to those who are out in far places.

What does it take to grow yourself spiritually?  Studying hour upon hour on good leadership books and wisdom from the Bible is a piece of that growth, but don’t stop there.  Don’t get comfortable behind a desk or your computer.  The best “school” is to get out, love, and serve.  Get uncomfortable meeting strangers and sharing your life with others.  Then, you will grow leaps and bounds spiritually and in your ability to lead.  Your circle and team will expand in all directions!  Are you ready? Each of you is a leader in some form or another.  What will you do today?

Probiotics: From Utter Confusion To Master Shifu!

I went to nurse practitioner school 20 years ago.  No-one mentioned Probiotics.  We talked more “pharmacology” like prescribe this, prescribe that for this, and so on.  Those days are over and I’m catching up. I started a Probiotic just 2 months ago.    I could actually feel the cleansing happening over days.  This response is common and is not an adverse effect but actually a detoxification Probiotics Adverse Effects.  Did you know that taking Probiotics helps in all aspects of a healthy body.  ALL!  It makes our body a more effective machine to overcome diseases and lose weight.  Pretty cool.  I’m sold.  But often, we get lost in the science and don’t know what that means for you and I.  Here were my questions and I’ll assume they are yours too!

Why do we need Probiotics?

There has been lots of talk about the negative impact of toxins, pesticides, large amounts of sugar, and processed foods on our body for years.  One thing is for sure, for years, we have been dumping things into our body that shouldn’t be there.  Probiotics are often called “good” or “helpful” bacteria because they help keep your gut healthy.  That’s where Probiotics help you!

Sugar is a good example.  Many cardiologists are beginning to say that they believe that sugar is the main culprit for heart disease with even greater impact than cholesterol (while everyone is taking statins with their soft drink!) World Renown Heart Surgeon Speaks Out On What Really Causes Heart Disease

sugar

Can Probiotics help me lose weight?

YES!  This is good news.  “Studies show that Probiotics can promote rapid weight loss in severely obese people, even lowering the persistent abdominal fat.” Probiotics For Weight Loss

Do Probiotics cause constipation?

In some people it causes constipation but studies do not support that.  I personally take my probiotic with Biocleanse to help prevent that and better clean the inside out so my body better receives the probiotic.

Can I get enough Probiotics from just eating more yogurt?

Not necessarily.  There are many kinds of Probiotics and some of the yogurt known for probiotics, have to be taken in large doses.  How Much Yogurt Do You Need For Probiotics?

What Diseases Do Probiotics assist in healing?

Better question is “what diseases do Probiotics not assist with?”  Here are the ways that Probiotics help with all of our body systems.

Mental Health Disorders (including depression and anxiety): Probiotics On The Brain

Cardiovascular Diseases (including hypertension): The Power of Gut Bacteria and Probiotics for Heart Health

Skin Problems: Probiotics And Acne

Digestive Disorders: Probiotics And Digestive Problems

Cancer: Probiotics: Healthy Bacteria For Your Gut

Fatigue Issues: 3 Reasons to Take Probiotics for Chronic Fatigue Symptoms

Respiratory Diseases such as Asthma and Allergies: So, What’s The Deal with Probiotics and Asthma?

Can I take Probiotics, if I am lactose intolerant?

Yes, in fact it may help relieve lactose intolerance.  Lactose Intolerance Probiotics But, various strands of Probiotic may be more easily tolerated.

Are all Probiotics the same?

No.  90% of whats in your gut is microbes (YUMMY) with a great variety.  You need a Probiotic that is broad enough to receive the most benefit.  Choosing The Best Probiotic

We take the Plexus Probiotics 5 along with Slim and Biocleanse for the best results.  

family-adventure

Message me if you are interested.

With so much scientific evidence, it seems that Probiotics are for everyone.  Now that we know this, we will take them everyday. Will you? Feel free to comment here!

 

 

 

Overcoming Death From Obesity: Through the Eye’s of A Daughter

“Just as I am, without one plea, but that thy blood was shed for me. . .” I often woke to the sound of beautiful hymns being sung in perfect soprano.  My mother’s voice was angelic and comforting and her love for Jesus the same.  I was blessed to have a mom gifted in music, excellent sense of humor, and Godly but who spent most of her life with one struggle she felt that she would never overcome.

my mom obese

For her, the journey began when she was young.  The baby of 3, her older sister could do no wrong and was the jewel to her mother in all ways.  Her brother’s hyperactivity and wild ways drained her mother thin. Reflecting back now, my mom has come to realize that her mom was struggling with anxiety and depression privately and was too ashamed to seek help but released her pain on my mother.

A beautiful woman in her teenage years with blond hair, a beautiful body, and perfect skin grew up seeing a different image in the mirror.  Her mother’s voice of criticism was internalized in her mind causing an internal battle that would last for many years to come.

lose weight tapeworms
An early weight loss pill that I know probably worked but with disastrous consequences!

Fast forward to me, also the youngest of 3 but the only girl.  I was precious to her and we enjoyed a close relationship from the beginning.  We both shared our struggles with each other and have been best friends my whole life.  But, there was one struggle that she’d keep to herself.  As a young girl, I rode in the car many times to Weight Watcher meetings while waiting in a room and playing with my Barbie dolls.  Many times I would sit in a waiting room of a women only gym while she attempted to burn off the calories that seemed to stick.  But all the while, she never talked about this great battle of obesity that she faced every day and kept much of the pain from me.

At her peak, my mom weighed 280 pounds.  It began as baby fat and what I began to see in her as a lack of self-confidence or self-worth.  A beautiful woman was hidden behind layers of fat. The yoyo dieting consumed her and left her feeling defeated, hopeless each time.  The old white scale in her closet was all over the place.

Fat-Free-Foods-300x169
The fat-free 80’s phase! Eat all the sugar you want but watch that fat! 🙄

One funny memory was my young 5-year-old nephew who asked his dad “how many wives did granddad have?” This observation came from looking at pictures of my mother (his grandmother) through all her weight loss, weight gain photos.  She really did change so drastically and so often that you would think she was multiple people.

There were many times that I found my mom on the couch for days with novels to distract her from the pain.  Back then, I just thought she loved to read but now I know better.  There was a day as a child that I found her diary by her bed and read a page.  I realized that day that there was a side of my mom that was hidden from me.  I was being sheltered from her pain.  Most likely, she didn’t want me to be burdened from her hurt.  She didn’t talk about it but used humor to deal with it verbally.

oprah
Even Oprah was on the yo-yo plan trying every new diet out!

A day came when the “miracle drug” happened.  It seemed to be magical in how quickly it took her weight off and how happy she was.  It was Fen Phen diet pills and they worked.  For the first time, the pounds were falling off and not coming back.  It transformed my couch mom into a dancing weight losing machine!  I liked this new mom  and can remember her dancing in the kitchen as we all thought the battle was over!

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Then one night I overheard my dad speaking firmly to my mom “You will not take that drug anymore.  It will kill you!”  I could hear my mom crying from my room.  I knew the “miracle” was a trick. The medicine was taken off the market. It seemed like the weight came back overnight but not just that weight but much more.

my mom at the peak
There are very few pictures of my mom during this time in her life.  You may notice this one has been crumbled up.

The only good news is that the yo-yo dieting stopped.  She gave up.  We all accepted that this was who she was.

As a teenager, watching my mother with her battle and it created a fear for me.  The fear of gaining weight caused me to obsess over my own weight for a time.  It was fear that drove me to a guilt and shame relationship with food and exercise.

“On the outside so many people can look healthy but inside be hurting themselves.”

When Marc and I felt the call to Cambodia, my parents were excited.  But, one pain held them back.  My mom couldn’t fit on a plane to fly over and see her daughter and best friend.  About the same time we were getting ready to leave, my family was building a lake house.  We came to the realization that this lake house would need a wheelchair ramp as my mother would soon be in one.  She was quickly becoming home bound and her future was short.  By now she wore the pain on her face.  She didn’t want to miss out on life.  We prayed hard but for a time it seemed hopeless.

Gastric bypass surgery was a fairly new surgical procedure at that time and not a lot was known about it.  My mom was desperate to continue to live life and we all felt she had no other choice.  My mom went through the Roux-n-y gastric bypass surgery and had a difficult recovery due to her obesity. Though at the time, we felt the surgery went well except that the surgeon cut out too much and ended up taking most of her small intestines too.  This accident left my mom with another problem: life long vitamin and iron deficiencies along with another underlying issue that wouldn’t be revealed until her near death experience.

Within months, my mothers weight came down to a healthy weight!  She was able to fly over and visit me sooner than expected!

my mom in Cambodia at pool
My mom with her new body!  Here we are in Cambodia when Eli was a baby.

In fact, she lost so much so quick, that we met in Thailand where she had plastic surgery to remove her excess skin.

What seemed like a dream come true surgery had its downfalls but the greatest one was when she came close to dying as she lost over half the blood in her body.

This day took place at her home in America while I was in Cambodia.  She had been not feeling well and started vomiting while home alone.  The vomiting turned into bright red blood. She called my brother to take her to the hospital.  By the time they arrived at the ER, she was constantly vomiting bright red blood.  For some reason, the receptionist in the ER did not realize how sick my mom was and asked her to be seated.  When my mom stood up to go to the bathroom, they found her passed out in a pool of blood.

Before I finish this story with you, I have got to say that this was not the first time my mother encountered death. When she was a teenager, she went swimming in a lake with her uncle. Jumping into the lake, she hit her head on a rock and lost consciousness. Her body drifted to the bottom. “The water was murky but I could see everything. It didn’t make sense. There was a car tire on the bottom away from us and a broken anchor another direction.” She began floating above her body and bright lights surrounded her. They felt peaceful. She felt safe. She could see her uncle throwing his shoes and watch to jump in the water after her but he couldn’t find her body. Then a strange event happened. Her future flashed before her for what seemed like a second but in that second she saw her future husband and the face of each child she bore years later. She realized one face was smaller than the 3 others. She felt the presence around her was God.   “When I felt God’s presence, I headed toward His bright light flooded with joy, but He told me it wasn’t time, ‘look, your uncle is coming for you’.”  She woke up finding herself on the shore being resuscitated by her uncle. After things calmed down, no one believed her. She told her uncle exactly where to dive to find the tire. He found it of course! That night at dinner, he reached on his wrist for his watch but realized he lost it at the lake.  My mother told him she knew exactly where it was.  They ran to the lake and she picked it up right where she saw him throw it.  He was in shock as the only way she could have known was by observing from above not on the bottom of a lake.  Interestingly, many years later, she did give birth 4 times but had a miscarriage once, the baby with the small face.

Back to the second time that God saved her.  In the ER, they rushed her to a surgical room and opened her up to find that her stomach had burned a hole through her exposed intestines causing massive bleeding internally.  The bypass almost took her life leaving her stomach in disrepair.  Come to find out, her stomach had been reattached wrong.  She fully recovered from that event but is still aware to this day that it could happen again.

My mom is not a woman to give into fear.  70-years-old, she is still enjoying her new body and life and is as active as ever.  An encourager to all around her at her retirement village and traveling America singing her favorite hymns and songs.  And Cambodia, well she still makes the trip to see me every year!  Don’t assume she feels great!  She struggles every day with fatigue but chooses the life she lives.  She chooses to get out and change the world for good!

mom and kids at disney world
Hiking Disney World with grandma!  So blessed to have these memories.

As I reflect on her journey, I am thankful for the research and information that has gone into obesity.  I am thankful for the healthy and natural ways available today.  After 4 kids, I faced gaining weight for the first time in my life.  If you want to know the natural things I did to get my weight and health back, message me.  I love to talk about the things that truly work and the gimmicks that don’t!

I want to walk you healthy weight journey with you.  I have a sensitive heart towards this struggle and want every person to feel accepted and encouraged in their journey to a healthier body.  If you are interested, join my Facebook group @Healthy Weight: A Motivational Community

Hiking at Arches with grandma
Hiking Arches National Park with Malachi.

 

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