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How to Drink Your Veggies Without a Blender or Juicer (and Why You Might Want To)

One of the things I do to nourish myself is to hang out with other people who are trying to treat themselves in a healthy, nurturing way.  One of the groups I attend is T.O.P.S. (Taking Off Pounds Sensibly).

One of my T.O.P.S. sisters shared a newspaper article talking about how broccoli sprout tea could cleanse the body of environmental toxins. The concept intrigued me, so I started googling how to make the tea. I couldn’t really find any useful directions. Then I remembered that you can make “tea” (technically, not “tea” which comes only from the leaves of Camellia sinensis, but an “infusion.” But most people just say “tea.”) from fresh herbs. So I decided to treat broccoli sprouts as if they were herbs.

For my first batch, I bought fresh broccoli sprouts from (where else?) Sprouts. I simply put the sprouts in a tea ball, put the tea ball in a cup and added boiling water.

I let it steep for about 10 minutes. When the brew was cool enough, I tasted. It reminded me of vegetable soup broth and wasn’t bad at all.

Later I learned that broccoli tea is also helpful for gastritis. Since my husband was suffering from that, I talked him into trying the tea. Now he drinks it daily (and is gastritis free).

I’ve learned to grow my own broccoli sprouts and sometimes add them to salads and sandwiches in addition to drinking the tea.

My broccoli tea experiment reminded me of another way to cleanse environmental toxins. The book, How to Grow Fresh Air, talks about how adding house plants to our environment can remove airborne toxins.

Sometimes nourishing ourselves can be as much about what we take out as it is about what we put in.

Is there anything in your life you’d be better off without?

Joshua 24:23 “Now therefore, put away the foreign gods which are in your midst, and incline your hearts to the LORD, the God of Israel.”
Job 11:14 If iniquity is in your hand, put it far away, And do not let wickedness dwell in your tents;
Proverbs 4:24 Put away from you a deceitful mouth And put devious speech far from you.
Ezekiel 45:9 ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “Enough, you princes of Israel; put away violence and destruction, and practice justice and righteousness.
Ephesians 4:31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.

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Another nature lover seeking nourishment from trees

Recently I found a passage in a book that startled me. It described how some Native Americans, when ill, would seek out pine trees and stand beside them, soaking in their “energy.”

What surprised me was not that people did this, but how well I understood what drove them out into the trees. A few years back, when I was recovering from one of my several cancer surgeries, I noticed within myself a deep yearning to spend time in the tree-rich mountains. It was a feeling as strong as physical hunger.

I have spoken with other people recovering from various illnesses who have felt the same longing. I even mentioned it to an outdoor educator and ecopsychologist who confirmed that many people experience a longing for nature when ill.

Several scientific studies have been conducted that have found that hospital patients tend to recover quicker (and need less pain medication) when they are placed near a window with a view of trees or other natural scenery. Even looking at artwork depicting nature scenes seems to have a positive effect.

Since my illness I have deliberately sought to bring myself into contact with nature much more often. I take walks outdoors, in a park, whenever possible, even if it means getting out early, before the heat of the summer day. I photograph as many natural scenes as I can so that when I have to be indoors I can still look at God’s creation. I turn these photos into screen savers and wallpaper for my computer and phone so that I can take frequent nature breaks throughout the day.

I try to surround myself with the sounds of nature too. I set up bird feeders in my backyard so I can delight my ears with birdsong first thing in the morning. I listen to babbling brooks on Mp3s.

I’m not claiming that spending time in nature cures disease, but it sure makes me feel better. Looking at the handiwork of the One who created me nourishes my soul.

How about you? Any positive natural experiences to share with other readers? How do you connect with nature?

Next week: How to Drink Your Veggies without a Blender or Juicer (and why you might want to)

One of my favorite ways to nourish myself is to read (or listen to) a good book.  My definition of a good book is a one that uplifts me in some way, that I feel like I have received benefit from when I finish it.  Sometimes the benefit received can be entertainment, sometimes it can be insight into another culture or time period, sometimes it is a stimulating idea to ponder or things I want to incorporate in my own life.  And sometimes I like to read just for the pure fun of it.

I like to have two kinds of books open at all times, books that I enjoy and books that I can learn from.  Sometimes the two types overlap, but sometimes not.  Sometimes I have to work at reading things in order to learn.  But working at something doesn’t mean it isn’t nourishing!

When I run out of ideas of what to read next I turn to several resources. These have helped me to meet new authors I like (and some I don’t) and to expand my book reading experience.  Next time you are looking for something to read try these out:

Christy Winners-Christian novels of excellence

Readalikes-input an author, series or genre you like and get suggestions of similar books

What Should I Read Next?-Like Readalikes, but this site adds the ability to search by ISBN numbers also

Shelfari-find a book you like then see what other people who also like the same book have read or are reading

Paperbackswap-A site where you can trade books with other people.  You have to pay for postage to ship books but it ranges from 2-3 dollars per book.

There are many other sites out there, but these are a few of my favorites.  So find a nice cool spot to curl up, pour yourself a frosty glass of lemonade and enjoy!

Although it has been three decades since I nursed my first newborn infant, I’ll never forget what an awesome experience it was.  That squalling little baby came into this world already equipped with an inborn knowledge of what he needed to do in order to survive and grow.  When he was hungry he knew just how to get my attention so I’d put him into the position from which he could nourish himself.  When I held him to my chest, he knew how to turn his head and to search for the necessary food.

Amazingly my newborn son needed only one source of nutrition during his early months.  The milk he slurped from the mommy bar contained all the nutrients he needed to develop and grow.

Just like newborns, older humans also have an innate knowledge of what we need to grow and thrive, not just for now but for forever.  We have a deep sense that there is only one source that will satisfy our needs and our longings.  An ancient book of wisdom calls this being born with eternity in our hearts.  But just like the newborn we need help to get to the source of nourishment.  We need someone who will bridge the gap between where we are and where we long to be in order to get what we need.  That is where Jesus Christ comes in.  When we believe in Him we are letting Him pick us up and place us near God’s heart, the one place where we can latch on and receive all the nourishment we need to grow and thrive..

Unlike a newborn, we never outgrow our need for nourishment from God.  It’s one diet that lasts for a lifetime and beyond.

Note:  Today’s post is a little longer than usual.  It should take about three minutes to read and will, hopefully, be worth your time.

The Lord provided a new pair of shoes for me this morning.  Well, actually, He allowed me to find a pair that He had provided 16 years ago.  However, He knew that I would need them today and that is when they appeared and I finally recognized them for the gift of God that they were.

I had actually purchased these shoes about sixteen years ago.  Because I have hard to fit feet which require heavy duty support in order for me to walk without pain  I had purchased a pair of Brooks Beasts, athletic shoes which are a lot more well endowed in the comfort and function departments than they are in the beauty department.

 The first time I wore them, comfortable and supportive as they were , a family member said, “Those are the ugliest shoes I’ve ever seen.”  I continued to wear them but every time this family member saw me in them she would comment “You have those ugly things on your feet again!”  So, I stopped wearing them, just to hush her comments.

 When I moved from one house to another I packed up the shoes, just in case I’d ever need them again someday.  In the move the shoes got separated from each other and I didn’t see them together again until today.

 Today—the day I prayed and asked the Lord to help me find some shoes that fit me and were comfortable. (I told you I was hard to fit.  It takes divine intervention to get comfortable shoes.)  Today was the day I looked at the pile of stuff that had come out of the closet I had cleaned two days ago.  Today was the day I noticed a single shoe in the pile.  Today was the day I remembered that I had also seen a single shoe in another pile when I had cleaned out a closet in another room about two weeks earlier.

 I ran to get the other shoe.  The two matched.  I rushed to put them on.  They were a perfect fit, exactly what I needed. And, since the relative who had complained so often about the shoes was no longer living, I felt free to enjoy wearing the comfortable and supportive shoes, the shoes which God had provided sixteen years ago but which I had just gotten around to being grateful for.

 As I thought about the shoes it struck me that God knew that I would need those shoes on this particular day, sixteen years after their purchase.  I believe He had prompted me to buy them then.  Sometimes He provides what we need well before we know or acknowledge our need for it.  God promises us “Before they call I will answer…” (Isaiah 65:24).

 Then it hit me that those shoes had been sitting in my house for over a decade and that I had not been either enjoying them or grateful for them.  It was only when I felt a new and acute need for shoes that didn’t create blisters on my feet, a need so strong that I actually prayed and asked God to provide, that I could suddenly appreciate them for the gift from God that they were.

 So often we ignore the gifts that God has given us, taking for granted what has been there all along.

 Donald Miller, in A Million Miles in a Thousand Years notes and explains this same human tendency.  He writes, “We get robbed of the glory of life because we aren’t capable of remembering how we got here.  When you are born, you wake slowly to everything.  Your brain doesn’t stop growing until you turn twenty-six, so from birth to twenty-six, God is slowly turning the lights on, and you are groggy and pointing at things saying circle and blue and car and then sex and job and health care.  The experience is so slow you could easily come to believe life isn’t that big of a deal, that life isn’t staggering.  What I’m saying is I think life is staggering And we’re just used to it.  We all are like spoiled children no longer impressed with the gifts we’re given—it’s just another sunset, just another rainstorm moving in over the mountain, just another child being born, just another funeral” (58).

 George Herbert, 16th century Welsh poet and priest, expressed our human nature and human need accurately when he penned, “Thou hast given so much to me, Give one thing more, – a grateful heart…”

 This whole shoe business has got me thinking and wondering.  Are there other things that God has provided for me that I have either been disdaining or ignoring?  How often do I fail to appreciate and express gratitude for His provision?

 Sometimes the best way to nurture ourselves is simply by opening our eyes and seeing what has already been provided for our nourishment.

 Open my eyes, that I may see
Glimpses of truth Thou hast for me;
Place in my hands the wonderful key
That shall unclasp and set me free. [1]

 [1] “Open My Eyes that I May See” Words & Music: Clara H. Scott, in Best Hymns No. 2, by Elisha A. Hoffman & Harold F. Sayles (Chicago, Illinois: Evangelical Publishing Company, 1895)

In yesterday’s post I mentioned the phrase “time affluence.” For those of you who did not follow the link in the post, here is the definition given by Tal Ben-Shahar, a Harvard professor and author of the book Happier.

Time affluence is the feeling that one has sufficient time to pursue activities that are personally meaningful, to reflect, to engage in leisure. Time poverty is the feeling that one is constantly stressed, rushed, overworked, and behind.

The term “time affluence” came into use based on the work done by Tim Kasser, author, professor and chair of psychology at Knox College.  He found that people who are time affluent have a higher sense of well-being.  So it follows that creating time affluence would partner with nourishing oneself.

So how do you create time affluence?  The first step is to identify which activities are meaningful to you.  Take a look at what you do everyday and ask yourself if it is contributing to your well being.  Personally, when I started asking myself that question I cut back on the amount of time I spend on computer games and diverted that time to working on my novel.  The answers will be different for everyone.

For other ideas to increase time affluence you can check out these links.

Article:  Why Time Affluence Matters and 10 Ways to Boost Yours

Book:  Take Back Your Time: Fighting Overwork and Time Poverty in America

And of course, please share some of your own comments on this topic.

Our family got a delightful new camera recently.  It’s so much fun that I’m actively looking for ways to use it.

I’ve started taking walks around my neighborhood, deliberately seeking interesting scenes to photograph.

In my photo safaris I’ve discovered that there is a lot more beauty in my world than I had noticed before.  Each time I find something good I have one of those “wow!” moments that lights up my soul.

This exercise reminds me of something I used to do as a child.  Walking the same route to school everyday got boring, so I challenged myself to find ten new things I had never seen before.  And you know what?  I never failed to find ten new things.  I usually found more than ten.

Sometimes nourishing ourselves has to do with taking time to notice what has already been provided for us.

My challenge for you today is for you to look for something beautiful.  Maybe it would help to pretend you are looking for something to take a picture of.  Then, tell us what you find.

This morning I decided to treat myself to a freshly made bowl of home cooked oatmeal.  No, not instant, I mean the kind that comes in a metal can, takes almost 45 minutes to make and which has a satisfyingly chewy texture.  Topped off with a tablespoon of chopped walnuts, two tablespoons of raisins and ¼ teaspoon of Saigon cinnamon, it makes a slightly sweet, filling meal that is only around 265 calories, keeps me full until lunch and packs me full of nutrition.  A nice steaming bowl of self-nurture! 

While the oatmeal was cooking I spied the jar of jelly beans I had bought as a gift for someone else.  I had foolishly left them out in plain sight.  Before I knew it, I had opened the jar and popped a handful of jelly beans into my mouth.  The taste was magnificent, very self indulgent.  I just had to pamper myself with another handful. 

As I was munching on the beans I remembered that today was the day I weigh in at my weight-loss club.  I had joined the club to improve my health and to increase my physical energy so I could stay actively involved in life.  Those beans, tasty as they were, weren’t going to help me reach my goals. 

How I need to remember that what I want in the moment is not always what I want in the long run! 

Mmm, mmm good versus mmm, mmm, good for me

What made Superman so strong?  How about Lex Luthor?

A new study that will be published in an upcoming issue of Social Psychological and Personality Science may point the way to developing superhuman powers. 

Okay, if not superhuman, at least more humane.  It turns out that doing something kind for someone else increases our own physical strength.  The link is so strong that even just thinking about doing something nice makes us stronger. 

Interestingly enough, doing evil also makes us stronger.  However, I’d rather grow through kindness than meanness.  I sleep better at night that way. 

Kind of reminds me of that old saying, “Flowers leave some of their fragrance in the hand that bestows them.” 

Another old saying along the same line is “Give and it will be given to you… (Luke 6:38).

So maybe being unselfish is actually being selfish—or at least doing something that benefits both self and others. 

I think I’ll try this out before I lift my dumbbells today.  Who knows, maybe I’ll get an extra set of reps in.

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