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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.

My cat, Pixie, drives me nuts sometimes. A few weeks ago I had given her a fancy new feeder loaded with five pounds of automatically-dispensed-at-regular-intervals-so-that-she-never-had-an-empty-bowl yummy cat food. And here she was, standing at the empty old feeder, meowing pitifully as if I were starving her to death.
I picked her up and took her to the new feeder (for about the 20th time). She sniffed the food and started nibbling, looking up at me as if to say “Well, you finally fed me!” And yet, this abundance had been in front of her all the time.

A well-fed Pixie, hard at work editing my manuscript

A well-fed Pixie, hard at work editing my manuscript

Not only does Pixie frustrate me, she also teaches me. Watching her I began to wonder how often I go hungry, emotionally and spiritually, because I am looking toward empty feed bowls to fill me up instead of at the places where ample nourishment actually resides.

To test myself I started yesterday morning by making a list of all the ways I’ve recently felt nourished, happy or satisfied. I started with a “big” thing–by remembering my recent vacation in which I’d spent time with my entire family, including the three grandchildren who live across the country from me. “Spending time with you, your wife and your kids is deeply soul-satisfying for me,” I had told my oldest son as he enjoyed a rare, peaceful moment, swinging in a hammock beneath a green tree canopy. His ear to ear grin told me he appreciated my observation.

Then I moved on to the “little” things currently in my life. In my back yard I noticed the hummingbirds at the feeder I’d hung for them and the squirrel munching on the peanuts I’d laid out for him moments before. I love watching my backyard menagerie. I hugged my husband and asked how he felt. When he said he’d had a restful night I noticed that just weeks before he had been in the throes of a bad gastritis attack which kept him awake many nights in a row. What a welcome relief to hear that he had been pain free for the night. How satisfying to note that medication, life style changes and prayers for his healing had helped.

I kept on noticing and adding items, like how good my morning coffee tasted and how comfortable my bathrobe was, to my list. A few moments later I realized something. Once I turned my attention to looking for them, I found so many satisfying, nourishing or happy moments that it would have taken the rest of the day to record what I observed in just a few minutes of searching. I felt as if someone had picked me up and placed me in front of a large bowl of cat, uh, I mean, people treats.

How about you? What moments of nourishment can you find in your life today? Care to share them with us?

  • What devotional or inspirational literature did I read/listen to today?
  • What do I want to remember from the devotional literature?

We can all benefit from hearing other people’s opinions.  We can especially benefit from informed opinions.  Many times our understanding of what the Bible says can be deepened by listening to other people explain or teach on what it says.  That’s where listening to or reading high quality devotional literature from reputable authors or speakers can be helpful. And again, we need to make an effort to remember what we hear or learn so writing down what we have learned helps us retain the insights we have gained.

Do you have some favorite authors or teachers to recommend to our readers?  What have you learned from them?


As I promised in my last post, I’m beginning to give you a series of questions which will help guide you into a more fulfilling life.  Most of the questions will not be about the Bible or Christianity, but the first ones are.  I’ll try to post one question a week.  Here are this week’s thought provokers.

  • What Scripture verses did I read/listen to today?
  • What do I want to remember from the verses?

One of the first truths of Christianity is that the Bible is God’s message to His people, His instruction manual to life.  It teaches us how to live the way God wants us to live, the way that will bring us maximum satisfaction and happiness in life.  It is by reading the Bible that we hear what God is communicating to us. Reading it, studying it and learning from it are important keys to spiritual (and emotional and physical) health and happiness.

As important as it is to read the Bible it is even more important to remember what we learn from it. These questions give you the opportunity to record what portion of the Bible you read and then to remember and solidify what you learned.  There is no better way to reinforce what you have learned than to explain it.  Writing down what you have learned is one way to explain it and make it stick in your brain.  Writing the truths you have learned also gives you a record so that in the future, you can go back and review them.

Being well-nourished can make you smile!

 

When I first started this blog my idea was to read a few books that talked about ways to be good to yourself, to try out the techniques and then to report how the experiment went.  I envisioned bubble baths, fresh flowers, an occasional baked treat, a walk in the park and more time with friends. 

 While all of these things are good for us and nourish our beings I have learned that these are only the tip of the iceberg.  The more I dug into this issue of being good to ourselves, the more there was to it.  I found out that there is even a whole branch of psychology devoted to studying how to increase our well-being.  My original three book reading list has grown to hundreds of volumes waiting to be harvested. 

 You may have noticed that there has been a gap of time since my last post.  That is because I have been devoting time to studying these books and gleaning what wisdom that can be found.  I have also been recording the insights and gathering them into a usable form that will make it easier to track how well we are doing at nourishing ourselves.  I’ll let you know more about this tracking device as it gets a bit nearer completion. 

 Over the next few weeks I want to share some of what I have discovered.  Once a week I’ll be posting a question for you to mull over.  The questions will help you discover new ways to nourish yourself at the deepest level.  I’ll have other posts during the week too, posts about good things, but especially watch for the questions that I will call Happiness Helpers.  They will be extra beneficial to you. 

 So look for the first question tomorrow.  But in the meantime, here is a quick way for you to nourish yourself in the next five minutes.  Close your eyes and think of something good that has happened to you today.  Keep thinking.  Did you get a goodbye kiss from someone you love this morning? Did you have a good cup of coffee or an enjoyable bowl of cereal for breakfast?  Did the sun warm your skin today?   Did you see your favorite bird as you glanced out the window?  Did you listen to a song you like?  Keep thinking until you think of something good that happened. Then, if you can, tell me about it.  Respond to this blog with your one good thing. 

 Until tomorrow. 

Nourisher-in-Training

My recent blog on the relationship being good and doing good really stirred up some great thinking and comments from you, my dear readers.  You not only thought deeply about the question, you also gave some powerful and pertinent examples of how the “conflict” can play out in daily life.

Thank you, thank you, thank you for your responses!  You really did what I was hoping to do in this blog, you thought deeply and shared your thoughts.  Please keep up the good work!!  I really appreciate your participation.

For those who were concerned about my personal welfare and what would lead me to pose such a question as “how do we balance being good to ourselves with being good?” I’d like to introduce a term that may either clear up your concerns about me or make you write me off as a total loon.  The term is Christian hedonism.  Here is a brief definition.

Christian Hedonism teaches that the desire to be happy is God-given and should not be denied or resisted but directed to God for satisfaction. Christian Hedonism does not say that whatever you enjoy is good. It says that God has shown you what is good and doing it ought to bring you joy (Micah 6:8). And since doing the will of God ought to bring you joy, the pursuit of joy is an essential part of all moral effort. If you abandon the pursuit of joy (and thus refuse to be a Hedonist, as I use the term), you cannot fulfill the will of God. Christian Hedonism affirms that the godliest saints of every age have discovered no contradiction in saying, on the one hand, “We are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered” (Romans 8:36), and on the other hand, “Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I will say, Rejoice” (Philippians 4:4). Christian Hedonism does not join the culture of self-gratification that makes you a slave of your sinful impulses. Christian Hedonism commands that we not be conformed to this age but that we be transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2) so we can delight to do the will of our Father in heaven. According to Christian Hedonism joy in God is not optional icing on the cake of Christianity. When you think it through, joy in God is an essential part of saving faith.

I’d love to hear what you think of the concept of Christian hedonism.

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!

Today’s entry is a little philosophical.  It’s also a little more revealing of myself than I am comfortable being.  However, I’d really like to hear your thoughts on the subject.

As the tagline of this blog says, this is a place to explore ways to nurture ourselves.  I am not writing from a standpoint of “Look at me.  I’ve got all the answers.”  I am writing because I too am exploring, I’m walking places I haven’t been before.  I’m seeking out new territory.  I’m telling you about good things I’m seeing along the way, but I am still very much on the journey.  I have not arrived at the destination.  I am asking the questions too.

And today’s question is, how do we balance being good to ourselves with being good?  How can we balance nourishing ourselves with living a moral and ethical life?

Here is where I am coming from.

As you know from my last post, I am a Christian.  That means I find my life’s meaning in the person of Jesus Christ.  I try to follow the teachings of the Bible.

But that doesn’t mean that I am mindless.  It doesn’t mean that I am blind to some of the difficulties of following a faith that occasionally seems at odds with common sense.  (Now don’t get your feathers ruffled.  I know that God’s ways are the wisest and best.  I believe that with my whole heart.  But that doesn’t stop me from wondering.)

Scripture tells us that the best way to nourish ourselves is by depending upon God and obeying Him.  But to be honest, sometimes following what God seems to require involves some personal pain.  Sometimes obeying Him feels like it’s hurting us rather than building us up.

So what do we do when faced with this situation?  How do we live a good life while still being good to ourselves in the times when the two goals feel in opposition to each other?

Thoughts?  Comments?

And don’t worry.  The next post will be much lighter.

I got an email this morning from a new friend.  It told the tale of a mother, speaking to her newlywed daughter.  The mother gives this advice, “’Don’t forget your sisters… They’ll be more important as you get older. No matter how much you love your husband, no matter how much you love the children you may have, you are still going to need sisters. Remember to go places with them now and then; do things with them.”

My friend added this note, “Remember that ‘sisters’ means ALL the women…  your girlfriends, your daughters, and all your other women relatives too. You’ll need other women. Women always do.”

This email reminded me of something I had read in Self Nurture by Alice Domar.  Dr. Domar writes,

“Two generations ago, American women… grew up in stronger, more supportive social networks.  The web of interconnections was broader, and our communities were comprised of tightly knit extended families.  Despite their often constricted roles and marriages, our mothers and grandmothers had their emotional and spiritual needs met by many more women—their sisters and aunts and female cousins and grandmothers who either lived with them or in their neighborhoods.  These women cared for each other in crises, and on a daily basis.  They took care of each other’s babies, cooked meals for each other, and shared each other’s joys and sorrows.  By the 1970’s, the fabric of family unity and support began to fray, and with that sociological development came a new wrinkle on the old man-woman story.

“Before, women were wholly dependent on men to meet their economic needs, but primary emotional needs were often gratified by the nearby community of women.  In the past three decades, massive social changes have enabled women to become more economically independent, but the breakup of traditional extended families and neighborhoods has made it harder for women to have their emotional needs met by other women.  We began to think that the men in our lives should meet all our needs.

“It’s taken women several decades to recognize that no man, no matter how strong or sensitive, can meet all our needs.  So women of the new millennium find themselves stuck in a bind:  we no longer have the same strong-knit communities of women, nor do we have the illusion of perfect multifaceted men who can take care of us financially and emotionally.  Who, then is going to satisfy our many needs and desires?  The best answer I can offer is an old Wall Street pointer:  diversify, diversify.  We should recognize that different needs will be met by different people, including our partners, family members, friends—and ourselves.  This realization is liberating in an era when it’s too much to expect any one person or institution to fulfill every part of our complex selves. (15-16).”

To this I say “YES!”  One of the best ways to nourish ourselves is by recognizing that while we need many types of relationships in our lives, the relationships among women, whether formed by family, neighborhood, job or friendship, can be the most helpful.  Don’t believe me?  Check out some of these articles.  And remember, a friend is a gift you give yourself.

Women and Friendship:  Female Bonds Have Both Psychological and Physical Health Benefits

The Importance of Women’s Friendships

What are Friends For? A Longer Life

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)

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