Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Operation Smile

**The following post is sponsored by Campus Book Rentals. Opinions are all my own.**

I know that I've written to you guys quite a lot about Campus Book rentals and Operation Smile.  I get approached quite often to do sponsored posts and I turn a lot of them down. Because most companies are only out for their own good. For their own bottom line. But I've come to respect those from Campus book rentals because they pass on the good fortune.

Operation Smile is an international organization that provides cleft lip and cleft palate surgery to children in low and middle income countries. They provide the surgeries, post operative care and and ongoing medical therapies to children whose families would otherwise not be able to afford this kind of care.

A Grandmother comforting her Grandson after his surgery in Cambodia.
Photo courtesy of Operation Smile via Facebook

A child with a cleft has two times the odds of dying before their first birthday. Children who survive, can have difficulty speaking, eating, hearing or breathing. Operation Smile is able to provide care to these children, often saving them, and improving their quality of life significantly.

This organization is volunteer based. They give their time and skill so that families can help their children at no cost to the families. Since 1982, Operation Smile has been able to provide 222,000 free surgical procedures to children and young adults.

Operation smile is 'a pioneer in advocating for the importance of safe surgery in resource poor environments.' They train local medical professionals in these countries and help to strengthen their health care systems, which benefits not only these children but also the local population.

Now, I don't know about you guys, but the opportunities in MY life to help others who are not local are few and far between. I do what I can for my community and my state, but I sometimes feel disconnected from the rest of the world. Something we can do from here, since most of us are not doctors or nurses who can travel and serve others in need, is to donate. You can visit Operation smile to donate here. You can also consider using Campus Book Rentals. Every rental helps them support Operation Smile. They have committed to donating a minimum of 80 surgeries this year.

Photo courtesy of Operation Smile via Facebook

It's not often that working with a company has such positive consequences. So when companies like this approach me, I have no problem sharing them with you guys. I hope you will check out Operation Smile and if you can, help out.  Also check out Campus Book rentals. I hope you will and I hope you will share them as well.

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Friday, April 3, 2015

Making changes in my diet

Here are the core features of what I am trying to do here.

I am trying to get more water moving through my body. I am trying to move my body more. Being at home with my kids involves lots of sitting sometimes. I have not been as kind to my body as I should.  I am focusing on putting less food product into my body. I ate too much. Fast food, junk food, snacks. I have learned how to eat meals that keep my satisfied, and I have very little desire now physically to snack. I would skip breakfast and sometimes even lunch because I wasn't hungry or I was trying to lose weight, but I would eat dinner in the evenings and not stop eating till bedtime because my body needed calories. And of course none of those calories were good ones.

Not only am I taking in less food, but I am taking in less of the bad things I eat/drink. I have cut out multiple weekly trips through the drive through. I have given up many foods I didn't have any attachment to and that were not good for me. It has been very difficult giving up pop. I am a diet coke addict. And that's not even a joke. I've been off pop completely now for a month. I am trying to focus on REAL food. I've taken pages from many books. Whole 30 has been a great inspiration. It teaches your mind and body to relearn relationships with food. I learned that I am a hormonal eater and a bored eater. That time of the month is a dangerous time for my resolve and dedication. I am still struggling to help myself maintain control during that time. I've taken so many things away from my whole 30 experience. A huge thing for me was giving up coffee creamer. I didn't even know if I liked the taste of coffee due to basically drinking creamer with a shot of coffee. I drink it black often now or sometimes with just a splash of milk. I am focusing on lean protein, lots of vegetables and healthy fats.

Fat is a funny thing. We have been conditioned to avoid it, when really our body needs and craves it. The fat and protein in our meals is what satisfies us and carries us to our next meal. Without sufficient quantities of these, we will be feeling hungry again which causes us to snack. I have cut out all oils but olive oil and use coconut oil the most in my daily cooking and eating. I also switched to Kerry Gold grass fed butter. I pay 8 dollars for basically 4 sticks of it. That may sound shocking, but when I am not spending all my money on junk, a bit extra for good butter is not so bad.

I am also a creature of habit. I like routine. Don't get me wrong, I like new things, but I find that when meal planning and grocery planning, that I am OK with eating the same basic rotation of things for two weeks. Then the next time, I will change it up. New proteins, new veggies, new method.

Here is what a typical breakfast looks like for me.

2 fried eggs, 2 slices of bacon, over sauteed cabbage or a bed of sweet potato hash
2 egg omelet with 1/4 cup shredded cheese and a handful of veggies

Lunch usually lends itself a little more variety, and since I eat it on my own, I have complete control
Salmon over pan fried (coconut oil) zoodles (zucchini noodles)
Large greens salad with hard boiled egg and drained canned tuna with salad dressing
A scoop or chicken/egg/tuna salad and a baked sweet potato with a pat of Kerry Gold butter or coconut oil, salt and pepper to taste

Dinner is tricky, because I have 4 mouths to feed including my own. We have been enjoying all our usual favorites and I swap out quick fixes for my meals. Starchy sides I replace with a baked sweet potato and all our dinners now include salad. Tacos become taco salad with a crunchy shell broken up as a scoop. Chinese night features cauliflower rice rather than regular rice.

Something I have to remember and something I tell others is that bread, noodles, all carbs really are a vessel to get something else in our mouths. Bread gets butter, deli meats, even salads into our mouths. Pasta gets delicious sauces and sometimes meat into our mouths. Rice gets sauce into our mouths. It is filler. It is not strictly required. I can have the same delicious alfredo over zoodles with much more satisfaction both physically and mentally. I can eat those deli meats rolled up on their own without bread or I can make a sandwich and slap it on a butter lettuce leaf. I put lettuce on my sandwiches anyways. You take out bread, rice, pasta, etc. and most things become a salad. And there's nothing wrong with that. 

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