I Instagrammed (still mind-boggling that that’s an unofficial verb now) about my thoughts regarding intentional self-love/self-care and mental/physical health a couple of days ago, but in case you missed it, here was my little blurb:
Corey has been in New York (Lake Champion – A Young Life Camp) for the past week for work. People have been constantly asking how tough it’s been. Though I’d like to imagine what it’s like to be the sweet, compassionate wife who suffers longingly for her “other half” (don’t even get me started on that phrase) to come home, I also take comfort in knowing that I — in the deepest, densest part of me — am an independent. And that’s okay. I very much enjoy taking advantage of the fact that while we don’t have children, I can sow all the time I get to grow further into myself.
He comes home tonight (weather willing) and I am so excited to share with him the things the Lord allowed me to experience in my time alone.
I found my routine again. I began introducing my mornings with the Word again. I finished a private online course on nutrition and health. I tried cooking a new 4-course vegan meal, and it was delicious. I dug up my Mizunos and revisited my favorite way to spend quality time with Jesus: running.
My discipline, re-centered.
My joy, abundant.
My faith, rekindled.
My spirit, alive.
I encourage all of my strong sisters (and brothers) out there to never stop growing into yourself. I don’t know about you, but I love romancing myself. Pursuing myself. Allowing me to be me and accepting myself for it. It is so exciting to know that everyday we can become a better version of such. I believe this is why we are still alive; to press in. To play the part o this large space to make good, starting from within. And the ability to cultivate this environment for yourself is multiplied tenfold when you are willing to look within yourself and gain understanding on what kind of personality you are. How to love yourself well. Truly. Because everyone is different.
I am an independent. I am an introvert. (Surprising? It was for me, too.) I love people but I love spending time with Jesus by myself more. I know I do best in wide open spaces and I know I don’t need verbal affirmation from others to know who I am.
I am weird, I am strong, this is me.
I believe strongly that the definition of health ought to be boundless when it comes to how to work on it.
I think for so many of us nowadays, the term in itself seems unappetizing because so often does find itself associated with diet fads, unrealistic expectations, and disappointment. But I wish to change that culture for myself and my household. I believe health is so much more than a number on a scale, the texture of my hair, my exercising habits (or lack thereof). I believe being healthy starts with a mindset. It is nourished from within. Otherwise it’s all just a big cakey lie that eats itself up.
I believe being healthy starts with loving yourself.
It starts with loving yourself and finding the best way for you to get there.
For me, this journey of living a plant-based (vegan) lifestyle has been such a good practice to gain control of the simplest of mental strides. Mental strides that has allowed room in my life to love myself wholly… better, harder, and stronger. Yes, I do have the more tangible reasons why it has been beneficial for our family (listed here). But mentally, it has allowed me to work on disciplines I’ve long forgotten were key to my daily successes.
1. To research and intentionally prepare each and every thing that me and my loved ones are consuming (and have previously consumed) has taught me to not take my one body and one life for granted. It has forced me to educate myself on biology, nutrition, physiology, and self-care. This concept alone has made me read more, purchase more books, and realize that I am capable of understanding ideas I once thought were overwhelming. This has now expanded into educating myself regarding just about anything else this life has for us to explore and recognizing that my brain is capable and ready to absorb more information. I think after graduating college I was just done with “school” in general… but an unteachable mind is, I have learned, is one of the scariest things.
2. It has also given me back my self-control. Before, I lacked in this department completely. I gave into the liberal mindset of “YOLO” and thinking I’m deserving of every sugary taste, every greasy bite, every bit of life to devour. Now, I do wholly believe in experiencing LIFE, yes. (Duh, do you even know me?) But I do think we have a warped mindset on what it means to live life FULLY.
3. One of the best things this lifestyle of gaining back my health has really given me is reconnecting me with the truth that nothing is impossible. And in that, rediscovering my childlike faith. Though I wanted to attempt a shot at trying to change my ways time and time again in the past, I — for the longest season — assumed I couldn’t. Why? I’m still not sure. Maybe because I was uninformed? Maybe because I didn’t think I’d have the time or money? Probably because I just lacked a desire in general because… like anything important to grasp in life, it wasn’t easy. But proving yourself wrong on your potential is an amazing feeling. It’s empowering, it’s satisfying, and it allows yourself to marinate in the newly defined concept of success. This will look different for everyone, but it is an important idea. I have redefined myself as a successful person, for no one else but me. Because I set small, realistic, short-term expectations, get there, and understand that it is about these small victories that lead to a war fought. By seeing myself “get there” with my healthier and wiser eating habits for my personal body, I have seeped this attitude toward my desire to getting to a better place with my faith again. Becoming a better wife. Being a better friend. Being a better neighbor. Being a better person. These are all graspable, real, doable projects that begin with a positive change in our attitude. And where ever that stem can grow from, let it. For me, it started in the kitchen.
It’s true what they say, you really are what you eat. It controls a LOT more of you than you think you do. From the types of proteins to the types of hormones they manipulate. (And you allow it to by eating it!) From the healthy fats to the artificial sugars. From killing your memory to maintaining it. From a life leading to an eventual heart disease to being able to run with your grandchildren at ages unimaginable. From being grumpy to feeling like you can jump off of the walls. From the table to the workplace. From the inside out.
I’ll try to get better at listing recipes. I know I’ve gotten requests but… Let me be honest — I cook like my mother! (Yikes.) I don’t measure, I don’t write things down… I taste as I go, I change it up every time, and I love making cooking into an art! BUTTTT… I WILL try to do better. Until then, take my suggested measurements with a grain of salt. (Unintended pun.) Also, just be inspired! Get crazy in the kitchen! That’s how I find most of my favorite consistent recipes! I try new things, mess up, and create something fab that’s here to stay.
Here is one of mine and Corey’s faves. I’ll call it… Green Babies. (Because they look like they’re coddled up in a blanket… Until they’re eaten. Is that morbid?)
A bunch of collard greens
1 cup of mushrooms (chopped)
3/4 cup of carrots (chopped)
1 cup of quinoa
1/3 cup of red bell pepper (chopped)
1/2 cup of corn
Season with salt, pepper, and nutritional yeast to taste! (As usual.)
Stir in the quinoa mix with the carrots and mushroom. Add the corn, curry powder, onion powder, and keep it on low heat as the mixture immerses together. Add little bit of water if the texture is too dry.
And there you have it! Little Green Babies to love and devour! You can add pan-tossed tofu chopped up in there as well for extra texture and protein. You can add anything you’d really like, honestly. I just hope these little posts can inspire you! Enjoy!