Emotions of a New Empty Nester

And in the blink of an eye he’s off to college. Quinn is my youngest and it’s hard to believe he’s old enough to head out to Grand Canyon University. I have such mixed emotions. My husband Jeff often says to me, “You don’t journal, you blog and post”. He’s right,  I do share my life with all of you and there is something cathartic for me in doing so.

When I say “new” I mean like the car just pulled down my driveway 5 minutes ago. I just have three things I want to share. 

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1. I started thinking back over the last years. I am thankful to say I have no real regrets. I was so far from a perfect mom, I called him a psychopath, I pinched him, I forgot him at home when he was only 5 (the list could go on and on) but I found peace when I thought of these words, “I did my best”. I messed up lots but my heart was always to show my children love and more importantly to remind them how loved they are by God.

2. I prayed this morning, “God, my #1 desire is for Quinn to know you better when he graduates.”  I don’t know how to explain it but I ‘heard’ God say, “I’m completely in agreement. That’s my #1 desire too”. I felt this great comfort when I was reminded that God and I are on the same side cheering Quinn on towards the same goal. Honestly, I’m not super concerned with his grades, his major, or even what mistakes he’ll make. I just want him to know God better and better. 

3. I’m super excited to have more time to spend with my amazing husband Jeff. We had so much fun before we had kids and I have no doubt that we’re going to continue to have loads of new adventures, great conversations and good times! I am thankful that even though the kids took up a good chunk of our time the last 20 years, we still made our relationship a priority.

II'm sure going to miss Quinn. He's been my side kick for many years. My husband travels quite a bit so it was so nice to have such a fun son to hang out with!

I’ve shed a ton of tears as I’ve been writing this but I feel better. Thanks for listening and I hope if you too are sending kids off to college or other destinations that my sharing helps in some way.

I'm not wearing sunglasses because it was super sunny. They might have been hiding a few tears! 

Quinn saying Good-bye to his faithful friend "Remi" was pretty tough to watch.   

Quinn saying Good-bye to his faithful friend "Remi" was pretty tough to watch. 

 

Plant-Based Protein Sources!

From our friends at www.thelittlepine.com


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5 Simple Steps to Getting that Sweet Tooth Under Control!

 

1. Don't bring your favorite sweet treat into the house. If you know you can't resist the temptation of Ben & Jerry's Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice cream then don't bring it in your house. Most of the time that we overeat on sweets is in our own home so keep it free of temptations

2. Watch out for hidden sugars in your drinks. From Gatorade, Frapuccinos, Creamers, Ice tea... these drinks could be keeping your from your healthy weight. Read the labels and if your drink is sweetened cut back or cut it out. Of course we all know that sodas are bad for us and if you struggle to cut them out try drinking 2/3 carbonated water and 1/3 100% juice.

3. Eat fresh fruit. When you are craving something sweet try a handful of grapes or a juicy piece of watermelon. The natural sugar in juice is much better than the added sugar in other sweets. 

4. Eat Small Square of High Cocoa Dark Chocolate. 1" square of dark chocolate can do wonders to satisfy the sugar craving. Now beside to not eat the whole bar, just one small piece should do the trick

5. Exercise Self Control. Talk about how we need to believe we can say no and how fruit of the spirit is self control. 

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5 Simple Steps To A Healthy Weight


1. Pray - really, not just saying this because it's the "Christian thing" to say. Spend time talking with God about your health and ask Him to help you to make healthier choices. 1 Peter 5:7 tells us that God cares about all the things we care about so if you worry or care about your health talk to Him about it. 

2. Make a Plan. Write out what you will eat (or better yet, follow th menu plan that's included with our f4 Plan), schedule your workouts. Don't just say I'll workout 3 times this week. Write them in your calendar (put reminders in your phone too). Set weekly goals and post them where you will see them throughout your day.  

3. Drink Water - most of us walk around somewhat dehydrated. We often think we are hungry when we are actually just thirsty. Water also gives us a feeling of being full. Studies show that if you drink 8 ounces of water before a meal that you will eat less. 

4. Eat more vegetables. Vegetables have so many great nutrients and vitamins and are often low in calories. When planning your menu try and add as much color to it as you can. Add some Beets, Kale, Carrots, Brussel Sprouts to your diet. We just added to our f4 Plan  a great Brussel sprout  recipe that includes roasted grapes and goat cheese! Great way to get in loads of veggies is to make a big pot of veggie soup and have a bowl for a snack or part of your meal. 

5. Follow the 80/20 rule. 80% of the time I eat really healthy and 20% of the time I eat kind of healthy. I don't expect to always stick with only the healthiest of food choices and I don't feel like I've failed when I eat foods that aren't that healthy. Now I'm not ever going to go and eat a bunch of Oreos (sugar is the only thing I've pretty much eliminated from my diet) but I will eat a burger and fries without guilt but it's not something I'd do everyday. 

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Michelle is the founder of Faithful Workouts and The Fresh Table. She began her fitness career in 1984 and still loves to help people break free from fitness frustration and move towards a life that's full of physical and spiritual health. Michelle is married to Jeff and they have three children PLUS two lovable dogs and an ornery cat. 

Don't Let The Words "Born Again Christian" Freak You Out

 

If you know my story you’ve heard me share that for the first 40 years of my life I didn’t even think about God. It wasn’t that I heard the story of Jesus and chose not to believe it, I never heard the story. When I did hear the message, it penetrated my heart and gave my life a real purpose. The question that gnaws aways at so many of us, “What am I here for?” was answered. 

My purpose was rooted in helping others understand the life changing Good News of Jesus. Now, this might not seem like a super exciting purpose to you, but all I can tell you is it was a game changer to me. I began to look at people differently, I found it easier to love those that used to irritate me, my every day living had a purpose so much bigger than trying to make myself happy. 

I remember when the words “Born Again Christian” used to freak my out. I pictured some weird cult that I wanted to stay far away from. Now, I am thankful beyond belief that God has given me a new way of living. That because of His power in me, I can live differently. 

I love this quote from C.S Lewis “God became man to turn creatures into sons: not simply to produce better men of the old kind but to produce a new kind of man. It is not like teaching a horse to jump better and better but like turning a horse into a winged creature.”

I am so far from having it all figured out but I have hope that tomorrow I will live with more love for people because I believe that God is there to help me to become more like Him. 

My name is Michelle Spadafora and I couldn’t be happier to be “Born Again”!

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Michelle is the founder of Faithful Workouts and The Fresh Table. She began her fitness career in 1984 and still loves to help people break free from fitness frustration and move towards a life that's full of physical and spiritual health. Michelle is married to Jeff and they have three children PLUS two lovable dogs and an ornery cat. 

6 Healthy Kitchen Swaps

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Want to move towards better health? I believe small changes can add up to BIG results. Here are 6 simple "swaps" that will move you down the path to better health. 

1. Old Way: Flavored Potato Chips and Dip

New Way: Plain Potato Chips (even better Vegetables) and Healthy Dip

If you look at the list of ingredients on a bag of flavored potato chips, you’ll likely see that you’re getting a whole lot more than just some added “flavor.” Here’s the ingredient list on my potato chip bag “potatoes, oil, salt”. Here’s the ingredients for flavored BBQ chips: “potatoes, vegetable oil (sunflower, corn and/or canola oil), bbq seasoning (sugar, dextrose, salt, malted barley flour, torula yeast, molasses, maltodextrin [made from corn], natural flavors [including natural smoke flavor], spices, paprika, corn starch, tomato powder, garlic powder, yeast extract, onion powder, and paprika extract).” 

Who wants to be eating all of that?!? Keep it clean and stick with plain chips.

Now, a lot of people love dipping their chips in some creamy French onion dip. But look at the ingredients in this dip!?

“Water, Canola Oil, Modified Corn Starch, Onion, Sugar, Whey Protein Concentrate, Butter Oil, and Less than 2% of the Following: Hydrolyzed Corn and Wheat Gluten, Onion Powder, Salt, Monosodium Glutamate, Yeast Extract, Sour Cream (Cultured Cream, Skim Milk), Skim Milk, Cream, Natural Flavor, Lactic Acid, Xanthan Gum, Acetic Acid, DATEM, Artificial Color (Including Yellow 5), Citric Acid, and Sodium Ascorbate (to Preserve Freshness).” 

Here is the recipe for the “Healthy Dip” that is on our online cookbook that is part of our f4 Plan. 1 cup of plain yogurt (pick one with high protein and lower sugar - ideally protein over 20g and sugar under 10g. Organic is best), 1/2 tsp dry mustard powder, 1/2 tsp dried dill, 1/2 tsp celery salt, 1/2 tsp dried tarragon and add a splash of hot sauce if you are a spice lover. 

And potato chips aren’t the only thing that you can use in this dip! Better yet, try this dip with Jicama or cucumbers and snack with no guilt!

2. Old Way: 2 tbsp. Canola or Vegetable Oil (as required by many recipes)

New Way:  2 tbsp. vegetable broth

This is super simple - when sautéing vegetables or meat use vegetable broth instead of oil. Not only is it a healthier option, I think it also makes the food taste better. Another healthy swap would be to switch the type of oil you are using. When sautéing at a high heat it is best to use an oil that can handle the heat. My favorites are avocado oil and coconut oil (sometime soon I’ll blog about the health benefits of these oils!)

3. Old Way:  8 oz glass of juice

New Way: 2 oz. of 100% juice and sparkling (or tap) water

Many of the juices on the grocery store shelves are loaded with sugar. First off, I suggest only buying 100% real juice, but even drinking straight up 100% juice can be tough on our body.  Our body can process the natural sugars that are in fruit and vegetables but when we drink juice, it’s a lot of sugar coming in quickly. On average, it takes 4 oranges to make an 8oz of juice. We most likely wouldn’t sit and eat 4 oranges in just a few minutes but that’s what we’re doing when we drink a glass of juice. I suggest diluting your juice (and your kids’ juice) with sparkling water. You still have a bit of the sweetness from the juice but using 2 oz of juice and 6 oz of water is much healthier (plus, the sparkling water addition really does make it so tasty and refreshing!)

4. Old Way: Ham and cheese sandwich

New Way: Open-faced turkey and avocado sandwich

For many years, we were told on the food pyramid that we should eat mainly grains, which includes bread, pasta, rice. We’ve now learned that our bodies don’t need so many of the starch-heavy carbohydrates that are in grains. Studies have shown that eating more carbohydrates than we need can lead to brain fog, forgetfulness, fatigue, and feeling bloated. Switching from 2 slices of bread on your sandwich to only one cuts your carbs in half. Turkey is lower in cholesterol and sodium compared to ham (and still tastes just as good!) And instead of cheese and mayo, use avocado and mustard for even more health benefits!

5. Old Way: Pancakes with syrup

New Way: Banana Pancakes with strawberry “syrup”

When we eat pancakes the batter typically includes white flour, sugar, milk, eggs and we cook them up in butter. I suggest giving this a try - 1 mashed banana and 3 eggs. Mix will. Melt coconut oil in a pan and cook the pancakes. I’m telling you, these pancakes are super delicious, and you can even add some blueberries and walnuts into the mix for some added yummies. Our strawberry syrup is SO tasty and so much healthier than the normal syrup we buy in the store that’s full of sugar. To do this, I put 1 cup sliced strawberries in a pan and add 1 tsp vanilla. Cook until strawberries are soft and juicy. Pour over pancakes and enjoy!

6. Old Way: Soy sauce

New Way: Bragg’s Liquid Aminos

Soy sauce is super common in any kind of Asian cooking, and we love to enjoy it with sushi. And while soy sauce is natural for the most part, it’s absolutely FULL of sodium, and consuming too much sodium has been linked to things like high blood pressure and heart disease so we want to try limit our intake as much as we can. And that’s where these Liquid Aminos come in! The name is weird, but I’m telling you, these Liquid Aminos are a fabulous, natural alternative to soy sauce and taste essentially the same! If you’re still skeptical, just try dipping your sushi into some Liquid Aminos sometime and taste it for yourself!

ENJOY THIS POST? WANT MORE GREAT FAITH AND FITNESS TOOLS TO KEEP YOU ON TRACK TO LIVING A HEALTHY AND FULL LIFE? THEN TRY OUR PREMIUM F4 PLAN FREE FOR 30 DAYS! IT INCLUDES OVER 150+ EXERCISES VIDEOS, MEAL PLANS, DAILY INSPIRATION AND MORE

ALREADY FINISHED OUR FREE 30 DAY TRIAL OF OUR F4 PLAN? IF SO, CHECK OUR MEMBERSHIP PLANS. THEY INCLUDE SO MANY GREAT TOOLS TO HELP YOU GET PHYSICALLY AND SPIRITUALLY FIT! OPTIONS AS LOW AS $4.16/MONTH

Michelle is the founder of Faithful Workouts and The Fresh Table. She began her fitness career in 1984 and still loves to help people break free from fitness frustration and move towards a life that's full of physical and spiritual health. Michelle is married to Jeff and they have three children PLUS two lovable dogs and an ornery cat. 

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