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I Choose To Be Healthy

I haven’t always honored my temple.

 

I haven’t always known how.

 

When I look at pictures of myself from my thicker days, I thought I was doing some things right then. But I was young and didn’t have all the answers. I didn’t understand that though my frozen dinners were low in fat, they were high in sugar and sodium. I didn’t know that drowning my salad in blue cheese dressing undid all of what I thought I was accomplishing in eating the big plate of leafy greens.

 

Tyra in college

 

When I did learn how to honor my temple, I didn’t always obey. But I have to ask myself, “Do you want to be in health and prosper even as your soul prospers?” We have to decide. I choose to be healthy.

 

Even now, some days are difficult. Just recently I engaged in the battle of the bulge. You can read more about that here. I’m happy to say I waged an all out assault and have since claimed rounds 1 & 2 victorious! I’ve been even more disciplined in my exercise regime, I try to get adequate rest, though I think a new bed would greatly help in that area and my eating habits are good.

 

I would say my diet is very clean. That means I consume food that is minimally processed and most closely resembles its natural state. But even in that, I knew I could clean it up even more. So for those of us who already eat clean and for those who want to do better, here’s how I’ve raised the bar for myself in the past few weeks:

 

~Cut Back Sugar

On average, Americans consume about 20 teaspoons of added sugar a day. I probably consumed on average 4-6 teaspoons a day. It lurks in nearly everything. Even in a clean diet it can add up. Even if my healthy friends aren’t consuming refined sugar, several teaspoons a day of maple syrup, agave, honey, coconut palm sugar, Stevia, fill in the blank…add up. So see if there are ways to cut back. I used to have 2 teaspoons in the morning in my coffee. Then I cut that back to 1. Then I cut my coffee. Jesus is still helping me with that transition. You can read more about cutting coffee here. I also cut my “natural” treats like coconut milk ice cream, again the sugar.

 

~Cut Carbs

I am not waging a war against carbs. But really, do I need to eat pasta more than once a week, even if it is whole-wheat pasta? Do I need to eat a grain with every meal? I’m constantly challenging myself to rethink the plate. We’ve come to know the plate as large section of meat, medium sized portion of starch and small portion of vegetables (read more on that here). So lately I’ve been swapping out my pasta with zucchini noodles, cutting the amount of rice (even though it’s brown rice) and having no baked goods (bread, muffins {even though the muffins would be homemade using all natural ingredients}, cookies).

 

 

~Cut The Salty Snacks

Oh dear, I really love and miss tortilla chips. I could easily have tortilla chips 1-3 times a week. A moderate serving size coupled with my favorite hummus. I had rationalized, “I’m eating healthy here Lord, cut me some slack. It’s just organic blue corn tortilla chips and homemade hummus.” And while those snacks are much healthier than Lay’s potato chips, tortilla chips are still fried. And hummus while it is healthy is high in calories for a small serving. So again, it’s obeying God and knowing where I can cut back a little. I’m not saying I won’t eat them again, I’m just cutting back for a while as I temper my actions and taste buds with self-discipline and self-control (I also had to comfortably get back in my jeans). Even raw nuts, which are one of my go to healthy snacks have to be consumed in moderation because they are high in fat (albeit good fats but still high) and they are acidic. And really, who can eat just one serving of nuts? One serving of almond is just 14 almonds! Man, I can eat 3x that easily.

 

I keep this statement before me as a caution in helping me decide to choose well.

 

What will I do today to add to not detract from my health?

 

So throughout the day, when I am presented with CHOICE, I ask myself…

 

~Will eating a croissant add to or detract from my health?

 

~Will this cup of coffee add to or detract from my health?

 

~Will this kale salad add to or detract from my health?

 

~I’m sleepy but will this exercise add to or detract from my health?

 

There is no food Swiss neutral. What you consume either promotes or negates good health.

 

While this may be radical for some, for me it’s just obeying what God has called ME to do. I am not only responsible for my health, but I have to provide nourishment for my husband and my five children. The decisions I make today, will directly affect my children’s DNA thus directly affecting their children to come. I have to be an example for the women I serve in ministry. I need to be strong and healthy in my body to carry out all that God has tasked to my hands. I do not want to defile my body but want His light to radiate uninhibited from this temple so that it draws others near to Him and the decisions I make throughout the day directly impact that. Sometimes it is hard. Sometimes I fail.  But I will try.

 

What is God whispering to you about what you can do to honor Him by honoring your temple?

 

So again I ask, not what can you do, but what WILL you do to add to not detract from your health today?

 

I choose to be healthy. And you can too. Discipline, self-control and obedience pay off.   I am still a work in progress but I feel strong and capable to run with endurance the race set before me.

before and after

Tyra Lane-Kingsland

 

As always, it is my prayer that you’ve been Inspired To Live Fully!

Feature Image Photo Credit
Happy to connect with friends at Dance With Jesus & Fellowship Friday

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Energy, Strength & Stamina: A Mother of 5 Reveals

Sitting across from Rae Lynn and Audra, I listened to the cacophony of chatter emanating from my peers; a bunch of 9th and 10th grade students maximizing on one of the free moments in the day, lunch time. In between the babble, they took bites of beefy macaroni as I nibbled on a tempeh sandwich. Needless to say, being an African-American vegan child in the 80’s & 90’s wasn’t so easy.

Thus were the early years on my health & wellness journey. My father has been a vegan since 1976. I was raised by my mother as a meat eater but went to live with my vegan father when I was 14. The transition was quite jarring. To go from ham, greens, and mac & cheese for Sunday dinner to brown rice, lentils and steamed broccoli: to go from a gallon of cow milk in the fridge regularly to homemade almond milk prepared freshly right before I left for school was a transition indeed. I was already ‘different’. My dad is Jamaican with floor length dread locks and I dressed differently. I wanted to be the social butterfly and be liked which led me to talk A LOT often brash and loud but really I was a bookworm. So the food was yet another thing that set me apart.

In college I did what many college females do, I gained weight. Coupled with the fact that my mother died suddenly two months into my freshman year in college, I ate late and ate lots of prepared foods, which I almost never did when at home with dad. And it was not until my early-twenties, suffering from hyperthyroidism, high cholesterol and weighing 178 lbs. that I realized I was far removed from the healthy, nourishing, plant based diet that I experience when with my dad. I expressed my concerns to my then boyfriend (now my husband) and he committed to helping me get my health under control. With his help, I learned to manage my thyroid disease, manage my cholesterol and lose weight by eating differently and exercising regularly.

After I became pregnant with my 1st child, the desire to nourish my body grew stronger. I wanted to provide the best conditions I could for the growing baby. I read and read and finally began to know and understand some of the food decisions my father made. I finally knew for myself why we had eaten bee pollen, umiboshi plums and miso soup.

For over ten years now, I have been on this amazing journey of health and wellness. In a year, I consume hundreds of books, articles, documentaries, demos and the like, teaching myself to honor my temple through proper nourishment, rest and exercise. While my name is Tyra, I’m no food tyrant. I simply seek to make choices that are God honoring and since He has taught me how to care for my temple, following through on that is the least I can do. Furthermore, His word says, “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”
1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Wednesdays here on the blog are Wellness Wednesdays. Each Wednesday, I will share a nugget with you that I have learned along my journey with the hope that you will be inspired to implement the suggestions so that you are living fully. And to live fully and feel alive, you must be intentional about caring for your temple. I want to come alongside you to inspire you as you walk out your journey of health and wellness. And the journey requires not only proper nourishment but also adequate rest and exercise and we will tackle all of these here on Wellness Wednesdays too. Thank you for allowing me to partner with you on your journey.

I look forward to sharing some of the best practices that have worked for me. Here are just a few that I’ve implemented which have helped me remain energetic, youthful, strong, and focused.

~ I eat whole, unprocessed, unrefined, plant based foods 85% of the time.
The other 15%…well, I give myself room for a little indulgence.

~I meal plan. Every other Sunday I sit down with my coupons, grocery list
and menu-planning sheet to create a plan for the next two weeks.

~I have a green smoothie for breakfast, a raw salad with some type of protein for lunch and a nutrient dense dinner almost everyday.

~I’ve nearly eliminated dairy from my diet. When I did I immediately noticed all mucus and sinus problems were gone…like instantly!

~I exercise at least 3 days a week. In my ideal world, I would go to Zumba or African dance but since that doesn’t fit into my schedule and family dynamic, I make use of my treadmill, on demand videos, YouTube videos and an occasional boot camp class when I can get there. I also keep my resistance bands in my car for impromptu working out.

These are just a few of the best practices that have enabled me to honor my temple, manage my weight and nourish not only myself but my family as well.

I look forward to our continued journey. So where are you on your health and wellness journey? Let me know because I want to support you.

As always it is my prayer that you’ve been Inspired To Live Fully. If you’ve been inspired, please comment and share.