Maryellen Brown

Maryellen Brown RMT, RHN, R.BIE
 Maryellen is an elder at KPC, and leads our health and wellness ministry. 
advent

December 2016

Advent and the Reason for Christmas

When I was a kid, there was nothing that I loved more than Christmas morning. Santa coming. Getting up at the crack of dawn to open gifts. Getting to play with presents all day long…lounging in my new jammies and eventually getting dressed to go tobogganing down the backyard hill.

As I’ve gotten older, I’m still excited for the Christmas season – but now for a different reason. Of course I am thankful for the amazing Christmas memories that I had as a kid, but the joy that I used to get when I received gifts now comes when I am giving them instead.

It’s easy to get wrapped up in the holiday bustle…spend way too much, eat way too much and forgetting what Christmas is really about.  Giving back and being part of something that is bigger than the hustle and bustle, taking time to listen, to rest and to receive. 

This Christmas, I encourage you to remember the reason for this season…the birth of our saviour Jesus Christ and the anticipation of His second coming…Advent

The season of Advent began the last Sunday in November (27). The word “Advent” means “coming,” which makes sense because during this season, as we remember and celebrate the coming of Jesus to earth as a little baby.

I grew up going to church every…well almost every Sunday.  My Mom would drag my brother and I out the door most Sundays to attend Sunday School.  For me it was really a time to spend with my girlfriends. My family celebrated Christmas but not really Advent. My memory of advent was every year on the first day of December my mom would give us our Advent calendar with tiny chocolates in numbered tiny doors to be opened every day of December.  It really was a countdown to Christmas. Back in those days Advent calendars actually told the Christmas story.  The birth of Jesus….that’s it!

As a young girl I wondered why the wreath at the front of the pulpit had different coloured candles and why did we light them.  It was cool and pretty, but I didn’t know why. So, please let me tell you….

The Advent wreath has 5 candles–three purple, one pink, one white–marking the season’s four weeks.  During the season of Advent, one candle on the wreath is lit each Sunday until all of the candles are lit, including the fifth candle, which is lit on Christmas Day.

1st candle is purple and is called the PROPHECY CANDLE or CANDLE OF HOPE

We can have hope because God is faithful and will keep the promises made to us.  Our hope comes from God!

I pray that the God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him.  Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.” ~ Romans 15:13 NLT

2nd candle is purple and is called the BETHLEHEM CANDLE or THE CANDLE OF PREPARATION

God kept his promise of a Saviour who would be born in Bethlehem. Preparation means to “get ready”.  Help us to be ready to welcome you, O God!

Prepare the way for the Lords coming! Clear the road for him! The valley will be filled and the mountains and hills made level.  The curves will be straightened and the rough places made smooth.  And the all people will see the salvation sent from God. ‘~ Luke 3:4-6 NLT

3rd candle is pink and is called the SHEPHERD CANDLE or THE CANDLE OF JOY

The shepherds received a message of joy!

“Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them.  They were terrified, but the angel reassured them.  Don’t be afraid he said, I will bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Saviour-yes the Messiah, the Lord has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David” ~ Luke 2:9-11 NLT

4th candle is purple and is called the ANGEL CANDLE or THE CANDLE OF LOVE

The angels announced the good news of a Saviour! God sent his only Son to earth to save us, because he loves us!

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life” ~ John 3:16 NLT

5th candle is white and is called the CHRIST CANDLE

The white candle reminds us that Jesus is the spotless Lamb of God, sent to wash away our sins.  His birth was for his death, his death was for our birth!

The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, ‘Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!‘” ~ John 1:29 NLT

Wishing you and your family a blessed Merry Christmas!
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October 2016
Our worlds can be so loud, noisy, hectic and completely overwhelming at times.  We barely have time to sit down, take a breath let alone be quiet with our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.  But as Christians isn’t that what we are supposed to do?  Be still, quiet the mind, and listen to what God is telling us?  “Be still and know that I am God” Psalm 46:10

This is exactly what our enemy is trying to do to us…keep us in a frazzled state of constant running in many directions.  Instead we should be running in one direction with hearts wide open, mind free of distraction to the one andHave you had time to be still and listen?  You are laughing now as you cannot remember the last time you had a chance to go to the bathroom un-interrupted.  Still? What does that mean…what does that even look like?

Your life may feel like chaos, your mind like a spinning wheel and your body tired trying to keep up with the demands of our world.  But wouldn’t it be nice to turn the switch off, turn the noise down and open your mind to the sounds of peace, joy and love? God’s voice.  Let’s take a walk…journey with me for a while….only God, our God.

 I am a Christian who practices yoga….gasp! Yoga? Isn’t that demonic???  “You are a devil worshiper!”  “Christians can’t practice yoga” I’ve heard many of these statements over the course of my yoga career and please let me explain.I began my yoga career before my children were born but did not pursue it regularly due to missing links and connections to my Christian faith.  I would pop in and out of yoga like I did my faith.  Until one day God shook my whole world upside down…He literally ripped my heart wide open, spoke deep into my soul and opened my eyes to a new life….His life.  I listened….

I began to deepen my yoga experience after having multiple injuries and not being able to physically endure the stress of high endurance exercise.  I enrolled in a local yoga school and went in head on, open heart….open to receive what was offered.  Along the way I questioned many of the teachings of yoga.  I would talk to God asking if this was ok, I would pray during meditation, I would silently sing songs of praise as my classmates chanted and constantly wondered if I made a mistake.  During my classes our instructors would incorporate philosophies as self-enlightenment, honor the divine light, the source within us.  I began to think; yes! Jesus is my source, He is my divine light. It is with Christ that I am here and He with me. During my 8 months of YTT, God would always whisper to keep my heart and mind on Him.  My yoga practice became Christ centred but in a silent way.  I looked up Christians who practice yoga and immediately found a connection.  Christians can practice yoga!  It can be a practice of worship, fully and completely.  It can be a practice of being still, an act of breathing the Holy Spirit in to every fibre of our being.  It is an opportunity to become united, yoked to and with Christ.  After all the word yoga literally means to yoke or unite the body, mind and spirit in harmony.

When was the last time you were still?  I can tell you that silence will bring you to His voice like nothing else.  Will you practice with me?  “Come to me, all who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest” Matt 11:28

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 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” Mathew 11:29-30 

March 2015

We are almost through the season of Lent and I am feeling guilty I have not given anything up or “sacrificed” something.  Have you given anything up for Lent?  Chocolate?  No way!  Coffee? Nope!  Fast Food? Alcohol?  Me either…..

So in my panic I decided to do some research into the practice of “giving up” or “sacrificing” something for Lent.

Lent is the Christian season of preparation before Easter. In Western Christianity, Ash Wednesday marks the first day, or the start of the season of Lent, which begins 40 days prior to Easter (Sundays are not included in the count).  The word lent actually means lengthening of days as seen in Spring.

Presbyterians, however use this time specifically to focus on their baptism into the Christian faith and what that means to them.  So why 40 days?  40 days is the amount of time Noah spent on his ark, the time Moses spent on Mount Sinai and Jesus spent wandering in the wilderness.  Presbyterians are not required to do anything at all for Lent, it seems.  Many Presbyterian churches encourage a “lifestyle change” to bring you more in touch with your faith, but nothing is absolutely required.

If we’re not required to do anything for Lent, why do so many observe Lent through a sacrifice of some sort?  The best answers I found in my research came from a blog by the Presbyterian Pastor, Rev. Dr. Mark D. Roberts.  In his blog, he discussed the difference between the reformed church’s observance of Lent and the Roman Catholic teachings.  Since Lent is not specifically taught in scripture, Protestants who want to observe and make the season of Lent special are encouraged to add a spiritual discipline to their lives instead of giving up something.

During the season of Lent, Christians can prepare for Easter by observing a period of fasting, repentance, moderation and spiritual discipline. The purpose of Lent is to set aside time for reflection on Jesus Christ – his suffering, his sacrifice, his life, death, burial and resurrection.  Lent can be a time of shedding whatever is standing between you and God.

For many of us, the choice may not be to give something up, but to add something to our daily lives.  Committing ourselves to extra prayer time or reading scripture.  Deciding to do some community service, donating to the poor or volunteering with a charity.

Whether it is fasting, abstaining or other acts of penance, the desire we should have is to use this time of Lent to grow closer and deeper in a relationship with our God and prepare ourselves “to celebrate the paschal mystery with minds and hearts renewed.”  The passion, death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ – the work God the Father sent his Son to accomplish on earth.
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Immune Boosting Chicken Soup

What’s good about it?

Garlic, turmeric and ginger are potent detoxifying and antiviral herbs to help the body get rid of toxins, stimulate circulation, reduce inflammation, aid digestion and boost your immune system.  Coriander also has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that can help fight disease. Adding a little protein such as chicken will supply your body with essential amino acids your body needs to heal and nourish. The perfect ingredients to help you get through the winter cold.

Serves 4
time it takes: 10 minutes

10 cloves garlic, smashed ?(approx 1 whole bulb)
2 tablespoon finely grated ginger
1 tablespoon fresh grated turmeric or ¼ tsp dry
1 litre (35  1/4 fl oz)  chicken or vegetable stock ( if vegetarian)
1 litre (35  1/4 fl oz)  water
500 g (17  1/2 oz) cooked chicken breast, cut into chunks (vegetarian use silken tofu)

2 C chopped carrots, onion, celery

2 bunches coriander, chopped

3 tablespoons tamari soy sauce

Combine carrots, onion, celery and sautee for 5 minutes.  Add garlic, turmeric, ginger, stock, water and chicken into a large pot.
Simmer for 25 – 30 minutes over a low heat until chicken is cooked through and flavours have infused into the stock.
Add  tamari and coriander just before serving.
Serve in large bowls and sip slowly. Enjoy.

Immune Boosting Smoothie

What’s great about it?
Citrus such as oranges, mandarins, grapefruit, lemons and limes are an excellent source of vitamin C which help maintain the body’s defense against bacterial infections. Citrus has a unique type of fibre that, in studies, appears to dramatically reduce cholesterol. Carrots contain vitamin A precursors called carotenoids (Beta carotene) that help promote vision and support a healthy immune system. Ginger is packed with an impressive list of health properties and scientifically shown to have potent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, ginger also helps to boost immune function and combat cellular damage. Curcumin is the active ingredient in Turmeric, which gives it the distinct and vibrant yellow colouring. Curcumin has potent anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, anti-bacterial, detoxifying and gastrointestinal health properties, which have been linked to the prevention of cancer cell growth and management of inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, asthma, eczema and inflammatory bowel disease. Turmeric is a nutritional powerhouse, rich in manganese, zinc, B group vitamins and iron. Try adding a 1/4 teaspoon of fresh grated or dry turmeric to your next juice or smoothie.

1 whole carrot – washed but not peeled
1 whole orange, peeled
½ lemon
1 cup ice
1 inch piece fresh ginger
1 cup filtered water
1 teaspoon chia seeds (which are also called Salba Seed)
1 teaspoon turmeric – ground or fresh
1  bunch spinach or baby kale

Combine all the ingredients into a good high performance blender – I use my Vitamix.
Blend until combined.
Serve in a large glass and enjoy

INSPIRATION:

  • Add a pinch of cayenne pepper to boost anti – inflammatory properties.
  • Use mandarin or pineapple in place of the orange.
  • Use coconut water in place of water to boost hydration and anti-viral properties.

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Immune Boosting Juice Recipes

What’s great about them?

Carrots do wonders for boosting the immune system by increasing the production and performance of white blood cells; building resistant to various kinds of infections.

Oranges, being high in vitamin C can help stimulate white cells to fight infection, naturally building a good immune system.

The anti-oxidant nutrients in pears are a great way to boost your immune system. Drink pear juice at the first sign of a cold.  Ginger helps improve circulation and decreases inflammation.

Immune Boosting Juice

Ingredients: make sure you wash all ingredients before juicing

  • Apples – 2 medium
  • Carrots – 6 medium
  • Oranges (peeled) – 2 small
  • 1 inch thumb ginger

Directions: Process all ingredients in a juicer, shake or stir and serve.

 Sunrise

Ingredients

  • Apples – 2 medium
  • Carrots – 3 medium
  • Celery – 3 stalk, large
  • Ginger Root – 1” thumb
  • Lemons (peeled) – 2
  • Pears – 2 medium
  • Turmeric Root – 2” thumb or 1/8  tsp dried

Directions: Process all ingredients in a juicer, shake or stir and serve.

Rainbow Blitz

Ingredients

  • Apple – 1 medium                                                spinach- 2 handfuls
  • Carrots – 5 medium                                              Cucumber – 1 cucumber
  •  pear-1 fruit                                                          Lemon – 1 fruit
  • Ginger Root – 1” thumb

Directions: Process all ingredients in a juicer, shake or stir and serve.

February 2015

Ooh Baby its cold outside!  And you are in no doubt finding yourself stuck inside more ….the dreaded cabin fever!  People around you are sniffling and coughing and now your throat is feeling scratchy.  You feel the dreaded cold coming on.  Now you are stressed because you don’t have time to be sick.

When we are stressed and run down or having lack of exercise or motivation, our immune system gets a little tired, so to boost your immune system try to make a conscious effort to include food that improves or promotes a healthy immune and digestive system. Food is one of the most powerful tools we have to help prevent disease and a healthy body begins with a healthy immune system. Over 70% of our immune system is in our gut and what we eat forms the foundation of our health. Our immune system maintains homeostasis (internal balance) by defending against viruses and bacteria which can cause inflammation in the body, illness and disease.

I believe that food is most healing when it is close to its original state which has the properties to heal and nourish.  I regularly make sure I’m getting my daily dose of fresh fruits, vegetables and quality protein every day so that my body can heal and repair quickly. I love making fresh fruit and vegetable juices with anti-inflammatory nutrients such as ginger and turmeric.  I also love making healthy healing soups such as Immune Boosting Vegetable Soup or Immune Boosting Smoothies that make me feel healthy, strong and energized. Below you will find these immune boosting recipes.

“Enjoy the journey of healthy eating with balance, wisdom and moderation”
-Teresa Cutter

 Top 10 Immune Boosting Foods

Citrus
Citrus such as oranges, mandarins, grapefruit, lemons and limes are an excellent source of vitamin C which helps maintain the body’s defense against bacterial infections. Citrus has a unique type of fibre that, in studies, appears to dramatically reduce cholesterol.

Carrot
Carrots contain vitamin A precursors called carotenoids (Beta carotene) that help promote vision and support a healthy immune system.

Turmeric
Curcumin is the active ingredient in Turmeric, responsible for the distinct yellow colouring and the impressive list of health properties. Curcumin is anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, anti-bacterial, detoxifying and amazing for digestive health. Turmeric has been linked to the prevention of cancer cell growth and management of inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, asthma, eczema and inflammatory bowel disease. It is a nutritional powerhouse, rich in manganese, zinc, B group vitamins and iron

Ginger
Studies have shown that ginger has potent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. It helps to boost immune function and combat cellular damage. This gut friendly spice stimulates digestion, gut motility and bowel function, while helping to relieve bloating, cramping and nausea. A recent study also found ginger to be as effective as pharmaceutical agents in relieving PMS pain in women.

Garlic
Garlic is also an immune system warrior, protecting the body from infections and illness.

Pineapple
They are jam packed with B group vitamins including thiamine (B1) and B6, which are vital for energy metabolism and nerve function. Pineapples contain the enzyme bromelain, renowned for aiding protein digestion which allows your body to utilize immune boosting amino acids effectively.

Protein
Quality protein helps nourish our immune system, repair the body and assist recovery. Choose nutrient rich ones with a complete amino acid profile

Cruciferous Vegetables
These include kale, broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage. They help support liver and immune function by boosting the liver’s ability to flush toxins.

Berries
Rich in vitamin C and polyphenols that help promote healthy tissues and organs.

Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul. 3 John 1:2

 

December 2014

Surviving Christmas Chaos….

Jolly. Really? For some of us, it’s more of a mixed bag of emotions. The holidays are filled with family pressures, travelling to places you’d rather not go to, having visitors stop by un-expectantly, financial worries and high expectations.  Not to mention all that wonderful food you will no doubt be indulging in…..think NON-Daniel Plan goodies and treats!  Where did that 10lbs come from????

All of this is complicated by the added burden of the need for perfection. Media and social perfection.  When perfection falls short, which it often does, we become disappointed and frustrated. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could keep it simple?  I struggled with this one year ago as our group was coming home from a mission trip to Nicaragua.

We were immediately bombarded with Christmas/holiday expectations that our society places on us.  Wait a minute….I just came back from a village that did not have clean running water or a baseball bat or a soccer ball or even flushing toilets.  How was I going to jump in the societal image of Christmas and feel good about it?  Could I find joy in the chaos of Christmas again?  I did.  And you can too…..

You might find yourself actually enjoying the holidays again.

Here are 8 simple ways to survive the chaos of the Christmas and holiday season.

  1. Be realistic

Lower your expectations just a little.  Let go of the idea of the perfect postcard holiday and find a middle ground instead. Can it be less than perfect and still be enjoyable?

When you allow yourself to let go of over the top expectations, what do you notice about your stress level?

  1. Be present

 Find a quiet spot and let yourself be still. Feel your feet connected to the ground. Take deep full breaths in and out through your nose.  Allow yourself to “be” for a moment.  Connect with all of your senses.

What do you see? What do you hear? What do you feel? What are your thoughts? What do you smell and taste?

  1. Practice an attitude of gratitude

It is so easy to forget all that we have. Being grateful is a huge mood booster. When we are grateful we are able to see new possibilities and we attract more goodness in our lives.

At the end of each day, take the time to be grateful for three things. What do you notice when you feel grateful for what you do have?

4.  Pray

Give your worries and frustrations to God.  Take a few minutes each day to talk to God, share your feelings, concerns and sit with your mind. It is in these quiet moments that you are able to hear clearly.

  1. Allow yourself to do just one thing at a time

If you are enjoying a meal with family, turn off the cell phone and just enjoy the meal without multitasking.

Sometimes less is more. If you simplify your approach to the season, you make more space and more time to enjoy the people around you. The greatest gift we can give each other is the gift of being fully engaged with each other.

  1. Move more!

Get yourself into the fresh air. Yes it is a little gloomy these days however embrace the season and take deep full breaths…you’ll be amazed at how much energy you will feel with this simple exercise.

Bundle up and take a brisk 30 minute walk. It is a great way to boost your mood and burn some calories while you are at it.

  1. Set a budget

Plan for what you expect to buy and how much you anticipate spending and don’t go over it.

  1. Get Support

You don’t have to go it alone. If the chaos is overwhelming you during the holidays, seek the support of a loved one, a friend, your pastor or mental health professional.

 

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)

 

November 15, 2014

“I’m on a diet, I can’t eat that! That’s not “healthy, Is that good for me?”

“Everything is permissible, but not everything is helpful. Everything is permissible, but not everything builds up.” 1 Corinthians 10:23

In many cases, being on a diet is like following laws – several dos and don’ts about what to do and what not to do. Many people don’t do well with diets like this because it’s nearly impossible to abide by all the dietary ‘rules.’ It can be very stressful.

As the scripture instructs, in Christ, we have the liberty to eat any food.  But, we know not all food is good for us. We can pour sugar on our cereal, but this is not a good idea especially for our blood sugar. We can eat cheesecake three times a week, but this is not a practice a nutritionist would recommend. We could eat potato chips with every lunch, but this is not a healthy habit. According to the freedom we have in Christ, eating any food is OK…. but it may not be helpful for your body.

Paul writes that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit…

“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.” 1 Corinthian 6:19

“You were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” 1 Corinthians 6:20

It’s because of the price that Jesus paid that you have liberty to eat anything.  But, because of the price he paid, God desires that you honor him with your body.

I believe that the more you value what Jesus did for you on the cross and appreciate that the Holy Spirit lives in you, the more motivated you’ll be to care for your body…. the more motivated you’ll be to eat healthy and be spiritually healthy.

But here’s the catch, we often want to eat or drink what our brain has been trained to think tastes good…. and we can be selfish…. so we are tempted to eat how we please because of our selfishness.  It’s a choice we all must make many times each day – will I honor God by what I eat, or will I eat to please my selfish desires?  This does not mean that healthy food tastes bad.  In fact we must change our taste buds to allow us to really taste what real food tastes like.  Processed foods, refined sugars and salt add unhealthy flavour to our foods.  I challenge you to try to eat foods this week that is whole, natural and fresh.  No packaged or store bought food.  Take the time to chew and enjoy your real unprocessed food.  You’ll be amazed at how good it really tastes and how sweet it naturally is without anything added.

Would you consider changing your motivation for eating healthy from just losing weight to looking better to eating better to care for God’s temple?  Your body is God’s temple, honour it with healthy eating, exercise in moderation and spiritual learning.

 
October 10, 2014
 
  

“Giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ”  Ephesians 5:20

 

Ah, October! The leaves are turning vibrant colours of orange, red and yellow and falling sweetly dotting the green grass with a beautiful mosaic of Fall.  Sweet squash, apples and pumpkins are blessing the tables of your Farmer’s Market, and you are turning your sights to the next few days and months in preparation for the traditional family gatherings of Thanksgiving and Christmas.

We feel warm during this time of the year. Whole. We crave comfort food.  Food that warms our heart and our soul. You may have loved ones who travel from far distances to knock, knock, knock on your front door and smother you in a long awaited embrace. Though we may dread the planning and the endless hours of cooking and the return of crazy Uncle Jack. We do not however dread the love of family, time spent together whether it includes a house full of aunts, uncles and cousins or with a neighbour who may feel lonely on Thanksgiving Day.

Thanksgiving is a day of giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest and for the bounty of the fields for the following year, a day we give praise to not only those who prepare our food but also the farmers who grew the food and above all to God Himself our creator.

Here is a simple warm your heart and soul kind of soup that includes many of Fall’s harvest bounty…..enjoy and let God warm your soul.

 

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Squash Soup

3 lb butternut squash                                                                                       1 tbsp curry powder

3 tbsp Extra Virgin olive oil                                                                             6 C vegetable/chicken broth

2 tbsp unsalted butter                                                                                      pinch sea salt

3 C chopped, peeled tart apples (Mac, Empire, Gala, Cortland)                   fresh ground pepper

1 onion, diced                                                                                                  pinch nutmeg

3 cloves garlic, minced                                                                                   ½ -1 C 10% cream

2 large carrots, chopped

Instructions:

    1. Pre heat oven to 350F
    2. Slice squash in half. Spoon out the seeds. Pour olive oil into your hands and rub the cut surface of the squash.
    3. Place squash cut side down on a baking sheet and roast on middle rack for 40-55 minutes or until cooked through. This can be done a day or 2 ahead to save time.
    4. Melt butter in a soup pot over medium heat, add onions and carrots. Sautee for 4 minutes.  Reduce heat slightly and add garlic and curry powder.  Sautee for another 2 minutes.  The butter will act upon the curry and garlic filling your house with a beautiful aroma.
    5. Once cooled, spoon out the cooked flesh of the squash and place in soup pot. Pour in vegetable or chicken stock and stir to mix well.  Turn heat up to medium high and bring to a gentle boil.  Cover and simmer for 20 minutes so flavours blend nicely.
    6. Remove soup pot from heat and puree with a hand held blender. When ready to eat, pour in cream, mix well and reheat over low stirring occasionally….DO NOT let boil!!
    7. Season with sea salt, pepper & nutmeg
 

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August 19, 2014
Summertime…and the eating is easy!

This time of year is a clean eating foodie’s dream…..crisp green vegetables, sweet tender fruit and a bounty of great selection….all found at your local farmer’s market or road side stand.

Farmers’ markets in Ontario are booming—and no wonder! 
  • Shoppers love them because they can buy top-quality farm-fresh produce directly from the person who produced them—and can often find produce they won’t find anywhere else.
  • Communities love them because they bring people together and can turn once-deserted areas into hives of activity, attracting extra business for stores and restaurants nearby.
  • Farmers love them because they’re fun and let them connect with consumers who love what they sell and appreciate their hard work. They’re also an important source of income, helping farmers keep on doing what they love to do, so that Ontarians can keep on enjoying fresh local food.

If you’ve ever grown your own food, you know how satisfying it is to grow, pick, prepare, and eat the fruits of your labour. Eating local is not as hard as it sounds. Start by finding your local farmer’s market, farm stand, CSA (community-supported agriculture), or grow your own garden. Enjoy the fresh, mouth-watering produce, and feel good knowing that it came from your community.

Here are just a few reasons food is better when it originates near your home.

1. Tastes better. 

Before summer ends, find a pick-your-own fruit farm (maybe not this year), or go searching for wild fruit and veggies, like asparagus in the spring, elderberries along the ditches or wild blueberries in the north. There’s no comparison between fresh, juicy berries and the imported ones at your supermarket. Local produce at farmer’s markets, farm stands, or your garden will be crisp, sweet, flavourful, colourful and so fresh you can taste it.

2. Packed with nutrients. 

Produce loses its nutrients when it’s exposed to heat, light and time. The average distance produce travels to your plate is 1,500 miles — that’s a whole lot of time for nutrients to deplete. Instead, grab local produce at a farmers’ market that may have been picked that morning.

  1. Supports local farms. 

Small farms are slowly disappearing. Large farms make up much of the produce available in the grocery store. Buying local produce supports these family-owned, community farms that are dedicated to sustainable, healthy growing practices.

4. You can feel safe about your food.

Although the produce at the farmer’s market has not been triple-washed or preserved, you can feel much safer about eating it. It’s ok to ask the farmer if they use pesticides, sustainable growing practices, or if they grow organic produce.

5. Supports diversity. 

If you ever want to see the colours of the rainbow, walk around your farmer’s market. The supermarket tricks us into believing tomatoes are only red, and carrots are only orange. The farmer’s market is stock-full of heirloom products. Preserve the biodiversity available, and fill your body with produce you can’t find in the grocery store.

6. Builds community.

Make food shopping a social experience. Friday and Saturday mornings you can usually explore local farmer’s market, talking to passionate vendors, and checking out the eye-catching produce. Supporting your local farmers puts money back into the community, and you’ll begin to build relationships with the farmers. Let them know you enjoy what they have to offer and that you appreciate all their hard work.

7. Supports a clean Earth. 

When you support your local farmer you are not travelling long distances to get what you want.  You not only are saving your time and energy but you are also contributing to lessening the impact on our fragile earth.

And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food.”

 Mayo Free Broccoli Salad with Honey Yogurt Dressing

Ingredients

  • 1 head broccoli, florets, chopped (about 4 cups florets)
  • 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
  • ½ cup sliced celery
  • ½ cup sliced red onion
  • ½ cup frozen, thawed edamame
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • ¼ cup toasted sunflower seeds
  • optional: ½ cup cooked crumbled turkey bacon
  • Honey Yogurt Dressing
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
  • pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Blanch broccoli florets by adding them to boiling salted water for 2-3 minutes.
  2. Drain and rinse broccoli under cold water.
  3. In a large serving bowl add broccoli and all remaining ingredients.
  4. In a small bowl whisk the dressing ingredients together.
  5. Toss dressing with vegetables and top with crumbled bacon if desired.
  6. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.
  7. Makes about 6½ cups.
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July 12, 2014
BBQ for your HEALTH!
 
After a long, hard winter it is finally here! BBQ season! From the smell of burgers cooking to the sizzle of vegetables grilling, Canadians are thrilled to be cooking outdoors once again.

We typically assume that foods from the backyard BBQ or the friendly social cook-out are bad for us. That conventional wisdom, however, doesn’t have to be true. Sure, our annual Canada Day burger and mayo laden salads can pack on pounds and become bad for our health. But the health of your summer grill has just as much to do with what we’re cooking, as it does with how we cook it. Why grilling (legitimately) gets a bad rap. Research shows that high temperature charcoal grilling of foods that contain fat and protein, including barbecue favorites like hamburgers, hot dogs and chicken, can lead to the production of cancer-causing chemicals, called heterocyclic amines (HAs), in the smoke. To minimize the risk, you can precook foods and finish them off on the grill; less time spent on the grill means fewer cancer-causing agents in the meats. Also, choose leaner cuts of meat and trim the fat off because oil and fats often spark smoke (full of cancer-causing substances). Great news for vegetables! If you grill vegetables, you can feel free to singe away. Knock yourself out and flame it up. These don’t have the combination of creatine and sugar found in meats, nor does it have the fat drippings that smoke up into the other grilling-induced carcinogens called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). You don’t have to avoid grilling meats at all. If you want to minimize your exposure, there are some very simple things you can do…marinate The marinade you use can make a huge difference in how healthy your food is. The Cancer Research Center of Hawaii found that a teriyaki marinade reduced HCAs by 67%. A turmeric-garlic sauce reduced them by 50%! The key here is to use a thin, vinegar-based sauce, and leave out the sugar. When a thick concentrated commercial barbecue sauce with additive sugars is used, it actually tripled the number of HCAs!  Bottom line…… Marinate. Even briefly marinating foods is effective in reducing the amount of carcinogens — in some cases by as much as 92 to 99%. As a rule, use about ½ C of marinade for every pound of food. So get outside and grill. With just a few rules to remember, you can add to the flavor and your health at the same time! Here are 2 great BBQ recipes from the Daniel Plan website. Chile Lime Chicken with Veggie Kabobs Note: If you are serving veggie kabobs with chicken, plan ahead. The marinade for the chicken can be used to marinate the veggies as well.  It will save you time. The veggies also need to marinate. Try doubling the marinade recipe. Ingredients for Chicken: 

  • 2 Chicken breasts (4-6oz)
  • 2 Tbsp refined grape seed oil or olive oil
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp cilantro, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper to taste
  • *optional: 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • ½ tsp salt
  • Pepper to taste

Preparation for Chicken:

  1. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together oil, lime juice and vinegar. Add cilantro, paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, and jalapeno (if using), salt and pepper.
  2. Place chicken breast between pieces of waxed paper or plastic wrap. Pound lightly with meat mallet until chicken breasts are about ¼ inch thick.
  3. Whisk marinade again before coating chicken breast with mixture.
  4. Place chicken breasts in baking dish and brush remaining marinade over breasts. Cover dish and refrigerate. If possible try to marinate for at least two hours so meat will be tender and flavorful. Marinate no less than one hour and no longer than 24 hours.
  5. Heat grill to medium. Cover chicken while grilling.
  6. Grill chicken for 8-10 minutes, turning once. Check one piece by cutting into the center. Center should not be pink.

Ingredients for Veggie Kabobs:                                                     Marinade Variation:

  • 1 C red, yellow, or green bell pepper (mixed) chunks                 * 2 lemons juiced
  • 1 C Sweet red onion chunks                                                             * 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 C mushroom caps                                                                           * ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 1 C zucchini chunks                                                                            * 2 tbsp fresh sage, chopped
  • 1 C yellow squash chunks
  • Optional: 1 C cherry tomatoes
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp Red wine vinegar

Preparation:

  1. Whisk all ingredients together in a small mixing bowl
  2. Pour marinade over vegetables and toss.
  3. Cover and refrigerate for minimum of 2 hours, up to 8 hours. Turn/ toss veggies at least once during marinating time.
  4. Remove from refrigerator and thread vegetables onto wooden skewers. Alternate vegetables by color for attractive kabobs.
  5. Grill over medium heat for 8- 10 minutes, turning occasionally. Cook a little less time for crispy veggies (healthier), or until slightly charred for more tender veggies.

“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”

1 Corinthians 10:31
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June 3, 2014
Eat real, whole food.

  

WOW! Is this a new concept for you? Every day we are being bombarded with information on whole foods; from social media to television commercials to internet websites and even our book store shelves are loaded with the latest get healthy, eat real foods diet plan.  So what is this new phenomenon??? Or is it new at all? If you ask your parents or your grandparents they may not agree with you that this “eat whole foods diet plan” is new.  The Bible gave us the answer years ago. Let me help you figure this out if this is a new concept to you…..eating real, whole foods.
God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

Genesis 1:29-31 We have been given the perfect diet plan from the master of our universe.  Eating real, whole food is food that grows on a plant or roams the land versus processed foods that grow in a plant; these processed factory made foods are what harms our body, promotes disease and illness. It’s all about learning to love real, whole food, foods that love you back, food that provides us with health and vitality.  Go back to the basics of eating and preparing food from what God has given us; fruits, vegetables, healthy meats…..real, whole food. Good health is something we take for granted—until we start to lose it. When our health takes a downturn, we quickly begin to question our habits and diet. God has designed the human body so that it is a finely tuned instrument that is the most resilient on earth. It can endure moderate stress, fractures and adhesions, constant pain and great stretches of discomfort.  However, if left unattended to, our body is capable of breaking down.   Taken from the Daniel Plan’s Pastor Rick Warren he quoted Corinthians 6:19-20 “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” God has provided us with an “owner’s manual” that tells us how to operate our human body. That manual is the Bible, a book that contains instructions for proper maintenance. Although it isn’t a medical text, it is God’s Word, and in its pages He reveals many basic principles for good physical, mental, and spiritual health. Let’s start with eating real whole food….”let food be thy medicine and thy medicine be food” –Hippocrates ____________________________________________________________________________________________ May 15, 2014 “For behold, the winter is past; the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land”. Soloman 2:11-12 Spring is a time of cleaning,  a time when we clean out the mess, open the windows and let the warmth and light shine in. It is a time of renewal, revival and refreshment: mind, body and soul. God designed our bodies to be healthy, providing everything we need to thrive and live abundantly.  I ask you take a walk with me along a path to a healthier living lifestyle.  Paths that will help free you from the burdens of our overly processed diet (SAD).  Burdens that include illness, disease, poor energy, poor sleep quality, constipation, skin issues and the lists go on. Hi, my name is Maryellen Brown RMT RHN.  What that means is that I am a Registered Massage Therapist, Holistic Nutritionist and a follower of Jesus.  I invite you to join me in celebrating our health; physically and spiritually.  This blog is designed to be a support for you on your health journey.  With community and friends to support you in making healthier choices, you will see a difference,  changes that transform your life inside and out. Taken from The Daniel Plan’s Rick Warren; “the Bible tells us that lasting change begins with committing your body to God.  Romans 12:1-2 says…give your bodies to God… Want to become a healthier person? It’s all about making gradual changes and deepening your relationship with God.  So…are you on board?  I am!  Let’s do this….together. Benefits of living a healthy, spiritual lifestyle include;  lower risk of several illness and diseases,  possibly a leaner frame, a deeper relationship with God and the chance to live a long and happy life. Health is a very important priority in life so what are you waiting for? Follow these steps and you’ll be on your way to becoming a healthier person. If you really want to make a change, then let’s do it — together! I won’t lie to you; it’s not going to be easy. Committing to a healthier lifestyle is just that — a commitment, and it’s a big one that will take a lot of work. Believe me when I tell you it will be worth it! With big a commitment come big rewards.  I bet you’ve already tried it your way, so let’s give God’s way a try. Here are five steps to change your diet, exercise and lifestyle for the better — for good! Change Your Mind The first step is no sweat — literally. It’s all in your head. Realize that you have the power to change your life by changing your mind. We all have the ability to choose our paths, reach our goals, and build exceptional lives. The challenge is in BELIEVING you can.  Your health won’t change until YOU choose to change it.  Taken from The Daniel Plan; “The way you think determines the way you feel, and the way you feel determines the way you act”-Romans 12:2 says, “don’t copy the behaviour and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think”

Set Attainable Goals

What is your vision of the ultimate you? Take some time to imagine it, break it down, and then WRITE it down! To make permanent change, you’ll need to set short-term and long-term goals, then create and write down your action plans to achieve them.  Join the next Daniel Plan group!

Set Up a Support System

You are responsible for your own success, but we all get by with a little help from our friends and family, right? That’s why it’s important to build a healthy support system. Share your goals and how you’re planning to accomplish them. Give the lowdown on the types of foods you’re eating — and no longer eating. Enlist your coworkers. They can help keep you on track on the job by cutting back on leaving the unhealthy treats around. Chances are you’ll find someone else looking for support too. Hello, new exercise buddy! We were created to live in a community.  We are designed by God for relationships.  Gen.1:18 “God hates loneliness.  So he made us to need each other”.  Rick Warren from The Daniel Plan states; “the deepest change in your life will only happen as you open up to a few trusted friends who will support you and check up on you”.Make Healthier Choices Restock your fridge and pantry. Since you can’t eat what’s not there, dump all the junk foods in your cupboards immediately. Make room for nutritious, energy-boosting fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. Plan out a few go-to healthy meals too, then stock up on those ingredients, along with snack-size packages of nuts, baby carrots, and organic yogurt for when you are on the run.

Start Moving!

Exercise is the BEST way to burn calories and fat. Find out the activities that will allow you to burn the most calories. I’m a huge fan of circuit training because it simultaneously improves mobility, strength, and stamina. If you’ve been sedentary, just take that first step. You may not be ready to run a half-marathon, but you can go for a walk or maybe even a short run. Stick with it. Set up a workout schedule and mark it on your calendar along with your most important appointments of the day — then DO it! It may not be a piece of cake (better not be!), but with the right mind-set, motivation, and support system, you CAN do this. Believe in yourself and your ability to change and you will. Make Healthier Choices Do a pantry raid….get rid of the “junk food”, restock your fridge and pantry with healthy whole nutritious foods.  Since you can’t eat what’s not there, dump all the junk food from your cupboards immediately. Make room for nutritious, energy-boosting fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. Plan out a few go-to healthy meals and then stock up on those ingredients, along with snack-size packages of nuts, baby carrots, and yogurt for when you are on the run. Start Moving! Exercise is the BEST way to burn calories and fat. Find out the activities that will allow you to burn the most calories. I’m a huge fan of circuit training because it simultaneously improves mobility, strength, and stamina. If you’ve been sedentary, just take that first step. You may not be ready to run a half-marathon, but you can go for a walk or maybe even a short run. Stick with it. Set up a workout schedule and mark it on your calendar along with your most important appointments of the day — then DO it! It may not be a piece of cake (better not be!), but with the right mind-set, motivation, and support system, you CAN do this. Believe in yourself and your ability to change and you will. Make Healthier Choices Restock your fridge and pantry. Since you can’t eat what’s not there, dump all the junk foods in your cupboards immediately. Make room for nutritious, energy-boosting fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. Plan out a few go-to healthy meals too, then stock up on those ingredients, along with snack-size packages of nuts, baby carrots, and organic yogurt for when you are on the run. Start Moving! Exercise is the BEST way to burn calories and fat. If you’ve been sedentary, just take that first step. You may not be ready to run a half-marathon, but you can go for a walk or join a fitness group.  Just get up off that couch! Stick with it. Make exercise a priority.  Set up a workout schedule and mark it on your calendar along with your most important appointments of the day — then DO it! It may not be a piece of cake (better not be!), but with the right mind-set, motivation, and support system, you CAN do this. Believe in yourself and your ability to change and you will.