Sunday, June 27, 2010

Reflections on Another Hospital Visit

Not too long ago I went on another hospital visit. I'm always so nervous on the way, wondering how ill the patient is, if they'll even want company, if I will be intruding on family members, etc.
After learning this elderly patient had no family there with him, I walked into his room and looking down at him while he was asleep, I knew he was oblivious to my presence.
As I reached out to place my hand on him while saying a prayer over him, he turned his head towards me, looked at me, and then closed his eyes again. I stood there thinking how nervous I was before entering his room and now how difficult it was for me to leave, knowing that once again, he would be alone.
Driving home after my visit I wondered why I hadn't started visiting the hospitalized a long time ago? What took me so long? Why do we sometimes take our time before volunteering to do something so meaningful? But even as I asked myself these questions, I already knew the answer. Nothing is in our time, but in God's time. Even a year ago I wouldn't have been able to do this. God knew that. He knew He needed for me to grow some more. He brought this ministry to my mind several times throughout this last year but understood I wouldn't be able to give 100% of my heart to the patients until I was 100% ready. 
After having seen my own father go through radiation, chemotherapy, and spend a month in the hospital earlier this year, I was able to witness, first hand, the amazing spiritual growth our entire family received through such an experience. Seeing volunteers from another church come in and offer so much kindness and support from their hearts to our family, made me realize my heart was now 100% ready to do the same for others.
I pray God continues to guide all of our hearts, so that we will reach out to others when they're in need. 

Friday, June 25, 2010

Where Can I Find a List of Foods and Their Points

After I learned how to calculate how many points I should be eating on a daily basis the questions began... What do I do next? How do I know how many points are in the food I eat? After feeling a bit overwhelmed, a friend came to my rescue. She sent me a list of everything that she ate for a week and how many points each item had. That list was very helpful to me because it gave me a good place to start. I appreciated all of the helpful advice until I felt sure of my choices and my ability to calculate the points for everything I ate.
I would like to provide you with several websites that provide a list of food items and how many points each has. This may save you the time of having to search through a bunch of websites yourself for ideas. 
These websites, along with the recipes that I publish on this blog, will give you a lot of excellent, healthy food ideas to select from as you begin your journey to eating smarter and feeling better! :)
1, 2, 3, and 4 Point Snacks
Candy Points
DeeDee's Recipe Archive
Food List for Gamers
Health Discovery Restaurant Guide
Journal of a Non-Dieter

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Christian Yoga - A Spiritual Experience

About eight weeks ago, I decided that since I do not like the setting of a big Health Club, I would try, for the first time, a six-week Christian Yoga series through my church. I knew there would be a limit on how many people could attend and I knew it would be small. I had never taken a Yoga class before and wasn't sure what to expect, therefore, was very pleasantly surprised that after the six-week session was over, I found myself wishing it had started all over again.
A member of my parish, who is a certified Yoga instructor, started holding this Yoga series at our church a few years ago. Starting with an opening prayer followed by Gospel readings and the sharing of prayer intentions, is what makes this Yoga series a beautiful, prayerful, and spiritual class. It wasn't that you arrived, stretched, and felt good when you left, it was that you felt "fulfilled" when you left. 
Recently, our Catholic Herald newspaper interviewed this wonderful Yoga instructor. If you would like to read this article, Click Here.
I am very much looking forward to the next Yoga series in September. I hope that you are able to take a Yoga class near you and that it helps improve your physical and spiritual well being too.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Low-Point Peanut Butter Pie

We recently had our niece's boyfriend spend the weekend with us. This wonderful young man is in the Navy and stationed nearby. Before his arrival, I contacted my niece to ask what his favorite desserts are and she said "anything with chocolate and peanut butter". I was happy to hear this because I had just come across a great Peanut Butter Pie recipe that is very low in calories and great if you're watching your points. The recipe for this delicious pie is below. Hope you enjoy this guilt-free dessert as much as we do.


Low-Point Peanut Butter Pie
Ingredients:
4 Tbs. Peanut Butter
1 Tbs. Honey
1 1/2 cup Rice Krispies
2 Cups Skim Milk
1 pkg Sugar-Free Instant Chocolate Pudding Mix
Fat Free Cool Whip (optional)
In a small bowl, mix peanut butter and honey. Microwave on high for 20 seconds. Stir in Rice Krispies and press in 9 inch pie pan. Chill. Prepare pudding with skim milk. Spread over pie crust and refrigerate. Enjoy with fat free Cool Whip or low-cal Redi Whip. If you would like a printer-friendly version of this recipe, Click Here.
Servings - 8
Serving size - 1 piece
Points per serving - 4
"Learn as if you were going to live forever. Live as if you were going to die tomorrow." - Ghandi

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

What are Food Points, and How Do I Use Them?

Before I started keeping track of what I ate, a friend talked to me about how many "points" she consumed everyday. I was at a loss by what she meant by "points", but after learning about the point system it made a lot of sense to me. It has helped me to choose healthier foods and snacks and to better monitor my eating habits.
You begin by finding out how many points your body requires each day. This process can take a bit of effort for those who aren't reading this blog. :) I have added easy tools to this web site so you can come back to again and again to determine how many points your body needs and how many points are in the foods that you eat.
Across the top of the page, you will find a "Points Calculator" and an "Allowed Points Calculator". Begin by calculating how many points your body requires by using the "Allowed Points Calculator". Once that is complete, you have the number of points you body requires each day. You should revisit this calculator as your inputs change (for example: lower weight or more activity).
After figuring out how many points your body requires, you should use the "Points Calculator" to determine how many points you are consuming in the foods you choose to eat.
This system really helps to keep you mindful of what you are eating. Now instead of going for the potato chips, I choose healthier foods such as fruits, vegetables, or other foods that have very few, if any points at all.
This information may be useful when you see the points that I have provided on the recipes published on this site.
In the end, it's all about making healthy choices. Whenever you make healthy choices you will feel better both physically and mentally. This is not to say that sometimes I don't completely blow it by selecting the "not-so-good-for-me" foods and desserts; but that's ok. You can always start again and it won't take long for you to have found so many low-point foods to eat that you seldom feel the need to reach for that chocolate cake or bag of chips.

Monday, June 21, 2010

My Moving Experience Visiting the Sick

I like to stay active in our parish, giving my time to a ministry that I know I can give my whole heart to. After leading the Middle School Youth Ministry program for six years, I felt it was time for fresh, new ideas. I gave up leading this ministry last year to another member of our parish.
It felt a little strange for me, taking a break, after having this role for six years. I started praying for God to guide me to where I needed to be; what ministry I could give my heart to. It took almost a year before I felt sure of that next ministry.
In May I began my new ministry of visiting the hospitalized and taking Holy Communion to the homebound. On my first visit to the hospital, I visited two patients. I don't know why I thought I would be going to the hospital to visit people who just had gall bladder surgery or something minor, but this was not the case. Since that visit, both of the patients I went to see have passed. I was expecting my heart to feel full after telling each patient how much I planned on praying for them, but learned on that first visit that the feeling of fullness came from not speaking to the patients who felt too ill to visit, but from being a shoulder for the relatives. From listening to a family member say they did not want any visitors, to them deciding to confide a little bit of their fear to me, then proceeding to accept my shoulder...releasing their thoughts, their feelings, and their tears. 
The older I become the more I surprise myself at the things I never imagined I could do. I am pretty emotional and as my husband can attest, I can cry at a beautiful commercial, sentimental greeting card, etc. This worried me during these hospital visits, as I was trying to be strong for the relatives who confided in me, but I soon realized that most people who are very worried or in distress over their loved ones, do not need for you to be strong, they just need you to care. And when you can be that person for them, that is when your heart becomes full. I am not sure what to expect in the future from each of these visits, but one thing I do know is, this is exactly where God wants me to be.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Health Club Phobia

I am not a fan of health clubs. Actually, I have a phobia of them. Really want to get into shape, don't really want everyone to "watch" me get into shape. So that leaves me trying to be creative on my own with wondering what to do... treadmill? - Been there, done that. Stopped. Did it again. Stopped... etc. Step aerobics? - Did this several years ago and enjoyed it, however, my knees started complaining. Intense work-out videos? - The ones I bought made me feel worse about myself because I was an overachiever and felt like I had to master through 55 to 60 minutes of intense workouts, only to quickly find myself laying on the floor staring at the TV (sorry, glaring at the TV) huffing and puffing, feeling yet another pang of exercise failure. Until now...
I found a great Pilates DVD that helps you achieve your goal and feel more successful, in smaller increments. "The 10-Minute Solution Slim & Sculpt Pilates" is AWESOME! Instead of 60 minutes of nonstop workout, this video is geared to help you achieve your goal, 10 minutes at a time. I can do that! With five separate 10-minute workouts targeting a different area; upper body, lower body, abs, total body, and Pilates for flexibility, you can feel like you really accomplished something even after the first 10-minute segment. It doesn't take long before you start thinking, "I might be able to do 10 MORE minutes" and before you know it, you're working out for 30 minutes or longer!
I'm happy to say that instead of contemplating on going back to using our treadmill, we sold it! Instead of running for an hour on the treadmill, I started going for walks with my husband around our neighborhood. My knees thank me!
I realize that some of you may enjoy going to a health club and I think that's wonderful; but if you do happen to prefer doing something on your own, these "10-Minute Solution" DVDs are a great alternative.  
I have attached a picture of the DVD I purchased for myself. If you'd like a quick way to purchase one of these for yourself, just Click Here!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Low-Point Frozen Yogurt Pie

During these hot summer days, some of the desserts my family prefers are the frozen ones. I have been making this Frozen Yogurt dessert for years and it's still a favorite of our family's. A neighbor of ours puts in his request too because he knows even though he's diabetic, he's still able to enjoy this delicious recipe.


Low-Point Frozen Yogurt Pie
Ingredients:
- 1 small box of Sugar-Free Jello (any flavor)
- 2 containers of Light Yogurt (any flavor that would compliment the jello)
- 1, 8 oz. container of Cool Whip Lite or Fat Free Cool Whip
- 1, Reduced Fat Keebler Graham Cracker Crust
Heat 1/4 cup of water to boiling and add to jello. Stir until dissolved. Add 2 containers of Yogurt and mix well. Add container of Cool Whip and stir until blended. Pour mixture into Keebler Graham Cracker Crust and freeze for several hours.
Servings = 8
Serving size = 1
Points per serving = 4
The photo to the left is a picture of one of these fantastic pies. (This one was made with sugar-free Raspberry jello and 2 containers of Light Vanilla yogurt.)
Cool your family off this summer with this low-cal wonderful dessert. They are sure to love it too! :)
For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please Click Here.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Day One of My New Blog!

Thanks to my husband's encouragement I have decided to share the "Points in My Life" that have helped me to become a better me, both physically and spiritually. 
Through diet, exercise, prayer, laughter, and an occasional fountain Diet Mt. Dew from Quizno's (one of my favorite drinks), I've come to realize I have accumulated quite a few recipes and tips that I would love to share that might help others as well. I am not a fitness guru. I am just tired of wanting to look fit and feel more healthy without taking any action to make that happen. 
Similar to the point system that Weight Watcher's uses, I have added handy "calculator" tools right on my blog site so people will be able to quickly calculate how many points they should eat within a day as well as a point calculator to help you stay within your range of points with the foods you choose to eat.  
Not all of my posts will be diet/food related because I have lots more to share. I will say that when I started watching my points a little over a month ago and keeping track of everything I ate, I began to lose the pounds I've been wanting to lose for a year and have lost a total of seven so far. Seven is great when the scale hadn't budged in a year! I'll take it! 
I'm hoping this blog reaches someone who is just beginning to think they want to make a change but are too afraid of jumping in with both feet. Too much diet and exercise information can be scary and boring and we soon find ourselves going back to the comforts of what's probably not the best for us. This blog is here only to encourage, enlighten, and hopefully make you smile.  :)


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