Tips for healthy hair

Someone once asked me what I would do, if I woke up one morning & didn’t have hair. I thought that was a weird question. I would be sad no doubt about that, but I would like to think I would deal with it even if it meant getting a wig. I asked said person why ask such a question and the person’s response was, “Well, I know how much you love your hair.” I said, “Yea, I love my hair. I’m thankful & blessed that I have thick, naturally wavy hair & have lots of it. Not everybody can say that.”

Can I help that I have hair that is the envy of other people. I think not. I can’t help how God has blessed me & I can’t help my genetics, but I can help what I do to my hair. It’s like the old Pantene commercial stated, “Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful.” I alter it and say, “Don’t hate me because I have beautiful hair.” I do have people asking what I do to keep my hair shiny & healthy. Every time I go to the hairstylist she always says, “I just love your hair. I could play it with all day long. It’s so soft, shiny, & healthy.” I see my stylist every 6 weeks for a bang trim. As far as an overall cut & shaping my hair, I don’t go as often. Some times, I go several months before I go to her for that.

Not everybody has good, healthy hair. People over process and dry out their hair with too many chemical laden products & blow drying. When all the girls in High School (back in the late 1980s) were plastering their hair with hair spray & other hair products, I was the one that was gagging from the scent of those products, & I’m still like that. I really hated gels and styling products period because they would make my hair look oily & weighed my hair down making my hair look completely atrocious. I went through my stage of using electric hot rollers or getting perms. When I look back at doing that, I didn’t like how curly either made my hair look. I rather have wind blown hair given I have natural wavy hair, and I rather not have my hair loaded with products especially products that have tons of chemicals in it.

Coloring hair

I started coloring my hair in my early twenties when I went through a color analysis class and found my naturally auburn hair was not the right color for my result of being a winter. The instructor had to analyze me twice because of my hair color. It is when she pulled back my hair to see the roots when she determined I’m a winter. If she hadn’t done that, she was saying I was a spring.  Although I pride myself in that I can wear some warm tones & cool tones due to my naturally auburn hair & my freckles, when it comes to my wardrobe, you will find my closet is  predominantly cool toned colors. I definitely love the jewel tones; those are some of my favorite colors. When I colored my hair back then, the coloring products had such a horrible scent, so I was never regular at coloring my hair.

When I found Madison Reed three years ago, I have been more consistent in coloring my hair as it isn’t loaded with chemicals and it has a nice scent. Every color I have tried I have liked, but I stay pretty consistent with using Modena Brown; a true medium neutral brown. I use their shampoo, conditioner, & styling cream (I use this one very sparingly), & I use their Amaretto gloss when I want my hair to have a touch of red. I have tried their highlighting system once, and I didn’t like it because of how time consuming it was. None of their products weigh my hair down instead my hair looks shiny, healthy, & leaves my hair smelling nice. No harsh chemical scents to any of it, so my hair loves it and that makes me happy.

Styling hair

Not everybody can do this, but I very seldom blow dry my hair. I can get away with only drying my hair during the really cold months because of where I live, with my hair being naturally wavy and because the style my hair is cut. Blow drying hair dries out the hair. I personally think it is wise to give my hair a break from that just as I believe not wearing make up every day is important. When it comes to styling my hair, I let it dry naturally most days & just let it do whatever it does naturally due to living in a moderately humid climate.  I run my hands through my hair quite a bit as it dries naturally & move my hair all different ways. When I do use a blow dryer, I always at some point turn my head upside to give my hair some volume; I do this same thing when I brush my hair. I always use a detangler brush, just because I have had issues with tangles in my hair and that type of brush is good to use on wet or dry hair.

I occasionally will twist my hair as it dries naturally to give it some more wave. Other times, I use some heatless ways for when I want some curl. I have used LocALoc Heatless Headband & Conair’s Soft Curls Sleep Comfy Curlers when I shampoo my hair before I go to sleep; I like both and some times I use a combination of both of them.

Shampoo & Condition hair

I also use another shampoo that is non toxic and I use a drop of castor oil on my hair a couple of times a week. When it comes to shampooing my hair, I do it once. Many brands state on their products to shampoo, rinse, and then repeat. I find that this strips the natural oil from the hair which we need to keep our hair healthy. When it comes to shampoo, I use no more than a dime size to apply to my hair, and with conditioner, I actually use less. I find that many people use more product than they should. The longer your hair is, you will find you need to use a bit more product.

When I use castor oil (use it in place of conditioner), it is after I rinse out the shampoo. I use just a drop and rub it between my hands and run it through my hair with my hands. Then I run a detangler comb through my hair to evenly distribute it through my hair. After a couple of minutes, I rinse it. Some people may can get away with using more castor oil, but I can only use a drop or it will make my hair look extremely oily.

Note: Be sure to use only cold-pressed (or cold-drawn) castor oil that is hexane-free and organic. Any other kind could clog your pores. Another good reason to use cold-pressed castor oil instead of refined castor oil is that cold-pressed oils retain much more of their valuable nutrients.

I also use the following rinse once a week in place of conditioner: Instead of water, I brew & use organic black tea (I let this cool before combining with the other ingredients & use filtered water). Instead of white vinegar, I use Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar. I use the tea because it is good for dark haired beauties & use the ACV due to it being a highly beneficial vinegar. Even though the recipe says it is for two applications, I make it and put it in a easy to pour bottle and use a tablespoon of it at a time. Once I use some of this mixture (when it is about 3/4 full), I dilute it with filtered water. I comb it through my hair for it to be evenly distributed. Those who don’t like the idea of vinegar, stay with using white vinegar. You will smell the vinegar when you use it on your hair, but once you rinse it out you will not smell it.  Make sure any time you rinse your hair well and follow with a cold rinse.

Natural Hair Rinse

Coffee drinker, then try this

coffee and beansCoffee whether it is cold, hot, or iced, most of us agree we want a cup to get us started in the mornings. Some of us want the caffeine, others need decaf, or some want a combination of both. Some of us cannot stomach drinking coffee because of it being acidic and others give up drinking it for different reasons. Big coffee drinker or just want a cup of it because you want that jolt of caffeine & it helps you get through your day.  There’s no doubt that people love their coffee, but do they think about the acidity of it and what it does to them. If you are concerned about the acidity of your coffee, try then consider switching to cold brewing your favorite coffee.

Did you know brewing coffee cold reduces the acidity of it by 70%? When you brew the coffee hot, it brings out the acidity of the coffee and the coffee loses its original flavor it is meant to have. So if brewing it hot brings out the acidity, brewing it cold makes it more alkaline which is the natural state of the coffee (which is also the state our bodies need to be in order to be healthy). Brewing coffee cold locks in the flavor.

When you brew the coffee cold, you can drink it hot; just heat it up in the microwave (or in a saucepan) or if you like to drink it cold or iced, no need to heat it. It’s really simple to make and you don’t need any fancy machine to make the cold brew coffee; although, for best results you need to start the process at least the evening before as it needs to sit for 12 hours.

Here’s how you make it:

Use at least 4 tbsp of your favorite coffee (choose organic, high quality, &/or locally roasted whether ground or whole) to a quart of water (filtered is best) depending on how strong you like your coffee.

If grind your own coffee, place ground coffee on a piece of  wax paper (after grinding it) that has been folded in half and unfold it so you can easily place the coffee on it in order to pour it in the quart jar. Save that piece of wax paper for when you need to grind coffee again & use it for only that use until you need to get a new piece. Fill the quart jar with water to the bottom of the rim, not all the way to the top of the jar.  Secure the lid on top and let sit out on the counter for at least 12 hours.  After that, you may drink and then put it in the refrigerator.

mug n sieveTo filter:

Use a hand-held sieve over the mug you are going to drink from and pour the amount of coffee you want from the jar in the mug. If you need a better way to filter, then you can put a paper coffee filter in the sieve and it will filter that way, but you may need to cut the paper filter to sit in the sieve properly.  Don’t throw away the coffee grounds when you are through with drinking the coffee (let it stay in the jar), fill it with water and water your plants (indoor or outdoor) with it; they will love it.

My love/hate relationship with coffee & caffeine

I typically drink only one cup of coffee and always just in the mornings. I’m sensitive to caffeine, so I had to drink anything with caffeine before noon unless I had a migraine or headache as it would help with some of them.  Over the years, I go off caffeine or coffee for a while; the longest I have been off of it is a few years. When I was off of coffee for a few years (because I realized it was bothering my stomach), I turned to Coca Cola made with sugar not high fructose corn syrup.  I realized some of my migraines were due to drinking Coke, so I gave it up. I have been off of all soda pops for over a year now and went back to drinking coffee again just to give it up one more time (see love/hate relationship). This time I’m kicking it out of my life for good. I have seen the effects of what caffeine and coffee do to me which I don’t care for, thus the reason for eliminating it from what I consume. I will stick with decaf green tea, herbals teas, and green smoothies.

My one suggestion is do what’s best for you, but I do believe drinking cold press is the healthiest way to drink coffee. I drank it with no problems. If you can eliminate it from what you drink, that would be the best thing to do. Do learn to listen to your body. Our bodies gives us clues with everything we consume in whether it’s good or bad for us.

 

Lara’s Weight Loss Story

Weight Loss Transformation updated photo  I lost 130 pounds.  I am ecstatic & proud of myself! I have lost a whole person.  Seeing really is believing when you see a transformation like this!

 

I wasn’t always overweight.

In fact, growing up I was at a very healthy weight. During my marriage & in my early 30s, I suffered a miscarriage and then no more than a month later I lost the job I had. I turned to food for comfort and packed on the pounds.  At the time, I was still dealing with my father’s death. My instinct was to crawl into my shell like a crab (interestingly enough, my astrological sign is Cancer) and protect myself from not feeling the pain of losing someone so precious to me. I had the suicidal thoughts, but it is not in my nature to actually take my life so I did what came easy to do, eat and that I did. At my heaviest I was within 20 pounds of weighing 300 and being 5’2″ that was really hard on my body. I couldn’t sit on the floor anymore (as it was too hard to get up) much less bend my knees without it hurting.  Any time I had to take stairs, it bothered my knees. It scared me knowing what could happen to me if I kept putting the weight on because I was already clinically depressed.  I hated see the reflection in the mirror and seeing what I had become; although, I did what I could in making myself feel better by wearing make-up & coloring my hair. Having Systemic Candidiasis (an overgrowth of yeast in the intestinal tract) since I was a baby didn’t help matters; it just made everything else worse. That’s another story to tell at another time as I wasn’t properly diagnosed with Candida until I was in my late teens.

Jumping forward to my 40s

During the last few years of my marriage, I started losing the weight and lost 45 pounds which was really hard to do because my husband & I ate out a lot. We also enjoyed cooking at home and having friends over for a meal.  I exercised when I felt like it, but I never pushed hard with it because of how heavy I was and I didn’t exercise often. I just knew I needed to move my body and that something was better than not doing it at all. I noticed I was having a really difficult time with eating wheat, so I started going gluten free. I was altering my favorite baked sweet recipes to gluten free versions since I loved to bake & had a great time developing versions of cookies, sweet breads, & different desserts I could eat.  I realize now how detrimental that was for my body. Since grains turn into sugar in the body, it was causing the yeast in my body to become active again and that with eating sugar caused inflammation in my body.  The stress I had in different areas of my life didn’t help; stress was in every area and I was very overwhelmed by it. I stopped eating anything that had the high fructose corn syrup. When I ate sugar, it was natural sugars, low glycemic sugars, or the processed sugar (the white refined sugar, typically bought at grocery stores). I realized sugars were a big culprit in keeping me from losing some of the weight I wanted to lose, but to stop eating it was just too hard. I knew I had to change some more things.

Decision to leave my marriage in 2014

After almost 16 yrs of being with this man through dating & marriage, I decided I wanted to lose enough to be at a healthy weight where I felt good. I knew being with him was holding me back and we were not bringing out the best in each other. I decided to move in with my mother and before the end of that year, the divorce was final. Since then, I have lost 85 pounds. I went entirely gluten free and gave up eating baked sweets. I decided to start walking more; walking became my therapy. Walking whenever I could, and walking even if it meant walking shorter time periods. Walking more mileage even if that meant getting out at different times of the day just to get away from the office desk (or the house), then that’s what I did. At one point, I was walking 4 miles a day for at least 5 days a week depending on my schedule.

The way I eat now

I have found I feel better when I limit carbohydrates in general. Grains have actually become less a part of what I eat as I feel better when I don’t eat them. That is a huge thing for me because corn chips, cheese, & hot sauce (I don’t mean Tabasco, this is similar to a cooked version of pico de gallo) are my downfall especially with living in Texas most of my life; that is what I eat when I’m stressed. I don’t eat processed foods or fish that is farm raised. I make sure I eat green leafy vegetables at least twice a day. I eat healthy fats, grass-fed meats, and non gmo, organic foods. I drink lots of water and avoid alcohol (I haven’t had any alcohol since February 2018). I’m consistently working on eating the way I feel I should and the same goes for exercise. I still struggle with sugar, but I limit it and only eat natural sugars & low glycemic sugars. If I feel the need to limit or not eat or drink something, that’s what I will do. I will forever be a work in progress, always learning what is best for me.

We are our own worst critics

If I could give one piece of advice, it is the self talk. I learned not to be negative and harsh on myself.  This just stresses you and your body and it’s important to know how to deal with stress in good ways. When I don’t eat well at one meal or for a couple of days, I just do better. The same with exercise; if I skip a day or several days because of the weather, it’s OK. I just get back on track with doing it. We are all human and going to make mistakes. What matters is how we deal with it and that we learn from it. But I also don’t let what others say influence me in negative ways. I’m in charge of my life, no one else. Anyone can give you advice, but it is still ultimately your decision in what you do. It’s important to be happy & content in life and with the choices you make. Don’t make decisions with others in mind to make them happy, do it because it makes you happy and it reduces the stress in your life.

Example: I decided a long time ago, that it didn’t matter where I go to church. It just mattered that where I did go, feels like home. If it meant going somewhere that did not have a group of people around my age that were single again, so be it as it was not going to bother me and it hasn’t bothered me.

Another example: Whatever a doctor’s recommendation is for you, it is still up to you in doing it or not. We have to learn to be our own doctors to some extent and know what is best for ourselves and our body. Your body signals you with everything and in all your decisions. Learn to listen to your intuition, your instincts, and let them be the guiding force in your life. Do you honestly think a doctor knows better than you just because he has MD after his name? If a doctor isn’t listening to you and not taking into account what you are telling him, then find another doctor. This is the way I see it, I know my body better than a doctor because I’m the one living with my body. I know the pain I feel and the severity & location of that pain.  I may not always know why I have pain or know the source of it, but that’s why I need to go to a doctor (and why I go to a functional doctor as they find the source).  If it is the first time, I’m seeing a doctor and I feel he or she isn’t listening to me, I say something. If I continue to feel like I’m not being heard, I simply find a different doctor.

Quotes that help keep me accountable

Here are a few quotes and they all came from listening to a docu-series of videos titled “Broken Brain” hosted by Mark Hyman, MD (functional doctor & 11x New York Times bestselling author) which is a series packed with fascinating information that helps us see how we should eat for our brain’s health which in turn helps our body.

“What you do to your body, you do to your brain.”

“Heal your body, heal your brain.”

— These two quotes should make you think about the brain/body connection. Your brain is connected to your whole body. Your body has all these parts that are connected to each other which leads to the brain. It just makes sense that what you do affects the body and the brain, not either one, but the entire body which includes your head.

“The mind influences the body.”

— There is another quote that comes to my thinking with that one, “Mind over matter.” Our brains, the marvel sponge like organ that it is, influences our entire being. Think you can’t do something, then you won’t. Think you can, then you will.

“You influence your genes with every bite of food and every thought you think.”

— Wow, double wow! This one in particular keeps me accountable with what I do in everything.

“We have the ability to heal ourselves.”

— I concur and close with, Yes, we do! We do have the ability to heal ourselves!

 

 

 

 

An Awakening — one of my poems

An Awakening

By: Lara
Written: February 2013

A deep, bottomless pit
A dark, narrow tunnel
That seems never-ending
Is all it appears to be.
So very lost and lonely
Feeling utterly hopeless.

Emotions gone haywire
Not knowing if I’m coming or going
Feeling a numbness through your whole being
Is similar to when your feet have gone to sleep.
But all the while feeling completely
As if you can’t control anything.

A complete sense of selfishness grips you to a point
That you feel so very out of control with
That you push loved ones away
Not wanting help from them
Much less wanting to help yourself
You can’t help but feel utterly helpless.

There’s such a denial of not wanting
To know what’s going on
Yet you do and you know what needs to be done
You just can’t and don’t have the strength to face it
It’s very hard to deal with
And eventually you come to terms with what needs to be done.

Then one day you have an awakening
And realize what you are doing to yourself
And that the devil’s handiwork was in full force over your life.
He had fun playing havoc in your life
But now there’s this realization what it was
And depression is its name.

 

For many years, I have wanted to write a poem about depression, but in order to do that I needed to feel as if I could share this. I wanted to capture a certain essence about depression. Those who haven’t dealt with depression have no idea what it does to a person.  I have suffered from depression more than a couple of times throughout my life, so to write about it is deeply personal and private.  I feel in order to share this poem; it will help all of us know more about it.

Please know if you are suffering from depression or you know someone who is, there is help. The individual does have to seek help and want it. Please know you are not alone even when you feel lonely.  Turn inwards if you need to, but don’t allow yourself to sabotage your relationships with others or become too consumed by spending time alone. Surround yourself with those you love and who love you.

Those pesky raised bumps from shaving

Ever get the pesky raised bumps after you shave?  I know many women who get them especially around the bikini area.

I use to get those raised bumps every time I shaved my upper legs (& bikini area) and it didn’t matter what of soap or shaving gel or cream I used. I have extremely sensitive skin as well as have allergies & sensitivities to different ingredients even natural ingredients, so I have to be conscientious in what I use. I use baking soda for several different reasons inside and out (stay tuned I will share other ways I use it in other posts), but when I started using it before I shaved what a huge difference I saw; I noticed how much closer a shave I could get as well as I could go a little longer without shaving.  Isn’t that something we all want!

baking soda picBaking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, can be used as an exfoliant on the skin & can make your skin feel smooth & silky; go to Arm & Hammer’s website and check out the endless ways you can use it. What is wonderful about baking soda is most of us have it in our kitchen already and it is affordable and easy to buy. Use just like you would any other scrub; put some baking soda in your hand and a little water and apply it on the area where you will shave & rub it on that area. Then wash it off thoroughly with water. Follow with whatever, shaving gel or cream you use, and shave the area. If you shave often and have sensitive skin, you may not can tolerate using the baking soda each time. Everyone is different and our skin is different, so you may not like using baking soda this way much less like what it does to your skin.

goats milk soapA soap I love that I use to bath with is also good as a soap for when I shave. It’s Canus Nature Goat’s Milk soap; I use the fragrance free one. It can be bought many places. I buy it at a health food store I go to regularly. Many soaps have coconut oil or derivatives of it which I can’t use due to an allergy to it, so this goat’s milk soap is a nice soap that is gentle on my skin. EWG Skin Deep rates this soap a 3, not as good as I would like for the rating to be, but I have not had any problems using this soap. EWG rated the old formulated which had DMDM Hydantoin (formaldehyde releaser); this ingredient is rated a 7 and it is known for causes of allergies, immunotoxicity, irritation (skin, eyes, or lungs), cancer, and contamination concerns. The new formula has removed this ingredient from the soap which will make this have a better EWG rating, so it will have a rating of 1 or 2; that is the rating you want your skin products to be when looking at EWG’s site.

When you are going with clean, green (non toxic) products, you will want to go with ingredients you can pronounce and not have to look up the ingredients to see what they are plus the fewer the ingredients the better. If you are looking for a way to stop the pesky raised bumps, this is definitely worth doing and seeing what it does for you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lemon Herb Roasted Chicken

I enjoy this recipe because it’s simple, delicious, and healthy.  It comes out tender and juicy every time.  The following is my version of this recipe; original recipe was found in a crock pot cookbook I use to have.

Lemon Herb Roasted Chicken

3-4 pound fryer or roasting chicken or 4 chicken breasts (or can do more, can do this with frozen chicken breasts or a frozen hen)

Drizzle extra virgin olive oil over the hen or breasts

Juice of 2-4 lemons (or limes or a combination of lemon and lime) depending on size and how much juice can get out of them, just enough to have a light layer in the bottom, pour over hen or breasts and let it flow to the bottom of the crock pot

½ tsp salt

½ tsp black pepper

1 tbsp fresh parsley (or 1 tsp dried parsley)

¼ tsp paprika

1 pod of garlic (optional), make sure to peel the skin off each clove. Lay around in the bottom or can put ½ of them in the bottom of crock pot and the other half under the skin of the hen or inside the hen.

Rinse chicken well and pat dry; remove any excess fat. Put in remaining ingredients as stated above. Put the salt, pepper, parsley, paprika, and any other spices or herbs over chicken; it’s OK if some gets in the bottom of the crock pot. Cover and cook on low 8 to 10 hours or on high for 4 to 5 hours.

Optional: cut a lemon into slices and put under the skin or in the cavity of the hen.

Lara’s Notes: Once you have cooked this once, you’ll find you can add herbs and spices to taste and different ones to your liking in order to have different variations of this. Sometimes when I have time, I will add spices and herbs half way through the cooking process when cooked on low. I normally rinse chicken, but don’t pat dry or take off excess fat. I usually add spices and herbs until I see enough on the chicken in order to be able to distinguish each herb and spice. I use good quality, organic, free range chicken.

When I do this recipe with a hen, I flip the bird over a few times in the crock pot to make sure it is well coated with the oil and lemon juice.

I have also made this recipe using chicken breasts in a big Pyrex dish (at least a  9.5 X 13.5 X 2 in 3 QT) and cook on 450 degrees for 45 minutes or until chicken is completely cooked.

Comfort in grief

When a dear long-time family friend passes away (or when anyone you know passes away), it forever changes you. It makes you think & question your own life, your own choices. Like many a life that has gone on before him, his life becomes etched onto our hearts. Taking a piece of our heart, & taking some of our love with him. Find comfort in the joy of knowing him. It doesn’t mean we should forget him much less love any less, but rest in the beauty he gave to our life.

May his spirit unfold a beckoning light which shines brighter with the multitude of angels surrounding us that help lead us through the dark valleys. Choirs of angels sing around us as we go about our day, so we may be strengthened after we fall. Let not the memories haunt, but be a comfort of peace. Let the joy envelop your soul. Let the love, enrich your life. May love and happiness anchor you to others. Rest in knowing they loved him too.

May he be a star that helps guide, a light brightening a path, a guardian angel to all those who loved him and his comforting presence always be near.

Don’t let someone’s death disrupt your life where it’s too hard to live your own life. Our lives are temporary on this earth. Let yourself grieve, but it is important to live and enjoy life no matter what happens. We need to celebrate the lives of those who go on before us, remembering them with such love and fond memories.

Beef & Salsa Burritos

20180306_184404
Pictured with a salad, on top of a scrambled egg and a little bit of cheese & jalapenos

I found this recipe many years ago in a magazine. I have thoroughly enjoyed making it over the years.  For those who don’t like spinach, you cannot taste it in this mixture because of all the seasoning in this recipe. Make it mild or spicy, and always taste mixture as you combine the ingredients in order to make it to your liking with seasoning and spiciness level.  It is wonderful as leftovers; I, at least, double the recipe for that reason.  Bon Appétit!

Beef & Salsa Burritos

25 minutes, makes 8 burritos

1 ¼ pounds ground beef
1 ½ tablespoons chili powder
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon salt
¼ tsp black pepper
1 package (10 oz) frozen chopped spinach, thawed, well-drained
1 ¼ cups prepared chunky salsa
1 cup shredded Cheddar Cheese
8 medium flour tortillas, warmed

1) In large non-stick skillet, brown ground beef over medium heat 10 to 12 minutes or until no longer pink, stirring occasionally. Pour off drippings.

2) Season beef with chili powder, cumin, salt, & black pepper. Stir in spinach & salsa; heat through. Remove from heat; stir in cheese.

3) Spoon ½ cup beef mixture in center of each tortilla.  Fold bottom edge up over filling; fold sides to center, overlapping edges.

Lara’s notes for additions and revisions: Can use a pound of meat instead of what it calls for and is good with substituting ground turkey for the ground beef.  If use ground turkey, will need to use more seasoning. Can use fresh spinach instead of frozen and can use more than what is stated.  Omit the cheese in mixture if you wish.

When use really good lean ground meat 97%, won’t need to drain off drippings. When using frozen spinach, no need to let thaw and drain if don’t want to as the juices from both will add to the flavor and there won’t be much as most of it will be cooked out.

Add 4 to 6 cloves garlic chopped fine or run through garlic press.  Add 2 tbsp chili powder, 1 tsp cumin, and ½ tsp black pepper instead of original measurements per to the amount of 1 to 1 ¼  lbs meat.  For cheese, I use 4 oz Cheddar Cheese and 4 oz of some kind of white Mexican cheese. Sometimes, I don’t use the cheese or I will just put how much I want on top.  Use Herdez Salsa Casera Mild for the prepared chunky salsa or any kind of salsa that is like that one.  Opt for using corn tortillas instead of flour if you wish.  For a kick, use a hotter salsa or more spices, adding Cayenne is a good option. For a low carbohydrate meal, just eat the mixture without the tortilla. For a vegetarian style, leave out the meat and add more spinach or some other kind of vegetables or some other kind of greens. Makes good nachos or just eat with corn chips. Good with scrambled eggs or on top of a bed of lettuce (of your choosing).

Top it if you want with ingredients such as sour cream, guacamole, avocado slices, chopped tomatoes, onions, black olives, jalapenos, and/or cheese.

What I have learned about love, part 1

Love is an action. It shows in what you do and not in what you say.  Saying I love you is nice & beautiful, but it’s not the same as doing something that demonstrates love. For love to be truly felt, words need to be followed by action.

Love is a feeling, but there is much more to it. Love is innately in us because God made each of us to be on this earth, and we would not be on this earth if it were not for him. We are all images and mirrors of him and his love, and we are to share that love with others especially the one who is our significant other.

This is part 1 because there is so much more to share on this subject.  I share this about my own life; I have been married and divorced, so I have seen what love is and what it is not. My dad was a preacher, so I grew up in a good Christian family who knew and knows how love should be shown.  Here is what I have learned over the years about true, real love:

* Love is what it states in the Bible in 1 Corinthians chapter 13. If you don’t understand the context of this, then please go to someone who can break it down and explain it to you.

* It is taking the garbage out, helping with the laundry, or doing any other chore around the house without being asked. When asked, don’t procrastinate if you can help it. Do the chore as soon as you can. Make sure you do it with a willing spirit and a positive mindset.

* Love is wanting to share in the chores around the home unless you have the money to have hired help for inside (or outside) the home. Two are better than one in getting anything done as it makes it easier. You get things done more quickly and efficiently and you can have fun in sharing in doing them together.

* How you treat each other speaks volumes. If you tease all the time and the other one has asked you to stop, then stop it. If there’s anything abusive or negative in how the other person treats you, then it’s not love. It’s crucial you treat each other with respect, consideration, patience, and understanding.

* Learn not just to listen, but to hear what the other is saying so you can give good feedback, and do it in a way, so the other knows you understood what was asked or said. Put whatever you are doing to the side and focus on what is being asked or said to you. If you don’t have a response at least acknowledge what was said.

* Love is not manipulative, is not doing things begrudgingly, or being demanding in any way. It is not anything negative, and it is everything good and positive. It is being kind and caring in everything you say or do because love draws that out in us.

* Love is not just about having sexual relations with your significant other. It’s about having a deep relationship and connection where you both communicate well with each other and can be open and honest with one another. The communication lines always need to be open. When you start cutting those lines, your relationship suffers and you both suffer from the consequences of it.

* It is always about wanting to grow and mature in ways where it improves you as individuals, together as a couple, and change your life for the better all the time. It is wanting to build and strengthen that love every day and not when you want to do it.

*There is a famous quote from the book and movie, Love Story by Erich Segal and it is this: “Love is never having to say you’re sorry.” Love is about saying “you are sorry” when it’s needed and meaning it when it is said, but it is about always admitting when you are wrong. Saying “you are sorry” doesn’t always help matters, but it can sooth us to a point where it can bring peace.

* Love is not intentionally hurtful; it’s not wanting to cause pain in any way. No matter what we do or say, we may on occasion hurt each other with words (or by doing or saying something) because we are all different; we are all different in many ways. It’s important to bring peace and harmony to the relationship.

* It is about saying pleasantries such as “please”, “thank you”, “you’re welcome” and meaning it when those words are said.

* Love is knowing when to say or do something and when not to because our words and our tone can be misconstrued by others.

* It is about not having to explain yourself constantly because love is all about completely trusting that person. It is about not having to remind the other of something more than three times. If you find yourself reminding the other more than that, then you come off as you are begging and nagging.

* Love sets you free and allows you to become who you are meant to be because true love will encourage you in all things and assists in making you be complete when you are with the right person.

* Love is trusting, understanding, respecting, encouraging, uplifting, and inspiring one another all the time no matter what happens in life because you know life is sweeter just by having that person in your life.

The Power of Food

What you eat does affect your skin. It can affect your whole body. We reach for the lotion or pills or something else to remedy the situation. I can tell you from personal experience that what we eat affects our health, and we need to look at the correlation between what we eat and how it affects us.

Certain foods give me headaches and some spike into migraines. Raw onions and coconut give me headaches, so I can’t consume them. I can eat onions when they are cooked or marinated in something. Just smelling coconut gives me a headache and it doesn’t matter if it’s in beauty products or if it’s in food, I avoid it like the plague.  Coconut is in many different things other than beauty products (it’s even in green beauty products) and food; it is also in cleaning products. I have had to research and learn all the names & derivatives just to make sure I’m not using anything with coconut. That is just to give you an example as there are other foods I can’t eat or use.

I have eczema on my hand and have had it for many years. It flares up in the winter. It use to be on my arms really bad too, there’s just a little patch of it now. When I went gluten free 4 years ago (due to a wheat allergy) and started healing my gut, I have seen the eczema improving and going away. I was born with intestinal Candidasis, so healing my gut has been of utmost importance to my health.

I was having migraines at least 2 times a month and headaches were practically an every day occurrence. When I stopped eating gluten, my headaches and migraines were slashed 80%. I still get them, but headaches are not a daily occurrence anymore, & migraines occur once every 4 months if I’m lucky.

Your choices in what you eat matters, and that is why I shared this information about myself. It is one thing to want a quick fix to make the pain go away, but it does not resolve anything if you don’t know the root cause. Please don’t dismiss the idea that something you are consuming or using on your skin could be the culprit. Your health and the health of your family matters.