Better Health · Simply Sather · Soul Care

juicing works for me: here’s how + why I’m sticking to it

In my last post, I wrote about how I got started with juicing.

In this post, I’d like to share more about why I continue to juice daily.

Before I share the benefits I seem to continue to reap, I want to share what the process looks like in our home.

THE SHOPPING

We’ve read and heard in all juicing circles that we need to shop and juice organic fruits and veggies. In my very basic understanding, it’s because organic is supposed to ensure the foods have been planted, grown and harvested with far fewer chemicals + toxins. And since juicing shoots all the best nutrients into our bodies more quickly, we need to be mindful of what those nutrients might be laced with.

This is the same sentiment with drinking from and storing foods in more toxic, less safe containers like plastic (Tupperware, Ziploc and most of what food is sold/stored in) and aluminum for long periods of time (foil and cans for most foods).

Our goal is to switch out our plastic containers and baggies with these options: Pyrex + StasherBag completely within the next few years.

Here are a few articles (1, 2 + 3) with varying perspectives about the importance of juicing organic vs. non-organic fruits and veggies. It’s costly, sure, but so are the medical bills that come from pumping toxins into your body. Here’s one about the “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean 15” for 2019 that is often referred to in articles about safe, clean fruits and veggies.

If budget is a concern for shopping and juicing organic, I’d recommend choosing a few budget-friendly organic options and juicing less frequently or juicing smaller amounts, rather than choosing non-organic produce. If you’re really stuck and can’t see this working for your budget, consider praying about it. God cares about your health and knows what’s in your banking account, you can invite Him into even this.

As we’re still fairly new at this whole juicing thing, we’re still learning and deciding which grocers have the best produce. We often frequent these places:

  1. Trader Joe’s
  2. Central Market
  3. Natural Grocers
  4. Tom Thumb

in that order…

Quality, price, and selection are most important followed by proximity and customer service. Oh, and their wine aisle – it’s a huge plus if we can get both our produce and our favorite wine in one shopping trip.

We’re still new to the juicing community, so we are really trying almost everything – even leeks! We are also extremely grateful to have so many choices and to be able to afford shopping and juicing organic.

THE JUICING

When we started juicing, I would only wash our fruits + veggies with water. Then I began washing them with this Thieves Fruit & Veggie Soak and it has been a game changer!

even organic needs to be washed

I add a small teaspoon of the soak in the bottom of a bowl with warm water. I add the fruits + veggies and let the Thieves soak do its work. You can purchase your own with my friend Tricia from here.

Up until two days ago, I would do the washing, chopping and juicing all in one sitting, every day. Then I decided to try “juice prep” and spent about 45 minutes cleaning, chopping, and storing all the fruits and veggies we purchased hoping it gets us through 7 -8 days of juicing.

An aside: here’s a soul tending tip…

While you’re doing a menial task like meal/juice prep, add another activity that you actually enjoy (like listening to worship music, a favorite album – I happened to be playing the “Little Miss Sunshine” soundtrack, a podcast, a movie or show you can listen to as background noise, hear a sermon or even play the Bible). Whatever that is, pairing a task that you may not enjoy (this isn’t my favorite part of juicing) to something that makes your soul smile, can be helpful in making this a more efficient and enjoyable task and increase your chances of doing it consistently.

Only a couple of days into it and I’m so grateful for the time saved in clean up and prep on a daily basis, making me an even larger fan of juicing.

we have plans to replace all plastic food storage containers in the next two years

I think it’s good that I spend time chopping the goodies down to these sizes because it seems to save the machine from doing extra work. Another timesaver? Leaving the skin on for most fruits and veggies.

from the Tupperware to + through the Juicer

I will drink the juice I’ve just made while prepping for the next day’s juice and cleaning the machine too.

Cleaning the machine is my least favorite part, which is why I must clean it while enjoying my fresh juice. Otherwise, the day’s plans will get in the way and it’ll be something I have to find margin for later in the busy of the day; which would be far more stressful for me.

I have to take a bristle brush to this part of the juicer. For the rest of the machine, I simply rinse out the containers and wipe down the base.
something to look forward to

On the days that my husband works outside of our home, I save his juice in the fridge for his enjoyment later in the day. Although the articles I’ve read suggest drinking the juice immediately, he’s shared noticing the difference between when he has the juice in the evening and when he skips and has to go a day or two without it.

After doing all of the prep work and cleaning for about 16oz of juice every day for the last 6 -ish weeks, I’d recommend the once a week session. Plus, ain’t it purty?

THE BENEFITS OF + ONE WARNING ABOUT JUICING 

In addition to how pretty the foods look, there are so many other benefits of juicing.

I was thrown into full menopause a short 8 weeks after having my second hysterectomy. And I felt surprised to learn about symptoms in addition to the most common or most talked about ones: hot flashes, mood swings, and night sweats. There was also a fogginess of mind for me and my libido was under attack. My sweat was profuse and stinky too. I was so disappointed that this was seemingly the rest of my life after having had two surgeries and an emergency blood transfusion to improve my quality of life.

After joining a Menopause Support Group on Facebook, talking with my general practitioner, my OBGYN, my holistic, faith-based chiropractor and lots of women who have tried many, many things, I was stuck on NOT relying upon medication.

It was getting rough and rougher – on my mind and on marriage – to keep trying to tough it out. I mean, I’d had a natural childbirth, certainly, I could do this menopause thing. But, I was struggling with depression and frustration, feeling embarrassed because of my body odor and flailing my arms in people’s faces to fan myself, when they were sharing their heart or allowing me to help them meet a need. It felt like too much.

After juicing for about 2 1/2 weeks consistently (almost daily), I noticed that my hot flashes had subsided, my sweat lessened and my energy and mental acuity had improved. The keys, I believe, were including a healthy dose of celery in every juice – we’re still not at celery juice as a stand-alone – and staying on top of my water consumption.

My libido has gone from “off” to a 5 or 6 (which is huge!) and climbing. My attitude is more chipper, genuinely, and I’m able to sleep better through the night.

If you couldn’t tell, I’m sold on juicing. Wishing that I’d only began sooner when younger.

One quick precaution, keep it real thing that none of the articles I read tell you, is this…

When you begin juicing consistently, be sure that you are near a bathroom where you don’t mind spending a lot of time. Do you get my drift?

Juicing provides many nutrients and vitamins – which, hooray! But, juicing also removes a lot of the toxins in your body. This is why people often do “juice cleanses”. When you get started, don’t be surprised when your Poo-poouri purchases also increase. Consider yourself warned and then keep going, it does get better.

I don’t consider myself an expert on juicing, but I also don’t believe I need to be one. Two months ago, I was depressed and whining about being attacked my menopause (yes, that dramatic) and now, I’m better. Juicing has been a big part of that.

If you’re in the season of menopause and haven’t tried juicing yet, get started, sweet woman. And if you’re younger and think menopause is a lifetime away, start juicing immediately!!! It’ll likely help with other things happening in your body and better prepare you for the later years of life.

Simply Sather · Soul Care · Story

sharing your story without shame

This past weekend, I shared my story with a small group of women.

It wasn’t the first time I’d shared parts of my story, but it was the first time I’d shared so many of the parts that have kept me shamed and stuck.

It’s evident that it was the right time and the right audience because I did not sweat it as I stood up to introduce myself, nor did I consider the outcome or place expectations upon their responses. I shared openly and without hiding.

It was dark stuff. The stuff that trolls and haters feed off of. The stuff that loved ones hear and then shut off a part of their heart because your story tries to address + awaken things in them, but they are not ready for it, and it affects the relationship. Things that make us feel like we’re completely crazy, damaged, and undervalued. The kind of things that we think sharing might actually kill us in some way. Like I said, dark…

Anywho, I introduced myself and started talking. Never once did I second guess whether it would be safe or appropriate or necessary. I did not spend time wondering what should be edited to be made better or censored to be more tolerable. I shared what happened to me after my first husband died, how people treated me, how I behaved, thoughts I’d had and that the thread keeping me alive and moving forward was/is my faith. I shared about being a single mom – many times, not the best one – and my “adventures” through dating and online dating to my third marriage.

I “went there” y’all, because the weekend was about empowering women.  And because I knew that there was no freedom like telling and owning one’s story – especially the messy, less pretty parts we bust our hind parts to gussy up for the public.

My particular connection to these women was to them being war or veteran-related widows. It had been a while since I’d been in front of a group of women as a sharer, facilitator, and leader – but I’d done some growing and believed I was ready and empowered enough to share.

Empowerment Gathering
March 2019 | Gary Sinise Foundation, Empowerment Gathering I

It was phenomenal.

Phenomenal not because it was easy, but because I shared without second-guessing myself or doubting that it was the right thing to do. It was liberating. And it was empowering. For me and these women whom I chose to trust these parts of my story.

There was a release because I’d done this courageous thing and did not apologize for any of what I shared or how I delivered it. And it wasn’t because someone told me what to share or how to share it. I had prayed about my role during this weekend and knew that the most earnest, valuable thing I had to offer these women was my story. To speak it from the depths of my soul.

More of it than I’d ever shared with almost no trust built up amongst ourselves; I shared on our very first night and after only a few hours of being in the same space together.

But I didn’t get there overnight. I wouldn’t have been able to share like I did – unapologetically and without shame – even four or five years ago and I have been telling parts of my story for over a decade; oftentimes to the wrong people because of what they wanted to do with it and even the right people but in the wrong season (either theirs or my own).

Part of knowing that I could share courageously was because I’d been doing the work.

For years, I’ve been hustling and running and hiding and circling back without much of a map. And then I realized I had been doing a few helpful things consistently. Here are three of them:

ONE: IDENTIFYING + ADDRESSING MY FEELINGS

For years, I’ve been filling journals with all the words inside myself.

After deciding that it meant more to me to have a healthy release than concern myself with what someone might feel when reading what I wrote (that wasn’t their business), I wrote more freely. It has been incredibly effective for helping me understand what I’m feeling and process what may be happening in my mind. Most days, I read my Bible and apply what I’ve read to what I’m feeling and thinking, and then journal about it.

The contents are unedited and thoughts flow more easily when I journal daily.

TWO: GETTING HELP

I’ve been to several many therapists, participated in a peer-grief support group and shared slices of my story with many along the way. My momma also knows (almost) all of my stories. I’ve paid for some help, insurance has covered some of it and sometimes crying to my family and a few trusted friends was exactly what I needed to be able to remain curious about what could come from knowing and boldly sharing my story without shame.

This was the step that I needed to push through most often. In an effort to get help, it turned into wanting to please people; something that I’m still needing to lean on God’s promises about who He says I am to combat. It was also too much pressure to put onto people who cared for me and had the best intentions. Learning to boldly share without shame frees people up from feeling sympathy and pity (ick, ick, ick) effectively shutting down any desire for me to share more.

Finding the right people/person is key, but there has to be some “just you” work too.

THREE: LEARNING ABOUT SHAME + VULNERABILITY

Towards the end of my second marriage, we were asked to read, “The Gifts of Imperfection” by Brené Brown. I read the entire book, but our sessions stopped because I was the only person doing the reading and the work attached. It was the beginning of understanding my own imperfections and how shame penetrates so much of our stories, which impacts how small we live.

Brown’s research and findings of shame and vulnerability were so eye-opening for me, often speaking to parts of my soul that I’ve often ignored or quieted because I was so overwhelmed. I’d stopped being willing to look honestly at the truths (the wonderful and horrific) in my story which made it near impossible to share it with others.

Since then, I’ve read her books, “Daring Greatly” and more recently, “Rising Strong” (got mine from the library) and have been convicted that the path to connection is directly related to how willing I am to own my story and then share it.

___

So when I shared so much of my story without hesitation, reservation or apology and did it with impact, I realized how important it is for me to keep sharing my story – the big tragic chapters as well as the smaller challenges – and inviting and encouraging other women to do the same; without shame.

What about you, soul tender? When’s the last time you shared your powerful, impactful story without apology?

 

 

 

 

 

Simply Sather · Soul Care

when your soul gets off track

I think this is why I read my Bible before opening any app or reading any messages from others…

This morning, I woke up knowing I had a long list of things to do. I’d sent out a pretty significant email last night and wanted to check and see how “it had done”. You know, I basically wanted to check the approval rating.

So, I went to my phone to check and respond to hubby’s morning text (he sends one every day that he commutes to Dallas for work) and then opened my email. There was another response and it wasn’t bad per se, but it wasn’t really complimentary either. Or rather, I didn’t take it that way. My feelings, on the way down into my soul where the truth lies, immediately begin to prickle and the temptation to remain in envy and hurt and negative thinking (hoping something good didn’t actually work out for someone else) hit me like a huge wave.

Now before you roll your eyes and think, “Again? This woman is always writing about stuff that is vulnerable, tempting or hard,” please try to hear me. Not because I want you to feel sorry for me, but so that you can see if there is anything here for you.

This other woman – busy entrepreneur, making an impact in the world – is taking her path and kicking tail. She is different than me, perhaps further along the road than I am and she lives by a different set of principles than I do. But she works hard and is successful and she offered her help to me.

My ego was is bruised. You see, I automatically judged, blamed and criticized her because I’m stuck in old stories,  overwhelmed by old ways of thinking. I’ve bought the junk pile of accusation, taking sides and the definition of “better” from the status quo in our society and even as a regular church attending, daily Bible reading, worshipping Jesus lover child of God. I still have to make the effort to work through these things.

I’ve found that I’m most successful when I address things like this quickly. It basically helps keep the impending train wreck (happening within my soul) to a minimum.

I’m better than I was, but…there was still a bit of damage. Before, I would have responded to her email right away with a “fake it til you make it” message. Not authentic, steeped with resentment, criticism or something ungodly. I didn’t do that, so yay for a small victory.

But I did go to her Facebook page and scoff when reading some of the more recent posts (totally appropriate and hard-earned successes) I saw there.

Then I crashed myself into shame.

In “Soul Keeping: Caring For The Most Important Part of You”, author John Ortberg, talks about the self versus the soul.

“Ironically, the more obsessed we are with our selves, the more we neglect our souls. 

All of our language reflects this. If you’re empty, you need to fulfill yourself. If you’re stressed, learn how to take care of yourself. If you’re on a job interview, you have to believe in yourself. If you’re at the tattoo parlor, you must learn to express yourself. If you someone dares to criticize you, you have to love yourself. If you’re not getting your own way, you have to stand up for yourself. What should you do on a date? You ought to be yourself

What if your life is a train wreck? What do you do then? 

Self is a stand-alone, do-it-yourself unit, while the soul reminds us we are not made for ourselves.”

A train wreck doesn’t usually take over an entire train track, but wherever it occurs, it causes enough damage to be tragic. No matter the wreck, the impact and destruction will need to be cleaned up and the accident evaluated so that it can be addressed and hopefully never occur again.

This is why I shared my less than stellar moment from that morning. It needs to be addressed – not harshly or with self-flagellation – but with God’s grace, His word and in prayer.

There are some stories I’m telling myself. On repeat. And most of them are not good. Like the story that just because someone is seemingly doing more or doing better does not mean that I’m doing less or doing worse. I can easily find many scriptures about “comparing yourself to others“. I read them and understand them on a head level and even perhaps on a heart level, but where I’m hoping to really let them sink in and change me is on a soul level.

“Innately we know that the self is not the soul, even as we do everything we can to preserve it.”

I am on this soul tending journey.  Baring pieces of my soul to encourage others to do the same. Hear my heart. I know that you struggle with something in the depths of who you are. At some point, in some instance, you have asked after your soul in some way.  You’ve attempted to understand you better, why you responded the way you did or didn’t speak honestly about what you truly believed. On your pursuit to better know your soul, you’ve had some wrecks, gotten cleaned up and gleaned some answers, but you may still struggle to overcome the things that sent you off the tracks in the first place.

This is my encouragement to you today.

Sit on that email. Set your phone down and let that text bubble go away. Reschedule that coffee date. Postpone that conversation. And before you plow through that thing eating at you from deep within, take some time.

Get in your Bible, spend some time in prayer until you receive peace, seek wise counsel from someone who will hear you and guide you back onto the track safely with understanding and grace; headed back into the loving arms of Jesus who knows you’re a train wreck in need of His perfect love.