December 29, 2015

We Are A Part Of Something So Much Bigger Than Ourselves

  
2015…For my husband and I it was a year of stretching…and I’m really not a fan of the stretching part. We learnt so much, we were stretched in ways that we didn’t think were even possible. With 2016 literally just around the corner we are excited! The stretch is still being held tight but we are excited about the New Year and the New Level that our family (as individuals and as a family unit) are stepping into.

I was sharing with my life coach a few weeks ago about I don’t make New Year resolutions or anything that is measured against, ‘I want to lose weight’, ‘I want to get muscles’, etc. This is all very me, me, me and I, I, I driven. I’m not saying that this isn’t what you should do, I’m just saying that it’s not what God has put on my heart to do.

When God conflicts you with something, He is conflicting YOU with something, not everyone else. This year God was really dealing with me and the cravings I had for sweets…I was craving them far more than I was craving time with Him and it was taking focus away from my purpose. I had to stop, cold turkey stop. I gained strength from the Lord in dealing with the cravings and went to Him instead of to the sweets. Does this mean you all have to do it? No. Did it mean that I had to do it? Yes. If you feel that somethings isn’t ‘sitting’ or feeling right with you, then it may mean that God is telling you this is something you need to deal with.

I tell the girls that I do Real Me with; if you put on a pair of jeans and they were so tight that they made you feel uncomfortable, they made you change the way you had to sit or stand, then you would take them off…you wouldn’t wear them…same thing applies to things that conflict you or things that others are asking you to do. If something isn’t ‘sitting’ or feeling right with you then don’t do it, ask for help or advice.

This whole ‘me’ and ‘I’ mindset that we have really takes our eyes off our true purpose and off God. This is why I am not a fan of selfies or endless photos of yourself. I am very much aware that I am a part of something that is much bigger than me…that my mission/purpose in life is not to make ‘me’ feel good or about seeing how much money ‘I’ can make or spend, or making a ‘name for myself’. My mission/purpose is to bring glory to God in all that I do, to acknowledge and give praise to Him in all that I succeed in, to love others, and to love myself (not in an up-myself-kind-of-way but in a ‘I can’t fulfil the Kingdom Call if I am not fit to do it’).

I was guided to the Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren. I am really excited to be doing this for at least the next 40 days. I started with Day One this morning, It All Starts With God, “You were made by God and for God – not the other way around – life is about letting God use you for His purposes, not you using Him for your own purposes.

You don’t need the books to do this, I have put a link to Day One here and I will post these links to the Faith, Food and Fitness Facebook page each day…so why not do this along with me?? Grab a notebook and your favourite pen and let’s all live a purpose driven life.

 

Be Blessed

Jess xx

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December 15, 2015

Green Beans and Brussels Sprouts

I love shredded Brussels spouts! If you’ve only had steamed Brussels sprouts then boy are you missing out…I mostly just have them shredded (easy to do using the slicing blade on the mandolin slicer or just with a sharp knife) and fried in some avocado oil or coconut oil.

The sprouts are making a big comeback in many diets, and it’s because they are exceptionally rich sources of vegetable protein, dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants (want to know more then read here)

Brussels spouts make an excellent addition to any meal, this morning I had this tasty green bean and spouts combo with eggs.  THis would make a perfect side dish with any meal, it would be perfect teamed up with one of the Slow Cooked Meats.

Green Beans and Brussels Sprouts
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 500g trimmed green beans
  • 500g Brussels sprouts
  • 2 Tablespoon of oil/butter of your choice
  • 1-2 Tablespoons of lime juice
  • 1-2 teaspoons of Himalayan salt
  • ¼ cup of chopped cashew nuts (or any nuts/seeds)
  • Chilli Flakes
Instructions
  1. Heat oil in a large fry pan.
  2. Add the shredded Brussels sprouts and beans and sauté until almost tender, about 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add the lime juice and salt and continue stir fry until the vegetables are cooked, around 3 minutes.
  4. Take the pan off the heat and transfer the sprouts and bean into a serving dish.
  5. Top with chopped nuts and chilli flakes.
  6. ENJOY :)

Be Blessed

Jess xx

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December 14, 2015

Free Will…Make Choices

  
We have been given free will.  Free will to choose one thing or another, to do something or not do it, to ‘say something nice or not say it at all’. 

This free will is extended to the things we choose to put in our mouths and feed our bodies with. We can choose to have a salad over chips, an apple over a chocolate bar.

Each time you choice to eat a Real Food option you are making it easier to respect that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, your body needs to be kept sacred, healthy and fit.

You will find that these healthy foods are not only making you feel better but you’re looking better, thinking clearer, emotions are stable and you’re responding to situations level-headed….BONUS! 

Be blessed

Jess xx

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November 5, 2015

Give It Time


We’ve been outside rebuilding and planting our vegetable garden today, and we have a mulberry tree right in the middle of our planters. We planted this tree 5 years ago and it had never produced a single mulberry.

Last year my husband said, “That’s it, this tree is going!” I convinced him to give it another season. We pruned it back heavily and I was determined to see mulberries this season so I read up on the best fertiliser for it and how to get it to grow fruit. I grew up on a farm and we had 3 huge mulberry trees that were alway loaded with fruit. I dug around the root base and loaded it up with fertiliser.

Today while we were gardening my husband said, “Right, it’s time for that tree to go. We can fit another planter box in the garden if we get rid of it.” I looked up…and saw FRUIT!

This story reminded me of the parable of the Barren Fig Tree in Luke 13:6-9  And He began telling this parable: “A man had a fig tree which had been planted in his vineyard; and he came looking for fruit on it and did not find any. “And he said to the vineyard-keeper, ‘Behold, for three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree without finding any. Cut it down! Why does it even use up the ground?’ “And he answered and said to him, ‘Let it alone, sir, for this year too, until I dig around it and put in fertilizer; and if it bears fruit next year, fine; but if not, cut it down.’”

We all need a good pruning and fertilising to help us produce good things in life. Cut the things off that are not helping you reach your potential (junk processed food, negative thinking, busy for the sake of being busy, etc) and fertilise yourself with good wholesome real food, drink loads of water and get out in the sunshine. You WILL grow and reach your full potential.

Be blessed, be fruitful

Jess xx

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November 4, 2015

As You Judge, You Shall Be Judged

  
John 8:7 “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”

Matthew 7:2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

One of the downsides of social media is that everybody has an opinion on everything.

Over the last week my FB newsfeed has run over with people reposting videos of intoxicated females and males, I’ve seen images of people with captions that criticise and condemn. These captions are often seen as funny which is why they get reposted thousands of times. 

The issue I have is that the images involve children or teenagers or adults and this is definitely bound to have an impact on their lives. I mean, think about it, how would you feel if it was a photo or video of you (or your child) circulating social media? 

See we all make mistakes, but most of us are lucky enough to not have our mistakes (or over drinking shenanigans) posted on social media for everyone to pick to pieces. I watched a Ted talk a few months ago about how social media destroyed the life a woman in a matter of 5 minutes. She went into hiding, changed her name, and moved. Even moving couldn’t help her as her face had been seen world-wide. 

It is not our job to judge, to criticise, to condemn, to contribute to the pulling down of others. It is our job to be the light, the love, the friend, the caring stranger in building others up. 

Be a Blessing

Jess xx

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October 25, 2015

That Gut Feeling – Part Two – The Science


Last month I wrote an article about Jess Rath and her family and their journey to overcome health conditions using diet. To recap, Jess has 4 boys. Brayden her oldest, has an aggressive autoimmune, skin condition and the youngest William is autistic. This family chose to do what they could to treat both conditions primarily through nutrition and lifestyle and they have had astounding results. Their story emphasizes the role that gut health plays in the manifesting of many health conditions and today I’ll explore the concept of ‘gut health’ in further detail.

Let’s go all the way back to time in vitro (in the womb) because this is where the link begins. At about 5 weeks post conception(1) a clump of tissues called the neural crest form. From this same clump of tissues, two complex systems develop. They are our Central Nervous System (CNS), which are the brain and spinal system and our Enteric Nervous System (ENS), which controls our gastrointestinal function meaning digestion, bowel movements, absorption of nutrients etc. Cells called neurons, otherwise referred to as brain cells are generally thought of as residing in the brain and the spinal cord. However, neurons are also found in our gut within the ENS; around 100 million of them to be precise(2). These neurons act as a single system, in the same way that the brain operates, zapping messages and generating feelings.

KEY POINTS: the brain and the gut are formed from the same tissue mass in vitro. The ENS in the gut has lots of brain cells in fact, the ENS has more brain cells than the brain and spinal cord combined. Therefore the ENS is like your second brain.

Neurotransmitters, like serotonin and dopamine are typically associated with the brain but these too can be found in the gut. In fact, over 90% of the body’s serotonin is made in the gut not the brain (2). Neurotransmitters have many functions, particularly concerning mood, sleep, concentration and focus. Specific and relevant examples include:

-Dopamine: the ‘focus’ neurotransmitter. Someone who consistently loses focus or trails off topic in conversation may have inadequate dopamine levels.

-Norepinephrine: is responsible for stimulatory processes. Therefore low levels are associated with decreased focus and energy whilst high levels may trigger anxiety.

-Epinephrine: another excitory neurotransmitter with elevated levels being associated with ADHD.

-Serotonin: required for stable mood and balancing nervous energy. Low levels are widely accepted as being associated with depression.

KEY POINTS: Depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive behaviours, low energy, poor focus, poor concentration and mental health concerns are symptoms that neurotransmitter levels may not be optimal. As these neurotransmitters reside in both the gut and the brain, optimal gut health is a critical long term strategy to rebalance neurotransmitters.

But what does a healthy gut environment actually look like? There are two factors to consider in this. The first factor to consider is the permeability of the gut wall otherwise known as intestinal permeability (IP). Increased IP is associated with the condition ‘leaky gut’ syndrome, which you may have heard of before. The gut lining consists of ‘tight junctions’ acting like gatekeepers between the digestive system and the general circulatory system. Tight junctions, when working optimally, permit the safe passage of nutrients out of the gut and into the bloodstream. However, if the gut wall is more permeable than it should be, other substances will ‘leak’ from the gut including undigested foods, larger proteins and bacteria. This material appears as foreign to the body and the immune system in turn creates antibodies to attack the leaked substances. In this way, previously harmless foods are now elevating the immune response and driving up inflammation. But how does this fit in with ‘autoimmunity, where the body begins to attack its own tissues? Still a topic for further research, however a reasonable theory proposed and well supported thus far indicates that the elevated antibodies (caused by the presence of foreign matter) find their way into various tissues and trigger an anti-inflammatory reaction, acting on its own body parts (4). For example, in Rheumatoid Arthritis the body’s own immune system attacks the joints causing aches and pains. In Urticarial Vasculitis (Brayden’s condition) positive C1q antibodies are present and the skin is one of the affected organs. I

KEY POINTS: A leaky gut is like a strainer with holes that are too big. Instead of only allowing the fine particles to pass, larger molecules are able to get through into the circulatory system. These molecules are foreign to the body so the body mounts an immune response creating antibodies that attack. These antibodies may find their way into the bodys own tissues and unleash their fury here. This is the case in autoimmune conditions. Therefore the integrity of the gut should be considered in order to determine the underlying cause. In Braydens case, gut healing was the key to managing his skin condition

The second factor to consider in looking at gut health is the bacterial population residing in the digestive system. Each of us has a different bacterial composition just like we all have a different genetic makeup. The bacterial population is an important consideration because:

-These bacteria are responsible for building the intestinal walls and repairing leaks in the barrier.

-They are responsible for synthesising specific nutrients (e.g. vitamin K)

-good bacteria are important to ‘crowd out’ the bad pathogens

-certain strains of bacteria provide a healthy and strong immune response

-specific bacterial imbalances are being linked with conditions such as Diabetes, obesity (5) and even Autism (6)

-overall, the environment of the gut needs to be optimal for proper functioning of the neurons, neurotransmitters, neuropeptides and the digestive system itself.

So the external structure of the gut as well as its internal contents are both critical considerations in a wide range of health conditions. Jess’s journey is an example of how nutritional and lifestyle choices have a huge impact on the outward expression of one’s internal state. Please keep in mind that these are complex topics, that I have attempted to explain as simply as possible in order to assist you to make choices that may benefit your own and your family’s health. I understand that this article is mainly background is really the ‘why’ behind the concept of ‘gut health’ and you may now be interested in the ‘how.’ Please stay tuned for the third and final article where we will discuss some of the simple actions you can take in order to optimize your own gut health.

References

  1. University of NSW, Neural Crest Development, available from https://embryology.med.unsw.edu.au/embryology/index.php/Neural_Crest_Development
  2. Scientific American, 2010 by A. Hadhazy, Think Twice: How the Gut’s “Second Brain” Influences Mood and Well-Being, available from http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/gut-second-brain/
  3. Campbell, A. 2014. US National Library of Medicine. Autoimmunity and the Gut http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4036413/
  4. Carnahan, J. (MD). 2014. Leaky Gut: The Syndrome Linked to Many Autoimmune Diseases, available from: http://www.jillcarnahan.com/2014/07/07/leaky-gut-syndrome-linked-many-autoimmune-diseases/
  5. Wallis, C. (2014) How Gut Bacteria Help Make Us Fat or Thin, available from http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-gut-bacteria-help-make-us-fat-and-thin/
  6.  Moyer, M. (2014) Gut Bacteria May Play a Role in Autism, available from: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/gut-bacteria-may-play-a-role-in-autism/
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October 24, 2015

Discipline Instead Of Motivation


“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” {Hebrews‬ ‭12:11‬ ‭NIV‬‬}

I’ll take being disciplined over being motivated any day. Motivation is fleeting, it doesn’t last long. Discipline changes you, it produces a harvest in whatever area you apply it to. Discipline is what gets me up every morning to meet my girlfriends and get moving, discipline keeps me eating foods that give me health instead of taking it, discipline keeps my house clean and tidy when all I want to do is sit on the lounge and read a book.

Motivation is a feeling that flees as soon as it gets tough. “I don’t feel like doing it today”, “I’ll do it tomorrow when I feel like it”. These are things that don’t last and don’t produce results.

What drives you? Do you rely on being ‘motivated’ to do something (oh I don’t feel like doing it today so I’ll leave it till I feel like it)? What areas do you apply discipline to?

Be Blessed

Jess xx


If you’d like to share my posts or photos on your blog/website, please contact me for permission first. Email Jess at FaithFoodAndFitness@hotmail.com to contact me before using any of my content on your blog/website. This is my intellectual property and failure to do so is a copyright violation.  © Jessica Rath 2015

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October 15, 2015

Eat Well To Be Well

 
When we eat good food, food that grown and not formulated, our mind is well. If everyday we are making the decision to eat our food as close as possible to the way that God intended it to be then our bodies respond with complete wellness…body and mind (then read The Word to be well in spirit but that’s another post). 
The way you eat is entirely up to you, I choose not to eat grains because they don’t make me feel good, I know that when I eat them I feel bloated and ‘sad’. It’s hard to put it any other way than ‘sad’, I just don’t feel like my usual self and I mope about, so I choose not to eat them. Doesn’t mean it’s the same for you, you might thrive with grains (this is just an example). 

The thing is…eat food on the closest state that God intended and you will be well…that is a promise. 

Be Blessed 

Jess xx



If you’d like to share my posts or photos on your blog/website, please contact me for permission first. Email Jess at FaithFoodAndFitness@hotmail.com to contact me before using any of my content on your blog/website. This is my intellectual property and failure to do so is a copyright violation. 

© Jessica Rath 2015

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October 2, 2015

The Promise Is In Your Name

  
Yesterday I read Genesis 17 and I got stuck on verses 1-6 and then spent all day mediating on it and digging deeper into what it means for me and my family.

1)“When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am Almighty God; walk before Me and be blameless. 2) And I will make My covenant between Me and you, and will multiply you exceedingly.” 3) Then Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him, saying: 4) “As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, and you shall be a father of many nations. 5) No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you a father of many nations. 6) I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you.”
Genesis‬ ‭17:1-6‬ ‭NKJV

I’d love to share the revelation I received.

Abram was 75 years-old when God told him to leave his father’s house and move to the land that God will show him (Genesis 12:1-3). He has faithfully done all that God has asked of him and he is now 99 years-old and has a son to Hagar but still hasn’t received this promise of a multitude of decendants making a great nation. 

So here is God 24 years later saying the same thing again to Abram, “I will multiply you exceedingly,” and this time Abram is 99 years-old (too old to be having children in his eyes) and he has probably given up on this promise coming to pass as God says. He “fell on his face”. I’m sure you know what this is like, you’ve been waiting months or years for your promise to come to pass and you fall to your knees with your face in your hands and you are completely submitted before God in surrender. But God….you said!

Then God says, “No longer shall your name be Abram, but your name shall be Abraham.” So his name became his promise. He went from Abram, exhalted father, to Abraham, father of a multitude. So here was my big revelation…every single time someone calls out to him, or every time he says his name, he is speaking God’s promised blessing over his life. I imagined this, “Hi, it’s a pleasure to meet you. I am the father of a multitude.”

This led me to look for the meaning of my name and the names of my husband and children. Wow! Then I sat in my quiet space almost all day searching and praying over scriptures that related to each of us and lined up with our names (thankfully my husband is home on days off so I could take time out). The promise is in your name…

So for example, Jessica means ‘God’s gracious gift’, ‘wealthy’ and the shortened form Jess means ‘God exists’. God exists in me and I am His gracious gift, He will make me wealthy. 

Then in the rest of verse 5 God continues with, “for I have made you the father of many nations.” The tense goes from ‘I will’ to ‘I have’. I have done it…it is done…believe it…speak it out loud…receive it. 

So here I change the tense in my promised blessing, God exists in me and I am His gracious gift, He has made me wealthy. Start your day with this…saying it out loud, “Hi, it’s a pleasure to meet you, God exists in me, I’m God’s gracious gift and He has made me wealthy.’ Changes the way you view yourself and the promises made to you. 

What does your name promise? What promised blessing do you need to be speaking out loud over your life?

Be blessed

Jess xx


If you’d like to share my posts or photos on your blog/website, please contact me for permission first. Email me at FaithFoodAndFitness@hotmail.com to contact me before using any of my content on your blog / website. This is my intellectual property and failure to do so is a copyright violation. 


© Jessica Rath 2015

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September 28, 2015

Arise! Get Up And Walk

  
In Genesis 13, Abram and Lot part ways.  They out-grew each other and needed to go separate ways. Abram lets Lot choose the property that he desires, he looks about and chooses the primest looking patch of land, the greenest, the land that looks like it is far better than the others. Abram goes in the other direction, as he said he would. 

I imagine how Abram must’ve been feeling at this moment. You know how it is when something happens and you and friends or family have to part ways. You’ve outgrown each other and you need to give each other space. Maybe they said something that really upset you. Maybe they spoke about you in manner that was false and unkind. Maybe they just decided to turn their back on you. You’re left feeling really down and hurt, maybe confused. 

God says to Abram, “Lift your eyes NOW and look from the place where you are. Arise, walk in the land…for I give it to you.” 

So when something happens that could cause you to feel down, hurt, confused, look up…look up from where you are and look at what is ahead of you, don’t stay put wallowing in pain, get up and get moving, remember all of the good things that are promised to you. Yes it may look like their grass is greener (but remember what happens to Lot and his family after choosing to go to the greener pastures of Sodom?), but you are walking in a promise, a promise that is far greener, far more prosperous and far more rewarding. 

{PS: How awesome is the photo! No filters. I took this photo last year when I was in Cambodia. We were in a night market having dinner and I looked up an saw this amazing stream of light as the sun was settling}

Be Blessed 

Jess xx


If you’d like to share my posts or photos on your blog/website, please contact me for permission first. Email me at FaithFoodAndFitness@hotmail.com to contact me before using any of my content on your blog / website. This is my intellectual property and failure to do so is a copyright violation. 


© Jessica Rath 2015

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