lemony snack bars

here is another great alternative to the common granola bar. i found this recipe on a health food blog i follow, created to be similar to a lemon larabar {really expensive health food bars found in health food stores}. i personally don't love the taste of larabars but this is a fabulous tasty take on the bar, ideal for after a workout. full of protein, it helps sustain the muscle built after a workout if eaten within half an hour after a workout. i haven't tried them out on davith yet, but i will let you how they go over.

this recipe is a little finicky as it is vegan, with very few ingredients. i just stuck to the recipe & followed the instructions exactly, which is unusual for

{lemony snack bars}
makes 6 bars
3/4 cup whole pitted dates
1/3 cup cashews (mine were roasted & lightly salted)
1/4 cup almonds (mine were raw)
1/4 tsp lemon extract

put the date, cashews, and almonds
in a food processor and process until the dates and nuts are broken down. add the lemon extract and continue to process a little more. the mixture will look a little dry and like it's not going to stick together but it will, trust me!
dump your mixture onto a piece of wax paper. form it into a rectangular loaf. slice it into small bars. you can keep these in the fridge or on the counter. they will be firmer if kept in the fridge, but hold together fine if kept on the counter.

goodness bars

here is another great recipe to replace the common sugary granola bar found in the snack aisle at the grocery store. these bars are hearty, moist and have little crunch to them from the walnuts. davith has never been a fan of apples or carrots, so this is a great way to integrate those tastes into his diet without him knowing it! sneaky, sneaky....they make a great breakfast, snack or dessert.

{goodness bars}
makes 12 bars
1 medium carrot, grated
1 medium apples, peeled, cored, and grated
2 cups of oats
1/2 cup of honey
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp ground allspice
2 eggs
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)

preheat the oven to 350 degrees. lightly oil an 8x8 baking pan and set aside. add all ingredients to a medium bowl and mix well. transfer mixture to the prepared pan and use a spatula to pat it down firmly. bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes. allow to cool before cutting into squares.


pantry makeover

as previously noted, change has come to the wilkins home! we are in the middle of our family food makeover. as a part of that makeover, i have been trying to baking as regularly and consistently as possible. in order to do that healthily, i needed to make some changes to my pantry. here is some of the changes that i have endeavored to make over over the past year or so. some i made all at the same time and others i spaced out. some where more expensive changes than others. but so far, none of these switches have changed the taste of any of my usual recipes in an unsavoury way. the goal was just to enrich all baking & cooking to be more healthy, hearty & wholesome.

{flour} multigrain & whole wheat: i started with whole wheat & then gradually switched to multigrain. this was more a texture change than anything else. i still occasionally use "white flour with the goodness of whole wheat" for special christmas baking or ollibollien at new years.

{sugar} agave syrup, pure maple syrup, organic sucnant & stevia: to replace the typical white grandular & brown sugar. the only one of these i found changed the taste significantly was the brown sucnant. it just has a harsher more 'molasses-y' taste than brown sugar. the stevia took some getting used to as well as 1/8 cup of stevia = 1 cup of sugar. math & measurements were never my strength so i always ended up measuring wrong when the recipe called for only a quarter of a cup of normal sugar. the maple syrup & agave syrup were both seamless transitions. they only added delicious! {i have also used natural sweeteners like unsweetened applesauce, raisins & other dried fruit as sweeteners in cereal instead of my lump of brown sugar}

{coconut oil} this little treasure is a fat substitute with reams of health benefits. click on this link to read up on all the amazing benefits. i use it where ever i would have usually used butter or cooking oil in most recipes, even if it's just to grease a pan. it smells awesome but it doesn't change the taste.

{steal cut oats & oatbran} to replace the usual oatmeal. adds extra fiber and nutrition.

{almond milk & goat yogurt} our most recent change. i love the vanilla almond milk as a substitute to dairy milk. i did try goat's milk in a few muffin recipes and they tasted a little goaty to me, so i'll have to research that one a little bit. i have used goat yogurt as a substitute and it tasted fine.

{salt} we use sea salt or veggie salt. sometimes steve likes to add a little more to cooking recipes, but it honestly makes no difference to me.

{veggie purees} i got this idea from deceptively delicious. i have ziplock bags full of purees in the freezer that i pull out and add to just about any recipe 1/2 cup at a time without anyone noticing. it actually makes most muffins extra moist.

i am still working to build my own empire of recipes that already have these ingredients translated into them, but until then, here is a link i use to help substitute different ingredients to recipes that i love but aren't necessarily in line with our new lifestyle change. i'm sure i'll think of a few more things we changed over after i publish this post but that's all for now.

postpartum pampering

my last post on postpartum challenges had more of a 'how to help your mind' theme. i thought i would make a sequel post on a few things that i have found helped my body to cope. they are just a really simple collection of things that certainly haven't solved my challenges but have helped alleviate some of the yucky symptoms.

{floridix} a liquid iron supplement found at most health food stores. even if you are not low enough in iron for your doctor to notice, this will make a difference in your energy levels. i noticed a big increase of overall energy within a three hour period of taking my first dose. any woman who has been pregnant, has children or get their period regularly should at least give this a try. floridix has the highest absorption rate of any iron supplement currently on the market at 25% {compared to iron tablets which have an absorption rate of 2-10%}. for me this was a life changer to go from frumpy, sleepy, can't get out of bed mode to high energy, nesting, spring cleaning mode.

{water} especially if you take any supplement or medication, but also if your hormones are out of wack, drinking 2 litres of water a day will surely help. a big reason why hormones get all backed up in your system and make you a little loopy is because your liver is having a difficult time processing them all at the same time. so help that little liver out and give your system a good daily flush out. it will help with some of the more concentrated hormonal times.

{fennel tea} i have difficulty sleeping when my body is trying to process so much at the same time which only adds to the difficulty of mood swings & exhaustion from the hormones during the day. i have found some moderate success with fennel tea before bed. i don't have it every night but it helps ease you into a sleepy state. it works about 1 out of every two times i have taken it. if you have any tummy trouble, it can also be really helpful {i drank it every night while nursing kai who had a lot of gassy issues as a newborn}.

{immune boosters} i write this as i am surrounded by clouds of snotty kleenex. anytime my hormones spike i get sick, really sick, like cold or flu sick on top of feeling crappy. no fun. i found out from my midwife that is because your body becomes so preoccupied dealing with the extra hormones that it forgets about running your immune system. i always get sick when i am first pregnant and then again when i wean from nursing. so just be aware & wash you hands as often as possible. check out my previous blog post on immune boosters for some tips.

i'll let you know if i find any other tricks of the trade along my journeys but that's all for now!

sunday best {small style}

i'm sure every mother who has even an ounce of sentimentality has had that moment, as they are putting away boxes of clothes that have been grown out of. that moment, with just a touch of emotion, where you realize your baby is not a baby anymore. that moment, where you wish you had taken more pictures, documented their growth more thoroughly, captured those timeless memories forever. you can never take enough pictures to totally ease that moment of it's bittersweetness but here is a start...

i got this neat idea from my creative friend katie geranium. seeing as dressing babies is so much fun these day, double the fun now with the twins, {small style} is an funky way to capture some of those colourful memories that seem to slip by so easily. i never think to take pictures of the kids during the day, unless it is a special event, and so hopefully we'll get some more pictures of the fam at the same time.

here are the kids in their sunday best... this past sunday, steve was in peterborough preaching and so i got the kids ready myself... you can see how thrilled kai was to be hurriedly shoved into a onesie! evie, loves workin' that sunday dress & dav with a fresh scrape on his forehead from flinging himself off a kitchen chair, followed by a nice black eye from running into a wall {why do these things always happen 3 minutes before we leave for church?}

{davith's outfit}
shirt: children's place
shorts: joe
tie: gymboree

{kai's outfit}
onesie: george
capris: mexx

{evie's outfit}
dress: gap - a pinafore to another dress (i got it for $6 because the dress part was missing)
flower: ardene's (i just tied it tight at the back to fit her little head)


cinnamon granola balls

as promised, the recipe for cinnamon granola balls! with no refined sugars, and loads of cinnamon to boost insulin sensitivity & stimulate metabolism, these are a fabulous choice for not only my little flock of toddlers but also me! *warning: these are addictive*

cinnamon granola balls
1/2 cup natural peanut butter
1/4 honey
1 cup 5-grain cereal {or old fashioned oats}
1/4 cup slivered almonds, crushed
1/4 cup finely shredded unsweetened coconut
1/4 cup dried cranberries
2 tbsp melted butter
1 tbsp cinnamon

preheat the oven to 350 degrees. in a small saucepan, combine the peanut butter & honey. slowly heat over low until the peanut butter & honey are somewhat melty.

meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the cereal, almonds, coconut, and cranberries. use a rubber spatula to spoon all of the peanut butter mixture on top of the dry mixture. use your hands to combine the dry & wet ingredients. this is very sticky! continue to mix until it is well combined and the mixture is sticking together.

in a small bowl, combine the melted butter & cinnamon. roll mixture into small balls, dip them into the butter & cinnamon mixture & place of greased cookie sheet.

bake for 15 minutes in preheated oven. makes 20 balls.

convenience foods

it is so easy to fall into the trap of processed convenience foods for toddler's these days. i'll admit, as health conscience as i strive to be, i have at times fallen into the ploy. it's just so darn easy to busy those pretty little tidy packages of whatch-ama-call-its and just pop open the top & presto... snack is served! what mom doesn't need a little easy in her day?

with giant marketing budgets those massive corporations fill aisle upon aisle of packages, trying to convince us mom's to pick their "healthy" snack for our growing child. and yet i am hard pressed to find any toddler snack that doesn't list sugar as the first & main ingredient (which is horrifying when you think most of these snacks are marketed to the 1-years and under crowd). processed foods loaded with chemicals to keep food "fresh" not only affect health, but studies have shown they change our taste buds. we become accustomed to strong tasting flavours and find whole foods bland. a recent study showed that people who tended to include processed foods in their diets, generally preferred to eat any whole, real foods in their diet with added sugar & salt. this is something i am trying to change for my kids. i want them to grow up with a taste for whole foods and be able to appreciate their natural taste.

so even though i have been far from perfect in this area, my goal is to avoid processed foods as much as possible for the whole family. i have found the most difficult area to be snacking. seriously, who has time to bake muffins everyday? especially with the way my kids eat, they rarely last longer than a day! i have had to change some of my priorities in this area and make a consistent time for baking & meals prep but i am continuing to find a balance that fits for my family. i try to get a lot of it done in the mornings while davith does independent table time & the twins are napping. sometimes, davith even joins in & helps out. he's extra good at licking bater out of the bowl.

anyways, i thought i would compile a little list of healthier 'convenient' solutions for those days the muffins don't get whipped up quite like you had planned & you need something in a hurry {there is no hurry like 3 starving kids!}. feel free to add your own little snacking secrets! i love sharing!

1. organic cheese: i usually choose old cheddar {the older the cheese, the more absorbable the calcium} until i recently found some fabulous goat's cheddar - very strong tasting but super healthy. on a day i have more time, i might use a small cookie cutter to cut out some fun shapes to copy the more expensive, usually more processed, cheeses found in the kids lunch aisle in the grocery store. {just remember not all cheeses are created equal!}

2. organic fruit: this one is fabulous and our most readily available in our house. to spice it up, i occasionally load a bunch of fruit onto a plastic skewer. the twins love the challenge of chewing all that fruit off the stick. for their birthday, i spiced this one up by using cookie cutters to cut out shapes in mango & apples and then loaded them onto plastic skewers {i used the plastic skewers because the wooden ones can be too pointy for the babies}. the only problem with this snack is it can be sticky... especially with my kids. weird fruit are always a neat way to spice it up... yesterday i let the twins eat a pomegranate in the bathtub! they loved it & with the easy clean up so did i! gooseberries are another favourite.

3. smoothies: great now that the twins can drink out of straws. pack them full of fruit, protein, flax, spices, almond milk, yogurt, etc. and mix and match as you please. i even sneak in the occasional vegetable without them noticing. these never get old!

4. plain beans: the pc brand of beans has no sodium in their canned beans. this is a favourite of the twins... not so much davith but i'm working on him. on the other hand he loves roasted chickpeas!

5. organic veggies & dip: this one take some coaxing for davith unless i pair it with hummus, his favourite!

6. granola or roasted quinoa: i recently stumbled across a recipe for both and they are fantastic {i will post them for anyone interested}. this is an easy one because i just make a big batch and then i can store it for just the right occasion. i mix it with fruit, yogurt, i've even rolled banana pops in them.

7. homemade bars: these are super easy to whip up and are a great solution to avoid that high fructose corn syrup in store bought granola bars. when i make a big batch, they last through the whole week. it's a great on the go snack. one of my favourite's is granola cinnamon balls {i will post the recipe}.

8. carefully selected convenience foods: it just isn't realistic to have 100% of my kids diet to be organic & homemade. so i do have a few fail-safes that i trust. sometimes the only prep for a snack can just be researching the brand. here is a few that i have found, that i consider safe for my kids. most are found in the healthy food section at loblaws. the things i look for are whole grains, fewest ingredients possible (5 or less is ideal), ingredients i can pronounce & know, low or no sugar. and then just be careful as organic does not always mean healthy. the organic label is another marketing ploy - just because the sugar that goes into a cookie is organic doesn't mean it's a healthy snack. one of my new finds are heritage O's: made from spelt & quinoa, sweetened with a touch of honey, a much healthier alternative to Cheerios. Lundburg rice cakes made from wild organic rice, dried seaweed & other whole grain goodness - just top with peanut butter or hummus to hide that seaweedy taste (they can be messy as they do fall a part quite easily without any sugar). dehydrated veggies is also a great find. mmm... crunchy goodness!



"gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life & the world."
- sarah ban breathnach

i am starting a list. not any ordinary list. a life altering, time savouring, grace dripping, joy multiplying, glory beholding, love unwrapping list. it is no ordinary list, but it is a list, a recording, a capturing, a denoting, a remembering the ordinary. a list of ordinary. of ordinary moments, pauses in time when God in His kindness fills a life full of good things, beautiful things, things intangible. different than my grocery list, my fix-it list, my honey-do list. different than my list of 100 places i want to see before die. a seeing of wonder from the right now, the right here in my scrubby, little kitchen with the cracked tile. it is a list of one thousand blessings, one thousand gifts, one thousand ways the Lord loves me in the wonder of the everyday ordinary.

i am taking up eucharisteo. eucharisteo, the greek word meaning thanksgiving. as in "He took the bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them..." {luke 22:19} the table of thanksgiving, central symbol to christianity, the key to the mystery of the full life. as He took what would be the symbol of His torn body, just a common loaf of bread, He broke it & gave thanks. funny that it was just common, ordinary bread not the fatted calf or the prize lamb. just plain, old ordinary bread accompanying everyday meals. or is that the point, the ordinary. First Corinthians reads, "whenever you eat this bread and drink the cup". Whenever, as in whenever we eat. like everyday. and so how do i practically pick up this eucharisteo? how do i learn this eucharisteo language? live the eucharisteo life? when the one language i do speak is the language of the fall - discontentment, self-condemnation, never satisfied, an ever searching critical eye? or is it as Paul says "i have learned to be content..." {phil 4:11-12} learned to be thankful whether empty or full. i have so much to learn, so much change, so much to transfigure, to reform. i must do something and yet i don't quite know where to start. Martin Luther is quoted "if you want to change the world, pick up your pen". John Piper said it too "that there are eyes in pencils & pens". and so i will write. i will write one thousand gifts that God has given me.

it is a dare from ann voskamp {one thousand gifts}. a dare to live fully right where i am.

1. fennel tea brewed warm in a pink poka dotted cup
2. three perfect little bottoms hiked up & nestled in amungst swarms of knotted blankies
3. gigantic blossoms of sunshine on my counter on a grey day
4. that perfect little blue pillow that fits just the right space between my belly & the bed


baking therapy

baking is a special type of therapy for me. although it takes energy & prep, it just makes me feel good about myself. i know i am providing for my family something healthy & wholesome and that makes me happy. so does eating!
i'm sure we've all heard the expression 'when life gives you lemons, make lemonade'. and that's just what i thought i would do! only change that lemonade to lemon blueberry scones.

i have slightly adapted this recipe from unmodernmom.com which i think she also adapted from somewhere.

Blueberry Lemon Scones
  • 2 cups of flour (i used whole grain)
  • 1/4 cup white sugar ( i used 1 tsp of stevia instead)
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt (i used sea salt)
  • 1/4 cup cold butter
  • 1/2 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 cup milk (i always use vanilla almond milk if i have it, goat if if i don't)
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • milk for the tops

Stir flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut the butter in until it’s nice and crumbly. Make a well in the center of the mixture. In a separate small bowl beat the egg. When it’s frothy, add the milk and lemon zest and pour the mixture into the well. Stir with a fork until you have a soft dough. Gently fold in the blueberries.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and carefully knead it 8 or 10 times. Split the dough into 6 equal parts. Transfer them to a parchment covered baking sheet ( i sprayed the baking sheet with cooking spray instead of parchment paper the second time i made these as the parchment caught fire when i first made them). Brush milk on the tops. Score the tops into 6 pie-shaped markings.

Bake at 425 for 15 minutes. Serve ‘em up hot with butter.


a postpartum pilgrim's progress

postpartum depression happens to the best of us. even the most mentally hygienic women have silently struggled. and i am suddenly one of them. after weaning the twins last week, i feel like i have been on one wicked ride of vicious emotions. i know it sounds weird to say postpartum since the twins are 13 months now, but steve said this happened when i weaned davith, as well as around 6 months postpartum & at different points prenatally with each pregnancy... i just never remember these things. and so i thought i would write myself a little post, a little checklist of remembrances if there should happen to be a next time to help equip me out of the 'depths of despair'.

battle thought #1: postpartum is a pilgrimage worth progressing through
i love the idea that we are always progressing, always pushing forward, always pioneering and the thought occurred to me that both pregnancy & postpartum shouldn't be excluded from those principles. so i may not be where i think i should be. i have & i am progressing regardless of my feelings, from strength to strength & glory to glory.

battle thought #2: drink deep of the well of my salvation
now is the time to buckle down & know who i am... not who i feel like. i need to meditate on what God thinks of me, the truth. i actually caught myself melodramatically crying 'hope where art thou?' until i heard Him say 'I am right here beside you'. there is nothing to fear. my hope is Him. author & perfecter. He's not done with me yet, He hasn't forsaken me. and i am worth it to Him. i have definitely appreciated the sweet intimacy with my saviour who is ever so gracious.

battle thought #3: my reality is overrated
i find myself excruciatingly sensitive during this process & it helps to just recognize that there is a possibility that that person didn't just call me fat. realizing that what seems so real in my brain isn't alway what happened in reality, helps deflate offense. and to return to #2, know who you are and be secure is a nice little reality check.

battle thought #4: stick with the strong
surrounding myself with loads of worship music, tons of reading material & lots of people to build me up have been such a strength. people don't even necessarily have to know what you're going through, they just need to be positive, non-life sucking, pleasant people. i really have to force myself to read & pray during this time, as i just found it helped restore some dignity, truth & vision beyond what i am feeling at the moment.

battle thought #5: be thankful
take nothing for granted. thank God for every seemingly menial thing. for cowlicks, for cheerios, for quiet moments, for loud moments. be thankful.

battle thought #6: this too shall pass
it always feels like it's going to last forever. but that is the tricky thing about hormones is one day you feel at your lowest & the next your back at the top of your game. it doesn't necessarily mean months & months of darkness & struggle. and on the dark days, you just recognize it for what it is & take it all at face value. i know i may not just leap out of the pit suddenly but i can build steps by taking every decision captive & eventually reaching the top again. as both a parent & a leader, i don't really have the luxury of revelling in these emotions. i know i have to either grow up or be swallowed up. they are impossible decisions at times but i know it is just a time of chiseling and sharpening. it's not a waste. surely my redeemer & restorer has something to say about that!


in the constant loading and unloading of the dishwasher, the ever-growing laundry monster in the basement, the never-ending diapers & the long nights and early mornings, one can find their day washed away by seemingly menial tasks. don't get me wrong, i have loved the privilege of staying home with my kids but at times i can lose the revelation of what i am doing. i found the quote below earlier today and it just set my perspective straight after a long day.

"i learned more about christianity from my mother than from all the theologians in england"
- john wesley

what an terrifyingly awesome statement. it's not at all about the dishes, the mangled toys or dinner clean-up... it's about your who not your do... who you are changes everything you do.

what a worthy cause to wade through the dirty laundry and unswept cheerios for.


my heart sings {a song diary}

i stumbled across an old diary i had compiled of songs that had ministered to me during certain points during my life, from the triumphant climactic mountain tops to the humbled, darkness of the valley. i thought i would continue this song journal of sorts as a way of capturing a somewhat unwritable inner journey. i know the amount of emotion & nostalgic memory pulled out by most of these melodies may be limited to me but i thought i would share anyways. you never know who's heart strings might get tugged and pulled back to another place they haven't visited in a while. places of helpless surrender, of clawing desperation, of uncontainable jubilant cries, of quiet, stillness, of fear-stricken awe, of ever rolling promise & purpose, a new place, a true place. they are a collection of testimonies. a recording, a detailing of what God did and is doing and always will do. i feel selfish deriving even a little pleasure from these songs as they were intended wholly for the glory of the King of kings. but i think He is honoured even by the recollection & of course the expectation, that my life is just one unwritable love song to Him who is seated in the holy of holies.

“As the Deer Pants”

As the deer pants for the water,

So my soul longs after You.

You alone are my heart's desire

And I long to worship You.

You alone are my strength, my shield,

To You alone may my spirit yield.

You alone are my heart's desire

And I long to worship You.

I want You more than gold or silver,

Only You can satisfy.

You alone are the real joy-giver

And the apple of my eye.

You're my Friend and You are my Brother,

Even though You are a King.

I love You more than any other,

So much more than anything.

{psalm 42:1} "as my heart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after Thee, God"


a secret not so secret

i have been secretly blogging for some time now. not because i have anything to hide, but just because i have the freedom to and maybe, if i was honest with myself, because i was a little bit afraid. afraid of what others might think or conclude about my thoughts, or the way i chose to organize my family. the intention of this blog was never to offend anyone or to appear as an authority on anything, passing out judgment to anyone who reads. my intention has always been to encourage & equip, while helping myself articulate & think about the way i do life. things always look so different up close. to be intentional about my perspective & my everyday practice as well as to keep a little scrapbook for myself to look back on once my kids are grown. a little souvenir if you will. i just love being a mom... why not savour it by writing it down and relive it for many years to come. writing for me is like a long sigh in the middle of the day. a deep breath and long gaze.

so with a little courage in my step, it's officially the un-secret blog. thanks kate for the little push - your detective skills are commendable! and thanks to my cousin jaime, my one & only reader up to this point, who has set such a high standard with her own incredible blog!
i hope you enjoy and read as intended.


blind obedience: part II

Children make the best theorists since they have not yet been educated into accepting our routine social practices as 'natural', and so insist in posing to those practices the most embarrassingly general and fundamental questions, regarding them with such wondering engagement, which we adults have long forgotten. Since they do not yet grasp our social practices as inevitable, they do not see why we might not do things differently.
- Terry Eagleton "Theory as Liberatory Practice"

after my recent shocking discovery, i got to thinking. what else have i just naively woven into the fabric of my life without question? i don't question out of a cynical spirit but out of a healthy desire for ownership & understanding of why i do the things i do and what the full picture looks like. i want to know where i am going & why. why do we break bread? how do i separate tradition & ritual from my concept of kingdom? what is water baptism? what is the baptism of the holy spirit? what is salvation? what is what do these concepts look like when they are brought to life in everyday life on both the macro level of international politics to the micro level of my toddler's dinner plate? i have suddenly come to the realization that i absolutely believe in these things as more than just dry concepts and as a life giving necessities, but i would struggle to articulate them to my two year old. it pushes one to probe deeper and own & understand it for oneself in such a way as to be able to expand the meaning of water baptism to bring insight on the global stage as well as to our bottom stair otherwise known as timeout. i am excited by the prospect that we have have not even begun to unpack or experience the reality of the revelation of the kingdom in all of it's fullness in the everyday life of the family. i feel like we're on the cusp of something big here. no more nice, christian families but powerful, thriving expressions of god's love on even the smallest, most mundane level. there are no mere homemakers. just strong, zealous citizens of the kingdom passionately making way for the king. it's the small being worked into the big, the yeast worked into the bread that causes it to rise. seeming little families effecting big change on the world's stage for the king & his kingdom.

blind obedience: part I

we all suffer from blind obedience in some form or another at some point in our lives. we do what we are told. we blindly follow the masses, go with the grain. we see something in a magazine or on oprah and it becomes gospel. or we jump on the big friend bandwagon of "everyone else is doing it". i have caught myself on so many occasions quoting "facts" that i "know to be true" simply because i heard my neighbour quote them. these "facts" become ingrained in our personal "truths," and we pass them out as if they were our own without ever questioning their legitimacy or source. i think we can all agree that questioning just to question makes you cynical. but there is nothing wrong with sharpening your critical thinking skills from time to time.

i recently was researching cows' milk. my parents, teachers, doctors - everyone has told me that milk is an absolute necessity for both myself & my growing kids. so it never occurred to me question it until a friend made an offside comment about cows' milk. i thought i should check it out for myself. and here is what i found out... despite what i had previously believed to be "true", that without milk we won't grow big & strong and without milk, our bones & teeth will crumble, there is no reason for pregnant women or children to drink cows' milk.
  • through various studies, milk was not shown to have a protective effect on bones but actually the contrary. dairy products were associated with an increased risk of fractures.
  • cows' milk has one of the lowest absorption rates of all calcium sources. milk is high in calcium but it is not an efficient source for it as it creates an acidic environment in the body just like sugar does (which just means you pee the majority of the calcium out).
  • between the ages 18 months and four years, we lose 90-95% of the enzyme lactase (needed to digest lactose, the sugar found in dairy), i guess all of us lactose intolerant for the most part. just take a 2 week break from dairy & then try to reintroduce it and see the effects.
  • according to the China Study (the most comprehensive study of diet and nutrition ever conducted in history - spanning twenty years time; citing more than 750 references) dairy products can cause heart disease; diabetes; obesity; osteoporosis; kidney stones; crohn's disease; cataracts; macular degeneration; multiple sclerosis; alzheimer's; and breast, postate, colon, and rectal cancer.
  • the effects extend even further in children, as the dairy related illnesses that most commonly frequent the pediatricians office are colic, ear infections, respiratory problems, allergies and skin conditions. children & adolescence are more prone to acne, attention deficit disorder & attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, irritable bowel syndrome & anxiety... and this is by no means an exhaustive list... it goes on and on and on.
  • pus & radioactive particles aren't the only dangers associated with bovine growth hormone but also carcinogens & PCBs... at levels which can be traced all the way to a woman's placenta & cord blood while pregnant.
i found all of this information difficult to swallow just because it seems outlandish. but the China Study is no joke and i encourage everyone to read it if you get the chance. it's difficult to digest these shocking facts after what my doctors and teachers taught me because i trusted them. but in reality, doctors receive less than 3 hours of nutritional training in medical school. and school teachers are told what to teach from an educational hierarchy(highly influenced by the billion dollar dairy industry). imagine if we allowed pepsi or mcdonald's to provide educational materials regarding nutrition. saying "milk is necessary for a growing kid" is like saying "pepsi has water in it, and it is vital to drink 8 glasses of water a day" or "big macs are high in protein and protein is an important component of any diet". we would never stand for that and yet we allow milk to be sold in practically every school in the country.

having said all of this, i am not saying don't ever drink cows' milk. i am still trying to gradually wean myself off milk and drink it as a treat. i'm just saying don't drink it under false pretenses, thinking you are doing something good for your body. but everything in good measure. and perhaps look into these facts for yourself... don't take my word for it!

i don't have the mental/time resources or capabilities to reasearch and investigate everything i come across. that would be impossible. i know i must make informed opinions but they need to be my opinions & my conviction. i am not going to go to the other extreme which is to be cynical about everything and pushed all over the place with every documentary i watch or every book i read. i need to be grounded. that's why vision is so crucial. being intentional has been one of my greatest insights. i want to be intentional about where i am going and what i want for my family or any relationship or lifestyle. i want to keep that end picture in focus. but in order to do that i have to decide what is important to me and what i value most. otherwise, what someone else thinks is good for my family, can easily become what i think is good for my family just because they said so or gave a convincing case. even the best intentioned people, like my lovely doctor with his fuzzy white eyebrows, can lead you astray. but the one person i trust implicitly, is the holy spirit. he has never lead me astray. an ongoing, vibrant relationship with the holy spirit is SO crucial. he keeps me from being washed away into mainstream practice & perspective. i don't want to become so routinely religious in my everyday thought processes & practices that i cease to pursue the limitless, inexhaustible, unfathomable, living god. he just simply cannot be contained in routine religiosity. i refuse to settle for the norm. there is so much more god has in store for us.