Using Food as Fuel Instead of Entertainment

I recently read a blog post that suggested many people use food as a source of entertainment. And as I thought about it, I realized that was exactly what I had spent a large part of my life doing. When I got old enough to make decisions about what I ate, I would largely eat things that were pleasing to my brain. This included a lot of sugar, salt, fat, and occasionally fruits and vegetables. I would look forward to meals because I couldn't wait to enjoy some tasty food. The function of food, in my mind, was to bring joy (and sustenance). Food was there to provide entertainment for my brain and I could not wait to eat things that I knew I would really enjoy. Foods that were once used for special occasions became more of a norm in my diet. Instead of dessert being served only after Sunday dinner, it became a nightly event for me. And then without even realizing became an after lunch thing too. And yes, I guess now is the time to admit to eating doughnuts for breakfast more than I should have.... My mantra was "live to eat" instead of "eat to live" and I happily said it as I indulged in my favorite foods day after day.

That all changed about 9 months ago when I began to eat a Whole Foods, Plant-Based diet and started viewing food as fuel to help my body function properly. Health problems that I did not even think were related to my diet disappeared and suddenly I was faced with the fact that I had been causing those problems via the food going into my mouth. Viewing food as entertainment for my brain instead of fuel for my body was in fact making a difference in how my body functioned.

It's interesting to me that many people in our culture take better care of the cars than they do to their bodies. Can you imagine if somebody put petroleum fuel into their diesel-only truck because it's cheaper or more convenient? That would be crazy and surely they would have car problems down the road. But what is more crazy is the fact that we often do the same thing to our bodies. We fill our bellies with things that are cheap, convenient, and taste good instead of filling them with fruits, vegetables and foods that actually help them "run" properly.

Now, don't get me wrong... I am not saying that it is bad to enjoy food or to use food as part of a celebration. I am saying that most of the time it should be used to provide fuel for your body. Hence the reason food is here in the first place.

Do I love all vegetables? No. Do I occasionally eat a cookie or two? Yes. But I am realizing more and more that how I feel depends on what I eat. As I choose to eat food that nourishes me over food that makes my tongue dance I know I am investing in my health. And there is nothing that I would rather invest in. 

Today I still get pleasure out of eating. It's not the same pleasure that my brain receives when I eat salt, sugar, or fat. It's the pleasure that comes from knowing that what I am eating will help me look and feel my very best. Use food as fuel for your body instead of entertainment for your brain. It will change your life and your health.

Oh, and did I mention that no one in my house has been sick since we started eating our WFPB diet? And that right there is worth it's weight in gold if you ask me!

5 Tips For Eating a WFPB Diet

Eight months ago I started eating a whole-food, plant-based diet and I love it! It is one of the best decisions I have ever made. Here are 5 tips that have helped me since embarking on my healthy eating journey.

1. It's okay to take breaks- A lot of people don't want to start a WFPB diet because they don't know if they can give up meat and dairy forever. However, I think it's okay to eat it on occasion. It's not as daunting to start eating this way when you tell yourself you can take breaks occasionally. The longer I have been eating this way, the less I want meat and dairy, but it was helpful to tell myself I could have it sometimes when I started out.

2. It's important to adapt your WFPB diet to what works for you and your family. We decided that we would still eat meat and dairy if we were invited to someone's house for dinner. We didn't want to put people out and we didn't want our diet to limit interactions with friends. We just try to get a big helping of vegetables and a small helping of meat (if possible). Some friends of ours that eat a WFPB diet still eat cheese on occasion because they really love it. Adjust the diet to what works for you and it will be a smooth transition.

3. It's okay to be different. People that are different are people that inspire others. Eating a WFPB diet is not popular. People might think that you are weird. You may receive negative comments but it is worth it. Don't let the fear of being different stand in your way.

4. Allow your WFPB diet to simplify your life. It's not always easy to eat a WFPB diet but it is simple. Eating a WFPB diet has really allowed me to simplify my life. Most of the dishes I make are less time consuming than the meals I previously made. I don't have to worry if I am getting adequate nutrients because I know that what I am eating is packed with vitamins and minerals. I also love that I don't have to make sure meat is cooked through and I don't have to sanitize my kitchen after cooking with meat. You may have to familiarize yourself with some new ingredients, but in no time you will agree that eating a WFPB diet has simplified your life.

5. Learn to understand and appreciate the power of self-control. Eating a WFPB diet takes self-control but it is worth it.  I believe that if we can master self-control in the kitchen, we will have greater power to do so in other areas of our lives. Since eating a WFPB diet I have been inspired to make other positive changes in my life, all of which I attribute to changing my diet.

The Entitlement Trap

Recently I have become more aware of a phenomenon in our society. I see it most in teens and young adults but it lurks in just about every corner of society. I am not exactly sure sure when or where it started but I see it gaining momentum and becoming the norm rather than the exception. The phenomenon I am referring to is entitlement. The idea that someone owes you something for which you do nothing in return. 

I remember one Christmas when I was in high school I just knew that my parents would get me a car. Most of my peers had cars and I was a good kid, therefore, in my eyes, I deserved one too. Imagine my disappointment when none of the colorfully wrapped packages under the Christmas tree contained car keys. I even checked driveway and garage to be sure that there was no car. And then being the naive teenager I was, thought, "How could my parents do this to me?" 

Well I'll tell you how my parents could do that to me- they knew there were more important ways to distribute their income than their teen daughter's wants. If they had sat me down at the time and explained that getting me a car would mean less money in their retirement, less money in my college fund, or them going into debt I would likely have thought that that was acceptable. In my mind, everyone had a car and that alone merited my want of one passable. 

Luckily for my future self, my parents continued to teach me that they didn't owe me something simply because I wanted it. I am sure they got tired of hearing me complain about not having this or that, but they did not give in. Instead, they helped me find a job and taught me about money management. I then got to choose how I spent my hard-earned money and it was much different than how I spent money given to me. Today the dividends of their teachings are paying off but I know I am not immune from feeling entitled.

We've all heard stories of our parents or grandparents barely scraping by when they were starting out. I used to think this was common for young adults, yet, as I look around,  many in my generation feel that they should be able to bypass this step. And parents are catering to it. I personally know parents whose married son and his wife have been living with them for years. Not because they cannot afford to move out, but because they would rather save money on rent so they can travel. I also know people who have no retirement money because they are paying for their child's out of state college tuition and they don't want their child to have student loans. And what about parent's who can easily afford to pay for whatever their child desires? What kind of message are they sending to their child?

In a society where getting something for nothing is pervasive we should regularly evaluate where we fall on the entitled spectrum. What do we expect from parents, friends, the government, etc? And why? What sacrifices are we encouraging others to make on our behalf?

The more I grow up the more I see how many people are caught in the entitlement trap. Becoming aware of this has helped me to check myself when I begin to feel entitled. Here are 3 things that have helped me in this quest.

1. Want Less- Getting into minimalism helped me realize that people and experiences are much more valuable than things. Because of this I am learning to appreciate people for who they are, not for what they could potentially give me.

2. Expect Nothing- Having high expectations for something generally always leads to disappointment.  (If you have had a birthday I am sure you have experienced this!) Expect nothing from someone else (in terms of entitlement) and you will not be disappointed. Remember that no one owes you anything.

3. Be Grateful- Having said all of this I am not suggesting that someone never does anything nice for you, I am simply saying that we should be sincerely grateful for what we are given instead of expecting it (see the difference?). Contemplate the sacrifice given by others so that you could receive something. Express gratitude and be sincere about it.

I think Job said it best, " Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither; the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord." (Job 1:21) I think we would all do well to adopt his philosophy.

African Peanut Stir-Fry

I recently tried African peanut stew and really loved it! This is my variation of that and it is one of my favorite plant-based recipes. It is one of my husband's favorites and he requests it weekly. Luckily for me, it is easy to make! :) Between the sweet potatoes and the peanut butter, your house will soon smell amazing with this cooking on the stove! 


2 plus 1/2 cup of brown rice
3 cloves garlic
1 small piece of ginger
1 medium-large onion
2 small sweet potatoes
2 small zucchini squash
1 tomato
2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1- 14.5 Ounce can diced tomatoes
1- 14.5 Ounce can vegetable broth
1/3 cup peanut butter
1/4- 1/2 cup peanuts
Cilantro for garnish (optional)


In a medium pot heat 5 cups of water and bring to a boil on high. Add the brown rice to the boiling water and wait for it to return to a boil. Cover and turn the burner to low. Once the water is absorbed the rice is done!

Chop the garlic, sweet potatoes, zucchinis, and tomato. Grate the ginger. 

In a large pot add about 1/4 can of vegetable broth and then add the onion and sweet potatoes. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until the onion softens. Add the garlic, ginger, cumin, cinnamon, and a little more vegetable broth. Stir for about 30 seconds. Add the zucchini, tomato, and season with salt and pepper. Cook for another few minutes and then add the canned tomatoes, the remaining vegetable broth, peanuts, and the peanut butter. Simmer for 10-12 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are cooked through, stirring occasionally. 

Serve over rice and garnish with cilantro. You made need to add some salt to this dish to enhance the flavor. Enjoy!

Serves: 4-6 

Broccoli "Cheese" Soup

Broccoli "Cheese" Soup


1 Onion
6-8 cups Chopped Broccoli
6-7 Carrots
6-8 Potatoes
3-4 Stalks of Celery
6 cups of Water
3/4 cups Raw Cashews
2-3 Tbsp Nutritional Yeast (optional- if you want more of a "cheesy" flavor)
1 tsp Nutmeg
2 tsp Salt- plus more to taste
Freshly Ground Black Pepper


Add water to a large pot and and heat to a boil. Add chopped up veggies and boil until they are cooked (or you can stick a fork in them). Add cooked veggies and water to a blender (I have to blend it up in portions-usually 1/4 of the mixture at a time) with the cashews and nutritional yeast and blend until smooth. Add it all back to the pot and add in the nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Once you have it in individual serving bowls you may want to add more salt and pepper to taste. If you think the flavor is lacking just add a little salt and you will love it. 

This is one of my favorite soups! My daughter loves it too! It is healthy and delicious and so easy to whip up! Enjoy!

Living Intentionally

Today, more than ever before, there is so much competing for our attention. If we aren't careful we will look back on life and wonder where it all went. I look back on some periods of my life and I feel like I was on auto pilot...just gliding through life without any concrete goals or aspirations.

Sometimes I sit back and think about what my life would have been like if I had lived more intentionally. Would I have gotten straight A's in college? Would my major have changed? Would I have met different people and taken different opportunities? And although I cannot go back and re-do the years (and maybe I wouldn't if I could) I do know that I can choose to live intentionally now. We can't go back but we can move forward.

As I move forward I want to live more intentionally. I want to set goals and make plans and choose how I spend my time instead of letting the time pass me by. I want to choose to simplify in a world that encourages otherwise. I want to eat healthy and planned out meals in a world of fast-food furtherance. I want to set down my phone when everyone around me is zoned in. I want to spend my money and time on experiences instead of things.

So how do we do it? How do we live more intentionally? The first thing you have to do is to make up your mind that you want to do it. That part isn't as hard as you think. Have a little pep talk with yourself. Tell yourself you are strong enough and good enough and that you deserve to live more intentionally. 

Second, decide what changes you need to make in your life to live more intentionally. Do you want to limit your social media time? Do you want to learn a new skill? Do you want to eat differently than you currently do? Honestly evaluate yourself and then choose something to work on.

Third, set realistic but ambitious goals. Don't be afraid to stretch yourself. Intentional living will require you to make changes but you can adapt. Write down your goals and regularly review them. 

And finally, make up your mind to live intentionally! Ignore advertisements and messages put out by the media (as much as you can) and tell yourself that their messages are calculated to profit them, not you. You are pretty enough, smart enough, and good enough. You have self-control. You can do anything! 

I can tell you from personal experience that living intentionally will give you more self-confidence. It will make you happy. It will put things into perspective. It will make your dreams come true. It will change your life. 

Choose to live intentionally and on purpose. You owe it to your future self.

Let Enough Be Enough

How do we know when what we have is enough? It all depends on your perspective.

It's likely that many people on the internet today have enough...yet the opposite message is displayed on the sides of almost every website we visit. Why all the fanfare? Why can't we escape the bombardment of ads that flood us today? Because someone, somewhere wants you to have the illusion that you don't have enough so that they can have more

But what if everyone lived in the land of enough? What if we looked around and realized that we have sufficient to meet our needs? How would this change the world around us?

I believe people would be more content, have less debt, and have more time. So instead of being on the lookout for more, determine that what you have is enough...and you will be right.