Experience Truth in Wellness

Living Shalom is a Biblically-based endeavor that exists to inspire and equip you to experience greater health and wellness. Wellness Advocate, Lisa Gautier, shares knowledge, resources, and her own experiences related to health and wellness, and invites you to join her on the journey toward more abundant life and health!

You are the Icing on My Cupcake

You are the Icing on My Cupcake

I’m a person who likes both good food and words of encouragement. Put the two together, and voila…my happiness is doubled. :) That’s just how I roll.

When I saw this sign at the Cupcake Shoppe in Raleigh, I thought it was a sweet word and it made me think of the concept of creating belonging (hmm…didn’t we do that with muffins a few years back on this post?)

This sign was a good reminder to take the time to let others know you appreciate them. By telling someone what they mean to you, you encourage them and create a place where they feel like they belong. And one of the neatest things about it is…it makes both you and them happy.

Ooh…that’s one more way to double the happiness.

Who will you encourage with kind words this week to effectively let them know that they are “the icing on your cupcake”?

The Cupcake Shoppe

The Cupcake Shoppe

 

Did you know The Cupcake Shoppe in Raleigh offers gluten-free sweet treats?

I’ve tried a gluten-free cupcake there (delish) and their gluten-free chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwich (double delish)!

Enjoying a Gluten-Free Ice Cream Sandwich

Enjoying a Gluten-Free Ice Cream Sandwich

My parents took me there for the gluten-free cupcake this past weekend. I actually wanted to get the gluten-free ice cream sandwich again, but the employee there said those don’t come back until May. (Although, they had the gluten-free chocolate chip cookies, so if I’d wanted to I could have bought those and some ice cream elsewhere to create my own frozen gluten-free dessert…).

Gluten-Free Ice Cream Sandwich

Gluten-Free Ice Cream Sandwich

One think I really like about this dessert shop is that they stay open until 11 pm on Friday and Saturday nights. It’s a fun place to go downtown when you’re wanting a late night treat. They are located on Glenwood South and have outdoor seating (great if the weather is nice!)

Have you tried the Cupcake Shoppe yet?

Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Ice Cream Sandwich

Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Ice Cream Sandwich

Quick Kipper Herring Romaine Wraps

Quick Kipper Herring Romaine Wraps

Ever have those moments where you think, “What in the world can I do with what I have already at my house?”

Well, I’ve had a can of kipper herring snacks (canned fish) just waiting for me in my pantry. It’s been there for probably a few months now. I got the Bar Harbor brand from Whole Foods. As I recall, it’s a Weston A. Price approved brand, and thus of quality.

And…oh…my…word… The recipe I just made up as I went along turned out SUPERB. So great, in fact, that it did not require any additional seasoning (not even pink salt which I use on practically anything savory!)

It’s one of the easiest lunches I think a person could make! Great for these cold winter days. I felt a little like an Alaskan Eskimo while consuming it!

Quick Kipper Herring Romaine Wraps

Ingredients:

  • 4 romaine lettuce leaves
  • 1/2 can kipper herring snacks
  • Grapeseed Vegenaise (a dairy-free, gluten-free, vegan mayo that is so yum!), to taste (about 2 Tbs.)
  • 4 organic button mushrooms

Directions:

  1. Wash Romaine leaves. Briefly rinse off mushrooms to remove dirt and quickly wipe dry with a paper towel.
  2. Slice off bottom of mushroom stem and slice mushroom lengthwise into about 4 slices.
  3. Spread vegenaise onto inside of lettuce leaves.
  4. Top with kipper herring fish, spreading around evenly amongst leaves. Then top with mushroom slices.
  5. Enjoy!

If you’re like me, you might find this dish so tasty you grab a few more lettuce leaves and mushrooms and finish off the entire can of herring snacks! You won’t need anything else alongside this dish. It is satisfying all on its own.

What kind of quick healthy lunches do you enjoy? Would love to hear more ideas – especially for quick meals in the winter!

Use Steam to Help Reduce Cough & Colds in Winter

Use Steam to Help Reduce Cough & Colds in Winter

Struggling with a cough, cold, or congestion during this dry winter?

Consider trying a technique I used yesterday to clear up excess congestion: use steam!

Just boil some water in a pot, cover your head with a towel with your face over the pot, and breathe in the steam.

Better yet, add some therapeutic grade essential oils to your water, like the doTERRA brand.

I used oils in my water and the steam / oil treatment was AMAZINGLY effective!

5 Essential Oils to Reduce Congestion, coughing, & cold Symptoms

5 Essential Oils to Reduce Congestion, Coughing, & Cold Symptoms

The 5 oils I used were:

  1. Melaleuca (also known as Tea Tree oil)
  2. Eucalyptus
  3. Lemon
  4. Peppermint
  5. On Guard (a great immune booster blend)

Have you tried this type of technique to address your cold, cough, or congestion?

If the dry winter is wearing you down, this just might do the trick to help clear out that excess congestion!

To my delight, I discovered this week that Costco is now carrying organic bananas!

For your convenience, I took pictures to show the pricing of organic and conventional bananas at Costco and Whole Foods on the same day. This way you get an apples to apples – or shall I say: bananas to bananas – price comparison.

If only Costco would commit to organic produce all the time! I looked for the organic apples there today but found none. Eh, well at least I can get some organic bananas while they last!

 

Organic Bananas at Costco = $0.66/lb

Organic Bananas at Costco = $0.66/lb

Conventional Bananas at Costco = $0.46/lb.

Conventional Bananas at Costco = $0.46/lb

Organic Bananas at Whole Foods = $0.88/lb

Organic Bananas at Whole Foods = $0.88/lb

Conventional Bananas at Whole Foods = $0.78/lb.

Conventional Bananas at Whole Foods = $0.78/lb

Are there any other places you know for where to buy best-priced bananas?

Don't Believe Everything You Think

Don’t Believe Everything You Think

I saw a note in the back of a car this week that said: “Don’t Believe Everything You Think.”

And, well, it got me thinking.

Thinking about how we often have beliefs that are grounded in experience but not in truth.

We can sabotage ourselves from being able to receive what we really want because of wrong thinking.

I’ve been going some mental re-alignments myself lately to work to see things from a true and realistic perspective, rather than choosing beliefs based on just how I feel.

What about you? What thinking might be inhibiting you from reaching your goals?

What if you were to ask God to reveal to you ungodly beliefs and to help you re-align with the truth?

I’d love to hear what happens when you do that!

I’m seeing major transformations in my own life as I’m making this shift and hope you see such too!

At the turn of each year, I set goals for the coming year.

I also set quarterly goals throughout the year. These quarterly goals may be more specific, broken-down ways I plan to keep myself moving toward my annual goals. Or, it may be that some of my annual goals are for one season of the year, versus another.

I then like to make weekly goals for myself – which is, again, a way to keep myself moving toward those quarterly and ultimately annual goals but in the context of a given week.

Today, I want to share 3 specific tips on how to help you achieve your goals this year.

(1.) Set S.M.A.R.T. Goals

Regardless of whether I’m setting annual, quarterly, or weekly goals, I like to utilize the S.M.A.R.T. goal-setting technique.

S.M.A.R.T. is an acronym that stands for:

*S – Specific

*M – Measurable

*A – Attainable

*R – Relevant

*T – Time Bound

When making your goals S.M.A.R.T., remember to make them specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound.

For example, if your goal is to exercise or eat healthier, don’t just list “exercise” or “healthy eating.” Use the S.M.A.R.T. criteria and write your goals something like this:

I will exercise 3 times per week by walking 30 minutes a day.

I will eat one green salad per day at least 5 days of the week.

I will drink half my body weight in ounces (ie. if I’m 150 lbs, I’ll drink 75 ounces of water) per day.

Are your goals ones you can realistically accomplish? If not, change them so they are!

Are they specific enough that you’ll know when you’ve met them?

Are they relevant for now? Or perhaps for a later time?

Are they associated with a deadline or a time in which you expect to complete them?

(2.) Write Your Goals Down

That’s the next key – don’t just ponder the goals in your head, write them down.

For myself, I find written goals keep me on a forward moving track but are also subject to change as the year progresses, and that’s okay. Just make sure as you are going along, the changes you make keep you moving forward and stay S.M.A.R.T. at the same time.

Keep track as you go through the year, marking things off as you complete them, and/or making adjustments as needed to your list of goals.

(3.) Keep Your Goals in Front of You

One additional key to keeping your goals is literally keeping them in front of you!

I keep the file listing my annual goals right on my computer desktop so I can view it regularly. I see the file sitting there when I open my computer, and that alone is often enough to prompt me to click into them for review. It helps keep them in front of me – which is another key component to actually accomplishing them.

Similarly, with my quarterly goals, I write them on a sheet of paper and put it in a file folder on my desk that I access regularly (often weekly) so I can keep them top of mind.

Get Your Goals Going

As you move into 2014, how about writing out some S.M.A.R.T. goals for yourself and put them in a place you’ll see them regularly? It might be the fridge, the computer, a bulletin board – do whatever works for you!

What goals will you make for 2014?

My Ankle Injury

My Ankle Injury

Some people wonder if God still heals today.

I’m living proof that He does.

He’s done it more than once, and in more than one way in my own life. Sometimes it’s been physically, sometimes emotionally, sometimes relationally. God has been so faithful to me. One day I hope all the God stories of my life can end up in a book to encourage people.

In the meantime, however, I have this blog to share God stories. :)

Stabbed by a Stilletto

As some of you know, I sustained an injury to my ankle in August of this year while I was out salsa dancing. The stiletto of a very large gal stabbed the left side of my left ankle with incredible force leaving me with a huge knot, bruise, and months of pain.

First, I realized I had to forgive those involved in the injury. I didn’t want unforgiveness or bitterness to block my healing! So, that was one step I took.

Also, I began to wrap the ankle after a few weeks passed and I realized the damage was more lasting than I thought.

The chiropractor I was seeing at the time recommended such, and as I did not have regular insurance, felt a trip to an orthopedic doctor was financially not an option. Thus I did not go. The chiro said to wrap for 6-8 weeks and avoid exercise (outside of normal daily living).

I wrapped and waited.

About 5 weeks in, it was feeling better and I started walking and biking again. But did too much too fast and the pain re-emerged with a vengeance. It was so significant, I ended up hobbling when walking short distances. Yowch.

Serious Sighing

I talked with my chiropractor again about what had happened. He said to count it as a re-injury and that I needed to re-wrap it for another 6-8 weeks.

Sigh.

Start again I did.

6 weeks or so in, I ended up on my feet for a very long weekend (while I was doing wardrobe makeover shopping with my personal stylist, Tessa Gore). While the shopping was fun, the pain that resulted was not. I had no idea we’d been doing all that shopping! (Um, yeah…you can see from the pic below we did a lot!)

Shopping with My Personal Stylist

Shopping with My Personal Stylist

 

Pain afresh. Double sigh.

I was getting pretty depressed by that point. I mean, you’re reading words from a girl that loves being active as much as possible and was formerly walking and biking to work.

I’d not been able to exercise for 3 months. Stink. Stank. Stunk.

Was this a re-injury?

Was I going to have to wrap my ankle for another 6-8 weeks?

I was perplexed and downcast.

I kept wrapping and talked to the chiro who felt I should go ahead and start working up on my exercise again.

The trouble was – it hurt. Badly.

And try as I may to get my ankle well even by adding exercise in, it radiated with pain.

I even got a massage on my legs and feet from my wonderful massage therapist, but alas the pain soared.

I was definitely depressed.

Now what?

Sadness over my Situation

While I was crying one day, a friend found me and inquired about my situation. I told them the journey related to this and how the pain was. They asked if there was anything they could do and inquired if I had gotten it x-rayed. I explained I had not because of finances / not having regular insurance.

Immediately the person offered to pay for me to go to the doctor. And they affirmed they would pay for whatever the doctor recommended?

Really?

I was so low at that moment and felt God reaching out to me in His good provision.

I obtained a referral to an orthopedic doctor and was there in less than 48 hours. Who, by the way, I learned upon some research was a specialist in sports injuries with a special interest in working with dancers. :)

Well, isn’t that just like God to pick him out from the rest as my doctor and confirm it to me prior the visit so I knew that was the person I was supposed to go see.

The orthopedic doc got x-rays and affirmed there was actually no structural damage (as was formerly expected). Without x-rays the conclusion had been that I’d possibly sustained a stress fracture or a bone bruise (and I was starting to think it was the latter as that supposedly takes a very long time to heal).

But I had no structural damage!

He told me that the hit had occurred in “no man’s land” – which was apparently a good thing. And stated that it was likely right on a big nerve. It was apparently nerve damage. He said that nerve damage just takes time to heal – could be 6 months, and the longest he’d ever heard was 2 years. But exercising on it wouldn’t necessarily make it worse, he explained. So I could exercise again? Dance, bike, walk?

Yep, said the doctor.

And he said some people just wake up one morning and “voila” they don’t have any more pain.

Well, I sure still had pain. And after that decided to pray “God, would you please let me wake up one morning and just not have any more pain?”

The same night of that doctor appointment, I went out dancing. I mean, if it wasn’t going to make the injury worse, who cared if it hurt while I danced?

I danced. It hurt. But I still danced.

The next night, I went dancing again. The pain was less but still there.

The third consecutive night I went dancing again – and had still less pain.

Monday morning it was essentially, well, gone.

I have felt a few minor aches since but at like 0.10% of what it was.

I’d asked God to heal my ankle where I’d wake up one morning and it would be fine. And I felt that is what happened.

God healed me – just 3 days after the orthopedic appointment.

Perhaps, in part the healing resolved then because God knew I’d really hit my limit on what I could handle in regards to inactivity.

Exercise is a fantastic anxiety reliever and endorphin producer and hope promoter – and I missed all those things about it.

God knew. God knows when we hit the bottom of the pit. When we can’t persevere anymore. When action is totally required on His part to make mountains move.

Do I believe God is living, active, providing and healing still today?

Absolutely.

And the healing of my ankle is just one story….

Dancing Again! (shared with permission from photographer Joel Carlin)*

Dancing Again! (shared with permission from photographer Joel Carlin of Carlin Digital)*

Gratitude-Filled Christmas Cards

Gratitude-Filled Christmas Cards

As you may recall from last New Years, I posted about the blessings from 2012.

This year, I find myself again considering with humble gratitude the gifts from the previous year – and found myself writing Christmas cards with that perspective in mind. As I wrote my cards, I took the chance to say thank you to many who have blessed me in 2013.

Here are just a few of the people and things for which I’m giving thanks at the close of the year:

(1) I moved in with a family that models the kind of marriage and family I hope to one day have. They love me and have cared for me in some tough times. Thank you to each one of you for having me in your home and loving me as you do!

(2) I started West Coast Swing dancing and found it very life-giving to me. I’ve been dancing since I was 4 years old (I started with ballet, tap and jazz) and finally feel I’ve found the dance that best suits me. I’m excited about continuing to learn and grow in dancing one of the hardest dances in the world! Thanks to Wesley Boz & Debbie Ramsey of Music and Dance Productions for all the fabulous dance instruction!

(3) Barry Bragg helped me get well after a severe health flare which included parasites.  I am glad those things are gone! And thankful for his help along the way.

(4) I started a new job as a Wellness Coach and just realized the other day when looking at a journal, that it was a dream I’d written about in 2009. Here nearly 5 years since, I am in that role. God really does fulfill dreams He gives.

(5) I received a total wardrobe overhaul that began around May and is still receiving finishing touches. So thankful I met my amazing stylist, Tessa Gore!

I do believe I have the best kind of friends and family a person could have, and am more aware of that afresh in this season.

What, and – more importantly - who are you grateful for as you consider 2013?

How about pausing to take a moment to note your gratitude – whether in a journal, on a blog, in a card or all 3!

It might just boost your own wellness in the process and launch you into an even happier new year.

 

Diffusing Holiday Joy

Diffusing Holiday Joy

This holiday season I’ve been delighted to find a therapeutic-grade essential oil blend that has the smell of Christmas – a doTERRA oil called “Holiday Joy!”

As mainstream fragrances and perfumes can really be noxious for the body, here’s one that is full of health-promoting oils and doesn’t give me a headache!

I’m enjoying the cinnamon-spiced smell as I diffuse it in different rooms.

Ah…the healthful smells of the season!

Of course there are many kinds of holiday joy.

What kind are you diffusing into the atmosphere?  :)

**YOU’RE INVITED to my next essential oils class on January 12, 2014! Learn more about how to use therapeutic grade essential oils instead of conventional medicines and pharmaceutical drugsEmail me at lisa@livingshalom.com to RSVP your spot. Space is limited!**

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