Culture, Fitness, Food and Nutrition

Your butt is too small… WHAT?


Your butt is too small

Photo credit: Sparkpeople.com

Your butt is too small… WHAT?

Have you seen the movie, “My Life in Ruins”? It’s about an American woman who loves Greek history and culture and has recently lost her teaching job in Athens.  She took a job as a tour guide (that she hates), while applying for and hoping to get another teaching job.

I really enjoyed the movie, not so much because of the plot itself, but because of certain values and quotes expressed throughout it.

One of them is, “Your butt is too small.” Can you believe it?

Now why would that be one of your favorite quotes? you may ask.

Because I am one of the many women in the western world that has fallen prey to the never-ending search for physical perfection.

Are you overweight Staci? No.  Do you exercise regularly and eat healthy? Yes.  Do others  consider you unattractive? No.  In fact, most people think I am thin.  My in-laws think I am skin and bones.  At one point my husband told be that I was becoming ugly because I was losing too much weight.

Now don’t get me wrong.  I don’t have an eating disorder, take diuretics or exercise too much.  I just strive for the western world’s idea of physical perfection. So what’s wrong with that?

A LOT!

Perfection doesn’t exist.

Unfortunately, the media and fashion industry preach their message and we buy into it.  We have been deceived to believe that a supermodel’s body is what is beautiful and ideal.  Supermodels need to be taller and slimmer than the average girl(1) and many of them go to extreme measures to ensure that this standard is met.  Unhealthy methods to control weight, such as anorexia and bulimia, lead to health issues and possible death(2).

But I would like to get back to, “Your butt is too small”. I’ve always had an unhealthy relationship with my butt.  I was chubby as a child and teenager and called fat in school.  I even had an ex-boyfriend that would tell me “I love you” in Tagalog, only later to find out that it meant, “you’re fat”.  Talk about putting a damper on a girl’s self-esteem.

When I lived in Hong Kong, I went shopping one day for a pair of pants.  While looking in one store, the attendant came up to me and said, “These pants are good for you because you have fat legs”.  Now, I was already feeling down that day so you can only imagine how I was after that.

Right before moving to Brazil, I was talking with a friend about this fixation for a smaller butt and dissatisfaction with mine.  She went on to tell me a story about the late Amy Carmichael, female missionary to India in the late 1800s, early 1900s.  She had brown eyes but wanted blue.  She would pray and ask God to change her eye colour and was disappointed because it never happened.  Later however, she realized that her brown eyes were what helped her gain entrance into India.  My friend then said to me, “You see Staci.  God has called you to Brazil.  Brazilians like bigger butts.  You’ve been given one for a purpose.”

The ‘perfect body’ is subjective. The western world values thinness.  I was curious to find out what other cultures around the world consider beautiful.  The following are some examples from http://www.cosmopolitan.com/hairstyles-beauty/weird-beauty#slide-2 :

  • Kayan tribal women in Thailand consider super-long necks beautiful and elegant.
  • Karo tribal women in Ethiopia scar themselves because it is sexy.
  • Mauritanian women want to be large.  Some even send their daughters to camps where they’re forced to eat 15,000 calories a day.
  • The Masai tribal women of Kenya value long stretched ear lobes.  It is considered beautiful and women will use stones and pieces of elephant tusk to accomplish this.

So you see, beauty is really in the eye of the beholder.  I don’t think I will ever reach the western world’s idea of perfection.  And if I did, I would have a very unhappy husband.

What are your views on the way the western world views beauty and perfection from a physical standpoint? Are you trapped in this mindset? Or do you come from a different culture that thinks differently? If so, I’d love to hear what your culture considers physically beautiful.

Here is an excellent blog by the talented Miss Hava.  She paints actual fashion photos, but with a different perspective.  Truly amazing:

http://fashionvictimstories.wordpress.com/

1 http://teenadvice.about.com/od/girlstuff/a/modelinggirls.htm

2 http://www.academia.edu/1172572/Fashion_Industry_and_Media_Today_The_Negative_Impact_on_Society

Food For Thought Friday - FFTF

LOVE


FFTF – Only for the spirit today: LOVE

heart valentines - Marion Trinidade

Most countries around the world today are celebrating Valentine’s Day.  Even countries  where Christianity isn’t a major religion.  It is the holiday of love.  In North America young children honor their friends by giving out cards and lovers exchange gifts like candy, flowers, and even fine jewelry. In Asia, the single Koreans that don’t receive a gift on Valentine’s Day all go out to restaurants and eat black noodles to mourn their ‘singleness’.  In Japan women are expected to give chocolate to the men, even all their male co-workers.  The chocolate they give is even called, “chocolate of obligation”.  But don’t get too upset ladies, the men must return the favor a month later on March 14th, which has been deemed “White Day”.  The men, however usually only give chocolate to their girlfriends.

Back to the subject at hand – The day of love.  The English language is very vague when it comes to ‘love’.  We can say, “I love you” to your husband/wife, your children, a friend, a lover.  We also say, “I love ice cream, your new shoes, good conversation, etc.” If we look at the meaning of love in the Greek language however, it goes into much greater depth.  It breaks up the ‘loves’, shall we say.

  • Love #1 – Epithumia – This has both a positive and negative connotation. The positive would implicate strong desire.  The negative is defined as lust in the perverted, or corrupt sense.
  • Love #2 – Eros – Passionate love or romantic love
  • Love #3 – Storge – Affection.  A love that comes naturally like parents for their children, or amongst family members.  Fondness due to familiarity.
  • Love #4 – Phillia – Friendship love. CS Lewis says the following about this type of love: “the least biological, organic, instinctive, gregarious and necessary of our Loves”
  • Love #5 – Agape – An unconditional, total commitment type of love.  It doesn’t seek reward.  It isn’t a selfish love. It is self-less and sacrificial.

So, as we go about our Valentine’s Day today, let’s all show some love.  For some it may be Epithumia (but not the negative type, alright).  I’m sure for many it will be Eros.  How about Storge or Phillia?  And may we all show Agape.

Love to you all and Happy Valentine’s Day.

Have you shown a little love today?  If so, how?

Photo credit: Marion Trinidade

Food and Nutrition, Food For Thought Friday - FFTF, Spiritual, Uncategorized

Truth can be created? Hmmmmmm


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*I tried to post this on Friday, now it’s Sunday, and just realized that it didn’t actually publish.  Let’s try this again.

FFTF (Food For Thought Friday)
    Spirit: Truth can be created? Hmmmmm
    Body: Apple Yogurt Bowl

Spirit: Truth can be created? Hmmmmm

What is truth?  Do you think it’s possible to create your own truth?  Let’s take a look at what Winston Churchill once said.

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Incontrovertible: Big word, wouldn’t you say? Let’s see how the dictionary defines it:

  • Not able to be denied or disputed.

And how about “Truth” itself:

  • The real facts about something : the things that are true
  • The state of being the case
  • The body of real things, events, and facts
  • The property (as of a statement) of being in accord with fact or reality

It seems that now-a-day postmodern thought leans toward this tendency to believe that one can actually create his/her own truth, and I have a difficult time with that.  I would like to borrow a piece from Josh McDowell, former agnostic that used to believe that Christianity was worthless.

The Postmodern Age: Create Your Own Truth

Postmodernism is a worldview that asserts that external, absolute truth—that is, a truth that is true for all people, in all places, and at all times—cannot be known through reason or science because truth is either nonexistent or unknowable. Postmodern thought asserts that experience is more reliable than reason, and the idea of truth is created rather than discovered. In a nutshell, postmodernists say, “If it’s true for you, then it’s as true as it needs to be.”

Postmodernism now shapes the attitudes of our society as a whole even though most people don’t even know the meaning of the word. Don’t be surprised to meet many adults or even Christians who are reluctant to draw a line between right and wrong or to affirm a belief in absolute truth. They have adopted a postmodern mind-set without bothering to check whether it is based in absolute truth—or even needs to be. Perhaps, if pressed, they might offer an explanation that borders on New Age mysticism.

Contrary to postmodern thought, we do not create truth–we discover it. Belief does not determine reality–reality exists apart from belief. Our belief in the truth merely brings us into alignment with it and activates its power in our lives. Absolute truth is an objective reality that exists totally independent of what anyone thinks or feels about it. Truth is real and solid whether or not we choose to believe it, just as Mount Everest is real and solid whether or not we choose to climb it. (original here: http://joshmcdowell.blogspot.com.br/2008/01/postmodern-age-create-your-own-truth.html)

So what do you think?  Do you think it’s possible to create your own truth?  Just some food for thought as you go into your weekend.

Body: Apple Yogurt Bowl

I love breakfast.  Don’t you?  It’s my favorite meal of the day.  I have recently discovered an amazing breakfast that I have been enjoying frequently.  A simple recipe, but a good one.  Hope you enjoy.

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A great weekend to all and please, let me know your thoughts.

Blessings =)

Food and Nutrition, Food For Thought Friday - FFTF, Spiritual, Uncategorized

FFTF: Spirit – Patience & not giving up / Body – Chicken Veggie Risotto


It’s Food For Thought Friday.  Food for the spirit and the body.

Spirit

I absolutely love Albert Einstein.  I think much of what he said was absolutely genius.  I mean, he was considered a genius.  He is one of the people from the past that is suspected to have had Asperger’s Syndrome.  So, being that my son is an ‘Aspie’ I have even more of an appreciation for him now.  The following is one of his quotes.

quote-it-s-not-that-i-m-so-smart-it-s-just-that-i-stay-with-problems-longer-albert-einstein-56385

People that have Asperger’s Syndrome tend to become obsessed with whatever it is that interests them at the time.  Right now my son is all into dinosaurs.  He literally becomes one.  I’m teaching him to read in English and I’m using a phonics course online by ‘Clicknkids’.  It’s phenomenal and very helpful in having a structured step-by-step process of learning the language.  However, he started to get really upset and was traumatized by seeing his name on the screen.  I decided to change his screen name to ‘Velociraptor’ and now he’s very happy to continue learning.

I will confess that I am not a patient person, and my experiences with Cauê have just proven that more and more. This quote above speaks to me about patience and not giving up, which is something that is very ‘real’ for me right now.  It’s like the saying goes, “Good things come to those who wait”.

Albert Einstein knew the benefits of being patient. He didn’t expect microwavable results. He knew that if he persevered and lingered in the presence of the problem at hand, he would see good come of it.  That would be his reward.  His answers and understanding would come to him, so longing he stayed with the problem longer.  So longing he was patient enough to wait it out.

Food For Thought:
How about you?  Would you consider yourself a patient person?  What problems do you need to stay with longer in order to see breakthrough?  Are you waiting it out? Leave a comment if you would…=)

Body

Chicken Veggie Risotto-2.jpg

Serves: 4

Ingredients

  • 2 chicken breast fillets
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 onion
  • 1 pepper (green, red, yellow, etc.)
  • 2 tomatos
  • 1 carrot shredded
  • 2 cups shredded kale
  • 1 bouillon cube (chicken or vegetable)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon mixed seasoning (like Mrs. Dash or Italian)
  • 1 cup long grain brown rice
  • a little olive oil
  • 3 cups water

Directions:

Put a little olive oil in a small pot, add the rice and mix on low heat until the oil has coated the rice.  add three cups of water and allow to cook (you won’t cook all the way through though.  Just until it’s almost done.)

Cut the chicken in cubes.  Chop the garlic, onion, pepper and tomato.

Sauté the garlic and bouillon cube for 30 seconds in 1 Tbsp of olive oil in a large saucepan or wok on low heat.  Add the chicken and stir fry until it’s no longer pink.  Add the onions first, and then soon after add the pepper and tomato.  Stir fry for a few minutes until the onions and peppers are soft.  Add the salt, seasoning, broccoli and shredded carrot. Transfer the rice (almost done) over to the large saucepan/wok and stir in to incorporate it with the chicken and veggies.  Add the shredded kale right before finishing, cooking it just enough to soften it.

Enjoy.  Have a great weekend.

Food and Nutrition, Food For Thought Friday - FFTF, Spiritual

FFTF – Spirit: Breath of Heaven Body: Healthy Prestigio (Chocolate Coconut) Tarts


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Ok, it’s another FFTF (Food for Thought Friday) – Food for the body and the spirit.  I loooooovvve the Christmas season, so this post is very befitting.  For the spirit I will be sharing a bit about how the Christmas song, “Breath of Heaven” has impacted me.  And for the body, “Healthy Superfood Prestigio (Chocolate Coconut) tarts.  Hope you enjoy.

Breath of Heaven Pic

I have traveled many moonless nights
Cold and weary with a babe inside
And I wonder what I’ve done
Holy Father, You have come
And chosen me now to carry Your Son

I am waiting in a silent prayer
I am frightened by the load I bear
In a world as cold as stone
Must I walk this path alone?
Be with me now, be with me now.

Breath of Heaven, hold me together
Be forever near me, Breath of Heaven
Breath of Heaven, lighten my darkness
Pour over me Your holiness for You are holy
Breath of Heaven

Do you wonder as you watch my face
If a wiser one should have had my place?
But I offer all I am
For the mercy of Your plan
Help me be strong, help me be, help me

Amy Grant

Listen to a version by Eden’s Bridge here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KLXvGNUOtZM

Sometimes when I listen to this song I start to cry.  I think it’s because of the simplicity of it and the way that Mary addresses God, “Breath of Heaven”.  She was just a young girl when a unexepected visitor showed up and shared a message with her that essentially changed the entire course of her life.  She was engaged to be married to a simple carpenter, and she herself, was just a simple girl – that loved God.

As she silently prays to her maker, she’s extremely vulnerable and expresses to Him just how scared she is.  She knows that the world is a cold place and she is feeling all alone.  And rightly so.  Imagine being in her place.  A virgin, engaged to be married, in a society where it is absolutely unacceptable and punishable to have had sexual relations before marriage.  And now she is carrying the son of God.

She pours her soul out to the only one that could possibly understand what she is going through.  God, hold me together (I’m losing it).  God, be forever near me (I feel so lost).  God, lighten my darkness (the stone cold reality of this world is blinding me (I can’t see you).  God, pour over me your holiness (for you are the only one that can ease my anguished heart and replace the lack of tranquility with overwhelming peace).

I think it’s amazing how she addresses God as, “Breath of Heaven”.  The word breath signifies life.  Every bodily function depends on breathing as breathing is the most fundamental of all the body’s systems.  It’s at the very core of life.  When one stops breathing, one dies.

She also recognizes that she’s weak.  She doesn’t see herself as one that is wise enough to be carrying such a serious responsibility.  But the beautiful thing is that, even though she’s full of doubts and even though she considers herself as unwise, it didn’t matter to God.  What mattered was that she was willing to offer all that she is.  What mattered was that she had a heart of humility and recognized she needed His strength, and not her own.

What do you think of this song?  What are your thoughts concerning it?  Leave a comment and let me know.

Ok, who else out there loves a good dessert or tasty little treat, but hates the refined sugar?  Being that it’s the Christmas season and all, I thought I’d create this little goody for my kids (ok, for me too, I confess).  Try it out and let me know what you think.

Healthy Prestigio Tarts Pic

Yes, this is my little girl enjoying what’s left over of the filling

Healthy Prestigio (chocolate & coconut) tarts

Crust:

  • 1/2 cup chopped cashews
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup dates
  • 1 Tbsp melted butter or coconut oil
  • pinch of salt

Place all ingredients into a food processor or blender and blend until incorporated.  Fill mini cupcake tins with paper liners.  Press 1 heaping teaspoon of the mixture into each to form a crust.

Filling:

  • 4 small bananas or 2 large
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/4 honey
  • 4 Tbsp coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 Tbsp melted butter or coconut oil

Place all ingredients into a blender and blend until fully incorporated.  Spoon around 2 good teaspoons of the mixture into the cups.  You can garnish with some shredded coconut and then place in the freezer until ready to enjoy.

Food and Nutrition, Food For Thought Friday - FFTF, Spiritual

FFTF – Spirit: Then he smiled at me… Body – Kale Salad with Mango and Coconut


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I absolutely love this time of year and the Christmas holiday.  I have such good memories growing up, with the house all decorated and all of the pretty lights, time with friends and family, gift giving (and receiving) and, of course, good food.  I figure that, since it’s the Christmas season – and I love it so much – I would write a bit about some of my favorite Christmas songs and what they mean to me.

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(I had to take this picture because it was my little guy that put the presents in baby Jesus’ arms and I thought it was so cute)

The Little Drummer Boy

Come they told me,
A new born King to see,
Our finest gifts we bring,
To lay before the King,
So to honour Him,
When we come.

Little Baby,
I am a poor boy to,
I have no gift to bring,
That’s fit to give a king,
Shall I play for you,
On my drum?

Mary nodded,
The ox and lamb kept time,
I played my drum for Him,
I played my best for Him,

Then He smiled at me,
Me and my drum.

(To hear Josh Groban’s version of the song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vRCEqDc4jD8)

This song, “The Little Drummer Boy” has really spoken deeply to me in the past and I absolutely love its message.  I started my missionary career in 2000 and have been all over the world since then.  But when I got pregnant with my first son I fell into a bit of a depression, thinking that my life was all over.  I couldn’t see how I would be relevant as a missionary anymore.  I would say to God, “So what then God?  Am I just going to be a mother and wife?  Is that all you have for me now?” (as if that wasn’t important and relevant enough already).  

Soon after having Caue (that’s my son’s name), we left Brazil for a time of training and investing in our areas of work.  It was during that time that God really spoke into my life, using this song.  I was doing a music for missions school and was really seeking God about how I could really be relevant.  Finally, after a few weeks of praying and pleading for an answer God brought the remembrance of this song to mind.

The first verse speaks of a king being born.  Now, being a king was a big thing.  He was the one who created all the laws, led the justice systems and overseed his kingdom as he saw fit (http://www.ehow.com/info_8392008_duties-kings.html).  Three wise men came to see this new king and bring him gifts in order to show their respect and reverence.  In order to honour him.

The second verse speaks of a poor little boy.  He wasn’t of any importance.  No one knew who he was.  No one traveled half way across the world to visit him.  He was just a humble little guy.  He didn’t even have enough money to bring the king a gift.  He thought he didn’t have anything of worth. So he offered to play his little drum for him.

Now the third verse is the one I love the most.  It speaks of how this little guy didn’t let social differences stand in the way of him giving his all for the king.  He played his drum for him.  He played his best for him.  With the little he had.  I’m sure he wasn’t the best drummer in the world.  He just gave it his all, no matter what.  And then it came… the king… the son of God… the ruler of all… SMILED AT HIM.  How precious is that.  He didn’t smile at him because he had kept good rythm. He didn’t smile at him because he was perfect.  He didn’t smile at him because he was refined and well-trained.  NO! He smiled at him because of his humble heart.  Because in his humility he offered his best.

Do you think you have to be perfect to be relevant? Do you think you have be well educated and trained to make a difference in this world.  I couldn’t see how I could be relevant after having children. Now I know that – in what ever I do – if I do my best out of humility of heart – that is a powerful tool in the hands of an almighty God.  And the king will smile on me.

Please leave a comment and let me know what you think.

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Ok, now for the food part.  I know that it is winter time for most that are reading this and soups, stews and other hot dishes are what’s popular right now.  However, in Brazil we celebrate Christmas in the summer and it is blazing hot.  My recipe for you today is something that many would probably prefer in the summer, but I really like this salad so am sharing it with you today.

  • 1 1/2 cups kale
  • 1/2 tomato
  • 1/4 red pepper
  • 1/4 cup shredded carrot
  • 1/2 Tommy mango
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut
  • your choice of protein
  • top with cilantro and season as desired.

I used a can of tuna as my protein, but you can use whatever you desire.

Food and Nutrition, Food For Thought Friday - FFTF, Spiritual

FFTF – Spirit: Neediness and the infusion of peace Body: Healthy Raw Energy Balls


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FFTF (Food For Thought Friday) – Spirit: Neediness and the infusion of peace, Body: Healthy Raw Chocolate Balls

As you may know by now, I absolutely love the daily devotional book, “Jesus Calling”, by Sarah Young.  Some days the words from that book just jump out of the book and into my spirit.  Today’s was like that and the following are my thoughts provoked by it.

Infustion of peace pic

We live in an age where independence is highly valued and neediness is despised.  However, I believe that we will only find true peace in our spirits when we surrender to the maker of all things. I have found the key to true inner peace.  My recognition of how dependent I am on Him and how needy I am of Him is the key to entering into a deeper intimacy with my creator and lover of my soul. As I come away to that secret place where only He and I sit together, He infuses His peace into my innermost being and allows me to find rest and tranquility of mind and of heart.

I am not my own.  I cannot live a life of independence – and I wouldn’t want to.  I am totally and completely needy of Him.  And I am found in Him, nestled in the palm of his hand as He shelters me and sustains me ‘whole-istically’.  And when I start to fall away from Him – when I try to do things on my own – that’s when stress enters into my life again and peace fades away.  But He love me so much.  And He remembers that I am made of dust.  And soon enough he nudges me and leads me back into His keeping again.

How about you? Do you value being independent? What do you think about this topic?  Leave a comment below and let me know.

Now…. for the yummy stuff.  Who wants healthy chocolate balls.  Oh, I do I do!

balls pic

Raw Energy Balls

  • 1/3 cup whole oats
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup protein powder (all whey or brown rice in vegetarian)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 Tbsp all natural peanut or almond butter
  • 1 Tbsp flax seeds
  • 2 Tbsp raisins
  1. First grind the oats and then place mix all of the ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Put in the fridge for about 30 minutes to chill.
  3. Take out of the fridge and then form balls with your hands.

Makes about 12 balls, depending on how big you make them.