Why Healthy Makes Sense to Me...

I enjoy health. I enjoy being healthy. It just resonates with me... you know, just how some people love music, the arts, sports or working with their hands? That's me with health.

So let's define health. I like what the Medilexicons' (say what?) medical dictionary says about health, it's "The state of an organism when it functions optimally without evidence of disease or abnormality."

I really like that phrase, "functions optimally." In other words, to me it says, to live well. I want to live a good life. I want to enjoy my kids and later, my grand kids. I want to grow old with my husband and travel and laugh.

There is no telling what the future holds for any of us. We can do all things healthy and still end up sick or victims of life-altering tragedies. God holds those mysteries in his hands. But I know as long as I am breathing and fully functioning, I will do my best to take care of this body he has entrusted me with.

Here are some reasons why healthy makes sense to me...

Side note... I have many times of treats and indulgences. I have days, weeks of terrible eating slumps. I'm in no way a health-eating Nazi... never want to appear that way to anyone. But my passion is to strive daily to eat/live well as best I can... to learn to live with my mistakes and rejoice over little victories!

1. I like feeling well... it's addicting. I like waking up with no aches, pains or sluggishness. When I am heavier and eating a junky diet, I can't bend over without feeling strangled or run up my stairs without being out of breath. I don't like those feelings... at. all. Once you get a taste of feeling healthy, you want it to stay as long as possible!

2. I like acting well. I will admit it, I can be a grump sometimes. But I have concluded those grump times are usually associated with my poor eating choices. Who likes being a grump? I'll go out on a limb and say, not many do. Healthy eating habits bring about a better frame of mind and to me, is nature's anti-depressant/anxiety remedy.

3. I like looking well... for my husband, of course! I guess I still want to somewhat resemble that young girl he fell in love with years and years ago. Inevitably there will be wrinkles and some gravity issues, but we still have a lot to work with. A poor diet contributes to the buildup of free radicals which progresses the aging process and the development of a number of age-related diseases. Experts suspect the antioxidant compounds found in whole foods are largely responsible for holding back the march of time.

4. I like fulfilling my God-given responsibilities. I love being a mom and wife. I love keeping a home and making it a haven for my family. I enjoy being social and having friendships. But the times I am not well, those things take a back seat. I tend to shy away from people when I'm sick . My home and family responsibilities get pushed aside and I become focused on me instead of them. There is this shift that happens when you feel sick. The duties and obligations get second or third place as this "unwellness" becomes first. I don't want that. I want my family to have the best of me as much as I can control as possible. Again, we are not guaranteed 100% health, but we can try our best!

5. I want to honor God with my body. The Bible is full of passages about our bodies. We can honor God by the way we care for our bodies. We are a reflection of him and our bodies are not our own, they are God's. But there are sins we can commit when it comes to our bodies whether it be through inappropriate use of drugs, sexual sins, over or under eating, alcohol or smoking abuse, or even idolizing our bodies above God. But a healthy balance of eating well, exercising and above all, keeping Christ the center of our health and overall living is truly an pleasing sacrifice to him!

Eating healthy is sometimes a nice thought, but a harder practice, I know. If you are on the fence, take some baby steps. Eliminate just one thing! Or go out and buy a bag of apples and start eating one a day. Throw out those bag of Ding Dongs... do they even make those anymore? Just one thing!

Do it.

Little things make big differences when it comes to health.


A Lesson Learned

I have a child who is good... really good.

He is soft. Sensitive. Well mannered. Kind. Quiet and obedient.

(Enter mom) Me. 

At times naive.

Sometimes aloof.


Because he is so good, at times I forget that he is human. Is going to sin. Will make mistakes. 

Truth of the matter... he has entertained some deceit in his young life. Nothing "major". Has hidden a few problems so that mom and dad still see him as their "easy" child. He's a pleaser, you see.

All this collided recently. A couple stories unfolded. We discovered some little things we didn't see before and were discouraged. Tears were shed. Hugs were given.

I know he's human. 

I'm human too.

I get busy. 

I lose focus.

I get frustrated and easily angered.

I can be deceitful too.

Through this ordeal I was forced to learn...

Don't assume.

Don't neglect silences. While some children openly sin or beg for attention in tiring ways, other children are puzzles that parents need to piece together.

Your easy child sometimes has issues you don't always see.

Talk to them.

Look at their schoolwork. Look for clues in their everyday life. 

Sometimes a quiet child can be holding back or hiding. They need you to help them look and uncover

Be nosey. Ask questions... good questions. 

Stop long enough to care.

Sit with them and just... be there.

Finding solutions may not be easy. But it's better than never caring to figure them out until it's too late.

Realize the most pressing things in life are "beings" who need you more than dirty socks, floors and other distractions do.

But don't ever assume... lesson learned.


Butter Cafe

Do you ever have one of those days that you are just super busy doing your normal thing and you are intent on checking things off your "to-do" list? That was me today. Nothing major, just normal "mom" stuff. 

One of those "to-do's" became an "ahhh" for me.


Yes, there was business to be done, but just the time to stop. SIT DOWN. And be me. 

Makes me very thankful!

So today while meeting with my friend, I was thrilled to finally visit a newer, quaint restaurant right in the heart of a trendy, urban spot adjacent to a large, private university. This eatery is adorable

First off, it had these beautiful lamps hanging from the ceiling.
Cute pink and chocolate striped walls... just adorable!

What I was MOST impressed with was the food. They offer organic butter and cheeses. Local, range-free eggs and meat and local, homegrown veggies. Gluten-free options are also available. I was in heaven!

I ordered a Greek salad with grilled chicken and organic feta drizzled with Greek goddess dressing. Let me tell you, organic feta MELTS in your mouth. Oh my.

Then I splurged and got a gluten-free cupcake. It was great, but the pretty pink frosting won me over. 

So if you live in the Dayton area, I totally recommend The Butter Cafe on Brown Street. Wholesome Bits gives it "two-thumbs up".

What is one of your favorite restaurants and what makes it good and wholesome??


What I Picked Up Yesterday...

Books and reading are a big part of our home. I am thankful for intelligent people sharing their wisdom to the world. One thing I am particularly appreciative of is the ability to request books from different libraries and have them wonderfully delivered to mine! It's a beautiful thing.

For many years, I have used books in my health journey. The internet is great for supplying us with many great articles and such, but a book does that and so much more.

If you are on a journey to becoming healthier, I encourage you to start looking for books to help you. The knowledge shared from experts in a certain field can spring you into discovering new ways to overcome health issues you are experiencing or boost you into a better health. It has brought me so much further in my journey.

Here are some books I recently picked up from my library that I had requested. I do have a little ADD when it comes to books... I read a few pages from one and move on to another book. Eventually I do finish, but it must take a twisted brain to piece together what one has read!

  • Eat to Live; The Amazing Nutrient-Rich Program for Fast and Sustained Weight Loss by Joel Fuhrman, M.D.
  • The Backyard Homestead; Produce All the Food you Need on Just a Quarter Acre! edited by Carleen Madigan
  • Wheat Belly; Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health by William Davis, M.D.
  • The Complete Idiot's Guide to Raw Food Detox by Adam Graham
  • Flat Belly Diet Cookbook by Liz Vaccariello
  • The Essential EatingWell Cookbook; Good Carbs; Good Fats; Great Flavors edited by Patsy Jamieson

What books are you reading this spring? Are you methodical and read one book at a time or slightly scattered-brained like me and read snippets from many books?


Southwest Quinoa Salad

Quinoa (pronounced, "KEEN-wah") is known as the "mother of all grains". But technically quiona is a seed, but still commonly known as a grain. Perfectly gluten-free and packs a powerful-protein punch (22 grams per 1 cup!). It is truly a superfood because it is contains eight amino acids needed for the body's nutritional needs specifically tissue growth and repair. Another beneficial nutrient is manganese, which acts as a disease and cancer fighting antioxidant in the body. Other vital nutrients that quinoa provides are: magnesium, fiber, calcium, riboflavin, copper and potassium.

In order to cook quinoa effectively, it is important to rinse the seeds because of the saponin that it is coated with. Some recommend soaking the seeds overnight. Either way, make sure they are thoroughly washed to rid the quinoa of the bitter taste it may take on if not.

A friend of mine graciously passed this recipe on to me awhile ago, but I made some small changes to call it my own. This salad can be served warm or cold. I prefer cold. It makes a generous amount and would be great to have on hand through the week for a stand-alone meal or a palate-pleasing side dish.


2 T. olive oil
1/3 cup red onion, chopped
1/3 red or yellow (or green, if you must) pepper, chopped
1 small clove of garlic, minced
2 cups quinoa (soaked or rinsed!)
3 1/2 to 4 cups of water
salt, to taste
2 t cumin
juice of half a lime
1/2 can of black beans, rinsed
1 cup frozen sweet corn
4 scallions (green part only), thinly sliced


1. Saute onion and yellow/red pepper for 5 minutes in oil or until tender (do not overcook). Add garlic the last 2 minutes. Add quinoa and cook, stirring frequently, until the quinoa is toasted and smells nutty, about 2 minutes.

2. Add the water (3 1/2 cups) and heat to boil. Once boiling, reduce to low simmer and cover tightly for roughly 15 minutes. Add more water as needed. Quinoa is done cooking when the seed uncoils and you notice a little tail off the seed body. (I personally think the "uncoiling" is quite endearing!) Stir in salt and cumin.

3. I like to let the cooked quinoa cool off the hot burner with lid off for about 20 minutes. Like I said, I prefer mine cold. Once the steam has left the mixture, add black beans, corn, lime juice and scallions and mix.

Serves 6 or more.


Mesclun Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette

I made a mesclun salad the other day. My husband was like, "what?" after I told him the name of the salad. For some reason, I prefer difficult names when describing my food... makes it sound more legit or something. Anyways, even though I wanted to sound "professional" in my description of the salad, I had no clue what "mesclun" meant myself... so I skipped on over to wikipedia and here's what it says...
Mesclun is a salad mix of assorted small, young salad leaves which originated in Provence, France. The traditional mix includes chervil, arugula, leafy lettuces, endive, spinach, raddichio and/or other leaf vegetables.
The name mescla means "to mix" and literally means "mixture".

So there... we all know what it means now.

It kind of has a funny story behind it. My swee
t hubby hardly ever goes to the grocery. I'm the crazy foodie and I sort of ummm, like control over my food shopping. Sooo, it's hard for me to hand that over and I know for the most part, he is fine with that. But he was running out for some cold medicine and he asked if I needed anything and I immediately thought of baby spinach for sandwiches and green smoothies. What did he pick up??

Spring mix
... otherwise known as

I wasn't thrilled (because I had green smoothies on the brain) when I saw the organic (yes! He did get that part right!) spring mix I had a few words... maybe like, "there go my green smoothies". But I later ate my words after we ate this salad for dinner and then lunch the next day. Boy, if it's not the closest thing to a nice restaurant salad, I don't know what is!

So thank you, hubby, for getting the wrong greens because I am officially hooked!

Hope you enjoy it too!

Mesclun Salad with homemade balsamic vinaigrette dressing:

2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon brown spicy mustard
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 packet of stevia powder
fresh ground pepper

I put all the ingredients in a bottle with lid and shook. Let sit for a half hour in fridge. Shake again before pouring on salad.

Mesclun Salad:
Several cups (or desired amount) of mesclun salad or spring mix
3/4 cup of thinly sliced yellow pepper
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
1/2 cup pomegrante-flavored Craisins
1/4 cup sliced almonds

Lightly toss salad ingredients together and add a few tablespoons of the vinaigrette over and toss again.

Keep the remainder of dressing in sealed container for later use. (The next day it's even better!)


Need Help? 7 Basic Tips to Get You Going on Your Heathy Way

Making changes for better health is not always an easy task. It's not like you wake up one day saying, "I am going to eat everything healthy, exercise every day and never eat potato chips again!". I know this never happened to me. It is a process that definitely takes time, effort and determination... knowing that on the other side you will see results that make you quite proud and you will definitely look and feel better too.

Right before I started college there was this "special" two-day event that all freshmen were required to go to called, "Getting Started". The college really pumped it up and maybe some newbies were excited for it, but I was not. I am not super fond of mixing it up with strangers and getting broken into groups is the worst thing you can ask me to do. I prefer to melt into crowds. I was not happy I had to do this... BUT after those two grueling days, I can honestly say, that is when I met some of my dearest friends and got super excited to be at the place I would spend the next four years of my life. It wasn't fun at first, but the pay off has definitely lasted years and years. The effects of being challenged in that way were invaluable to me. The same is true when changing eating habits from not so good to very healthy. It's not easy to start, but if you hang in there, you'll see great rewards to come.

I have been asked, "How and where do I get started" in eating healthy or "What do I buy at the store?" and so on. If there were just a few pointers to help start someone on this journey, here is what I would say.

1. Don't buy junk. When I buy junk, I eat junk. I am like a ravenous animal just waiting to pounce on my prey which would be one of my favorites: greasy, salty potato chips! If it is in my house, I, more times than not, have no self-control. The same goes for my children as well. So rule #1 is don't let it in your home and you will never know what you're missing -- well, for the most part :)

2. Plan your meals. I have not always enjoyed planning meals. I am not always on task with everything in my life. Some things I am totally ready for and others things, not so much. But I have learned that some simple (30 minutes max) planning before the week and things go much smoother. I love researching healthy, simple, kid-pleasing meals. I look for meals that are low in fat and cholesterol, high in protein, lots of greens and fruits and I usually try to squeeze in an omega-3 meal in there as well. Here is the link for my healthy meal plans if you need some ideas to get you going.

3. Talk to your family about food... a lot (in a positive way). I am very open about how food helps or hurts our bodies. My kids truly do listen. I do have a picker eater. I do have complainers. I do not have kids that are thrilled all the time with everything that is placed in front of them. It takes time. Be open about what you are serving, what you bought at the grocery for the week and be excited. Here is a post on getting your kids to eat healthy.

4. Have healthy snack options on hand. You've heard the saying, "If you fail to plan then plan to fail". This is so true with snacking in my house. I must be ready with healthy options for my family. Here are a few of our basic, top pick, healthy snacks:
  • sliced bananas (or apples) with nut butter and honey drizzled on top
  • veggie sticks
  • tortillas with salsa or garlic hummus
  • low-fat string cheese
  • applesauce
  • diced peaches
  • Triscuits with low-fat Laughing Cow cheese
  • carrot sticks with low-fat ranch dressing
  • cottage cheese with salt & pepper
  • whole grain cinnamon-raisin bread
  • mini whole grain bagels with low-fat cream cheese
  • sunflower seeds with cranberries and dark chocolate chips
  • peanut butter balls
  • organic yogurt with homemade granola
  • honey-wheat pretzels
  • lots of fruit and veggies, of course

5. Spend lots of time in the outer perimeter of the store . You barely have to spend much time in the middle aisles when you eat healthy. Get familiar with those healthy (super)foods you don't know much about and try them. Eating clean rarely ever requires you make something from a box. I skim by the dairy and juice section. But I know of at least 3 maybe 4 aisles I never have to go down. That is just another perk of eating clean! Here is a list of staples I usually keep on hand.

  • condiments: ketchup (no HFCS), mustard, Dijon
  • black olives
  • vinegar (white, apple cider, balsamic, raspberry blush, rice, white & red wine)
  • olive oil & coconut oil
  • banana peppers
  • beans (garbanzo, black, northern, pinto and lentils)
  • lemon juice
  • sauces (low sodium soy, barbecue, sweet chili, Sriracha)
  • natural peanut and almond butter
  • natural, no-added sugar jelly
  • canned pumpkin
  • grains (brown rice, quinoa, rolled oats)
  • flours (whole wheat, whole wheat pastry flour, masa, polenta, corn meal)
  • panko bread crumbs
  • unsweetened coconut flakes
  • dried fruits (cranberries, raisins, blueberries, dates, bananas)
  • nuts (every kind imaginable!)
  • canned tuna and wild Alaskan salmon
  • sweeteners (stevia, brown sugar, demerara, brown rice syrup, pure maple syrup)
  • whole grain tortillas (wraps)
  • corn tortillas

6. Read labels. If the list of ingredients gets to be over 5 ingredients, it's starting to get "dirty". And if you can't pronounce something, it's probably not clean either. I love this website! She encourages me to feed my family clean and I gobble up her posts any chance I can!

7. Don't throw in the towel, please. You will get busy. You will get sick or tired. You will have bad days, but stick to the plan of eating healthy. Please enjoy things. Celebrate in moderation. But come back to the healthy side when you're done. Don't give up because it's worth it.

Wholesome Bits is committed to encouraging and helping anyone ready to make healthy changes in their lives. It's not always an easy journey, but once you get the hang of it -- like riding a bike -- you won't forget how to do it and you will enjoy the ride.


WB Meal Plan - Gettin' Out of Slumps

I have been in a blogging, cooking, meal planning slump. I am in the midst of a backyard reno and somedays I just can't manage to even think about blogging. It's just one of those times. I promise I'll be back in full gear here soon.

This time of year starts to get real busy. We are just coming off Easter and spring break, but also have two birthdays this spring and baseball just started for one of my sons. But regardless, healthy and clean meals need to be and are still a priority for me.

I absolutely LOVE flavor in my food. I use real garlic -- not powder... real onions... real ginger and so on. These ingredients are cheap and add more flavor to meals than powder form. Yes, there are times to throw in some spices from the cabinet, but more times than not, I gotta have the real thing.

--skipped Monday-- opps!

Pineapple-Teriyaki Chicken
Brown rice
Snow peas

Wednesday ~ Ethan's 9th birthday!
Spaghetti with ground turkey & whole grain noodles
Mesclun salad
Whole wheat rolls

Light BBQ chicken pizza
Sliced pears

Eggplant parmesan panini
Fruit salad