Some days when you’re not having the best time, it’s okay to remind yourself of the simple stuff. Close your eyes. Concentrate on your heartbeat. Can you feel it going through your body? Are you grateful?
Yeah. It can be that simple.
Confession: I’ve always wanted to be… a sidewalk performer.
Is that weird? I always love stopping to listen/watch to different people singing/playing/performing on the sidewalks. But, I especially love it during Christmas time. In fact, I want to BE that person spreading Christmas Cheer for all to hear…
A couple problems with the practicality of that dream:
I fixed the first problem when I moved to Philly. The second problem can be fixed with the shame of carrying music with me. But the third problem… that’s a toughie. I’ve been practicing guitar every night and morning in preparation for my big debut, but I don’t think it’s going to be ready. I am in desperate need of divine intervention or a willing accompanist.
I’ll update you on my progress, of course.
As I struggle with this reality, let’s discuss something more pleasant.
I stumbled across a brilliant combination of food yesterday: Butternut squash + Honeycrisp Apples + Cranberries + Nutmeg/Cinnamon + Butter + Honey = Everything nice. It’s right up there with pie. I love it that much.
Recipe: Baked Butternut Squash and Apples
A note to the Diabetics: One serving (1 cup) = 22 grams of carbohydrate. Enjoy as a lower carbohydrate alternative to pie. Trust me, it’s equally delicious.
If you’re in a hurry, you can also make this pan in the skillet. I did it the other day. It turns out just as yummy, but not QUITE as pretty as when it’s done in the oven.
Thanksgiving dinner is over… now for LEFTOVERS!
I spent this Thanksgiving walking around NYC and eating at restaurants with my family. Unfortunately, turkey dinners in NYC are somewhere around $65 per person if you’re dining out, so we opted not to partake in the turkey festivities. We enjoyed a delicious Italian restaurant instead.
“What?!?! No turkey on Thanksgiving?? Are you even qualified to be writing this blog???”
Yes, I am.
Fortunately for me, I did not miss out on traditional thanksgiving foods entirely. When I got back from NYC, my “host mom” in Philadelphia made the most delicious turkey dinner for all to enjoy.
I am quite blessed.
My favorite part of the dinner: Roasted Butternut Squash and Apples. But, my second favorite part was the 21 pound turkey.
As is likely to be the case with you, we are set with turkey leftovers for life… Here is one solution to the problem:
Recipe: Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey Salad
A Note to the Diabetics: Most of these ingredients are limited/no carbohydrate foods (turkey, mayo, herbs, onion, celery). The only major contributor would be the apples. The cranberries are too small of a portion to make a significant difference. 1 large apple = 30 grams of carbohydrate. I got about 4 servings out of this recipe, which means that each serving was about 8g of carbohydrate. See how I did that?
You have plenty of carbohydrates to use for bread, roasted butternut squash (recipe coming soon), or extra apple slices if you like. Enjoy!
Sometimes, you’re busy at home doing laundry and cleaning when an opportunity knocks on your door… or pops in your inbox. Imagine my surprise when I opened this email…
Dear Ms. Burbee,
Our HR has informed me about your interest in our RD/CDE position. By reviewing your resume, it is clear to me you are an excellent candidate, so I would love to arrange an interview.
However, our current position is a 0.6 FTE, thus I am not sure you would still be interested.
Please, let me know.
(Signed – Head Endocrinologist of a Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia)
Never before has the “head Endocrinologist of a well-established diabetes clinic” contacted me for a job interview. I haven’t even talked to HR. They left a message for me at my old work phone, but by the time I found out about it, the message was a week old. I called back and left a message for the HR employee explaining the confusion. I never heard from the HR person again – and yet, look! An email from the boss-man, himself.
Of course, I replied immediately and interviewed this week. My interview schedule was long – three different groups in the same day (they gave me an itinerary!), but I think it went really well. Plus, it’s the perfect compliment to my current job (0.4 FTE at Abington Hospital).
I’ve always wanted to work at a pediatric hospital for diabetes management, but those jobs are hard to get. Maybe it’s not as far beyond my reach as I thought. Time will tell.
I can not emphasize enough how important it is to find a good church and get connected. If I didn’t have a relationship with my current pastor, I wouldn’t know nearly as many people as I do.
This week I attended a young adult small group. While the initial grilling of questions was a little unnerving, by the end of the hour, I felt like they were my old friends.
They were also the first people I told my real story about why I was in Philadelphia. Everyone asks about it. The answer takes some faith to give and some faith to receive. I’m here because this is where God asked me to be. I don’t know much more than that, to be honest.
Bonus… after meeting my new friends, I decided to invite one of them to the opera. I’ve never been. Plus, it qualifies as a trying something new and exciting. I figured it would be “new” at the very least.
Guess what? I absolutely loved it.
Some of you know that my sister challenged me to do something new (or meet someone new) each day for my first month out here. As part of my “something new” I decided to try a nearby crossfit gym. Initially, I was terrified. I haven’t worked out in so long, and I knew they would be competitive and tough.
Luckily, I met a really nice girl that worked as my partner and got through the workout.
Since that day, I have had trouble shifting my car into first gear – due purely to soreness in my arms. Literally, every part of my arm feels like it’s rebuilding. If you’re not familiar with soreness – Check out this blog.
I really messed them up. Oh well! They’ll rebuild. That’s part of the beauty.
Everyone’s New Best Friend…
Several of my patients ask me about coconut oil because, somewhere along the line, they’ve heard it was “good for them.” Based on this very general accolade, they leave their house in search for this “good-for-you-oil.” But, at $20 per jar, what’s really so special about coconut oil?
The Science behind “It’s good for you”…
Coconut oil has two really great properties that set it apart from it’s other oil friends.
This is undoubtedly part of what makes it so medicinally useful—both when taken internally and applied externally. But what does it mean to be a medium chain fatty acid? That’s a big word.
Understanding Medium Chain Fatty Acids…
The first thing you need to know is the basic chemical structure of a fat.
Most triglycerides have a “glycerol” and then three separate chains of “free fatty acids.” Each one of these zig-zags represents a carbon molecule with 2-3 hydrogen molecules. Our body breaks one carbon/hydrogen grouping off the chain with an enzyme (an organism that can break bonds). Cutting off the end of the chain allows us to digest the fat in small segments rather than all at once. It’s a really long chain and we only take one section off at a time… this is why fat takes so long to be metabolized.
But not every molecule of fat is the same length. Triglycerides (fat molecules) can have short chains, medium chains, or long chains. This chart might help you to understand…
Pretty cool stuff. The really interesting part is that short chain fatty acids actually act more like a fast acting energy than a slow burning fat.
SIDE NOTE: Remember, fat doesn’t make you “fat”
Many people try to glorify “low-fat diets.” Not me.
Going “low fat” could have an unwanted effect on your appetite because fat is a major contributor to satiety (fullness). The long fatty acid chain we talked about earlier breaks down slowly and keeps you feeling full in between your meals.
If you eliminate fat in your diet, you’re likely to start an unhealthy habit of chronic snacking on carbohydrates (fast burning energy) that seems to leave you constantly searching for more. (<< Definitely not ideal for diabetics..)
WARNING: Not all fats are good guys.
An example of unhealthy oils would be trans fats (a known murderer) and the GMO polyunsaturated oils. Some experts think the huge increase in polyunsaturated oils in the American diet may be responsible for our accrual of thyroid problems.
Ray Peat Ph.D., a physiologist who has worked with progesterone and related hormones since 1968, says that the sudden surge of polyunsaturated oils (soybean oil, vegetable oil, corn oil, margarine) into the food chain post World War II has even caused change in hormones! He writes:
“Their [polyunsaturated oils] best understood effect is their interference with the function of the thyroid gland. Unsaturated oils block thyroid hormone secretion, its movement in the circulatory system, and the response of tissues to the hormone. When the thyroid hormone is deficient, the body is generally exposed to increased levels of estrogen. The thyroid hormone is essential for making the ‘protective hormones’ progesterone and pregnenolone, so these hormones are lowered when anything interferes with the function of the thyroid. The thyroid hormone is required for using and eliminating cholesterol, so cholesterol is likely to be raised by anything that blocks the thyroid function.”
Yikes! Thyroid problems seem to be more and more common in our society. This might be contributing.
But I digress. Back to Coconut Oil…
Health Benefits of Coconut Oil (MCFA and anti-viral effect):
Here’s how you can put it to good use…Coconut oil is used for two general purposes: in food and in beauty products. I will briefly cover both.
Coconut Oil in Cooking/Baking
Coconut oil is a great substitute for butter or shortening in cooking and baking. It can withstand higher temperatures without being damaged like many other oils. Also, coconut oil doesn’t go rancid like many other oils might, so it will keep longer in your pantry than vegetable or canola oil.
Coconut oil should be solid at room temperature. My coconut oil has a habit of being liquid all through the summer because my house is a little warmer during that time. Despite this fact, don’t go to the other extreme and store your coconut oil in the fridge or freezer. This makes it difficult to get out. Cold coconut oil is like chiseling stone.
Coconut Oil Beauty Products
The anti-microbial, moisturizing, and long lasting properties of coconut oil make it ideal for use in different household or beauty products. If you’re interested in learning more about home remedies with coconut oil, check out this blog post. I’m pretty sure they covered it all.
I’ll try to post some recipes using coconut oil in the near future. :) But, if you’re feeling impatient… try this one.
Well, it worked. God is good.
I moved out of my friends house (a temporary residence) last Monday to move into my new home for the next 1-2 months! I know some of you thought I was crazy, but it worked just like God told me it would work. I found a great host family!!
Background Story: Why Choose Homelessness?
Easy. Moving from Missouri to Pennsylvania is not simple. I didn’t have the luxury of taking a week vacation to come sort things out up here before starting my new job. With no place to move into, it really wasn’t feasible to bring all of my belongings and furniture with me on my initial trip.
In lieu of a plan, I decided to trust God and arrive homeless with intentions to stay with a friend while I looked for a host family to move in with for the next few months. The proposed deal was a free bedroom in exchange for cooking dinner and/or breakfast for the family during the week.
This set-up gives me time to get familiar with the area and figure out where I want to live. It also allows me some financial freedom to allow me time to get my private practice started.
Pretty ideal set-up, if you ask me.
SIDE NOTE: Honestly, my new host family probably wouldn’t even REQUIRE me to make dinner and breakfast because they’re just really nice/good people. But, I will cook for them anyways because I love feeding people around me. It’s my favorite.
Things are going really well.
I was talking to my new pastor the other day about this experience and I noted an unusual blessing inside my current situation. Moving to Philadelphia without a place to stay long term made me very aware of my need. God told me he would take care of me, but I had to trust Him to fill my need and let go of my imaginary “control.”
Every time I have agreed, God has taken care of me. This time. Every time.
Realizing you’re “in need” or putting yourself “in need” is the tricky part…
As American’s we’re prone to a idea that we can fill all of our own needs. Or, if we can’t fill them personally, more money works, too.
Several people would feel very uncomfortable moving to a new place with no solid plan on where to live or how to make money. These are the people that have a plan, a backup plan, and an emergency plan for all of their life events. These are the people that feel uncomfortable or reluctant to ask someone else for help. Pretending to be in control of every aspect of our life is dangerous and self-centered. (I’m guilty of this too).
Since when are we the alpha and the omega? We’re not.
When I recognized this tendency, I decided it would actually benefit me more to intentionally put myself in situations where I am not in control. These are the situations in my life when I see God shine through in really big ways. It’s almost as if I am in the way; and when I get out of the way, God is there.
He was there all along.
Unfortunately, several things can “block” us from God’s presence in our life:
I’m a piece of the puzzle, not the whole picture.
Connecting with the other people around you and acknowledging them for their strengths and weaknesses can help build you up. My weakness may be another persons strength. We’re not meant to stand alone. Just like being on a track team. The long jumper isn’t required to be a thrower. The thrower isn’t required to run a mile.
We’re all different. We’re all in need.
Can you accept that? Can you acknowledge your weaknesses and allow someone else to HELP you? It’s my prayer that you would.
I love you, reader. God asked me to do it, and I accept this responsibility willingly (you are so loveable, after all). Love is part of the reason I write to you. But, I’m not the only one He’s asking. He’s asking you to love, too. Love yourself and the people around you.
We all need to work together.
“Fresh Pumpkin Recipes”
I’m not going to take credit for this one, but it’s definitely worth bringing to your attention. This pumpkin recipe was AMAZING. Please make it.
Props to “Country Living.” They have a lot of really great recipes for “fresh pumpkin recipes.” I’ve tried the Curried Pumpkin and Pea Recipe, the Pumpkin and Cauliflower Casserole, and the Pumpkin Bread recipe. I have to say, the pumpkin bread recipe was probably the best I’ve ever tasted, BUT the calories and carbohydrates explain why it’s so good (see links for nutrition information).
In order to make the Curried Pumpkin and Peas recipe a “main dish,” add some diced chicken breast.
Recipe: Peas and Pumpkin Chicken Curry
A Note to the Diabetics: Look for websites like http://www.countryliving.com that include the nutrition facts with the recipes. Sometimes it can be surprising to find out how much carbohydrate is included in a portion. This recipe is to be divided into 6 servings. Each serving is 48 grams of carbohydrate with 7gm of fiber. Remember to subtract fiber if it’s greater than 5gm per serving. Therefore, one serving (1/6 of the pan) would count as 41 grams of carbohydrate.