Okay, so I might’ve said before that I am not one to pass on the Oreos. Literally I have a pack sitting in my fridge right now because I like them cold. DOUBLE stuff. It’s my one weakness and I will walk or crawl any distance to get there. I know. I need help. I’ve always said they put some drug in the cookies to keep people eating them. They’re just too good and in my opinion nothing else tops them. Anyways, I’ve recently started thinking about ways to be healthier in my diet and everyday lifestyle. My plan is to live a long and happy life, even when I’m 90. In order to do that, I have to be a good steward of what God has already given me. The word of God says in Matthew 13:12, “Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. ” I want to be trusted by God with everything I have, so I put in the work. Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve changed my diet in little ways. Less candy, less fried stuff, and less sugar in general. It’s been pretty easy to make those adjustments, but the hardest one I think, has been soda.

“Ginger ale” girl. That’s what someone used to call me when they saw how much of it I drank. I was known for that. I could only be happy and myself (completely relieved of stress) if I had two cans a day. Like coffee in the morning. And it wasn’t just ginger ale, it was any kind of soda. After awhile, everyone in my life had noticed this habit and advised against it, but you know how it is.

 

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Soda has also been a comforter for me over the years. When I felt like things were getting too out of hand for me to deal with, I swig down an entire can just because I could. At that point in my life, I was doing the best I could not to drink any alcohol. It isn’t that I consider it a sin, but I found myself depending on it in the past, so I made the choice to not drink it at all. The way I see it, it’s about the heart behind the issue. Using alcohol as a crutch is a sin, not drinking it. So I stayed away from that as much as I could. I wasn’t successful every time, but eventually I got the hang of it. Drinking less soda after that was and HAS been difficult, but I’m managing much better with it than before. I no longer have headaches from the lack of caffeine and can go at least a week with out it so far. This doesn’t mean that I won’t ever drink soda again, I would like to have it there when I want it, but I found a better option that has satisfied my craving for something other than water for the time being. Juice. I drink a lot of peach mango and citrus mango punch throughout the week. I start with one big cup of water in the morning, sometimes adding a cup of tea. Then, around mid-afternoon, I pour myself a glass of juice. I am aware that it’s still sugar, but it’s much better than drinking soda every day. I’ve felt more energized since I’ve made this change, and I have a feeling it’s going to stick. Not only is it a healthier option, it’s waaaay less expensive. Buying a 6-pack a week, depending on which state you’re in, can caused up to $4.00/week including CRV. Now I spent a buck-fifty each week, so it’s safe to say you can call me “juice” girl.

       Another huge change I’ve made in my diet is the way I portion meals. Instead of eating a bunch of small meals throughout the day, I’m finally eating 3 well-balanced meals with occasional snack in between. I’m trying to be very firm about this one because it’s very easy for me to just eat whenever I want. Wherever I am, I can always find food. So I’ve started buying side dishes to accompany various different meat options such as chicken, fish, and pork. I usually buy things like baked beans, white rice, scalloped potatoes, and pasta salad. Then I might add some vegetables onto that like peas, broccoli, cauliflower, corn, etc. This really makes me feel energized because my body’s getting the proper nutrition it needs to stay functional. It also helps to know that this is what God would want, and it makes it easier to know that He’s proud. I don’t know if anyone’s noticed how much longer people used to live back in the “Old Testament” days. There was no soda or artificial preservatives, the most unhealthy thing they probably ate was sugar onto of a loaf of bread. I’m not saying you’ll live to see 160 if you follow these tips, but you may get a couple more years in return.

 

Lastly, I’ve completely redone my breakfast plan. There were days in the past where I’d be running out the door running late for class and so I, to my shame, grabbed a handful of cookies from my cookie jar and threw them in a plastic bag on the way out. It’s going to be a stressful day I’d think to myself, you need this to get through. tomorrow you’ll do better and be on time. 

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So it continued on the same, destructive path, blissfully unaware that there was something better, until a couple of months later. I was watching this video on YouTube and someone was making this salad. It look so good, especially with all the bright colors, so I decided to try it for myself. It’s really very simple to make, the only downside is having to do all of the chopping. Chopping isn’t usually an issue for and I’ve gotten fairly good at it, but sometimes you don’t want to wake up in the morning and chop. Sometimes you want to be lazy and settle for cereal. But I decided that I was going to do this for myself because I love trying new things. As this became a part of my daily routine, I’ve gotten used to it. I’ve also changed it up a little for myself. The first time I tried it, I put in too many onions, which can cause it to sit in your stomach instead of leave you feeling refreshed. A couple times after that, I discovered I wasn’t putting enough tomatoes, and I LOVE tomatoes. After that, I realized that instead of using mozzarella cheese, I would use feta cheese. (Thought I still put in a little mozzarella as a finishing touch) At this point, I feel like I’ve pretty much perfected it. I feel comfortable with the portion and it’s probably the best salad alternative I’ve tried so far in my life. So because it really does leave me feeling refreshed, I thought I’d share it with a all of you. You may have to adjust sizes in a way that works for you, but this is how I do it each day:

 

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       First I cut a pretty medium-sized cucumber into thin slices. I mention thin because when I cut them thicker, I had to do much more cutting and it made it more difficult to make them equal. After that, I cut those slices into strips about 1/2 an inch wide, and I cut the strips into small squares. I never use a serrated knife because it makes things messy, especially the skin. If you prefer your cucumber without skin, of course peel it before you begin. Also, I don’t always use the entire cucumber. There are times when I have 1/4 left over, so I wrap it in plastic wrap.

 

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       Next, I cut a roma tomato in half, and then in half again. I always make sure to dig out the “tomato guts”, which is any part that has seeds in it. When you take it out, you should be left with a quarter of a tomato that looks somewhat like “C”. Then I cut each quarter into strips the same way I cut the cucumber, and I cut the strips into square. I haven’t tried doing this with a regular tomato yet, but I assume that it would be just as delicious. Be sure to cut carefully when you do this or you can ruin the whole tomato by going too fast and making it mushy. Trust me, I’ve learned the hard way.

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       Later, I cut my onion. As I mentioned before, you want to be very careful with the portion you put in. With onions, less is always more. I usually “eyeball” the amount I need, but if I were to guess, I would advise using 3/4 of a cup per day. If you’re making the salad bigger than I am, obviously adjust as necessary. When you cut an onion, each piece comes out as a circle, so cut the circles in half and then cut those pieces all the way around. (Also, the quicker you cut it, the less your eyes will water. But when you leave an onion uncovered for a good amount of time, your eyes will burn faster.)

 

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       This, in my opinion, is the best part. I use feta cheese in my salad mix because that’s what I saw in the video, but you can use whichever cheese is best for you. You can find this specific brand at Walmart, but look carefully for it or you’ll miss it. The first time I came to Walmart with the intentions of getting it, I could find it because there wasn’t a huge selection of it. This costs about $2.00 and it lasts me well over a week, so I would definitely recommend it. Then again, it depends on how much cheese you want in each bowl.

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       So I pour about 1/4 of a cup into my salad, and sometimes I crumble it with my hands. It crumbles fairly easy, just be sure to lay down an even coating.

 

 

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       Sometimes I add in a little mozzarella cheese at the end for an extra kick. Also, it’s good to tag on a couple of drops of lime juice, to preserve it some and add some tang.

 

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       Mix it all up a few times, and then it’s done. Hopefully you like what you’ve created and you’ll want to try it again.

       I hope you guys enjoyed my little tutorial and my tips on how to live healthy. Remember that you’re doing this to make yourself feel good on the inside, and live to see a longer, more productive life. God wants us all on this planet for as long as humanly possible to do the work we were destined to do, so be inspired by that. You are worthy of living this life to it’s very best.

 

 

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