Story Time

Recently, a friend of mine asked me how I ever became involved with high school foreign exchange students. She didn’t know me back then and wondered how I started down a path that would lead to hosting over a dozen different teenagers from all over the world (not concurrently, mind you).

Well, the year was 2003. I was very pregnant. We had just moved into a new house and boxes were everywhere. I also had a foster daughter in the 1st grade that we were in the process of adopting. Meanwhile, my husband and I were both working full time and he was taking college courses at night. To say we were busy — would be an understatement.

Through a friend of a friend, typical networking, we found out about a young lady coming to the United States from Russia. At the last minute, her volunteer host family fell apart. It happens. A wonderful woman, named Tanya, was scrambling to find a place for this teenager to stay. I remember telling Tanya that we did indeed have an extra bedroom, but it was filled with boxes and I was very pregnant, still working, etc. However; she didn’t miss a beat. I was willing to open my home so she was willing to help. She literally helped me unpack boxes and get that room ready. She even went with us to the airport to pick up our student upon arrival. That young lady from Russia stayed with us for the school year. She says we changed her life; but I say she changed mine. All in the most wonderful and profound ways.

This experience launched a path in which I had NO idea would evolve into global friendships and even a career. That first exchange student we hosted from Russia was 15 years old back then. Present day she is married with children ~ and we still keep in touch. Meanwhile, Tanya and I have remained good friends and are connected in so many ways. I truly consider her a dear friend and someone I am honored to know.

Working with high school foreign exchange students and volunteer host families is a unique experience that has shaped my life in many ways. Not just mine, but the lives of my children. I even have a video where I interviewed my daughter about what it was like being raised with folks from other countries living in our home. Here is a link to the YouTube video if you are curious:

Meanwhile, here is a photo of us at the airport with our very first foreign exchange student from Russia and my friend Tanya, the local coordinator at the time.

If you or someone you know would like to learn more about what it’s like living with — or working with –teenagers from around the world, please reach out to me. Or visit this link!

As always, make champion choices,
The Healthy Habit Lady

(aka Deb)

Host Family Referral Form – complete this form and if the family you refer is new to Greenheart and ends up hosting a qualifying student, you will earn a $200 Visa gift card!

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Categories: Fitness | 1 Comment

I Named Him Rubbish

What is the thing that holds you back?  What is that elephant in the room that you refuse to acknowledge?  Who is your nemesis?  Is it you?  Is it fear?  Is it anxiety?  What is it going to take for you to slay this dragon?  Well first, you have to name the thing.

Once you name your dragon, then you can slay that sucker.  Admitting the silly beast exists is half the battle, yes?  Or admitting that it does NOT exist so you can move past it – that is also progress, my friends.

Once upon a time, I could not hurl my big butt into an inner tube … you know the kind you float in water and enjoy?  Even though I am now much smaller and know that I am capable of such a thing, there is still this twinge of anxiety that is residual from the days of morbid obesity.

Story time: While on a mini road trip with my three sons, we went to this huge spring fed pool, that had little fish in there and everything.  Some of the water was 25 feet deep.  This place had a high dive, whoa … and inner tubes.   So what was a mama to do in this situation?  Well, this mama got her butt into an inner tube and also managed to jump off the high dive, that’s what.  You know what else?  I loved doing it even more than I thought I would.

Life is good when you name your dragons so they can be slain.   I named mine Rubbish … since my fear of not fitting into the tube was pure rubbish.

As always, make champion choices,
The Healthy Habit Lady

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What is the next little thing?

Hmmm… what is the next itty bitty thing?

Do you realize that you are right where you need to be to take the next step? There’s absolutely nothing about your present circumstances that prevents you from making progress. All you have to decide is what to do next (just the next itty bitty step). It really is that simple. You don’t have to have it all figured out to take that next step and move forward. Just do the best you can until you know better. Once you know better, do better.

Remember: Never make permanent decisions based on temporary emotions. Many people make choices and plans when things aren’t going so well. They look for relief in the despair of the valley; instead of waiting for the clarity that comes from being on the mountaintop. . . The best time to make decisions is when you’re succeeding — or calm! If you fight your way through the valley, you’ll make better decisions at the summit.

I am pretty sure nobody is going to stand up at your funeral and state that you had an amazing couch and fabulous shoes.  Life is not about things, stuff and junk.  It’s about memories, experiences and feeling alive.  It’s about impacting other people, in a positive way.  So what is the next itty bitty thing that you need to do in order to move forward? If you don’t know the answer to that question, take a deep breath ~ and figure it out. Go get yourself that very next AHA moment !

As always, make champion choices,
The Healthy Habit Lady

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Smoothie Secrets

As someone who struggles with SED (Selective Eating Disorder) and getting the ‘good stuff’ into my body; Smoothies are my salvation. The possibilities are endless. Here are some thoughts on getting into the Smoothie / Protein Shake habit.

A few things to consider…

Have your fridge and freezer ready to make your perfect smoothie. When you can buy fresh ripe produce in season…take advantage and prep it in portions for your smoothie.

I have often bought bananas and let them ripen, peel them, and cut into 4ths and freeze in bags. Bananas add creaminess to smoothies and provide some suspension for the other ingredients. Bananas are also great as the base for frozen desserts like nice cream.  Avocados work well in this aspect too.

Apples, oranges, and pineapple can also be prepped for the freezer. Those are great to throw in a smoothie. Be sure to peel and remove as much pith from any citrus. It is a good idea to section apples and oranges into smaller pieces and pineapple into manageable chunks.

Strawberries and raspberries are good to pick up when you can get good deals. Do a quick soak in water and white vinegar and then another rinse. Let them dry some on paper towels and then pat dry and freeze. Some folks like to remove the hulls and tops from the strawberries…some people do not.

Now let’s talk Greens…I personally only use baby spinach. Some folks like to rotate their greens but I do not as I don’t seem to do well with other greens. Now put that spinach in a colander and rinse it well ~ then divide it into sandwich bags with about 2 1/2 cups per bag which equals 1 serving. Then put those smaller bags into a larger gallon freezer bag. Be sure to squish down the smaller bags to remove extra air and they store flatter.

Ginger and turmeric root can be prepped for the freezer to extend its life. Make sure to scrub it well and either peel or not peel ~ that part is up to you. Then slice it and put it into freezer bags. Just take out a few slices to toss into a smoothie or other shake creation.

I will also grab prepackaged fruits at the store when I can get a deal. I am open to many ways of getting ingredients for my smoothies.

Supplements are not always necessary if you make a rounded smoothie with a variety of ingredients. However; for me I use my smoothie as a building block that allows me to add extras that provide more anti-oxidants, omegas, fiber, and other heart healthy ingredients. Play around with Chia, hemp, and flax seed, probiotics whether from a yogurt or a powder, protein from nut butters or PB2…and protein powders. The choice is yours. If you need suggestions, let me know, I have an arsenal at my disposal.

The bottom line is this: Don’t be afraid to experiment! If you need recipe ideas, let me know that too.

As always, make champion choices,
The Healthy Habit Lady

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Food Rules

I believe in simplicity. Truly. No point in making things complicated ~ when there is no need to complicate them. So in case you were ever wondering; here are my simplified rules for eating. I’m not a big fan of telling people WHAT to eat; I’m not a registered dietician and everyone is so different. However; there are some basics I try to follow, teach my kids, and share with those interested.

  1. If it comes out of the ground or from a tree/vine/plant ~ and doesn’t kill you, you can eat it.
  2. If you cannot pronounce something on a label, try avoid it.
  3. Eat natural fats.
  4. Eat lean protein.
  5. Drink pure water.
  6. Eat when you are hungry….just start with natural fiber. Raw veggies are the best. A good trick is to eat an apple, or celery or a carrot about 10 minutes before you eat your meal. Drinking water before a meal is genius as well.
  7. Choose complex carbs over simple carbs.
  8. When choosing a snack/meal – aim for the perfect trifecta – a combo of good fat/protein/carbs. Carbs are not evil -they just need to be balanced with healthy fats and protein.
  9. Limit sugar … but if you’re going to have it – have the real stuff, not fake stuff.
  10. Eat slowly. Enjoy your food. Allow your brain time to catch up with your digestion.

Well, there ya have it. My simplified take on nutrition. We can call it Deb’s Diet Plan if we want. Or we can call it common sense.

Oh ~ and for the record ~ it’s perfectly fine to eat cake on your birthday! At least I think so, anyway.

As always, make champion choices,
The Healthy Habit Lady

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