Life On Purpose

I’m a Runner November 7, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — zoecline @ 10:13 pm

“Oh, so you’re a runner?” she asked.

“Yeah, I guess you could say that. I run several miles a week so, yeah, I um, guess I am.” I’d never thought of myself that way.

This was the little conversation with the dental hygienist that opened my eyes. To see God at work. You see, I like exercise. But I have NEVER liked running. Until the last six months.

It all started with a text message. Would I run with her a couple of mornings a week? Train with her for a race even? Sure. It sounds fun, I thought. I’ll get to know her better and get a little “me” time away from the house (where I herd cats/AKA raise babies).

I have been lonely for a really long time. Wow I said it. There. Yes, lonely. Surrounded by a loving family and an amazing church family-and yet, lonely. I prayed for literally years-since 2007, to be exact, for a friend. Someone with whom I could be authentic and real and someone who shared my love for Jesus and family. The little text message came at an unexpected moment, and I didn’t have any idea how it would change me.

Rewind a few years: I suffered the loss of a deep friendship shortly before my marriage. The wounds were big and filled with distrust and bitterness. I grieved for years, and I struggled mightily with trusting women again. The devil had a stronghold on my heart: women are mean, he said: they cannot be trusted.

Lies. The enemy is so good at that.

Morning runs at sunrise have become a healing thing. A God thing.

I have had knee surgery, career-related back issues, bilateral hip bursitis, severe thyroid disease, 3 babies in less than 5 years and I don’t own a treadmill. And I love running. I say all this for one reason:

A lot of people say “congratulations” and admire what I have seemed to accomplished. But it isn’t me: He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it. There have been many challenges to overcome, and there will be more I’m sure. But all glory to God, I am here to tell you a story of grace and healing. I can do all things through Jesus Christ, He alone is my strength. Whether you are a beginner or you are advanced, remember that whatever you do, do it to the glory of the One who made you. God is ALWAYS at work.


Day 17 : Pantry Raid July 12, 2013

I saved this for a Friday because you will need time for this. It’s also likely going to require you to go to the grocery store to restock with whole foods. I’ll be extra nice on Monday-I promise!

I’ll make this short and sweet. Today’s challenge is going to be painful for many of you. This is a huge step to healthy living. It’s time to reject the SAD diet. Raid your pantry. Let’s keep this simple. We are going to focus on the two ingredients that I believe are probably the worst offenders of health: high fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated oil.

Read each label in your pantry and fridge and throw out any item containing “high fructose corn syrup” or “hydrogenated” anywhere in the ingredient list. Hear your body shout for joy as it hits the trash! That’s where it belongs! Let yourself enjoy the excitement of a new beginning!


Day 16 : Back to Basics July 11, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — zoecline @ 8:35 am
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The sad thing about the SAD diet (Standard American Diet) is it has robbed us if the knowledge and experience of cooking. It has effectively reduced “cooking” to adding water and a few processed ingredients and microwaving. We are losing the art of both cooking and the family table. Food has become about instant gratification and pleasure instead of true nourishment and fellowship.

Cooking can be made fairly simple and much less intimidating if you consider this: most cooking methods are the same every time you employ them no matter what food you are cooking. The variation will come were time and temperature are concerned (and in the Google age, no need to panic!). Here are some basic cooking methods to begin trying at home:

Pan sauté: use a healthy cooking fat in a pan on the stovetop, melt it usually over medium heat for produce or medium high for meat, add ingredient and cook to desired doneness. Stir any produce frequently to prevent burning and make sure to turn meat halfway through cooking. Stainless steel dishes are ideal for this type of cooking and always come clean-salt, baking soda @ blue dawn make a great cleaning agent for anything stuck on!

Steam: use a metal colander over a pot with two or so inches of water in the bottom of the pot (you don’t want the water touching the bottom of the colander) and put any veggie or fish down into the colander over the water, cover, bring water to boil and let steam to desired doneness. I did green beans yesterday and they took 20 minutes. Google your veggie for cooking time estimates.

Roast: line a baking sheet with foil or parchment, heat your oven to 350-400 degrees depending on your ingredient, melt butter or coconut oil and toss with ingredient and add seasoning according to your recipe or desired flavor. For example, I do this with asparagus using 1-2 TBS coconut oil and add salt and pepper. Spread ingredient on baking sheet and roast 15-30 minutes depending on desired doneness (remember your cooking assistant, Google!)

Grill: wet skewers and cut up fruits and veggies. Skewer them and grill them until just marked.

When cooking whole grains like rice or quinoa, use about 1 cup of uncooked grain to 2 cups water or liquid of your choice (try free range chicken stock -yum!). Bring liquid to boil, stir in grain, cover and reduce heat to low. Do not remove lid until liquid has been mostly absorbed. Then season to taste or recipe.

Each of these methods can be applied to whole foods like broccoli, greens of any kind, bell peppers, asparagus, green beans, Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, and on and on. You will want to invest in a cutting board for produce that is sturdy and a high quality chef’s knife. These will be your best friend as you prep whole foods. If your meals don’t require any washing or chopping, chances are you aren’t consuming whole foods. If you are intimidated by not knowing what temps and times to use, remember, your eyes and your mouth are a great tool for testing doneness.

For some of you this is nothing new. For others, this is scary new territory. These are just a few basics to get you started. Cooking cannot by any means be condensed into one blog post.

I challenge you to try to make food that must be washed and chopped. Just TRY. If you fail, I promise you will learn and the next time it will be easier. Pinterest and Google are the two best resources in my home for getting new ideas, tasty recipes and proper cooking times and temps. Get out of your cooking comfort zone and do your palate a favor: make something new!


On GMOs… June 25, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — zoecline @ 9:36 pm

Amazing info on GMO’s!

Lauren Minchen Nutrition

I noticed today that November is National Peanut Butter Lovers month. Now, my first thought in response to this was not, “Hmm, a whole month to use as an excuse to eat jars of peanut butter”. No. My first reaction was this: Uh-oh, GMO. That’s right. The thought of peanuts makes me think of genetically modified organisms. Why? Because peanuts are one of the new foods that are currently being tested in India for genetic modification. Currently, India is testing a GM peanut with the allergen-causing protein being repressed and resistance to fungi, insects, and other things (see GMO Compass:

Why is this bad? GMOs are food-like organisms that have been engineered genetically to mimic foods in appearance and taste, but act differently in regards to crop yield and pesticide/herbicide resistance. You will hear from most people/organizations/governing bodies that GMOs are safe, but what some other healthcare professionals and…

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Day 3 : How to Love Exercise June 17, 2013

Consistent exercise is required for effective weight loss and changing your body. It also serves as an antidepressant and prevents almost every disease out there. It has a way of magically making you want to eat well too. I can’t really explain that phenomenon but if you’ve ever done regular exercise-you undoubtedly know what I’m talking about! I’m sure there is a scientific term, but I’m about practical and easy…so moving along…

Many people tell me they don’t enjoy exercise. I think they believe that, but I don’t think they are right. Here are some reasons why people believe they hate exercise:
1. The beginning of any lifestyle change is hard. Your body isn’t used to it and won’t “like” it at first.
2. They have done forms of exercise which were above their fitness level and became discouraged.
3. They didn’t see results in 2.5 seconds and decided pouring sweat does not equal change therefore it is not worth it.
4. They are afraid of failure and it is not comfortable for them to try knowing they may fail.
5. They don’t exercise vigorously enough believing the lie that their body isn’t capable. Then they don’t experience the endorphin rush that makes one love exercise.
6. It took too much time so instead of re -prioritizing they just made up their mind that exercise isn’t worth the time and quit.
7. They experienced plateaus in the past when they worked hard and stopped seeing results. More on plateaus later.
8. It makes them sore and/or have joint pain. They don’t realize that this is preventable and often related to lack of strength training. More on exercise, pain and injury later.

Another frequent obstacle for some (and one I’ve encountered) is perfectionism: I think that if I can’t do my “ideal” workout the “ideal” way the “ideal” number of days per week, then it isn’t worth the trouble. This is a flawed way of thinking. Consistency is the key. Accept where you are in life and the resources you have and do your best with that. When your schedule changes or your budget changes, you must adapt. What works today might not work tomorrow, and it is okay!

If you can agree with any of the above, I want to remind you of day 1. Go back and look at your picture. Is this how you want to stay? Or is it worth the effort to see change?

Today I challenge you to try some different forms of exercise that might be new to you. Reflect on what you’ve done in the past and how it did or didn’t work for you. If you know the endorphin rush I referred to- then you know the level of exertion where you experience that. If you are more than 25 pounds overweight, over age 40 or have chronic disease, I highly recommend calling your primary doctor today and scheduling a physical. Follow your doctor’s recommendation for exercise intensity. If not, here are some things to get you started:

1. Interval training in any cardio capacity including, but not limited to:
Jumping rope

Interval training is easy to do: simply use faster pace or hills to increase intensity alternating with periods of easier intensity. This is a great way to begin cardio and find your fitness level in order to set a goal later.

2. Home workouts: search around YouTube and you’ll be amazed at the free workouts you find. My favorites are:


The concept of the hiit workouts is working up to 3 rounds of the workout unless otherwise stated.
Zuzka Light

These usually require minimal equipment and for beginners, no equipment! I have dumbells and a mat. Modify by not using weights and so slower repititions. All plank and push-up positions can be done from the knees for beginners.

3. Free apps (may not be available on Android/I am an unashamed Apple snob;-)):


Bodyrock (click the blue bar at the bottom to get to workouts, my personal favorite!)

Interval Timer (use this for any kind of interval workout you want to do!)

C25k-work up to running a 5k

iWOD-has a library full of awesome strength training exercises for free!

7 minute workout-interval training circuits

RunKeeper-GPS and time keeping for any cardio (my personal favorite for cardio)

4. Join a gym and go there regularly. There isn’t anything to do but exercise. Just do it. You will meet others there that will give you ideas and you’ll find the things you like. You just have to go regularly!

5. DVD workouts:

Jillian Michaels is great for at home exercisers. All you need are dumb bells and a mat and a tv/DVD player. My personal favorite of hers is Ripped in 30.

Cathe Frederick is good too.

WalMart carries these in the $10 range!

Zuzana (linked above) has DVDs available on as well.

Try to exercise most days of the week. Get in the mindset of enjoying the journey and results that long term consistency brings. Effective, safe exercise includes warm up, cardio, strength training and cool down followed by stretching. Strength training is not necessary every day, but aim to include it at least three times per week. More about the benefits of strength training later. If you try one thing and hate it, move on to the next thing, but don’t give up because one type of exercise doesn’t work for you. Ready, GO!!!


Day 2 : Reading Labels 101 June 15, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — zoecline @ 2:32 pm
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What goes into your mouth directly affects your weight, hormones, mood, and overall health status. Learn to read nutrition labels so you can be in control of what is in your body. Garbage in-garbage out. Here are some basics to get started making wise choices when grocery shopping or even buying snacks along the way:
1. Ingredients are listed by weight greatest to least
2. Items containing high fructose corn syrup and anything containing “hydrogenated” should be left on the shelf (where it could probably stay for 10 years and not spoil, yikes!)
3. Added sugar has some sneaky little names these days. Among them:
Evaporated cane juice
Juice concentrates
Make yourself aware of the things you buy that have added sugar. At this point, try to buy less of these items. More later on how to transition away from added sugars.
4. Items labelled “natural,” “low fat,”no added sugar,” etc. are generally marketing ploys to trick your brain into assuming it is health food. Don’t believe it until you read the label.
5. Anything that comes in a can or box should be harshly judged-ok I know this is a tough one! But when you start reading those labels you will see why!
6. Compare brands of like items for nutritional quality. For example: BBQ sauce is generally full of sugar and high fructose corn syrup, BUT we can’t live without it (don’t judge me.) so I shopped around until I found one with the least amount of crap in it and lower sugar grams. And I buy it on occasion. Not all the time.
7. If it contains an ingredient you can’t pronounce, put it back.
8. Not all oils are created equal. Good fat is key to losing weight and health on general. Here are the oils you’ll commonly encounter:

Corn-avoid/mostly genetically engineered (more later)

Canola-avoid/mostly genetically engineered

Cottonseed- usually contaminated by pesticides (more later)

Palm kernel-avoid

Safflower-okay/not good for cooking

Sunflower-okay/not good for cooking

Soybean-avoid/mostly genetically engineered & contains pesticides

Coconut-ideal for cooking and has many health benefits. Keep in pantry at all times and do buy organic virgin

Palm-not ideal but okay in moderation

Vegetable-avoid/mostly genetically engineered & contains pesticides

Peanut-okay in moderation/not good for cooking but organic to avoid pesticides.

Grape seed-avoid unless using for dressings/not safe for cooking

Olive-great for making dressings and dipping. Not good for cooking as when it’s oxidized it becomes harmful for your health

Avocado-good for cooking

Macadamia nut-good for cooking

Butter-great for cooking. Buy organic pastured: I highly recommend the Organic Valley brand and buy unsalted

Margarine-NEVER eat.

The oil takeaway: Buy high quality coconut oil and butter for cooking. Buy high quality olive oil to make dressings. Avoid the rest if you can. The following is more info for those of you who want to understand more about why:
More on Oils

9. Generally the fewer the ingredients on the label, the more wholesome the item will be.

Assume that packaged products containing any of these oils have highly processed and pesticide-treated versions of them and are not ideal. Packaged foods in moderation are not all terrible, however the bulk of your grocery cart’s bounty should be found on the perimeter of the store where the real food is. Yes, REAL food! We will discuss real food prep and cooking basics in the coming days. Let’s keep it simple for now and focus on learning this necessary skill of label-analyzing.

I challenge you to add 10 minutes to your next grocery trip and read EVERY label. It will pay off later. The more you do it, the better you’ll get at it! From now on, don’t buy without reading first. I welcome your comments, questions and discussion!


Five-one too many? January 9, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — zoecline @ 9:19 pm

Everywhere we go, five is just one too many family members. Restaurants are designed for the perfect four, homes are designed for the perfect four, buy one get one free is always one short of being enough for five, and vehicles for five are exponentially more expensive.

It makes me smile every time. It is the Lord reminding me daily that He knows better than this perfect four world. Because Eden (blessing # 3) is our little ray of sunshine. She’s the classic golden child. I can’t imagine life without her. There isn’t any amount of money saved, any amount of space for comfort, or any definition of normal worth having in exchange for her.

So the world might say we are too large, we don’t fit in, and we are irresponsible.

God’s Word says children are a blessing. I choose truth and thank God everyday we are five, and not four, so I can be reminded often of how sovereign He is.