Quick and Easy Slow Cooker Chicken Chili

Last week my husband and I decided to get creative, save money, and utilize different items from our freezer and pantry that were taking up space.

Well, maybe it was my idea to get creative. He just liked the money-saving part.

img_2561Anyway, I found some organic boneless chicken thighs in our freezer, along with some pantry items that could be useful, and threw together a white bean chicken chili that was so good I knew I needed to post here for my own reference, if anything!

What surprised me about this chili is how creamy it ended up being. I didn’t add any cheese or sour cream, but something about the combo of the white beans and bone broth made it thicker than a usual tomato-based and dark bean chili.

 

*Note: While beans may be aggravating for some people if consumed too frequently, they are still a great source of folate, minerals, and fiber – and white beans in particular are great at slowing the glucose response in the body. All these benefits are crucial for mental WEALTH. Continue reading “Quick and Easy Slow Cooker Chicken Chili”

Put the Weights Down

I love the little reminder above my shoulder that says, “Not for Me.”img_1966

You know what is SO not for me?

Negativity about my body.

Getting value from my jeans size.

Thinking I have to lose weight to be liked.

Picking a lofty resolution that involves weight loss.

Telling myself mean things.

The endless search for body perfection.

So I’m gonna hang those old thought patterns right there on that hook.

Do you struggle with any of the above? Do you struggle with body image issues or constant comparison? Are you already planning those New Year’s Resolutions that you hope will FINALLY work? Are you on a continual quest for your happy weight?

In this week’s show I am joined by my friend Heather Creekmore, speaker and author of the book, Compared to Who. We have a great conversation regarding how we let our body image define our worth and value for way too many years, and we discuss ways we have worked on beating the body image beast – which may include putting down the weights.

Is there a solution to healing from obsessing over body image issues? Listen to the episode to find out! Access the show from my show page (click on the tree) or in iTunes.

And stay tuned – because in January we have an awesome 10 day group launching to help you see yourself more clearly in 2020.

The Myth of More

“Our discontent is fueled by the myth of more.”

My brilliant dad, Gary Brandenburg, recently said that in a sermon. It hit me so hard I had to do some major self-reflection.

I am a person who always wants more. This started at a young age:

Why have one Whopper when you can have two?

Why have one doughnut when you can have eight?

Why join one sport when you can play them all?

Why audition for just the school play when you can audition for the community theatre play, too?

Why volunteer in just one church ministry when you can volunteer in multiple?

But it doesn’t stop there. I don’t want to simply DO everything, I want to EXCEL at everything. So I can not only have more activity and excitement, but I can have more accolades and achievement.

I know I’m not the only one. I think our current culture drives this mindset through all the pleasant distractions that trick us into fulfillment.

The result? This “myth of more” causes major boundary issues, and it is completely unrealistic.

When I am consumed by the myth of more, I say yes to too much. I overdo it. I crash. I let myself down. I let others down – typically, the ones who matter most to me.

I can’t do everything and do every thing well.

When I’m rushing to find satisfaction from achievement or excess or MORE, I can’t be present. I can’t be satisfied.

This Thanksgiving week, I have purposefully taken a week off from my usual schedule to meditate daily, enjoy good meals, have fun with my family, read fiction instead of non-fiction health books, spend quality time with my husband, and just BE. When I catch my mind spinning on things I “have to” or “need to” do – usually those things driven by a need to find fulfillment in distraction – I stop my thoughts, take a deep breath through my nose, and tell myself, “This week I am resting. That can wait.”

It is a beautiful thing. I always find contentment when I choose to be present and grateful.

So wherever you are reading this, take a deep breath, hold it, let it out slowly, and tell yourself that you already have everything you need, right in front of you!

“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” -‭‭ Philippians‬ ‭4:19‬

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Healthy For the Holidays

Here I go, adding to the noise in cyber space to try to tell you what it means to be healthy during the holidays.

img_1244But seriously – this is an important time of year to take care of ourselves – body, mind, and soul.

Rule number one: Take care of your stress load. This is a great time of year to exercise your “no muscle.” Don’t try to do it all. Stress weakens the immune system, shuts down proper digestion, and wreaks havoc on our health.

Start a gratitude journal. Get outside and move your body. Play with your kids. Breathe. Eat your colors. Minimize your screen usage (and social media). Do the things you WANT to do, not the things you feel you HAVE to do. This is supposed to be a season of joy, not a season of obligation.

In the latest episode of Sparking Wholeness, I chat with my friend and fellow health coach, Melissa McGaughey. We discuss our top tips for staying healthy during the hectic holiday season. Click here to find it on iTunes, or here to find it on my show page.

Ask the Expert: What is MTHFR and How Does It Affect Me?

Though I have addressed the topic of MTHFR on this blog before, I wanted to dive deeper into it and learn from someone who could explain how it relates to our mental health and overall wellness.

img_1492Dr. Tracey Stroup is a Naturopathic Doctor, Certified Natural Health Professional, certified Digestive Health Specialist, Master Herbalist who also has completed courses in Iridology.

An estimated 40% of the population has this MTHFR gene mutation, which prevents us from being able to effectively use B vitamins or convert folic acid, repair on a cellular level, and use antioxidants to properly detoxify.

Common health conditions like migraines, chronic fatigue, infertility, autoimmune issues, mental health or other neurological problems – even heart disease – all can be greatly impacted by MTHFR.

In this podcast episode, Tracey discusses dietary and lifestyle changes plus supplement recommendations that can help us biohack our genes. As I’ve mentioned before, your genes load the gun, but the environment pulls the trigger!

Click to download to listen to this episode here or on iTunes here.

Kanye, Bipolar Disorder, Religiosity, and My Thoughts

While my entire Facebook feed is filled with articles and comments about Kanye West’s new album and recent conversion, I have stayed silent. Why?

Because number one, I don’t really know anything about Kanye to begin with (other than the time he hijacked Taylor Swift’s speech on the VMAs and the famous rant about George Bush not caring about black people). He has kids with weird names and a wife with an awesome body. That’s about all I know. Superficial? Maybe. I can’t tell you the name of any of his songs. They’re not on my running playlist.

Number two, what he does or says doesn’t have any affect on me personally. If he wants to sing songs about being rich and famous or songs about Jesus – cool. I typically don’t speak up about issues in pop culture unless I feel they have some kind of heart-twisting impact on me and my life… or if they have some kind of mental health connection.

So when I heard he suffers from bipolar disorder, that’s when the light bulb turned on. How did I miss this? Talk about a plot twist! It led me to take an interest in all the Kanye news of the last year or so. While many out there are debating whether his conversion is real or a publicity stunt, my first thought upon learning this is – is this all a manic episode?

Continue reading “Kanye, Bipolar Disorder, Religiosity, and My Thoughts”

How to Raise Emotionally Resilient, Confident Children In Today’s Stressful Environment

Parents and teachers and anyone who works with children – you’ll want to tune in to this episode! While it seems as if children are experiencing more mental challenges than ever before, there IS a way to get to the root of those challenges.

dr sandy gluckman circle headshotSpecial guest Dr Sandy Gluckman has made it her mission to get to the root of child behavior. She is not in favor of ‘managing’ the symptoms children have.  Instead she removes the symptoms by finding and healing the underlying root causes. She is a learning, behavior and mood specialist, author, educator and international speaker who has consulted with and trained thousands of parents and teachers in different parts of the world. She presents a fundamental and highly effective shift in understanding how to treat and heal learning, behavior and mood challenges, preferably without medication.

She is the author of Parents Take Charge: Healing Learning, Behavior and Mood Challenges Without Medication and Who’s in the Driver’s Seat: Using Spirit to Lead Successfully. She also authored a chapter in Mission Possible and has published extensively in parenting, education and business journals. She is a frequent speaker at healthcare, parenting, education and business conferences.

In our conversation, she discusses neurotransmitters and their role in emotional resilience, the science of interpersonal neurobiology, and what parents and teachers can do to raise confident children. Her solutions are surprising yet encouraging.

For more information on Dr. Gluckman and the services and resources she offers, click here.

Find the link to the episode here or on iTunes. Don’t forget to subscribe to the Sparking Wholeness podcast to stay up to date on all the latest episodes!

Is Your Poop Telling You Something?

Yes, I’m going there. We’re talking about poop. Specifically – we’re talking about gut bacteria and its impact on overall health and well being.

This week’s special guest on the podcast, Dr Chris Jones, is a chiropractor, Doctor of Natural Medicine, and gut expert. He is the owner and director of Wellness Movement, an online health consultation business.

img_0702His mission is to help those with autoimmunity and chronic GI problems regain their health so that they can FINALLY FEEL BETTER.

One of the reasons I was excited to speak to Chris is because he has so many amazing stories of transformation through his testing and healing protocols. As a self-proclaimed gut health nerd, I wanted to hear more about what he thought of the gut/brain connection, the microbiome and autoimmunity, and of course – how nutrition and stress factors in.

Listen to the episode here. For more information about Dr Jones and what he does, head over to www.doctorchrisjones.com

Favorite Slow Cooker Potato Soup

Brrrr – it’s cold outside in Dallas, so you know what that means for me??? Time to post a soup recipe!

I wish I knew where this recipe came from, to give credit where credit is due. But I don’t – I’ll just say my family requests this every time the weather cools down a bit, and this recipe has always been a hit in my coaching groups.

It’s gluten free, dairy free, and SUPER filling. You can sub the white potatoes for sweet potatoes – or even Japanese sweet potatoes!

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When I worked away from home full time, I prepped all ingredients the night before, stored them in the fridge, then dumped them in the crock pot the next morning, set on the lowest setting.

These days I throw it all together and cook on high for 4 hours.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 pound Italian sausage (or breakfast sausage or grass fed beef)
  • 10 slices bacon
  • 3 large potatoes, peeled and chopped into cubes
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 32 ounce carton broth (beef has the most flavor)
  • 1 teaspoon salt or more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 cups chopped kale
  • 1 can unsweetened coconut milk, refrigerated to separate cream

Directions:

  1. Cook sausage in pan.
  2. Cook bacon in pan or bake on 375 for about 35 minutes until desired crispness.
  3. While those cook, chop potatoes and onions.
  4. Place everything in slow cooker except bacon, kale and coconut milk.
  5. About 30 minutes to 1 hour before serving, add kale.
  6. A few minutes before serving, add just the separated coconut cream to the slow cooker.
  7. Chop bacon in small pieces and serve on top of soup. **Some people throw the bacon in at the beginning with everything else, but I think it has more flavor as a garnish.

“You Can Make a Difference in How You Feel” – Interview with Dr. James Gordon

Recently, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. James Gordon, Harvard trained psychiatrist, Director for the Center for Mind Body Medicine, and author of the new book, The Transformation: Discovering Wholeness and Healing After Trauma.

Our conversation blew my mind on many levels. Not only is Dr. Gordon an expert on dealing with trauma, he gives practical steps for addressing trauma that anyone can do!

What follows is a short transcript of the interview highlights, but the full recording can be heard on my show page here. Continue reading ““You Can Make a Difference in How You Feel” – Interview with Dr. James Gordon”