By Jean Huelsing (Author)
Divorce: Did You Even Think About Me? Letters of Hurt and Healing is a book that explores the effects of divorce on children, from their point of view. Through the eyes of children of divorce, a new perspective emerges showing how their lives are affected, often more than the lives of the people who are divorcing.
This book will help a child realize that they are not alone. Many children are in the same position and feeling the same emotions. Many children find their emotions are normal and may find comfort from one of the responses. This book will also help adults hear the voice of their child when they consider divorce. Divorce must be a last resort after all else fails in trying to solve adult problems. Hopefully one of these stories will resonate and give guidance during this difficult period in life for all involved. We must always remember it is not the child s fault and they need the parent to take care of them, and if the parent cannot, then the parent needs to find someone who can. The ending of this book also comes from the children s collective thoughts when divorce is necessary.
Thirteen year old Daniel’s four weeks at Camp Jump Start have turned into much more than the pounds and inches he lost. They have turned into a roadmap to better health for Daniel and his entire family.
In his four week session this summer Daniel lost 17 pounds and 13 inches off of his body. His fitness improved as well. When he first arrived he ran a mile in 17:22 minutes but on the last day of camp he had shaved almost 5 minutes off his time. His confidence grew and his smile got bigger.
Once he returned home he could not wait to go clothes shopping for school. This year he would not have to shop in the husky department and could wear what his classmates were wearing without feeling fat. Well fitted clothes also gave him a way to gauge when he was veering off course. His family vowed not to buy bigger clothes if the new clothes became tight, so when the clothes began to feel uncomfortable Daniel recognized that he had to up his commitment. He would have to exercise more and skip the foods that were causing the weight gain. The feel of how his clothes fit was a practical reminders and motivator to stay on course.
Daniel’s changes led to bigger changes at home; he was eager to share what he had learned. Daniel took the lead in helping his family make lifestyle changes. To be successful they would have to work together. Daniel was their role model and he inspired everyone around him because he had worked hard ant that hard work paid off in reaching his goal.
While this new way of living began at camp, his parents were serious about helping Daniel so they completed their own homework. They cleaned out all the junk food from the kitchen cabinets and bought smaller plates and tall, skinny glasses. They re-set their kitchen by replicating the Camp Jump Start system. They had prepped foods for quick meal assembly in the refrigerator. They bought measuring cups to keep the family honest with portion control. They centralized all electronics in their family room removing televisions and computers from the bedrooms. They also set up the charging station for cell phones in the family room so that no one slept with phones next to their bed any longer.
Daniel came home and helped meal plan. The family began making a shopping list before going to the store and then stuck to buying only the items on the shopping list. This saved them money. They would have 4 days worth of food with mainly fruits and vegetables readily available. This would mean an extra trip to the grocery store in a week but they were willing to make this habit change. It was a surprise when they became efficient at shopping and stopping for groceries became a quick trip saving them time for other activities. They would also prep the food once they returned home so that it was ready for busy nights. They had their own “fast food” always ready which really cut down on family stress. They began to realize that they had been over-scheduling the family with activities that really were not as important as their own family time.
Soda became a thing of the past in this household. Each family member had a water bottle that they took with them everywhere they traveled. The beverage of choice was always water with green tea a close second. When water became boring then they added some fruit or vegetables in it to add a little more flavor which can be refreshing. They no longer missed or craved the soda that they once automatically chose.
The family rule was three meals and one snack.
〈 Breakfast was always steel cut oatmeal with a tablespoon of milled flaxseeds and some berry on top. Soy milk was their dairy of choice.
〈 Every family member took a bag lunch to work or school which always included a salad. Instead of feeling like a freak, they became the example of healthy living. People began to copy them when they saw it was an easy switch to something that tasted good and was easy.
〈 Dinners always began with a soup or salad. The plate was covered in ½ cooked vegetables. They began slowly with one meal a week being meatless. As time went on and meal planning with new plant-based recipes was made easy then these meatless meals became more common. They had no idea how good it could all taste!
〈 That ONE snack either came from the fruit bowl after school or they all saved it for a dessert that they all shared following dinner.
〈 Special occasions–which the family defined together–allowed for an extra snack.
It was important that the body had time in between meals to rest and repair instead of constantly digesting food. Grazing became a thing of the past for Daniel’s family. They would all brush their teeth after dinner signaling that eating for the day was over. Then the body really had time to concentrate on time to heal itself.
Every Friday the entire family weighs themselves in front of each other before breakfast. They keep a chart hanging in the bathroom closet. This keeps them accountable to their new lifestyle. If they maintain their weight, they celebrate with mini-rewards from a goody bag containing small coupons for outings and family events that they had brainstormed together. The coupon might be redeemable for a pick a game night, a trip to the theatre or a park outing. All the coupons are family-based activities. If they lose more weight, they receive TWO coupons that week. The weigh ins evolved from seeming like a punishment to a time for anticipation with reward for hard work. The family also has a long term goal which includes a family get-away if they all maintain their success for a year.
Every day they track their activities on a family calendar.The rule is that no one goes to bed without having 10,000 steps listed on their pedometer. Sometimes that means climbing the basement steps over and over. They each decided out to fulfill their fitness requirements whether it meant going to the gym or playing on a sports or dance team. Steps were non-negotiable and everyone agreed to this. Peer pressure for not letting the family record slip was a great motivator because no one wanted to be known as the “slacker”.
Daniel has now lost 33 pounds total. He has no signs of heart disease or diabetes. He has energy and a newfound zest for life. He is looking forward to the school year instead of dreading it like so many overweight or obese kids do. He has friends. He has what all parents wish for their child—health and happiness.
To date, the family of four has lost a total of 112 pounds. They are feeling better than ever and are a tight knit family. They are enjoying life. Whenever they start to return to old habits, they simply have a family meeting at breakfast on Friday morning following weigh-in. They make a toast with their big glass of water in the tall, skinny glasses to health and happiness. They are immediately back on their healthy lifestyle roadmap and this one healthy choice will lead to other healthy choices throughout the day. They know that the only time you fail is when you quit trying and they committed to make today count.
2cloves garlic, minced
½ small white onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
4 cups fresh spinach
1 – 24oz jar spaghetti sauce (no salt added)
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
3 medium zucchini
15oz Fat Free ricotta cheese
¼ cup Fat Free grated parmesan cheese
2 cups Low Fat shredded mozzarella cheese
2 T fresh basil
Heat a 10-inch skillet, add 2 Tablespoons of water. Saute garlic and onion in water about 5 minutes or until soft. Add more water as needed (do not add too much water or you will be boiling your vegetables not sautéing) Add bell pepper; cook 5 minutes. Add spinach; cook until spinach is wilted. Stir in pasta sauce, pepper and red pepper flakes. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer 10 to 15 minutes or until thickened.
Cut zucchini into 1/8 inch slices using a knife or mandolin. Put zucchini in cheesecloth and squeeze out as much excess water as possible. Don’t squeeze so hard to mash zucchini, you want it to stay intact.
Heat gas or charcoal grill. Place zucchini on grill over high heat. Cover grill; cook until lightly charred on both sides. Again, use a paper towel to blot excess moisture.
Heat oven to 350 F. Spray 13×9-inch (3 quart) baking dish with cooking spray.
In medium bowl, mix ricotta, parmesan and egg.
Spread some of the red sauce in bottom of baking dish; layer with enough zucchini to cover. Next, spread with half of the ricotta mixture; top with half of the mozzarella cheese. Repeat layers until ingredients are used up, making sure to top off with sauce and mozzarella. Cover with foil.
Bake about 45 minutes or until sauce is bubbly and cheese is melted. Let stand about 10 minutes before serving. Top with fresh basil
Nutrition: Calories: 272 Fat: 9.33g Sodium: 411mg
Black Bean Chicken
½ cup Corn, roasted (fresh off the cob or frozen and thawed)
4 Chicken breasts
1 cup Dry Black beans
½ cup Red onion
2 Limes, juiced
2 Lemons, juiced
1 T Garlic, minced
1 t Cumin
1 t Coriander
1 Jalapeno pepper (finely chopped, seeds removed)
Hot Pepper Sauce, to taste
2 T Cilantro, chopped
- Soak black beans all night. Drain. Place beans and enough water to cover in a pot and cook until tender, adding water as needed.
- Roast your corn. Place kernels on a nonstick cookie pan and Bake at 425 degrees F until browned, stirring occasionally.
- Add all ingredients except chicken and cilantro in a food processor and blend until semi smooth. Leave a little chunk if desired. Set aside.
- In a deep nonstick sauté pan, sear the chicken breasts on one side over medium-high heat until brown.
- Flip chicken over and add blended food. Cover and cook for about 5 minutes at low heat. Chicken’s internal temperature should be 165 degrees F.
- Add the cilantro. Cook for 1 minute more. Serve hot with a slice of lime on the side.
Calories – 308
Fat – 3.83g
2 large Chicken Breast, cooked and cut into bite size pieces, and chilled
1 teaspoon dry chopped onion flakes
1/2 teaspoon dry parsley flakes
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup long grain rice
1/3 cup dry wild rice
2 cup water plus 1 tbsp low sodium chicken boullion granules
1 cup Greek yogurt, plain, no fat
1/3 cup Orange juice, fresh squeezed
1 cup sliced Celery
½ cup sunflower kernels
11 oz can Mandarin oranges, drained
2 ½ cups Grapes, washed and halved
1 cup Craisins
1 – Cook chicken, cut into bite sized pieces, and set aside to cool.
2 – Combine all of the spices in a medium saucepan and mix thoroughly. Add the both types of rice, the water/bouillon combination. Bring mixture to a boil and stir to combine. Cover saucepan with a lid, turn down heat to a simmer and simmer gently for 10-15 minutes until all the liquid is absorbed. Set aside to chill.
3 – When chicken and rice are thoroughly chilled, combine with remaining ingredients in a large bowl, tossing very gently. Keep chilled until ready to serve.
4 – Serve on a bed of Romaine lettuce.
Serves 6 Main dish servings
4 cups Chopped romaine lettuce
4 cups Spring Mix
1 Granny Smith apple, cored but unpeeled, and cut up
½ cup Raisins
1 cup Mandarin orange slices
1 small Red onion
1 Brown pear, cored but unpeeled, and cut up
Poppy Seed Dressing:
2 T honey
¼ cup Canola oil
¼ cup Lemon juice
1 T Poppy Seeds
1 ½ t Dijon mustard
Put romaine and spring mix in a bowl. Add raisins, mandarin oranges, apple, onion, and pear. Mix the dressing ingredients in a separate bowl or a jar with a tight fitting lid. Pour over salad just before serving.
Serves 4 main-dish servings
Calories – 284
Fat – 14g
Sodium – 56mg
Recipe of the Week: Curried Chicken Salad
Makes 10 servings
1 cup fat-free mayonnaise
1 cup plain non-fat yogurt
2 T Honey
1 T Lemon juice
1 T Curry powder
6 cups Chopped cooked chicken, cooled
3 cups Green grapes, halved
1 ½ cups Dried cranberries
¾ cup Slivered almonds, toasted
¾ cup Diced celery
Mix together first five ingredients in a medium bowl.
In a large bowl, toss together chicken, grapes, cranberries, almonds, and celery
Pour dressing over chicken mixture and toss
Refrigerate for at least one hour
Serve on a bed of butter lettuce.
Calories – 252
Fat – 10g
Sodium – 200mg
Green Bean Casserole
- 3 tablespoons canola oil, divided
- 1 medium sweet onion, (half diced, half thinly sliced), divided
- 8 ounces mushrooms, chopped
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 2/3 cup all-purpose flour, divided
- 1 cup low-fat milk
- 3 tablespoons dry sherry, (use low sodium sherry)
- 1 pound fresh green beans, (about 4 cups)
- 1/3 cup reduced-fat sour cream
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat a 2 1/2-quart baking dish with cooking spray.
- Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add diced onion and cook, stirring often, until softened and slightly translucent, about 4 minutes. Stir in mushrooms, onion powder, thyme and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until the mushroom juices are almost evaporated, 3 to 5 minutes. Sprinkle 1/3 cup flour over the vegetables; stir to coat. Add milk and sherry and bring to a simmer, stirring often. Stir in green beans and return to a simmer. Cook, stirring, until heated through. Stir in sour cream. Transfer to the prepared baking dish.
- Whisk the remaining 1/3 cup flour, paprika, and garlic powder in a shallow dish. Add sliced onion; toss to coat. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion along with any remaining flour mixture and cook, turning once or twice, until golden and crispy, 4 to 5 minutes. Spread the onion topping over the casserole.
- Bake the casserole until bubbling, about 15 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.
- Ingredient notes:
- Don’t use the high-sodium “cooking sherry”
Serves 9 (1/2 cup servings)
Fat – 6g
Sodium – 63.44mg
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Yield 6 servings
- 2 T bacon fat
- 2 T unsalted butter
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 carrots, peeled and diced
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup 2% milk
- 1 head cauliflower, roughly chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- Salt substitute and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 T chopped fresh parsley leaves
- Melt butter and bacon fat in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add garlic, onion, carrots and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in cauliflower and bay leaf. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 3-4 minutes.
- Whisk in flour until lightly browned, about 1 minute. Gradually whisk in chicken broth and milk, and cook, whisking constantly, until slightly thickened, about 3-4 minutes.
- Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until cauliflower are tender, about 12-15 minutes; season with salt and pepper, to taste. If the chowder is too thick, add more milk as needed until desired consistency is reached.
- Serve immediately, garnished with parsley, if desired.
Nutrition Facts Per Serving
Calories – 204
Fat – 12
Sodium – 345