Beef, it’s what’s for …any meal!

I know…I know…some of you may have asked yourself, “Did I read the title of this post wrong?”…”Did, Sarah Hartley, just write that?”. Sorry for the confusion folks, but yes, I did just say, “Beef, it’s what’s for any meal!”.

Today I went to a Wellness Seminar at Bethel Church in Redding, CA.  Dr. Ronda Nelson of Restoration Health was the main speaker. The first topic she spoke on was, “Beef: It’s The Perfect Vegetarian Food“.   If you know me, I haven’t enjoyed eating beef in at least 4 years and rarely eat meat of any kind (there are health reason for it). On occasion, I will eat, chicken/turkey/fish but in small portions. So when I saw this as the first topic, I was little intrigued, mostly because I was confused by the title. Beef…vegetarian? Well, those two words do not go together. Somewhere during her opening paragraph, Ronda stated, “If you are a true vegetarian, you should have beef in your diet”. Again, what?! She then continued to explain the difference between corn-fed caged cow versus free-range grass-fed cows. Those who are against eating beef, are often thinking of the corn-fed cows. The corn that the cows are eating usually is genetically modified, so the cow is not eating natural food. Usually if the cows are corn fed, they are packed in a dairy and do not have a lot of room to roam and there other things going on (which I will not discuss, it makes me sad), which may cause stressors for the cow, causing the development of their muscles (the meat we eat) to not get the proper nutrients (and have added hormones) the cow needs to produce proper muscle or milk. The grass-fed cows, well eat grass. Ronda said it takes around 7-8 acres of grass to feed one cow. This leaves lots of room for the cow to roam, stress free. When a cow eats grass, the acid in it’s stomach can break down the nutrients from the grass causing the cow to absorb the nutrients it needs into it’s muscles. Therefore, making the cow’s muscles derived from grass! So, cows are vegetarians, so why wouldn’t the beef be vegetarian? 😉

Beef that comes from grass-fed cows, also breaks down better in our bodies because it doesn’t have added hormones but has the natural enzymes, etc that our bodies need to break down food. The beef will also have less fat, be more tender (no dense fiber) and are juicer (I don’t know this but that’s what the participants from the seminar were saying…and well it sounds good to me!).

Our bodies need protein: animal and plant protein. The past four years or so, when I ate protein, it usually has been in the form of legumes, eggs or seeds/nuts, etc….aka, plant protein. I stopped eating meat (aka animal protein) around 4 years ago, due to digestive reasons. I know, this is a little personal, but meat was not a friend to my digestive system. I will spare you the details but let’s just say, it wasn’t fun. I like fun, so I try to not do things that cause me pain or are un-fun. 🙂 I used to enjoy eating meat, loved the taste of a good tri-tip, good chicken (especially in burritos or enchiladas), a good christmas ham, etc. but something changed in my digestive system and these meats I use to enjoy, no longer seemed to like me. So, when there is a relationship in your life that may be causing you stress, sometimes you need to reassess the relationship and take a step back for a while or create healthy boundaries. Me and meat, we had to create healthy boundaries. Which meant we needed to give each other space for a while and not engage in “conversation”.  I was saddened by this, but eventually got used to not eating meat, to the point if I even tried meat (ie. if it was served to me at a friends home, I would eat it but later that evening regret it) I would leave after eating, very uncomfortable.  So, it came to a point where traveling, going to people’s homes for dinner, eating out was not enjoyable for me, all because I would wonder what I would be able to eat or how the food would effect me. I often would bring lots of snacks (healthy of course) or mini-meals in case there was no food I could eat (and I dislike being hungry, and when I don’t eat every 2-3 hours, I get hangry (hungry/angery) because of low blood-sugar). This became my lifestyle. I got used to it, it was just normal.

Today, my normal was challenged. Animal protein from grass-fed animals (or wild fish) all of the sudden started to sound appealing and my digestive system didn’t cringe at the thought of eating meat. Ronda explained to us that corn-fed cows/chickens/turkeys and farmed fish do not digest well in our bodies because of all the additives. The meat doesn’t break down well, we often will get constipated, bloated, or the meat will just sit and ferment for a few days in our bodies because we may not have the right about of acid in our stomach’s to break down this corn-fed meat. Grass-fed cows/chickens/turkeys and wild fish, are “vegetarian” 😉 They have less fat, are more tender, juicer and have NO additives. This type of meat breaks down better in our digestive system, making happy digestive system’s. With all this new information… I  began to think…all these years I have avoided meat because of how it didn’t digest well in my body. I did have Bison meat once…and wow. It was amazing and it made my tummy happy not in pain. Bison is naturally grass-fed.

I am excited, Ronda opened up my eyes and it is time to rekindle my relationship with meat. Reassess those meaty boundaries. Meat from grass-fed animals and wild fish that is. Time to bring animal protein back into my life (slowly and still with a balanced healthy whole food lifestyle).

There is more revelation to this story…but that will come at a later time. Timing is everything and it’s time to eat some beef from a grass-fed cow.

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{Hold on to hope}

“So take heart
Let His love lead us through the night
Hold on to hope
And take courage again” – Joel Houston {Hillsong United}

Last sunday at church, we sang, “Take Heart” by Hillsong United, during worship. This past week, again and again the lyrics were stuck in my head, especially “Hold on to hope and take courage again”.

This last year, the Lord was speaking to me a lot about trust and hope. Trusting Him. Trusting others. Risking my heart to trust Him. Being hopeful for the future and in circumstances. Over and over again, the Lord asked me to trust Him and to have confidence in Him to HOPE.

A year ago, when I went home for Christmas, without going into detail, I was really struggling with a lot of promises in my life and just enjoying life to the fullest. I was having a hard time trusting God, hearing God and having confidence in myself. I pretty much cried everyday for a week (which is NOT normal for me). I felt like I had been going around and around in circles and wasn’t seeing God move in my life. I wasn’t happy and was struggling to find joy and love my life. I felt like I was just going through the motions of life and unsure of how I got to this place of hopelessness and distrust.  As I look back at this moment, I am reminded of Genesis 32:22-32, where Jacob wrestled with God. His name changed because he struggled with God and man but overcame. During the struggle he saw God FACE to FACE and his life was spared.

What it came down to was ..Trust. Trust in God, have Hope and take courage. Even through the struggle, look at God face to face and you will overcome.  I was talking with a friend who shared with me some advice, and reminded me that it is ok to come to God as you are. Whether angry, sad, happy, disappointed, hopeless, etc., as long as you come to God and be angry WITH him, be sad with him, be FACE to FACE with Him.  It’s in the struggle that we are changed, as long as we struggle FACE to FACE with God…we will overcome what we are going through. Let Him lead you.  I feel the past few months, I have been standing, laying, running, fighting and even jumping (haha) Face to Face with God and regaining that I CAN TRUST Him. I do not even know how many times, this past year, that  when someone was praying for me (wether I knew them or not) that they said, “I feel like the Lord is saying He really wants you to Trust him”.  I thought I was… but…it was not until the past few months that I really began to understand what it means to trust the Lord with my life, to hope in all circumstances and to let him completely lead me and me not have my own agenda or try to regain control. For me, it was not just verbally declaring that I trustest the Lord, but I really needed to  know in my spirit, my mind, my heart that I trusted the Lord. The more that I have been trusting him the more confidence I have had in myself, in relationships, in work, in my finances, in my needs and really just in every area of my life! I can let go of my control and let HIM lead me. The more I have been trusting, the more hope I have had in circumstances. The more what’s inside of me…hope, trust, love, faith…overtakes my circumstances and I do not have fear of the future  but I really do have a complete trust and faith that the Lord does have HIS BEST in mind for me and what ever His best is … is amazing.

So as you may notice…I process a lot…really ask my friends. I love processing. Sometimes…yes, sometimes, I process to much, causing me to over-analyze and take control, especially when I do not understand situations.  My processing ability, is a strength, but as most strengths, it can also become a weakness if not carefully used. When I process or try to figure situations out and am not getting answers, I begin to loose hope in that situation. I can  have a hard time trusting the Lord that He is speaking or that I am hearing right. It’s this crazy cycle that, well, is not my favorite.  What the Lord has been showing me this past month, is to set my processor aside and trust Him. Hope in Him. Have courage. Take my hands off the situation and let go. So, often (what that really means in probably 3 times a day) is I have to set my processor aside (ie. thank my processor for helping me thus far but to kindly go wait in the car or the house, please.) and sit with the Lord FACE to FACE and let Him speak. Let HIS thoughts, HIS presence, HIS love overtake me and let Him do the processing for me.  Wow, it’s so freeing!!! Talk about a freedom I never knew I could have. 🙂

So here I am, a new year. A year of HOPE, TRUST and taking COURAGE. I do not have to let my circumstances overtake me. Instead I get to have HOPE again. HOPE and TRUST through transition. Continually look FACE to FACE with God in transition, every day life, relationships and dreams. I choose to encounter His love and recognize His presence every day of my life.  I get to TRUST the Lord and that nothing is impossible with God. I do have courage to move forward into HOPE and let HIS love overtake me. What a peaceful feeling.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him,

so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

(Romans 15:13)