Monthly Archives: November 2013

Highlight Quotes from “A Grateful Heart” – A Speech by Ray L. Huntington

A great quote helps me to dive deeper into a subject and appreciate it more. Today’s topic is gratitude. Here’s enough quotes to keep us all ’til Thanksgiving…and beyond!

Thanksgiving 2010

“The root of joy is gratefulness… It is not joy that makes us grateful; it is gratitude that makes us joyful.” – David Steindl-Rast, Benedictine monk

“As gratitude involves wanting what one has rather than having what one wants, instilling a sense of gratitude may help people appreciate the gifts of the moment and experience freedom from past regrets and future anxieties.” – from Gratitude and the Reduced Costs of Materialism in Adolescents, Journal of Happiness Studies 12

Thanksgiving 2012

“The practice of gratitude is incompatible with negative emotions and may actually diminish or deter such feelings as anger, bitterness, and greed.” – Sonja Lyubomirsky, The How of Happiness: A Scientific Approach to Getting the Life You Want

Thanksgiving 2007-1

“The grateful man sees so much in the world to be thankful for, and with him the good outweighs the evil. Love overpowers jealousy, and light drives darkness out of his life. Pride destroys our gratitude and sets up selfishness in its place. How much happier we are in the presence of a grateful and loving soul, and how careful we should be to cultivate through the medium of a prayerful life, a thankful attitude toward God and Man!” – Joseph F. Smith

Thanksgiving Cuffs

“O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.” – Psalms 106:1

Thanksgiving 2011

“Both abundance and lack exist simultaneously in our lives, as parallel realities. It is always our conscious choice which secret garden we will tend…when we choose not to focus on what is missing from our lives but are grateful for the abundance that’s present – love, health, family, friends, work, the joys of nature and personal pursuits that bring us happiness – the wasteland of illusion falls away and we experience heaven on earth.” – Sarah Ban Breathnach

“He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.” – Epictetus

Thanksgiving 2007

And lastly, answering the question of why should we express our gratitude out loud Mark Twain said, “I can live for two months on a good compliment.”

Happy Thanksgiving!

Click here if you want to read Ray Huntington’s address, “A Grateful Heart” in full.

Fall Fruit Salad

While preparing recipes for my Fall Cleanse program, we discovered this little gem. Four of us just about foundered on it. Pretty, flavorful and easy with just four ingredients this salad became an instant favorite at our house.

Beautiful, delicious and easy with just four fresh ingredients!

Beautiful, delicious and easy with just four fresh ingredients!

Growing up in the Northwest, persimmons weren’t even on my radar. A few years ago we ate a sample at a farmers market in San Francisco and we have been hooked ever since. I see them everywhere from Costco to Raleys to Whole Foods this time of year for about $1 each. Let them ripen to a bright orange and then dig in. On the inside they are shaped and seeded like a tomato, so remove the stem and slice or dice – there is no wrong way.

My oldest brother served a mission for our church in Southern California in the 60’s. When he returned to Idaho, he introduced us to pomegranates and peace bead necklaces. All these years later pomegranates are the ‘IT’ fruit (having outlasted the peace beads!). Right now they are in season and about $1.50 each. Full of flavor, color and anti-oxidants, you can throw pomegranate seeds in everything from salads to smoothies or sprinkle them on your hot cereal. If you are unsure how to approach a pomegranate, click here for a great little tutorial. If you are still intimidated, you can buy pomegranate arils packaged in the produce section at $5 for a half cup.

Until you make the salad, pile the fruit in a bowl on your counter for dramatic seasonal color! So gorgeous. So nutritious. Such a great addition to your holidays.

Until you make the salad, pile the fruit in a bowl on your counter for dramatic seasonal color!
So gorgeous. So nutritious. Such a great addition to your holidays.

Fall Fruit Salad

1 persimmon, chopped
1 pomegranate, seeded
1 teaspoon chopped mint leaves
Zest and juice of one lemon
Mix all ingredients in a bowl and enjoy!
Eat immediately or make up to 24 hours ahead.

Trip of a Lifetime!

Machu Picchu sits in a saddle between two mountains in the rain forest of Peru. What a breath-taking setting.

Machu Picchu sits in a saddle between two mountains in the rain forest of Peru. What a breath-taking setting.

My kids are launched and the time I spent actively parenting for thirty years is now available to fill in a myriad of other activities, so new opportunities await in this second half of life. I do spend more time with my husband, and we love to travel together. Brian is an accounting consultant by day who moonlights as our travel agent, and he plans amazing trips for us. Last month, we took a trip of a lifetime and hiked all over Incan Ruins in Bolivia and Peru with two other couples.

This is my CPA husband who moonlights as our travel agent and sometime llama trainer!

This is my CPA husband who moonlights as our travel agent and llama trainer!

We love having the energy, strength and enthusiasm for adventures like this. I want my second half of life to be filled with living, not dying slowly. I want to be like the 86-year-old woman who ran the NYC marathon for the 25th time last month, and then passed away two days later. I am not saying I want to run marathons, I just want to die right in the middle of living. It’s possible. I can’t guarantee that disease won’t come into my life and get in the way of my dreams, but I am not going to invite it in with an unhealthy lifestyle.

And to be honest, it is easier to live a healthy lifestyle now. I have time to exercise regularly. I am not driving kids around when it is time to make dinner. With just two of us, I can make a healthy meal and have leftovers for the next day, so I am not constantly in the kitchen. Without children at home, we don’t need pizza on Friday or chips for lunches, so I can have a ‘clean foods’ pantry, if I choose to.

Why am I choosing a clean diet and active lifestyle over my old indulgences? More energy, peace of mind, restful sleep, functional strength, hopeful outlook, and clear thinking are a few things that have changed for me. Fifty years of habits are hard to break – I can’t deny it – and I am still learning to listen to my body. But here is the bottom line about eating a clean, unprocessed diet and staying active. It works…and it’s worth it.

We enjoyed this color town square in Tiahuanaco, Bolivia filled with real and reproduced Incan artifacts.

We enjoyed spending time in the central squares of large cities and small villages like this colorful town square in Tiahuanaco, Bolivia.

Pumpkin Pie in a Cup

I know I am not the only one who loves this great seasonal flavor. How about a healthy version you can make at home?

In my mind, Halloween kicks off the beginning of Pumpkin Pie season which lasts just two months. And it’s a crying shame that I think this way, because I really like pumpkin pie!

Based on the giant posters in the windows of all the fast food places, I am not alone. They all seem to offer some version of pumpkin-pie-in-a-cup, the drive-thru version of the real thing.

The problem is that their concoctions are loaded with sugar and fat and topped with fake whipped cream. That’s discouraging, because pumpkin is really pretty nutritious.

Can you see where I am going with this? Coming up with a healthy pumpkin smoothie just seemed like the right thing to do!

I’ve found lots of recipes on the internet and blended up plenty of them, but they were all a bit disappointing. I think those who created them lacked passion. Kind of, “Hey, it has pumpkin, it has spice, it’s smooth.” I, on the other hand, spent several pudgy decades in quiet anticipation of the pumpkin season, and that laissez-faire attitude about flavors just doesn’t work for me. Healthy food can taste good!

So here it is, just in time for Pumpkin Pie season. My Pumpkin Protein Smoothie weighs in at under 300 calories, 18 grams of protein and 3 grams of fat. It’s the perfect post-workout drink. (I think it is perfect just about anytime.)

PUMPKIN PROTEIN SMOOTHIE by LaRae Wilson

8 oz. almond milk
4 oz. pumpkin puree
1 scoop vanilla protein powder*
1/2 banana
1 tablespoon maple syrup – the real stuff, not pancake syrup
5 drops stevia
pinch of salt – important!
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1-2 cups of ice, depending on how you like it.

Blend together until smooth. Serves 1 large or 2 medium smoothies.
* I use Garden of Life RAW protein powder. Vegan and raw and delicious!