My Fitness Journey, Part 2

By cassandrwiley / On / In Healthy Eating, Self-Improvement

You may recall that I have been on a fitness journey for about 2 years now.  My starting weight in December 2015 was 146 lbs. I had some weight loss by early 2016.  It was 6 pounds that I recall.  My family and I moved in June 2016, and for some reason, we started eating out more frequently; I gained that weight back.  Later that year, I found out that I was pre-diabetic with high blood pressure and high cholesterol.  I had been diagnosed with high blood pressure at age 25.  I started working with a personal trainer  and began working to change my diet. My husband and I decided to go vegan for one month and take herbal supplements to improve our health.  Early last year, I had my annual physical exam.  My weight was stable at 143 lbs., but my blood work results were the best ever in a long time.  I didn’t have pre-diabetes or high cholesterol anymore!  The combination of diet and herbal supplements improved my health!

In October of last year, we decided to go back to eating vegan for one month.  We noticed a big difference in our health and overall well being.  After that month, we decided that we would only eat meat twice weekly. Usually, it’s fish, but also chicken, turkey, and grass-fed beef.  We rarely eat dairy.

In the past month, we learned about “wheat belly” .  Today, the majority of the  wheat  is genetically modified.  Since the body does not know how to digest this genetically modified wheat, it’s stored as fat in our brains and in our stomachs.  Gluten is also something that we try to avoid.  I don’t eat wheat unless it is organic.  Since I eat dairy and organic wheat products rarely, my stomach does not look like a “muffin top”.   I can wear a dress without being paranoid that I look pregnant.  I get on the scale this morning, and I weigh 133 lbs!  I haven’t been working out in the last few months. It’s all from diet!  Working out will only enhance.  This is a weight that I am happy to stay at.  If you want to lose weight, you must change your lifestyle.

Christmas – Is Christ In It?

By cassandrwiley / On / In Self-Improvement

Hmmm….“Silver Bells”, “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire”, “Here Comes Santa Claus”, “Jingle Bells” and many more songs come to mind during this season.  As a child (and as an adult), I loved watching Christmas cartoons like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and A Charlie Brown Christmas.  Classics.  Elf was probably my favorite Christmas movie.  I enjoyed seeing family, opening gifts, more good food, eggnog, and shopping!  Going to the mall in search of the perfect gift.

Then, it came to a point in which I stopped putting up a tree when I had my own apartment.  After I got married, we put up a tree for my son’s first Christmas. (His birthday is December 7th).  The next year, we didn’t put up a tree.  In 2012, we started to do research and found out the truth about Christmas.  Now, five years later, we don’t celebrate Christmas AT ALL!

We have been attending a Hebrew church for the past year and a half.  They teach us the real truth about these so-called holidays like Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter.  The Most High Power hates these days (Amos 5:21).  This only confirms that we were right for not celebrating them for the last five years.  For those of you that are reading this, you may or may not know the true meaning of Christmas.  When I was in the Christian church, they taught us that Jesus Christ is the reason that we celebrate Christmas.  He was born in a manger on December 25th.  Well, if we look in the Bible, we know that he could not have been born in the middle of winter because the shepherds were “keeping watch over their flock by night”  when Mary gave birth (Luke 2:8). The precise date of his birth was not mentioned in scriptures, but it is believed to be sometime in September.  On the Hebrew calendar, The Feast of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and the Feast of Tabernacles all occur in September.  Some believe that Christ was born on September 11.  We remember what happened on that tragic day in 2001.  It would make sense for them to plan the so-called terrorist attack on that day.  We also see many natural disasters occurring during the month of September.  This year, three hurricanes occurred, back to back, causing excessive damage.

December 25 is actually Tammuz’s birthday.  Tammuz is Nimrod reincarnated.  The origin of Christmas (and Easter)  is Babylonian.  It actually started from Saturnalia, which  is a week-long festival that began around December 17.  Saturn, or Cronos, the Roman god of time and of the harvest, is where the festival gets it’s name. He demanded child sacrifice.  To this day, many children are sacrificed on Christmas.  

The Christmas tree is also pagan (Jer 10:2-5). It has nothing to do with Christ at all. So what does the Christmas tree really mean? There are many traditions that continue today as “spin offs” from Saturnalia.  Today, the Christmas tree is decorated with lights.  Originally, they used candles made from the fat of the burned bodies of the sacrificed children. (Horrific, but true).  People decorate their trees with colorful balls; originally, they used decapitated heads from sacrifice victims.  In some neighborhoods, you may see carolers going from house to house.  Before, they went caroling naked.  I’m sure today, that would be on the 6 o’clock news.  Christmas cards are another tradition.  We throw away every Christmas card we receive.

You can equate Cronos to the modern-day Santa Claus, an old man with a long, white beard who likes to surround himself with children.  As a child, I didn’t believe that ONE man could deliver presents to every child on Christmas Eve night by going down a chimney.  First of all, he was too fat to fit.  Secondly, we didn’t have a chimney.  In the song “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”, the lyrics are “he sees you when you’re sleeping, he knows when you’re awake, he knows if you’ve been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake”. Who fits this description?  If you change the letters around in Santa,  you get Satan.  Ever since the fall of man in the Garden of Eden, he has been using the same old tricks to deceive.  He spends his time walking the earth  (I Peter 5:8).  Satan is, in fact, the reason behind Christmas!

When I tell my family or friends that we don’t celebrate Christmas, they don’t understand, even when we explain it.  They think it’s about family and gift giving.  They don’t want to disappoint their children, so they spend money on gifts they really can’t afford.  They go shopping at midnight or at the crack of dawn to catch those Black Friday deals. On the other hand, they’re sad because they don’t have the money to buy gifts.  You can buy your children gifts ANYTIME during the year.  My son and my husband both happen to have December birthdays, but we buy our son clothes and toys throughout the year!

The Feast of Purim is our time of gift giving. We celebrate this feast in February.  It is not a replacement for Christmas.  It is a time that we remember our sister, Esther, that saved our people  (the true Jews) from annihilation.

If you claim to be a follower of Christ, you should not celebrate Christmas, a holiday that has the devil all in it.  You can’t be lukewarm and play both sides (Rev. 3:16). Be either hot or cold.  In spite of what many churches teach, you should be able to use discernment to come to your own conclusions through your own research that Christ IS NOT the reason for the season.  We get caught up on traditions; we don’t read to see what the Most High says about these holidays.  We live in a very capitalistic society. Holidays are money makers for many corporations.  Most importantly, explain this to your children.  After all, you are the parent that makes the decisions. If you teach them early in life, they will remember as adults (Prov. 22:6).  With that, I say Shalom!

A Funny Story About Popcorn

By cassandrwiley / On / In Healthy Eating

On Friday, I was preparing to make popcorn for my family.  We were going to watch Jumaji, the 1995 version with Kirsten Dunst and Robin Williams.  Three years ago, we invested in an air popper.  I added 2 small scoops of popcorn kernels and turned it on.  After 30 seconds, the air popper cuts off and I see smoke!  I unplugged it immediately.

My husband smells smoke as he walks into the kitchen.  Realizing that the air popper is dead, he tries another method.  He pours some pure vegetable oil in a wok pan.  I add the popcorn kernels.  He heats the kernels over a flame, moving the wok pan around.  After 5 minutes, we have freshly popped corn.  I added the usual olive oil and sea salt.  It was delicious!

How many ways can you make fresh popcorn?  The real question is how can you make it healthy? Here are a few tips:

  1. Don’t buy microwave  or processed popcorn.  Microwave popcorn and even brands like Jiffy Pop contains hydrogenated oil and other unhealthy ingredients.  Don’t sacrifice healthy for quick and easy.
  2. Invest in an air popper.  The price ranges from $20.00 to $35.00.  You can order from Amazon or purchase from any department store.  Add your favorite ingredients to your freshly popped corn.
  3. Make your own.  As I mentioned, we made delicious popcorn on the stove top with olive oil and sea salt.  Baked Bree and Food Babe also have great recipes.

Whatever your popcorn preference, it’s best to make your own.  With GMOs and other artificial additives that exist, you want to play it safe.  With more of winter on it’s way, snuggle up with your loved ones with a bucket and your favorite flicks.

 

5 Ways to Cope With Job Loss

By cassandrwiley / On / In Hobbies, Parenting, Self-Improvement

One month ago, I was laid off from my job. It wasn’t because of poor performance.  In fact, my peers always told me about the fine work that I did.  They expressed their compassion as well as their surprise. I was the only person in my department that was affected by this business decision.

My previous company decided to downsize.  As a result, a few of us were told that our positions would be eliminated.  I wasn’t totally surprised during my two and a half years of service; I’ve seen many of my peers, including two managers, get fired.  The company downsized at the beginning of this year as well. In addition, the company had a lot of turnover  that always seem to happen in waves.

Am I bitter about losing my job?  Absolutely not.  I believe that was the expectation from the management and my peers.  Many people don’t handle a job loss well.   I’ve experienced it before.  As a spiritual woman, I believe that everything happens for a reason.  Sometimes, it’s to protect us from more harm. Other times, it’s to make us stronger to prepare us for the events to come.

During this past month, I’ve used this time to pray and think about the next steps.  I’ve enjoyed spending more time with my husband and son.  I watch my son get on his school bus, and I see him when he comes home. I help him with his spelling, reading, and math.  When I was working, my husband did all of those things.  As far as the job search goes, I worked with a resume coach to revise my resume.  I’m working with a career coach and learning more about using LinkedIn.  I’ve enjoyed working with both of them.

I’ve always been told that you are not alone; there is always someone going through the same issues.  I hope that I can encourage those that recently lost their job or maybe have been unemployed for a long period of time.  Perhaps, you may have advice for me. This is what I will tell you:

1. Move forward and put the past behind you.  I know this is not always easy, but it’s very important that you do this.  When you’re interviewing, you don’t want to say negative things about your previous company.

2. Use your time off to your benefit.  As a mentioned, I’ve enjoyed time with my family.  I’ve also had time to write blog posts. If you’re not in a “desperate” situation, use this time to relax and plan your next step.

3.  Networking.  LinkedIn is a great place to start.  One referral, ironically from a previous manager, led to a phone interview followed by an on-site interview. Applying for jobs online at sites like Indeed can work.  ( I have been invited for interviews).  It’s always wise to be creative with your job search.

4. Turn your talents into earnings.  We all know at least one person with a legal “hustle”, whether it’s hair styling, coaching, cooking, graphic design, fashion, or singing.  I’m still working on this.  I recently connected with a former co-worker that became an entrepreneur.  She had been preparing for the transition all year.

5. Count every experience as a life lesson.  I took away some valuable experiences from my last position. There were days that I felt appreciated; there were other days that I felt like less than a person.  In any case, I had an opportunity to gain leadership skills and develop my public speaking skills.

Please feel free to share your job search experiences and advice that has helped in your development.

Ketchup, Ketchup, Where’s the Ketchup?!

By cassandrwiley / On / In Health and Illnesses, Healthy Eating, Self-Improvement

Whether it’s ketchup or catsup, it’s a favorite condiment of many Americans.  However, it can contain ingredients like high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, and natural flavoring.  Natural flavoring sounds innocent enough, but at the same time, it’s very deceptive.  When people see natural, they automatically think that it’s healthy, not artificial.  The best option is if you see “natural flavoring” listed as an ingredient, call the company to find out the specific ingredients.

My family loves Trader Joe’s Organic Ketchup.  It tastes like fresh tomatoes.  It contains organic  tomato purée, organic sugar, organic white vinegar, salt, organic onion powder, and organic spices.  Very simple.  All ingredients that you can pronounce.  If you cannot pronounce it, don’t buy it.

If you wanted to take a different route, you can always make your own ketchup. You can make it to your preferred taste with organic, non-GMO ingredients.  Wellness Mama has many great recipes from ketchup to homemade hand soap.

I enjoy making a variety of items from scratch like hand soap and even almond milk.  My homemade almond milk tasted richer than the organic milk from the supermarket.  It was very easy to make. (Add almond butter to warm water in a blender).  If you’re not already doing it, I encourage you to start making some of your own food, household items, and home remedies. The food today is tainted with GMOs, pesticides, and other poisons.  There doesn’t have to be a food shortage in order for there to be a famine (Matt. 24:7)

Thanksgiving: A Time for Family or a Tradition of Men?

By cassandrwiley / On / In Occult

I have many fond memories of Thanksgiving both as a child and an adult.  In school, they taught us that it was a day that the Indians and the Pilgrims ate together for the first Thanksgiving dinner in 1621.  It was a time for family, football, delicious food, and days off from work and school.  I would look forward to turkey, stuffing, candied yams, cranberry sauce, greens, macaroni and cheese, sweet potato pie, and some type of cake.  All of the smells filling up the house …

This was all good until I learned the true meaning of Thanksgiving. I haven’t celebrated Thanksgiving in 5 years. It was a day of genocide for the North American Indians.  They are actually Hebrew Israelites from the tribe of Gad that wore traditional Hebrew Israelite clothing with fringes (Num. 15:38-40).  The celebration was the killing of them.  “Many celebrated by kicking several heads…through the streets like soccer balls”.

You may be wondering the reason that this happened.  Well, the treatment of the Gad tribe goes back to curses that are mentioned in the Bible.  Because the Hebrew Israelites did not follow the laws, statues, and commmandments of the Most High God, they were subject to certain curses (Deut. 28:15-68).  These curses are still continuing today.

One can say that the day is about family, but you can celebrate family ANY and EVERYDAY  of the year.  In Christianity, they teach that it’s okay to celebrate these pagan holidays; however, if you read your Bible, you’ll know that the Most High God HATES those feast days (Amos 5:21-22).  He gave us Feast days to celebrate (Lev. 23). We, as a people, get so caught up in tradition (Col. 2:8).  We continue these traditions because they were taught to us, even if it’s wrong. Some of us will spend TOO MUCH money in preparation for this one day.  Businesses have to make their money, too. Another argument is that you can feed those that are less fortunate. Again, the homeless need our help throughout the year.

Even if you don’t want to look at the spiritual aspect of this, genocide of a people or turkeys is nothing to celebrate.  Yes, turkeys undergo harsh treatment at slaughterhouses.  I am acquainted with vegans and vegetarians that are not into Thanksgiving from a “food”point of view.

In conclusion, Thanksgiving is pagan, regardless of the feel-good activities that come with it.  Please feel free to check out The Pagan Book of Days as a guide to festivals and traditions occurring throughout the year.

Why I Stopped Drinking Coffee and Wine

By cassandrwiley / On / In Alternative Therapies, Health and Illnesses, Healthy Eating

I have been dealing with thyroid nodules for the last 8 years.  Two Ear, Nose, and Throat Specialists advised me that I did not need surgery; one recommended that I needed it.  Until last year, they did not irritate me.  I almost opted to have surgery last year; however, a few weeks before I was scheduled to have surgery, I was told that my insurance would not cover all expenses.  Was that a coincidence?  No, not at all!

Doctors make surgery sound so simple. They would  remove my entire thyroid, and I would have to take thyroid medication for the rest of my life. I wasn’t comfortable with that.  I was introduced to an herbalist that instructed me on my thyroid nodules. Basically, nodules form because the blood needs to be detoxed.  You detox the blood and the liver with a healthy diet and herbal supplements.  I took the recommended herbal supplements and ate a vegan diet for a month.  (By vegan, I didn’t eat any meat, dairy, pasta, bread, or sweets).  My nodules began to reduce in size.

I didn’t continue the vegan lifestyle, but I continued taking the supplements. I’ve always been a coffee lover, whether it’s plain coffee, cappuccino, or  iced coffee.  I wasn’t an alcohol drinker, but in the last few months, I begin indulging in red wine, about 2-3 glasses per week.  I noticed that my nodules were beginning to grow and become irritating again.  After discussing with my herbalist, he said that coffee and wine increases thyroid nodules.

I stopped drinking both immediately.  Alcohol, coffee, and black tea are highly acidic.  You hear conflicting reports about coffee; some articles say that it can have positive effects on your health and some say to avoid it.  Wine is good for the heart, but you need to drink a good-quality wine to get the benefits.

I’ve mentioned in my previous posts that I do not eat pork, shrimp, crab, and lobster for religious reasons.  Although beef, chicken, turkey, and certain fish (not shark or catfish) are acceptable to eat, I will most likely return to the vegan lifestyle. Meat is very acidic, and it is very important to keep your body alkaline.  I would prefer being a vegan over having surgery and taking medication for life.

The Dangers of Cosmetics

By cassandrwiley / On / In Alternative Therapies, Fashion, Self-Improvement

Women (and in some cases men) use cosmetics to enhance facial features. However, some cosmetics contain chemicals that can be harmful to the body. Below is a short list of those ingredients that can be found in color cosmetics. I’ve also included some ingredients found in nail polish. It’s summertime, and many of us want to show off our feet by wearing vibrant colors on our toenails. It’s fine to look beautiful. I want to make you aware of all of your options.

 

Common ingredients found in makeup (i.e. foundation, color cosmetics):

Propylparaben – preservative; can mimic estrogen; can disrupt hormones

Methylparaben – preservative; can cause (breast) cancer, skin, and eye damage.

Disodium EDTA (ethelenediaminetetraacetic acid) – makes hard water soft

Diazolidinyl urea – preservative and formaldehyde releaser; can cause allergies. It should be noted that formaldehyde is toxic and used to preserve cadavers (dead bodies).

These chemicals can also be listed as benzoic acid, 4-hydroxybenzoic acid, methyl ester, etc. For a complete list and for more information about cosmetic ingredients, visit
https://www.ewg.org

 

Common ingredients found in nail polish

Acetone – this is used as nail polish remover, sometimes 100% or diluted. Used for laboratory experiments or cleaning laboratory glassware.

Dibutyl phthalate (DBP) – increases flexibility and shine in polish; causes birth defects

Formaldehyde – causes cancer

Triphenyl phosphate (TPHP) – used to make plastic; disrupts hormones, and contributes to weight gain and obesity

Always read the ingredients before you buy any product. If you can’t pronounce it, don’t buy it or buy at your own risk.  Personally, I enjoy being pampered from a manicure or pedicure.  There may be non-toxic brands available, or you may opt for no polish.  If you have the time, you can do it yourself in the comfort of your own home.

For ideas on homemade makeup and non-toxic nail polish options, visit:

Read more “The Dangers of Cosmetics”

Natural Hair: Getting to the Root of It

By cassandrwiley / On / In Fashion, Self-Improvement

At the beginning of this year, I decided that I would stop chemically treating my hair and embrace my natural hair.  I think just about every woman that I know has decided to do this. I admit that I was hesitant about going natural because my hair is very course.  After talking to other sisters and hair professionals, the key is conditioner and LOTS of it. I use Taliah Waajid for Children and  Silk Elements MegaSilk Olive Moisturizing Treatment.  I also use coconut oil and shea butter on my hair. I was also told that it would be a lot of work, and that I would need to give my hair time to recover from the many years of relaxing.

Last year, I wore a very short cut, which was really cute and easy to manage. However, I was starting to notice that my hair was thinning around my hairline.  Since natural products and herbal supplements are improving my health, it should work for my hair.  I decided to try Ninja Hair Growth Tonic for my thinning patches of hair. I saw results within 2 weeks. I  massage my scalp with it 1-2 times each week nightly and wash it the next day.

To make my transition to natural hair easier, I have been wearing fluffy twists, which look natural.  They also feel very light. My stylist says that my hair is growing fast. When the relaxer “grows out”, I can rock my natural hair and love it!

Alternatives to the Use of Household Cleaners

By cassandrwiley / On / In Alternative Therapies, Parenting

For those of us that clean, particularly moms (and dads), we may use cleaning products  with very strong odors. Sometimes, the smell is so strong that it makes us cough.  We use it because it works, right?  If we open the windows as we clean, the smell won’t be so bothersome.

Well, have you ever read the ingredients on the label of a bottle of cleaner?  For instance, toilet bowl cleaners, no matter the name brand, contain hydrochloric acid or HCl for all my fellow scientists.  Hydrochloric acid is a strong acid, which means that it can burn the skin.  The fumes from the vapors are very toxic.  Whenever, I’ve had to use this for lab experiments, I wore gloves and worked under a fume hood.

Some of you may use bleach to clean your toilets and for washing your white laundry.   Although like hydrochloric acid, bleach will kill the germs and “whiten whites”; however, bleach contains chlorine, which is also toxic. (If you swim in a chlorinated swimming pool, you may notice that your eyes my burn if they come in contact with the water).

Many drain cleaners contain concentrated acid.  So, since HCl and bleach are both harmful, there are safer, effective ways to clean.  Mixing 1/2 cup of vinegar with 1/2 cup baking soda will clean the drain.

As the weather is getting warmer, you see more insects. Since our house is surrounded by trees, we often find ants and other insects in our home.  Since my son is fascinated with all types of bugs, I don’t want to use any strong chemicals in our home.  We also have a dog that should not be exposed to chemicals. For gnats, I leave a small glass of apple cider vinegar in the area that they populate.  After a few days, I’ll notice gnats floating in the glass of vinegar.  For ants, I make a mixture of 1:1 white vinegar and water and 5 drops of essential oil. (I chose lavender scent, but it’s your personal preference). It kills ants (and spiders also).  I spray it around the doorways to repel the ones that are trying to enter our home.

Here is a list of alternatives that you can use in the home instead of chemicals:

1. Glass cleaner – 1 tbsp. vinegar in a quart of water

2. Shower cleaner – use vinegar in a spray bottle

3. Furniture polish – use a damp cloth or try this recipe: 1 3/4 cup water, 1/4 cup white vinegar, 2 tsp. olive oil, and 1/2 tsp. lemon essential oil

4. Chlorine bleach – use non-chlorine bleach

5. Toilet bowl cleaner – baking soda and vinegar. (This also gets rid of urine odors, particularly for households with boys!). Baking soda is also known as sodium bicarbonate.

6. General cleaning – water, vinegar, and lemon juice.  White vinegar kills both salmonella and E. coli bacteria from contaminated food or water.

Simple household items can do wonders in your home.  You’ll not only make your home environmentally sound, but you will also save money.