Tasty Pumpkin-Vegetable Soup

Winter is officially here, and I am ecstatic; well, not really. On the other hand, my toddler is thrilled and cannot wait for the snow days. I could not be more excited for him, honestly. Most people may not be so enthusiastic about this season and wish it would go by real. I mean, it gets a bit tiring having to put on so many layers of clothing just to feel warm. Also, some days get really dull and gloomy.

On the contrary, there are some beautiful things about the winter months that one can appreciate. My number one thing is being tucked under a nice warm blanket on the sofa and watching a few old holiday movies such as “Home Alone,” which is still one of my all-time favorite movies even though I am grown and almost an old bark…hahaha. I am sure you will agree that the kid inside us never grows old.

Another exciting thing that I love to do is make delicious soup dishes for my family. Soups are perfect for the winter months. It is easy to make, and it sure does make you hella warm on the inside. Hmmm, I just love me some soup!

With that in mind, I am bringing yet another soup idea. This soup is not only tasty but healthy as well because it comprises only natural vegetables and spices. So it is for everyone irrespective of your diet. So let us jump into what you will need to make this bowl of deliciousness.

Ingredients:

3 large carrots

6 stalks celery

1/2 of a medium size pumpkin

1 lb yellow yam

2 tbsp all-purpose seasoning

salt (to taste)

4 stalks of scallion

4 sprigs of thyme

2 cloves of garlic

1 tsp pimento (all-spice)

1 packet of pumpkin soup mix (optional)

4 bulbs bok chow

Instructions:

  1. Place a medium or large pot of water on the stove to boil.
  2. Wash, peel and cut into small pieces carrot, celery, and pumpkin. Add these to the water when it starts to boil. Also, add 2 cloves of crushed garlic. Note that you can add other vegetables such as turnips, chayote, white potatoes, corn, etc.
  3. Next, peel and wash yam (be careful because this itches real bad if it touches the skin). Cut into medium pieces and add to pot. Allow food to boil until tender and water turn yellow from the pumpkin.
  4. Next, add all the other ingredients except the bok choy (you do not want to overcook them, so they are last to be added). Be generous with the fresh scallion and thyme, which really enhances the flavor. Season to taste.
  5. Allow all ingredients to cook together for another 30-45 minutes minutes. Add bok choy, lower stove, and simmer for an extra five minutes before removing from the stove. If you like your soup to be thicker, allow it to cook longer.
  6. The soup will thicken and have a richer look as the water reduces. Remember to add bok choy before removing it from the stove.
  7. Serve and enjoy.
Tasty Pumpkin-Vegetable Soup

Jamaican Christmas Sorrel Drinks

Growing up in Jamaica, Christmas is not Christmas without Sorrel Drinks. It is one of my favorite drinks and it tastes amazing. Due to its amazing benefits, sorrel has gained much popularity and is now available throughout the year. You can find it in many Caribbean grocery stores.

This would be a nice addition to your list of things to drink in 2022.

See attached video on how to make this delicious drink.

And, “may your Christmas be bright.”

Experiencing God’s Goodness

If I have never said it before, I love being a Christian and a follower of Christ. He has been so wonderfully good to me. I know that not all of us here are of the same belief, and I intend not to offend anyone. All of you are meaningful to me. However, whenever there is something extraordinary in your life, be confident to speak about it.

Around this time of year, I am the happiest. I feel and see so much love everywhere, and people tend to be a lot nicer. So much happiness and cheers all around. In just a few days, it will be Christmas, and many people worldwide will be celebrating the birth of Christ. While we may not be sure of the exact date of Christ’s birth, it is our duty as Christians to share the good news with everyone we encounter. My charge to everyone is to remember the reason why we celebrate. Do not for once take your focus off that. It is not about the food or presents but the man Christ Jesus who gave his life for us. So let us celebrate the goodness of God because he is worthy of all our admiration, praise, and honor.

My heart is filled with so much praise and adoration for Him. God has been incredibly good to me, and even when I am at my worst, he loves me beyond measures. Since the pandemic, so much has happened, but we are alive and well because of God’s goodness. I lost my job a few months ago, but God has provided. I am sure that you have your testimony of how good God has been to you. In moments of doubt and fear, he placed a song on my heart to remind me of his goodness and that He is still in control. The words of this song are so powerful and uplifting. Every time I hear it, I feel uplifted. This song touches my heart. I will share it below so that you, too, can be reminded of his faithfulness and experience His goodness.

Meditate upon every word. Allow God to fill your heart with gratitude and love

Remember to honor and celebrate God’s goodness in all you do—taking care of your health through proper diet, exercise, and loving others is relevant. Let this not just be a celebration only for a day but make God a daily part of your life.

Let this not just be a celebration only for a day but make God a daily part of your life. Happy and blessed holiday to you and your loved ones from Itz Holistically Wholesome.

Experiencing God’s Goodness

I Published My First Book

I am so excited to announce that I have published my first book, hooray! I have always enjoyed writing. A a matter of fact, I love writing so much that it got me in trouble after silly me decided to write a letter to a boy because I was too shy to speak to him, haha. Let us say my dad caught me, and he was not happy about it. I was a timid person, and I got to say what I meant through writing; this was my voice. I, however, enjoy mainly writing when I feel inspired or passionate about something because I find that I am most expressive then.

A couple of years ago, way before I started blogging, someone asked me to write for his website, and even though I was flattered, I explained to him that I usually write when the spirit lays something upon my heart. For those of you of faith background, you will understand this. I was not about to make something up for the hang on it. So, of course, I did not accept that offer because I would do him or myself any justice.

How did I come up with the idea?

The idea for this children’s book came to me in a rather strange time and place. I had just completed my task and had about half-hour left before my shift ended at work. While standing in the hallway and front of the Nurse’s Station, I had the thought to write a Children’s Book out of nowhere. Since my son loves talking about how much he loves Jesus, I figured why not. So right there and then, I grabbed my cell phone, went into the notes app, and began writing my story as it came to my mind. In less than twenty minutes or so, I was finished. When I was done and re-read it, I was like, wow, this is nuts. The rest is history.

About my new Children’s Book

As you are now aware from the cover picture, the book is entitled “Jedidiah’s Special Friend.” It is about a little boy (my son) who has an extraordinary friend that he loves so much. His friend also loves so much more than he could imagine. He is so excited about his friend and everything he is telling him to do. Most importantly, Jedidiah knows that his friend is worth sharing with others so that they too can experience this unconditional love and friendship.

This book is a story of faith, and it will undoubtedly be an enjoyable read for children and adults alike. They will love the illustrations as well. Everyone needs hope, especially with everything that is going on around us. This book will do just that and so much more.

It is currently available on Amazon in both e-book and paperback formats. I will also be publishing through Ingramspark, which will have all three formats (hardcover, paperback, and e-book)—anticipating that this will be ready in the next few days.

If you are interested in purchasing, please click the link below. It is a book for all seasons and is a great holiday gift.

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=jedidiah%27s+Special+Friend&ref=nb_sb_noss

I Published My First Book

May the blessings of the Lord be yours.

My Favorite At-Home Workouts

I love working out as much as I can. I also prefer to exercise in the early morning before I start my day because it does not often happen if I put it off for later. I usually exercise at home and run in the park or around my community whenever favorable weather is. Additionally, I would go out for walks to enjoy nature and soak up the fresh air.

However, there are those jam-packed days when I cannot find time to go for a run or walk. It could be that I have tonnes of school work, exams, errands, doctor appointments, as well as mommy duties. Other times could be because it rained heavily, snowed, or freezing outside. Other times I am plain outright lazy, procrastinate, and before I know it, the day has ended, and it is too dark out to exercise. I tend to do this a lot during the winter months. Finally, it could be that you have a gym membership and cannot make it to the gym on a given day.

So whether you work out at home, in the park, or at the gym, we all have these moments when something prevents us from staying on task.

Not to worry because all is not lost; there is always a solution. I do my workout at home anytime once I have the time. It tends to have some positives because I could just quickly do my exercise once there is free time. Here are three activities that I do at home anytime.

  1. Run – Yup, I sure do. It might seem strange, but you can run at home. Indeed, it may not run at the same speed as you are outside, but the critical thing is that you are getting it done. It could also be boring just running within a small area, but you can do this to make it more fun. Go to youtube, select one of the many at-home run workouts and follow along. You can also play your favorite music. I sometimes run up the staircase, through the hallway, kitchen, dining room, and back to the living room, where I work out most times. 
  2. Walk – If I do not feel like running or need to burn a little extra, I do some walking on the spot or throughout the house. Walking at home can be just as fun as walking outside. You can also pick it up a notch for an extra burn. Other times, I put on a youtube video and follow along. Watching other people working out keeps me going, and I will not stop until the video ends.
  3. Strength Training – I have a little box in my living room to keep my dumbells, kettlebells, flexibility bands, mats, and other small workout equipment. Whenever I am ready to do a routine, I do it right there in the open space in my living room. Sometimes I follow workout videos on youtube. 

As you can see, Youtube is my go-to place for fantastic workout videos. I also purchase a few workout challenges and programs from a few trainers. Fet your family involved as well. My son loves to exercise with me. So if you are serious about getting in shape and staying healthy, find something that works for you. There are so many videos that you can follow to help you stay motivated, and it will not cause you a dime except some of your time.

So until next time, remember; something is better than nothing at all.

My Favorite At-Home Workouts

Arrrghh, Why Am I Like This Wintertime? Lazy!

“Each one of us has a comfort zone. The problem comes when we are unwilling to leave it.” The couch and a warm blanket are my comfort zone, and I do not wish to leave them. Winter is a constant test of my decisiveness to always stay on top of my fitness goals. I struggle every time and perform at my lowest, sometimes no time at all. It is cold outside, and does not want to be out there, nope. I just want to be warm and cozy.

I often wonder if most people feel that way, especially those who exercise outdoors. Could it be because I am a very tropical and sunshiny country product, and my body just cannot withstand the coldness? Who knows, but it sounds like an excuse when I say it aloud. Many of you might be wondering why not go to the gym, and yes, that is always an option. Still, there is something unique about exercising in the open fresh air and otherwise warm sun. It is healthful for the body. Additionally, it is free of cost.

Every year the season approaches, I begin to tell myself that I can do this, and indeed, I will for a while, then I start to miss a day, or two, maybe three and sometimes a week. I wanted a solution because this is not beneficial to me healthwise. So this season, I decided that instead of going out a minimum of five days per week, I would go out three days and do an extra workout at home. Sounded like a great plan that was sure to work but unfortunately, I am still slacking off.

I now realize that it is not just my unwillingness to run outside on a cold day, but I simply just want to hibernate for the season. I do not want to work out inside or out. I am just a lazy bug throughout the season, and I need to get myself together somehow.

Do you struggle to keep working out in the cold season? How do you stay motivated?

Arrrghh, Why Am I Like This Wintertime? Lazy!

Healthy Relationships Is Apart of a Healthy Lifestyle

Are you striving for an overall healthy existence but cannot seem to get along with your spouse, family members, self, and friends? Are you constantly fighting, angry, abused, or fearful? Are you in a relationship that is so toxic that you cannot even breathe at times, and you feel trapped? If this is your current situation, then maybe it is time to do something about it because having a healthy relationship is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle.

Too often, when we think about getting healthy and doing particular things to change or improve our lives for the better, we turn our focus on food and exercise. I guess this is because we can physically see the extra love angles and the bulging stomach when we look in the mirror. Other times, we can no longer fit into our favorite clothes, and just walking a few short distances leaves us panting for breath. So, of course, it has to be how we eat and our relatively sedentary lifestyle. Consequently, we set out to eat better and become more active, and if we are determined enough and consistent, we manage to get there. Yet, somehow we do not feel as great as we hoped and even though we continue to focus on remaining active and eating a balanced diet, our weight and everything else is like a roller coaster. Nothing seems to be working, and it feels like we are at a dead-end, and we become frustrated. My friends, this is a sign you look deeper.

Did you know that not just food or lack of exercise can make us unhealthy? There are several other factors, and one of them has to do with the relationships that we form with others and ourselves. We have to be careful of how we see ourselves, who we let into our lives, and who we allow stay in our lives. For example, we sometimes meet someone, be it a boyfriend, girlfriend, or friend. And indeed, this person portrays qualities that we like, so we decide to let them in and give them a try. That’s great!

Further down the line, their real character begins to surface, and the once charming, loving, and awesome person becomes the devil in the flesh. Yet, we chose to live with the abuse, disrespect, constant negative criticism, infidelity, among others, instead of accepting that it is not working. We tell ourselves that this is not a healthy environment but struggle to walk away. Other times, we know with every fiber of our being that this person is terrible for us because their energy does not seem right, but we cannot muster up enough strength to call it quits and move on. So instead, we allow ourselves to second guess and find the slightest reason to keep them around, especially when we have become emotionally attached to that person and desire intimacy and love.

No, I know that certain relationships are hard to let go of because of how long you have been with the person, how much you have invested, are married, have children, or whatever the reason. And there are some things that we cannot change, like our family. However, there are steps that you can take to make the situation better for yourself, but choosing to live that way will affect your health and prevent you from your goal of having an overall healthy life. So please do something about it!

Here are two ways your relationship may become a hindrance to a better lifestyle.

  1. You Fail To Love Yourself:- Self-love is essential and healthy as long as you do not become selfish and individualistic in the process. You have to get to that place where you are delighted with who you are. You must tell yourself that you are enough and is worthy of love and appreciation. The trouble is that if you are not convinced that you are indeed excellent, you will not believe it when it comes from someone else. And not because you are not where you want to be in life does not mean you are a failure; You will get there. Do not look at others and their accomplishments and begin to measure or compare yourself to them. This is a dangerous practice, so check yourself before you wreck yourself. You will peek in your rightful season, so celebrate yourself because you are doing great. Now tell yourself, I love you.

2. Toxic relationships with spouse/boyfriend/friend:- Listen, I am coming from a real personal place with this one. You see, I am about health reformation, and I believe that a lifestyle is holistic; you cannot choose where to improve and where not to improve; it is a whole. Now I thought I was on track to become my most healthy self. But there was a time when my life felt so toxic, and hubby and I could not see eye to eye. Even though I was eating well and exercising, I felt heavy-laden, frustrated, and tired. I found myself complaining a lot, and I became annoyed with myself. No amount of workout could relieve me of that feeling. One day, I talked to my youngest sister about my frustration relationship-wise. She said to me; you know that all the exercise you are doing, no matter how healthy you eat, will not be that helpful health-wise if you are feeling like this. That was it for me; I needed to hear that. So I slowly began to change the relationship dynamics with my husband and others. I refuse to argue, get in a rage or entertain anything that will cause me to become frustrated and or stressed. Since I needed peace and contentment, I listened more and talked through things maturely. Over time, I started to feel much better and happier. Sometimes, all it takes is a calm spirit and effective communication. If the situation can be fixed or improved, do it for your health.

Furthermore, if you are in any relationship in which is abusive physically, mentally, financially, educationally, and emotionally, this could affect your health goals. Also, take that time to ensure that you are not doing the same to someone else. So often, we fail to see our defects but are quick to highlight the shortcomings in others. You know what love is, and you have the right to a safe, healthy environment. Do not sacrifice yourself for something that is of no good for you. It will weigh you down and cripple any chances of becoming your best self. A good spouse, family member, or friend will speak life into your soul so that you can grow and bloom into a beautiful flower. And that, my friends, is what you deserve. 

Finally, love yourself, love others and speak positively. Avoid toxic and stressful situations like the plague. Accept only the best for you and choose happiness. Never allow anyone to make you feel undeserving. Healthy relationships are crucial to a healthy lifestyle. 

Healthy Relationships Is Apart of a Healthy Lifestyle

Should Christians Embrace A Healthy Lifestyle

So you finally purchased your dream car, and along with it comes an instruction manual on proper use and care. In bold type, one instruction read, use only premium gasoline, anything else will damage the car. Because you want to enjoy your vehicle for a considerable amount of time, you did as you were told and carefully followed the instructions. To do otherwise will cause the car to not perform at its best and possibly become a danger to you and others. Additionally, since the manufacturer was the one who made the car, they must know what would be best, right?

I have identified as a Christian all my life, but I only became a faithful follower of Christ less than ten years ago. Now that I acknowledge God as my Father and Jesus Christ as His son and my Savior, I must follow his every instruction about my life, correct!

I have been around many Christians from all walks of life, and I find it most interesting that many do not embrace the need for a healthy lifestyle even though they consider themselves faithful followers of Christ. It is rather strange that they cannot see the connection between faith and health. Of course, many will quickly argue that leading a healthy lifestyle is not salvific. Now it is not my objective to unsettle anyone or say whether it is salvific or not, but I felt that this topic is worthy of much considerations.

I do not believe that one can reach their highest calling in Christ by destroying their bodies through poor health practices. As Christians, we serve God with our minds and body; therefore, we must keep ourselves in good health to be effective in our service to God. Consequently, a healthy diet and adequate exercise go hand in hand with our worship of God. If this was not the case, I do not believe God would emphasize this throughout the bible. God wants us to be free from sin and sickness. In other words, the Gospel saves us from sin. Good health keeps us from sickness to serve God in spirit and truth. If you are toxic and sick in your body, best believe that you are possibly ill in your body as well and vice versa.

When I feel stressed mentally and or feel sick in my body, I cannot think or do anything else most times. My body is too weak to do anything at all, and all I can think about is how weak and unwell I am feeling. On the contrary, I can do anything when I feel at my best. My mind is sharp and, I am better able to make sound decisions, study and understand the word of God clearly and praise him haughtily.

Another thing you are to realize is that the devil uses our weakness to attack us and lead us to sin against God. If you place as much emphasis on health as you do your spiritual walk with Christ, you would be a force to be reckoned with.

One of the first things God gave to man in the garden of Eden was his diet. Let us take a look, “And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon all the face of the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for food.” Genesis 1: 29. God gave this diet to Adam for nourishment. Somehow God must have known that it is within us to be intemperate; therefore, not only did he tell Adam what to eat but also what not to eat. Genesis 2:17 went on to state that, “but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. “Indeed they did not physically die, but this act changed everything. Humanity became compromised.

Several other scriptures also attest to how important good health is. Three such ones are:

“Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God” (1st Corinthian 10:31). The way we eat and drink is a form of worship to God. But, unfortunately, some foods we eat have devastating effects on the mind and body, thus affecting our worship. There is a saying, “too much of one thing is good for nothing.”Therefore, it is our duty as Christians to ensure that we take the necessary steps to be in good health.

What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). God gave us our bodies, but it still belongs to him. Therefore, we cannot destroy ourselves through bad habits and unhealthful practices. On the contrary, we must keep our bodies in the best state possible so that they can serve God and us.

“And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things” (1 Corinthian 9:25). The bible tells us to be temperate in not some things but all things. Overeating, drinking too much until we are drunk, or anything that we do in excess to harm our bodies must be done away with. Be it spiritual or healthwise; we must be moderate. 

Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth (3 John 1:2). Now, this is one of my favorite scriptures, and if you explore it on the homepage, you will see it there. According to this scripture, God not only wants our soul to prosper, but he wants us to be in good health. It does not get much more precise; Christians are to embrace a healthy lifestyle. We are called to be followers of Christ and a light and a source of inspiration to others. How can we expect to tell someone about God looking all sickly in their sight? Therefore, we are to be overflowing with good health.

Like the example I gave in the car, we are to do the same as believers and people in general. We are to follow the specific instructions that God gave us to live a healthy and holy life. We cannot afford to hold on to what is easiest or what we think is important because we are not our creator. Our maker gave us an instruction manual to follow step by step carefully. We must embrace a healthy lifestyle as much as we do our spiritual life. We must eat well, exercise, rest, and do everything else that is good and beneficial to us to be in tiptop shape for God, ourselves, and others.

Sweet Potato-Squash Soup

Heart Healthy Sweet Potato-Squash Soup

I am a soup lover, and this is the perfect weather for a hot bowl of delicious soup. Not only will it tantalize the taste buds, but it will warm you up inside and out. I am not sure how many of you use recipes whenever you cook, but I do not. Since I am interested in sharing my plant-based meals with you, I am slowly learning to create recipes for my meals. However, for this recipe, we will be freestyling.

Soups are not complex to prepare. On the contrary, it is probably one of the most leisurely meals you will have to cook. It is a one-pot meal where everything is boiled together at the same time. After which, your flavor to your taste and liking.

My son has been under the weather a bit for a few days and asked for warm soup. So his grandmother and I teamed up to make sweet potato-squash soup. She washed and cut all the ingredients and put them on the stove to boil, and once they were soft, I took over, added the seasoning for the flavor, and then pureed them. Finally, I added home-boiled chickpeas for additional protein. It was delicious and, my son loved it; he gave two thumbs up.

So here is what you need:

One medium-size Squash
Two medium-size sweet potato
Six large carrots
One large red onion
Three bulb garlic
Five stalks Celery
Two cups cooked chickpeas
Powdered seasoning
salt
cayenne pepper (optional)

Wash, peel and cut squash, potatoes, onions, carrots, and garlic into small sizes. Place in pot and cover with water, boil until everything is tender; then puree. Next, add your powdered seasoning (garlic, onion, all-purpose) and salt to taste. Finally, add cooked chickpeas(can be pureed if desired). Allow this to simmer for another five to ten minutes, then serve.

You can add a side of toast if you so desire.

This soup served five people for two days.

Natural Flu Bomb

Winter is no doubt upon us, and right along with it comes so many beautiful things to appreciate and look forward to, such as the family get-together, delicious meals, lovely gifts, and for many commemorating the Savior’s birth. For some reason, around this time of year, people seem happier, kinder and exhibit more love for each other. One cannot help but be on their very best behavior. Additionally, we cannot wait for the snowy days to get outside and have some cold fun for those of us who are young at heart. Children especially look forward to this. My son cannot wait to make snow angels and throw snowballs at his sister. And I cannot wait to capture every moment.

However, this beautiful and much celebrated season does not come without a few challenges. Some days can be pretty icky. In the United States, Fall and Winter is also flu season. So even though the influenza virus spreads year-round, flu activities peak between December and February and even up to May. Unfortunately, infection, hospitalization, and death occur as a result.

So while we make plans to celebrate, we must take the time to nourish and strengthen our bodies so that we can fight off the dreaded flu. To do this, we must boost our immune systems. Therefore, nutrition is critical, and we have to eat more natural foods. In addition, we have to ensure that we intake an adequate amount of vitamin C, and our citrus foods can do just that for us. You can also take supplements to boost your immunity, but this alone will not provide you with all the protection you need unless you take the necessary steps by eating a healthy diet.

There are also natural teas and remedies. The Flu Bomb is an excellent natural remedy. You can use everyday things in your kitchen that you use to prepare your meals. If you do not have the ingredients, you can pick them up at any supermarket.

Do not wait until you become sick; begin taking steps to fight off the flu. So would you please try this recipe and share it with your family and friends?

Super Flu Bomb Recipe

Ingredients:
6″ turmeric root (3 tablespoons turmeric powder)
6 ” ginger root(3 tablespoons ginger root powder)
10 cloves garlic
2 medium onions
Juice of 6 lemons (12 tablespoons lemon juice)
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
2 cups boiled water
5 tablespoon honey (optional)

Preparation:
Blend all ingredients in 2 cups of warm water and leave for 40 minutes on the counter. You can strain if pulps are not finely or smoothly blended.
Place in a mason jar and store in the refrigerator. Take 3 to 4 tablespoons every 15 minutes while symptoms persist. Continue to take 2-3 times daily one to two weeks after symptoms cease. Otherwise, use it daily to avoid getting the flu.

For a thicker result, you do not have to add water.