Monday, October 5, 2015

FMD: For the Sake of My Future

Thanks to a book a friend introduced us to this summer, we made an absolutely huge shift in our way of thinking about, preparing and eating food three months ago.

We began a "D.I.E.T" that is changing our lives. Want to know the real meaning of "diet"? Read on!

By the way, that's Claire, not me, though people say we look alike! :) 

Written by Haylie Pomroy, a nutritionist and wellness consultant (who actually started out in veterinary science at Colorado State University in Ft. Collins where Dave went for his last year of college many moons ago!), "The Fast Metabolism Diet" is by far THE BEST book I've ever read on nutrition, complete with a plan for how to "D.I.E.T" and repair your metabolism.

This is truly unlike ANY diet you've ever seen before as it isn't about counting calories. It's not about exercise (though that's a reasonable part of her plan). And it's not about deprivation.

Her definition of "D.I.E.T."? Did I Eat Today. You'll never eat as much food on a diet as you do on hers!

Based on proven science, her theory is that in order to heal and heat up your metabolism you need to:

* Unwind stress with plenty of carbs and fruit
* Unlock fat with lots of protein and veggies
* Unleash your metabolism with the addition of healthy fats and oils

And she's got a brilliant plan for how to make that happen.

There are three phases in each week, so you cycle through different types of foods to accomplish those goals. Her app on the Apple phone is pure genius, helping you know what to eat, when to eat, and how much of it to eat each day.

The past two years have been brutal on my body. Going through the process of menopause (I'm there now...hooray!), traveling, mid-life weight gain, migraines, torn MCL, skin problems and numerous other health difficulties, caused great discouragement about the state of my body.

And it wasn't just about weight. I was still within a "normal" range. But I was tired all the time, didn't have energy, didn't sleep well, was putting on fat, felt lethargic, and didn't ever feel like eating. Yet I gained weight.

I'll be honest, it felt like there was no hope for change and that this is just the new norm I'd have to accept as I headed into my mid-50's.

But then I read the "Fast Metabolism Diet" and suddenly all my symptoms made sense.

I didn't have a fast, or hot burning, metabolism. Over time it had slowed down to a snail's pace due, in part, to poor eating habits, which caused many of the symptoms I was experiencing.

When we returned from the States at the beginning of July this year, I went through my cupboards and took out all sugars, dairy products, caffeine (yes, even coffee!), corn products and any last gluten I had hanging around (we mostly ate gluten free anyway).

I took the Fast Metabolism book grocery shopping to guide me in loading up instead on fresh meats, fish, poultry, eggs, tons of veggies, fruits and healthy fats like olive oil, avocados and almond butter. And we started in on the "D.I.E.T."

I'm not going to tell you it was easy. In fact, in the beginning it was brutal! The first week we both experienced headaches, cravings, withdrawal symptoms and fatigue. Our bodies were detoxing and not happy about it!

But soon we developed a rhythm and before we knew it, we'd completed the first 28 day cycle by the beginning of August. I lost just 4 pounds, but 12 1/2 inches. Dave lost 12 pounds and many inches as well.

Obviously this isn't Dave (we didn't think to take before and after pictures..and would I put them here anyway? I don't know!), but this is very similar to what happened to him.

We took the month of August to stabilize and more deeply establish these new patterns of eating, sticking to all the same healthy foods on the diet and not eating any of the "illegal foods", but also not keeping such a strict schedule for meals and snacks.

Then in September, we started another 28 day cycle. And this time we could both tell the difference in how our bodies were metabolizing food. We'd eat a huge meal of good, healthy foods - and then be hungry an hour later because of how "hot" our metabolisms were burning!

Just yesterday we finished our second 28 day cycle with great results: in total I've lost 11 pounds and 16 1/2 inches, and Dave's lost 22 pounds and many inches.

But more importantly, we've lost fat, gained energy, feel and look better!

One note about fat loss. Dave's loss of overall fat has been astounding. Do you know that you can be thin, yet fat? Even at his lowest weight, Dave still carried fat (by the way, he doesn't mind me saying that!) in his stomach and back that no amount of exercise, running or weight lifting through the years ever changed.

Yet it's almost completely gone today.

I'm still in the process of losing that same kind of fat. My body seemed to be more depleted and resistant to change than Dave's was. Whether that's due to hormones, menopause or aging, we don't know - we just see how much longer it's taking my body to respond and heal. But it IS finally happening!

Several of our friends have now completed their first cycle of the diet as well, with equally astounding results - losses of 10, 15, 20 and 25 pounds in just one 28 day cycle.

It all seems to be a little like unbelievable food, lose weight. I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't lived it.

On the other hand, we know we're eating in an absolutely clean and healthy manner so it makes sense that our bodies are responding to the change.

I want to emphasize that I didn't do this diet to lose weight, though that's certainly been a healthy byproduct of following this plan. And guarantee, you'll lose something if you'll follow it, whether you need to lose 10 pounds or 100.

But I did it for the sake of my future: to stay optimally healthy and vibrant so I can do all that the Lord asks of me for 20, 30 or even 40 more years. I MOSTLY want to be useable and available to him, and if I have a healthy body, I'll have more to offer.

We're headed to the States tomorrow, which will begin a new test: can we eat this way while traveling? If we happen to cross paths with you, and say no to dessert and coffee (as well as a few other things!), now you'll know why.

With all my heart, I promise to myself that this is our new "normal", and that there is no going back to the old ways, patterns and temptations of eating. I feel so much better! Why would I do anything different?

We've done it for three months now, and our plan is to do it this way for many, many years to come.

THANK YOU Haylie Pomroy for all your research and work to bring this to people like me, my husband, family and friends. Your work is making a difference in our lives!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

One Man's Junk...

You know the saying, "One man's junk is another man's treasure"?

We saw this in living color yesterday!

What do you do when you live in a city, don't have a garage or a yard, yet need to get rid of your junk provide someone else with some treasures?

Have a street sale! And even let the kids put out their things.

While in Vienna on Saturday morning, Dave and I stumbled across a gigantic "yard sale" happening on Neubaugasse, a long street closed off for two days to host the sale in the city. It went as far as you could see, and then some!

We started at one end of the street and walked all the way to the other end to see if there were any treasures for us.

I'm not great at estimating numbers of people, but maybe there were 6000-7000 people?? Whatever the numbers, it was crowded and hard to even have a look at some of the booths, racks and tables.

Dave stopped to ask how often this happens. To our surprise they do it 3-4 times a year! What a great idea.

There was truly a little bit of everything along the way.

Including food if you needed to take a break!

The vendors were pretty low-key, not pressuring anyone to stop, but helpful if you were interested.

Some tables were laid out so nicely, which made me wonder what it would be like to pack it all up at the end of the day, only to get it back out the next morning since it's a 2-day sale!

While some tables concentrated on one theme, such as jewelry, others were a mish mash of things. I'm not sure if it's helpful to come to the sale with an idea in mind of what you want, or just look at it all and hope something jumps out at you as special!

Anyone for a mobile phone??

Honestly, I mostly enjoyed watching the vendors as they chatted with friends and neighbors (or at least it appeared that way), while people perused their wares.

Dave had fun looking at old binoculars as we made our way down the long street.

This particular display made me laugh as I'd had a conversation with Claire recently about how to carry groceries back home if you don't have a car. Here are several possibilities for you Claire!

There was certainly no shortage of vinyl record albums. I wonder how many people still have a record player in their home??

We stopped here to look at a few beautiful bronze statues, though quickly moved on when we found the asking price to be around 400 Euros!

After nearly two hours on Neubaugasse, we came to the end without having made one purchase!

But we sure had a lot of fun enjoying the neighborly atmosphere and people of Vienna!

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Still Enjoying the Music

In the fall of 1986 you could find these two at Bella Capri in St. Leon, Germany on Monday nights.

Yes, that's Dave and me many moons ago!

Young and in love, we spent every Monday evening at an Italian restaurant in town where we lived.

Both serving with Malachi Ministries, but involved in different aspects of it, Monday night was the only time we were free at the same time. We made the most of it by walking down to Bella for dinner each week.

As we spent the evening together, a young Italian musician was background music on the cassette player in the restaurant. The same tape played week after week, and though we couldn't understand the words, his songs became "our songs". But we never knew his name.

Fast forward to life in Czech and dates at another Italian restaurant in a nearby town fifteen years ago.

One evening I recognized the singer playing over the speakers at 'da Capo' and asked who it was. "Eros Ramazzotti," they replied. Finally he had a name! And over the following years I heard him everywhere in Europe, playing at restaurants and grocery stores from Frydlant to Greece to Croatia and Rome. Little did we know way back when that he would become such a sensation in Europe.

One more fast forward to six months ago when I found out Eros was playing a concert in Vienna. Though Dave and I have never been to a main stage concert in thirty years of life in Europe, we decided Eros was worth going to see. I bought tickets for Friday night, Oct 2 and we've been anticipating the concert ever since.

But life is funny sometimes. How could we ever have anticipated two HUGE traffic jams on the way down to Vienna?

A three and a half hour trip took us NINE HOURS!!

When we left in the morning we anticipated arriving at our hotel with time to spare, having a nice dinner, and then leisurely making our way to the concert that would begin at 7:30.

Instead we arrived at 7:35 during the first song!

After a quick photo to prove to ourselves we made it with smiles on our faces, we joined the crowd for the concert.

And Eros did not disappoint!!

His unique voice, winsome personality (hardly speaks English or German so didn't have a lot to say during the concert and yet still connected incredibly well with the audience), amazing musicians performing with him (legend guitarist Phil Palmer and saxaphonist, Joe Leader to name a few) and energetic delivery of catchy and passionate songs made for an absolutely memorable evening.

And of course, to share it with Dave was THE BEST!! Who would've ever imagined where life would bring us after nearly 29 years of marriage...from dating at a little Italian restaurant in Germany, to a drive from Czech to the concert hall in Vienna to hear the very same musician!

Though in a crowd of 12,000+ Austrians, I felt like we were by ourselves, remembering our "young and in love days", yet also celebrating our "mature and in love days"!

Thankful for a lot of amazing years together with this man, and for the music we once heard while "young", and still enjoy as "old"!

Friday, October 2, 2015

A Summer Intern Story

Ever curious about what it's like for a JV summer intern who comes out to serve with us for three months?

(Thanks to Rachael Davison for the photo!)

Our communications team just finished this amazing video documentary on one of our interns who has spent the past three summers in Ukraine. Take a look!

And if you know a college age young man or woman who would like an adventure of a lifetime, pass it on to them!

A Summer Intern Story from Josiah Venture on Vimeo.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Up at Selah

On the side of Ondřejník, a mountain facing Malenovice and Lysa Hora in the Beskydy range, sits a very special place for JV missionaries.

Called Selah, this is our retreat facility for all JV staff, used exclusively for rest, renewal and refreshment.

Our staff come here alone for personal retreats, with their children for family time, or with a few teammates for in depth times of prayer and accountability with each other.

Sitting out in the rockers on the porch, drinking coffee and soaking in the view helps to clear their minds, souls and bodies in order to make them more effective at what they do.

While the lodge was finished and available for use a number of years ago, the outside landscaping has taken longer to finish. It's a big job!

But this week it got a major boost by a team who came from Three Lakes, Wisconsin. They have done SO much work to clear our brush, bushes, bramble and such!

We've never seen the ground in most places surrounding Selah. It's been full of nearly 20 feet high bushes and trees for years. But look at it now!

They've already burned two huge piles of brush, and there are at least another 10 piles to go!

They've even been able to do some replanting in spots.

Some of the cleared land will get landscaped, while other parts of it will become grassy areas. It will be a vast improvement when it's all done!

Over the years we've had countless hours of volunteer labor, both at Selah and Malenovice, done by teams from the US, Czech, Poland and other countries. We're so thankful for these teams who sacrifice time and resources to come and help us.

Their efforts this week at Selah make it possible for us to provide a beautiful retreat facility for our team so that they stay vibrant and healthy, both in spirit and body, and bring the Gospel more effectively to Central and Eastern Europe.

"Thank you Three Lakes team for your invaluable hard work this week!"