Meal Prep

 Many have messaged me through the blog asking what some of my go-to meals are and how I make it work with a busy life style. So I thought I'd share with you what prepping for a crazy week of studying and exams looks like! 🙌🍏🍋🍌🍴📚📖😋 ✅ My favorite pasta - Zucchini noodle spaghetti + falafel meat balls and nutritional yeast as my parmesan cheese replacement

✅Salads: mixed greens + heirloom tomatoes + red onion + avocado + sprouts + pecans and lemon garlic vinaigrette

✅Quinoa Kale Butternut Squash + garlic and Himilayan salt

✅My FAVORITE protein bar.. Ever: @squarebars for post workout @barmethodkc. It's made with all organic and plant based ingredients and has the glycemic index of an apple. A good thing to have handy! Otherwise I bring raw cashews or a protein + greens smoothie from home.

✅Suja organic mighty greens cold pressed juice! (️Costco find for $6.99 - that's a steal) Making my own juice is the ideal option, but this is second best!

✅Kombucha - guava, raspberry lemon, and pineapple

I use to think meal prepping was a dreaded 3-4 hour task.. Until I discovered I can get all of this done in LESS than 45 minutes. Crazy, right? I had a slight epiphany when I discovered how simple it can be. It makes my busy days a lot more productive and a LOT healthier when I can "grab and go" these nutrient dense instead of snacking all day. Im still a beginner in the meal prep game but it always feels good to know i have a fridge full of healthy food ready for the week!

Aside from meal prep, this might me my favorite thing Ive ever made.. Paleo and vegan pizzas made extremely simple. (Jeremys:

Say hello to my favorite pizza.. Ever. It isn't raw, but it's 100% vegan, soy free, gluten free, dairy free (you know the works) and we make them pretty much every Sunday.. I look forward to it all week.

We use Ezekiel sprouted organic tortilla shells, Tessame's barbeque sauce (amazingly clean ingredients and tastes just like bbq), sprouted chickpeas, red onion, green pepper, some grated sweet potato, Himilayan salt, basil, and pepper - baked at 350 for 25 minutes!

Next is this go-to superfood+protein smoothie. Basically all of the ingredients above blended + ice and spinach.  On occasion I use the cafe mocha + energy flavor of Amazing Grass superfood powder for a pick me up... It tastes like a rich and creamy coffee drink! But I usually stick to the plain greens and the "creamy fudge" orgain plant based protein powder.

My diet isn't perfect, but it works for me. I have been working at achieving balance in every area of life to make my new lifestyle sustainable. And im falling in love with the process 👍💪

#VeganMealPrep #PaleoMealPrep #dairyfree #glutenfree #FoodIsMedicine #PrepareForProgress #healthyisntboring #eattofightcancer #eattolive #holisticHealing

December 19, 2014

I've written and erased drafts for this post all morning. The right words are impossible to find when you're trying to convey something so largely unexplainable, something so beautifully earthshattering, heartbreaking, and amazing at the same time.

I've told the story of Decemer 19, 2014 numerous times because I remember so vividly every last aspect of that day, from the way my hand shook so vigorously as I held the phone recieving the news, to the feeling of falling to the cold green tile on bathroom floor shortly after. I remember the look upon Jeremy's face that I don't think I have ever or will ever see again, and the way my dads grey work sweatshirt smelt as I fell apart in his arms. I remember sitting in the shower to lose all composure alone before my whole family came home to be together.

It was single handedly the hardest day of my life. Little did I know, it would turn out to be the best thing that has ever happened to me.

This past year has been orchestrated by God and for God.

It was December 19, 2014 that I realized I am not big enough on my own. And my dad, the man who has fixed every thing else in my life, was now on the bathroom floor lying next to me, crying hysterically - so utterly helpless and lost. WE needed something bigger. We were not enough on our own.

Eventually I came to the grips that perspective is power. I learned that prayer is not intended to fill our earthly needs. I learned to be truly grateful that God didn't give me what I wanted, but what I needed. I prayed for the strength and courage to carry out His plan and do His will - which is exactly what I got.

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Of course, what I felt called to do was against the norm. It wasn't easily attainable. It wasn't covered by insurance. It wasn't close to home. No oncologist I had met with even remotely supported the journey I wanted to take. And many of the people I love most in my life were hesitant to the idea as well. He led me to a path that forced me to surrender being aligned with this world and to align my life with Him.

There were days filled with pain, sorrow, and hurt. It wasn't sunshine and rainbows. There were swords pointed at me in many directions that a majority of people do not even know about. But learning to create my own sunshine is what got me through.

I never could have imagined how difficult it would be. I also never couldve imagined the amount of abundant blessings that could come from such a nasty disease. I never could've fathomed having my own blog, encouraging cancer patients around the world to fight with faith and positivity. I never could've dreamt that I would be finished with my first trimester of chiropractic school, living on my own again. It is truly a miracle to be living WITHOUT that grade 3 aggressive ovarian cancer, yet WITH all reproductive organs, the ability to be a mother some day, and a strong immune system. 

I want to thank everyone reading this, for your involvement on this journey. While many didn't quite understand or believe in the method I chose, you still offered words of encouragement and support. Being connected through my blog gave me something to really fight for. I wanted to fight to show that it CAN be done. That there IS more than one way to fight. That with God ALL things are possible, despite what the world may say.

Gratitude doesn't cover it and "thank you"  doesnt even scratch the surface. I feel extreme genuine compassion and appreciation for my family, who pulled together in my time of need, for my close friends who encouraged me, and for those who barely even know me - offering such incredible, selfless support.

Today is my first "Canciversary" and I'm celebrating all of those who believed in me. I've grown such a passion for turning darkness into light and I cannot wait to see what is in store for me next.

So thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for making me feel so very loved every step of the way.

Meatless Mexican and Meal Prep Monday

Something I'm asked very frequently: "Don't you miss meat? Don't you ever get sick of eating just salads and veggies all the time?" IMG_4278

My answer is always: not at all, because I eat so much more than that! Would I be bored  and feeling deprived if I felt like all I ever ate was plain salads and vegetables? Heck yes. But (praise the Lord) I have Pinterest to thank for being the loveliest resource possible in my plant-based transition. There are a plethora of recipes involving grains, veggies, and nuts that taste every bit as hearty and mouth watering for any "comfort" dish you can imagine. Ironically, I've actually become much more creative and cautious than I use to be in the kitchen after kicking animal products. (I never would have even thought about making my own sour cream out of cashews and apple cider vinegar had I not made the commitment to a plant-based lifestyle after my diagnosis.)

While I know that being full blown vegan is not in the interest of many, incorporating more vegetables and less processed foods is never a bad thing!

I may not miss meat much, which is the honest truth, but what I couldn't give up is anything that involves a tortilla chip. If there is a bag of chips and any sort of dip in front of me, self control laughs in my face. So finding some satisfying meatless Mexican meals and dips was an absolute must. One of my very favorite staples was introduced to me at treatment: walnut taco meat. Sounds kinda funky huh? How could walnuts taste like taco meat? I don't even really like walnuts.. Trust me-this is glorious, regardless of your take on walnuts. It is probably the most simple yet versatile recipe I've ever been introduced to! I use it in anything even remotely "Mexican-y."

Walnut Taco Meat Dishes Ideas:

Lettuce Taco Wraps

Nachos with Cashew Cheese sauce

Taco "Chipotle" bowls

Chunky dairy free chilli cheese dip

Homemade burritos

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WALNUT TACO RECIPE

Ingredients

  • 3 cups walnuts (I use raw)
  • 1-2 T Chili Powder
  • 2 tsp. Cumin
  • 3 T Liquid Aminos (I use Braggs Liquid Aminos as pictured, this is a healthy alternative to soy sauce)
Place all ingredients in a food processor, pulse the ingredients until they resemble taco meat. Adjust seasonings to your own taste.
How simple is that?! 5 minutes tops and you've got yourself some delicious hassle free taco meat that is chalk full of healthy fats and plant based protein!
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Being a full time grad student, prepping is essential for me to have healthy meals on hand that are easy to grab as I'm heading out the door to class or while studying for exams. Salad jars are God's gift to meal-preppers! You wouldn't think they could fit much, but if you're as determined as I am, you can fit more in a 32 oz mason jar than a standard "lunch sized" Tupperware.
I would recommend the "wide-mouth" mason jars if you plan on eating directly from the jar (most of mine are the narrow kind for drinking from and they aren't nearly as convenient to eat out of). My favorite feature of using the mason jars for meal prep is that they are inexpensive glass containers. Many plastic containers contain BPA and other carcinogens that can leach into your food, especially when heated. Pyrex glass containers are a great investment as well but can add up quickly, especially in comparison to the cost of mason jars! Anyway, enough about my obsession with mason jars versatility, lets talk about what I put in them.
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TACO SALAD JARS (5 jars) can easily be made dairy, gluten, soy, egg, and meat - free!
Ingredients
  • 1 head iceberg lettuce
  • 1 batch of walnut taco meat
  • 1 large bell pepper (I used red)
  • 1 small-medium sized red onion
  • 1 can black beans
  • 3 avocados mashed into a guacamole like texture
  • 5 large spoonfuls of your favorite salsa
  • Shredded cheese (I used Daiya soy-free cheese Mexican blend)
  • Thousand Island or Ranch dressing (optional: I used a homemade raw vegan thousand island

Assembling the jars: I get ready to prep by setting out my five jars and all ingredients almost like a taco bar. Make sure all ingredients are chopped properly so when you go to eat the salad everything mixes well and is easy to eat on the go! When assembling the jars ALWAYS PUT DRESSINGS ON THE BOTTOM OF THE JAR (this is to avoid the dressing from making the salad contents soggy and to keep the lettuce crisp).

  1. Begin by adding the thousand island and salsa to the bottom of the jar with the smashed avocado ontop of that to complete the bottom layer.
  2. Next add your walnut taco meat layer.
  3. Combine the black beans, bell pepper, onion, and cheese to make up the third layer.
  4. Lastly, add the ice berg lettuce to complete the top layer and seal the jars

I store the jars in the fridge on Sunday night and eat my last salad on Friday for lunch. I personally think the quality and taste holds up very well, some recommend only prepping three days worth at a time.

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Walnut taco meat's amazingness aside, this week I tried a new recipe found on Pinterest via crazyvegankitchen.com. I tweaked a few things within the recipe and added a few of my own favorites.  All of her claims were completely accurate about this delicious dish! Below is my rendition of the recipe.

One Pan Mexican Quinoa + Cashew Sour Cream
Healthy 100% Vegan One-Pan Mexican Quinoa. #vegan #recipe #quinoa | MyWifeMakes.com:

Her picture was just a little prettier than mine at the top of the page

For the Quinoa:

  • 1 teaspoon Olive Oil
  • 2 cloves garlic or 1 T crushed garlic
  • 1 stalk Celery, diced
  • 1 small Carrot, diced
  • 1 large red onion
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 4 Jalapeños, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1¼ cup Uncooked Quinoa, rinsed well and drained
  • 1¼ cups vegetable broth
  • 1 (15 ounce) can Black Beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can Diced Tomatoes, with juice
  • 1 cup Corn
  • 1 teaspoon Cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Cayenne (more for a spicier dish, less for a mild dish)
  • 1 packet Stevia (or 2 T sugar)
  • 1 Avocado, peeled and cubed
  • 1 cup Baby Spinach
  • 1/2 cup Butternut squash or sweet potato (optional)

 

For Homemade Cashew Sour Cream:

  • 1 cup Raw Cashews (soaked overnight in water and then drained)
  • 1 tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Juice of 1 Lemon
  • ¼ teaspoon Salt
  • ½ teaspoon Nutritional Yeast
  • ⅓ - ½ cup Water, depending on how thick you want it to be
Instructions
  1. For Quinoa: Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, celery, carrot, onion, pepper, and jalapeños and sauté for about 1 minute, until fragrant.
  2. Stir in the quinoa, broth, beans, tomatoes, corn, cumin, cayenne, stevia and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer.
  3. Cover and let cook for 20-25 minutes, until the liquid is fully absorbed. Remove from heat, stir in avocado, spinach and squash. Season to taste. Top with cashew sour cream and oven-crisped tortilla strips.
  4. For Cashew Sour Cream: Combine ingredients in a blender and blend till very smooth. Keep in air tight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.

 

 

Don't Be Too Busy Dreaming You Forget to Wake Up and Truly Live

If we sit down and take some time to think about it, we all know our true values.   

However, we could also probably tell you that if we only had "X" amount of time left on our clock we'd be living our lives a lot differently: giving more, making more time for those who matter most, giving up the meaningless things that seem to drain us of useful energy, and for some of us, start living life a little more for Christ.

BUT, "life just gets busy." That's all there is to it, right? There's so much to balance and never enough hours in a day to do every thing we'd like to do.

It's so easy to unintentionally forget your core priorities and true values when the pace of every day living hits; when the planner gets so packed you can't keep the to-do's straight and the days roll together, getting busier and busier. And every so often we have these moments of clarity that bring us back to our roots again. It seems like we tend to get these mini revolutions when we get on certain "kicks." Going to church again kicks, workout kicks, healthy eating kicks, kicks where we set goals to make a certain someone in our life a bigger priority. And it usually goes really well (at first).. And then we blame the beautiful thing called "life" for getting in the way again, as our "kicks" become a little less important and then a little less, until eventually we're back in the "look ahead" lifestyle.

Stress causes a whirlwind of emotions, and can do this nasty thing where it turns us into someone we don't intend to be - someone so far from who we are at our core. Funny, isn't it? We, as a society, get so caught up in building the life we dream of, that we forget we are given the gift of this "here-and-now" life each day.

As many of you know, I started the Chiropractic program at Cleveland University earlier this fall. (What an experience and a blessing it has been). Through the first few weeks of school I found myself in the state I've been describing again- the to-do list crazy, busy, "I don't have time for this" mentality. I went from a full time college student of 12 credit hours to 27 credit hours, a couple classes a day (if that) to up to 7 classes a day, from studying a couple hours a week to an average of six hours per day.

Life got really intense really fast, and trying to keep my head above the water school-wise became my number one priority even faster. I hadn't been in this state since before my diagnosis. And the worst part of it all was that I didn't even realize how I was living my day to day life without expressing true gratitude. I began to blow off essential therapies in order to study, I quit some of the most important pieces of my new lifestyle to make more time for school, and didn't connect to my core values nearly as much as I use to.

Two weeks ago Sunday, one of my  classmates asked me to go try out a new church with her, and honestly she'll never know how much that meant to me. That morning was a true wake up call, "Hellooo Jess, do you remember the last six months of your life? They weren't a dream sweetheart!! It's time to wake up again girl friend." BAM. Like a punch to the stomach. A flood of emotions came over me throughout various points of that day.

Although I have this wonderful opportunity of going to school to become a doctor right in front of me, and although it requires a tremendous amount of discipline and consumes a lot of time - it is not my entire life.

I have always said that I've  been given an immaculate gift of a second chance at living... but honestly, we're all given that each and every morning when we wake up. I had stopped appreciating the beauty of that when I let the business of the world overcome my inner being.

Which got me thinking, all of this could be taken from me at any moment again,  just like it had last year. I was a "typical" college student. Again, spending so much of my energy worrying about exams and school, when all of sudden that life was ripped from me. Which was hands down the most humbling, yet earth shattering experience I've ever encountered. But God taught me the greatest lesson through all of that pain: never lose sight of me.

So what is truly mine? In the end, the only thing that cannot be taken from us tomorrow is the impact we've had on other people's lives, the relationships we've built with the ones we love, and our relationship with God. The rest is JUST extra. 

 

It's easy to lose sight of, we're human. None of us will ever be perfect, though we strive to be.

Life kind of becomes a series of finding our way and then getting lost again.

But the most beautiful thing about it: you're never too lost to find your way back to God.

You're never too far gone to live an abundant life in Him.

And HE is NEVER too busy for you.

The most beautiful thing is the more you live in Christ, the more you realize what true fulfillment is. Im willing to bet you are worthy of so much more than you give yourself.

It isn't new clothes, an A on an exam, a new job, or losing ten pounds (although, they are all pretty great and I wouldn't mind any of them coming my way).

It's being truly happy with who you are as a person, giving pieces of yourself to people, places, and things that could never repay you, waking up each day  just honestly being glad to be alive.

It's living for something greater than yourself and giving from the goodness of your soul.

It's not about knowing the bible cover to cover or being the most "put together" in the front pew at church every Sunday.

It's establishing a relationship. It's praying even when you don't need anything. It's giving your baggage to God and sureendering your life to being a little more like Him.

Don't be too busy dreaming that you forget to wake up and truly live.

Xoxo,

Jessica Lynn

Mountains High

This morning had me feeling all sorts of "pinch me I'm dreaming."    My favorite person is moving to Kansas City in five days. And after living in seven different zip codes in less than six months, I am officially settled into my new little home (yesssss, I moved.. Again. However, I feel like I'll be here for the long haul, or at least for four more years). 

This past weekend I packed up ALL of my belongings and re-settled one last time. It was a bit of a stressful situation, but I've never experienced such AMAZING stress. Who knew there was such a thing?! Perhaps the coolest part of it all was my family's reaction. I dropped the bomb on them that I was moving out of the apartment (the same one I had just moved into six weeks ago) and their response was basically "Awesome! See you Friday with boxes." Are you kidding me?! I am continually blown away from their unconditional support and love. While I know that Jeremy and I could have made the move on our own, it would have been a muuuch longer process. I tried to talk my family out of coming down again to undo and redo everything we had just done, but they knew I had a big week ahead with *drum roll* CHIROPRACTIC SCHOOL FINALLY BEGINNING!! And wanted me to be all moved in before the new journey began. Even these little love nuggets came down to keep Lodi company ;)   Thanks to everyone sacrificing their holiday plans to come help, the big move went surpringisnly smooth, fast, and easy. We even had time to watch the Iowa kick some butt on Saturday - go Hawks!  

Waking up this morning, another day Cancer free, feeling settled in this new little home, to first day jitters that I haven't experienced in about mmm six-ish years, does have me feeling like life is way too good to even be true.     As many of you know, the past year of my life has been a series of ups and downs, with extreme highs and extreme lows. It brings me back to reflect on the days of just hoping I could make it through the day of treatment without having to take too many medications for nausea or pain and to the days filled with extreme fear of what my future would look like, if I would be lucky enough to have one. 

  

It's easy when you're at the top of your personal mountain to forget what it's like to look up from the bottom, to feel so small and so helpless. When life is good, it's easy to forget to pray or to take the time to give thanks and praise - because the top is easily misunderstood as the end destination or as winning, as if you don't need God for anything anymore. We're subconsciously like "ok yup thanks I got what I needed, you're the bomb, A+ man." Completely misunderstanding what the purpose of prayer or a relationship with the Lord is. But hitting rock bottom and relying on your own relationship with the Lord to carry you through the darkness into the light gives such a humbling perspective from the top of that mountain. I have never experienced it until today. By no means is my faith perfect. I still don't know how to read a bible from cover to cover. Im not sure of all of the details or names enclosed in the scripture, and I don't have many memorized prayers. But, this view from what Id consider the top has me realizing how much I have grown spiritually. It enhances my awareness of how much I have relied on the Lord every step of the way and how He has, in turn, flourished within my own heart.  While a new homey apartment, a new school career beginning, and gaining health back are all tremendously wonderful ble - that isn't what has me feeling so humbled. Those are all huge blessings that I've always dreamt of. And while they mark milestones of success, something much bigger than any earthly treasure that more satisfying and more beautiful, has grown. I've learned many lessons so far and im no where near complete, but I believe the biggest lesson I've ever learned is to open your heart to the Lord. Whether on mountains high or valleys low, He will be your rock. He will fulfill you more than any earthly treasure we desire. He will show you the way and reveal to you some of life's most insanely richest blessings. You will find peace in your faith and you will find value in the simplest of things.        Today I embark on a new journey of becoming a doctor of chiropractic, to use my hands for good purpose and to do God's work in sharing my journey and in helping others heal. I am filled with insane gratitude for all of you who have supported me along the way. 

With love,  Jessica Lynn

Hello Beautiful People688e347273168585fcd05b02759f32ba

I want to first deeply thank you for continuing along with me on this journey!

While the previous blog was incredible for updates, support, fundraising, and sharing my story - I've been longing to share even more with you and provide a resource that combines all aspects of my journey in an easily accessible way.

I've been given the gift of new life by God and I have a burning desire to share it with any and every one who wants to be apart of it. Until this point, I haven't been sure of what my next step would be. Many people have told me to write a book (which is very flattering and I thank you for that). However, after being a full-time chiropractic student, keeping up with therapies, and maintaining a healthy balance in life - there is not a whole lot of room left for the book writing process. Nonetheless, sharing more detailed information is very possible in the form of an informative website, complete with short reads, and easily accessible articles.

The site is geared toward every one, no matter where he or she may be at on his or her health journey. Whether you are wanting a daily pick me up, a healthy recipe to fix your sweet tooth, holistic nutrition advice, information about integrative cancer treatments, or inspiration to turn your fears into faith - my hope is that you can find an abundance of it here.

Please browse the links above and the categories underneath them! When articles are posted here it will not publish as blog posts did before. (By clicking the arrows under each, it will lead you too the sub-category article). So far I've written about my diagnosis in great detail under the "cancer schmancer" link and also posted few of my favorite recipes. My goal is to have all categories filled within the next week so be sure to check them out if you are interested!

Be the one who nurtures and builds. Be the one who has an understanding and a forgiving heart, one who looks for the best in other people. Leave people better than you found them. Be an encourager. The world has plenty of critics already.

Sending my sincerest appreciation your way,

Jessica Lynn