Honduran Trip Preparations: Regaining Health the Alive Way

Regaining health~!

This cuddly Havanese is not my dog, but one that caused me to get bit with the puppy dog bug this past weekend. I would love to have one of these dogs, in white! I’ll think about it… after I get back from Honduras…

I love, love, love to travel~!  But after my wonderful trip to Honduras last year, I decided that I had to take proactive steps to fully regain my health so that issues which were creeping up on me would not be part of my life or hinder me from pursuing my dreams.  I am sharing my experience here to encourage other sponsors who have been battling weight or health issues which prohibit you not only from traveling to visit your sponsored children, but keep you from experiencing the fulness of a vibrant, healthy life.

As I mentioned in part one of this series, several years ago I lost 50 lbs in 4 months by eating mostly raw plant foods.  Since I needed to lose the weight I put back on from a hectic school and work schedule the past few years, I have returned to this amazing way of eating once again.  The weight is coming off steadily… 20 lbs so far! Plus I have tons of energy, and feel so much better already. 

I’m not trying to simply lose weight.  Rather, my goal is the restoration of health and living fully alive, which for me includes losing weight.  I personally think that this is one reason that so many diet plans fail to work, because the focus is on losing weight rather than restoring health.  If the underlying causes are not dealt with, any weight loss is likely to only be temporary.  The same can be true also for those who are underweight and need to gain weight.  Bringing ourselves back into balance for fulness of health physically, emotionally, and spiritually is the true goal.  Each of these are incredibly vital, so this post will deal with the physical aspect of that goal, and upcoming posts in the series will address the others.

Why are raw plant foods so effective and vital for losing weight and restoring health?  One of the main reasons is that they create an alkaline state in the body, while cooked foods cause an acidic one.  Sickness and disease can only be produced when our bodies are in an acidic state, not an alkaline one!  Consuming raw plant foods and live juices also help to detoxify the body… toxins help us gain weight and contribute to sickness and disease.  I know that when I eat mostly raw plant foods, I feel incredibly alive, and this encourages me in working out (I like to swim!), which of course builds muscle and burns fat, all creating a happy, supportive cycle in my body.

I am very happy and encouraged with the results that I have experienced by eating the “alive” way, and to encourage you in your journey, here are a few keys that I use for successfully rebuilding my health and losing weight.

1.  Identify goals and list the health challenges

The first thing I do before starting this journey is to write down my purpose and goals of what I want to accomplish.  I need to identify why I am doing this, as it helps in keeping me motivated!  I also list each of the health concerns that I am dealing with.  What is out of balance?  Are there digestive issues?  Headaches?  Skin disorders?  Sleep issues?  Where is there pain?  List each item, both large and small.  Three of the major concerns on my list were swollen, painful knees, elevated blood pressure with its slide toward hypertension, and blood sugar issues heading towards diabetes. 

Last month I had to get a consent form filled out by my physician before going on this trip.  I had already been eating the alive way for about 2 months by the time I arrived in my naturopath’s office, and we both were very happy to see that my blood pressure was already back to normal, the swelling in my knees had stopped, and sugar imbalances are no longer an issue.

Many, if not most, of our health challenges are a direct result of our diet.  It is so encouraging to see that these can be improved or even reversed by changing our diet to a health based one.  Check out Hallelujah Diet’s testimonies on a vast array of conditions that were eliminated through a diet high in live plant foods, and be encouraged that your challenges can be improved as well.

2.  Keep a Daily Journal

This is really a very simple tool, but I found that keeping a daily journal is vital to my success. Even though no one else sees it, it keeps me accountable to myself. One reason is that it makes me aware of what is actually going in my mouth, rather than eating mindlessly.  I also don’t like to have to write down that I ate something that I shouldn’t have, so this little act motivates me to stay on track.  At the beginning of the journal I have my list of health issues that need to be addressed, and a list of goals that I want to see accomplished.  Verses of promise, words of encouragement, prayers and blessings can all be written here as well.

The journal also helps me to be aware of my little successes along the way, and to adjust goals as needed.  At the end of each week, I review my progress, and decide what I need to focus on for the following week.  For example, I realized that I was sabotaging my efforts by allowing myself a nightly treat, albeit it a healthy one.  However, once I cut out the compromise, I started seeing a dramatic improvement.  I also realized that I wasn’t getting proper rest, so I started recording when I was going to bed each night, because I needed to be accountable in this area of regaining my health.

A simple composition notebook works great for this purpose.  Each spread represents one week, with the page on the left divided up horizontally for Sunday – Wednesday, the right hand page for Thursday – Saturday, and both pages divided vertically into three columns for the 3 meals/day.  I record everything that I eat for each meal, and the portion amounts.  However, there is  no need for counting calories when eating the raw foods way!  In the margin for each day I record my weight, how much time I spent exercising, how many cups of water I drank, and what time I went to bed.  I really need to be aware of each of these areas, or else it’s too easy to forget and make compromises.  Being aware of the changes in my weight each day also help me in assessing my needs and changes I need to make.  It’s also a great motivator as I see the encouraging results!

3.  Drink 8 or more glasses of clean water each day

Pure, clean water is essential to our health, and most people do not drink enough water.  I personally choose to only drink water and fresh, raw plant juices… no soda, coffee, or any other beverages.  One of the reasons for this is that I don’t want the empty calories that the other beverages give.  I know that some sources say to count other beverages towards the 8 cups of water/day, but I personally don’t do this.  I want my body to be cleansed from the inside out with pure water.

Each morning I fill my two 20 oz. glass bottles with water, and refill them later in the day.  That way I know that I’ve had 10 cups of water each day.  My goal is to drink one bottle before leaving for work in the morning, drink the next 2 bottles at work, and have the last bottle in the afternoon/evening.

When I feel like munching something in between meals, I first drink a cup of water and wait a little bit to see if I’m truly hungry, or just thirsty.  So often we reach for something to eat when we really are thirsty… but we just haven’t learned to identify it as thirst.

4.  Eliminate refined, processed foods and sugar from the diet

There is no question that sugar is both incredibly addictive and destructive to our health, and the same is true also for the overly processed foods that are so typical to our Western diets.  Explore this topic online for yourself if you haven’t done so lately, because it will be a huge motivator in making this necessary change.

I found that by eating a diet high in live plant foods, the cravings for sugary, processed foods disappear.  One reason for this, I believe, is that the nutritional requirements are being met, and I don’t feel the need to keep eating something else to meet that need.  And the more that my body is cleansed of the toxic chemicals in processed foods, my taste buds come alive for real food, and processed foods begin tasting as nasty as they really are for our bodies.  I especially noticed this one time after being on a fast for a couple of weeks…  when I had my first bite of my favorite candy bar afterwards, I was shocked at how horrible it tasted, while the juice from a fresh orange was pure heaven. 

On my first wedding anniversary 36 years ago, I not only had just lost my first pregnancy, but needed to undergo chemotherapy for a subsequent condition related to the pregnancy.  It was an incredibly difficult time, but one that indelibly marked some changes in my thinking and goals.  I decided to really learn about how to have a healthy body, because I sure didn’t want a repeat experience with chemo.  It was a huge motivator to make whatever changes were necessary.  Back then I was eating a diet high in processed sugar…  a few years prior to this time, I was in high school devouring several candy bars every day for energy as a competitive swimmer.  I also thought that buying the “brown” bread at the grocery store was being healthy.  How far I’ve come since then… 

5. Eat a diet high in live plant foods

A raw plant food diet works wonders in restoring health and vitality!  When I embarked on the journey to learn about health and nutrition after my experience with chemotherapy, one of the first things I learned about was the importance of raw plant foods. 

When I eat mostly raw plant foods, I feel alive, while a diet of cooked foods leave me feeling sluggish by comparison.  The majority of my meals now are all raw plant foods.  However, if I am going to have some cooked foods, I start each meal with live plant foods… fresh fruit or veggies, a cup of fresh, raw juice, or a green salad.  Eat slowly and enjoy, and wait a little bit before eating the cooked food.  This gives the satiety center in my brain a chance to register the nutritional value of the raw foods, so that I don’t overeat by eating too much too soon.

For breakfast, I have fresh fruit, a green smoothie, or 1-2 cups of fresh juice.  The juice option is my preference, but if I don’t have time to prepare it, one of the other two options are great alternatives.  Lunch is typically a large green salad of mixed greens and herbs, with some of my favorite veggies, and a rosemary balsamic dressing.  Dinner is typically another large green salad and a cup of raw juice.  Usually I include a salmon patty, hard boiled egg, hummus, beans, or another protein source.  It is very important also that I make sure to have a source of healthy fats every day, usually 1/4 avocado, or olive oil in a salad dressing, or raw nuts.

Fresh Salads

Fresh Salads in a Jar

Two of my favorite salads… Tabouli (without added grains), and Pico de Gallo

Since I have been working 6 days each week, I have to plan ahead.  I’ve been loving my fresh salads that I prepare ahead of time that I can grab on the go.  Usually I fill a jar with mixed greens and my choice of veggies, with a small amount of healthy salad dressing.

Deborah’s Tabouli

4 ripe tomatoes
1 cucumber, peeled
1 large bunch parsley
1/4 small sweet onion
several small stems fresh mint
juice of 1 lemon
salt and pepper to taste

Finely mince all the veggies and herbs.  Toss in a bowl with the fresh lemon juice and seasonings.  Yum…  I could live on this one salad alone!

Deborah’s Pico de Gallo

4-6 ripe tomatoes
1 red bell pepper
1 bunch fresh cilantro
1/4 sweet onion
1 small mild Anaheim chili pepper
1/8 small head of cabbage, optional
juice of 1-2 limes
salt, pepper, and cumin to taste

Finely chop all veggies and herbs, and toss in a bowl with lime juice and seasonings.  If you like your pico hotter, add in a chopped jalapeno pepper.  This recipe is already as hot as I can handle it!

Live Juices

Coles Green Lemonade

Coleson and his favorite… Green Lemonade

Consuming a diet high on raw fruit or veggie juices is just the best!  Your whole body is detoxified and nourished, and various body systems are soon brought back into balance.  I try to have fresh juice every day, and typically will make some each afternoon to last for the next three meals before making it again the next afternoon.

The past few months as I’ve babysat my oldest grandson one evening/week while my kids enjoyed an evening out, I introduced Coleson to raw juices by starting with “Green Lemonade.”  I let him help me prepare the juice, and he would chuckle and laugh to see the parsley stems disappear into the juicer.  Coleson absolutely LOVES Green Lemonade!  The first week we made it, he easily polished off two full cups of the juice, and was well onto his third cup, pictured here.  My daughter-in-law told me that later in the week Coleson asked her, “Hey Mom!  Do we have any of that Green Lemonade?”  It’s definitely his favorite food when he comes to Grammie’s house!  Here are a few of my favorite juice recipes to whet your appetite.

Coleson’s Green Lemonade

6 large crisp, sweet apples, such as Fuji apples
1/2 fresh pineapple, with rind trimmed off
2 stalks celery
1 large bunch parsley
2 small leaves kale, with thick stem cut off
1 small lemon, with the rind partially trimmed off

Green Machine

4 large crisp, sweet apples, such as Fuji apples
wheat grass cut from 4″ pot
4-5 stalks celery
1 large bunch parsley
2-3 leaves kale
1/2 – 1 lemon, with the rind partially trimmed off
1/2 – 1 lime, with the rind partially trimmed off

Tropical Sunrise

4 large crisp, sweet apples, such as Fuji apples
3-5 lbs carrots, with ends trimmed off
1/2 fresh pineapple, with rind trimmed off
1 lemon
1/2 – 1″ slice fresh ginger root

Berry Blush

4 large crisp, sweet apples, such as Fuji apples
1 lb fresh strawberries
1 beet root, scrubbed and with ends trimmed
3-5 lbs carrots, with ends trimmed off
1 lemon

The Blushing Grape

4 large crisp, sweet apples, such as Fuji apples
1 lb fresh red or purple grapes
1 beet root, scrubbed and with ends trimmed
3-5 lbs carrots, with ends trimmed off
1 lime

V-8 Super Charger

2 tomatoes
3-5 lbs. carrots, ends trimmed
2 stalks celery
1 small beet, ends trimmed
1 red or yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut into chunks
1/4 bunch of parsley
1 small handful young spinach leaves
1-2 green lettuce leaves
1 lemon, rind partially trimmed off
1 small clove garlic

Mint Julep

4 large crisp, sweet apples, such as Fuji apples
1-2 stalks celery
1 bunch parsley
several sprigs of fresh mint
1 lemon

Rosey Lemonade

4 large crisp, sweet apples, such as Fuji apples
petals from 3-4 non-sprayed old-fashioned garden roses
1/2 lemon
1/2 lb strawberries, optional

I experimented with this one just for fun, as I currently have tons of gorgeous old-fashioned roses blooming in my yard.  In the past I’ve made rose honey, rose syrup, rose vinegar, and rose potpourri from my roses, so it was natural to try rose lemonade…  what a lovely treat!

Rose Lemonade


Fresh Smoothies

An easy way to get live plant foods into your diet is to make smoothies.  And if you’re willing to be adventurous and try green smoothies, they are extraordinary, and really are delicious!  Smoothies are great for getting the nutrition needed when life is just really busy and you’re having to eat on the run. 

Tomato Ole!

2 ripe tomatoes
1/8 – 1/4 small avocado
couple sprigs of cilantro
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 small clove garlic, peeled (optional)

Add all ingredients to blender, and blend until smooth.  Then pour through strainer to remove seeds.  This is one of my favorite smoothies, especially when I don’t want something with sweet fruit.

Deborah’s Popeye Smoothie

1 banana, peeled and preferably frozen overnight
1 large fistful of young spinach leaves
several sprigs of parsley, optional
1 leaf Kale, with thick stem removed
1/2 cup yogurt or choice of nut milk, optional
1 tbsp Hemp seeds, optional
1/2 cup water, or as needed for correct consistency

Add all ingredients to blender, and blend until smooth.  Yum.

I didn’t think I’d ever have the courage to publicly show this, but here is a video on preparing Green Smoothies that I threw together at the last minute for one of my video class projects at school a couple years ago.   Green smoothies carried me through a very intense school and work schedule for a couple of years when I simply didn’t have time to focus much on what I was eating and when I definitely didn’t have time to prepare fresh juices.  In a few minutes I had a healthy blender drink that I could pop in my lunch bag and drink on the run.

 Eat to satisfy hunger, not appetite

It’s so important to recognize the difference between these two!  So much of our eating is at the whim of our appetites running out of control.  Sometimes I simply need to remind myself that I am in charge of my decisions, rather than living as a slave to any cravings and appetites. You won’t go hungry eating a diet of raw plant foods, but your appetite may have to go hungry!

However, different cravings can also be a signal for something that is out of balance in our bodies. For example, craving chocolate can be a sign of magnesium deficiency, or craving salty snacks can be caused by an increase in stress hormones which can wreak havoc on the adrenal glands.  Rather than giving in to these cravings, find out what the true need is, and correct the underlying cause in a healthy way.

Focus on the Positive

This little key really has helped me in being very successful in making the dietary changes that I needed.  I found myself looking forward to the delicious, healthy foods that I would get to have for the day, rather than feeling sorry for myself for what I couldn’t have.  And by reminding myself of the wonderful health benefits I am experiencing, it keeps me from even wanting unhealthy choices.

Favorite Resources

Here are a few of my favorite resources for regaining health with raw foods.

Hallelujah Diet

The Hallelujah Diet has profoundly shaped my understanding, and has influenced and encouraged me in my health journey for a couple decades now. Their amazing site is filled with recipes, testimonies, research, meal plans, classes, lifestyle centers to visit, and even health ministers that you can connect with to help you through your own personal challenges.

Juice LadyCherie Calbom, aka the Juice Lady.  Cherie’s books are filled with fabulous info on a raw plant food diet, from great recipies, to specific juices to help with a vast array of sicknesses and diseases.  She also has great information on understanding why the raw plant food diet works so effectively.

From her bio on Amazon:  “Cherie Calbom is passionate about health and healing because she healed her body from debilitating chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyaligia by designing her own fresh veggie juice and whole foods diet plan. She was so amazed at how her health turned around that she went to graduate school and earned a Master of Science degree in whole foods nutrition from Bastyr University so that she could be a credible source of information.”  Check out Cherie’s page on Amazon… any of her books are wonderful!  Here also is Cherie’s website.

Drew Canole of FitLife.tv has great info that is very helpful and encouraging.  Make sure to check out his weekly videos and great recipes.  Drew also is speaking from personal experience of health transformation, offers programs at different levels of help as a trainer and coach.

The 5 day detox plan is a great start for those new to cleansing your bodies with healthy foods. The 5 day whole foods plan is the easiest level and most gentle for detoxifying your body. The second level is  a 5 day smoothie detox, and the third level is a 5 day raw juice detox.  This booklet has great info and comes with a daily video that you will find very encouraging. 

Daniel Fast The Daniel Fast by Susan Gregory… Feed Your Soul, Strengthen Your Spirit, and Renew Your Body.  I appreciate the spiritual focus of the Daniel Fast to consecrate ourselves to the Lord through extended prayer and fasting.  This is a partial fast using whole plant foods, and while many of the recipes are cooked, I still find this a valuable resource and encouragement.

To Your Health~!

Cole's Green Juice I’ve learned that each right decision encourages me in making the next right decision… having a meal with that fresh salad, fresh juice or a smoothie make me feel better, which in turn encourages me in making the next right choice for the next meal.  I like how I am feeling, and am so happy with good results, and hope that my experience encourages you in making your next right choice too.  To your health~!




P.S.  I encourage you to seek out medical advice for your health challenges from a Naturopath who focuses on healthy ways of correcting underlying causes rather than depending on drugs to manage symptoms.

6 thoughts on “Honduran Trip Preparations: Regaining Health the Alive Way

  1. Sandy Kern Bryan

    DEB- this is your PHD in Living God’s Way!!! So glad you wrote this–your timing was of the Lord!!!
    Love blessings- Sandy

    1. Deborah Roberts Post author

      Thank you, Sandy! You are always such an encouragement. Many blessings to you… always, dear lady!

  2. Nikki Anderson

    Deborah, I LOVE THIS!!!! Thanks so much for all your research. I’m heading to Africa for a couple of weeks on mission n this dietary preparation is excellent! Blessings, Nikki Anderson

    1. Deborah Roberts Post author

      Nikki, that’s awesome~! Many blessings to you for your trip, both as you prepare and as you go!

  3. Lydia Buchheit

    Thank you Deborah! Have started using your recipes and other resources. Gave me some renewed motivation!

    1. Deborah Roberts Post author

      Lidia, that’s awesome! I’m so glad… we have both been called to such beautiful ministry work, and need to keep our bodies in good health. Many blessings to you for good success in every way!


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