Tag Archives: pure living

What is High Fructose Corn Syrup? + Mustard BBQ Recipe!

You may have heard of this chemical sweetener called High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS), but not realized it’s actually in most processed foods! It even lurks in places you’d never guess.

Before I tell you WHERE it is, I want to tell you WHAT it is and WHY it’s so important to stay away from it.

Wikipedia defines HFCS as “any of a group of corn syrups that has undergone enzymatic processing to convert some of its glucose into fructose to produce a desired sweetness.”

In normal terms?  It’s a sweetener made from cheap varieties of corn.  It’s made in a lab, and manipulated to form a liquid sweetener.  Since it’s not made from organic corn, you get a shot of GMOs each time you consume it.

Why do we use it?

Well, that’s an interesting question.  It’s a long answer, but here is the short version:

  • It’s a cheap sweetener.  By now, you should assume that most large food companies out there do not exist so that we get the nutrients we need to live long, full, healthy lives.  It’s all about the money, baby.  HFCS is cheap.  Bottom line. It’s cheap because the government pays to keep the cost of corn down (called subsidizing) giving the allusion that corn is cheap.  In reality, without the government’s help, HFCS wouldn’t be cheap, nor would any product with corn in it (about 90% of all processed foods contain corn or soy).  Get the picture?
  • There’s an overabundance of corn.  So what do you do with a surplus?  Find new ways to use it! Thus, this chemical sweetener.
  • It’s easier to blend and transport.  I hate that this takes precedence over my health.

The problem is (the same with most chemicals in food) that we really don’t know the long term effects of these chemicals.  The FDA says that HFCS is “generally recognized as safe.”

Generally?  That doesn’t mean definitely.  I will not be a walking science experiment.  I did that for 27 years and had a myriad of health issues myself and produced two children with a disease related to food.  In fact, one of them can’t eat food at all and one can only eat 5 foods.

Nope. No longer.

Some known side effects of HFCS are: obesity, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, non-alcoholic liver disease, dementia, tooth decay, cancer, and appetite dysfunction.

So I would say this leaves room for us to wonder what role this chemical plays in our lives, especially when combined with others we probably consume on a daily basis.

It’s important to be careful what we read.  This is a general rule for life, but especially in cases related to our health.  There are several websites created to help people understand what HFCS is, calling it corn sugar.  That’s just a pretty name for it, a name that sounds much “better” and “natural.”  The reality is that these websites are funded by the Corn Industry. They twist words, misuse words, and craft words to make people believe it’s actually good for you.

This is what they say: (from www.sweetsurprise.com)

  • Cost: When creating products, using HFCS has significant economic advantages over sugar
  • Taste: HFCS works to make food taste better, such as bread, spaghetti sauce and yogurt
  • Composition: HFCS works to make foods, such as chewy breakfast bars, stay fresh and allows for a soft texture

1. They admit it’s cheaper.  But they use the word “economic.” So crafty.

2. Better?  You know what makes stuff taste better? REAL FOODS like honey, maple syrup, sea salt, fresh spices.  I’ve eliminated HFCS out of my diet for almost 2 years now, and food has NEVER tasted better to me.

3. Stay fresh?  That’s a nice way to say that the food can stay on the shelf for years without going rancid.  No thank you.  If it has no expiration date and is made in a lab, it takes a lab to digest.  I have a human body, so that doesn’t work for me!

In an interesting article entitled “5 Reasons High Fructose Corn Syrup Will Kill You,” the author states:

Research done by his group at the Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute found that free fructose from HFCS requires more energy to be absorbed by the gut and soaks up two phosphorous molecules from ATP (our body’s energy source).

This depletes the energy fuel source, or ATP, in our gut required to maintain the integrity of our intestinal lining. Little “tight junctions” cement each intestinal cell together preventing food and bacteria from “leaking” across the intestinal membrane and triggering an immune reaction and body wide inflammation.

High doses of free fructose have been proven to literally punch holes in the intestinal lining allowing nasty byproducts of toxic gut bacteria and partially digested food proteins to enter your blood stream and trigger the inflammation that we know is at the root of obesity, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, dementia, and accelerated aging. Naturally occurring fructose in fruit is part of a complex of nutrients and fiber that doesn’t exhibit the same biological effects as the free high fructose doses found in “corn sugar”.

In order to stay away from this chemical sweetener, you have to know what it’s in.  To be honest, you’ll be appalled.  Plus, I’ll never be able to list them all.  I’ll list a few that I know used to not only be in my pantry, but also the “foods” that used to make up most of my daily intake of calories!

If I listed everything HFCS is in, you’d be shocked.  In fact, go check your pantry and put everything in it that contains HFCS on your kitchen table and take a look.

Here are some ones that I used to have in my pantry:

  • Sarah Lee Bread
  • Aunt Jemima’s Syrup
  • Kraft Products: BBQ sauces, Oscar Meyer Lunchables, Salad Dressings, Kool-aid, Capri Sun, A1 Steak Sauce, and more
  • Coke products
  • Heinz Ketchup
  • Nabisco Saltines
  • Smuckers Jelly
  • Ritz Crackers
  • Campbell’s soups
  • Mott’s applesauce

Honestly, the list could go on and on.

So, you know what it is, and maybe you’re horrified at how much you actually consume. So what do you do now?

Well, if this article touched you, I would make a pact to avoid this chemical sweetener.

Here are some practical things you can do:

  • Read every label before you buy.  You might be discouraged because everything you normally buy has this chemical in it.  But it’s THAT important.  Put it back, even if it’s your favorite processed food.
  • Make a better choice.  Try looking at the Organic section for a better option.  If it’s an organic product, it won’t have HFCS in it because it’s most likely made from GMO corn.  Better yet, find a way to make what you want from scratch.  For example, instead of buying the canned Campbell’s Cream of Tomato Soup, try making this amazing Tomato Bisque from 100 Days of Real Food. I also love her chart about HFCS because it gives specific alternatives to many of the products!
  • Don’t be fooled.  Many products will use marketing to their advantage and put “No High Fructose Corn Syrup” on the front of the label, only to switch it out for plain corn syrup.  Still–not much better.  Find a product with integrity.  Need help? Ask!

The big problem with HFCS, besides its health effects, is that it’s hidden.  We are eating “trusted” brands and rarely question their products because of our loyalty.  The more I learn about each ingredient, the more I see the true motivation behind these companies, and I’m not longer loyal.

If a product contains HFCS, you can bet it’s a food with low nutritional value depleted of nutrients that’s full of empty calories and artificial ingredients.  Our bodies were not designed (I’m pretty sure, :)) to run effectively off foods made in a lab.  In fact, that’s why mine didn’t run so great for most of my life.  Now, I’m treating it well, like the temple God tells me it is, and it’s doing what it’s supposed to.  That way, I’m freed up to live for God!

As promised, here’s an alternative to a chemical-laden BBQ sauce that’s divine.  For the spices, it might drive some of you crazy that I say a “pinch,” but I’m serious when I say that.  Big, little, whatever.  Experiment.  Have fun. Taste it. Adjust it.  Make it yours!  I love this as a base recipe, but if I didn’t have a baby eating this, I’d bring up the heat a little bit with more cayenne pepper.

This sauce is great for basting while grilling, for roasting, for Jackfruit BBQ Sandwiches, or for topping steamed or roasted veggies and rice!

Mustard BBQ Recipe
Prep time: 
Total time: 
  • ½ cup yellow mustard
  • ¼ cup Blackstrap Molasses
  • 2 T apple cider vinegar
  • 2 T maple syrup
  • 2 pinches smoked paprika
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 pinch oregano
  • 1 pinch sea salt (we used smoked sea salt we got from our trip to Asheville, NC to add to the smokey flavor)
  1. Mix all ingredients in a small bowl until well combined. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for about a week.



The Art of Being Prepared

One Hour

It’s no secret this whole, clean living thing is stressful, especially at first.  There are so many things to read, so many things to try, so many things to buy, so many things to make you overwhelmed.

Most of us are so engrained in a fast, food-in-a-box living, that going back to the basics really is hard.  This isn’t a judgement, it’s a reality.

It took me about a year or a year and a half to really get a handle on things.  If I would have had a blog back then, you wouldn’t have seen enthusiasm and a passion for real food–you would have seen frustration and crying and defeat.

But here’s the thing.  Doing ANYTHING against our grain or something we aren’t used to is HARD (yes, it deserves capitol letters here).  It takes education, determination, support, and discipline to make it work and last.  I firmly believe all of things need to be present in order for you to not only succeed, but more importantly, to not give up.

So ask yourself this:  Do I have all of these things?


  • Do I know where to educate myself?  What websites help me on my journey?
  • Do I know the “why” behind what I’m doing?  I’ve found if people don’t know WHY they are doing something, they never develop an attachment to it, and it’s much easier to give up. (Posts like our Organic vs Industry post and a lot of Food Babe’s research help me!)
  • Do I try to learn something new each day?  Even something small, like the difference in tap water and filtered water or the benefit of an avocado, will all add up in the end!


  • I think DETERMINATION has a lot to do with encouragement. Some of us are made with an intrinsic motivation and some are very motivated by outside sources and encouragement.  So here’s my question:  Where do you get your encouragement from?  I say first of ALL, it should come from our relationship with Jesus Christ and His word, and then from outside sources.
  • Figure out what motivates you: results, encouragement, health, etc and do THAT.
  • Block out negativity the best you can. Block people, don’t engage or respond to it.  Negativity is a huge stumbling block to your determination.  Figure out who is blocking you, and do something about it (peacefully, perhaps? 🙂 )


  • This one ties very closely to determination.  If you feel alone, you’ll most likely give up unless you are one crazy determined person! Don’t talk to people about food who make fun of you or make you feel stupid.  Just do your thang!
  • Who encourages you?  Tell them about your journey and ask for specific encouragement.
  • The opportunity is there for our Thrive to Live Facebook page and the comment section of the articles on the blogs to be that place because people who are coming here probably have the same interest as you.  So I’m asking YOU to get involved.  Feeling down? Post for encouragement!  Need help with a recipe? Ask!  Need an idea for a snack?  Ask! Did you make a Thrive to Live recipe & want to say something about it? Do it!
  • So many times we don’t get the support we need because we don’t seek it out. Be strong and courageous!


  • Ok, who REALLY  likes discipline? I mean, come on.  It’s probably the toughest part.  In these times, we are our own worst enemy.
  • I think if you find what motivates you, then in times when you feel like stopping, and you back to your motivation and reach out to your support, then you’ll make right choice.  Eventually, the right choice will end up being the easy choice, I promise.  It will take time, but it can happen.
  • Preparedness has a LOT to do with discipline (in my opinion).  If you have a PLAN, it’s easier to stick to that.  If you have no plan for the week, it’s easier to justify stopping for food.
  • Work hard, stay focused, find motivation, be prepared, and make the right choice.  That’s how I do it 🙂 Oh yeah, and letting God be my guide 😉 THE most important step, to anything really.

Being Prepared:

So let’s talk about this.  I honestly believe that most stress is caused (in my life) when I’m not prepared.  I CHOOSE something else (like a TV show, downtime, Facebook, etc) over spending those minutes making a plan.  If you reallocated even just 30 minutes a day, or 10 minutes a day to getting a plan together, it would drastically change your week.

The biggest kicker is this.  You really, really need about an hour or two on the weekends (or whatever day is easiest for you) to get your meal planning together.  I know we THINK we don’t have time. But we do.  We actually choose not to have time.

And I’m with you.  I will find any excuse not to do something I don’t want to do (I actually love meal planning, but I do this with chores!), but once I actually do what I’m supposed to do, I feel refreshed and satisfied!

What to plan for:

When you are planning, you’ll need to plan for every single thing you need for the week.  That sounds so simple, but sometimes we need to hear it.

  1. First, you’ll want to look at your calendar and see what nights you need to cook.  If you already know you are going out for a celebration or date night, then you’ll leave that night off or just adjust for the kids, etc.
  2. Then, look at your calendar and determine what days/nights are going to be busy and will require quick meals.  Find resources to help with that, or ASK for help. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there to ask.  Nothing is a stupid question.
  3. Once you’ve determined what your week looks like, you’ll need to start your plan.  Yes, eventually, you will want variety, but I really think that it’s important to go with a few things that you love (while you’re learning) and stick with that so you can build routines.  Once you’re ready to move forward, try one or two new recipes each week to start building variety.
  4. You will be planning Breakfast, Snacks, Lunches, Dinners, and Desserts.

Can I help? 🙂

It will take time for our site to have all of our recipes up, but until then, you can build great menus from what we have plus other sites you love! Some of my favorites for recipes are 100 Days of Read Food, Food Babe, and The Detoxinista.  There are MANY more, but sometimes all the information even overwhelms me, so I stick with what I know I love, especially with the limited time I have!

Here is a peek into a week for me:


I keep breakfast simple. Here is a sample of what I typically do:

  • Chocolate Covered Strawberry SmoothieAvocado toast:  This is very simple, and you can buy one loaf of bread (see recipe for suggestion) and a few avocados and you are good for several breakfasts! (I usually have this 2-3 mornings a week)
  • Smoothies:  I usually do smoothies for 3 or 4 mornings.  We have a great selection, and so does Detoxinista.  Find a couple to try and work them into your schedule!
  • Hot breakfast: I don’t have much time to do a hot breakfast most days, but about once a week I do.  My husband will make bacon and eggs (all local of course) and I’ll make an oatmeal like our Blueberry Muffin Oatmeal or pancakes (recipe coming).  This oatmeal only takes about 10 minutes, but since I have to make 4 different breakfasts, my breakfast routine takes about an hour.  You could double or triple this recipe for the whole family and still have it ready in 10 minutes!


Most times, we overthink lunch.  Just keep it simple. Salads are my go-to for lunch.

  • Lemon Basil Dressing 2Salad dressings: At the beginning of the week, I typically make two salad dressings. I love our Mustard Vinaigrette and Lemon Basil, but I also use lots of Detoxinista’s as well.  It is best not to buy them in the store, as they are full of bad ingredients (even some organic ones).  If you make them, you can avoid unwanted ingredients like sugar, bad oils, & GMO’s. I use whatever veggies I have in the fridge (that I’ve bought for other recipes) to top the salads.  I get local greens when I can, but if not, then organic pre-washed lettuce or spinach is easiest!
  • Cold Salads: I make one cold salad a week, like our Asian Buckwheat Salad or Cranberry Quinoa Salad.  They can be made ahead of time and kept in the fridge all week. It’s very, very simple when packing lunches. **Feel free to add some organic chicken or meat of choice to these recipes if you want/need it 🙂  I usually pair this with some fruit or gluten free crackers and soft goat cheese.
  • Soup:  I make at least one soup a week for lunches.  We have a great selection of soups, and others are easy to find out there. 100 days of Real Food has some great ones, too.
  • Random stuff: Yes, this is a category!  Some days I might have a Hummus plate with veggies & crackers, and some days I make lettuce wraps with a Lettuce leaf, tomato, mustard, & goat cheese with a side of fruit or soup.  Random days are fun, and helps cut down on waste!


Here’s another example of where we overcomplicate things.  Do you see a trend?

  • Hummus 2Smoothies are GREAT for snacks. They are nutritious and filling!
  • Fruit: Really, it’s that simple. An apple. A banana. A handful of berries.
  • Bars: You can make some snack bars like ours, or you can buy some Larabars at the store for an easy, nutritious snack.  I love keeping these in my purse for when I’m out and about and needing a quick treat. These Banana Chocolate Drops are easy, too!
  • Almond Butter: Quick & easy–protein punch.  Top a rice cake with almond butter or put some on the side of your banana or apple.  Great pick-me-up!
  • Hummus with a side of veggies. I love our Roasted Garlic version, but there’s lots of versions out there, even if you don’t eat legumes (Lentil Hummus, Zucchini Hummus)


We are pretty systematic with our dinners.  Soup night, pizza night, chicken & veggie night, spaghetti night, Mexican night. Then each week, we change out the soup, the veggies, etc.  Very simple!

  • pizzaSoup:  Pick a soup from one of ours or another you want to try, and pair with a salad!
  • Pizza:  I love this pizza recipe for many reasons.  It can accommodate lots of different eaters, is inexpensive, and gets the family involved!
  • Chicken night:  Grill some organic chicken and pair with some roasted or steamed veggies. I love our Sweet & Salty Carrots.  You can always start dinner out with a salad to get some extra greens!
  • Mexican Night: You can make easy burritos with a few ingredients.  We start with this easy refried bean recipe on Ezekiel tortillas, then add lettuce, tomato, corn, black beans, homemade guacamole, and some goat cheddar cheese. Easy & wonderful.

This is pretty much our routine, but I try out new recipes about two times a week to keep things fresh. What do you want your routine to be?

*Remember the goal is to create a routine so it’s easy for you.  That’s why you start with simple things…and slowly add more!


Chocolate Chip CookieOk this is a necessary category.  It’s just gotta happen.  Some night a small handful of Enjoy Life chocolate chips is enough, and some nights I need more.  I like to keep some things in the freezer, like our Strawberry Tarts or pretty much anything by Detoxinista, especially this Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie.  Keeping things in your freezer, really, really helps with portion control and accessibility.  When I like a hot treat, I usually make Chocolate Chip cookies or Almond Butter Brownies.  Plan to make one or two desserts for the week, and that’s it.  When it’s gone, it’s gone.  Use self control here!

**A note for kids:  I realize kids won’t love everything I suggested.  This is not my area of expertise and will not reinvent the wheel here.  Refer to www.100daysofrealfood.com for this area! She is doing an amazing job helping with those resources!

Questions for Reflection:

  1. Do I have a support system for my new health goals? Why or Why not? How can I use this site (Facebook & blog) for help?
  2. What “voice” do I need to stop listening to or let go of so I can move forward with my goals?
  3. What day is best to do meal planning?  How can I get one or two hours of time to work and plan on that day? What will I need to give up?
  4. Am I allowing God room in this aspect of my life?  Do I ask for help?

Verse for the Week:


Read my complete thoughts on these verses here



Solid Ground

Be Still

It’s finally as quiet as it will be; babies tucked tightly in two cold bedrooms. The monotonous hum of the fireplace seems our only hope.  I gaze intently at the orange flames, following their fiery patterns with my tired and somewhat nervous eyes.

My mind purposely wanders to a time when I suspect this was not a momentous occasion.  A hot meal must be worked for.  A warm house wasn’t guaranteed.  There really may not be tomorrow.

Suddenly, I feel like a passenger misplaced in time, very much like the movie from which I was named.  I’m now just Somewhere in Time, somewhere floating on the spectrum of life.

The stillness settles my worrying mind and slows my heartbeat to a normal rhythm.  My concerns shift from that of stereotypical first world problems to that of what real survival means.  I’ve been afforded so many modern luxuries: three childbirth deliveries with the aid of modern medicine, a car to take us wherever we go, a climate controlled shelter so consistent that I don’t even realize its stability.

Suddenly, I long to trade places with my 19th century counterpart, not out of some selfish experiment, but out of genuine curiosity.

Granted, we don’t have the skills necessary for such an ice storm of historic proportions, but my intricate mind can’t help but wonder.

In the stillness, I see God.  The only way to truly Be Still is a forced stillness, as the temptations of the modern world prove too much for my self control.

I’m here, bundled with blankets, blinded by the gift and luxury of the gas log fire, wondering how I take my life for granted. When I cry “Life is hard,” I know my sheltered mind can’t fully comprehend what the true meaning of difficult is.  I”ll never walk in the shoes of a woman whose primary goal and purpose of life is to help the family actually survive.  Because I’ve got blogs to write and purses to sell, you see. I know nothing of struggle and pain to survive–I know of struggle and pain to survive comfortably.

The sun is finally peeking through the frozen horizon, and I can hear the perpetual drip, drip, drip of melting ice.  These iced trees are among the most beautiful and mysterious sights my young eyes have yet seen.

But as I watch the strong and feeble limbs fall to the ground one by one, I realize the beauty isn’t in the ice, but in the fall. The iced trees were inevitable, as is the weight they bear.  They are full, they sway, they drip, they crack….all because of the uncontrollable force of what used to be an innocent drop of rain, the very same molecule that is quenching my thirst as I write.

After some time, the weight is too much and limbs begin falling, falling, falling–not to their death, but to their life.

I see fallen branches lining the yard in sporadic yet purposeful patterns.  The trees are still iced, but the fallen branches are without.  They lie on the solid ground in freedom. The fear of the fall has come and gone, and they no longer carry any weight, as the ice finally melts and drips to the ground.

I’m watching from the comfort of my stale, frigid shelter, but shelter nonetheless.  My mind drifts back to God, and I hear His gentle whisper once again, “Be still, and know Me.” I consider my own wrongdoings of how I’ve complicated it all, fallen prey to culture and its convenience.  It’s biblically clear that when I can’t see God or feel a self-prescribed distance, it’s because of my refusal to simply be still.

Then I become like the branches, allowing self inflicted freezing rain to pour down, cover my soul, freeze my ability to move… I continue this pattern until I can take no more. Bits of snow and ice fall first, a small, yet satisfying loss.  I hang on for dear life, for the tree has always been my comfort.

The physical pressure eventually proves too much, and I begin my descent.  I land on the solid ground, joining the other fallen branches.  It doesn’t take long to thaw, and I can feel my weight gone, no longer a flimsy limb blowing in the winter breeze, but a broken, thawed branch lying upon solid ground, the real vine, waiting for my almost-broken counterparts to meet me at the freedom of the fall.

Questions to ponder:

  1. What is your “freezing rain” that immobilizes your soul?
  2. How is there peace and freedom on the “solid ground”?
  3. How does our principal of DO LESS, BE MORE apply to the verse “Be still, and know that I am God”?

Verse for the week:

“Be still, and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10

Pure Living Defined

Info PictureI have a love-hate relationship with Eosinophilic Esophagitis.  On one hand, it has brought so much sadness to our lives because they are the words that have made our lives change so much over the last two years.  They are the words that define our children’s pain.  They are the words that make us feel different. But, I honestly cannot imagine our lives without this disease.  While our life is incredibly hard, I am thankful that this journey has made us a take a tough look at our lives.  We’ve had to simplify, eat at home around the table, be careful about what we eat, and cling to the Lord’s promises like never before.  In the process, we’ve found a joy and a peace that we’ve yet to experience in our mere thirty years of life.

We knew a long time ago that the Lord was calling us to share our story, even before our journey started. In the Spring of 2010, God spoke to me through a good friend who not only felt led, but felt a burning desire to share what the Lord told him.  Thankfully, he listened to the Lord’s prompting and spoke these words:

“The Lord wanted me to tell you that your story hasn’t even begun to be written yet, and the ending to your story is much greater than you ever could imagine.”

I remember feeling so special, so loved, that the Lord “saw” me.  It was an overwhelming, incredible experience–even though I had no clue what the Lord had planned.

Music PicAt the time, I was pursuing a professional career in country music (see how tan I used to be??), and I literally thought I hit the jackpot.  I started dreaming, wondering if the Lord wanted me to be Martina, Faith, or Carrie.  I settled on Carrie since she is not only a superstar, but an outspoken follower of Christ. Oh, and she has killer legs 😉

3 boysFast forward three years. Work from home mom of three kids, can barely find time to shower, blistered hands from washing so many dishes, changing a dozen diarrhea diapers a day, understanding a disease, three whiny, crying kids, managing a husband on swing shift work, and so on.  Not really my idea of this “amazing” story I was supposed to have.

But here’s the thing. The Bible tells me that God works together ALL things for the good of those who love Him. Well–I love him.  And I believe the Bible is true.  So, with my whole being, I trust that this season of life is working together for the ultimate good for God’s kingdom, my family, and for me personally. I don’t have one piece of resentment in my heart of who I could have been or who I wanted to be.  The Lord not only values my work just as much as Carrie’s, but THIS is actually what he has called me to do.  I know my number one job is to keep my kids alive, and I think that’s pretty awesome.  If I only impact those three precious lives, I know the Lord will be pleased.

But I’m just not satisfied with keeping all this information to myself.  THIS is the beginning of our story.  The diagnosis was not the end of a life, but the beginning of one.  We are calling people to change–to totally transform, go against culture, bring it back to the “way things used to be,” keeping Christ at the center the entire time.

That is where our idea for the Pure Living movement was born–a total transformation of Faith, Family, & Food.  A community of people working together, encouraging each other to strive for a FULL life.

Family, Family, Food 2

I know, I know we want it all now.  We want the “magic formula” that will make all these things we want appear.  But that’s just not how it works. We actually have to spend time educating ourselves, making small changes, and making the CHOICE to live a full life.

This series has no end date because we don’t know when we’ll be done.  It’ll just be ideas, thoughts, and direction (however the Lord leads) throughout this year. We hope you will join us and start your journey with us!

When we went through our transformation, we felt alone.  We had no friends living this lifestyle–at the time–now, we have tons!! We know it’s overwhelming to think about–trust us we’ve been there.  We had no mentor, no help, nothing.  (For us, it was a time of TOTAL dependence on the Lord). We don’t want anyone else to feel overwhelmed, so we’ve designed this series for YOU.  A place where you won’t feel alone.  A place to share.  A place to get the information you need to get started.

The goal:

~to educate & encourage you on your journey to pure living

Our definition of Pure Living:

~We will strive to:


  1. pursue Jesus Christ passionately with our heart, mind, and soul
  2. seek God’s guidance in every decision we make
  3. commit ourselves to loving our neighbors and community as we love ourselves


  1. simplify and sacrifice to create a life built on healthy, meaningful relationships
  2. invest quality time, away from the distractions of life, in our surrounding family & friends
  3. leave a lasting legacy that reflects the love and grace of Jesus Christ


  1. develop a lifestyle of educated and intentional eating
  2. have energy to live for God and to serve the world
  3. teach and empower future generations about sustainable, wholesome practices

Our definition of Clean Eating:

Clean Eating DefinedA major focus of our website is food education, so we will be teaching and giving you information to help you start your journey to a “clean” eating lifestyle.  We will go into details in the coming weeks, but today, we are just defining what “clean eating” means to us.

Clean eating is:

  • NOT a diet; it’s a lifestyle dedicated to eating foods as close to their natural state as possible, leading to an improved life one meal at a time
  • avoiding processed and refined foods and instead eating REAL food.  100 days of Real Food is a great place to start for this aspect of CE (especially if you need help with the kids!)
  • drinking lots of filtered water
  • shopping with a conscience and learning to read food labels
  • supporting the local community in order to stimulate and support our local economy
  • understanding your limits & eating within reason (Eat to live, not live to eat)
  • slowing down and savoring the amazing tastes the Lord has blessed us with
  • making meals a social, family affair as much as possible

 JournalWhat do you need to do?

  1. We recommend that you buy a journal to chronicle your experiences.  It can be as simple as jotting down how you felt, challenges you face, triumphs, failures, etc in a notebook.  One day, it will be awesome to go back and read about what God was doing in your life.
  2. Stay involved on social media when you can.  Tell your friends what you are doing, and share the opportunity with them!  Post questions and/or encouragement on our Facebook page!  When you make a recipe or apply a principle, talk about!
  3. Use the hashtags #thrivetolive & #pureliving when mentioning the website on social media outlets
  4. Utilize our Pinterest page (still working on it!) for ideas & help, as well as our website & Facebook page! Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter & Instagram, too!

Challenge Questions for Week 1:

Faith: Where do you SEE God most in your life right now?  When do you feel closest to Him?

Family: What one night this week could you turn off TV, phones, etc & just do something as a family? Play a game, go bowling, paint fingernails (ok, someone come do mine???) Have REAL “FaceTime” with your family.

Food: What is your biggest addiction right now? What is your biggest fear in changing to clean eating?

Bible verses for the week:

John 10:10: The thief comes to kill, steal, and destroy, but I have come so that you may have life and have it to the full.

Phillipians 4:13: I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength


We can’t wait–and are praying daily for God to lead, move, & inspire!


Pure Living 101

We are so excited to announce our first series entitled Pure Living 101.  In our journey, we can’t separate Faith, Family, and Food from one another, so we’ve designed a series to encompass it all.  We hope you will spread the word and join us on Friday, January 24th for our first post!

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