First Chapter Christian Book Excerpts

Support Foster Kids with a Suitcase

Craving More Energy: Energizing Food and Faith Recipes

Craving More Energy: Energizing Food and Faith Recipes

EDITOR'S NOTE: The following is an excerpt from If You Have A Craving, I Have A Cure by Sheri Rose Shepherd.

Chapter 1

Craving More Energy: Energizing Food and Faith Recipes

When I was about to turn forty, I took a personal inventory of all the things I was investing my time in. I then prayed and purposed to delete anything that was draining my strength and energy. Just when I thought I had it all figured out, God gave me and my husband a surprise: I became pregnant with a baby girl.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I was excited, but it had been eleven years since I’d had a baby, and at the time I barely had enough energy to make it through each day. Then the reality hit me: when I would be going through menopause, my daughter would be entering her teen years. I looked up toward God and asked, Where am I going to find the energy to run a ministry and raise a daughter at the same time?

If I was craving more energy before I discovered I was pregnant, I wondered how I would manage my responsibilities now.


Soul Food

For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. - Philippians 4:13

If we can do all things through Christ, why are we so often exhausted?

To be honest, I think the two things that wear us out most are, first, trying to live in our own strength and, second, attempting to play the junior Holy Spirit. By that I mean we try to control everything in our lives and the lives of those we love. God has wired us to notice situations requiring change and needs that should be met. When He is truly guiding us to take action, He provides the energy and the grace we need to do what we could never do in our own strength. At times, though, we take on burdens He never meant for us to carry.

The truth is, as long as we try to control everything around us, we will feel out of control and overwhelmed. So the first step to gaining energy is to take a deep breath right now and speak these energizing words: “He is God. . . . I am not!” or “I surrender to You, God. Take control and lead me!” God has not called us to burn ourselves out; in fact, one of the things I’ve learned in my life is that if the devil can’t make us bad, his next trick is to make us busy so he can burn us out.

Today my daughter, Emily, is a teenager, and, yes, I do have hot flashes. I find myself desperate every day for more energy and more of God’s grace in my life. Maybe you’re in a place where you, too, are living out one of God’s surprises. Perhaps you’re being forced to live a life you never asked for, or maybe you’re just sick and tired of being sick and tired. In any event, if you’re ready for an energy breakthrough, I encourage you to try three simple practices that have helped give me more energy and renewed passion and joy in spite of the stresses of everyday life.


New Life Recipies 

1. Exercise

Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come. - 1 Timothy 4:8

For years, no matter how many times I was told how good exercise was for me, I dreaded it. I needed an exercise breakthrough. Finally, I decided to make exercise an act of worship. My walks became my worship time and a sacrifice to the Lord. In this way, the Holy Spirit could use my body to do His work through me. Sometimes I put on worship music and danced in my bedroom, just as David danced before the Lord. (Second Samuel 6:14 says David danced in his linen ephod, or priestly garment; I dance with my workout clothes on.) I noticed that as soon as I wasn’t exercising for my looks but for my Lord, I began to enjoy exercise for the first time.

How can you find renewed energy through exercise? Make a playlist of your favorite worship songs and choose the type of exercise you enjoy. Instead of thinking of exercise as something you have to do, get up in the morning and praise God that you can move your body and exercise for His glory.

Maybe you have a beautiful place where you can go walking or a friend who will become a prayer partner so you can do prayer walks together. You’ll discover that something almost miraculous can happen when all that you do is done for God’s glory and not your own!


2. Hydrating Your Body and Soul

But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life. - John 4:14

We all want to drink the water Jesus talks about in John 4:14.

He promises that if we drink from His water, we will never thirst again. Many of us are exhausted, I believe, because we are not soaking in the Word that waters our soul. In an attempt to water our thirsty souls, we try artificial faith fixes, which leave us dissatisfied.

Our bodies may also become dehydrated when we don’t drink pure water but instead fill ourselves with drinks containing sugar or artificial sweeteners.

Let’s try something new. For the next seven mornings, drink a large glass of purified water as you read a short paragraph of Scripture. See how pure water and the Word energize you in a whole new way.


3. Eliminating Excess in Life

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. - Hebrews 12:1

For many years, I have spoken at women's conferences. A few years ago, I realized that, the older I got, the more stuff I thought I needed to feel comfortable while on the road. However, every time I came back from a trip my neck and back were out of whack because I dragged heavy luggage through an airport and into a hotel room. Even worse, I never really needed—or used—many of the items I brought!

Many of us have excess activity and busyness that are sucking the life out of us. If you’re feeling weighed down, I invite you to take a personal inventory of what you have on your calendar and in your life. Then pray and ask God what He would like you to let go of. Lay that down at His feet and let Him deal with it. If you do this, I believe you will find new strength and the simpler life you crave.

Power Up With Prayer

But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint. - Isaiah 40:31

Let’s make the Word personal and put it into action by praying Isaiah 40:31:

Dear God,
Help me to trust in You, and as I do, give me renewed strength. Give me eyes to soar above my circumstances and give me a renewed passion to run in Your strength and not my own. I pray from this day forward that I will not grow faint but f­inish strong. Amen.

Food Truth

No food . . . is as satisfying as the energy to enjoy life.


Seven Energizing Food Recipes

Now that we’ve talked about energizing our faith, let’s energize our bodies with some delicious meals. I have compiled seven energizing recipes to help defeat the battle of fatigue once and for all.

Protein is essential to maintaining a healthy body and is an important source of energy. Salad is not only a great way to sneak in our fruit and veggies for the day, but it also helps boost our bodies’ antioxidants. The recipes below are packed full of creative, protein-filled salads or meat entrées that are sure to give you that boost of energy you crave. And they taste amazing!


Steak Supreme Salad
Serves 4

Ingredients for salad:

5 ounces lean steak
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 pinch sea salt
3 to 4 cups spinach, washed and dried
1 cup sliced cucumber
8 to 12 strawberries, sliced
1 avocado, peeled and sliced (optional)

Ingredients for vinaigrette dressing:

3 tablespoons sherry or red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pinch ground black pepper


1. Slice steak into thin strips. Broil or pan fry in 2 teaspoons oil; cook meat to your liking. Add sea salt and set meat aside.

2. Combine spinach, cucumber, and strawberries in a salad bowl and toss gently.

3. To make vinaigrette dressing, whisk together sherry or red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, honey, olive oil, and black pepper in a small bowl.

4. Gently toss the spinach, cucumber, and strawberries with the vinaigrette.

5. Place spinach mixture on individual serving plates. Top with the steak and avocado slices, and serve.

Recipe tip:

Use the vinaigrette dressing for any of your favorite salads. It is always better to make your own than to use a bottled dressing.


Fruit Fiesta Chicken Salad
Serves 4

Ingredients for salad:

1 head romaine lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces
4 ounces feta or goat cheese, crumbled
1 cup pistachios
¼ cup dried cranberries
1 green apple, peeled, cored, and diced
1 pear, cored and sliced
3 cooked chicken breasts, diced
Freshly squeezed or bottled lemon juice, to taste
¼ cup coconut (optional)


1. In a large serving bowl, toss together the romaine lettuce, cheese, pistachios, cranberries, apple, pear, and chicken.

2. Dress the salad with freshly squeezed lemon juice and, if desired, coconut.


Cajun Jumbo Shrimp KebAbs
Serves 6

Ingredients for dry rub:

1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 pinch sea salt
½ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
¼ teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon ground ginger (optional)
¹8 teaspoon ground cloves
¹8 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons raw sugar or honey

Ingredients for kebabs:

2 pounds jumbo shrimp, uncooked and cleaned
2 small red onions, peeled and cut into 1-inch wedges
2 red or yellow bell peppers, cleaned and cut into 1-inch squares
¼ cup olive oil
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 pinch black pepper
12 bamboo skewers


1. Soak bamboo skewers in water for 30 minutes.

2. Combine the dry rub ingredients in a small bowl, mixing well.

3. Place shrimp into a gallon-size ziplock plastic bag; add the rub mix. Seal the bag and shake it until the shrimp is evenly coated.

4. Place the onions and bell peppers in another gallon-size ziplock plastic bag. Add the olive oil, sea salt, and pepper. Seal the bag and shake to coat the vegetables well.

5. Alternate skewering shrimp and pieces of onion and bell pepper on bamboo skewers.

6. Prepare a charcoal fire or set a gas grill to medium-high, close the lid, and heat until hot—about 10 to 15 minutes.

7. Grill the kebabs about 8 to 10 minutes. Turn them once halfway through cooking time.


Asian Cabbage Crunch Salad
Serves 6

Ingredients for salad:

1 head red cabbage, cut into bite-size pieces
1 head white cabbage, cut into bite-size pieces
2 tablespoons diced cilantro
2 tablespoons green onion
1½ cups diced cooked chicken breast
½ cup sliced almonds

Ingredients for dressing:

1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup low-sodium soy sauce or Bragg Liquid Aminos
½ cup honey


1. Combine both types of cabbage, cilantro, and green onion.

2. Add chicken and sliced almonds.

3. Mix together the vinegar, soy sauce or Bragg Liquid Aminos, and honey for the dressing.

4. Pour dressing over cabbage and chicken mixture and toss gently.

Recipe tip:

This healthy Asian dressing is a great dip for carrots, celery, or broccoli. You can also use it on any salad you like—get creative!


Summertime Salad
Serves 6

Ingredients for salad:

1 seeded and diced cucumber (cut as explained in ­directions)
7 cups romaine lettuce
1 orange, peeled and sectioned
1 cup thinly sliced radishes
¼ cup shredded raw sweet potato
¼ cup shredded raw beet
¼ cup green onion, thinly sliced

Ingredients for dressing:

2 tablespoons rice or white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 tablespoon sesame oil
¼ teaspoon sea salt
¹⁄8 teaspoon black pepper


1. Cut cucumber into four strips (so that each is in the shape of a dill pickle spear); remove seeds. Dice cucumber strips.

2. Combine the cucumber, lettuce, orange sections, radishes, sweet potato, beet, and green onion in a large bowl.

3. In a smaller bowl, mix vinegar, orange juice, sesame oil, sea salt, and black pepper. Whisk until blended. Pour over salad, tossing gently to coat. Serve immediately.

Recipe tip:

If you prefer fruit to raw sweet potato and beet, you can add diced kiwi, strawberries, and/or blueberries instead.


Tuna Zest
Serves 1–2


1 can white Albacore tuna in water, drained
½ avocado, smashed
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed or bottled lemon juice, or to taste
Pepper, to taste
¼ cup fresh basil (optional)


Mix all ingredients. Eat as is or serve on a slice of whole-grain bread or over a bed of lettuce or spinach.

Recipe tip:

You can also enjoy this tuna dish with whole-grain or gluten-free rice crackers. Served this way, it makes a great dish for your kids!


Apple Cinnamon Chicken and Rice
Serves 4


2 cups brown rice
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
Freshly squeezed or bottled lemon juice (optional)
1 tablespoon raw sugar or honey
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
Dash cinnamon
Salt and pepper


1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Prepare brown rice according to package directions.

3. Warm oil in skillet over medium heat. Add chicken breasts, browning lightly on both sides. (If desired, squeeze lemon juice over chicken as it browns for extra flavor.)

4. Mix the honey into the unsweetened applesauce. Place the browned chicken in a casserole dish, and top evenly with the applesauce and cinnamon. Add pinch of salt and pepper to taste; cover and bake for 35 minutes.

5. Serve with steamed brown rice.

Recipe tip:

This makes a great dinner for the whole family. If you don’t want the chicken to be sweet, simply omit the raw sugar or honey.


Taste of Truth

You will never regret making time to renew your strength.


*This except first published 1/8/2013