Saldra El Sol

A Super Busy Weekend

It’s been crazy at Bluffton this week so far!  We had a huge welcome weekend with waterslides, volleyball, and picnics, and finally, my roommate moved in!  She’s pretty nice, and we get along great.  Classes have been stressful, so chamomile tea has been my best friend during the evenings.  I also managed to get plenty of groceries from the local stores (mostly cliff bars and other yummy, portable things).  Pretty soon, I’ll be posting some great baking recipes and easy college dorm recipes, but for now, I’m too busy to even think about experimenting in the kitchen!

I’m loving Chemistry so far.  It’s very interesting, and today, we got to watch Monty Python in class (it had something to do with the scientific method).  My teachers are very kind and great at teaching (unlike other teachers I’ve had haha).   My classes are all crammed in the morning so I have lots of free time in the afternoon, and I’ve mostly been using it to escape the heat!!  Our dorm doesn’t have air conditioning, and we live on the third floor so all the heat rises and causes us to break out in a sweat in the mornings.  Regardless, though, the seasons will change, and it will become fall again.  I cannot wait until that happens!!

I’m sorry this is so brief; I have a lot to be doing and so little time!  This is my second homework assignment in math today, and I really want to finish it and get a good grade.

By this weekend, I’ll have a post up on a pumpkin recipe :).

My friend, Marvin, is doing well now.  He’s eating real food, and he can sit up and walk around a little.  He’s still fighting a blood infection, but he’s out of the ICU.  Please continue to pray for him.  Also, a friend of mine from Nicaragua is having twins!! She’s really nervous, so just pray for her because they’re due any day now!

 

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I promised…

Hey :)  Today went really well.  I got to sleep in, went to a health food store that’s just walking distance from my dorm, and went to work :) (it was my last training day).  As promised, I’ll do a post about eating healthy (and vegan!) in college.

1. Get to know your dining hall.

Lucky me, I’d already visited my school twice before and I now know my go-to meals in case the choices are less-than-appetizing.  I mostly stick with the salad bar because here at my school, it’s practically a complete meal!  They have hummus, veggies (of course), fruit, legumes (such as chickpeas, kidney beans, and black beans), and they have toast nearby.  Also, they have the standard sunflower seeds which taste amazing with the hummus.  If, however, your school’s salad bar is poorly equipped with only wilted iceberg lettuce, you always have the option of bringing some supplies with you.  For example, usually they have bread and veggies at the dining hall, as well as fruit, why not just bring some beans, a veggie burger or some nuts to make a huge salad.  Today, I topped some toast with some hummus and black beans from the salad bar and had a side of sweet potato from the main course.  They let me do that because they’re cool like that ;).

2. Explore town for some options.

I’m sure that somewhere in your town is a grocery store and at the grocery store, they have groceries.  I usually start at the cheapest place first and work my way up.  The cheapest place in my town is Family Dollar and the most expensive (though with the coolest stuff) is the Food Store.  First, buy the necessities such as almond milk, oats, and nut butter (or what you deem as necessary) and then buy the luxury stuff such as dark chocolate and larabars.

3. Snack often and you’ll be a happy camper.

If you starve yourselve before dinner, you’re not gonna be happy once it comes around.  You’re gonna be grouchy and if your school is lacking in selection, you’re just gonna be downright nasty (I’m assuming– now I could be wrong).  So, snack often with nuts, fruit, and yummy clif bars (or larabars) and you should be satisfied but still reasonably hungry in time for dinner.

4. If your dorm has a kitchen in it, utilize it.

I’ve decided to be as resourceful as possible in college.  If I want cookies, I’m gonna make cookies and nothing’s gonna stop me.  So, it’s certainly wise to use the kitchen to make the things you want because if you’re vegan, the cookies in the dining hall probably won’t make the cut.

5. Make suggestions to the college and, if possible, meet other vegetarians/vegans/healthy eaters :)

One person isn’t going to influence a huge college to add almondmilk to the menu, but a little posse just might.  So, try to meet other vegans/vegetarians/healthy people so that you don’t feel like that one health freak girl who keeps trying to get almond milk in the dining hall.  Don’t be afraid, though, to be different.  People respect that, and I’m sure the dining hall will respect you and they won’t bite your head off for suggesting almond milk (or whatever you requested in the dining hall).

And those are what I’ve observed so far– and no, I haven’t gotten anything changed in the dining hall, but since people know I’m vegan, they try to make it as easy on me as possible.  They make sure that I have plenty to eat, and they make suggestions for me whenever possible.  People will respect you if you respect them.  Just be nice, don’t complain, and be resourceful :).  Also, have fun!

See you later ;).  My roommates finally moving in tomorrow and I need to get up early so I can shower and be prepared.

Also, don’t forget about my classmate who got in that accident!  He’s still fighting that infection so keep praying!

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Finally! Books!

Okay, so I haven’t gotten all of my books yet (dang chemistry book is so elusive), but I have gotten my Psychology book, Becoming a Scholar book, and my Calculus book.  I also ordered a vegan cook book from my library and it came in the mail today too!  It’s La Dulce Vegan!!  I can’t wait to try some of the muffin recipes and some of the breakfast recipes because once school starts, I don’t think I’m going to eat breakfast in the dining hall.  It’s not too great (just oatmeal and toast for me :/, but I do enjoy the multitude of various fruits).

I’m starting to enjoy my work more.  I like sitting at the desk and shelving books.  I’m meeting more people around campus, and that’s very helpful because I’m pretty shy in real life haha.  Still, everyone’s really nice– most people are when you meet them.  It’s just meeting them that’s tough for me lol.

I guess I should be writing about how vegans can survive in college, and I will… tomorrow :).  For now, I just want to document a little bit and get the hang of it myself!  I’m getting better, though, and I think once school starts I’ll be treading water here more easily than right now (if you catch my drift).

My neck feels about ten times better– I probably just slept on it wrong, and my classmate, who got in that bad accident, just got a blood infection, but I believe that he’ll get better!  He’s so strong– he’s twice my size, but he’s so nice, and I always had a locker right next to his in high school.   Our prayers though are doing something because he’s awake, and I haven’t heard anything about the swelling in his brain, but he’s just been fighting infection, so please keep him in your prayers.

Tomorrow, I’ll give out some tips for vegans and healthy eaters in college because who wants to eat greasy burgers and fries from the dining hall for the rest of the year?  Not me…

I’m loving the book, La Dulce Vegan, so far, and I’ll write a review about it once I’m done making some of the delicious (I’m assuming they’re delicious) recipes.  I just have to get some baking supplies soon, which is certainly very exciting… once I have some money, of course, but lucky me, I got most of my books for under three hundred dollars.  I just hope that I can rent the chemistry book!

Have a great Wednesday!  It’s almost the weekend!!

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Lots of Down Time

So, I’m all settled here in college, and so far, I’ve just been training in the library.  It definitely has it’s perks such as hardly any strenuous labor and plenty of time to do my homework, but at the same time, there’s really nothing to do right now.  We’ve done most of the shelving in preparation for the beginning of the year, but most of what we’ve been doing is helping resident assistants with their work– such as laminating and printing.  I only have to work for four hours out of the day, and the rest of the day is mine, so I’ve been looking around town and gaging out prices for future shopping expeditions (such as when I have the money).  I’ve also been going around campus trying to get in all of my paper work, which is truly frustrating.

I have my pantry all set up with a sweet fridge, and I have all the snacks a girl could ever need :).  I also periodically take bananas and oranges from the kitchen lol.

I’ve been missing home, though.  I definitely miss curling up on the sofa with my mom and having interesting conversations with my family members, and it’s been difficult when you really don’t know many people.  I know a few.  There’s girls on my floor who work in the library with me, so I’m not totally alone, but with all this down time, it’s hard for me to keep busy and NOT miss home.

I don’t know if it’s pathetic or not to be this homesick so soon, but at the same time, I don’t care.   I just want to get busy and start classes so I don’t have to think about it.

It truly is beautiful on campus though, and I look forward to my morning walks to breakfast.  I also love going out on the balcony that I have access to in my dorm.  It’s so peaceful up there.

My mom says I need to enjoy the free time I have here on campus, and that’s what I’m going to do– so that I have a few moments peace before all the busy-ness consumes me.  I haven’t really been able to make any new recipes lately because I always have my meals made for me and it certainly helps that I’m attatched to the salad bar (the salad bar is huge by the way with tons of vegetables and legumes!).   I always have a salad with my meal here– besides breakfast in which case I just grab some toast to take back to my room in order to smother in my own peanut butter (cause who wants that sugar-filled smucker’s? yuck!).  Maybe this weekend, I’ll make some snickerdoodles if I have the money and time to make them.  I really don’t have any flour here, and the most money I have in my wallet is five dollars– which I need for almond milk later this week.  Alas, the life of a student :/ (and classes haven’t even begun yet!!)

Also, I apparently keep sleeping on my neck wrong because I woke up in the middle of the night with extreme neck pains– mostly muscular, I think.  But advice would definitely be needed!

Finally, continue to pray for Marvin– still in the ICU, but he’s doing better.  He’s responsive and he was able to say his brothers’ names, which is good.  I hope he can get out of the ICU soon!

Have a great Tuesday :)

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The Queen of Greens

Kale. It’s that odd green stuff that you find in your salad at a local health food restaurant.  It’s alien.  It’s deep green, and to be perfectly honest, it’s bitter.  You find it super curly or monsterous.  Yet, many nutritionists and health gurus claim that it’s a superfood.  It’ll get you many of the vitamins and minerals that your body craves such as vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, and calcium– not to mention fiber and even some protein to top it all off.  However, you stare at your plate of kale, wondering how to begin, wondering how you can stomach it, or maybe, you love kale.  You can’t wait to begin tearing into it’s leafy flesh.  Either way, it’s amazing for your health and will do a lot more for it than just the standard iceberg lettuce you see at the store.

So, to begin, according to mindbodygreen.com, there are at least ten health benefits of kale and they are:

1. It’s low calorie and high fiber.  So, those of you who are trying to lose a few pounds, kale will push you in the right direction.

2. Kale has more iron than beef.  Who says vegetarians/vegans are iron-deficient weaklings?  We can easily get more iron than an omnivore if we consume kale (along with an orange, of course, to help the absorption ;)).

3. Kale is rich in vitamin K.  What is vitamin K anyway??  It’s a necessary nutrient, I can tell you that.  It’s vital for normal blood clotting (NOT the bad kind), and it’s also important for bone health.

4. Kale is rich in antioxidents that help prevent damage to the cells and fight against cancer.

5. Kale is anti-inflammatory, which means it can help against inflammation of the joints and other tissues.  Many of the issues we face as we get older (okay, I’m only eighteen ;)) is inflammation due to poor diet.  Kale can help reverse some of that inflammation.

6. Kale supports your cardiovascular system– so athletes, eat your greens!

7. Kale is a great source of vitamin A, which helps your eyesight– mooove over carrots.

8. Kale is rich in vitamin C, so if you suffer from frequent colds, you’ll benefit from some kale on your plate.

9. Kale is high in calcium.  It will protect your bones as equally or even greater than milk because it’s alkaline, unlike milk.  Milk is very acidic as you digest it, causing your body to use calcium to combat the acidity, making the calcium you obtained from the milk kind of pointless.

10. It keeps your liver healthy.  Our livers go through enough as it is with all the pollution in the air and (if you eat it) the traditional diet of processed and animal foods.  Let’s give him a little nourishment by eating some kale.

If you want to read more about kale then go to http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-4408/Top-10-Health-Benefits-of-Eating-Kale.html.  It’s pretty informative.

Okay, so that’s just dandy, but what should we do with this kale to make it taste delicious?

Well, I’m not just going to leave you hanging here.  Here’s something I do with kale all the time:

*not my picture

Kale Chips :)

Ingredients:

1 bunch of kale

1 tablespoon of coconut oil (I highly suggest virgin coconut oil if you can afford it)

a pinch of oregano and other spices

some sea salt (optional)

Steps:

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.

2. Wash your kale and rub it down with coconut oil.

3. Sprinkle your seasonings on the kale and place it in the oven until desired crispiness.  It usually takes around 10 to 20 minutes.

4. Enjoy with veggie burgers or anything else!

Also, with kale, you can put it in a smooth with banana, almondmilk, and some other fruit, and you won’t even taste it!  But you’ll still get all the nutrients from the kale :).

Do you have a favorite way of making kale?

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First Full Day at College

So, I pretty much am having a blast right now.  I got to know a few people on my floor (though the majority haven’t moved in yet) and I’m getting comfortable being independent.  It feels nice to go wherever I want whenever I want (within reason, of course), and I managed to go to a local health food store and stock up on some much needed supplies.  Of course, I got some coffee filters, but when I opened the dollar store coffee, it was a can!! (and I don’t have a can opener) So I just used a knife that I accidently packed lol.  I’m so glad that came in handy!

Tonight, I’m going back home because I have a family reunion in the morning, but this morning, I’m totally free because I only have to work from 1 til 5.  The library is an amazing place to work because it’s so quiet and so relaxed.  My boss is amazing (she’s all into health food, too, and she knows the best places to go to get all the awesome stuff like fair-trade coffee and other yummy stuff.  However, I wasn’t able to afford the fair-trade coffee so I have to stick with the yucky dollar store brand coffee which sucks).  I’m pretty excited for the family reunion, though.  All of my little cousins and my aunts and uncles will be there.  Most of my family is pretty spaced out (from Ohio to Florida to Colorado to California), so it’s important that we have a family reunion so we don’t forget about each other and we can stay in touch.

Recently, I’ve been reminded of how great God is because my classmate, who was involved in that terrible car accident, woke up yesterday!  And he tried to get out of bed, but he has to be sedated again due to brain swelling.  But he’s getting better!! And despite broken bones and a sinus infection in addition to the brain swelling, we’re all very positive that he’s going to get better.  My mom and my brother fasted for him yesterday, and my whole high school prayed last night for him.  We all love him and hope he gets better very soon!  Keep praying, and I know miracles are going to take place!

Romans 8:39 says, “neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Have a great day, and tomorrow I’ll post all about the wonderful benefits that kale can add to an otherwise dull life lol!

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Tiring Day

So, I’m all moved in now, and so far, I really like college :).  I got to talking to some other girls who are working in the library and are on my floor, and I don’t feel totally alone like I thought.  I managed to get a few supplies in town– like some nuts, coconut oil, tea, and a pillow (I left my pillow at home :().  I forgot coffee filters, though, which totally sucks because I don’t want to go out again haha.  I also have everything put away and it looks pretty bare in my room, now, so I’ll probably have to get some posters or something to snaz the place up.

For dinner, I just ate some leftover Subway and some nuts– so, so healthy… (oh, I also had some 88 percent chocolate).  There’s a health food store just right outside campus, so I visited there, where I got my fair-trade chocolate, some coconut oil, and almond milk.  I guess I’ll just have some green tea with my almond milk in the morning instead  of coffee, which I don’t mind.

Tomorrow’s a big day.  I have to go to orientation and begin working for the library, and then the rest of the week I have to train for my job.  But still, I’ll be blogging, and once a week, I’ll share an interesting recipe.

Sorry for such a short post– I’m pretty tired, but tomorrow, I’ll post all about orientation and what I’ll be doing.

Finally, a classmate from high school got into a terrible accident last night, and he’s in critical care with brain swelling and broken bones.  Please pray for him– I know God will help him!

Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me
Read more: http://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/10-short-inspirational-bible-verses-for-strength/#ixzz23eqpc5Nu

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Busy Day

Today, I had an appointment with an Orthopedic doctor, and lucky me, I just have to go through some physical therapy and that should be it!  My kneecap’s only slightly off and I don’t have a tear like previously thought.  So, just a few more weeks and maybe I’ll be able to start running again!  In the mean time, though, I managed to get loads of packing done for Wednesday, and I got some cleaning supplies because a dirty dorm room would NOT be desirable.  I also got lots of baking done, too.  I made some delicious homemade bread and some vegan cream cheese!  I don’t think I’ve had cream cheese in forever– mostly because it wasn’t my favorite food, but I still like it.

Here’s the recipe for the bread which is based off the pretzels from Spoonful of Sugar-free:

Super soft bread

Ingredients:

1 package of yeast

1 cup of warm water

2 and a half cups of whole wheat flour

1/2 teaspoon of salt

2 tablespoons of coconut oil

a small handful of rolled oats

cinnamon

Steps:

1. Combine the yeast and water in a large mixing bowl and set aside for five minutes.

2. Add in the rest of the ingredients besides the rolled oats and cinnamon.

3. Knead the dough, adding more flour if it’s too sticky.

4. Keep kneading until it’s nice and stretchy.

5. Cover the dough with a clean rag and let it rise for an hour.

6. Heat the oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit and punch the dough down.

7.  Roll the dough out to desired shape and top with some rolled oats and cinnamon.

8. Bake for 15 minutes.

9.  Let it cool and enjoy!

I also decided to make some cream cheese to accompany it, and here’s that recipe:

Vegan Cream Cheese

Ingredients:

2/3 of a block of Nori-Mu silken tofu

2 tablespoons of vinegar

1/4 teaspoon of salt

2 tablespoons of coconut oil

about ten drops of stevia extract OR a tablespoon of sugar

Steps:

1. Combine all the ingredients in a blender or food processor and done :).

I got this recipe from here.  I quite like the taste, but I haven’t tested it on my family yet, so feel free to alter the recipe to your desired taste :).

So, I’m almost ready to move in, and I’m pretty sad to be leaving home :(.  I’m definitely gonna miss coming home to my mom and brother, making supper, doing my homework in front of the television while having interesting conversations with my family.  It’s definitely going to take some getting used to, but I know that I’m going to have a lot of fun with my room mate and the other girls on my floor– as well as my other classmates.  Not to mention, I plan on being involved in a few clubs, so that should be loads of fun!  I have a lot to look forward to, but a lot I’m leaving as well, so I definitely have some mixed feelings.  I’ll get over it though.  My boss at the library is so nice, and all of the people I met at orientation were super friendly– not to mention the staff and teachers I met.  Until then, though, I’ve been using my anxious energy to cook and clean (a little ;)).

What’s your favorite type of bread?

Mine’s got to be Ezekiel. It’s so thick and hearty– not like that fluffy Wonderbread!  I also love Panera’s baguette– you know, that little baguette that you get as a side to your meal?

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Dragging Days

Only three more days until I move in and there’s so much to do!  I’ve been packing gradually to avoid that sudden rush, and I’ve gradually been getting school supplies (thanks to loving parents).  I think I’ve almost got everything.  I just need to pick up a little mini-fridge because 1) I promised my room mate and 2) I’ve got to have somewhere to store my almond milk and other various snack items.  Also, I need to fill out some vaccine forms and some other employment forms which I detest.  So, rather than doing that, I’ve decided to write this blog post ;).

I’ve been doing some experimentations with sugar free cooking because still, I’ve been having some hay fever-ish symptoms and I’ve read that they can go away with a reduction of sugar.  Let me get one thing straight here– I love sugar.  It gives me quick energy, and it tastes good, but too much of the processed stuff gives me headaches, nausea, and, in general, makes me feel like crap.  So, I’ve been gradually cutting down to help my immune system.  Yoga’s also been helping– what with the deep breathing exercises and such.

Also, I got the results from my MRI.  Unfortunately, I sprained my knee pretty badly and I have a slight tear in my ACL, which means a trip to the orthopedic doctor.  I doubt, though, that I’ll need surgery– probably just a brace or exercises or something like that.

Anyway, in other words, I’ve been spending a lot of time in the kitchen– experimenting (I think I’m gonna love being a Chemistry major!)– and packing rather than running like I planned to do this summer.

Here, though, is a sugar-free version of the Breakfast Oatmeal Cookies from the book, the Vegan Cookie Connoseur.  (In all actuality, though, I’ve altered it so much, I don’t think they’re even the same cookie! haha).

Sugar-free Breakfast Oatmeal Cookies

2/3 cup of almond milk (obviously, if you want them truly sugar-free, you have to make it unsweetened almondmilk)

1/2 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar

1 cup of rolled oats

3/4 cup of white whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon of baking powder

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon of salt

1 banana mashed

a very scant 1/4 teaspoon of liquid stevia (if you don’t have much of a sweet-tooth, go ahead and omit)

1 teaspoon of vanilla

1/2 cup of blueberries

1/4 cup of almonds (or any other nut!)

Steps:

1. Mix together the almond milk and vinegar.

2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.

3. Mix all the dry ingredients together except the almonds and blueberries.

4. Mix the almond milk mixture, the banana, the stevia, and the vanilla into the dry ingredients.

5. Fold in the almonds and blueberries.

6. Plop the dough down 1 tablespoon at a time.  One cookie= 2 tablespoons of dough (depending on how big you want the cookies.)

7.  Bake for 10-12 minutes.

8. Let it cool and enjoy!

They’re a little less sweet, of course, than the other cookies, but I still like them, and my mother, who doesn’t have a hint of a sweet tooth (besides her ice cream), loves them and doesn’t notice the difference.

This morning, I watched the olympic men’s marathon, and I was so disappointed that Ryan Hall had to drop out! :(  I was rooting for him, but I guess he had to do what was best for his body.  During the commercials, I made a warm cup of coffee and some Maandazi from One Life In Stills.  I just cut the recipe in half and reduced the sugar to 1 tablespoon since I didn’t want it too sugary and my dad hates it when I use up all his raw sugar haha.  They were amazing with chocolate in the middle!

Hehe, my fingers look stubby in this picture :P

What’s your favorite event in the olympics?

Mine’s definitely a tie between the diving and the marathon!  The marathon always gets me stoked about running!

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Chocolate– nourishment for your heart and mind

Many people have been toting the benefits of chocolate– you hear it all over the news.  However, many are quick to point out that a Snicker’s bar isn’t going to get you the benefits that your body craves.  Many people claim they love chocolate when in actuality, they crave the sugar and fat in the chocolate.  Eat regular old chocolate straight from nature and many will turn up their noses.  However, in order to get the benefits of chocolate, it must be dark– 75 percent cocoa is a nice number to aim for.  Most of the chocolate we see however is nothing more than sugar, milk, butter, and a tiny pinch of processed cocoa.  So, rather than going for that Hershey’s bar– go for the unconventional 75 percent– I’ve even eaten 88 percent, but I can only handle a little at a time!  Also, when it comes to chocolate– we need to be more compassionate.  A lot of chocolate manufacturers use child labor or take advantage of cheap labor in impoverished nations.  That’s why we should go for fair-trade chocolate– like Endangered Species Chocolate– which buys it’s cocoa from small family businesses who treat their laborers fairly.  Plus, Endangered Species Chocolate is high quality, too!

So, here are some of the benefits of chocolate

– Lowers blood pressure

– Flavonoids help protect your body from oxidative damage (such as stress– whether environmental or dietary)

– Helps circulation

– Healthy fats that help your brain function

– Antioxidants help your body from developing LDL or that nasty bad cholesterol.

– Makes your blood platelets less sticky and therefore keeps the blood moving nicely.

– Boosts your mood through endorphins and serotonin (the happy chemicals in the brain :))

Therefore, I think we’d all benefit from just a little chocolate everyday ;).  Right now, I’m working on a good chocolate recipe to share, but so far, it’s come out pretty odd tasting.  Maybe I should add a little bit of vanilla to offset the bitter cocoa!

Anyway, I hope you have a good day, and remember to treat yourself right!

What’s your favorite way to have chocolate?

I love chocolate in chocolate-chip cookies :).  So warm and delicious straight from the oven!

Sources: http://my.clevelandclinic.org/heart/prevention/nutrition/chocolate.aspx

Verse of the day: 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 says, “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.”

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