“Your money or your life?”

thQ1Z7QCY4Believe it or not, if I ask a patient if they want to get well, sometimes they look at me as if I’ve lost my mind. “Of course,” they say.  But do they really?

Remember this famous skit from the old Jack Benny Show?

As Jack Benny is strolling down the street, a robber approaches him and demands, “Your money or your life!!!” As his character was known for being extremely stingy, he seems to ponder this a little too long. The robber finally in frustration asks, “Well???” Whereas Jack Benny responds, “I’m thinking, I’m thinking!’

He loved money more than life itself.

Nutritionally, many are in that same mindset today. They love certain foods more than life itself.

“When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”   (John 5:6)

I don’t know what type of illness the man at the pool had but he immediately listened to our Lord and obeyed Jesus’s command.  His Faith saved him. What if he hadn’t listened? He’d remain an invalid forever and waste away.

I have counseled many who were desperately ill, facing debilitating illnesses like diabetes, heart disease and cancers.  They risked surgery, amputation and even death if they didn’t change their eating habits.

“Do you want to get well?” I asked. All told me they did.  But some wouldn’t take that step of faith to believe what I told them would make them healthier. Some wouldn’t even do it for their children’s sake!

The pleasure of food was their god. How else could you explain the reason why some people facing a deathly illnesses would continue to consume the very items that were stealing their life blood? Chemically enticing food was their master, not God.

Do you love donuts more than the Lord?  Do you crave potato chips more than Christ? If I asked if you if you could trade grilled chicken garden salad w/ vinaigrette dressings for cheeseburgers and fries at lunch, would you? Or would you go on as you always have? “As it was in the days of Noah . . .” (Matthew 24:37)  A warning was not heeded because no one believes destruction will happen to him . . .  until it does.

As you look upon that overly processed selection, I want you to ponder two points:

1. “Your money or your life?” Is this huge portion of decadent, fattening food worth your health?  Worth the heartache facing your loved ones when you become incapacitated? You make the call.

One mustn’t necessarily give up everything tasty to get healthy. Anything’s fine in moderation.  1 Corinthians 10:23 attests to that fact.  But if a temptation is a stumbling block, for heaven’s sake, flee from it! (2 Timothy 2:22)

2. Think before you eat: Do I love that food item more than our Lord Himself?” Is gluttony now my god? If it is, visualize this: Jesus hanging on a cross with a slip of paper with a list of sins behind his nail-driven hands. All sins are the same in God’s Eyes, which means that gluttony is the same as murder. (And you’re destroying yourself.)

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.'”  (Mark 12:30)

If you’re an addict, ask yourself why?! Educate, analyze and recognize triggers when loss of control occurs and begin the arduous journey back to health step by step. Everyone rejoices when someone rises out of a pit into the light. If it’s you, start climbing.

The Importance of Fiber in Weight Loss

Question: Most health practitioners encourage fiber consumption for quicker weight loss.  But has anyone told you why?

Simple Answer: vitamins and minerals are dispersed through the digestive tract. If the body can’t absorb nutrients for metabolism, one won’t lose weight.

Illustration: If you have a garbage disposal in your home and nonchalantly threw scraps of food particles into it but never turned it on, what would happen?  It would build up, attract bugs and start to smell, yuk!  And then when it finally was turned on, it would start grinding so slowly that it might even stop if it’s too clogged.  Then you would have to snake the trapped particles or use something to unclog it.

This is a description of how our intestinal system works as well. When one consumes mainly meat, fats, junk food and processed foods with no fiber, the intestines get clogged.  It’s harder to move those foods through the colon because food just sits there. Since our bodies can’t absorb nutrients which are vital to life, no amount of “dieting” will produce health!  Our hypothalamus will nag for more food in search of much-needed nutrients; thus we’ll eat more calories but absorb fewer nutrients.

Strive to eat more fiber and it will keep your entire system working on less food!  You’ll have more energy, clearer skin and less disease.

God created fiber:

God told Adam in Genesis 1:29 “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it.  They will be yours for food.”   Wow! How smart is God?!!!

He even provided two types of fiber for healthy results: soluble and insoluble.

When thinking of Soluble fiber; think Liquid Plumr.  Liquid Plumr turns into a gel to move things along. So does soluble fiber which helps lower our treacherous LDL cholesterol.   Apples, oranges, pears, beans, nuts and oats are excellent sources of soluble fiber.

Soluble fiber also regulates our blood sugar levels, maintaining stability. Therefore we’ll resist the lure of sugary quick-energy.

Insoluble fiber stays intact, it doesn’t break up as it travels through your system.  (Think fruit skins and corn which basically exits intact.) Insoluble fiber draws water into the intestines, making stools bulkier and easier to pass. It’s like Roto-Rooter.

(If you ever dropped pizza crust or a piece of whole grain bread into the sink and watched it swell as water touched it, that’s what happens to fiber in your system. Fiber expands, creating a feeling of fullness.)

On food labels, there are seven forms of fiber: pectin, bran, cellulose, hemicellulose, lignin, guns and mucilage. I won’t bore you with all the details. Rest assured, if  60% of your daily calorie intake contains fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, herbs and seeds, you’ll reduce your risk of colon cancer, heart disease, constipation, obesity, hemorrhoids and many other diseases.

Important:

  1. Increase fiber gradually.  Excessive fiber intake may decrease the absorption of zinc, iron and calcium as well as promoting more gas.
  2. Build up to 25- 40 grams of fiber each day.  Remember 4 grams = 1 teaspoon.
  3. Fruits, vegetables and whole grains sometimes include combinations of both.
  4. I highly recommend getting fiber from Mother Nature, not fiber laxatives due to possible electrolyte imbalance or laxative dependency.
  5. Increase water intake to produce a softer stool. Pure water is best. (As water expands you’ll feel fuller longer too.)
  6. Take vitamin and mineral supplements separately from fiber or one will risk losing all the benefits of the supplement.

Remember, a man reaps what he sows, so strive to eat healthier!

How Consuming Bread Assists Weight Loss

Let me be clear. I respect all of Oprah’s accomplishments. She has done much to encourage others to be their best self. That’s commendable. However, whenever she proclaims success on her newest diet plan I cringe. Fans follow nearly everything she proclaims as truth.

Headlines yesterday declared:   “Oprah’s eaten bread every day and has lost weight!”   Wow, who knew someone could lose weight while eating bread?  Well . . . anyone who has consistently read my blog or read my books, that’s who.

I also have recommended Weight Watchers, which is now owned all or partly by Oprah. It is an excellent organization. On Weight Watchers, one learns how to eat real food and create healthier habits. I trust WW also gets to the heart of the issue of why one eats uncontrollably in the first place. For unless someone understands why they eat as they do, no change occurs.

I’ve lost track of how many diet plans Oprah’s endorsed over the years, but it reminds me of my patient who reprimanded me for not endorsing the Rice Diet. “It DOES work,” she professed angrily. “I know because it worked for me three times!” (The only good diet is the one which someone stays on for a lifetime as I have.) One should also be cautious of crying “wolf” so many times he loses credibility. I’ve only endorsed one diet plan and that’s God’s dietary plan. Plans such as the Mediterranean, DASH and Volumetrics are variations of His plan.

 Oprah is indeed an inspiration, having triumphed over a mountain of personal trauma. However as a nutritional counselor, I know one can’t be victorious until he/she recognizes why self-destruction occurs after each diet plan. Until one reconciles all the mental and Spiritual turmoil within, recognizing God loves us unconditionally, many will continue to strive for perfection which is unattainable. God loves us even in our imperfections. He has provided all foods for our enjoyment but urges us to remain in control, not becoming gluttonous or creating an idol out of food, which is sin.

“Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.”  (John 6:35) 

Why bread is fine, consumed in moderation:

In a 1975, Michigan State University conducted a controlled study: 16 overweight men consumed 12 slices of bread daily along with their normal caloric intake. They lost weight, debunking the no-carb theory of weight loss. Let me explain why:

  1. Bread contains many B vitamins. The purpose of B vitamins is to convert fats, proteins and carbohydrates into energy.  Duh.
  2. Bread contains fiber. The more fiber in the bread, the more weight loss in each participant. Recommendation: choose heavier, higher fiber bread whenever possible. (2-5 grams per slice)
  3. Fiber passes through one’s system, removing toxins. Toxins stress the body. Increased stress hormones increases weight. Less stress equals more positive vibes producing less nutrient loss and better weight balance.
  4. Carbohydrates have the same amount of calories per gram (4) as protein but are burnt up more quickly in the body. (30 minutes to 3 hours for carbs as opposed to 2-4 hours for protein.  Remember:4 grams equal 1 teaspoon.)
  5. Fiber absorbs water as it moves through the digestive system. This creates a feeling of fullness, in turn making us less hungry.
  6. When we consume bread we chew our food (or should.)  Chewing releases the enzyme amylase which escort proper nutrients to the necessary part of the body it needs to be at to function properly.

Enjoy God’s Bounty without guilt but remain in control.

The Stubborn Culinary Child in All of Us

Sometimes as little children occasionally do, we’ll stomp our feet and declare, “But I want it now!”   Afterward when the regrets th1NDE1W02kick in, we ask ourselves, “Why did I think that was a great idea?”

Have you ever stopped to think that our Heavenly Father loves us so much, He will give us the desires of our heart even if those are bad for us?  It’s called “free will.” Naturally God hopes we’ll choose what’s best. But it’s our choice.

Have you ever debated if you should consume something even though you understand it’s going to create an illness? Then shake a fist at God and ask, “Why’d you do this to me?”

I know very few children who choose vegetables over candy, cake or even cheesy fries. After a few tummy aches however and children usually instinctively learn to choose better. Do we really think eating all that fattening, processed, chemically-laden packaged food is good for us? We need to conquer our food cravings and resist the tug of gluttony. We are not children anymore.

No food is bad (1 Corinthians 10:23) but our reaction to it sometimes is.  Who’s in control, you or are you lured by manipulation? Have you ever lost control, giving in to a decadent food only to become discouraged because you couldn’t stay on your health plan?

As God’s child we also need borders which will assure a healthier lifestyle. When young, our children need boundaries to keep them safe and healthy. Certainly you wouldn’t feed your child only candy? They need real food to grow and thrive. God laid out our diet plan in Genesis 1:29 and 9:3. Follow His plan and achieve a healthier lifestyle. So why can’t we resist temptation?

Unfortunately some never grow up. When presented with a menu of grilled fish or chicken or hamburgers and fries, they’ll still go for the fattier selection every time! THINK! Once in a while that’s fine but choosing an inappropriate choice every day and you’ll wind up with debilitating diseases and parasites, lovely.

Why do we fail to understand we answer to a Higher Authority? If I am out walking my pooch, I’m her authority. I want her to enjoy her journey but if she misbehaves and wants to chase squirrels across the road, I reign her in because I don’t want to see her run over! God provides boundaries for the same reason. He wants us to be safe! And because He is All Knowing, He realizes what will happen when we give in to temptation.

Emotional eating is not healthy. If you desire something unhealthy, work it off by exercising and you’ll remain in control.  If you’ve kept your food journal for two weeks as I encouraged, you might understand why you give in for reasons other than hunger. Continue to journal; asking yourself, what happened just before I gave in to my desires? A disturbing phone call, an argument? Are you lonely – food offers comfort. Bored? Eating is something to do. Angry? Crunching on food is a stress reliever. Sad? Chemicals in food release happy endorphins.

For example, chocolate contains  phenylethylamine which makes us feel loved. Since God created chocolate, it’s fine in moderation.  But if we’re motivated by a chocolate commercial on TV, losing control, we’ve become manipulated. Give in and you just made that food an idol before our Lord.

 “I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.”  (Galatians 5:16)

Remaining in control and conquering addiction is a wonderful feeling. Conquer self and honor God.

#CHAMPIONSAWARDS – Thank you Carol!

What makes a Champion?  Have you ever needed one?  I have and I am pleased to say that one of my true Champion photoChampion friends has bestowed on me a very sweet, yet humbling honor.  Thank you Carol Balawyder for this lovely award which came from your heart. I urge you to check out this fabulous writer and blogger, becoming friends with her too:  http://carolbalawyder.com/  You’ll love her books!

My goal is to never miss a week of blogging  and for three and a half years, I’ve met that goal. Sometimes however, as you’ve probably experienced yourselves, it gets frustrating wondering what to write next. Maybe you’ve asked yourself as well: am I really making a difference?  Whenever I’ve gotten a little discouraged, the comments and encouragement of my blogging friends have kept me going. How I love and appreciate all you dear followers who have become friends!

The Champions Award is a way of saying thank you to those readers and writers who go the extra mile in support of others. I know with this award we needn’t say anything special, but this is how Carol went that extra mile for me:

Since Carol Balawyder is a writer herself, she purchased and read my first novel, “Sometimes Marriage is a Real Crime” (only 99 cents on amazon.com – shameless plug.) Not only did she read it but posted a fabulous 5 star review which sold a couple of extra copies.

So as I progressed on my sequel, I inquired if she’d be curious to read the first several chapters and simply let me know what she thought. Once again she not only read it, she assisted me with common sense advice to enhance my plot and enrich character details!  I’m happy to say that I’m thrilled with the final manuscript and now have it on the desk of a publisher in hopes they’ll bite. Thank you dear Carol for all your encouragement!

All my followers are Champions and I’ve selected these for this award:

http://cindygrasso.com/

https://thoughtsfromanamericanwoman.wordpress.com/

http://www.stroryland4.wordpress.com   ( aka:  Audria@TheWell.com )

http://www.lifeisnotaformula.blogspot.com

http://www.fromtrextotigress.com

http://www.yelobrd777.com

http://talkingtomyweightlosscounselor.com/

http://somebodylovesmeblog.wordpress.com

 

Friends, if you choose to accept the CHAMPIONS AWARDS, it’s simpler than most:  please do the following:

  1.  Post this Award Sticker on your blog, with the hashtag #CHAMPIONSAWARDS
  2.  Acknowledge the sponsor of your Awards.
  3.  Choose at least five of your own nominees and advise them accordingly, attaching these 5 guidelines.
  4.  Keep it simple… no need for explanations for the Awards… we know how great these folks are.
  5.  You are free to give out these Awards as frequently as you wish.
I hope blogging has enriched your life as much as mine!

“I thank my God each time I remember you”  (Philippians 1:3)

 

A Word About Fat versus Carbs

thKTHNDXC7The diet trend headlines are once again recommending consuming more fats and limiting carbs.  “Avoid carbs!” experts professed.” After all, we’ve conducted a “long term” (one year) study of 150 people” (and how many people live on this planet???)

I wonder if those experts ever counseled a high-fat dieter whose skin color has turned grey from consuming unhealthy fats while limiting vegetables or fiber-based foods? I have. My friends, please don’t be taken in by diet gurus who tell you that consuming bacon is better than beets. We wish!

Yes, of course we should limit simple carbohydrates like sugary donuts, candy and empty calorie foods. However, nothing in this article distinguished complex from simple carbs such as candy and donuts.

Some people actually believe they are smarter than God.  Complex carbohydrates: fruits, veggies, whole grains, nuts, seeds and herbs (Genesis 1:29) metabolize differently from simple sugars.  It’s all about nutrients, physiology and balance!

Our friend, the Fat Cell: It’s about balancing healthy fats.

A person is born with basically all the fat cells he’ll ever have.  Surprisingly men and women are born with about the same number. Unfortunately for us women, men lose weight faster than women, due to muscle, enzymes and hormone distribution.

1.  Muscle is an efficient fat burner. Men have more muscle, eerrrgh.  Women must find a fun way to exercise, developing more muscle and increasing heart-rate efficiency; dance, play with the baby, walk the pup to develop muscle.

2.  Regarding enzymes, (see “Our Mother’s Were Right! ” post)  they are like 3 assigned movers in one moving company, transporting your chewed food into the room it needs to go in. Humans have an innate desire to chew our food which releases enzymes.  Unfortunately women have more fat storing lipogenic enzymes, while men have more fat producing enzymes.

3. The hormone estrogen sends stored fat to hips, butts and thighs. (I sure don’t want a larger butt, do you?) Women were designed with a higher percentage of estrogen in order to bear healthy children. Women, we need to accept that fact graciously.

4. Don’t restrict all fats either – it takes energy to make energy – it’s the first law of thermodynamics. Good Fat produces Good Energy.

Balance fats with proteins and complex carbs. Not eating healthy fat stresses the body in this capacity:

  • Non-essential body parts such as hair and nails, become thin, brittle and break.
  • Creates loss of brain, bone, muscle and healthy skin tone. Skin tone becomes sallow.
  • Produces a loss of protective brown fat which cushions and warms vital organs. Once gone, it’s gone!
  • Consuming healthy fats metabolize the fat vitamins, A, D, E, K.
  • But consuming too much fat produces toxins, creating an acidic environment, weakening the immune system, risking illnesses, heart palpitations and possible cancers.

As a Christian I would trust you wouldn’t follow false prophets blindly but rather research the Biblical common sense principles endorsed by God. Don’t believe everything your “itchy ears” want to hear. (2 Timothy 4:3)  Especially this time of year when everyone’s trying to lose weight and by now might be either discouraged or desperate, willing to follow nonsensical advice. Who would you rather trust?

A fat cell is our friend and it’s purpose is to store and release energy depending on what our metabolic needs are at the time, filling and reducing, depending on how much we eat. Don’t overeat. This is God’s perfect, intricately designed plan.

“Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous–how well I know it.” (Psalm 139:14)

Living Under Dietary Bondage

The law is bondage. The law is restrictive and confining, so how can one live perfectly within it?  The answer is, we can’t. There is no one who lives perfectly except Christ  We all are guilty under the law.

“as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one;” Romans 3:10

police car behind

It can either be scary or comforting to live under laws. On one hand we can be assured that if needed, police officers would be at our assistance, even risking their own safety for us.

However, have you ever driven down the street and all of a sudden found a police car following you? Innocent or guilty, what’s the first thing we do but check our speed limit, right? Were we driving above the law? Do we go through a quick mental check list and ask ourselves whether we came to a complete stop at that street corner or possibly driven through a red light? We breathe a sigh of relief as the officer turns down another street.

Unfortunately most people drive a few miles over the speed limit, so legally what’s to prevent that officer from pulling all of us over? Because he/she allows us a grace period. The officer understands that no one can drive perfectly within the law every time they get behind the wheel. But if someone flagrantly flaunts the speed limit, driving recklessly, endangering others, he’ll absolutely restrain them for everyone’s good! The punishment will fit the crime.

So it is with dietary laws. If we eat recklessly, totally out of control, unconsciously, disregarding our dietary health, we could pay a high price too. We’ll feel disgusted with ourselves, sluggish, possibly ill and probably guilty at our lack of willpower. However, there’s no question that the punishment is deserved, right? We alone chose our pathway: to denigrate our bodily temple! Because no one else lives there but us.

Hopefully we learn our lesson not to break some reasonable physiological laws.

So why do we expect perfection?! If we’re attempting a weight loss plan, it takes incredible willpower to remain on it with all the culinary temptations offered around us. Especially this month with the football play-off parties each weekend. The odds are many will fall into temptation and break their dietary goal in some way. Then what happens?  Mostly discouragement and faulty thinking, “Why bother? I can never succeed!”

Never give up! Strategize. Have a reasonable plan beforehand, such as eating a bit before attending, so you don’t arrive famished or choosing wisely (shrimp appetizer versus cheese dip.)

If we happen to eat a few more appetizers than necessary, simply eat more nutritiously the following day. Even if I realized that I had been speeding, I’d slow down, being grateful to God that it didn’t cost me a fine. I’d change my ways immediately.

Why are we so strict and unforgiving when it comes to diets? We must learn to forgive ourselves and immediately get back on track if we overindulge at a function. Why do we expect perfection? It needn’t be “all or nothing.” Why can’t we give ourselves a grace period similar to the illustration above? God wants us to enjoy the life He gave us but not to harm ourselves.

I urge you as well to incorporate forgiveness and sensible boundaries into your lifestyle, without license to sin.

“For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.”  (Romans 6:14)