Changing Those Pesky Habits

A story is told of a little girl who sat at her kitchen table watching her mom make dinner. Four generations had arrived for a family reunion and there was much to do.

The little girl watched as her mother placed the roast in a large pan and as she normally did, proceeded to cut off several inches of it and put it aside.  mother-daughter-making-dinner

The daughter watched all this thoughtfully. Being a curious little child, she  innocently asked, “Mom, why do you always cut the end of the roast off each time you and toss it aside?”

Her mother shrugged and replied, “Well, I don’t honestly know honey, but that’s how my mother did it. Why don’t you ask her?”

So the girl walked into the living room and asked her grandmother, “Grandmother, why did you always cut a few inches off the Sunday roast when you put in the pan?”

The grandmother contemplated the question for awhile and finally remarked, “Well I don’t really know. But it’s always been the way my mother made it. Let’s ask her.”

So they both walked into the den where her great-grandmother was watching television and the child asked,” Great-grandma why did you always cut a couple inches off the Sunday roast before you placed it in the oven?”

Great-grandmother  seemed perplexed at the question. “Why in the world would you ask that?”

“Well, mom is making dinner and that’s what she does, so I asked why and she didn’t know. Then I asked grandmother why she did that too and she didn’t know either. So we thought we’d ask you why you did the same thing?”

“Oh honey,” the great-grandmother sighed, shook her head and smiled sadly. “I only cut the roast because my pan was too small!”

Yes, we live as we learn and habits are pesky things. Occasionally, (as you’ve probably found as well), even when I spoke to my children, I thought, “My goodness – I sound like my mother!”

We tend to act, purchase and cook as our parents did. How many of us buy the same deodorant, mouthwash, paper towels or peanut butter that our parents routinely purchased?  We recognize the brand name and it’s reassuring to know exactly what we will get. But sometimes people get into a rut and are afraid to branch out and try new things.

I was a European tour guide for a few years (yeah I know, twist my arm.) After we entered a village and had some free time for lunch, inevitably someone would ask where the local McDonald’s was. They were afraid to be adventurous, trying new foods.

Our bodies can get into a routine also. We shouldn’t! When one eats the same old foods . . .  exercises in the same old way . . . even uses the same old shampoo, our body gets used to it. We get into a rut. Exercising the same way continually uses the same muscle groups and the body stagnates. If we constantly eat the same foods, we could develop an allergy to that food. Not varying your calorie intake also creates the innate metabolic function of “same old calories in, same old calories out.”

God created us with bodies that need variety! Each nutrient provides a different purpose within our frame. Mixing up different food groups with diverse nutrients will assist in keeping us healthy.  I urge you to become adventurous because God has provided us with a bounty of nutritional goodness!

    “In whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord.” (Ephesians 2:21)

Smarter than God? Seriously?

God knows what’s best for us and desires to keep us from harm. I attempt to do the same with my family which includes our two dogs.

cj-looking-cuterThe other day I tried to explain to “Mr. No No” our new puppy, why chewing on an electrical cord wasn’t such a great idea. I even demonstrated the shaking, pulsating movement of being electrocuted but to no avail. He only cocked his head from side to side, looking at me as if I was crazy. Okay so maybe he’s not that dumb . . .  Anyway, he simply had to trust that I would keep him from harm and protect him.

So in the same way should we trust God.

As a nutritional counselor I seem to constantly be combatting dietary fallacies. For example, I was discussing dietary choices with a lovely gentleman who had recently been diagnosed with a heart condition. I suggested a few low-fat, nutritionally dense foods to build his immune system. This included shrimp. “I can’t eat that” Too much cholesterol!” Sigh. It’s typical of what I hear and read constantly in false diet plans. No eggs, avocados, potatoes, butter . . . you know the ones God made a mistake creating but He didn’t realize it until man pointed it out? (Not that man would ever make a mistake, right Flat-Earther’s?)

I ask, “Would God create a food, tell us everything is acceptable to eat and then change His Mind?” Could God make a mistake? No! I’ve often stated that after researching eggs back in 1992, I came to that same conclusion. Eggs metabolize differently in the body, increasing good cholesterol while decreasing bad LDL. But once again, anything in moderation.  (I’ve written enough about eggs and potatoes over the years. If interested, please use my search engine to read more posts on that subject.)

Consuming shrimp falls within that same concept. Recent studies conducted over a three and nine week shrimp-photoperiod monitored a group of people who consumed 10 ounces of shrimp daily. At the conclusion of the study, the subjects LDL cholesterol level rose slightly but not dangerously at all. What struck them as interesting was that the protective HDL cholesterol rose more while their unhealthy triglyceride levels dropped. Amazing statistics for an “unhealthy” food.

More good news, shrimp contains a unique antioxidant and anti-inflammatory carotenoid nutrient astaxanthin. Translated in dog years, this means it provides substantial protection against heart ailments, nervous disorders, diabetes, colon cancer and muscular illnesses.  A single 4-ounce serving of shrimp contains 1-4 milligrams of astaxanthin.  Limit your shrimp intake to a moderate 6 ounces.

Also among the many vital nutrients found in shrimp are selenium, (a feel-good nutrient) omega 3’s, B3, B6, B-12, E, A, phosphorus, choline, copper, iodine and zinc which are all great for heart health.

This demonstrates once again that God’s Ways trump man’s ways. I don’t know about you but when I uncovered these facts, it only built my Faith that God knows better than us, always has, always will! So I suggest we trust God because no one’s smarter than Him.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)

Leaning on the Everlasting Arms . . .

“Mary,” a patient of mine, came to me simply to lose weight. Although she found herself craving food, the answer didn’t lie within a new menu. Mary’s cravings lay with family issues. motherdaughter-hands

Her daughter had divorced multiple times and was now in another troubling relationship. She only seemed to call her mother when she needed money to run from another messy situation. Mary always felt pressured and manipulated into sending funds to rescue her.

Manipulation caused stress and when stressed, Mary ate. Of course as soon as the daughter was free, her daughter dismissed her as easily as she left her ex’s. Feeling used and rejected, Mary would find herself turning to food once again.

I understood. Rejection and loneliness hurts, being used hurts. Mary looked for ways to mask that pain and  certain foods sedated those hurtful feelings.

Parents want to do all they can for their children. A mother’s instincts to protect her child are innate. But by feeling rejected, Mary considered herself her daughter’s personal vending machine.

Wow, does God ever feel that way with us? We ignore Him until we want something. Then we pray fervently. When God gives us the desires of our heart, we tend to forget Him until next time. How that must hurt the very Heart of God also.

Do we only go to God when we want Him to intervene? “God, act fast and get me out of this situation I created?” Then we forget about Him until the next time.

I asked Mary why she allowed herself to open her heart time after time to rejection and she replied, “The guilt feelings I’d have experienced if something had happened would have haunted me forever.”

So instead Mary turned to food, primarily sweets to numb her pain. Self-destructing, she’d rather hurt than hurt someone else. Self-medicating with food is common but never the answer any more than turning to drugs, alcohol, gambling or any other addiction would be.

Realize that change comes from within. We can’t control someone’s life. Mary had to recognize that after a certain age, one’s decisions are their own. Continually bailing out destructive behaviors isn’t helpful. It only cripples the one who needs to take control of his/her actions.

As hard as it was, Mary needed to stand firm and lean on God’s Word. No more enabling. Her daughter had to understand why she was so uncommitted to her relationships. She needed a pastor or Christian counselor to talk to. Hard facts: Mary was actually a roadblock to her discovering that reason due to her enabling.

Pray for wisdom. Prayer does change our outlook on life! The LORD is the only one who can change a Spirit. God understands more than anyone. Jesus was rejected and abandoned. He knows what you are going through. But before the creation of mankind, God had a plan to redeem us from sin.

“Christ has liberated us to be free. Stand firm then and don’t submit again to a yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 5:1)

supportive-momSin is bondage. Have you ever met someone who has conquered addictions? Have you noticed their countenance?  They are Glorious, Victorious, Courageous and Confident!

“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” (2 Corinthians 3:17)

It’s our choice. We can live with the miseries of despair or take control. God didn’t create robots. What’s your choice? We stand alone before our Lord to answer for the life we lived on Earth. Stand Victorious!

How Nutrition Assists Those with Lyme Disease

Lyme disease has been around since 1975. It’s an intense inflammatory disease primarily caused by bacteria and living with it is a challenge. Symptoms range from severe headaches, memory loss, fatigue, debilitating joint pain and heart palpitations (mimicking Chronic Fatigue and Epsom Barr Syndrome.)deer-tick

The common misconception is that the disease is only spread by the deer tick. Recent studies have discovered however that not only ticks but fleas, mosquitoes, spiders and even lice spread the disease. How well one lives with Lyme disease is determined by many factors but foremost is how healthy one’s immune system is previously to  acquiring it.

We live in a deteriorating world far removed from Eden. Many new-found plagues, like the Zika Virus, will be prevalent during the end times. (Yet another reason to consume a healthier diet.) Our body constantly hosts a myriad of illnesses within us, including cancer cells. So the question remains: why are some susceptible to certain illnesses while others aren’t? The answer: hereditary genes, environment, lifestyle, Second Law of Thermodynamics – in other words, you name it!

To combat inflammation, we should keep our bodies slightly on the higher end of the pH scale (7.2 – 7.4.)  If water is pure at 7.0, acidic foods are below 7.0 and alkaline foods are above 7.0. Once again we need balance in our lifestyle and dietary habits.

Alkaline foods are very anti-inflammatory so consuming more vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and herbs is imperative to fight this. Anything’s fine in moderation but limiting one’s daily meat intake to 4-6 ounces would go a long way to improving health.

Since the disease is a bacterial one, ensure you consume a good quality natural yogurt such as Dannon Natural or one with no fillers, preservatives or junk added. Fermented foods such as raw sauerkraut, kimchi or fermented vegetables contain probiotic’s and essential enzymes. Without enzymes the body can’t walk, breathe, talk or do any other bodily function!

Garlic has always been a natural defense agent protecting us against disease. Containing allicin, it antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral, destroys parasites and strengthens the immune system. A side benefit is that it’s a mood elevator.

Flavoring our foods with herbs like parsley, basil and oregano detoxifies our liver. Most herbs are anti-inflammatory and these three are especially great! Pesto over a white fiber pasta, anyone?

Turmeric (also curcumin found within turmeric) increases bile production in the liver which transport toxins out of the body.

Pineapple is a fabulous anti-inflammatory agent. Containing bromelain it increases a natural killer cell of bacteria called CD57.

Green drinks with chlorophyll, are excellent detoxifiers. Adding green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, lettuce and of course many cruciferous vegetables: broccoli, cabbage and Brussels Sprouts should regularly be on the menu.

Only use quality oils. Try coconut oil which resists bacteria and will last up to 6 months after opening. (And a little goes a long way.)

Omega 3’s is imperative. Fish oil, salmon, tuna, avocados, milled flaxseed. It’s easier to look up a list of these beneficial choices rather than rattle them off now but all lower inflammatory symptoms. The Mediterranean Diet is very saturated with omega 3’s!

One last item you can try if you find it is called Bentonite clay. It tastes like milk of magnesia, binding toxins and removing them from your system.

As I’ve mentioned, it’s a debilitating illness but always hang on to hope – some people discover their symptoms subside over time. Eating well might help diminish painful symptoms.

“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” (Romans 8:18)

 

The Joy of Obeying Our Master

For a while our 6-month-old Cavashon puppy must have thought his name was “No-NCJ at six monthso” because he got into so much trouble due to his curious mind. Poor little guy, he tries so hard to make us proud of him; he’s such a sweet dog. However, if we didn’t train him correctly he’d become an uncontrollable dog; (like unruly kids we who are never given boundaries.)

Our puppy wants to please us. He takes joy in hearing “Good boy!” (Or perhaps he’s thinking, “Yeah sure lady . . . just give me that treat.”)

It takes a lot of training and energy to learn something right. Just like our children, “we must train up a puppy in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it” (paraphrasing Proverbs 22:6.) A well-mannered dog is a pleasure to be around, similarly to lovely children.

This got me thinking about the correlation between boundaries in a dog’s world and those within Christianity and food. What if we all did what was right in our own eyes; no boundaries? (Judges 21:25) The world is leaning greatly in that direction, isn’t it? Just look at what is acceptable behavior today which wasn’t even 50 years ago.

When I accepted the Lord as my Savior, I attended a very legalistic church. As an opinionated teenager, I constantly heard “no-no’s” too: “Don’t wear makeup.” “You can’t wear skirts that short!” “Movies are forbidden!” “Modern music is the devil’s voice” “Dancing is upright fornication!” But I heard no sermons on the Joy in the Lord. My goodness, no wonder I rebelled in college – I was finally free – no boundaries!

We live under Grace today. God gives us the right to choose how we live and would never legally restrict us or hold anything back. Regardless, He wants us to choose to obey Him out of love and gratitude. After all, Christ sacrificed ALL on the cross for us – is that asking too much?

“For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace. What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! Do you not know that when you offer yourselves as obedient slaves, you are slaves to the one you obey, whether you are slaves to sin leading to death, or to obedience leading to righteousness?…   (Romans 6:14-16)

As for our nutritional habits, we should strive to live healthy lives because we want to please our Lord and Savior, not because we have to. Scripture states that under grace, anything is fine in moderation. (1 Corinthians 10:23.) Is it too much of a sacrifice to eat only four Hershey Kisses (25 calories each) instead of the entire bag? Consume 6 ounces of sirloin instead of half a cow? Who is your Master, food or God?

Regarding our puppy, it’ll take time to master our commands. We don’t expect him to be perfect. And as Christians, we’ll never be perfect either, so strive for excellence and obedience. As far as our eating habits go, try to master cravings, don’t allow them to rule over you. God doesn’t restrict your culinary pleasures; you can consume bacon and French fries, but why would you eat them everyday if they destroy your personal temple of the Holy Spirit? You wouldn’t think of throwing trash on the floor of a sacred site in Jerusalem, why trash your bodily temple?

I look forward to my own “Good Girl” approval when God lovingly looks at me and says, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”   (Matthew 25:23)   That would mean more than Chocolate!!!

Well “Nuts” To That Myth!

Back when I began my nutritional career, nuts were considered off the menu. “Too much fat!” experts claimed. Of course eggs, potatoes and chocolate were too. These are myths.

thKCICGCJJOnce all calories were considered equal, but actually they aren’t. We inhabit a wonderfully designed machine. Candy and fruit work in different biochemical ways.

Automobiles need oil, gas and regular tune-ups to work properly. Similarly, humans need a variety of nutrients to work efficiently. Clean Nutrients and proper maintenance produce a healthier body.

I love physiology and enjoy explaining why consuming these nutritious foods are beneficial to our well-being.  Just knowing that nuts are great for the skin and are anti-aging are two important points for me! A third is that they are fabulous for extending memory recall. We need those memory cells!

Nuts are packed with protein, enzymes, antioxidants and so many beneficial nutrients, among them many Thiamine, Riboflavin, Niacin, B12, vitamin E, manganese, potassium, magnesium, iron, zinc and essential fatty acids.

Nuts are anti-inflammatory so anyone fighting arthritis, dementia or IBS type challenges would be advised to include them in your daily diet. They also lower blood pressure, heart disease and assist in the prevention of colon and prostate cancer. A little nut butter on an apple, banana or whole wheat toast should fill one up for several hours without cravings.

Nuts are rich in at least four 50-cent omega 3 words such as linoleic Cholesterol and fats clog one’s arteries but walnuts are excellent for brain and heart health. These nutrients enrich our heart and brain pathways preventing strokes, clogged arteries and heart attacks.

When I was a little kid, with so many walnut trees on our farm, my brother and I made a game of smashing all those shells to get the wonderful meat inside. I think we ate them all year round. If stored properly in a freezer or cool dark area, they’ll remain edible for months.

However:

  • In moderation, as in anything else, they’re fine. Brazil nuts however are high in the mineral selenium and can be toxic in large doses. Consume only about 2-3 to avoid overdosing.
  • Avoid the canned nut samplers produced with oils. They can become rancid more quickly.
  • Avoid processed nut butters with trans-fats which can clog arteries.

So why were these considered “bad” foods? Hate to say it but ignorance, bad science and unhealthy diet plans were reasons. Case in point, the Paleo Diet encourages nuts but nixes legumes and beans. Why? Even in moderation? It’s not practical.

Here’s an interesting comparison based on 1 cup of the following:

  • Walnuts = 1464 calories & 15.2 grams of fiber/148 grams fat (4 grams = 1 teaspoon)
  • Pecans = 1544 calories & 21.6 grams of fiber/163 grams fat (plus butter/sugar in pie)

or you could choose nutritious:

  • Split peas = 230 calories & 16 grams of fiber/1 tsp fat. Hearty soup anyone?
  • Black beans = 227 calories & 15 grams of fiber/<1 tsp fat. Great in Chili.
  • Pinto beans = 224 calories & 15.4 grams of fiber/<1 tsp. fat. High protein too.

Why not choose all of the above in moderation? Each of these foods provide excellent nutrition and none are bad for us. Each contain valuable vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, enzymes and phytonutrients to assist in proper functioning.

Once again, Genesis 1:29, God knew it all the time!  As always He expects us to use common sense. Any food can become a trigger to addiction or allergies. If one can’t resist overeating, don’t bring a product into the house. Balance is always essential for  proper health.

“For the LORD gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding. He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk in integrity.” (Proverbs 2: 6,7)

 

 

 

A Nutritionist’s Opinion of Paleo

We live by Grace. So unless we’re under doctor supervision can pretty much eat what we want, even if it’s not good for us. Which brings me to the Paleo Diet and a question I was asked recently, “How good is it?”

Let’s be real; no one wakes up exclaiming, “Man, I can’t wait to feel unhealthy today!” Following this plan could do it though!

Besides my obvious objection of “my ancestors weren’t cavemen, sorry about yours,” I grant Paleo’s a catchy title and peaked my interest when it first debuted. double bacon cheeseburger paleo

I grew up on a farm when the rich soil produced abundant, nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables. Nowadays we have depleted the soil, changed the chemical makeup of produce and wheat, adding chemicals and preservatives to foods to lengthen shelf life. “Enriched” bread might sound good on paper but the bran is removed and synthetic vitamins added to bring it up to normal standards  (minus the beneficial fiber.) High-fiber bread is nutrient-dense but off-limits on this diet.

Paleo has a short list of “eat this, not that.” I failed to see any practical physiological science behind it. It’s very confusing! Sweet potatoes, potatoes, yams are banned but further down they’re allowed “in moderation.” Define moderation.

Except for a few fruits and some vegetables, the fiber content is unhealthily low. High-fiber foods significantly lower the risk of diabetes, high cholesterol, heart disease, obesity, stroke and hypertension. One needs both soluble and insoluble fiber. One should consume 25 – 35 grams of fiber daily to prevent intestinal polyps, parasites, worms and other lovely creatures. (For that reason alone I wouldn’t trust this diet!)

Oatmeal and “cereals” are strictly no-no’s. No clarification is made between high-fiber Kashi brands, Raisin Bran,etc. or low-fiber Corn Flakes!

Lentils, legumes, pinto, kidney, red, black beans and peanuts are off limits. Why? These beneficial foods have both types of fiber plus protein, thiamine, E, folic acid, iron, magnesium. These help lower cholesterol!

No beets? One of the most nutrient-rich vegetables?

Pasta’s off the list too, not even white fiber pasta. Along with a nutritious lean beef/tomato sauce, rich in vitamin’s C and iron, it’s healthy.

No yogurt either! Again no distinction between high-quality, good-bacteria yogurt which gets right into the gut and the unhealthy type with added sweeteners. Of course sauerkraut has good bacteria – but for breakfast on an empty stomach? Ugh.

I never claim to be smarter than God. I trust Him when He indicated in Genesis 1:29 to consume whole grains, fruits, vegetables, herbs, nuts and seeds. Then in Genesis 9:3 God added meat to the menu.

Well what about meats?

“First one catches a rattlesnake or bear  . . .” Seriously it’s on the list! So is ostrich, kangaroo, turtle, 60% fat chicken wings and chemically-laden, nitrate-enriched bacon (but sirloin’s not!) Ground beef? There’s no restriction given between lower-fat 93% sirloin and 73% hamburger. So let’s see: it’s okay to consume a double bacon cheeseburger but Sirloin steaks, baked sweet potatoes, green beans and wholesome fibrous breads are off-limits? Do you see why I’m skeptical?

Yet, there’s always a little truth in any diet. Paleo distains chemical sweeteners, energy drinks, refined sugars and spam. Great, but so does the Mediterranean, MIND, Dash and Weight Watcher’s without gimmicks. What a complicated diet plan. Wouldn’t it be easier to simply follow God’s Plan? (According to the Creator of Heaven and Earth, 1 Corinthians 10:23, anything’s fine in moderation, even bacon cheeseburgers.) Please follow clear cut physiological Truth without gimmicks.

“For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing.” (Luke 12:23)

There is no money, only health, in recommending God’s Dietary Plan for my patients. Therefore: “As for me and my house I will serve the Lord. (Joshua 24:15)