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)

 

 

 

Learning to Overcome Food Addictions

By now you probably realize that food, being a bunch of chemicals, is addictive. Chemicals change our neurological and metabolic functions; sometimes without us even being aware of that fact. Food addiction is similar to every other addiction because it alters our brain neurotransmitters and body chemistry. As one patient described it to me, “it’s like a switch went off in my brain. I couldn’t stop.”woman stuffing fast food

Some believe food addiction is even worse than drugs, alcohol and smoking because we can’t get away from food – it’s always there, staring us in the face. It’s at work in the vending machine, on television commercials, magazines, along the roads we travel on. If we are having a stressful morning, it is so easy to reach for the donuts in the break room. Angry? Those pretzels are therapeutically crunchy!!! Lonely? We might find ourselves craving the comforting chemical found in chocolate, called phenylethylamine. Food chemically changes our moods.

It is a fact that food acts as a soothing drug when we are emotionally stressed. There is hope however. I have discovered the more I turned down donuts, processed, fast food and placed more wholesome foods into my system, the less I desired junk food. Today it doesn’t tempt me to stroll past a table covered in sugary snacks. If you also begin to select mostly fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds and lean protein, you’ll also discover a desire for more nutritionally healthy choices!

Let’s get real: self-medicating with food, drugs or alcohol does make the pain go away, but only for a short time. It changes our chemical make-up, providing pleasure, relaxing us. That’s a hard habit to give up. I urge you to reach out for God’s strength to get you through those hard times. Sadly however, many turn directly from instead of to God when hardship hits. You might even question God. Why doesn’t He give me more strength to overcome? Why would He allow me to be so weak?

“He sent out his word and healed them, and delivered them from their destruction.”  (Psalm 107:20)

God does care deeply, it breaks His heart when He sees suffering. But He allows us, just as He has since Adam, free choice: loving obedience, apathy or self-destruction. God gave us free will. God wants us to choose what is best but in His love, He did not create puppets and will not force us to do what He wants us to do. Free Will! But actions have consequences. Choosing to consume chemically-laden, processed foods will ultimately produce physiologically destructive results.

I understand personal choice. As much as I wanted my patients to become healthier, they had to want it more than I wanted it for them! I watched as they chose a more healthier lifestyle . . . or destruction. It was either victorious or painful to watch but it had to be their choice. Change starts from within the individual.

Most people probably don’t understand the intricate, complicated processes of physiology but we do see the result of positive or detrimental choices. Isn’t this similar to how we see Jesus at work in a new believer’s life? We see the results of positive choices as well.

“All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be enslaved by anything.” (1 Corinthians 6:12)

Please choose wisely.

So Many Diet Plans! Which to Choose?

The 2016 US News and World Report list of “Best Diet Plans” was recently balanced dietpublished. The top five diet plans didn’t change much since last year and it’s always gratifying to view those I highly recommend among the top 5.  Of course  all my diet plans are endorsed by the True Creator of all Good and Practical Diets. One’s which God knew, as our Designer, a person could remain on for life!

So the newest list is:

  • The Dash Diet
  • The Mind Diet (a combo of the DASH and Mediterranean diets, targeting mental function)
  • Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes (TCL)
  • Fertility Diet
  • Mayo Clinic Diet

All of these individual plans are variations on a theme. Each is based on a diversity of fibrous whole grains, fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, lean meats and good fats. Oh my! . . .  I was so surprised . . . NOT! No matter how many times, diet gurus try to rearrange God’s message on dietary recommendations (Genesis 1:29, Genesis 9:3, Acts 10: 10-14, 1 Corinthians 10:23)  it all comes back to one basic truth: physiology.

Why do people get snared by false, fiber-less and sometimes dangerous programs? Well, desperation and hope can drive some to do crazy things. When someone diets and then gains weight back, panic ensues. I understand. No one wants to be embarrassed or perceived as a failure. People become desperate!

Case in point: In the ’90s, Oprah Winfrey set up a false diet center in a mall. The diet was based on eating only hot dogs and ice cream all day. Now, you’re probably thinking, that’s crazy, who would ever sign up for such an obviously fake diet plan? Well, I believe 41 people signed up in two days.  Did they actually believe that eating chemically-laden, nitrate-based, fatty meat and creamed, sugared saturated fat would lead to a healthier lifestyle? Probably not, but they were willing to try anything to lose weight.

If one understands physiology, he’ll know a diet restricting certain food categories will  lead to stronger cravings because our hypothalamus, (that little “mom” in our brain) is nagging us to consume other essential nutrients which our body needs! For example, a diet consisting only of fruit (grapefruit diet anyone?) lacks over 50 essential nutrients for a healthy metabolism. Moderation of all food groups is the key to success.

So don’t diet at all! Live and eat sensibly. My instructor is my LORD. If God is your teacher, then you’ll base your lifestyle on what the Word says, not on some outlandish diet claim urging you to spend money on false advertising.

Materialism is today’s worldly god. Everyone’s out for the almighty dollar. There is very little money in following God’s Simple, Sensible Eating Plan. It’s free. Many of my patients over the years have urged me to write my own “diet” plan. Actually I don’t believe in diets, only healthier lifestyles.

It’s my prayer that my posts will inspire others to follow God’s Plan. For what one truly needs cannot be found at the bottom of a carton of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. People need God to fill their soul with purpose and meaning.

 All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything. Food is for the stomach and the stomach is for food, but God will do away with both of them. Yet the body is not for immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord is for the body.” 1 Corinthians 6: 12-13 (NASB)

The Benefits of True Health

2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”

healthy decisions

Health is important, being skinny isn’t! Oh my, did a Nutritional Counselor just say that? Shocking! However I won’t tell you what your “itching ears want to hear”  (2 Timothy 4:3) and  as some false prophets of dietary health profess. True health comes from the inside out. Be mentally, physically and spiritually fit!

Have you ever asked yourself why you really want to be ‘skinny’?

  • Is it because you dislike your appearance and want to look like a supermodel?  (God designed you. If you’re God’s child, you’re beautiful to Him no matter what size you are!)
  • Is it because someone keeps nagging you?  (Strive for health because honoring God is the right thing to do, not what someone else expects it of you.)
  • Is it simply because you’re self-conscious by the looks people give you when you walk by?  (Well, people stare no matter what size you are!)
  • Or is it because you know God expects a disciplined, sincere testimony and you are rebelling against His command of 1 Peter 1:13-16? Jonah also tried to run from God’s commands. (You can’t  hide from God) Eat nutritionally balanced because it’s the right thing to do.

Thin isn’t always healthy. Being FIT is healthy! The ability to climb stairs or play with your children without exertion is healthy! Being mentally balanced and alert is healthy! Exuding a countenance of  JOY is healthy!

I’ve met many who despise their looks and put themselves down. Whereas some, exhibiting the other side of the coin, continually post selfies, seemingly expounding upon, “I’m so beautiful aren’t I . . .  but enough about me, what do you think about my beauty?”  Looks are simply the “luck of the draw” you did nothing to earn it –  true beauty comes from within. Kindness, patience, helpfulness are all attributes to strive for, resulting in true beauty that endures. That’s beauty God recognizes!

Real change must come from a personal desire to succeed and please our Lord. Is that self-destructive addiction too dear to you?

No one has an easy, stress-free road. Life can get discouraging at times. We then fill the empty void with other idols which leads to addiction because it numbs the pain. Food, alcohol, shopping, gambling, drugs or other addictions will never fill the void that is in your soul. Only God can change lives! Will you allow Him to change yours?

After embracing the Christian lifestyle and experiencing what TRUE joy brings, most people have no desire to return to the decadent, self-deprecating days in which they used to live. Granted that pull will always be there; the same enticement a drug addict, alcoholic or smoker encounter as they struggle each day to remain faithful.  God remains faithful. He’ll help you endure.

God doesn’t expect us to be perfect but sometimes we expect it from ourselves. When facing tough times,please don’t give up and exclaim, “Why bother? It’s not worth it!”   Because upon conquering addictions, (that ‘old man’ way of life) you’ll wonder,  “Why didn’t I overcome this sooner?” There is no feeling as victorious as conquering a destructive habit.

We’ll never find that eternally peaceful life in anything this world has to offer.  That’s only found in Christ! Love yourself as God loves you. Realize you have worth simply because you are!

Ephesians 4:24, “Put on your new nature, created to be like God–truly righteous and holy.”

Caffeine, Friend or Foe?

caffeine addictionCaffeine is in coffee, tea, soft drinks, chocolate and other items but how does it affect us and is it good or bad?

As in any food, moderation is the key. Caffeine is a drug and like any drug can change body chemistry. So here’s the good, the bad and the ugly on caffeine:

The Good:

  • Caffeine affects two brain transmitters called adenosine and acetylcholine. These are stimulants which wake us up, begin to jumpstart our metabolism and regulate our day.
  • Caffeine helps prevent cognitive impairment and recent studies have shown it can ward off Alzheimer’s as well as Parkinson’s disease. I truly hope that helps overcome those debilitating diseases!
  • Taken while studying or before a test, it can boost memory recall.
  • A little caffeine improves our mood.
  • Caffeine can dilate your bronchial tubes and therefore open our airways. This is helpful if we have a lung disease such as asthma or COPD.
  • The stimulant affect of coffee can lead to a more regulated digestive system.
  • Caffeine by itself contains no calories (but also has no nutritional value.) Chocolate, coffee and teas do contain many beneficial nutrients and are fine in moderation.
  • I believe the coffee bean was found in the Garden of Eden and therefore, like anything created by God was originally “very good.”

The Bad:

  • Caffeine is a natural diuretic and interferes with vitamin absorption.  By washing away valuable B vitamins, one cannot convert food into energy. If you find yourself gaining weight, cut down on your caffeine intake, but do so gradually to lesson withdrawal symptoms.
  • Caffeine is extremely addictive. One patient of mine consumed thirty cups of coffee each day and it took months to wean her off it.
  • Caffeine will remain in your system three to twelve hours. If I consume a cup of coffee or iced tea at noon, I won’t be able to sleep until midnight. My husband on the other hand can fall asleep immediately after drinking caffeinated products.
  • Too much caffeine dehydrates and ages, causing wrinkles and dry skin.
  • And how many can actually sit down and have a cup of coffee, cola or tea without having something to go with it like cake, cookies or potato chips?

The Ugly:

  • Caffeine is a stimulant which if taken in excess can cause sleep disturbances, rapid heartbeat, mood changes, migraines and tension headaches.
  • Since caffeine is a drug, it psychologically affects the mind. Coupled with its diuretic effects it can even be dangerous if consumed in excess. Thiamine and Niacin, two B vitamins influence the calming aspect of our personality. Do you know that people have actually gone crazy after niacin depletion occurred?  Yes food is that powerful! Which makes me question whether young people who consume so many caffeinated energy drinks today, are unknowingly influenced by that fact when school violence occurs today.
  • Caffeine depletes water soluble minerals, magnesium, potassium and calcium which regulate heart rhythms. Too much caffeine causes heart palpitations, increases blood pressure and weakens the heart muscle. It can also cause jitters and nervousness.
  • By depleting calcium, it affects bone loss, creating dangerous osteoporosis.

“All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything.”  (1 Corinthians 6:12)

My husband can drink caffeinated products and fall asleep easily. If I consume coffee at noon, I’m awake past midnight. We all have different chemical make-ups.  Today we live under grace and anything is fine in moderation. Choose what is good for you. Drink caffeinated products sensibly and in balance.

Is Instant Gratification Good or Bad For Us?

I believe in a Bible of Authority. God SPOKE and there was light. He SPOKE and the world came into existence. God SPOKE and the universe was created in an instant . . .

Have you ever noticed however, that God took time to create a man?  Why? That’s a curious action to meditate upon, isn’t it? Amazingly, He didn’t simply speak and automatically God forming manman existed. Rather He lovingly and thoughtfully formed man from the dust of the earth and breathed His own life’s breath into him.

“Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed.” Genesis 2: 7,8

It wasn’t long afterward however that man childishly demanded instant gratification. Paradise wasn’t enough, peacefully walking throughout Eden, communing with God wasn’t enough. Adam desired to be like God with the knowledge of good and evil. Well, we know how that turned out, don’t we? Satan rejoiced over man’s fall.

As Adam discovered, instant gratification can be a painful lesson over the long haul. And man hasn’t changed over 6,000 years!  As Ecclesiastes 1:9 declares, “What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.”(ESV)

Look at young celebrities who sign million dollar contracts and immediately fall to drugs, alcohol. gambling or other lifestyle debauchery. It’s too much, too soon. The reward came before the discipline to maintain it. The same can be said regarding many lottery winners and sports stars. Instant gratification produced a downfall.

When one gets married nowadays, many instantly purchase the huge, immaculately furnished home with the beautifully manicured lawn and two car garage for their his and her brand new automobiles. The 60 inch HD screen lies impressively on the media room’s surround-sound wall, so playing the latest video game system is pure pleasure. Instant reward! Until the bills outweigh the income and the filing of bankruptcy begins.

So it is with losing weight too quickly on pie-in-the-sky fad diets as well! “Lose 10 lbs. in 7 days!” It bankrupts the spirit and doesn’t teach anything. Sadly after someone finishes a fad diet plan, the weight piles back on when the old eating habits return. This doesn’t teach the underlying reasons why we eat as we do. Even worse, the dieter will gain back fat to replace the muscle lost. This bankrupts the soul, making a Christian feel like a failure . . . and Satan rejoices.

Since God wants us to be the healthiest we can be, it was no secret how He wanted man to eat. God told us in Genesis 1:9 and Genesis 9:3.  We don’t need a PhD to understand, just a heart willing to work for it. When one knows physiology, he recognizes how complicated our bodily machinery is. I would hope you wouldn’t place sugar and Crisco in your gas tank so why would you place junk food in your body?

God knew it was good for man to work for what he receives.  When man builds his own house with his own hands, he’ll take pride in that accomplishment and will care about the upkeep. When someone loses weight using personal discipline and God’s sensible culinary plan, he’ll have a stake in keeping the weight off. What one treasures, one takes care of!