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!

Live in the Moment? Really?

rosesThere is a popular expression which encourages us to “Live in the Moment.” At one time even I thought, sure sounds good. Live for today, live like you would die tomorrow! Then I saw what “living in the moment” actually is.

As I saw my mother slip further away in her mind, she began to live in the moment. At first it was the communication “loop.” She mentioned the same thought over and over again. Gradually she lost track of time. I heard repeatedly how she found a $5 bill on the ground just last week, even though I knew it was two years ago. Eventually over time she didn’t recognize her family and forgot any had called or visited previously. Once time passes, so do the memories.

My mother left a strong, independent legacy for me. If I complained she instructed me, “Now say two good things.” She’d never allow me to live in self-pity. If I complained about our material possessions, she’d mention that there were children without (food, shoes, homes) and be content with what we had. I learned to look for the bright side of any situation and took pro-active actions to encourage others because of her positive personality.

Memories have purpose!

Good or bad we never forget our childhood experiences until we suffer from dementia. How would we feel if we didn’t remember the faces of our childhood friends, family vacations, birthday parties or senior prom? That’s what living in the moment means. There is no past. Sure it might be great to cease to remember a painful break-up, failed test or a school humiliation. There have been times life when I simply wanted to crawl into a hole until the pain dissipated. Let time pass.

Is there anything good about bad memories?  Yes, because weren’t they turned into learning experiences? The trials allowed us to discern a faithful relationship, strive for more study discipline and overcome stressful situations. When we know better we do better. That’s only accomplished thru time and experience. God has a purpose for everything He does.

God gave us our memories for a reason. Memories mold, comfort, teach and encourage us. Memories are my most cherished treasure. We either learn from our mistakes and better ourselves or wallow in our misery, holding on to regrets and grudges. Why drag that baggage around for eternity?

God loves us just as we are but please strive to represent Him, building memories of excellence, for this world is NOT our home! Remember it is only what we do for our Lord that matters in life.

What would it feel like to wake up one morning and not remember your past? Not recognize your spouse, children, friends anymore? That’s what living in the moment really means. But your loved ones will remember you well after you are gone. What legacy of memories did you leave them? Leave Godly ones and they will meet you there!

 “For, All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord endures forever. And this is the word that was preached to you.”  (1 Peter 1: 24,25)

 

 

 

A Tribute to a Remarkable Woman: My Mom

My mother went to be with the Lord last Saturday. She will be greatly missed but never forgotten. Having  a kind heart, she thought of others before herself. Even in death she donated her body to science. As a remarkable woman, she taught her children the value of many things, not the least among them were courage, resolve and integrity.1949 ~ Mom about age 20

When I was seven, our family went to the fair. I walked alone with my brother and watched as he played carnival games. The attendant wondered why I wasn’t playing. “I have no money,” I said but promised to come back. As we approached mom and dad, I told them what I had vowed. My father was furious because we were dirt poor farmers and even a quarter was a lot of money. But my mom knew I had given my word. “A person’s word is their bond,” she protested. So we promptly went back, I gave the man a quarter and quickly lost it on a stupid game. But the lesson I learned stayed with me. She taught me integrity. When one says they’re going to do something, follow through.

In life, she overcame many personal challenges. She was born in Brooklyn, NY, yet never saw the top of the Empire State Building. She had a fear of heights. That fear was rectified when she earned her pilot’s license. In 1976 she viewed that top of the Empire State Building as she piloted her grandchildren and me to JFK to reconnect  with my husband in Germany. “Can’t means won’t try!” still resounds in my memory!

My mom grew up as the daughter and granddaughter of ministers dating back to Jonathan Edwards. But when she married, she converted to my father’s religion. That violent, abusive man wouldn’t know love/charity if it bit him. She stayed for us but when I was 13 he deserted the family. It was the only good gift he ever gave. Mom was never a quitter. Adjusting to her circumstances, she taught us to make the best of ours. My brother and two sisters are all successful because of this determined, faithful, Godly mother.

Our mother worked three jobs to keep us together and off welfare. I resented that at the time; feeling abandoned once again. I didn’t know until much later why she did it; she and her siblings were separated after her father died. Families stayed together! With determination and a knack for turning challenges into opportunities, three jobs became one when she eventually became a Broker/Realtor and practically owned that small town. She patiently took challenges one step at a time.

When asked why God allows such horrible events to happen to the innocent, it concerns me. Why not us? God didn’t even spare His own Son. Jesus endured pain, betrayal, heartache and everything we experience on Earth to be a Savior for us. If our father hadn’t abandoned us, mom wouldn’t have come back to her Christian roots and we wouldn’t have been saved. Lastly, we can either endure/overcome trials, crumble or develop a sense of humor. (Boy could our mom tell a joke! In fact she wore an Energizer Bunny costume for a variety show.) I prefer humor.

My mother is at peace now after facing one challenge she couldn’t conquer, dementia. But I rejoice that she is having the best reunion with the saints in Heaven! And when I see her again, it’ll be as the young beautiful spirit she once was. God is Good.

“Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.”  (Proverbs 31:25)

Run An Individual Race

running a race“You were running the race so well. Who has held you back from following the truth?” (Galatians 5:7)

We are each unique. Isn’t that wonderful? However there are always people who want to live someone else’s life: desiring a larger home, more income, even a smaller waistline. Truth is, many will get sidetracked and run a meaningless rat-race to win a worldly prize which turns to dust! Goals are beneficial but should always fit into God’s plans for our life. It’s only what we do for our Lord that lasts.

Embarrassing Confession: When I was in high school I was downright ugly. How I had wished I had been born pretty. Even my son once, after he found my yearbook photo joked, “Mom, did you like yourself back then?” So believe me, I was quite plain. I figured since I was never going to a beauty I better develop a personality to be noticed. So that’s what I worked on.

My favorite book during my teenage years was Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People. I kept striving to be friendlier, kinder, interested in others, etc. and eventually succeeded when I was elected VP and then president of my school. That  book’s basic principles, along with The Bible, became my learning tools throughout life. God taught me that if I ran my own race, I’d never want to be anyone but me. That produced a happier life.

People who are never satisfied with the bounty God has given them are not joyful, contented residents on Earth. They rush around striving for what they’ll never achieve and even when reaching a goal, are never satisfied with the final result. They are like spoiled children at Christmas who open present after present and after opening them all ask, “Is that everything?”  They were happy for a moment and then looked around, wishing for even more.

Trying to be someone else enslaves us to another’s opinion. Remember God looks at our spirit! A grateful, contented smile is the most beautiful asset you’ll ever own.

“For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love.” (Galatians 5:13)

True freedom is powerful! Even a prisoner will find freedom within his confines if he has godly peace within. For in his chains, his repentant Christian testimony will inspire others. What imprisons you? Are you imprisoned by smoking, weight gain, drug use or other harmful habit? Look for godly ways to conquer these addictions, taking it one step at a time. There is no instant gratification.

Yes, it’ll take time. Therefore make your goals realistic. For example, if someone is large-boned, they will never be a size 2 without looking emaciated. Second, develop discipline. If one is small in stature, eating smaller portions and creating a workout to keep that physique is essential. Everything in life has a cost but remember, you are the only one who lives inside your body. Choose wisely.

Allowing God to be your Coach will get you past the Finish Line. Overcoming an addictive habit for some might be a sprint, for others a marathon. Run your own race. Stop comparing yourself to others. Start finding success in small personal goals because accomplishing a goal builds confidence! A confident attitude will draw others to you; for by conquering addiction, you have conquered the chains of a sinful nature. You’ve become a New Creation in Christ!

If We Want to Be Great at Anything . . .

Recently I read an exceptional article by author/blogger Anne R. Allen entitled: “Don’t derail your writing career before it starts” found at http://annerallen.com.  Totally inspirational! I trust it will inspire you too!

Seeing life through a Spiritual lens, I instantly recognized a correlation between writing successfully to our Christian walk and/or healthier lifestyle.writing a novel photo

Anne R. Allen began: “We all make mistakes. It’s how we learn. But some mistakes have the potential to end a writing career before it starts. Today I’m talking about the things a lot of writers do that can keep them from having a career—or derail it for a long time. How do I know about them? I did a lot of this stuff myself.”

Ms. Allen, a brilliant, accomplished author, is humble regarding her successful career. She didn’t brag about being the best novelist since Charlotte Bronte; rather she gives credit to those around her who encouraged and assisted her toward that success. She infers how we don’t live in a vacuum; it truly takes a team to create a well-rounded work. I also acknowledge that without other friend’s expertize advising and cheering me on, my most recent work, Casey’s Journey, would have been a struggle.

Have you seen the movie, Becoming Jane or Little Women? Jane Austen and Louisa May Alcott weren’t successful overnight were they? They had plenty of rejections, tossed away pages and rewritten manuscripts. Thankfully however, they never quit. But what if they had given up, discouraged by those rejection letters? We never would have the masterpieces we have today!

Compare this with any lifestyle endeavor. Please don’t derail any healthy lifestyle quest by giving up, feeling defeated or quit out of fear. As a nutritional counselor, one remark I often heard was, “Why did I wait so long to do this?!” Expecting perfection, fear of failure or even fear of success holds us back. (After all, if I’m successful in this, they’ll expect more from me!)

That victorious feeling after conquering challenges and insecurities is worth the struggle. (Which coincidentally is one theme in my first novel, Sometimes Marriage is a Real Crime, shameless plug.) We’ll continually make mistakes so learn from them and move on, strive for excellence not perfection.

It takes practice to write well. Don’t expect perfection right away or ever. My first manuscript took forever to finish because I was afraid of embarrassing imperfections and grammar mistakes. It’s been decades since I’ve attended school and punctuation has changed over the years. If we want to succeed, we must keep working at it! As a Christian, I’ll never be perfect so please don’t look at me, look to Christ.

We’ll make mistakes in our lifestyle challenges too. Regarding physical and spiritual health: Always look for Truth. Notice all the fad diets over the years? And yet if you compare those with sensible physiology, (truth) we can disregard 99% of them as fads (untruths!) It was extremely satisfying recently to discover health “experts” declaring the Mediterranean Diet as the Best of the Best. Really? I’ve been saying that for twenty-five years. It’s the Biblical Diet from Genesis 9:3 which God gave us first; Physiological Truth!

Last but not least, Anne proposed: in order to be a great writer, we need to be avid readers. If I want to write intelligent works I must read intelligent novelists. Likewise, if we desire a healthier lifestyle, we must compare current health claims to the Great Physician’s Manuscript, The Bible.

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters,” (Colossians 3:23)