Find Healthy Support Thru A Redwood Forest Analogy

This has been my most viewed (and most “copied”) post in the past 5 years so I thought it bore repeating, especially this time of year:

If you’re attempting a  healthier lifestyle, you shouldn’t do it alone. Find someone to be your Champion – someone to hold you accountable, encourage, motivate and celebrate your victories with. A friend who will support you like a Redwood tree!

Have you ever driven through the magnificent Redwood National Forest in northern California?  As you gazed upon those majestic 350 foot tall trees towering above you, you probably thought as I did, Man, their roots must tunnel 50 ft. into the earth! 

Amazingly, that’s not the case. Their roots are only a few feet deep! So what’s to prevent them from toppling over and being destroyed, you ask, when diaster strikes? Surprisingly, support from fellow trees.

“Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let the sea resound, and all that is in it; let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them. Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy;” (Psalm 96: 11,12)

As Christians we can learn valuable lessons from the Redwoods by copying their support system when trials occur in our lives.

1.  The tree’s root structure supports each other by interlocking their shallow roots with the other Redwoods surrounding them. When under duress, the older trees buttress each other by developing roots on the downward side of those under stress. The younger trees are bolstered up by the older ones, thus supporting the younger generation.

When we recognize someone struggling to become healthier in mind, body and spirit, do we encourage or hinder them? Do we strengthen them with Scripture or sabotage them with tempting treats or disparaging statements? Allow them to struggle on their own? Everyone needs some  “atta-boys” to keep them going along their pathways to health. Do we offer wise, practical strategies or defeatist advice?

2.  The charring of their bark actually makes them stronger!

When exposed to challenges like fire, they develop a protective shield.

Has God strengthened you through challenges? Many have gone through the worst that man can dish out; drug, mental or sexual abuse, abandonment, cancer or other health obstacles, but inwardly they’ve strong. They’re still standing!

3.  A fallen Redwood will ultimately branch out and grow. Still useful; its roots become other trees.

Never give up simply because you face obstacles. Overcoming adversity and temptation makes us stronger, wiser and more confident. Pass along those life skills to help others because God bestowed them on you for a reason.(Genesis 50:20)

Just as in life, some young trees won’t survive, but many will because of the support of older trees.  Proverbs 22:6. Young Redwoods are more vulnerable, just like young Christians.  Instill in them that growth is a valuable process.

4.  Surprisingly, the chemical composition of the bark is distasteful and even poisonous to termites and other pests! Develop ‘Bodily Armour of God’ so strong  that even the demons don’t dare to bother us!

5.  Which brings me to my last point.  The bark of the Redwood is a foot thick!  Fire and man are the Redwoods only natural enemies, similar to trials and worldly temptations for Christians. Strive to develop a thicker skin when criticized. Whether it’s about being too “thin,” too “heavy” or too “Christian,” the only one we need to impress is our Lord.  Stand fast. Never give in to peer pressure.

Everyone needs a support system.

“For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up.” (Ecclesiastes 4:10)

 

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You’re an Individual, Lose Weight as One!

Everyone’s lives are chemically differently with various bone structure and stress levels so there’s really no “one-size-fits-all” diet plan.  Besides you don’t want to rely on a “diet” – you want to change your lifestyle.

An adult’s caloric intake should never drop below 1200 calories or your metabolism will begin shutting down and physiologically you’ll gain when you eat “normally” again. Keep things simple, slow and steady. I suggest reducing 500 “junky” calories per day x 7 days = 3500 calories which equals a pound of fat loss safely per week. Add daily exercise and you’ll lose even more of course.

You must eat!!! Starvation never works.Your body is like an engine. It needs to be kept powered with energy to produce energy; that’s the First Law of Thermodynamics. So strive to consume mini-meals throughout the day.

Keeping it simple, here’s a suggested sensible typical daily eating plan that can be adapted to fit your schedule:

For Breakfast:  Choose 4-8 oz. of good quality yogurt, Dannon Natural or Mountain High are my favorites. Eat yogurt first. Why? Because the good bacteria strengthens your immune system’s digestion track. (Also the natural   liquid whey contains weight loss properties.)

Most nutrients get dispersed out of the small intestine so if it’s clogged up, it can’t function properly. In a hurry? Create a quick smoothie with yogurt, a banana, orange juice, ice and 1% milk.  I call it my “magnesium-potassium” shake.

Then consume 3/4 cup of a high fiber (5 grams +) flavorful cereal like Great Grains, Shredded Wheat, Raisin Bran, Grape nuts, Kashi products. If you have high cholesterol, choose soluble fiber which turns into a gel, like oatmeal, reducing bad cholesterol. Insoluble fiber, like bran, push waste through your digestion system so you’ll absorb nutrients efficiently.  Add a banana, raisins or berries for additional fiber. Use almond, soy, 1% milk (2% is 40% fat).

Carbohydrates remain 15 minutes – 3 hours in your digestive system, depending on the amount of fiber contained in the carbs which lasts longer. Then increase water. You’ll feel fuller because fiber expands, which also slows down insulin dispersion.

Mid-morning:  Bring a snack to work like a 1/4 cup of walnuts, an apple, red grapes, banana or other fruit for brain function. Your brain feeds primarily on glucose.

Lunch:  Choose low-sodium or homemade soups, a salad with protein/colorful greens for nutrients, a low-sodium  microwaveble meal, a small  veggie/low-cal sandwich, one brought from home on whole wheat.  You can also bring ‘planned-overs’ from last night’s dinner.

Proteins last in your system from 2-4 hours. We only burn up about 30 grams of protein in 2 1/2 hours so don’t over-indulge!

Afternoon snack: If you won’t arrive home until late, try carrot sticks, 2 thin slices of light cheese on 4 Triscuits. a tablespoon of peanut butter on two low-fat crackers, apple or a cup of herbal tea.

Home now, go for a walk to relieve stress or listen to music, take a short bath and de-stress before eating.

Dinner: Lots of choices!! Consume 3-4 oz. of lean protein, sirloin, pork loin, chicken breast, shrimp, crab, tuna, any white fish.

Eat 5x’s more water-based vegetables than meat, (broccoli, garden salad, sliced tomatoes, cucumbers) a whole grain such as a baked potato, pasta, corn, peas, bread.  Avoid frying your food and enjoy the taste of grilled, broasted or baked choices.  Add olive oil or canola oil to your salads and use real butter sparingly.

Desserts?  Indulge in one individual dark Dove, Ghirardelli or other fine high quality chocolate and savor the taste.

You’re in control now.  Making the right decisions is empowering!!!

“But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.” (1 Corinthians 9:27)

Losing Weight Through a Balanced pH System

Let’s discuss how the body’s PH scale is pertinent to weight loss. Okay, okay, I can hear you grumbling now . . .  gosh I’m back in school. I promise I’ll make it interesting.  

First what is the pH scale?

Visualize a vertical line numbered from 1-14 with water right smack in the middle, neutral at 7.0. Anything above 7.0 is an alkaline item and anything below is acidic. The stomach is 2.0 – 3.0. It must be that acidic in order to aid digestion processes.

When your body’s PH is alkaline, it’s not as hungry! Try drinking water with lemon with meals.

Now I know what you’re thinking . . . “but Ellie, lemon is so sour, how can it NOT be acidic?” That’s true – lemons, limes, grapefruit begin as an acidic element but transforms into an alkaline product as it metabolizes.  Isn’t God amazing?!  And some think this just “happened by chance.”

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

Most people who suffer from an illness are acidic. Stress creates an acidic environment. When you’re ill or under stress, your body is forced to borrow minerals such as calcium, potassium and magnesium from your bones or vital organs to neutralize the acid and remove it safely from your system. These same minerals regulate your heart function!

Prolonged stress can cause acute diseases, so take steps to relax. Although the verdict’s still out on whether an alkaline diet prevents cancer, it does make biological sense, doesn’t it? By eating fruits and vegetables, the body maintains a healthy PH and therefore in most cases avoids disease and cancers.

Important: Soft drinks, especially those with artificial sweeteners, make the body acidic!  Is it worth the risk? (And now you’re hungrier so it kind of defeats the purpose, doesn’t it?)

Keeping your PH between 7.3 – 7.45 is considered ideal. Remember your body is 55-70% water. Balance is the key! Alkaline foods consist primarily of fruits and vegetables.

Therefore if anything below 7.0  is acidic, meats, dairy, sugars, caffeine, alcohol and anything processed are all acidic products. Now you’re saying, “But Ellie that’s how my family eats!”  Bingo, that’s the stereotypical American diet and that’s why we’re such a sick society today!!!  Asian countries don’t eat this way.  Their daily diet consists of vegetables, rice, very little meat. Asian countries also have less cancers.

Eating needn’t be complicated. An alkaline diet is mostly vegetarian. Remember what I told you previously? Eat 5x’s more fruits, vegetables and whole grains as meat (3-4 oz) on your plate. Now it’s visual.

Here’s a partial list of beneficial alkaline foods, but remember that anything’s fine in moderation:

  • Fats: Almond nuts, olive, canola, flaxseed oil
  • Grains: Quinoa, wild rice, amaranth, millet, oats
  • Sugars: maple syrup, Stevia
  • Vegetables: tomatoes, mushrooms, potato skins, olives, carrots, corn on the cob, lettuce, beets, sweet potatoes, squash, green beans, cabbage, peas, raw spinach, asparagus, onions, raw spinach, broccoli, garlic
  • Fruits: apples, melons, mangoes, papaya, blueberries, oranges, pears, raisins, bananas, peaches, pineapple, grapes, avocado
  • milk: soy products, feta goat cheese

Bottom line: Eat Balanced.  A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, whole grains, soy products and plenty of water will build your immune system.  Too many processed foods, caffeine, dairy, white sugar, meats and white flour products will destroy your godly temple. Change your thinking, your family’s diet and leave a legacy of health to your future generations.

Deciphering the “Why” Behind Your Motive for Eating

This is probably the 3rd day of your “diet.”  How’s it going? Is it one you want to continue forever? It should be; for those are the only ones that truly work! So start noticing and caring about what you eat and what prompted you to eat it.

Care about yourself as much as God cares about you. What we care about, we take care of.

If your Mom gave you her beautiful wedding dress, your Dad’s watch or an autographed picture of Babe Ruth, you wouldn’t toss it on the floor, in a junk drawer or use it to squash a bug off a window would you?  No of course not, you would care for it, cherishing it as the heirloom it is.

If you care less about your health than an heirloom, ask yourself why that is? What’s preventing you from becoming healthier?

Dale Carnegie once stated that no one does anything they don’t want to do. This is true.  Even if someone holds a gun to your head and demands money, you give it to him because you don’t want to die. We might not like it but we do it because there is a pay-off. A pay-off is receiving something of value for our actions, whether it’s attention, sympathy, liberation or revenge.

Start being honest with yourself because it is the first step in mental, physical and spiritually growth. Here are a few of the questions to consider regarding why you eat as you do.

1. Is it selfishness?  “I want that pudding and I want it now!”  Was that how you responded as a child or is it how you act now simply because you’re a grown-up and you can do anything you want? (nanananana!)

Our childhood influences how we react today because our parents first influenced us through their habits. Was your dinner table a time of great festivity or one of controlling issues? As you eat today, are you searching for independence or to regain warm family memories?

2. Is it laziness? “I’d have to discipline myself and it’s too haaaaard (whine) to eat right. I’ll just try again tomorrow.”

Today is the only day you have and tomorrow never comes. Either beat your body into submission and say no, or choose to walk an extra mile to burn off that chocolate  donut you ate.  I Corinthians 9:27, “But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.”

3. Do you feel you deserve it? Were you good all day and didn’t tell your boss off when he drove you crazy? As your reward you’ll delve into a dish of ice cream this afternoon. After all “I was so good.”

Come on . . . go for a walk or find a punching bag and hit it to let off steam.  Why should you self-destruct just because someone else is an idiot? (Said with all Christian love of course)

4. Or are you a member of the “stinkin’-thinkin'” club? “I’m a loser, I can never succeed at anything and I’ll just fail at this too, so why bother?” Well God doesn’t make junk and you are a child of the King! Behave like one! Start with small goals to build confidence.

Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”

It takes strength of character to overcome a habit. Create small goals and as you do so you’ll become more disciplined along the way. It’s a wonderful feeling to overcome “self.” But first understand the “why.” Then you can begin to overcome an unhealthy eating habit.

 

Good Intentions and Physiological Truths

This time of year everyone “resolves” to lose weight. A tightrope walker doesn’t resolve to walk across the rope, he commits himself to successfully completing his goal every time!

When we get married, we don’t resolve to love the person we are marrying. “Gee I hope I can love them forever . . . ” No, we vow to remain committed to them through good and challenging times.

I’d rather people commit themselves to becoming healthier than resolving to lose weight.

Health is more important than weight loss. When one eats right, they naturally become slimmer because the body’s homeostasis kicks in. Homeostasis is simply a fancy word for the body’s natural innate physiological balance.

Throughout the holiday season, from Thanksgiving to New Year’s, you, like me, probably attended a myriad of special events, parties and other functions. We bring out the best of our recipes to honor those around us.

Trouble is, most of these special culinary delights are loaded with fats and simple sugars creating an acidic environment in which our body labors for proper balance. There is nothing wrong with a little natural sugar or butter occasionally but now we must start to rid ourselves of the toxins which rage within our system, preventing an optimum healthy environment.

Many vow to begin a new year with a clean slate. They create resolutions – to resolve to “do better” through sheer willpower. I resolve to lose 50 pounds or not consume chocolate.

I’d urge you, rather than “resolve,” to commit to a healthier lifestyle:

1. Be mentally ready or you are simply spinning your wheels, wasting time. You’ll lose of course but if you can’t reach or maintain a particular diet goal, you’ll start to yo-yo, losing muscle and gaining fat back.

2. Educate/research before falling for a false diet plan. Everyone is on some kind of diet, for a diet is only what one consumes each day. The only good “diet” is one you can sustain for a lifetime! So create a balanced one with more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds and herbs as God encouraged in Genesis 1:29.

3. There is no secret formula to weight loss. True health comes from a balanced plan of nutrient-dense natural foods. (Mediterranean, DASH or Volumetric plans.) God originally created every nutrient in the Garden for a specific purpose; to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Mankind messed it up.

Stay away from the artificial chemicals, dyes, preservatives and unnatural man-made products as much as possible. Those cannot metabolize in the liver. There they fester, creating a human chemistry lab where all sorts of diseases and cancers could evolve.

Commit yourself to becoming healthier. It’s not simply a matter of willpower. It’s more complicated than that. It’s a matter of understanding physiology and how the hypothalamus controls your appetite and regulates nutrients. It’s a matter of emotions connected to food. Use my search engine to read my post: Sometimes a cookie isn’t “just a cookie” to understand how our feelings connect to our food choices.

Don’t  believe the lies of today’s false diet gurus who profess, “surely you won’t die if you try this diet plan.” As a nutritional counselor for over 25 years, I can assure you that yes, some do die following false prophets of hope.

“So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body.” (Ephesians 4:25 NLT)

I am committing myself to posting more often this month to provide mental, physical and spiritual truth to those who are desperate to lose weight. I’m begging you to avoid those who profess outrageous dietary claims.  Stay tuned.

 

Thinking of “Dieting?” Let’s Be Practical, Read This!

It’s nearly the start of the “Diet-Season” when millions enthusiastically begin a diet on January 2nd and . . . usually fall off that bandwagon three weeks later. Why?

Failing on a diet plan is usually not because we don’t know what we should do. Most realize we:  1. eat less 2. exercise more 3. slow down and 4. drink water, etc., etc. . . . Yet we fail time and time again, even when we believe we are doing the right thing! That’s frustrating and self-defeating.

Weight loss is much more than mere willpower. There is no magic formula. Since we are each uniquely created, it’s primarily an individually  mental, physiological and Spiritual challenge. It’s also a matter of understanding the scientific reasons behind the “why” we can self-destruct.

My book, “Life’s Too Short to Eat Bad Cheese . . .” will make the perfect  motivational New Year’s gift this year. It’s not simply another diet book. With over 241 pages of practical lifestyle applications, it encourages a brand new mental, physical and spiritual approach to becoming a New Creation:

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

“Life’s Too Short to Eat Bad Cheese” (Nutritional & Life Lessons God Teaches Us) addresses such topics as:

  1. Strive for excellence, not perfection
  2. Why losing weight isn’t simply a matter of willpower!
  3. Why sometimes a cookie isn’t “just a cookie”
  4. Why dieting is like the Westminster Dog Show
  5. Why you can’t outsmart a fat cell
  6. Why physiologically, fad diets never work
  7. The secrets to weight loss success and so much more!

Truth is, God never meant for us to live on complicated, fallacy-laden, restrictive diet plans which clearly reject our Maker’s fundamental psychological, physiological and spiritual wishes.

Healthy-living is not adhering to a “penance principle” of restriction and suffering.  God set Adam in a Garden for a reason and provided the perfect Master Plan for health. Yet people needlessly consume “magic” formulas: “sticks and twigs,” processed packaged foods, drink tasteless protein shakes or restrict their diet needlessly.

Why? There is no need to deny oneself chocolate, cheese, eggs, potatoes, bananas, shrimp or any other food while consuming only rice cakes and celery. Avoidance and flagellation will not get one closer to God unless he enjoys living as a monk!

God gave us the perfect dietary plan in Genesis 1:29 and 9:3. He also instilled us with common sense. I address the fact that we’ve each been formed uniquely with a different chemical make-up. There is no one-size-fits-all diet plan but there are physiological truths we should live by!

“Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for God’s glory.” (1 Corinthians 10:31)

Discover true vitality through a sensible every day eating plan, honoring God in the process!

“Life’s Too Short to Eat Bad Cheese” is filled with realistic illustrations, practical applications and beneficial common sense! If one concentrates on nutrients, they will naturally be healthier because their body will crave healthier choices while resisting uncontrollable cravings. But how does one do that??? I explain how.

Read this book to discover by which means you can become stronger, develop strategies and routinely overcome temptation, becoming confident as a New Creation!

UPDATE: Don’t be dismayed (if it’s still there) by seeing the amazon price of $47.82 – amazon is holding my publisher hostage in order to receive 40% commission! The Ingram Group is negotiating for us.

The paperback book can be purchased from Outskirts Press at the very affordable price of $13.46, or amazon.com or Barnes and Noble as well as in e-book format for only $7 on  https://outskirtspress.com/lifestooshorttoeatbadcheese.

Please don’t give up and settle for second best!  You are worth far more than that!

Surviving the “Eating” Season

This time of year, one might receive more dinner party invitations than time allows. So how can one stick with an eating plan without adding inches to the waistline? First, don’t stress out.

ELLIE’S “HOLIDAY HEALTHY-EATING” PLAN

Policies to Strive For: 

  • Start out with a (if possible) smaller  plate. Strive for 5x’s more vegetables covering it than meat. Simple. No weighing or measuring.
  • Cover your plate with nutrient dense vegetables such as broccoli, asparagus, green beans, peas, red/green peppers, onions, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts.  (Physiologically, these foods create an alkaline environment in which cancer cells cannot thrive.)
  • Consume 4-5 cups of vegetables daily. Vegetables are primarily water so you’ll hydrate yourself while consuming nutrients and fiber!
  • Lean meats:  3-4 ounces of lean meat is all you need at one time, (approximate the size of a deck of cards).
  • Your body needs variety. Vitamins, minerals, amino acids, enzymes, phytonutrients have different responsibilities. Everything’s meant to work together for good. Disregarding a vital nutrient will change your body’s chemistry.

Don’t allow guilt or faulty thinking to blind you to facts:

Many dieters avoid beef.  There’s no need to do so. London Broil, Filet Mignon, Sirloin Steak, Tenderloin, eye of round or top round have approximately 6 grams of fat per 3.5 oz serving.  Dark meat chicken, (legs/thighs) actually has a higher fat content at 11 grams per serving.

Beef also contains high amounts of B12 which is an energy vitamin!  That doesn’t mean you should eat beef every night. Consume  chicken, turkey or pork for variety. But a steak sandwich?  No problem.  Grill Sirloin, slice 3 oz, place on a whole grain roll, smother it in grilled mushrooms, peppers and onions, even add a thin slice of mozzarella. Include a green salad with 1 tbsp dressing. Are you suffering? No. Food should have flavor and be enjoyable to eat!

Lean pork, (loin) contains Thiamine, the “feel-good” vitamin.  Add herbs, garlic, fruit, seasonings and consume nutrients!

Any broiled, grilled or baked fish; Tilapia, salmon, Swai, halibut, codfish, shrimp are wonderful additions to your eating plan.  Add seasoning such as lemon, herbs, wine or salsa over fish for variety.

Add a whole grain; potatoes, corn, brown rice, barley, pasta. You mean I can eat potatoes too?  Aren’t potatoes bad for me?  A potato contains vitamins A, E, D, K, C, B1, B2, B3, B6, folate, choline, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper, manganese and selenium. Does that sound like something God wants you to avoid?  Resist covering with tons of butter, sour cream or drowning it in oil and it’ll stay healthy. Sweet potatoes are even more nutritious!

Pasta? Again, buy fibrous whole grain. Create tomato sauces with lots of vegetables! I’ve replaced heavy cream with a smaller amount of Neuchâtel/light cream cheese and parmesan, creating a fabulous 20% fat alfredo sauce!

Your typical dinner should look like this:  60% fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains. 15% comprise grilled, broiled or baked lean protein. The rest, 25%, can be filled with good fats: olive, canola oil, avocados, salad dressing, coconut, nuts or an occasional desert. We are adults, we live under grace and we can choose what we want.

Begin your New Year determined to be a New Creation.

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