Who Says You Can’t Teach An Old Dog New Tricks?

Do you know anyone who has ever complained “Well, I’m too old to change now, so they’ll simply have to accept me as I am!”

Doesn’t that remind you of the saying that states, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? Oh, you can’t? To that, I say “Hogwash!” One should never stop learning and well . . .  actually dogs can learn new tricks!

Case in point: Our twelve year old Cocker Spaniel (84 in dog years) has more miles on him than most people. He has traveled throughout New121208 01732 states and has lived with us in 5 of them. He’s adapted to different climates with different yards, play areas, gravel and grass. He has chased birds on the beaches of Maine and Florida as well as walked around Devil’s Tower, Wyoming and the deserts and Grand Canyon of Arizona.

Since he’s previously only lived in a motorhome or one story homes, we were concerned about our new home’s stairs. How would he handle it? Our newest home has two stories and we were unsure how he’d manage climbing up and down eleven steps at his age.

Turned out to be no problem at all! All that exercise has transformed him into a lean, mean,  sweet licking machine! He acts younger today than he did five years ago. His mind and his body remain active.

In fact, we can learn an important lesson from an old dog. Change is good for the mind, body and soul!  The brain needs stimulation, new habits rejuvenate us and when a bad habit is conquered, our soul praises our Lord. So why do we settle for mediocrity? If we have the desire, anything is possible!  Our Cocker simply wanted to go outside in his yard and chase squirrels and birds more than he wanted to hang around the house on his soft cushy bed!

Why do you want to to hang around becoming a couch-potato? Discover an adventure, create a goal! When it comes to health, ask yourself how much do you want it? Going through the motions isn’t much fun when it’s boring, so pack some stimulating goals in your life! Create smaller, reachable goals and reward yourself with a non-food item after each one is reached.

It takes three weeks to create a habit. If you had started at the beginning of the year, that aspiration has already been reached. Isn’t that wonderful?

“But Ellie, I messed up and I stopped doing what I wanted to do. I got discouraged and quit.”

You’re not alone, even the Apostle Paul had frustrations with that, so you are in good company.

“I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” (Romans 7:15)

Even Paul wasn’t perfect and he knew it. Do you expect perfection when it’s unattainable? Let me ask you. If you were on your way to Disney World for a family vacation but took a wrong turn, would you turn around and say to your family, “Sorry kids, I’ve made a mistake. Looks like we’ll have to head back home”?

Of course you wouldn’t! You’d find the right highway and head toward your destination. Give yourself this same motivational self-talk when you stumble toward a goal:  “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”  (Philippians 3:14)

We’re not perfect and humans will make mistakes every day.  Successful people overcome challenges! How much do you want success?

Book Tour Through Blogland

tour-through-blogland[1]Congratulations to Mary A. Perez on the release of her new novel, Running in Heels, debuting  February 23rd!

Running in Heels is her personalized coming-of-age story of a Puerto Rican girl seeking love and security. Living with her difficult mother, then married to an abusive man twice her age, she overcomes insurmountable obstacles as faith and hope never fail! It’s an intriguing premise and I urge you to check it out at  http://maryaperez.com/

It is my honor and I thank Mary, for asking me to participate in her Tour Through Blogland.

Describing My Creative Process:

1.  What are you currently working on/writing?

My current book, “Life’s Too Short to Eat Bad Cheese” (Nutritional and Life Lessons God Teaches Us) has recently been released and I am now in the midst of publicizing it. It provides light-hearted yet convicting insight regarding our mental, physical and spiritual connection to food. Physiology: Why do I crave certain foods and why willpower alone won’t overcome it. Practical Application: God does not want us to suffer through some crazy diet plan. That’s why He placed Adam in a Garden; every nutrient we need to sustain life can be found there! Nevertheless, humans needlessly create their own crazy formulas which only destroy while Satan laughs. Spirituality: Why, when we know we want to follow God’s Will, do we self-destruct anyway? 9781478731818_cov.ai

2.  How is what you write different from others of the same genre?

“Life’s Too Short to Eat Bad Cheese . . .” is not another diet book. It’s a Biblical philosophy meant to motivate and generate godly action. Using personal education through practical Biblical applications, one discovers how the past and present influences our response to food today.

3.  Why do you write what you do?

My main purpose is to motivate others to be the best example of a disciplined Christian. That is my ministry. We are commanded by God to “Be holy because I am Holy.” (1 Peter 1:16) but many fail to do so.

As a certified nutritional counselor, I realize almost every “dieter” knows what to do but doesn’t. James 2:19 states that even the demons believe in God, but fail to do what He says. Head knowledge without heart knowledge is dead. Real change occurs from within. “As a man thinketh within himself, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7) How can our mind, body and spirit control our beliefs? Through sensible solutions, the reader discovers how.

4.  What is your creative process?

I find creativity everywhere! There is a correlation between nutrition and spirituality all around us. I find inspiration not only in the Bible but as I walk my dog, drive, listen to sermons and what I read. My only challenge is remembering to transfer these to paper before they are lost in the vapors of my mind. When the muse hits however, I can write for eight hours nonstop. When one loves what they do, it’s a joy! Find yours!

Thank you again Mary, for inviting me along for the journey!

The rules regarding this project are easy:

  • Pass the tour on to another blogger (up to 4 others.)
  • Give them the rules and a specific Monday to post. (March 9th or 16th)
  • Answer those 4 questions about your creative process. (Allowing other bloggers and visitors to know what inspires you.)

Now, as Mary showcased me on her Tour, I have the pleasure of introducing you to another fantastic writer, who has also become a dear friend.  She has is one of my favorite authors, Carol Balawyder!

 

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Carol Balawyder has a wonderful talent for composing and defining distinct characters with whom all women can relate. She does this in her newest endeavor: Getting to Mr. Right. Each character is so richly written that you wonder if any could be your neighbor, co-worker, relative or friend? The novel emphasizes how important trust and support among women really is! Since you’ll find her protagonists gettingtomrright_kindle_small15[1]in her other novels as well,  reading her prequel is like revisiting dear friends from the past.

artistic-rendering-2[1]Carol herself, has certainly led a diverse, Walter Mitty lifestyle. Whether it was educating challenging kindergarteners, teaching poetry or English as a second language, researching at the British Museum, pursuing Applied Linguistics at Concordia University in Montreal or writing English as a Second Language manuals or freelance writing, this lady has done it all!  No wonder she writes so well; she has so many life experiences to choose from! It also confirms why her characters are so well-rounded.

Please check out Carol’s blog for yourself at http://carolbalawyder.com/   Her books are available on Amazon.com.

 

 

 

Please feel free to choose one of these pretty Tour Through Blogland Photos!

Tour Through Blogland 2 tourthroughblogland   blogland

 

 

 

 

 


Your Valentine’s Day Gift: Say “YES!” to Dark Chocolate

Why do some people feel that because I am a nutritionist, I will place all the foods they enjoy off-limits.?”Thou shalt eat nothing but carrot sticks and rice cakes!” she declares! When I attend a party, eventually someone will lean over and whisper: “I know it’s bad for me, but I really like to eat (fill in the blank ) so don’t look.” Sigh. Do they look upon me as a god of “no?”

thRKAC910SDo you equate God with a “Thou Shalt Not . . . ” Spirit also? God wants to give you the desires of your heart. But He also realizes that just like a spoiled child, if one receives all they want, it is not healthy for the mind, body or spirit of the one they love.

Sometimes however, man makes his own rules and disregards God’s mercy! 1 Corinthians 10:23  states “I have the right to do anything,” you say–but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”–but not everything is constructive.”

As we’ve seen throughout my recent diet post series, many popular diets state that one shall NOT consume legumes, sugar, fat, potatoes, eggs or any controversial food of the moment. Thus they make themselves out to be gods of nutrition. (With all due respect, who died and left them boss? That’s not God’s Plan.)

Let’s discuss my favorite dietary outcast: Chocolate.  After all, it is Valentine’s Day and my preferred gift is dark chocolate! In moderation, it’s one of God’s gifts to mankind:

  • Dark chocolate contains powerful anti-oxidants, including flavonol (found only in chocolate) which protect against harmful free radicals, while protecting and building our immune system.
  • It is very high in nutrients: magnesium and potassium have a calming effect on the body, even preventing strokes and heart attacks. Iron protects against anemia while copper protects the skin against wrinkles and sun damage.
  • This wonderful product contains nitric oxide, a gas that relaxes arteries, increases blood flow which reduces blood pressure.
  • Chocolate is a natural anti-depressant  producing serotonin which increases pleasure-seeking mood endorphins, such as phenylethylamine, a chemical that produces the same feelings as being in love.
  • It guards against heart disease by decreasing plague buildup, thus increasing blood flow, lowering blood pressure and reducing stress on the arteries.
  • Chocolate improves cognitive function by  stimulating blood flow in the brain cells. Containing caffeine, it also stimulates the mind’s memory cells.thA2C3RUYS
  • It allows your body to use insulin more effectively! Therefore, dark chocolate in moderation, works fine as a tiny treat for Type 2 Diabetics.
  • It increases good HDL while lowering bad LDL cholesterol production.
  • Remember how tooth decay was contributed to sugary candy? Well, chocolate contains an ingredient called theobromine, which actually hardens tooth enamel. (I’m surprised no one has come out with a chocolate flavored toothpaste! Anyone want to get rich?)

There were two scientific studies that followed a large group of men for two years. (Men, not women???!!!)  Each group lived longer, had less disease and professed a happier life overall.

So knowing what you do now, do you believe God would ever state that chocolate is unhealthy for us? No! Rather, He states He would never withhold any good thing from us.

“For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.” (Psalm 84:11)

So are you still following after diet gurus who profess that God has made mistakes and have adapted their philosophy of “Thou shalt not eat chocolate?” If so, continue on . .  . that means more for me!  Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

 

Three Reasons Food Controls You

Studying the mind and body is a fascinating profession. Many false beliefs will challenge my patients. Some believe eating right is simply a matter of willpower, but it’s not. Do you wonder as well, why you suddenly crave something salty, crunchy or a piece of chocolate? thUCPRC2A9

Here are three reasons to consider why:

Reason #1: The answer literally starts in the mind with the hypothalamus. Our bodies need nutritional balance, which we often don’t select. The hypothalamus acts like a little drill instructor indicating what nutrients you require and what food supplies it.

For example, if you haven’t consumed enough copper, the hypothalamus will torment you until you reach for a food containing it. Kale contains copper – so does chocolate.  Which would you reach for? (Yeah, sure you’d choose the Kale chips.)  Therefore it is important to  eat a well-balanced diet from the beginning or it’ll take Herculean efforts to overcome unhealthy cravings. You’ll become frustrated and quit, believing it’s your lack of willpower. It isn’t, it’s about physiology.

Reason #2: The mind is your best friend or worst enemy. It always has been. Even your childhood affects your eating habits today.

If you were poor or had to contend with eight siblings, you might be a fast eater. You might believe that it’s not going to be there tomorrow, so I better eat as much as I can now! Therefore, you’ll consume your food quickly or place more on your plate than you can eat.  Your mother constantly complained, “Your eyes are bigger than your stomach!”

As you age, hopefully you understand that you are neither poor nor have to fight off others for that last cupcake or slice of pizza. But now you can have as much as you want, whenever you want, creating gluttony or closet eating.

Talk yourself into success, recognizing that you are now an adult and only answer to God for your eating behaviors. Do you believe God would allow you to starve?  On the contrary, He only wants what is best for His children.  Just look at how He cared for the Israelites as they wandered in the desert:

“At twilight you will eat meat, and in the morning you will be filled with bread. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God.”  (Exodus 16:12)

God however, provided enough meat and manna only for one day. God never stuffed His children with more food than they required for energy. Still the Israelites complained, didn’t they? Sounds like human nature never changes! “I don’t want salad! I want a big juicy hamburger with greasy French fries and a frosted malt and I want it NOW!”

Reason #3: Insulin. Have you ever had a hazardous encounter? Driven on ice or thought someone was following you? Under stress your heart raced and your body instinctively went into a “flight or fight” mode. That drew blood away from vital organs into your outer extremities, ready for action. What happened next? When the threat was over, you probably reached for comfort food. Why?

When the body is under stress, it becomes hungry because routine blood insulin is lost quickly. Bodily stress readily prepares for the next crisis. Therefore, under constant daily stress (work, children, finances) you are always hungry, seemingly “for no reason whatsoever” in your mind. I just need more willpower, you tell yourself. Not true. What you need, is find a way to relax . . . a walk, bubble bath, Bible meditation, soft music or other activity to conquer your stressful life.

Health begins in the mind. Recognize the many reasons your body protects you physiologically and strive to honor it for doing so!

“you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” (1 Corinthians 6:20)

The Ever Decreasing Dinner Table

Let’s face it, fewer families are eating dinner together. Why?  Sadly, the chase for the almighty dollar, after school activities and “keeping up with the Kardashians” takes thVKX6S4H5precedent. I found several different surveys that stated only 40-60% (a diverse margin) consume dinner together. Does Junior really need more “things” rather than your time?

Of course your child needs to find his/her own identity but are you doing so only to fulfill your ego (look what my kid is doing!) Think of the pressure you place on your son or daughter to be perfect, or fulfill your lost dreams!

Sitting around the dinner table used to be the best time to bond with your child and discuss their day. Now, the parent is so busy working and then picking children up after school and driving them to their next sports activity or violin lesson, that it’s easier to pick up a bucket of chicken then it is to prepare a wholesome meal. Families need to get back to basics or risk the loss of true values!

I realize that real life gets in the way, and who actually prepares a four course meal nowadays? Our culture has changed and convenience is the name of the game, but that shouldn’t give one license to eat unhealthily.

Is it actually difficult for a parent to fix dinner? NO! By the time one drives the car to the fast food destination, stands in line, pays, gets back in the car, drives home, prepares the table, changes clothes and finally eats, one could have prepared chicken cutlets, green beans, salad and baked potato and the family could help.

Another possibility is to use your slow cooker to create pasta sauces or chili so it’s ready by the time you get home. Or prepare a large salad on Monday, place in an air-tight container and it could be used for two days alongside sliced chicken or shrimp. You could also create a large pot of homemade soup on the weekend and have it ready for the work days.

Are you surprised that chili is on the list? Don’t be. Chili can be prepared with fewer calories by frying the hamburger, then placing it in a colander and sprinkling hot water over it to reduce fat and returning  it to the cooker. It’ll be more flavorful because the fat won’t coat your tongue. Kidney, black, pinto and chili beans are loaded with fiber and iron. There’s no fat in green peppers, onions or tomatoes, so why is it vilified? The same can be done with a huge pot of pasta sauce and used for future recipes. It’s a heck of a lot less expensive and healthier than fast food!

To save time you could bake a chicken, turkey or roast beef for Sunday dinner with plans to  create additional meals with the planned-overs. Then depending on time, you can prepare whole grain sandwiches, wraps, salads, burritos, tacos or soups when in a hurry.

It’s even okay to grill up a steak or pork chops. Simply select anything “loin” because it contains less fat than dark meat chicken. Grill kabobs with healthy vegetables while the quinoa is cooking, and you have one healthy meal.

Don’t give in to society’s peer pressure. Train your children well.  You’re the parent, declare that the family eats together, instilling family values that will last a lifetime.

“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”  (1 Corinthians 10:31)

Before We Go to Dinner . . . Focus on Winning the Battle for Success!

thXL6Y0R3BAlthough my next post was going to be about dinner (and it will soon) – I remembered what time of the year it was and decided to post a motivational one first.

You see, this is the time of year, approximately four to five weeks after starting a weight-loss plan, when dieters get discouraged, feel that the sacrifice is not worth the effort and quit.

What the heck are they thinkin’?!!  Why would one ever go back to the lifestyle they were trying to escape? Were they happy with themselves then? NO!  That’s why they wanted to change in the first place!

Don’t believe those lies that Satan whispers in your ear: “You’re not worth it. See,  you’re failing once again.” God always declares, “You can!” Isn’t God’s Way more encouraging and ultimately more truthful?

I once mentioned that there are three things that happen in any situation: the event itself, your self-talk and then your decision.

For this illustration, let’s say the event is deciding to quit.  First become aware of why you would want to? It’s a spirit question. Is it too hard, are you simply bored with the same old, same old? Visualize yourself in a tug of war with the devil. Sure he’s strong but not as strong as God is! God’s on your side grabbing that rope right along with you because He wants you healthy.

“Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?” (1 Corinthians 3:16)

Talk yourself into success. What can you do differently to make life more fun and yourself more motivated?  Make life a game!  Games have goals, rewards and victory laps. What’s yours?

  • How about creating a chart rewarding yourself with a non-food reward when you lose another three pounds? Then five pounds, then ten? Begin with small rewards that gradually increase in value as you reach a different victory? It feels good to be victorious! Color the chart in and post it on your fridge or mirror.
  • Cut out a photo of an accessory or item you’d love to purchase but can’t afford right now. As you lose, place a dollar in a jar for each pound lost. Not only are you spending less on junk food but you are going to look fantastic.
  • If the food selections are boring, then CHANGE IT UP!  Find new healthy recipes and teach your children to make them in the kitchen with you. You’re passing along skills, values and a family closeness that will not soon be forgotten.
  • If your exercise is likewise, find something more fun: like dancing with your kids, Wii Fit, walk the mall or join a Zumba class.

Are you searching for any excuse not to follow a health plan? “Well after all, Valentine’s Day is coming up and we always celebrate with friends at that fancy restaurant . . . ” Oh come on, create new traditions! See a movie or what’s to stop you from having a petite Sirloin instead of Prime Rib? Or crab with lemon instead of Lobster Newburg? As humans we make choices every day. Our Lord urges us to choose what is better.

Before you give in to temptation and surrender, consider the alternative. An unhealthy lifestyle isn’t a joyful one. It means becoming  lethargic and sickly more often. The healthier one is, the longer they tend to live! Incurring illnesses can destroy our bodily temples. We wouldn’t throw trash in the Holy Temple of Jerusalem, why do we trash our temple of the Holy Spirit?

Creating a healthy lifestyle is a blip on one’s timeline of life.  Continue on and  Live life abundantly!