Archive | August 2012

No One is Perfect, so Strive for Excellence!

Do you expect perfection from yourself?  There was only one perfect person born on earth, our Lord, and we are not him! Strive for excellence, not perfection. If God doesn’t expect perfection from us; only obedience and goodness, why do we think we are better than God at achieving it?

 I enjoy telling a story about goodness versus perfection that goes like this:

 Once upon a time, in a galaxy far away, the mighty Ruler of Galatica sent two space ships to earth . . . (well, I didn’t tell you it was a true story) . . . anyway, he told the first Explorer to go to Earth and find everything that was perfect on the planet and bring all that he found back to him in his spacecraft.

To the other Explorer he told him to go to Earth and find everything that was good, and bring all that he found back to him in his spaceship.

Well, time went on and finally the first Explorer arrived back to Galatica. The Ruler rubbed his hands together and jumped up and down,  anxiously awaiting all the provisions he’d see. But the Galatican arrived back empty-handed.

“What is the meaning of this?” declared the Ruler.

“Oh Sire, what a despicable place this earth planet was! I searched and searched and could find nothing perfect on it at all! Why, there was pollution and people played with angry birds. Cars honked incessantly and it always rained in Seattle. Gas was $5 a gallon and this thing called fried butter was horrendous! I repeat nothing on Earth is perfect!”

Discouraged, the Ruler waited for the other explorer he sent out to return.

Finally, the second explorer arrived and was also was summoned to the Palace.

“Were you able to find anything good on Earth?” His King asked discouragingly.

“Oh gracious King, you wouldn’t believe all the good I found on planet Earth!” he replied enthusiastically! “Why, there were birds singing, amazing rainbows, sunsets, beautiful homes and automobiles. The taste of ice cream is terrific! Why, I couldn’t bring all I found back to you, because there was just too much good in that world!”

So the moral of that story is, if you search for perfection you won’t find it anywhere, but search for good and it will be all around you.  Ephesians 5: 8-10  “For you were once darkness but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord.” NIV

God made you human, not perfect. Give yourself a break! Realize that even if you make a mistake, you certainly can and will strive to do better in the future. Talk yourself into success. Mistakes are wonderful opportunities to learn to overcome obstacles in the future! Titus 2:12, “It teaches us to say “No” to ungoldliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age.”

Build your own strategies, but here are some suggestions to start you off. When you feel like eating, go for a ten minute walk up the street and ten minutes back, submerge yourself into an exciting novel, (like my Sometimes Marriage is a Real Crime – Smashwords.com, shameless plug) take a bubble bath or paint your nails – you can’t get into a potato chip bag with your nails wet, right?  Write your strategies down so they’ll be available when you need them. Continue to strive for excellence!  

 

Why Should My Children Suffer Just Because I’m On a “Diet”?

So why should my child have to sacrifice what they want to eat  just because I’m on a diet, you ask?

Who said it was a sacrifice?  Didn’t I tell you anything was fine in moderation? I Corinthians 6:12 states, “Everything is permissible for me – but not everything is beneficial. Everything is permissible for me – but I will not be mastered by anything.”

We are free to eat fast food, processed foods, donuts, cold cuts . . . just not every day because it would become a wrong habit, polluting our bodies with junk and not honoring God.  Our goal is to stay in control, know why we eat and ensure that any food doesn’t control you. There are actually two chemicals found in fast food, ghrelin and leptin, that stimulate a desire for additional sweet and starchy foods. So by giving in to your child when he screams for a fast food hamburger, you are setting him up for challenges later on.  Is that really what you want to do?

When you think about it there are only two things that could go wrong with reaching your family’s goal of eating healthier:

  • Long ingrained habits
  • Food choices

Try to establish a habit of sharing meals together. Strive to build only happy memories around dinners shared. This should be a time of fellowship. There is a wonderful film entitled, Avalon.  The movie begins with three generations sitting around the kitchen table, enjoying lively discussions and companionship. As time progresses, generations and society changes.  The film ends with one family sitting quietly, no more lively discussions – only consuming TV dinners around the nightly news. That scene states so much about the loss of family values in today’s world!  Strive to build happy memories and a solid foundation of closeness as you eat together.

Regarding your family’s food choices, train a child early so he’ll choose what’s best for his body and you will break the chain of events that lead to your own unhealthy eating lifestyle. 

I urge you not to become an enabler to your child.  He doesn’t need to place junk in his body any more than you do!  Consider it a life lesson in self-control.  How many of you when you see a child staging a temper tantrum in a store because he expects something now, want to take that child home with you? “Oh isn’t he precious?!” you say, don’t you?  Not on your life!! When we see a child however, who is well-mannered and in control of his actions, we know that the parents have trained him to be at an early age to be self-controlled.

Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not turn from it.” (NIV)  Good eating habits become ingrained in your child. By your personal actions of instructing and educating your child in healthier ways, you’re setting him on a path that won’t lead to the common illnesses that plague so many today, such as diabetes and heart disease. Your child will be a better scholar and athlete  Your child will excel at independent decision-making and begin an upward spiral of success!  That’s not sacrifice, that’s accomplishment!

What are some great snacks for a child?  Apples or graham crackers with peanut butter, cut vegetables with an herb yogurt dip,  fresh fruit dipped in a sweet yogurt dip or with dark chocolate, unsalted popcorn without butter, crunchy granola made with Chex or other whole grain cereals, raisins and nuts, Triscuits and white cheeses. Make snacks together and create warm memories together!  Happy eating! Ellie

 

So What Does This Mean to Me in “Dog Years”?

I don’t know about you but I get so frustrated listening to these well-known dietitians on television explain to viewers that one should “eat only this many fat grams” or “consume only 2,000 milligrams” to achieve a healthier lifestyle.  They never get around to explaining what a gram/milligram is.  I’ve never heard a nutritional expert explain it so  the average dieter knows what it means to them. I want to shout at the TV, please at least tell them what it means to them in “dog years”! (You know, if I said my dog is 11 years old but in human terms he’s the equivilent of 77.  Now you understand why he’s a little stiff in the joints.  You can relate to it.)

So how many of you know how much a gram is?  Probably very few right? What the heck does that mean to you in dog years???  Now, if I explain that there are 4 grams in a teaspoon, you can finally relate to it. Everyone knows the size of a teaspoon.  It becomes even more real when you look at that soda can label and discover that there are 36 grams of sugar in that 12 oz. drink.  All of a sudden you realize that you have been consuming 9 teaspoons of sugar! Belly up to the sugar bowl and dive in!

Now anything is fine in moderation and sugar isn’t off-limits nor is a soda every once in a while. But why fill your body with something that is void of nutrients and the phosphorus in soft drinks gradually deplete your bones?  1 Cor 6:12, “Everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial.” Eat for nutrients!

Use visualize skills to help you. Count it out in your head; one, two, three, four, and so on. You wouldn’t think of adding teaspoon after teaspoon of sugar onto your sub sandwich but that in essence is what you are doing every time you drink a soda with your meal.  If you’d like a drink similar to a soda without all the sugar, try this: get a glass of ice, orange juice and can of seltzer water (there’s no sodium in seltzer water).  Add half of the juice and seltzer water over the ice and you’ve created a refreshing drink with a lot less sugar.

Oh by the way, 2,000 milligrams equals a teaspoon as well.  That’s about the maximum amount of sodium we are cautioned to consume all day.   Almost every natural food contains sodium, so remember it’s not just the salt you add from the shaker. There is a lot of hidden sodium in processed meats, packaged foods, fast food and cheese. Salt is an acquired taste. My rule is that if I wouldn’t add salt to it anyway (like cheese or ham) then it’s already in it. Tip: Use herbs or vinegar to add flavor to your pasta sauce or a little coffee or balsamic vinegar to your pot roast.

4 grams and 2,000 milligrams each equal one teaspoon. Now it’s real, you can take control.  . Be smart and be in charge of your body’s health!

Ellie

Which Came First the Chicken or the Egg?

Okay, I can hear you right now saying, “Alright Ellie, you tell me one thing now and tomorrow, another nutritionist will be saying something totally opposite!  How do I know what to believe when so many “experts” continually say something contradictory?!”

At one time I was confounded by that exact same thing. I was perplexed by the almighty egg.

As I began my nutritional counseling career in 1990, the common practice at that time was to avoid eggs. They were bad for you . . .  you know, cholesterol and all. “Stay away from eggs!!” everyone cautioned.  Well, as a Christian, I began to wonder about that.  How could God who created all things “very good”, suddenly turn around and say, “Oops! Sorry kids, I’m afraid I made a mistake.  You can’t eat eggs without harming yourself, so you must stay away from them!”  I doubted it because MY God doesn’t make mistakes.

So I started researching on my own and discovered that nutrients in eggs contained: thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, B6, B12, choline, folate, selenium, zinc, potassium, magnesium, potassium, Vit. A, E, D, iron and calcium. Simply amazing, isn’t it? All those great nutrients in a supposedly dangerous food?! And I am a firm believer that one should eat for nutrients, not calories, food groups or grams. Eggs are abounding with nutrients, and I sensed that scientists would change their mind. Sure enough, experts eventually discovered that the cholesterol found in eggs actually assists in the good HDL cholesterol production. God knew it all the time.  As for me and my house, I’ll trust the Lord. Man can catch up later.

God first instructed mankind to be vegetarians. (Genesis 1:29) Man didn’t eat meat until after the flood. (Genesis 9:3) I’m sure the change in climate had something to do with it, however Daniel sustained himself quite well on vegetables long after the flood.

I tell confused patients that anything is fine in moderation. They don’t have to count calories, fat grams or worry about every carb. What a hassle that is! Eat for nutrients. An easy way to eat a balanced diet is to have five times more fruits and vegetables than meat on a smaller plate. The portion of a piece of meat protein should be no larger than the palm of your hand. An average chicken breast is 6 oz. and that’s as much meat as you should consume all day. So cut it in half, pound 3 oz. into a flat schnitzel and it’s plenty for dinner as a serving, along with a baked potato, vegetable and a salad.

And what about that potato?  You mean I can eat potatoes tooBut Ellie, they’re full of carbs!! Carbohydrates are bad for me!!  Oh ye of little faith.  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 too? Use common sense. Avoid placing a ton of butter, sour cream on it, or drowning it in oil and it’ll be healthy.

I repeat, God doesn’t make mistakes, but science has.  At one time man believed in a flat earth concept. Let’s use the common sense God gave us.  Don’t trust false teachers (the latest fad diet guru) who say “what our itching ears want to hear” (2 Timothy 4:3) Trust and rely on absolutes and that’s the scriptures.     1 Corinthians 6:12.

God Doesn’t Make Junk!

So you want to lose weight but don’t think you are worth the effort? First, stop the negative stinkin’ thinkin’! Start turning your thoughts into postive affirmations.  If you don’t, then you’re only setting yourself up for failure right from the start.  You must love yourself as God loves you and start seeing yourself through God’s eyes. Wouldn’t it be a boring world if we all looked like Cindy Crawford or Tom Cruise? No two people are exactly alike and amazingly, God has known each one of us since we were in our mother’s womb. Psalm 139: 13-16.

In order to succeed in this nutritional quest you are on, you must discover who you are, how you grew up and why you do what you do. The perfect mind,body, spirit connection. God formed us in His very image and then declared, “it was very good”! So first you must convince yourself that you are, faults and all, worth it.  Remember, just as parents love their children no matter what, God loves you and desires what’s best for you.  We aren’t perfect, but we’re not junk!

So what’s the first step? The first step is a mind-set ready for change. Galations 6:4 “Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself without comparing himself to anyone else.”   Have the right attitude.  Strive to change for the right reasons. As much as I wanted my patients to be healthy (and health is more important than weight loss) they had to want it more! Consider small changes at first. No food is either good or bad, it’s simply food. “All things are permissable but not all things are beneficial.” I Corinthians 10:23.  Now please don’t throw away all the food in your cupboard that some people consider “bad”. That would be wasteful and against God’s principles.  A small change would be to resolve not to purchase any more processed foods or foods ladened with chemicals and perservatives and bring it into your house. Because if it’s in your house, it’s going to be in your personal Temple eventually.

Second, you must start to understand why you do what you do.  Sometimes a cookie isn’t just a cookie. Sometimes a cookie represents warmth, comfort, memories of home, love, security . . .  it’s not wrong to eat a cookie if you are in control but if the desire for a cookie isn’t controlling you, then you need to discover why you need it.

Third, be truthful with yourself. I mean, it’s your choice, so why lie to yourself? If you defiantly state that you are going to eat that cookie, then own it! Failure’s only an opportunity for learning who you are and skills to beat temptation.  Start to recognize your challenges so you can be aware of them and begin taking steps to change your habits. We’ll develop strategies as we continue along.

Help yourself by keeping a food diary for two weeks. Be honest. No one is going to see it but you so write everything down so you can be aware. You might also want to write how you are feeling and what time of day it is.

Strive toward excellence, not perfection!  Remember, God doesn’t make junk!

 

 

 

 

Becoming a New Creation

So you are probably wondering, why did I create this website, New Creations Ministries?  Glad you asked!

Many years ago, as I was relating the basic requirements for losing weight to a new patient;  consume smaller portions, slow down, exercise and drink water, she sat back in her chair looked at me and stated discouragingly, “Oh Ellie, I know all that already.” Well, I didn’t doubt it.  The average patient who came to see me had attempted at least six weight loss plans before coming into my office. With so much media coverage today from morning news shows to talk and cable health programs, magazines and infomercials, everyone seems to be an expert in the field. Most people know what is required to lose weight but they fail to follow through.

So it got me to thinking; if patients know “all that” already, then why aren’t they following it? Immediately a Bible verse popped into my head, James 2:19: “You believe in God? Good!  Even the demons believe that -and shutter.” The demons also had all this “head” knowledge and no “heart” knowledge and it failed to change their actions as well.

As I meditated on that verse, I thought how very much like those who say they ‘know’ Christ but do nothing with it. Knowing and doing are two different things! It is a matter of doing something with the knowledge of Christ’s gift of salvation, personally accepting it and evoking a changed behavior, that glorifies the Lord. For many know, but do nothing to practice their faith, anymore than they have  all this health knowledge and do anything to become healthy. Just like salvation, change must come from within!

My objective in this blog is to educate and motivate readers to present their bodies as living sacrifices before the Lord, as it states in Romans 12:1,2.  So stay tuned and learn practical applications and how all this nutritional “gooblety gook” physiology pertains to you in “dog years”.  I’ll be here to offer practical ways to change your behaviors to glorify your personal Temple of the Holy Spirit in a way to honor God.