Archive | September 2012

Ya Gotta Be More Stubborn than a Lhasa Apso!

We once owned the most stubborn, obstinate Lhasa Apso in the world.  And I loved him dearly!! When I took him for his walk, he had a mind of his own. One day, no matter how hard I tried to lead him in another direction, he was determined to stroll through some vicious fire ant mounds. Anyone seeing me would probably have called Animal Control and turned me in for abuse. “How could she be so cruel?” they’d wonder. If asked, I’d have to explain, “But it was for his own good,”

Sometimes do we look at God and believe He does the same thing. “How could God be so cruel?”  “Why would God allow that to happen?”  “How could a loving God allow my friend to get ill?”

Do you know that almost every disease can be traced back to what we consume? Does God put that “supersize me” portion of fried foods or a large serving of ice cream into our body? Of course not!  Yet sometimes we are as obstinate as that little Lhasa, determined to destroy our temple of the Holy Spirit because of our selfish desires.  What about personal responsibility?

We can be just as stubborn about fad diet plans. “I want it, it works for others and I don’t care about the consequences!” Sometimes God has to take drastic measures to pull us away from our own destruction . . . even to the point of allowing a health scare to affect our lives. Sometimes it’s in a still, small voice and sometimes it’s a volcano, but it gets our attention.

God wants only the best for us. Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Even after a gentle nudge, we still desire instant gratification and want to follow our own way! Certain diet options are simply dangerous!!! To us, it doesn’t matter if we are on the wrong path if it’s the fastest path in our perceived goal . . . being a size 2. In the next few blogs I am going to address the good, the bad and the ugly of diet plans.

There are many harmful “diet” plans that can tempt the Christian to do harm to his temple of the Holy Spirit, so I urge you to please remember these practical truths:

  • Any food is fine in moderation. There is no such thing as a good or bad food, it’s just food and meant to be energy on a daily basis.
  • Some fad diets actually do work for some people. They also harm. I think one person won the $640 million mega-lottery too. So do you feel lucky?
  • A good diet plan is a life-long one. “Oh my gosh Ellie, you mean I have to eat like this every day????” to which I reply, “Oh my, you’re right, maybe I shouldn’t brush my teeth every day??” Do you wash your face, brush your hair, go through your morning routine everyday? Eating right should become as second nature as other daily habits.
  • We need to eat for nutrients not necessarily fat grams or calories, which is a hassle and easily given up on.

Remember God wants His best for us! He placed Adam in a Garden and not in a desert. Our life destination is our choice, choose health!

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Stay Hydrated, Stay Happy

Have you ever worked in an office when someone was ill and you had to take over their job? What then happened to your desk?  Your paperwork began to pile up, resulting in not being able to accomplish all of your responsibilities, right?

Well metabolism created a similar relationship between the kidneys and the liver.  When you don’t drink enough water, the kidneys are basically “out sick” and the liver has to take over.  The liver’s major job is to metabolize fat, which it can’t do because it’s out working for the kidneys right now. Therefore you get fatter and the body can’t function as it’s meant to.  Drinking water will allow you to reach and maintain a healthy weight naturally and painlessly.

And you thought you drinking water was simply to make you full! Yes, water (especially with lemon) does suppress the appetite, but that’s not the main reason you should hydrate. It’s physiology. God created our bodies as this incredible machine. Women consist approximately of 50-60% water and men, 60-70%! (The more muscular you are, the more water you contain.)

Consider also these important incentives for drinking water:

  • Water assists in muscle tone and allows muscles to contract which prevents dehydration making your muscles cramp up.
  • You’ll feel more naturally energetic when you hydrate because your body isn’t fighting the toxins that tire you out.
  • Drinking more water is the best treatment for edema and other fluid retention problems. (Example; during a women’s cycle) Taking diuretics is only a temporary solution because it forces water out of your system and your body instantly knows that’s not natural. It will eventually rebel. It’s best to get rid of edema naturally by drinking water and ingesting water based foods; fruits, vegetables.
  • We’ll be happier campers because water flushes away toxins, making us less cranky!
  • Water moisturizes the skin, making us look younger than we are!  That alone is a great incentive.
  • The more we eat, the more water we need to dilute our food. Eight glasses daily is a great start, the heavier a person is, increase the intake.  If you can’t stand water add a slice of lemon or try Crystal Light for a start. Try pure seltzer water and add orange, cranberry or pomegranate juice for a soda.
  • When your body is thirsty, your brain sends out hunger signals because all food contains water. Drink a glass of water and after ten minutes, see if the hunger pains depart. (If you’re still hungry, eat something small such as an apple, orange or raisins.)
  • Water gets rid of toxins, relieves constipation, ridding the intestines of waste, thereby allowing it to absorb more nutrients.
  • We think more clearly and helps eliminate headaches.

What type of water is best? There’s no need to go out and buy expensive bottled water, you might not get what you think! Spring water depends on the spring it comes from, those drinking water bottles sometimes are plain tap water.  Before we installed a purifying system,  I purchased distilled water in the gallon bottles. “But Ellie that’s what I put in my iron,” you scream. Distilled water is steamed and drips down in a purified state. It’s pure water and anytime we add an element to water it takes longer for the body to break it down.

Though all this, remember our bodies are only temporary beings.  As John 7:38 states, “He believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” Jesus has given us the living water that refreshes and gives eternal life to the soul.  Strive to honor him always.

Is Health Your Personal Choice?

“So what do you do?”  the woman across from me asked.

“I’m a nutritional counselor,”  I replied.  Well that sure put a damper on the conversation!!!

Do you know how hard it was to go on a cruise and have someone discover you are a nutritionist over dinner?  All of a sudden, my table companions looked self-conscious about what they ate.

“Anything is fine in moderation,” I assured them and proceeded to eat like a normal person on vacation.  Halfway though that cruise, however, one of our new friends leaned over and whispered, “but I noticed you avoid bread. Is it bad for you?”  “Well,” I joked, “I only avoided bread because I wanted to leave room for desert. It’s a matter of choice.” It was vacation after all, and was meant to be enjoyed.

In one of my recent blogs, I mentioned I grew up poor. Well, on the very first cruise, I couldn’t believe how much food was available all day long!  Another “oh my gosh, I’ve died and gone to heaven” moment. I ate so much that I gained seven pounds in one week and had nothing to wear off the ship. I wasn’t very proud of myself and it took me a month to lose what I gained in one week. I probably ate everything on the ship except the “fruit of the spirit” which was self-control!

Galatians 5: 22,23; “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”

Being a curious person, I just had to know what that chocolate stuff was and what that red thingie tasted like. My curiosity tempted me to be out of control. I actually wore a baggy t-shirt over my unzipped slacks so I could disembark.  Well, what seemed like a good idea at the time, wasn’t.

This body is the only one we get in life. What we do with it, is our choice. “Choose this day whom you will serve . . .” Joshua 24:15.  That time, my god was food. Phillipians 3:19, “Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach . . .”

Choose health and honor God with your body! Talk yourself into success and trust that God will be encouraging you to do the right thing. Just remember, if we choose something that isn’t honoring our Lord, that’s our choice too. We own that decision! No one else lives in our body but us and we made the choice this time.  So we need to forgive ourselves and do better next time.

Practice self-control. Proverbs 25:28 “A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.” Without self-control we are vulnerable to any temptation. It helps to memorize scripture for those times we’re tempted.

Since I knew I’d gain a couple of pounds on future cruises, I planned for it and exercised accordingly before, during and after the cruise. I don’t want to put on the nutritionist title only when someone is watching. It’s important to live what one preaches.

On today’s cruise ships there are many exercise opportunities. I use their exercise equipment, the stairs instead of the elevator, walked the jogging track or promenade, danced the night away or walked around the ports of call. All burnt up quite a few calories.

You also have a choice. Stop making excuses and “just do it” as the Nike ad once said.  The longer you try to talk yourself out of exercise, the longer you could be doing it!

Choose Health! God is watching.

The Secret to Looking and Feeling Younger!

As the Bible professes, real beauty comes from within!

Proverbs 31:30 ” Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” 

We’ve all seen that exquisite creature who seemingly has it all until she opens her foul mouth, and we praise God for his tender mercies bestowed on us. Man looks at the outside but God looks at the heart. Strive to give the Lord your best intentions. Give Him your most excellent, energetic self because He gave all for us! Make his sacrifice worth it!

By eating for nutrients, not for calories, you’ll think clearly, look healthier and feel younger! Whether you are an athlete, businessman, fashion model or housewife, you should strive to be your best for God’s glory as a believer! 

There are enemies who hope to trip you up from that goal. Junk food produces free radicals. Free radicals are unstable oxygen molecules that destroy healthy cells and cause premature aging. In other words, free radicals steal oxygen from the healthy cells. To fight free radicals, we constantly need to put as many antioxidants into our bodies as possible.

The next time you eat an apple, slice off two small pieces.  Let one sit there for a while and on the other piece, sprinkle some lemon juice over it. You’ll see the first begin to brown, an example of free radicals, while the second one stays fresh. It’s the lemon juice that does the trick, it’s an anti-oxidant.   So are Beta carotene, vitamins A, E, C, selenium, quercetin, coenzyme Q10, lycopene and other “50-cent-sounding” words.

Long ago, women drank a glass of lemon and water each morning. It got rid of toxins and their skin seemed to glow. It would probably be a great morning routine to start again since we tend to ingest so much junk these days.

What do women usually complain about most?  Age and wrinkles right? We spend a small fortune on face creams when if we only ate better, we’d save a lot of money.

Avoiding Wrinkles:  Scientists conducted a study of elderly people living in Greece, Australia and Sweden and found those whose diets included high amounts of fruits, vegetables and legumes had fewer wrinkles. (I’d add salmon or other fatty fish to that list.) In contrast those countries (USA anyone?) who sustained a diet high in meat, dairy, sugar and butter were linked to more wrinkled skin. It makes sense because the harder your body must work to sustain its systems through clogged pathways, the more worn out it becomes.

As we age, the body loses its ability to absorb nutrients in the gastrointestinal tract. We tire easily, can’t think clearly, feel sluggish and our skin looks haggard. This is usually due to a build up of toxins in the body.  We need to flush out our system so we can absorb nutrients again.  Try eating cleansing foods with a high water and nutrient content.  Green leafy vegetables, kale, green teas, alfalfa, asparagus, fruits, etc.  If you have a juicer, try juicing for a few days. This detoxified the liver, allowing it to metabolize fat.

Caffeine is a natural diuretic and although fine in moderation, will deplete water from the skin. So definitely cut down consumption. Salt pulls water from the cells and makes us look older, more tired and places bags under our eyes. Hydrate with water!

Vitamin C, zinc and copper foods restore elastin and build collagen in your skin. Good news, dark chocolate contains copper . . . but so does broccoli.  Consume vitamin E and C together to repair sun damage. Alfalfa, brown rice, soybeans and green leafy vegetables contain silica which is beneficial for collagen formation as well. Eat lots of dark fruit such as blueberries, blackberries, strawberries and raspberries.  Packed with vitamin C, it builds and restores collagen found in the skin. 

I guarantee you’ll feel energetic and so much healthier eating for nutrients! You’ll become a new creation, beautiful inside and out! 2 Cor. 5:17.

For Heaven’s Sake, What’s So Important About Fiber?!

Cathy, a former patient, once asked me if there was ONE thing she could do to speed up her weight loss, what would I suggest?

I encouraged, “Consume fiber.”  I also advised her to drink plenty of water as well, especially as she gradually increased her fiber content to about 20 -30 grams per day, the recommended amount.

Fiber does so much to foster good health and here’s why:

In order to absorb nutrients from the food you consume, it must be broken down by enzymes which are primarily absorbed through the small intestine. You must have a pretty clean system to begin with, so you can absorb those nutrients faster and jump-starting your metabolism.

Consider this illustration; if you have a garbage disposal in your home and nonchalantly threw scraps of food particles into it but never turned it on, what would happen?  It would build up, attract bugs and start to smell right?  And then when you finally did turn it on, it would start grinding so slowly and might even stop if it’s too clogged.  Then you would have to snake the trapped particles or use something to unclog it.

This describes how our body system works as well. When one consumes mainly meat, fats, junk food and low fiber foods the intestines get clogged.  It’s harder to move those foods through the colon because food just kinda sits there. Since your body can’t absorb nutrients which are vital to life, it nags you to eat more food to search for those needed nutrients, thus you eat more calories but absorb fewer nutrients.

Strive to eat more fiber and keep your entire system working on less!

God told Adam in Genesis 1:29 “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it.  They will be yours for food.”

Fiber is only found in fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Sorry, no matter how tough that piece of meat is, there is no fiber in the content of it. Neither is there in fats, even good fats. (Besides, men weren’t meat eaters until after the flood.)

There are two kinds of fiber, soluble and insoluble. Sometimes fruits, vegetables and whole grains include combinations of both.  Soluble fiber turns into a gel and helps lower your cholesterol.  Think apples,  oranges, pears, beans and oats, which are excellent sources of soluble fiber.  Soluble fiber keeps their blood sugar levels steady so it’s easier to stand up to temptations. It also reduces the treacherous LDL cholesterol! Think of it as Liquid Plumr.

Insoluble fiber stays intact, it doesn’t break up as it travels through your system.  Think corn which basically exits intact.  Insoluble fiber  draws water into the intestines, making stools bulkier and easier to pass. It’s like Roto-Rooter.

If you ever dropped pizza crust or a piece of bread into the sink and watched it swell as water touched it, that’s what happens to fiber in your system. Fiber expands, creating a feeling of fullness.

There are seven forms of fiber: pectin, bran, cellulose, hemicellulose, lignin, guns and mucilage. I won’t bore you with all the details. Rest assured though, if you eat 60% of your daily calorie intake containing fruits, vegetables and whole grains, you’ll reduce your risk of colon cancer, heart disease, constipation, obesity, hemorrhoids and many other diseases. Remember, a man reaps what he sows, so strive to eat healthier!

Warning:  Increase fiber gradually.  Excessive fiber intake may decrease the absorption of zinc, iron and calcium as well as promoting more gas. Take vitamin and mineral supplements separately from fiber.

Oh My Gosh, Were Our Mothers Right?!

When we were teens we didn’t think our parents knew what they were talking about. They even tried scare tactics to harass us, didn’t they? “If you don’t stop looking like that, your face is gonna to freeze that way!” “You know there are millions of children starving in China, so you better eat that!” Yeah, yeah, send it to them.

Then, as we got older, some things gradually began to make sense. I remember standing in front of the bathroom mirror, my mom over my shoulder, telling me, “Remember sweetie, you have my side of the family’s genes, so always moisturize your neck . . . because  . . . someday it’s going to be your face.” After that, I never missed a day.

And when she  told me to slow down, she wasn’t just talking about my driving! “Will you please slow down and chew your food, it’s not good to eat so fast!”  As I continued my studies in nutrition, I discovered how right she was. Who knew?

Chewing releases enzymes.  What the heck are enzymes, you’re probably asking, and why should I care?  Glad you asked!

Imagine your body is a house that’s ready to be moved into, with the boxes piled up on the front lawn.  A moving company is waiting to place those boxed items inside the house; plates, small appliances, furniture, boxes of clothes and antiques, etc.  Food is like the boxes sitting on the lawn and enzymes are like the workers who transport those items into the house.

In other words enzymes are like a “chemical moving company” packing proteins, fats and carbohydrates into boxes and placing them into the rooms they belong.  Even the most beautiful crystal glasses won’t be useful if they just sit there on the lawn. Something has to move them. So consider that your body is the building and enzymes are the movers.

Digestion can’t happen without enzymes No vitamin, mineral or hormone can work without enzymes. Nor can we breathe, eat or walk without enzymes, so when digestion is poor, even the best eating plan won’t work!

Chewing your food releases the enzymes found in saliva which digest food so they can be transported into the correct area of your body. Enzymes are also found in the stomach, intestines and mitochondria.

  • Protease breaks up proteins
  • Amalyse breaks up carbohydrates
  • Lipase breaks up fats
  • Cellulose digest soluble fiber
  • Disaccharidase digest sugars

Digestion begins in the mouth with saliva – the more we chew, the more enzymes we release. Digestion then stimulates the hypothalamus gland, the control center in the brain which regulates daily activities  such as appetite, nervous system, moods and the senses. Powerful, complicated stuff!

And some believe all this “complicated stuff” evolved from mud clumps!

Jer.32:27, “Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh; is anything too difficult for me?”  Honestly now!! Imagine, a man and a woman evolving at the exact same time over the millions of years some believe our earth existed.  Sorry, it takes more faith to believe in that, then it does for me to believe that man was created by a Heavenly Father.

Psalm 139:13-15  “For you created my inmost being;  you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;  your works are wonderful,  I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.

Praise God that we are fearfully and wonderfully made! Now go forth and chew!

Sometimes a cookie isn’t “just a cookie”!

It’s actually raining out today!!!  And not like just a thunder storm moving through . . . it’s an actual steady, gentle rain.  Why is that so amazing?  Because this is Arizona!  You know the song, “It Never Rains In Southern California” should have been written about Arizona. It’s a nice break from 110 degree temps.  Rainy days bring back memories of baking cookies, creating homemade jam, icing a cake . . . one reason why when it rains, I love to bake, do you?

It’s great to reminisce, isn’t it? But let’s face it, sometimes a cookie isn’t just a cookie.  Sometimes cookies represents warm memories of childhood, a feeling of comfort, family closeness and fun –  all of which time has passed by. Today we live in a stressed out world where work pressures pursue us, children nag us, time constrains us and oh, how we long to be once again in that sweet innocent bubble called childhood. Unconsciously you reach for that gooey, soft peanut butter cookie and are magically transported back to an age of guiltless pleasure.

Really??? Is that true?!  As we age we tend to build on memory, making childhood recollections greater than they actually were. We forget the fights with our sisters, being bullied by the school terror or that awkward puberty growth spurt, right?  Sometimes stuffing painful memories deep into our subconscious is protection. Perhaps even today you find yourself turning to candy, ice cream or anything sweet to numb the pain, discouragement or fear inside you. You unconsciously eat.

Unconscious eating soothes the mood. It provides comfort and safety within our subconscious. It wraps completely around us and provides the same secure feelings as a mother’s arms, when we are too big to sit in her lap anymore. Food releases chemicals that quiets our anxiety when rumors abound that the plant might close. It’s a comfort during long weekends when your husband is away on yet another business trip. It numbs our fear while waiting for a teenager to return on an icy evening.

During moments like this, what do you find yourself craving?  Craving crunchy; potato chips, pretzels or nuts, indicates suppressed anger. Or are you lonely and craving chocolate which contains Phenylethylamine, the same chemical emitted when you’re in love?  Creamy foods such as ice cream or mac & cheese are comfort foods. 

 You need to understand that you control your feeling, feelings shouldn’t control you! Don’t apologize – they are after-all, your feelings and everyone should be entitled to feelings. If you suppress them, they will be released in other ways, anger, depression, revenge, etc.  Just recognize and overcome them. You have power!  1 John 4:4, “You dear children are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”

Analyze why you feel the way you do and then create strategies and practice positive reactions.

Ever go from cupboard to pantry to fridge, looking for something and not finding what you’re really hungry for? Don’t know, can’t decide? Most likely, you are craving water.  Your brain is saying it needs water, which is found in all foods. So before you give in to temptation, try drinking a glass of water first and waiting about fifteen minutes.  Usually the craving will pass.

Lonely?  Go to a public place like a library, antique mall, craft fair, dress shop or for a downtown walk. Exercise and fresh air release endorphins that provide a feeling of goodwill. If that doesn’t help, volunteer at a local hospital and count your blessings while cheering others.

Bored? Read a great mystery novel, watch an adventure or chick-flick, create a blog, take a walk, give yourself a facial, a bubble bath, go though old photo albums or start your memoirs.  

You can overcome this, you have company:  Psalm 34:18, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”