Archive | April 2013

The Correlation Between NASCAR & Health

2 Timothy 2:5, “An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules.”

Ever watched a NASCAR race?  When the race car pulls into its pit, the crew springs into action.  They’re aware of the strict rules they must follow in order for nASCAR SUPPORT CREWtheir driver not to be injured or disqualified.  Each crew member works as part of that team to ensure maximum efficiency.

There’s a definite correlation between NASCAR and health.  Your brain, heart, liver, lungs, thyroid . . .  every body part, functions as a team to run as one!

For example: one decision which must be made as the driver speeds around the track, is how much fuel to place in the tank. The object is to get just enough fuel to make it over the finish line but not too much to reduce speed with unnecessary weight. Not enough fuel or a few extra lbs could mean the end of viable competition.

When we allow our automobile engine to get down to the bottom of  the tank, it’ll begin to collect dust and debris from the bottom, which can clog your fuel injector and slows down fuel efficiency. It even restricts your fuel filter which has to work harder.  Same with your own body’s fuel intake, it takes energy to make energy. Don’t drag yourself around until you run out of steam!

Getting valuable caloric intake throughout our daily ‘rat race’ is something we should aim for.  Too much and we gain weight – not enough and we lose muscle and brain cells. It’s a matter of  balance.

  • Too many calories and our bodies become sluggish. Our flow of blood circulation is diverted to the stomach and therefore less blood flow is available for the brain and extremities.  (Think Thanksgiving dinner.)
  • At the opposite side of the spectrum, if one doesn’t consume enough food, then the brain becomes light-headed and  ‘spacey’. The body will start cannibalizing its muscles to refuel. (Think starvation diets.)

The proper bodily fuel produces proper running speed and brain power, allowing it to power up when necessary. We need good fats, wholesome carbohydrates and lean protein to run efficiently.  We wouldn’t put junk in our gas tank so why put it into our bodily machine?

When we’re hungry, what do we instinctively grab for quick energy? Sugar, right? It’s our body’s fastest fuel source so that’s what our brain tells us we need. It’ll nag us until we give in to that quick acting, sugary candy if we aren’t supplied with enough good energy. We absolutely need nutrient-dense, quality fuel! Place only productive whole grains, fruits, vegetables and lean protein into our fuel tank for maximum efficiency.

The NASCAR driver knows exactly what he needs because he’s attuned to his car. He knows how it  reacts when running properly and what he must do to win. Therefore he’s focused on success and expects his crew to act accordingly!  The entire crew works together for good! If the tire pressure isn’t properly inflated, a lugnut isn’t tightened, the windshield’s dirty or the spotter takes his eye off the track, something disastrous might occur.

We should stay as focused as that. Following sensible nutritional guidelines keeps us healthy. We need to think of our body parts as separate entities all working for our productive health. It requires discipline to run our best race for the Lord! Expect the best of your team and honor God with your disciplined spirit!

2 Timothy 4:7 “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”

“What’s Healthy Anyway???”

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

Have you ever asked yourself why you really want to be ‘skinny’?

  • Is it because you hate your looks and unhealthy lifestyle?  Change is in your control!  (If you’re God’s child, you’re beautiful to him no matter what size you are!)
  • Is it because your husband or family nags you?  (If it’s not for you, it’ll be a struggle)
  • Is it simply because you’re disgusted or embarrassed by the looks people give you behind your back?  (Well, people watch no matter what size you are!)
  • Or is it because you know God expects a health-centered testimony and you’re running from God’s commands? (You can’t  hide – God’s always there!)

Thin isn’t always healthy. Being FIT is healthy! Being able to climb stairs or play with your children without exertion is healthy! Exuding a countenance of  JOY is healthy!

You’re commanded to love others – do you love yourself? When someone you love is on the pathway toward destruction and won’t heed your advice, it hurts to the very core. You’ll do all you can to remove that obstruction and lead them to safety. But what if you don’t care or see the obstacles standing right in front of you and have no desire to change direction? You’re heading 100 miles an hour toward a brick wall and all anyone can do is watch in horror as you self-destruct.

There are many Biblical examples. Look at Abraham as he watched Lot take his family into the toxic environment of Sodom or David as he became addicted to a woman he shouldn’t have.  We all make careless choices and God loves us anyway. He gave us godly instructions on how to live in the Spirit, but many ignore it, choosing rather a pathway to  momentary pleasure . . . until it backfires.

Only God can change lives! Will you allow Him to change yours?  Change must come from an internal desire. Is the self-destructing pull of food addiction, too dear to you?

After embracing the Christian lifestyle and seeing what TRUE joy brings, how many would desire to journey back into the decadent days in which you used to live?  Perhaps that pull will always be there; those same enticement a drug addict, alcoholic or smoker encounters as they struggle each day to remain faithful.  God remains faithful.

Love yourself as God loves you. Realize you have worth simply because you are!

Starting today, determine to turn your life around! It’s not too late. No one has an easy, stress-free road. Everyone wishes they could change their past in some way or another, even Billy Graham. But he embraced challenges, because it made him who he is. Embrace yours!  God doesn’t expect us to be perfect but sometimes we expect perfection from ourselves. When facing tough times, don’t give up and exclaim, “Why bother? It’s not worth it!”   Then upon conquering addictions, (that ‘old man’ way of life) we’ll wonder,  “Why didn’t I overcome this sooner? It feels so victorious!” imagesCAWFMO7P

Remember, we’ll never find an eternally peaceful life in anything this world has to offer.  That’s only found in Christ!

Ephesians 4:24, “Put on your new nature, created to be like God–truly righteous and holy.”

“What in the world does that mean in dog years??????”

Okay, here’s an actual quote from a newspaper article I read this morning: “The International Society of Sports Nutrition recommends endurance athletes consume approximately 0.64 grams of protein per pound of body weight daily. For a 150-pound runner, this amounts to about 96 grams of protein. Most cuts of beef have about 7 grams of protein per ounce.”

SAY WHAT????  That’s why I hated algebra – it didn’t seem practical! Give me business math any day.

Now being a nutritionist, I know how much a gram is, but realistically how many do?  4 grams equal approximately 1 teaspoon. Simple, right? Now you can relate because everyone knows how  much a teaspoon is. When you’re drinking a bottle of cola and the label states: sugar-36 grams, divide 36 by 4 grams to get 9 teaspoons of sugar per serving. Now you can relate. (Caution: check serving size!)  But how many normal people are going to transform grams into amounts they can identify with?  Important:  No matter what size one is, a person only needs approximately 6-8 oz of meat daily!

The above from the ISSN could drive someone bonkers! Imagine this scenario: someone carrying a calculator to compute how much protein they consumed each day – but wait!  There’s protein in dairy so now calculate how many grams of protein percentage was in that butter and milkshake you just consumed and oh, don’t forget, there’s protein in avocados so what percentage of that avocado do I add onto that which I already consumed . . .  and how much was that again? I forgot!  You get the idea. What a complicated hassle!  You’d always need a piece of paper and pen with you to tally everything!  Almost every single food breaks down into a protein, fat and carbohydrate combination so keeping track  accurately is nearly impossible.

This method requires constant diligence and discipline, which is a cause of why some dieters get into trouble in the first place!  Or if you’re a perfectionist, you’ll feel like a failure if you make mistakes and you’ll give up.

Titus 2:1, “You, however, must teach what is appropriate to sound doctrine.”

Rather than go bonkers, use these practical tracking methods:

  • 3  oz  is approximately the size of a deck of cards.  (I used to say about the size of your palm, but sometimes patients had Mohammed Ali sized hands!)
  • A pound equals 16 oz  – (a pound of leafy greens is substantial, so when really hungry, go for the water-based volume choices!)
  • A pint (2 cups) of liquid equals a pound. (So never weigh yourself with wet hair or after consuming a large drink or you’ll wonder why you ‘gained’ when you were so good all week.)
  • One and one half ounces of cheese is about the size of 4 gambling dice.
  • A good potato portion size is about the size of a small fist.
  • A 1/2 cup serving of ice cream is half a tennis ball.
  • Use smaller plates so you’ll feel you’re consuming more than you are.
  • Also remember to chew slowly so your satiety hormones kick in and proper enzymes are released.

Remember this: God will advise, encourage and sustain you if you do all with proper motives!  Do everything for the glory of God, keeping your body healthy because He lives in you and you should represent a disciplined life.

1 Corinthians 9:27, “I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.”

Feel Like an Old Steam Train? – That’s a Good Thing!

When I was a child I remember listening for a classic steam engine that ran along the property line of our farm. My brother and I would rush down to watch this amazing machine reliably transcend across its tracks. The coal shoveled into the engine produced a comfortable, regular running speed to keep it faithfully chugging along.

Energetic and reliable, that’s what we should strive to be! Our bodies should run as reliably as those historic steam locomotives.

But what would happen if the engineer forgot to add coal? The train would gradually wind down, eventually stopping completely. As feverishly as he could, the engineer would re-stoke the fire with fast fuel to bring his train up to speed again.

But it would take a while, wouldn’t it?  When you’re hungry and need quick energy, what do you reach for? The fastest fuel available . . . sugar, right?! That’s what our brain tells us we need.

The solution to keeping our energy levels high is nutrient-dense grazing, so we don’t need to reach for sugar. Let’s say you are trying to lose weight and realistically set your goal at two pounds a week. You could eat nothing, but you’d also run out of steam. Then you’d reach instinctively for sugar. Not good. Don’t starve yourself!

How many fewer calories should you then consume daily to lose weight? Well 3,500 calories equal one pound. To lose effectively you’d have to reduce your caloric intake by 500 calories a day to lose one pound per weekTwo pounds, 1000 calories. Reduce too drastically and your body’s metabolism might just slow up thinking it’s protecting you. Eat throughout the day!

For this discussion let’s discuss a 1500 calorie a day plan. (Increase exercise and you can speed up your weight loss.) If you are ‘grazing’ throughout the day, break down 1500 calories into four or five mini-meals per day, that’s approximately 300 calories per meal.  Chugga, chugga . . . that steam engine just keeps moving along!

Here’s what a 1500 daily calorie intake would look like: (Mix & Match)

  • A cup of tea/coffee (no calories) with a tsp. of real sugar (16 cal.) and 2 tbsp of milk (10 cal.) Consume a fiber rich breakfast cereal (5+ grams) around 2o0 calories per serving, with 1/2 cup, 1% milk.
  • About 2-3 hours later, snack on: a 6-8 oz. of good quality low-fat yogurt (180) with 2 tbsp milled flax-seed (60) or fruit (60-80) or veggie sticks (60)
  • Lunch: two cups of leafy green garden salad (100) with 2 oz. grilled chicken (140) or water based tuna (110) one slice of fiber rich bread (80). Vinaigrette dressing (60) or soups with a broth based homemade vegetable soup (150).
  • Afternoon snack: a cup of grapes (80)  or low-fat cheese (70-80) and 4 Triscuits (80) or 1/4 cup walnuts (about 14 halves) at 180 calories.
  • Evening meal: 3-4 oz of lean grilled meat (140) 1 green vegetable, 1 complex carbohydrate such as baked potato, quinoa or rice, plus sliced tomatoes, cucumbers, onion salad, (50) balsamic vinaigrette. (40)
  • Dessert:  Angel Food cake with sliced strawberries (80) or a Hershey’s Kiss (25) melted and used to dip strawberries (50).

The Point Is: Don’t freak out or stress over every calorieYou are in control of your choices.  Consuming too much of a water based fruit or a homemade soup won’t ‘break the bank’ on your diet reserve!  Drink 8 full glasses of water daily and exercise and watch the pounds slip away, while you’re cruising along!

Don’t chase ridiculous diet fantasies! God created a structured human body. Those nutrient-dense items are working for your good!  And if you eat sensibly you’re moving right along!

Proverbs 12:11, “A hard worker has plenty of food, but a person who chases fantasies has no sense”

A good diet is a nutritious, life-long one!

Everything Works Together For Good! Even Nutrients!

Proverbs 11:1 “A false balance is an abomination to the Lord, but a just weight is his delight.”

Our God is a God of order and balance.  He also wants our bodies to function in perfect harmony; even in what we should eat! No wonder we feel ‘off kilter’ when we don’t consume the right foods!

It’s strange how certain foods and nutrients become faddish during certain times. I’ve seen Bee Pollen, Oatmeal, Coenzyme Q10, Ginseng, Garlic,  Glucosamine, Ginkgo Biloba, Chromium Picolinate and Fish Oil became the ‘darling of the moment’ and then passed on for another, ‘new and improved’ idea. The current craze seems to be chia seeds and pomegranates.  Please don’t get me wrong, all of these are great nutrients but people jump onto a certain element as if it’s a miraculously cure for whatever ails us all by itself. It’s not, it’s a matter of teamwork.

God created everything to work in conjunction for good so we need body balance! Iron needs vitamin C to work efficiently. Calcium, magnesium, potassium also work in conjunction for better health. Vitamins A, E, K need fat to assimilate. Popping one nutrient or vitamin supplement won’t help as much as if they were combined.

Aim to get most of your nutrients from actual food; fruits, vegetables and whole grains, as fresh as possible. If no Farmer’s Market is available, purchase frozen.  When purchasing,  consider nutrients, not just calories, food groups or fat grams. If I create a banana/orange smoothie in the morning, I don’t think of it as a banana smoothie but as a calcium/magnesium shake It’s chucked full of nutrients which, while working together, produce a healthier me!

Synergy is a fancy word which simply means that a combination of nutrients will bond together for a more productive purpose. Vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, flavonoids, amino acids all need essential balance for good health.

Here are a few examples to illustrate what I mean by food combining to bring out the symbiotic relationship of nutrients, all working together to produce a stronger element.

B vitamins found in most foods, should be consumed along with vitamin C. So slice a few strawberries on your whole grain cereal or drink a glass of orange juice (with pulp) in the morning. Tomatoes, potatoes, pineapple, peppers, cantaloupe, onions, green peas and leafy greens all contain vitamin C. You can’t go wrong by adding this water-soluble vitamin to any meal!  Vitamin C also builds and restores collagen, keeping skin strong and younger looking!

Vitamin C should combine with iron. Have that high quality sirloin with a baked potato and garden salad with berries, or ground beef in your tomato pasta sauce for maximum absorption.

Zinc found in shrimp, egg yolks, lamb, poultry and fish goes perfectly with some B6; spinach, corn, carrots, walnuts and leafy greens. Calcium; cabbage, broccoli, cheese or copper; mushrooms, garlic, avocado.

Your body must have magnesium to process calcium and it must have vitamin D and K to absorb and regulate calcium in the blood. Calcium also helps process zinc and if someone doesn’t have enough zinc, a body can’t process vitamin A.   So complicated!  And some people just believe this complicated system of ours ‘just happened by chance’, unbelievable!!

Don’t haphazardly pop vitamins either!  If something’s good, it doesn’t necessarily mean more is better.  There’s a limit on fat soluble vitamin intake, don’t overdose!  Eat for godly balance in your life and thank God for each daily blessing.

Proverbs 16:11, ” Honest scales and balances belong to the LORD; all the weights in the bag are of his making.”

A Secret to Aging Gracefully

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

As the Bible professes, real beauty comes from within.  That lovely elderly man or lady who radiates confidence, or that sweet, smiling couple who still hold each other’s hand, seem to shine from within, don’t they?  I bet if you asked if they were Believers, they’d reply in the affirmative.

Do we project that same inner exuberance?  Would anyone looking at us, desire to have what we have? A healthy body projects high Biblical standards! That’s our godly duty!

Junk food, producing free radicals, is an enemy who wants to attack that radiance. Free radicals are unstable oxygen molecules that destroy healthy cells, cause premature aging and make us irritable. They steal oxygen from radiant healthy cells. To fight free radicals, we constantly need to consume as many antioxidants 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 some 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 since we absorb even more chemicals these days.

What facial features do people usually complain about most?  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 and other omega 3’s to that list.) In contrast, countries (USA anyone?) who sustained a diet high in meat, dairy, sugar and butter were linked to more wrinkled skin. That makes sense because the harder your body works to sustain its system through clogged pathways, the more worn out it becomes.

  • As we age, the body loses some 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 detoxifies 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 . . . and 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.

Eating for nutrients promotes vibrant living, clear thinking and a happier demeanor!  Become a New Creation, beautiful inside and out!

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

How Habits Become Addictions

2 Timothy 1:7, ” for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”

Ever have a stressful work day and while driving home think, man, I sure need to relax with a glass of wine (or kibbles and bits) tonight?  Perhaps over the next few days as work stress progresses, you continue to reach for that wine.  That drink calms your nerves, relieving the pressures of nagging customers or belligerent bosses. Another day, another relaxing glass . . .  In time the pressures cease, work returns to normal but by this time, just like Pavlov’s dog, you associate a drink with after work relaxation and pleasure.

You just crossed over from that drink being a momentary pleasure to being hooked. Slowly, sneakily, that habit controls you instead of you controlling it!  However, with godly diligence, bad habits can be overcome.

Admit it, it’s difficult to give up something that feels good. However when one can’t bear giving up a certain pleasure, whether it’s alcohol, smoking or chocolate cookies, it becomes an addiction. You don’t control that desire, it controls you!  With enjoyment, a brain reaction occurs; our mental processes change and it chemically intensifies a neurotransmitter, dopamine. Our brain’s circuitry becomes re-wired for that pleasure.

It’s what occurs when entering your favorite restaurant. Although you ‘promised’ to be good, the pull of that deep-fried blue-plate special you ordered last month is too strong!  Restaurants know this. It’s one reason they load their menu with the combined salt, sugar and fat items customers love. That specific tri-combination alters brain chemistry for pleasure!

Habits become unconscious actions.  Ever brush your teeth, apply deodorant or place the mailbox key in the drawer and have to check to see if you actually did this action? Habits becomes second nature.  We’ve all done something without thinking, it’s a natural human response. So is consuming food unconsciously!

Now there are good and bad habits. Exercising each day and feeling a pull to do so is a usually a great habit which releases dopamine and serotonin, two feel-good neurotransmitters. Feeling ‘antsy’ if you’re not reading but are accustomed to doing so, or looking forward to that sit-com which you always watch, are all self-created habits. As soon as you sit down with that novel or favorite television show, an automatic response occurs. Notice how relaxed you become as you settle into your favorite chair and open a book or click the remote?

But what about harmful habits? Once a habit becomes ingrained, it’ll take about 3-6 weeks to overcome it. Understand why you are reaching for that popcorn or chocolate when you aren’t even hungry! Become aware of your actions. What provoked this feeling of need?  Is this a pattern you follow every time you get depressed, angry, bored or frustrated?

Recognizing a bad habit is the first step in overcoming it.

Then ask yourself, what can I do besides this destructive behavior? I can take a scented bath, walk, read outside, call a friend, listen to music, LAUGH – you decide.

Only you can change a habit and only if you really want to. If you still have no desire to relinquish it, you’ll be fighting against the grain and won’t. That’s frustrating! Are you happy being a test case for Satan? He delights in our inability to overcome addiction! He enjoys seeing us discouraged. Put him in his place.

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.”