Archive | May 2014

A Weight Loss “Secret” Weapon! Who Knew?

images5LCFWI61In today’s world of fancy, ‘smancy nutritional supplements, plain old calcium hardly gets respect. Everyone’s searching for a new and improved version.  Believe me, if I professed to have created a calcium supplement infused with whale bone cartilage and announced it could cure osteoporosis, I’d have enough money to rule the world by now. But choosing to rely on God’s simple instructions  in Genesis 1:29 and 9:3 doesn’t produce a lavish lifestyle. But then again, how does one place a price tag on maximum health?

There once was an advertising campaign touting the benefits of consuming calcium-rich dairy products to lose weight. But I don’t remember anyone explaining why. Perhaps if they had, the campaign would have lasted longer. So here’s why:

Calcium sticks to dietary fats and blocks absorption of fat calories. Our bodies like to have lots of bone-building calcium on hand. When it doesn’t, the body stores calcium within our fat cells. When we consume a high calcium diet, fat cells release stored calcium because our bodies don’t need it. This makes it easier to break down fat and thus we lose weight. Voila’, simple, right? Hmm, I hear that Klondyke Bar calling . . .  actually, calcium aids in the body’s utilization of iron. Chocolate contains iron . . . anything in moderation.

Sometimes doctors encourage women to consume Tums for extra calcium.  What do I think? I am torn regarding this advice. Tums has 500 mg of calcium carbonate which is the best absorption percentage. A calcium supplement should be taken once in the morning and once in the evening for maximum absorption. Calcium needs an acidic environment in order to metabolize. On the pH scale: 1  (most acidic) -14 (maximum alkaline), the stomach is approximately at 2-3.  Acidic enough to break down Tums. But I weigh that against the fact that Tums is meant to neutralize stomach acid, so is it actually absorbed or is it a waste of money?  Second, with talc, corn starch, added dyes: Red 40, Yellow 5 & 6, as well as Blue 1, I’d rather acquire my calcium from more natural sources, such as yogurt, broccoli and salmon. (See previous post for examples.)

Calcium has a way of balancing out the pH scale, preventing too much acid or too much alkali in the blood. An acidic personality is more stressed, irritable, nervous and generally unpleasant to be around. An alkaline personality is calmer, smiles more and generally is someone you want to get to know. So if your spouse is irritable, “give them plenty of fruits and veggies for dinner and call me in the morning.”

When the body is more acidic it ages faster too. Stress shows on the face, as I’m sure you have found if you ever had a headache. Therefore, consuming calcium, along with magnesium and Vitamin D rich foods and drinking plenty of water, restores proper pH balance. Calcium is a natural tranquilizer, so don’t forget the milk with your child’s cookie. Calcium deficiency in children show up as temper tantrums and fretful crying.

Calcium also protects against the harmful rays of the sun, assisting in the prevention of sun sunburn, certain cancers and additional wrinkles. Combine Vitamin A and calcium together for skin protection too: Fish Florentine or a peach smoothie are great combinations! High intake of calcium helps relieve the symptoms connected with aging, joint aches, backaches, brittle teeth, tremors and insomnia.

Another benefit: Consuming calcium rich foods with vitamin C will bind collagen together. Therefore salmon with a citrus sauce or a banana-orange smoothie in the morning is a great Rx for youthful looking skin and attitude!

Enjoy God’s balanced life!

“As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby:” (1 Peter 2:2)

What is it about “Know It All’s” that irks us so?

Unfortunately I will never know all there is about physiology or nutrition no matter how many years I study! But that’s what’s so awesome about it; there is so much left to learn! The more I learn about it, the more vibrant, alive and knowledgeable my life becomes.

thZ0KYCQF0So why is it when I meet others who profess to know all about certain subjects, like Christian doctrine, do I tend to bristle? I don’t like it when others rub me the wrong way. I become critical and that’s not what God wants.

As in most aspects of my life, a Bible verse will come to my mind to bring thoughts into perspective and clarify the situation. All of a sudden I realized why it bugged me: it’s about attitude!

Let me relate two different scenarios.

I spoke at a lovely women’s Bible group last week. It was such a blessing!  Even more so as one guest was an experienced nurse, very knowledgeable about nutrition. During my two hour conference she smiled encouraging and nodded her head in agreement and afterwards expressed her thanks to me.

“I learned a lot today,” she told me as she gave me a hug.

“That’s a relief,” I confessed. “Of all those present, you had so many years of training that I was sure you might have disagreed with something I said. It kept me on my toes!”

“Oh no, there is always something new to learn.”

Attending another Christian session this past week, a man in the audience took over the forum, nearly monopolizing the conversation by conveying how much he knew on the speaker’s subject. Later, very few asked questions and it wasn’t difficult to understand why. They were held hostage by fear. What if that same individual embarrassed them for their “naïve” opinion? How could anyone feel comfortable around someone who projected they knew everything already?

Reminder: There is actually only One who knows ALL and that is our All-Knowing God. For even Jesus stated that he didn’t know when the end time would occur:

“But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” (Mark 13:32)

So perhaps this is what irks me: Jesus was a humble man. “Know it all’s” act like pompous mini-gods. False gods can entice others away from the Truth if they profess their own truth. Just look at the Jim Jones or Heaven’s Gate cult. Remember we must test the spirits as commanded by 1 John 4:1.

Second, growing up poor, I hate waste. Sadly it’s a waste of one’s spiritual gift of knowledge to scare others away from seeking it. Attendees probably had a few provocative questions but failed to ask them.  The Pharisee (Luke 18: 9-14)  bragged to God that he was so grateful he wasn’t like that despicable tax collector over there. All the while the tax collector humbly prayed, “Have mercy on me oh Lord, a sinner.”  The Pharisee with all his knowledge wasn’t useful to God!  He already knew everything!  But did he use that knowledge beneficially? Did he offer to pray with the tax collector? Help others? Use his knowledge for good? No.

Compassion is universal. We can’t bless others by putting them down! Knowledge and wisdom are different. Knowledge consists of facts. Wisdom discerns where and how to use those facts. May our words always be a blessing and constructive to others.

“But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption” ( 1 Corinthians 1:30)

Power Through the Tough Times!

Last week my little dog and I were walking, as we do every morning, when we noticed a man laboring on his morning run across the street. He was quite overweight and our walk kept pace with his run but God bless him literally, that man didn’t give up! I silently cheered him on as he rounded the curve and headed off in another direction.  I prayed that fat-marathon-runner1[1]other direction lead to a health improvement.

This morning we saw him again, trudging away. Perhaps eventually, I can get him to wave but he seemed focused on his breathing and didn’t glance over at us at all. Perhaps he was embarrassed, who knows? It’s tough to start anything new and not feel self-conscious.

Yes sometimes embarrassment stops us from accomplishing something before we even get started! Have you ever tried to witness to someone? Scary! At first you might be self-conscious, but as Jesus infuses your life, it will become second nature to discuss Biblical issues.  No one starts off being an evangelist like Billy Graham. Truth be told, even Billy Graham didn’t start off being Billy Graham. He was petrified during his first sermon! It becomes easier as the Holy Spirit becomes your power!

No one really starts off in life obese either. But along life’s road we might gain a few pounds. Then it’s ten and eventually much more. If we immediately learn to nip the first five pounds in the bud, it sure is easier to manage that weight gain. So let the Holy Spirit work within and be inspired by the Apostle Paul’s words:

“Instead, I discipline my body and bring it under strict control, so that after preaching to others, I myself will not be disqualified.” ( 1 Corinthians 9:27)

A patient once protested, “How would you know how I feel? You’ve never had a weight problem in your life!” Mmm, assumptions. Little did they know I had and gain weight very easily. But so what? My job wasn’t a “can you top this” position. It wouldn’t make any difference – she couldn’t compare herself to anyone else, including me. Besides, would anyone feel any better knowing I was dying of cancer if they were dying of heart disease? No! Pursuing health is based on individual physiology.

For me, I’ve learned to keep my weight within a range. I seldom weigh myself, rather I know how my clothes fit. If they are tighter, I instantly take action to drink water, eat less and exercise more. Voila’! In no time I am back at my normal healthy weight, because I discipline my body into submission.

We had a super-duper exercise bike in our living room. (Bless my sweet hubby.) I mean, I thought I was in shape. I used to play tennis for hours, run five miles a day, play racquetball, walk the golf course carrying clubs . . .  so I thought. “piece of cake.”  Wrong. My first experience riding that bike,  I was in agony within three minutes! It would have been so easy to quit, but being stubborn, I refused! Soon I was riding six minutes, than ten, then twenty . . . then it was faster or intervals or anything to make it interesting.  Watching television while on it made the time wiz by. Don’t. Ever. Give. Up!

Everyone has to start somewhere! That jogger’s tenacity was an inspiration to me and should be to all. I hope I see him daily for I am cheering alongside him.

“I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”                    (Philippians 3:14)

 

“Lest We Forget . . . “

“Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him.” (Psalm 62:5)

We tend to have moments in history that define us. For a generation older than I am, it was Pearl Harbor and all of World War II.  It was an age of unbelievable inhumanity to man. thTLSIEB0D

During my life and the life of my classmates, it was John F. Kennedy’s assassination. Before that reprehensible day, the early ’60s had encapsulated simplicity: of Bobby Vee, Fabian, Troy Donahue and Del Shannon . . . an age of innocence before the “angry generation” emerged.

For today’s generation it is September 11, 2001. This morning I watched along with countless others as our nation movingly dedicated the unveiling the September 11th National Memorial. It was a day of somber recollection.

9/11 was truly the worst day of this modern era. The seemingly prosperous, abundant, carefree lifestyle of the 1990s slowly began to turn into one of accusations and distrust encompassed by piles of burdensome rules and regulations. But at the same time, amidst the ashes of the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and Flight 93 disasters, our humanity toward others shone through. We cared and exhibited compassion for those we lost, the families who loved them, our beloved country and for yet another undeniable loss of innocence.

But apathy is the opposite of pain and since we cared deeply, it meant we were still alive. We live on while others perished amidst horrific circumstances. It truly places all else in perspective.

The most defined moment in history however, wasn’t any of the above examples. It was when a generation  personally walked with Jesus. When He was crucified, the Disciples lost hope. Their world turned upside down too. But then Christ became our Risen Savior and a new generation found Hope once again. Today we separate our calendar’s division from that one defining moment in history.

Our lives are made up of fleeting moments here on Earth. We never know when our last breath will occur, but I know I possess eternal life which holds no fear of my future. So the question remains, “Where will you spend eternity?” For Christians there is always HOPE.
“May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.”   (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17)

Are You Imperfect? Good . . . God Uses the Imperfect

th[9]As one begins a quest for health, either in fitness or weight loss, I expect many strive for perfection. Did you as well? When you failed to achieve it, did you became discouraged, falter and give up? Unfortunately, perfection is unattainable. Strive for excellence, not perfection.

But why did you expect perfection from yourself? Did you think perfection would make others like and appreciate you more? It won’t. In fact, Romans 3:10 informs us that there was only one perfect person ever born, our Lord. If you recall, most people didn’t like him much while He lived on earth and even today Jesus continues to have countless enemies.

Humans cannot be perfect no matter how hard they try. No one else is Christ.  If God doesn’t expect perfection from us; only obedience, how could we possibly think we are godly enough to achieve perfection?

May I remind you that God used normal, everyday imperfect human beings for his work? We tend to believe that the personalities of the Bible were superheroes, larger than life, but look again:

Abraham was old and Jeremiah was a child, Moses was timid and not a great speaker while Peter was proud and had a temper. Elijah got discouraged and Jeremiah was frequently depressed. Paul was egotistical and boastful while Jonah was a coward, David was an adulterer and a murderer and Solomon seemed to love women more than his LORD.

And don’t think women were any better: Sarah was a doubter, Rebekah was a schemer, Miriam was a gossip, Martha was controlling and Rahab was a prostitute!

Just as parents love their children no matter what, God loves us and desires what’s best for us. We are not perfect, but that shouldn’t give us license to be disobedient either. Striving for excellence pleases God. How you live represents your Christian testimony. Concentrate on that rather than expecting personal perfection which frustrates and discourages.  Begin to create a strong godly example here on earth so you will hear the words, “Well done my good and faithful servant.” (Matthew 25:23)

Isn’t it a relief that God does not expect perfection from us to be useful to Him?! Knowing that, what does your testimony say about you?  I’m quite certain you have never killed anyone but have you ever gossiped or let gluttony overcome you at a church social? Remember sin is sin in God’s eyes and His Son died for all sins; even gluttony, laziness and gossip.

People are watching you as an example of Christianity. Do you represent someone a non-Christian would strive to be? What strengths will you eventually bring to place at His Holy Pierced Feet?

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8)

 

Fibromyalgia: Real or Simply a Myth?

thOWAN83UYIn 1991 as I began my nutritional counseling career, fibromyalgia (FMS) was just emerging onto the medical scene. When the doctors I worked for couldn’t determine a specific cause, they inevitably sent the patient to me. As I sat and listened to their symptoms and heard their plea for help, it was truly frustrating for us both. There were no guidelines at that time and many doctors believed it to be a “psychological inducement caused by stress.”  Translation: “It’s in your head.”

The more I listened, the more convinced I was that FMS was not a myth. In fact there seemed to be a connection among most patients: 80% of them worked around chemicals. They were hairstylists, manicurists, lab and pest control technicians, house cleaners, etc. which I found to be curious. The skin is the largest organ of the body. Doesn’t it seem reasonable that since the skin can breathe in toxins which remain in the muscles and joints, couldn’t fibromyalgia be a result of toxic build-up in the body?

Another possibility: FMS cases are increasing yearly. So are the chemical additives placed in foods found on grocery shelves! Is there a connection here? Just in case, I’d urge all to go back to the original “diet” plan God gave Adam. (Genesis 1:29) You’ll understand that God is smarter than we are.

To date there is no cure for FMS but I pray there is hope and here is what I humbly offer to fight it:

  1. Keep a food diary for at least a month. Track every food you place in your mouth. (Your health depends on it so don’t whine!) Circle any boxed, canned or bagged food that contains dyes, chemical additives or preservatives and don’t ever purchase these again.
  2. Increase your intake of purified, distilled water and lemon-water. Rid your diet of Splenda and chemically infused diet drinks.
  3. Try juicing (but don’t forget fiber foods) and consume more alkaline foods. Use my search engine for posts on the pH scale.
  4. Wash all of your fruits and vegetables thoroughly! Even pre-washed packages contain some risk of pesticides. Increase organic foods if possible.
  5. Protect yourself with high antioxidant choices. Antioxidants protect the skin and will hopefully create a force field against outside pollutants.
  6. Increase fiber rich choices. This will not only detoxify your body quickly by removing toxins through the kidneys and liver, but allow more protective nutrients to enter your bloodstream through the small intestine.
  7. Get out and walk! Fresh air releases endorphins and serotonin which improves the mood and reduces stress.

Change your diet. Search for the most powerful antioxidant foods available:

  1. Garlic, onions, leeks all contain powerful chemicals which boost the immune system. I’ve written about this a lot. See any post on healing foods.
  2. The friendly bacteria, acidophilus is found in good quality yogurt. Mountain High, Stonyfield, Stony Farms, Yoplait Natural, Fage (or any without additives) will fight the harmful bacteria in your system.
  3. Spicy foods release soothing neurotransmitters which calms pain. Try increasing hot spicy foods containing capsaicin, (cayenne pepper) or hot salsas, peppers, horseradish, wasabi.
  4. Chlorophyll will boost immune fighting properties. This includes alfalfa, kelp, spinach, kale, broccoli or wheat grass. Basically all green foods contain chlorophyll. (but NO! Not moldy cheese.)

Lastly, it is not only “in your head.” Sometimes it’s in your heart too, for it takes Herculean effort to remain upbeat and positive when in pain.  I urge you to surround yourself with TRUE friends who will accept you as you are! God will never abandon you.

“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” Revelation 21:4