Archive | April 2015

Have Thyroid Challenges? Please Read:

Have you tried everything to lose weight; dieting, exercise, denying sweets, but are still unsuccessful?  Perhaps you need to detoxify a tired system. As we grow older, the second law of thermodynamics kicks in; body functions start winding down. But we can live more vibrantly by enacting certain age fighters.

thJ82R282UThere are three vital areas of our bodies that could be affected through years of abusive eating habits.  If the above sounds like you, on your next physical, specifically discuss your thyroid with your doctor.

First, it’s amazing to me, how some believe that all of our complex bodily functions simply occurred by accident! The more I studied, the more I learned how intricately we were designed! But according to certain non-believers, two organisms coincidentally developed at the exact same time, over “billions” of years of history at the precise location in this huge worldbecoming male and female at specifically the right time.  Sorry, it takes more faith to believe that crazy theory than to believe a Godly Designer created us! As for me and my house, we’ll believe in God’s Divine Design.

Psalm 139: 13-14, “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.”

Thyroid hormones control the body’s major metabolic systems. If our thyroid is sluggish, (Hypothyroidism)  it will affect our mood, weight, cholesterol levels, as well as produce low energy, dry skin, arthritic conditions, cold hands and feet.

Hypothyroidism also affects:

  • The speed at which  organs function and metabolize food, causing digestion problems and constipation.
  • Pancreatitis, an illness of decreasing insulin production. Insulin is the hormone which processes sugars.An imbalance with the body’s ability to thermogenetically burn fat.
  • Feelings of fatigue or weakness.
  • Possible muscle aches which discourages exercising.

As you can see, this is a downward spiral of thermodynamics. We live in a more toxic environment than ever, so how do we counter this? Processed foods, hormones added to meat, pollution, everyday stresses, lack of scheduled exercise, certainly add to the challenges. It can be discouraging but fear not, you can take steps to fight back.  God gave us brains for a reason! Use them!

Fighting Back:

  1. Change your diet to one that reduces hormone-added, meat protein in your system. Ever wonder why little girls are ‘budding’ earlier? Increased hormones in food sources is one answer.
  2. Find ways to de-stress with massages, warm baths, aromatherapy, music, exercise and fresh air. These reduce adrenaline and cortisol, the stress hormones.
  3. Protect yourself when exposed to x-ray radiation.  Request and insist on a thyroid shield to block thyroid radiation exposure.
  4. Lightly steam cruciferous vegetables, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage to kill thyroid suppressing elements.
  5. Add Kelp (inexpensive tablets) in moderation to your diet which adds iodine.  It is also found in seafood such as shrimp, cod, halibut and other saltwater fish.
  6. Add foods containing A, C, B Complex and E which strengthens the thyroid gland.
  7. Add zinc (25mg but no more than 60mg) and 3mg of copper.  Foods containing zinc are crab, shrimp, low-fat beef, wheat germ. Dark chocolate, pumpkin seeds, oysters and lobster contain both.
  8. Increase fiber and water to rid the body of toxins.

Usually a sluggish thyroid begins for women at the onset of menopause but I caution; hormones are nothing to fool around with!! Speak to your physician or implement strategies gradually! We’ll discuss how the other systems affect us later this week.

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A Healthier Life Using a Balance Beam Approach

Have you ever watched a gymnast practice on a balance beam?  You’ll notice how they gently waver back and forth when attempting to maintain their equilibrium. If they falter they quickly find their counterbalance and eventually complete their program. They have a goal and they are determined to reach it!th0NJDI0Q1

Each gymnast strives for excellence. They realize that mistakes, falls and set-backs are inevitable, but also a part of growth.  When they stumble, they dig deep, determined to get back on that beam and continue onward toward their personal ambitions. Their coach is always nearby to train and exhort them onward. They never quit simply because they made a mistake.

It’s not an instant reward but a long steady journey. Dominique Dawes, Shannon Miller and Gabby Douglas didn’t win Olympic medals overnight. It took time and a lot of practice to become proficient in their discipline.

Similarly, in our Christian life, we wouldn’t think of turning our back on our Christian lifestyle simply because we made a mistake. Rather we should  “press on toward the mark . . . ” (Phil. 3:14)  God, the Ultimate Lifestyle Coach, is forgiving and extremely patient with us. He is our Encourager, motivating us  onward toward our best, and yet gently reprimanding us if we tend to not listen to His counsel.

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.”  (Colossians 3:23) 

In a similar respect, when striving for a healthier lifestyle, our goal should always be to become our best self whatever that happens to be. Our goals are not anyone else’s goals. Ask yourself; Am I my best self?

Most will never become a world-class Olympian but we can certainly aspire to excel. And if we “fall off the beam,” we don’t quit but learn from our errors and trudge on. However, how often when discouragement sets in or if accomplishing a healthier lifestyle is a struggle, do we give up and decide to quit?  Too many times!

Life itself is a balance beam of good days and . . .  not so much. So is a typical daily diet. Humans were not meant to consume only certain types of whole foods. Balance your diet plan with many different types of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds and herbs. Vary your protein intake with a variety of lean meats. But if you consume a fattier meal one day, so what? Get right back on the ” better selections balance beam” and continue to eat more disciplined the next day.

When discouraged, or if you reach a plateau in your weight quest, and can’t seem to lose those last few pounds, always consider your basics: are you eating the right amount of healthy foods, are you using smaller plates,  exercising, drinking enough water?  Is your routine becoming boring? Perhaps you need more stimulation. Change it up. Consume different foods or create a variety of ways to exercise. Life shouldn’t be boring. Continue to strive for excellence!

“Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead,” (Philippians 3:13)

Giving God Our Best

“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”  (Proverbs 22:6)

thK7LS2F56The other day I overheard a friend mention that it is so much easier to simply pick something up at a drive thru or supermarket, than to prepare an entire meal from scratch. How true. Although I preach that anything is fine in moderation, (1 Corinthians 10:23) consuming primarily convenience food will ultimately result in an inconvenient, unhealthy lifestyle.

At one time, in a previous church, our assignment was to read through the Bible in a year. Being competitive by nature, I zipped through it (just like a drive-thru) within 9 months. I hardly digested a thing. During the past several months however, during our Wednesday night Bible Study, we have traversed through the smaller books of the Word; Philemon and Jude, verse by verse. Those books finally came alive to me! I savored them!

Savoring our food, similar to enjoying the Bible . . .  restores our heart! Who doesn’t remember the comfort of kitchen memories as our Mom prepared dinner each evening? I realize in this day and age, everyone’s extremely busy. Who has time to cook from scratch anymore?  For the sake of our families however, we must overcome the convenience of picking something up as we race home from work!

Choosing convenience food provides far less healthy nutrients for your family.  Fast food is loaded with fat and fillers and grocery store packaged meals are abundant in chemicals, dyes and preservatives. Nor does it exhibit any discipline either. And temptations abound in the grocery store! It’s so easy to purchase additional items as we select an entrée on our way home from work. “Oh look, apple pies are on sale too!” Bad choices are made when we’re tempted.

Grabbing something from the store demonstrates an apathetic attitude for our children to emulate as they grow. It also instills a reliance on others, which unfortunately demonstrates laziness as well. If our children fail to learn how to cook, they will eventually initiate the same habits we’ve taught them: Why cook when we have drive-thru’s?

If you absolutely hate to cook, start out by instilling the same habits you do to reach any goal: visualize, strategize and ultimately initiate a goal plan.

Begin with small goals: teach your children how to create a nutritious salad, scramble some eggs, bake a sweet potato, pound a chicken into schnitzels or make a healthy pizza. Give them a sense of  pride in what they create.

Some dieters even incorporate convenience foods into a dieting strategy. They rely on a packaged food program to lose weight, that’s all well and good until they reach their goal and go off the diet. Then what have they learned and what do they do? We certainly wouldn’t want to consume only those selected meals for a lifetime, would we? The only good thing about a packaged meal plan is that we learn to visualize portion control. But we certainly don’t learn how to cook healthy meals.  Even prepackaged meals in the grocery store include an enormous amount of sodium and preservatives for shelf life and eating the same meals over and over again makes us stale. That’s not enjoyable.

How similar to savoring and enjoying the Word of God. The Bible is the Sustenance we build on for an Abundant Life. If we only read the same passages over and over again, we’d grow stale and stagnant. By breaking the Word down into smaller chunks we savor it. Savor both your Bible and your life.

A Diabetes Diagnosis Isn’t a Death Sentence

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”  (2 Corinthians 12:9)

Michelle sat across from my desk, her eyes brimming with tears.  This new patient had just come from her father’s hospital bedside. She told me his last limb had been amputated due to diabetes.  Can you imagine the pain as Michelle observed her father’s self-destruction?

Apparently she had argued with him for years to take better care of himself, but to no avail. He refused to recognize that his unhealthy lifestyle was destroying his body. He continued to eat unhealthy, chemically-processed, fattening foods, too many sugary items and he failed to exercise.  Now she had received the same diagnosis; diabetes, and she was scared.

What makes someone fight for health while others apathetically accept their fate? Many bloggers who post about their weight loss challenges fight like warriors, battling with self-confidence and discipline, while others give up easily. Health is worth fighting for!  Treasure what God has given you. Diabetes needn’t be a death sentence if you are willing to change.

If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, take control. Never act like a victim!  I’ve had patients who actually stated that diabetes was the best thing that had ever  happened to them because it was a wake-up call! Not only did my Type 2 Diabetics control their disease with diet, but even one Type 1 patient conquered a 40 year, 4 times daily insulin shot dependency (which is extremely rare!)

Changing habits is the first challenge:thHVVHTT7D

Increase fiber to 25-35 grams daily (4-9 tsps.) Fiber allows insulin to enter more slowly into the bloodstream. There are two types of fiber and we need both. Soluble fiber becomes a gel in our system, moving dangerous LDL cholesterol out while lowering blood sugar. It’s like Liquid Plummer. Insoluble fiber is like Rotor Rooter, remaining intact. It clears our intestines so valuable nutrients can be absorbed through the digestive tract.

Choose a variety of fibers including whole grains, (oats, quinoa, long grain rice) fruits, (apples, pears, prunes) and vegetables, (peas, legumes, beans, corn, sweet potatoes.)

Get into a Routine. Ensure that you eat and exercise at regular intervals. This keeps your blood sugar levels steady and reduces stress on your vital organs.

Create a pathway to destress. When our bodies are stressed, it not only raises our insulin levels but also creates a hazardous acidic pH level, making us hungrier and more prone to illness. Create a strategy: take daily walks, listen to music, take soothing baths or simply sit and read on your back patio.

Exercise! Diabetics run the risk of circulatory problems and nerve damage. Walt, my Type 1 patient, whose goal at first was simply to reduce his high insulin intake, ate well and faithfully rode his exercise bike every day. He lost 75 pounds and got himself off insulin entirely, a rare feat indeed! But don’t overdo exercise. This adds stress! Find an exercise routine you enjoy and keep doing it!

Greatly reduce or eliminate artificial sweeteners. (I know this is controversial!)  These chemicals never leave your liver. These increase insulin levels because your th0FKZNKN5body is expecting more food! Stevia has an alkaline pH and is a good substitute. My patients consumed small  amounts of regular sugar while giving up the simple carbohydrates in donuts, cakes, pies and candy.  Better yet, drink water!

Yes, diabetes is a tough disease to manage, but remember you have Strength you might not recognize yet. Our Lord Sustains!

 

 

How Could Our Lord Willingly Go to the Cross?

During this week of reflection, with so many documentaries about Christ on television, has anyone discussed what unimaginable fortitude it took for Jesus to voluntarily go to the cross? How did He do it? Perhaps he focused on something even more important than pain.

In 1970,a made-for-TV movie entitled Tribes aired. The film centers around a new military recruit Adrian,(Jan-Michael Vincent) drafted out of his carefree hippie lifestyle, and Tribesthe drill instructor whose job it was to make him into a fine soldier who obeys orders. Although I don’t remember much, I do remember a remarkable scene in which Gunnery Sergeant Drake, played by Darrin McGavin, forces Adrian to hold two full buckets of water on each side, shoulder-high, as punishment.

Now there were several possible outcomes here:

  1. 1. The Gunnery Sergeant will totally break the recruit’s spirit. Adrian will eventually discover what psychologist Abraham Maslow called, “learned helplessness.” That’s a belief that there is no way out of a predicament as one gradually accepts his fate.
  2. Adrian will rebel, experiencing increasing anger regarding his circumstances. Becoming bitter, he’ll lash out at life’s unfairness  toward him.
  3. Or he’ll use his inner resolve to overcome and conquer this challenge.

This third option, in fact, is what Adrian did.  He focused all his attention and mental powers on a special afternoon spent in the company of  lovely young woman. In this state he was able to maintain holding the buckets aloft indefinitely, much to the consternation of Gunnery Sergeant Drake.

Each scenario represents how we make personal decisions as we approach life’s trials. In the face of adversity what do we do?  How does our personality change? Do trials strengthen us or do we become embittered? Do we hunker down or throw in the towel and ask, “Why bother?”

Have you ever wondered what went through Christ’s mind as He was scourged and beaten beyond recognition as a scapegoat for our sin?  Did the Lord question why He was doing this?  Wonder why He was sacrificing His life for someone who tortured and murdered innocent children? The one who stole funds from that charity for personal use?  Or that serial rapist the judge let go, only to do it again? Yes, Christ died for all sinners, even those who simply lied, stole pencils from the office or gave in to gluttony. Every one of us is guilty of sin before the Lord.

Aren’t you grateful that Christ didn’t give in to the discouragement He must have felt because billions reject Him? Or became angry and bitter due to our apathy toward sin? Or disobeyed God’s Will in Gethsemane to avoid unfathomable pain?

I believe He focused on the countless faces who He became an offering for. He focused all his attention and mental powers on that future victorious day when Ellie, Sandy, Bill or whomever accepted Him as their personal Savior. He remained focused, knowing it was worth the sacrifice. Praise God for that!

Now the question is, are we living up to His incredible sacrifice? Are we focused on becoming a New Creation for Christ or are we idolizing food as our god?

When life becomes hard, we face our own challenges, whether it’s health concerns, addiction or financial problems. Do we remain focused on what’s really important in life: Eternity?  By praying for the power to remain strong against trials and temptations, His strength will always assist you! HE IS RISEN!


“who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.”  (Titus 2:14)