Archive | March 2016

The Benefits of a Balanced Life

“But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.” (1 Corinthians 14:40)

Have you ever passed a co-worker’s desk that was so disorganized you felt you needed hand sanitizer simply because you walked by? But at the opposite side of the spectrum have you ever met someone who is so obsessed with health and fitness that you wanted to avoid them whenever you saw them coming? Maybe even hid your lunch because you just knew they’d ridicule your choices? th40N8W3F4

But on the other hand, have you noticed that certain someone who seems so calm and put together in a crisis and wondered what is their secret? What’s their difference?  Ask  and you’ll probably find out that they have peace.

Peace is balance.  It’s an inner confidence that whatever life throws at you, you’ll survive. Peace comes from within. For me, peace begins with Christ. I know that whatever life has in store for me, I have a better life awaiting, for “What can man do to me?”

I’ve noticed a definite correlation between a successful healthy lifestyle and spirituality. It’s the principle reason I began New Creations Ministries.

Let me give you an example:

Unbalanced people represent a pendulum, swinging one way or the other. They remind me of celebrities who overcome addiction, found the Lord and enthusiastically preach God on every talk show but have no strong foundation. Sounds great and people look up to them. But then something happens in their private lives and you find their mug shot on every magazine cover. Unfortunately, not a great representative of Christianity, is it? An addictive personality is a pendulum while God extols balance.

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

Look at weight loss. Some are so gung-ho about a diet plan that it’s all or nothing too. They either follow the diet to the letter or give up, losing control.  They never eat in moderation which God encourages and desires. By the way, the only diet that works is a lifelong one of carbohydrates, lean proteins and good fats which one look forward to. Who wants to consume protein shakes, boxed meals or cabbage soup forever?

One needs to find an eating plan that can be taken into the real world, meaning restaurants, social events and day-to-day living. One which is realistic. “You mean I can consume chocolate, french fries or ice cream???”  Sure, occasionally, as long as it’s not overdone and you restore balance with high fiber whole grains, fruits and vegetables, cutting down on fattening foods during the rest of the day.

If a certain food is an addiction, stay away from it because you’ll likely lose control. But to declare, “Thou shalt NEVER eat chocolate!!” is NOT what God commanded. That’s putting words in God’s mouth. Eggs, strawberries and ice cream only cause challenges if you’re allergic or addicted. “Aha! See, there are foods that are forbidden!”  Sigh. There are certain items that would cause pain or death so God also provided common sense. We wouldn’t consume hemlock or poison mushrooms now would we?

Adam and Eve’s willful disobedience is what brought the downfall of man into the world. God provides boundaries for our own good. Loss of control and overeating causes destruction not only our health but also to our spiritual lifestyle. Never make food your idol when our gracious Lord God provides so much more! Proverbs 3:5,6.

 

Where’s Has Your Energy Gone?

th3LMGY69K“Dear friend, I hope all is well with you and that you are as healthy in body as you are strong in spirit.” (3 John 1:2)

Has your “get up and go,” got up and went?  Have you been feeling exhausted when you really haven’t done much? Maybe I can help you find it again.

First look to your diet and ask yourself:

Are you eating a balanced diet? The right foods DO make a difference. Our God is a God of Order and Balance.  As we consume the right formula of proteins, fats and carbohydrates, our beautifully designed bodies should  work efficiently to produce energy. Feeling a little lethargic? Try placing a tablespoon of blackstrap molasses in your coffee, smoothie or oatmeal.

All vitamins, minerals, amino acids and phytonutrients must assist each other for proper function. If you restrict your diet and cut out one of the above food groups, you’ll be off-balance.  Each food contains nutrients which interact with others to keep you energized. For example, magnesium, potassium and calcium work together to keep your electrolytes in balance which assists with muscles movement and heart regulation.  Create a smoothie with a banana, orange juice, flaxseed and good quality yogurt.

Are you avoiding one entire nutrient group trying to lose weight? How many times have you heard; “I’m not eating any carbs!” Our body needs a variety of nutrients but cut down on simple, sugary carbohydrates not complex ones! Nearly every food breaks down into a combination of fat, protein or carbohydrate so it’s almost impossible to cut an entire food group.  How would you classify an avocado for example?  It contains all three nutrients. Or consuming only fruit would be neglecting 50 other essential nutrients you need to live effectively. Therefore attempting to avoid ALL carbs, as many do, would not only be exasperating but it won’t do any good because you’d be neglecting other essential nutrients needed to sustain life.

Are you eating mini-meals throughout the day?  Forget starvation diets! The First Law of Thermodynamics states it takes energy to make energy. Your body should run like a well-maintained engine and it can’t without fuel. In order to keep a steam engine functioning effectively, the engineer must keep adding a bit of energy like wood or coal to keep the train moving. It’s the same with a human machine.

Are you eating too much?  If you’ve ever gone to a buffet and pigged out you know what I mean. You’ll wake with a “food hangover” compliments of a buffet.  Overeating stresses the body, releasing more insulin. This in the long run usually makes you hungrier later.

Use Epsom salts. This recommendation for restoring energy is a tried but true method for all sorts of illnesses.  Epsom salts will remove toxins from your system. Just visualize all that built up sludge from overeating plus lack of exercise – who could feel energetic in that environment? Soak in a relaxing warm bath of salts and essential oils of your choice.

Increase your water intake to increase energy. It’s amazing how pure water will make you feel vibrant again. I’ve already written so much about water, please use my search engine to find additional posts.

Exercise! Contrary to making you sleepy, exercise revs one up. Fresh air restores feel-good endorphins and gets the blood circulating throughout. But value exercise for the right reasons!

“For while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.”  (1 Timothy 4:8)

 

 

Why Enzymes are the Ultimate Moving Company

Our Lhasa Apso and Cocker Spaniel are different dogs in nearly every way! One’s laid back the other is hyper. One’s happy-go-lucky, the other is Eyore. We’ve discovered they are especially different in their eating habits.  Our Cocker will casually dine on his chow for fifteen minutes while our Lhasa nearly inhales her food in fifteen seconds! Talk about “woofing” it down!

th1BT6W5TZBut who am I to make fun of her?  She’s a dog, I’m a human – I should know better.  You see at one time I did the same. When I worked in the Corporate World I felt I was too important to spend time eating lunch – had to get back to my desk, ya know. Then I switched careers, took additional college credits and learned about physiology.

Isn’t it true that “when we learn better, we do better?” The first aspect of change is awareness. I learned I had to take care of my health, it’s the only body I have! I knew I had to practice the “fork down, spoon down” routine in-between bites, slow down and change my destructive habits.

But why should we take time to chew our foods? Because chewing releases enzymes.

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

Visualize your body as a house that’s ready to be moved into. A moving van is parked at the curb. Imagine all your household boxes are stacked within the truck.  Employees are waiting to place those boxed items inside the house; plates, small appliances, furniture, boxes of clothes, etc.  Food is like the boxes sitting in the truck and enzymes are the workers who transport those items into the house.

In other words enzymes are like a “chemical moving company” taking those proteins, fats and carbohydrates in “food boxes” and placing them into the room of your body in which 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. Enzymes are those 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!

Each nutrient has a specific purpose. 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 or on crystals! It takes more faith to believe that than if God created us.

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!

The Ultimate Instruction Manual for Healthy Living

th0BD23LIUWhy is patience such an impatient attribute to acquire?! I admit that many times I am an impulsive, impatient person but God is working with me on that. Don’t ask for patience unless you are willing to endure tribulation for “Tribulation worketh patience,” (Romans 5:3)  Praise God for my counterpart: a methodical patient husband.

I’m afraid I’ve never been one to read many instruction manuals. Too impatient. In fact my first college slogan professed: “Learn While Doing.” Perfect, I thought! Especially for someone who enjoys hands-on experience while learning.

There is only one Instruction Manual I read extensively and that’s God’s Word. God gave us the Ultimate Training Tool. Everything we need to sustain life we find within its covers!  He advises us how we can get healthier mentally, spiritually and physically.  All we must do is read and do as it says.  Sure, easy, peasy . . . riiiiggght.

But some prefer to skip it and attempt to live by their own rules.

“In those days Israel had no king; all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes.”  (Judges 21:25)

I’ve always viewed life as a chess game, envisioning possible obstacles in front of me before proceeding. Do I have all the parts, which direction will this piece go, is this safe and so on. To me it’s all about common sense. I don’t need to read an instruction manual to know never to place a knife in a toaster nor put a hairdryer alongside a sink full of water.

But as a counselor, God opened my eyes to be “patient with patients.” I began to view them through His Eyes. To love them as He loves them. But it was frustrating at times.

I needed to strengthen my tolerance level with those who wished to lose weight, get healthier, have more energy, glowing skin (whatever) and yet refused to give up the junk to reach that goal. As my dear mother would say, If wishes were horses, beggars would ride. There is no such thing as instant gratification without hours of dedication, a goal and desire!

For example, I had one patient who was consuming 13 medications per day and wanted to get off of them. One of her pills was for edema (bloating.) She was addicted to sodas but refused to give them up. I explained the best way to relieve bloating is to wean off sodas by increasing pure water.

“Nah, Ellie, I hate water!”

“Well then, create a flavored seltzer drink (no sodium) with a small amount of real fruit or orange juice or place cucumber slices and strawberries in a large water jar.”

“Oh that’ll taste awful, no way!”

Sigh.

Next I created a personal menu with lots of wholesome foods and nutritious fiber to assist with weight loss and control her Type 2 diabetes.

“I hate vegetables.”

“Well you can’t hate all vegetables, so which ones do you like?”

She rattled off a list and I incorporated them into a diet plan.

The following week I noticed she hadn’t followed her plan. Hardly any veggies in her food diary. (But bless her heart, she was honest and put down all her fast food orders.) When asked why she hadn’t increased her vegetable count she replied, “Have you seen the cost of vegetables lately?!”

Sure, more expensive than fast food and all the medications she was on?  Sigh.

She wished to get well without accepting any personal sacrifice to reach it. First, a patient needs to want to get healthier more than I want it for them.

Follow the Manual: Genesis 1:29 & 9:3 . . .  a smart first step.

When Opinions From Others Matter

thTCNBJAN3Some people radiate a confidence that epitomizes success. But if God isn’t glorified through it, once again, it’s off-balance.

“For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.”   (Galatians 1:10)

If one believes they’ve accomplished each achievement by themselves, they become King Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 4:30) who gazed over his kingdom, extolling, “Look at all I’ve done. Aren’t I Mr. Wonderful?!” Wrong, what ingratitude! God alone is the Giver of ALL. Not giving God the Glory for their successes, makes all our worldly accomplishments wither like burnt grass. Let’s try not to believe our own publicity.

On the other hand, being a counselor, most come to me epitomizing a self-conscious, worthless, defeated spirit. After all, others have taunted those faults in their face so it must be true. Must I remind you: God doesn’t make junk?! You have value because God created you. You are children of the King, therefore royalty.

Why do we allow other people’s opinions to matter so much? When someone criticizes or compliments, consider what motivates them. Are their words Scripturally sound? Flattery or Truth? Is someone concerned about our best interests or are they simply spiteful, jealous or insecure themselves? Consider the source.

Ultimately, it’s only God’s opinion that matters. God’s Word restores Power! (1 John 4:4)  It’s our choice to believe Truth or the lies of the devil who uses others to whisper in our ears that we are unloved, failures, trash.  Satan wants to drag us into his pit. God tells us we should remain confident, strong, withstanding all obstacles through Him who gives us strength. (Philippians 4:13.)  Choose wisely.

Counseling is unique. Different personalities require different approaches. We choose what we believe about ourselves. Perception becomes reality. Life has many challenges and overcoming adversity makes us stronger! Personally I emerged from the most horrific childhood imaginable but I don’t live there anymore. “But forgetting what is behind . . .” (Philippians 3: 13-14) God has restored me. I choose a joyful life and I want that for you! Don’t allow the opinions of others hold you back.

I followed many destructive paths searching for worth and love before becoming a New Creation in Christ. A “people-pleaser,” I finally understood that I could never make everyone happy. Never be good enough. It was the old story of the boy, the old man and the donkey. In short, no matter who rode the donkey, someone criticized the decision. No one was happy.

Become a New Creation for the right reasons. Healthier living pleases God. Stop self-destructing! One wouldn’t throw trash on the floor of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, so why trash our personal temple of the Holy Spirit? What we treasure we take care of.

Have you said, “Then who cares? Forget them, I’ll do what I want!”  (Judges 21:25) Self-destruction always occurs for underlying emotional reasons: unworthiness, anger, attention, loneliness or whatever produces mental, physical and spiritual demolition. Do what God wants.

Others try and please in an attempt to appease others. If I (lose weight, quit drugs or smoking) then they’ll be happy and stop nagging. But since one isn’t doing so for the right reasons, failure results. God wants you healthy.

Some are insecure, seeking validation/acceptance/praise from others. Like “Oh you’re so beautiful” selfies. Or they’ll try some foolish activity like drugs hoping to win friends. That’s traveling down a dangerous path.

Your Christian life represents Jesus. His opinion matters. Strive for excellence, He’ll be well-pleased and THAT matters!