Archive | May 2016

Am I Simply Watering Weeds?

After a water-clogged spring, it’s finally time to plant a garden again. Now for me that’s a challenge because I killed cactus in our yard in Arizona. Therefore I had no idea at first what type of flowers or produce would grow here in Northeast Ohio.

Last year I experimented with flowering plants, radishes, cucumbers and tomatoes and it was a relief to see them grow beautifully. But I also discovered there was more to gardening than simply sticking plants in the ground. Knowledge of what belongs in our garden and what doesn’t is essential to a healthy, successful one.

wild violet weedsI noticed while I was cultivating the soil last year that some beautiful flowering purple plants were already in some spaces I wanted to use. How fortunate I was, I thought, to have the previous owner plant such attractive flowers! I lovingly dug and worked around them, nurturing them . . .  until they were all over the area and I had to keep cutting them back because I didn’t want them to overpower my good produce. That took a lot of my time and effort!

One day I had a guest over and proudly showed off my flowering blooms. She glanced over at me sympathetically and commented, “Ellie, I hate to tell you but you’ve been watering weeds.”

Sigh, my beautiful flowers were actually wild violet weeds. “But,” I protested, “they look so pretty! How would I have known?”

Isn’t that like sin in our lives? Sin looks so pretty and inviting at first. And we’re so prideful that we sometimes cultivate a particular sin until it takes over our lives, intertwining with our vibrant Christian living, eventually choking off strong growth.

If God is our Gardener, sin doesn’t look attractive.

“For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world.” (1 John 2:16  NLT)

God directs us to what is essential and belongs in our lives and what doesn’t! Certainly we can understand how drugs, alcohol or smoking can become distracting weeds overpowering our Christian testimony. But anything we desire more than Lord becomes an idol.

Even something as innocent as cooking and exercise can seem inviting but be off-track. Addiction to unhealthy food or exercising becomes an idol. “But we need to eat and exercise,” you say. True, then let us eat a balanced diet and exercise sensibly which honors our personal temple of the Holy Spirit not destroys it.

Are you thinking, “But if they are such pretty flowers, why kill them all?” Yeah, so did I. Unfortunately by not killing the weeds, they crept back into the garden and we had to destroy them once again this year. I’ve learned that weeds need to be pulled out by their roots or they pop up later like sin. Don’t allow sin to fester in the soil of your soul or it will manifest in other addictions. Addiction is sin and must be destroyed at the roots. Conquer sin by replacing bad habits with healthier ones.

Weeds crept into my garden without realizing it. A garden is a wonderful accomplishment but I couldn’t see the productivity for the weeds. It took a lot of effort to cultivate and nurture those unnecessary weeds; time which could have been better spent on Godly endeavors. This year, I know what belongs in my Godly Soil. I pray you’ll nurture yours too.

 

 

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As Sweet As Honey

honey“Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.” (Proverbs 16:24)

There is so much civil unrest in our world today it’s sad. If only some thought before they spoke, their words could be as sweet as honey and how much different this world could be! Many walk around as grumpy as can be  Perhaps a spoonful of honey would make them happier.

But some people will sneer and state that honey has too much sugar to be healthy. I counter with, “What’s my mantra?”  Eat for nutrients, not for calories!  I say, if you’re not allergic to bees, what have you got to lose?

Honey’s chocked full of nutrients!

Honey contains vitamins riboflavin, thiamine, niacin, B 5 & 6, C and minerals: magnesium, calcium, phosphate, potassium, sulphur, iron and in smaller quantities, copper, iodine and zinc. The general rule: the darker the honey, the more powerful it is. (Illinois buckwheat honey at one time had the highest antioxidant activity but perhaps they’ve discovered even better ones now.)  Honey contains a lot of 50 cent words like polyphenols, salicylic acid, oligosaccharides, alpha-tocopherols and other amazing properties benefiting health. Trust me, God wouldn’t have created it and then said, “Whoops, don’t eat this.”

Excellent medicinal properties:

Honey is anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial. Doctors historically, have used its over 180 curative properties to assist with respiratory illnesses, yeast infections, ulcers and arthritis. And of course we’ve all heard that honey with lemon will soothe a sore throat. It was even used during the Civil War as a natural antiseptic to promote wound healing. Honey has an incredible amount of antioxidant abilities to ward off illnesses, even cancers. Bacteria cannot live in honey so it virtually never spoils!

Raw honey is one of the best ways to rid yourself of  vegetation allergies!  Not just in northeast Ohio, but anywhere. The reason raw honey’s proclaimed to work is that bees use the flowering plants that contain the local pollen to which you are allergic.  This unfiltered raw honey, gathered through local pollination, also contains incredible antioxidant properties. TIP: Search for a honey produced closest to your area.  After a while, you’ll build up an immunity to allergy attacks.

Another Benefit: It keeps us looking younger!

Try a honey mask to clear up skin blemishes. Honey attracts water to the skin, so it hydrates, becoming a wonderful moisturizer. (Wouldn’t mind if it got rid of a few wrinkles in the bargain, would you?)

How to consume it?   Honey can be used in recipes all day long!

  • Drizzle it over your oatmeal, yogurt or on whole grain toast with peanut butter and cinnamon.
  • Create a honey-mustard salad dressing, BBQ sauce, or a low-fat cream sauce using plain yogurt.
  • Baste it on chicken, fish, shrimp or pork recipes.
  • Add to smoothies or different teas.
  • Create an after school yogurt/honey dip for apples, bananas or other fruit.

Simply use your imagination and you’ll find many ways to add honey’s natural nutrients two or three times a week.

Caution: Use common sense

Proverbs 25:27 proclaims,  “It is not good to eat much honey,” 

Remember anything’s fine in moderation, so don’t overdo! If you’re allergic to bees, don’t consume!  Diabetic? Consume a small amount and always with high fiber items. And DON’T give honey to children under a year due to possible botulism effects. Consume intelligently!

 

 

Striving for Health in the Dieting Wilderness

thHSB5SKZH“In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”      (John 3: 1,2)

John the Baptist was born specifically for one purpose: to proclaim the coming of the Lord. He knew the way to Salvation and proclaimed that Truth to anyone who would listen.

But not many listened, preferring to live as they always had. Few turned away from their destructive path to find real JOY,  preferring to wallow in the destructive or apathetic lifestyle they had chosen, content to be spiritually sick.. They fail to reach out to the Great Physician for eternal life.

 “But when Jesus heard that, he said to them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.”   (Matthew 9:12)

 

Now I don’t claim to know all the answers to health problems. As a nutritional counselor, I believe I speak for many in the healthcare profession who have felt like John the Baptist crying out in the wilderness. We know the True Way to a healthier lifestyle and we CAN get you there but who listens!

Many follow false diets rather than health-sustaining truth! It is indeed frustrating to see our friends preferring the depraved lifestyle of nutrient-depleting sodas, processed ingredients and unhealthy fast food rather than nutritious whole grains, fruits, vegetables and lean protein. They’ll follow fad diet gurus instead of searching for physiological Biblical truth!

Reach out for solid, life-giving truth and you too can attain youthful energy, clear thinking and abundant life! But who’s listening? Similarly, accepting salvation must come from within the heart to be TRUE salvation. Do you truly desire to change?

Most prefer not to. 1/3 of Americans are obese and nearly 2/3’s of us are overweight! Why? Because sadly, the cost of becoming healthier to them isn’t worth the lifestyle sacrifice to get there:

  1. Some consider themselves victims. “Circumstances made them this way.” They whine,”It’s too hard” – unplugging their Christian power source.  “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.” (1 John 4:4)
  2. They have made a golden idol out of food!!!   “Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things.” (Philippians 3:19)
  3. They are unteachable because they “know everything” already!  After all, “I read in a magazine once . . .”  or “Dr. Oz spoke about this on his television show . . .” makes them experts now. “Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools.” (Romans 1:22)
  4. They are content to wallow in the lifestyle they have chosen, for after all, their bodies are only temporary – what difference does it make? “LET’S LIVE IT UP!”   “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;  you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” (1 Corinthians 6:19, 20)
  5. They aren’t health knowledgeable. They need someone to teach them truth. “How can people have faith in the Lord and ask him to save them, if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear, unless someone tells them?”  (Romans 10:14 ) As a health  professional, I pray I’ll never be apathetic about proclaiming truth.      

Try posting any appropriate Bible verses around the house for motivation.

As Christians, shouldn’t we confess and trust Christ to take away ALL our sins, even gluttony and lack of control???

Who then becomes the “Biggest Loser?”

When the popular weight loss reality show, The Biggest Loser premiered six years ago, my husband and I watched advertised previews. My hubby turned to me and asked, “It can’t be good for the body to lose that quickly, can it?” Even he recognized that instant gratification isn’t good for our overall health. How right he was.

“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) 

Yesterday all  the morning programs, as well as the internet,  announced with dismay that contestants on The Biggest Loser were gaining weight back and currently had to fight like crazy to maintain their ever-growing physique. Oh dear, the commentators lamented, what went wrong?imagesCA2E4O1C

Nothing that wasn’t normal physiology. God created this fabulously designed machine which protects us against our own foolish desires. He knows what is best for us and yet we fail to yield to it, insisting on our own path. We sometimes lust for the world’s praise, not God’s. God definitely wants our bodily temple healthy and that includes the entire mental, physical and spiritual package.

People are so desperate to lose weight for the world’s idea of beauty that they will try anything. Years ago Rachel Ray, the famous chef and television talk show host wanted to see exactly how desperate dieters can be.  She created a false diet program which was advertised as:

“Volunteers needed to test new diet program. Some foods ae toxic and will cause paralysis and blindness.”

Now you’re probably laughing thinking, who in their right mind would sign up for something like this? Well sadly over 1400 people did! Are we an out of control narcissistic society or what???

The reason the contestants gained weight back is because the body is very physiologically possessive. It will fight to preserve itself in any way it can for it wants to live! (It’s one reason why children can survive after being underwater twenty minutes or longer.)

In the case of The Biggest Loser, the body was  unnaturally stressed to its breaking point in order to create maximum weight loss. It was forced to do an activity that was against normalcy. (And remember stress can cause all types of illnesses in the long-term.) After being released from the rigors of that program, the mind demanded to take control of its own body again. That meant getting back to “normal,” which by now was all messed up.

After the contestants had stressed and manipulated their metabolism to reach their goal weight, the real challenge began. Keeping it off! The brain took over and slowed its metabolism for protection. In other words, it believed itself to be ill and wanted to survive. Therefore it hung on to every ounce of food it could while slowing its metabolism. One should always remember he can’t outsmart a fat cell or God’s physiology.

“I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”  (Psalm 139: 14a)

I feel so bad for these contestants because it will be a very long time before their metabolism will return to normal. It’s a tough way to learn patience. Never fear however, for if you lose weight slowly and sensibly (1-3 pounds a week) you’ll keep it off for God wants you healthy!