Archive | August 2016

The Joy of Obeying Our Master

For a while our 6-month-old Cavashon puppy must have thought his name was “No-NCJ at six monthso” because he got into so much trouble due to his curious mind. Poor little guy, he tries so hard to make us proud of him; he’s such a sweet dog. However, if we didn’t train him correctly he’d become an uncontrollable dog; (like unruly kids we who are never given boundaries.)

Our puppy wants to please us. He takes joy in hearing “Good boy!” (Or perhaps he’s thinking, “Yeah sure lady . . . just give me that treat.”)

It takes a lot of training and energy to learn something right. Just like our children, “we must train up a puppy in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it” (paraphrasing Proverbs 22:6.) A well-mannered dog is a pleasure to be around, similarly to lovely children.

This got me thinking about the correlation between boundaries in a dog’s world and those within Christianity and food. What if we all did what was right in our own eyes; no boundaries? (Judges 21:25) The world is leaning greatly in that direction, isn’t it? Just look at what is acceptable behavior today which wasn’t even 50 years ago.

When I accepted the Lord as my Savior, I attended a very legalistic church. As an opinionated teenager, I constantly heard “no-no’s” too: “Don’t wear makeup.” “You can’t wear skirts that short!” “Movies are forbidden!” “Modern music is the devil’s voice” “Dancing is upright fornication!” But I heard no sermons on the Joy in the Lord. My goodness, no wonder I rebelled in college – I was finally free – no boundaries!

We live under Grace today. God gives us the right to choose how we live and would never legally restrict us or hold anything back. Regardless, He wants us to choose to obey Him out of love and gratitude. After all, Christ sacrificed ALL on the cross for us – is that asking too much?

“For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace. What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! Do you not know that when you offer yourselves as obedient slaves, you are slaves to the one you obey, whether you are slaves to sin leading to death, or to obedience leading to righteousness?…   (Romans 6:14-16)

As for our nutritional habits, we should strive to live healthy lives because we want to please our Lord and Savior, not because we have to. Scripture states that under grace, anything is fine in moderation. (1 Corinthians 10:23.) Is it too much of a sacrifice to eat only four Hershey Kisses (25 calories each) instead of the entire bag? Consume 6 ounces of sirloin instead of half a cow? Who is your Master, food or God?

Regarding our puppy, it’ll take time to master our commands. We don’t expect him to be perfect. And as Christians, we’ll never be perfect either, so strive for excellence and obedience. As far as our eating habits go, try to master cravings, don’t allow them to rule over you. God doesn’t restrict your culinary pleasures; you can consume bacon and French fries, but why would you eat them everyday if they destroy your personal temple of the Holy Spirit? You wouldn’t think of throwing trash on the floor of a sacred site in Jerusalem, why trash your bodily temple?

I look forward to my own “Good Girl” approval when God lovingly looks at me and says, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”   (Matthew 25:23)   That would mean more than Chocolate!!!

Well “Nuts” To That Myth!

Back when I began my nutritional career, nuts were considered off the menu. “Too much fat!” experts claimed. Of course eggs, potatoes and chocolate were too. These are myths.

thKCICGCJJOnce all calories were considered equal, but actually they aren’t. We inhabit a wonderfully designed machine. Candy and fruit work in different biochemical ways.

Automobiles need oil, gas and regular tune-ups to work properly. Similarly, humans need a variety of nutrients to work efficiently. Clean Nutrients and proper maintenance produce a healthier body.

I love physiology and enjoy explaining why consuming these nutritious foods are beneficial to our well-being.  Just knowing that nuts are great for the skin and are anti-aging are two important points for me! A third is that they are fabulous for extending memory recall. We need those memory cells!

Nuts are packed with protein, enzymes, antioxidants and so many beneficial nutrients, among them many Thiamine, Riboflavin, Niacin, B12, vitamin E, manganese, potassium, magnesium, iron, zinc and essential fatty acids.

Nuts are anti-inflammatory so anyone fighting arthritis, dementia or IBS type challenges would be advised to include them in your daily diet. They also lower blood pressure, heart disease and assist in the prevention of colon and prostate cancer. A little nut butter on an apple, banana or whole wheat toast should fill one up for several hours without cravings.

Nuts are rich in at least four 50-cent omega 3 words such as linoleic Cholesterol and fats clog one’s arteries but walnuts are excellent for brain and heart health. These nutrients enrich our heart and brain pathways preventing strokes, clogged arteries and heart attacks.

When I was a little kid, with so many walnut trees on our farm, my brother and I made a game of smashing all those shells to get the wonderful meat inside. I think we ate them all year round. If stored properly in a freezer or cool dark area, they’ll remain edible for months.

However:

  • In moderation, as in anything else, they’re fine. Brazil nuts however are high in the mineral selenium and can be toxic in large doses. Consume only about 2-3 to avoid overdosing.
  • Avoid the canned nut samplers produced with oils. They can become rancid more quickly.
  • Avoid processed nut butters with trans-fats which can clog arteries.

So why were these considered “bad” foods? Hate to say it but ignorance, bad science and unhealthy diet plans were reasons. Case in point, the Paleo Diet encourages nuts but nixes legumes and beans. Why? Even in moderation? It’s not practical.

Here’s an interesting comparison based on 1 cup of the following:

  • Walnuts = 1464 calories & 15.2 grams of fiber/148 grams fat (4 grams = 1 teaspoon)
  • Pecans = 1544 calories & 21.6 grams of fiber/163 grams fat (plus butter/sugar in pie)

or you could choose nutritious:

  • Split peas = 230 calories & 16 grams of fiber/1 tsp fat. Hearty soup anyone?
  • Black beans = 227 calories & 15 grams of fiber/<1 tsp fat. Great in Chili.
  • Pinto beans = 224 calories & 15.4 grams of fiber/<1 tsp. fat. High protein too.

Why not choose all of the above in moderation? Each of these foods provide excellent nutrition and none are bad for us. Each contain valuable vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, enzymes and phytonutrients to assist in proper functioning.

Once again, Genesis 1:29, God knew it all the time!  As always He expects us to use common sense. Any food can become a trigger to addiction or allergies. If one can’t resist overeating, don’t bring a product into the house. Balance is always essential for  proper health.

“For the LORD gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding. He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk in integrity.” (Proverbs 2: 6,7)

 

 

 

A Nutritionist’s Opinion of Paleo

We live by Grace. So unless we’re under doctor supervision can pretty much eat what we want, even if it’s not good for us. Which brings me to the Paleo Diet and a question I was asked recently, “How good is it?”

Let’s be real; no one wakes up exclaiming, “Man, I can’t wait to feel unhealthy today!” Following this plan could do it though!

Besides my obvious objection of “my ancestors weren’t cavemen, sorry about yours,” I grant Paleo’s a catchy title and peaked my interest when it first debuted. double bacon cheeseburger paleo

I grew up on a farm when the rich soil produced abundant, nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables. Nowadays we have depleted the soil, changed the chemical makeup of produce and wheat, adding chemicals and preservatives to foods to lengthen shelf life. “Enriched” bread might sound good on paper but the bran is removed and synthetic vitamins added to bring it up to normal standards  (minus the beneficial fiber.) High-fiber bread is nutrient-dense but off-limits on this diet.

Paleo has a short list of “eat this, not that.” I failed to see any practical physiological science behind it. It’s very confusing! Sweet potatoes, potatoes, yams are banned but further down they’re allowed “in moderation.” Define moderation.

Except for a few fruits and some vegetables, the fiber content is unhealthily low. High-fiber foods significantly lower the risk of diabetes, high cholesterol, heart disease, obesity, stroke and hypertension. One needs both soluble and insoluble fiber. One should consume 25 – 35 grams of fiber daily to prevent intestinal polyps, parasites, worms and other lovely creatures. (For that reason alone I wouldn’t trust this diet!)

Oatmeal and “cereals” are strictly no-no’s. No clarification is made between high-fiber Kashi brands, Raisin Bran,etc. or low-fiber Corn Flakes!

Lentils, legumes, pinto, kidney, red, black beans and peanuts are off limits. Why? These beneficial foods have both types of fiber plus protein, thiamine, E, folic acid, iron, magnesium. These help lower cholesterol!

No beets? One of the most nutrient-rich vegetables?

Pasta’s off the list too, not even white fiber pasta. Along with a nutritious lean beef/tomato sauce, rich in vitamin’s C and iron, it’s healthy.

No yogurt either! Again no distinction between high-quality, good-bacteria yogurt which gets right into the gut and the unhealthy type with added sweeteners. Of course sauerkraut has good bacteria – but for breakfast on an empty stomach? Ugh.

I never claim to be smarter than God. I trust Him when He indicated in Genesis 1:29 to consume whole grains, fruits, vegetables, herbs, nuts and seeds. Then in Genesis 9:3 God added meat to the menu.

Well what about meats?

“First one catches a rattlesnake or bear  . . .” Seriously it’s on the list! So is ostrich, kangaroo, turtle, 60% fat chicken wings and chemically-laden, nitrate-enriched bacon (but sirloin’s not!) Ground beef? There’s no restriction given between lower-fat 93% sirloin and 73% hamburger. So let’s see: it’s okay to consume a double bacon cheeseburger but Sirloin steaks, baked sweet potatoes, green beans and wholesome fibrous breads are off-limits? Do you see why I’m skeptical?

Yet, there’s always a little truth in any diet. Paleo distains chemical sweeteners, energy drinks, refined sugars and spam. Great, but so does the Mediterranean, MIND, Dash and Weight Watcher’s without gimmicks. What a complicated diet plan. Wouldn’t it be easier to simply follow God’s Plan? (According to the Creator of Heaven and Earth, 1 Corinthians 10:23, anything’s fine in moderation, even bacon cheeseburgers.) Please follow clear cut physiological Truth without gimmicks.

“For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing.” (Luke 12:23)

There is no money, only health, in recommending God’s Dietary Plan for my patients. Therefore: “As for me and my house I will serve the Lord. (Joshua 24:15)

 

 

 

Learning to Overcome Food Addictions

By now you probably realize that food, being a bunch of chemicals, is addictive. Chemicals change our neurological and metabolic functions; sometimes without us even being aware of that fact. Food addiction is similar to every other addiction because it alters our brain neurotransmitters and body chemistry. As one patient described it to me, “it’s like a switch went off in my brain. I couldn’t stop.”woman stuffing fast food

Some believe food addiction is even worse than drugs, alcohol and smoking because we can’t get away from food – it’s always there, staring us in the face. It’s at work in the vending machine, on television commercials, magazines, along the roads we travel on. If we are having a stressful morning, it is so easy to reach for the donuts in the break room. Angry? Those pretzels are therapeutically crunchy!!! Lonely? We might find ourselves craving the comforting chemical found in chocolate, called phenylethylamine. Food chemically changes our moods.

It is a fact that food acts as a soothing drug when we are emotionally stressed. There is hope however. I have discovered the more I turned down donuts, processed, fast food and placed more wholesome foods into my system, the less I desired junk food. Today it doesn’t tempt me to stroll past a table covered in sugary snacks. If you also begin to select mostly fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds and lean protein, you’ll also discover a desire for more nutritionally healthy choices!

Let’s get real: self-medicating with food, drugs or alcohol does make the pain go away, but only for a short time. It changes our chemical make-up, providing pleasure, relaxing us. That’s a hard habit to give up. I urge you to reach out for God’s strength to get you through those hard times. Sadly however, many turn directly from instead of to God when hardship hits. You might even question God. Why doesn’t He give me more strength to overcome? Why would He allow me to be so weak?

“He sent out his word and healed them, and delivered them from their destruction.”  (Psalm 107:20)

God does care deeply, it breaks His heart when He sees suffering. But He allows us, just as He has since Adam, free choice: loving obedience, apathy or self-destruction. God gave us free will. God wants us to choose what is best but in His love, He did not create puppets and will not force us to do what He wants us to do. Free Will! But actions have consequences. Choosing to consume chemically-laden, processed foods will ultimately produce physiologically destructive results.

I understand personal choice. As much as I wanted my patients to become healthier, they had to want it more than I wanted it for them! I watched as they chose a more healthier lifestyle . . . or destruction. It was either victorious or painful to watch but it had to be their choice. Change starts from within the individual.

Most people probably don’t understand the intricate, complicated processes of physiology but we do see the result of positive or detrimental choices. Isn’t this similar to how we see Jesus at work in a new believer’s life? We see the results of positive choices as well.

“All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be enslaved by anything.” (1 Corinthians 6:12)

Please choose wisely.

So Many Diet Plans! Which to Choose?

The 2016 US News and World Report list of “Best Diet Plans” was recently balanced dietpublished. The top five diet plans didn’t change much since last year and it’s always gratifying to view those I highly recommend among the top 5.  Of course  all my diet plans are endorsed by the True Creator of all Good and Practical Diets. One’s which God knew, as our Designer, a person could remain on for life!

So the newest list is:

  • The Dash Diet
  • The Mind Diet (a combo of the DASH and Mediterranean diets, targeting mental function)
  • Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes (TCL)
  • Fertility Diet
  • Mayo Clinic Diet

All of these individual plans are variations on a theme. Each is based on a diversity of fibrous whole grains, fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, lean meats and good fats. Oh my! . . .  I was so surprised . . . NOT! No matter how many times, diet gurus try to rearrange God’s message on dietary recommendations (Genesis 1:29, Genesis 9:3, Acts 10: 10-14, 1 Corinthians 10:23)  it all comes back to one basic truth: physiology.

Why do people get snared by false, fiber-less and sometimes dangerous programs? Well, desperation and hope can drive some to do crazy things. When someone diets and then gains weight back, panic ensues. I understand. No one wants to be embarrassed or perceived as a failure. People become desperate!

Case in point: In the ’90s, Oprah Winfrey set up a false diet center in a mall. The diet was based on eating only hot dogs and ice cream all day. Now, you’re probably thinking, that’s crazy, who would ever sign up for such an obviously fake diet plan? Well, I believe 41 people signed up in two days.  Did they actually believe that eating chemically-laden, nitrate-based, fatty meat and creamed, sugared saturated fat would lead to a healthier lifestyle? Probably not, but they were willing to try anything to lose weight.

If one understands physiology, he’ll know a diet restricting certain food categories will  lead to stronger cravings because our hypothalamus, (that little “mom” in our brain) is nagging us to consume other essential nutrients which our body needs! For example, a diet consisting only of fruit (grapefruit diet anyone?) lacks over 50 essential nutrients for a healthy metabolism. Moderation of all food groups is the key to success.

So don’t diet at all! Live and eat sensibly. My instructor is my LORD. If God is your teacher, then you’ll base your lifestyle on what the Word says, not on some outlandish diet claim urging you to spend money on false advertising.

Materialism is today’s worldly god. Everyone’s out for the almighty dollar. There is very little money in following God’s Simple, Sensible Eating Plan. It’s free. Many of my patients over the years have urged me to write my own “diet” plan. Actually I don’t believe in diets, only healthier lifestyles.

It’s my prayer that my posts will inspire others to follow God’s Plan. For what one truly needs cannot be found at the bottom of a carton of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. People need God to fill their soul with purpose and meaning.

 All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything. Food is for the stomach and the stomach is for food, but God will do away with both of them. Yet the body is not for immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord is for the body.” 1 Corinthians 6: 12-13 (NASB)