Archives

Creating an Energy Efficient Machine

God created our bodies as incredible machines. It’s absolutely amazing how intricate and energy efficient we could be if we only took care of ourselves and ate better. But do you run like a lawn mower, a garbage disposal or a sports car?

God has intricately designed our systems to protect us even when we do something crazy.

Case in point: when we attempt a starvation diet, pills, shots or liquid protein diet; our body will go into protection mode. Sure, any diet will allow us to lose weight . . .  initially, but starvation is not natural . Our  brain will discern that something is wrong, (perhaps we’re ill?) and will slow our metabolism to save energy.  Afterwards it takes longer to adjust our metabolism back to normal. We begin to store fat for later use. Because after all, “the crops might fail again” and we’ll need that stored energy to survive!!!

Our body is innately self-protecting and the only “slimness” produced is to our egos. We feel like a failure. It seems our brain wants to live more than we do!

There is no miraculous way to instantly lose weight. It always goes back to God’s beautifully designed physiology: sensible nutritious eating, consuming water while exercising to burn calories and tone muscle which burns fat. Circular, boring and time-consuming. So to speed things up we’ll desperately try anything, gimmicks, caffeine, drugs . . . again gimmicks!

We need to always go back to basics: eat for nutrients, smaller portions, exercise, drink water, slow down and chew to release those vital nutrients.

Another suggestion is to make life’s challenges a game! To increase fluid  intake:

  1. Fill a water container with a various combinations of lemon, cucumber slices, watermelon, berries . . .  you get the idea.
  2. Create a chart and for every glass you drink, check off a block.
  3. Every box is worth a nickel, dime, whatever. Reward with non-food items.
  4. Display the jar and tangibly you’ll see accomplishments right in front of you.

These habits restore a feeling of self-discipline. Self esteem issues were probably one reason you gained in the first place, right? (Congratulations – you’re now a winner!) Use the reward money for a family fun night, DVD or shopping trip.

Exercise! When did exercise cease to be fun? When we were children we ran for the pure joy of it! Find a sport the family can perform together. Whether it’s throwing the Frisbee, biking, swimming, hiking; these can all be fun activities and bond the family together. As your health improves, so does your children’s.

Cooking. This can be a fun family achievement as well. Have each family member list their favorite dinners and place all in a hat, then plan your weekly menu.

Forget the sticks and twigs of diet plans. Feed your family nutrients! Even hamburgers, meatloaf and happy familypizza can be created with less fat. Use 93% ground round or homemade pizza with less cheese and more veggies.

Grill chicken, sirloin kabobs or roasted pork loin with grilled potatoes, veggies and salad. These aren’t fattening. Use the leftover pork for BBQ sandwiches and extra chicken over garden salad. Search through cookbooks as a family to see what recipes to try. Did you know that 80% of the time, families consume the same 12 meals? Boring! Your body needs nutritional variety.

Train your children well to create healthy habits. Strive for excellence as a family, instilling discipline and common sense. What values are you teaching your children? They watch and learn.

“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires;” (Ephesians 4:22)

Revving Up That Old Clunker: Metabolism

If you’ve been feeling more like a 1971 Pinto than a Ferrari, perhaps it’s time to rev up that old metabolism. Start modifying your engine. I know it seems like an impossible task but there are many easy lifestyle habits to incorporate into your routine to change for the better.

Let’s look at creating a healthy ritual:

First thing in the morning, consume a glass of water. This starts the digestive track moving and awakens your entire system. When your digestion is working better, nutrients can be absorbed more effectively.  Why does that matter? Because all vitamins have a purpose and B vitamins especially, convert carbohydrates, protein and fats into energy. Absorption means better metabolic function.

Drinking enough water is essential because this allows your kidneys to remove toxins and the liver to metabolize fat. Add a slice of lemon, lime or apple cider vinegar  to water during the day as well. Why? It will create a more effective alkaline pH.  A slightly higher alkaline pH protects you against disease and reduces stress. Stress destroys B vitamins (see above.)

Enjoy your cup of coffee without guilt. Anything is fine in moderation but too much destroys B vitamins.  Adding a bit of cinnamon or turmeric actually improves the health benefits.

I’m often asked when is the best time to exercise. Short answer: anytime! Exercise will rev up your metabolism for hours so try to get some in several times a day. For example, stretch and do leg exercises in the morning. Walk the dog or run up and down stairs, garden, vacuum, clean your home, etc. during the day, lift light weights watching television in the evening. Don’t feel like it? Do it anyway! It feels victorious to conquer lazy habits!

Exercising in the fresh air increases serotonin levels and is a great stress reliever. Stress increases cortisol and other destructive hormones, making you hungrier, increasing cravings. Another benefit of exercise is building muscle. Muscle burns fat. Get your BMR to a healthy rate. (Basal Metabolic Rate is the amount of calories it takes to maintain individual normal bodily functions.)

Consuming a healthy breakfast is imperative! Your body has been without food probably ten hours or more. Therefore it must “break-its-fast” or your brain will believe you are ill and will compensate by slowing down metabolism. A body protects itself at all costs so you’ll never starve yourself healthy!

It’s imperative to begin your day with a balanced diet containing all three food groups at every meal: protein, complex carbs and healthy fat.

What does “balanced” mean exactly? Well here’s some breakfast examples: Create an egg, cheese and veggie omelette. 2. Consume yogurt, berries, an ounce of walnuts and milled flaxseed. 3. Buckwheat pancakes with pecans, sliced bananas & drizzle of pure maple syrup, or 4. any fiber-based (5+ grams) healthy cereal, berries and 1% milk (which is 20% fat.) Each suggested example is balanced with all three food groups. Eat proportionately during lunch and dinner as well. (example: 60% complex carbs, 20% lean protein and 20% healthy fat.)

Balanced snacks should also be consumed throughout the day: peanut butter on a small apple or banana, white cheese (white has less cholesterol) and fruit, sliced avocado, turkey or ham on fibrous crackers, etc. You and your auto shouldn’t run out of gas during the day.

Hot spicy foods such as cayenne, wasabi, horseradish, spicy mustards revs metabolism and releases serotonin to the brain which reduce cravings.

God has given us a cherished gift. Life. What you cherish you take care of, so cherish your incredible, unique body! Don’t allow bad habits to overrule what you know is right!

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10)

 

 

Before You Take Drastic Measures to Lose Weight . . .

It is always wise to determine your personality, lifestyle and relationship to food before jumping into any “diet” plan. It could influence whether you succeed or fail.

What I enjoy about counseling is that every patient is different, keeping me on my toes. But all new sessions begin with the Guess Why I Can’t Lose game. Some tell me what I want to hear while others deny they even have a problem. “I don’t have a problem, my husband has the problem! He’s pushing me to lose!” But I can’t assist anyone until they understand there’s a crisis. They’re in denial. I can’t fix what someone won’t recognize as broken. The first step in overcoming is awareness.

Another denial is if the doctor circled obese on their chart. “I am NOT obese. I’m only sixty pounds overweight – how dare he call me obese!” (More importantly, every pound of fat requires 2-7 extra miles of blood vessels. That’s stressing the heart!)

Or we play their hide and seek game: “Unless you discover my hidden insecure pysche, I’m terrific!” Having perfectionist tendencies tends to feel like admitting any mistake is a chink in their armor. Believe me I won’t think less of them and success will come faster. In counseling, the more we discovered together, the more the patient recognized the challenge to address.

The saddest scenario however is when someone desperately searches for drastic methods to lose weight, without knowing how their lifestyle affects their eating habits. Such was the case with “Sheila.” who underwent stomach reduction surgery in the mid ’90s. This surgery was considered permanent then.

Why a doctor would have endorsed an operation like that for someone who lived for food is beyond me. The doctors I worked for would never have approved such surgery unless it was a lifesaving procedure.

Sheila loved everything about food! She enjoyed the taste, texture, cooking, baking, dining with friends, exploring new restaurants and entertaining in her luxurious home. Life was one big party! As a teenager she was a healthy 125 pounds but over the years she lost control. She believed all her problems would be over if she only had the surgery. Then she’d return to her normal weight and carefree lifestyle once again.

What Sheila didn’t understand was that eating normally again as she knew it, would never happen. For someone whose world revolved around food this was a living nightmare she’d never wake up from. After the surgery, she could only consume 2 ounces of food at any one time while her friends dined on thick steaks, French fries, buttery rolls plus dessert. She became jealous, angry at having lost her eating pleasures.

Why she hadn’t realized she’d have to drastically reduce her portion sizes was puzzling. Sheila never acknowledged if she hadn’t understood the consequences or if the doctor failed to emphasis this essential restriction. She only knew that when others enjoyed Thanksgiving with all the fixings, she ate two ounces of pretty much nothing. She suffered from depression, malnutrition, anemia and anger issues, despising herself for her impulsive action.

There’s a safer way. Talk to a qualified nutritional counselor first before taking drastic steps or attempting crazy diet plans. It’s the same  adage as “when all else fails, pray.” Actually we should go to God first. Not as an after-thought. God wants you healthy and so do we!

“Why spend your money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in rich food.”  (Isaiah 55:2)  ISV

Concerned About Aging Well? Eat These Foods

My birthday is this week. With age comes wisdom and confidence but sadly in the U.S., age isn’t honored as it is in other countries. I wouldn’t want to be 20 again but I sure don’t enjoy seeing the wrinkles that currently adorn my face. I was concerned about the hot dry climate of Arizona producing wrinkles until we moved to the  frigid, wintry, windy area of Ohio. It’s worse!

“And you have filled me with wrinkles, which is a witness against me: and my leanness rising up in me bears witness to my face. (Job 16:8) NKJ

Does your face represent impatience, worry or peace? To look younger: relax, exercise more, eat nutritious food and place your trust in the Lord.

Less Wrinkly Skin = Less Sugar which is easier said than done. When it’s dreary outside my first inclination is to bake. Instead create hearty soups like vegetable or chicken noodle.

I find it ironic that  glycation, the process of metabolizing sugar in our bloodstream, attaches to proteins to form harmful new molecules is called “advanced glycation end products” or “AGEs” for short.

Try Herbal Teas: Teas wash out toxins from our system and gives a natural glow. I like green tea and often consume flavored herbal teas. I especially enjoy pomegranate, berry, orange spice or acaia berry tea. Each promotes collagen production and circulation.

Increase Turmeric, Curcumin and Cinnamon: Turmeric, found in mustard, is known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Used for centuries in Eastern and Asian cooking, curcumin which can be purchased separately, also helps relieve acne. Sprinkle it over soup, rice, frittatas, egg dishes and I’ve sprinkled each in my coffee which created the smoothest cup I’ve ever consumed.

Probiotic Foods: Attempt to decrease the harmful bacteria in our digestion system by increasing healthy probiotic  bacteria which fight infections and acne in our skin. Garlic, onions, yogurt (containing live cultures, not pasteurized – look at the label)  Remember that healthy bacteria in our colon equals healthy skin.

Probiotics is the good bacteria found in asparagus, sauerkraut, kefir, miso, pickles and cultured buttermilk and it promotes the growth of this healthy bacteria.

Spinach, Kale, Broccoli, Collard and other Greens:  These foods contain zeaxanthin, an antioxidant that evens skin tone and brings out our natural radiance. It’s best to steam these greens to increase nutritional value.

Milled Flaxseed, Avocados,Wheat Germ: Have a dry complexion? The omega 3’s in these are beneficial for retaining youthful skin. All contain ceramides, a fat molecule that locks in moisture and promotes a natural glow.

Combining Vitamin A and C foods restores collagen and elasticity.

Red Meat: Surprised? Red meat is not the enemy as claimed by some false diet gurus! Red meat contains alpha lipoic acid, another antioxidant that promotes healthy collagen and consuming it is one of the few ways to acquire vitamin B12. This vitamin will revitalize energy levels and brain function. It contains nutrients which effectively calm the body, thereby producing less skin breakouts.

Choose 3 – 6 ounces occasionally of lean red meat like “loin”, “round” or London Broil.

Pomegranate Juice, Blueberries, Cranberries and Red Wine contains antioxidants to combat free-radical damage and pomegranates are three times the most potent.

Tuna, Sardines, Oysters, Cod: Even though they sometimes aren’t the most popular fish, they contain antioxidant-protecting selenium, along with omega-3 fatty acids to prevent skin redness and irritation.

Oysters and shrimp are rich sources of zinc which prevents breakouts and restores clear skin. Zinc is also microbial; therefore will protect against illnesses when fighting a cold or flu.

With all this said, remember God cares more about our soul than our outer shell! True beauty comes from within.

Looking for Magical Weight Loss?

Do you remember when Michael Corleone in The Godfather 3 declared,”Just when I thought I was out… they pull me back in.” He had tried to become a legitimate business man but had been pulled back into the “family” business of deceit, death and destruction.

Don’t we feel the same sometimes while attempting to lose weight? Every time I’m following a healthier diet, I get sucked back into eating junk  food again! We try with all our might to resist the pull of those seductive, sugary, simple carbohydrates by consuming whole grains, vegetables, fruits and lean protein. For a few weeks we’ll stand fast, smugly thinking, I’ve got this! But then an invitation to a special event arrives and find ourselves munching on dark chocolate cupcakes.

Why did we self-destruct when our determination seemed so strong?

“For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” (Romans 7:15) ESV

Sometimes it’s our old nature which seduces us with the thought, oh well, just this once, what could it hurt? Then afterwards we think regretfully, now I’ve blown it so I’ll just start again Monday. But Monday never comes and slowly the weight lost seems trivial and desserts and pleasure take priority. Stand strong, forgive yourself and get back on track immediately.

As a nutritional counselor, some of my patients have weighed well over 500 pounds. But even they were only five pounds overweight once. What went wrong? Had they made food their god? How could anyone be happy living in an unhealthy environment? Now they lived with joint problems, diabetes and other diseases of their own making.

What causes us to self-destruct? It’s important to know why.

Do we not think we aren’t worth the effort? Are we basically lazy or bored eating the same foods over and over again? Why, when there are so many different international recipes using chicken, fish, lean pork and beef. Please don’t suffer with rice cakes and celery which contain little nutritional value. If we eat for nutrients, our metabolism will nationally work efficiency.

Some find comfort in certain foods. However a cookie isn’t always a “cookie.” Sometimes a cookie represents security, comfort or memories of a close relationship with our family. We must ask, why am I eating this? Am I really hungry or simply provoked by a feeling? If it’s the latter, find something else to do which would create positive feelings: exercise, reading, walking,  . . .

Are we searching for the easiest way to health? Packaged foods, liquid diet drinks, pills – none of these will work long term. The only good diet plan is one which teaches us to eat sensibly through a variety of nutrient-dense choices for a lifetime.

At a Home and Garden Show last weekend one lady at a booth was pushing a “miracle” diet product which I found baffling. “Look at my old photo.” She said. “I was 25 pounds heavier a month ago. Now I’m on this special diet. It’s easy!!! For two days I eat all this junk food.” She showed off a display tray featuring  chocolate cake, donuts, cookies, candy, pie, but nothing of nutritional value. She proudly stated, “Then for two days I simply take three pills daily and the fat magically dissolves away!”

Her thirteen year old daughter who tagged along, was also on this plan. Realize that the only good diet is one we’ll stay on for a lifetime. She was setting herself and her daughter up for a lifetime of yo-yo dieting.

Research physiological truth, understand and responsibly dedicate your actions to God’s Health Plan. It works.

Do You Enjoy Being a Human Chemistry Set?

             “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”                                                                                                                           (1 Corinthians 10:31) 

I believe in eating as naturally as possible. Artificial ingredients, dyes and chemically-altered, processed food choices change body chemistry. It seems every time man comes up with a new idea: oleo versus butter, artificial sugars versus real sugar, Egg Beaters versus real eggs, God’s ideas best man’s ideas every time!

I base my personal sensible diet on Genesis 1:29 & 9:3 which encourages consumption of natural fruits, vegetables, whole grains, seeds and herbs. Meat protein, which God advised us to consume only after the Flood (Genesis 9:3) is rich in B12, but other than that, every nutrient to sustain life as well as heal the body, is found in Genesis 1:29.

God originally designed us to live forever but sin destroyed Eden and the Second Law of Thermodynamics began to apply. That Law states that everything on Earth is winding down and wearing out, humans included.

(That alone should contradict man’s theory that through evolution, man progressed into a better life over millions of years.) But back to nutrition.

When we consume chemically modified food, those chemicals land in the liver, the clearing house for the body. Since the liver can’t metabolize these chemicals, they remain. Of course we can give ourselves a fighting chance by detoxifying our system but even then, some toxins remain. Tell me, when studying chemistry in high school or college, what happens if too many dangerous chemicals are placed in a testing tube? You’re right, most of the time, the chemicals corrode, churn and then blow up.

Do you enjoy being a human chemistry lab?  All those toxins in our body fester, create an acidic environment, ulcerate and turn into debilitating illnesses. And we have more man-made chemicals in foods than ever before!

Sadly, we can’t get away from every toxin, pesticide, fertilizer, GMO or other questionable food treatment. Life goes on and we must use common sense, trust God and live without fear or there would be nothing left for us to consume!

Also most people nowadays don’t garden and must rely on supermarkets for their food supply.  But we can certainly and voluntarily stay away from artificial  sugars, colas, chemically-processed and fast food. TIP:  If you want a soda, place seltzer water and ice into a glass and fill the remainder with orange, grape, cranberry or other quality juice. Seltzer contains no sodium, thereby you’ll keep your bones longer. High salt intake is linked to a loss of calcium and thus a deterioration of bone structure.

Organic products are wonderful but don’t be fooled. Realistically organics are only as good as the farm next to it. When the neighboring farm is sprayed with chemicals and the wind blows, unfortunately your organic farm isn’t as much anymore. And if it uses the same water supply, chemicals get into the water and affect results too. So what can you do? Buy in season and as much locally grown produce as possible or plant your own fruit trees and garden.

Bottom line: How do you think God views a Christian who purposely defiles his body, the temple of the Holy Spirit, with gluttonous, selfish desires, pleasing his body rather than his soul? You’re right, I’m sure it grieves Him or makes Him angry. Let’s strive to honor God with our bodies by remembering God’s strong Words:

“If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.” (1 Corinthians 3:17)

The SIRTFOOD Diet Plan, Fact or Fallacy?

“The Sirtfood Diet has replaced the paleo and dukan diet to become one of the most talked-about diet trends.” red-wine-and-chocolate

Lose 7 lbs. in 7 days!!!” is pie in the sky too because it’s mostly water weight not fat you’re losing.

Exchange the word trend with fad and you’d get it right. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a bad plan, because it will shake up your metabolism and it is only for seven days.

I dislike however how people get lured in by a celebrity rather than relying on God’s original dietary decrees. So what if Adele lost weight, so did Oprah many, many times. The only good diet is one you’ll stay on for life. (And can one develop good habits in seven days? I doubt it.)

So what’s all the hype about? What are these SIRT  “Silent Information Regulator” proteins?

SIRT1 has been around for at least a decade but all seven of the SIRT7 proteins, amino acids and enzymes cofactor with cell growth, (found in food) play a role in stress resistance, assistance in insulin regulation, reducing oxidative cell damage while increasing energy metabolism. In fact consuming all three sensible food groups; complex carbohydrates, lean protein and healthy fats will do that too. (I see a series of diets in the future using all seven SIRT’s.)

At least this plan is better than the Paleo diet because it stresses healthier nutrients like green tea, blueberries, turmeric, kale, apples, parsley and citrus fruits, even red wine and dark chocolate, wow! Resveratrol anyone? All of these are indeed excellent and effective for weight loss. But that’s how I eat now, anything in moderation without “dieting.”  (1 Corinthians 10:23)

There are several physiological truths that factor into this plan to make it recommendable. I’ve touched on many of these same truths for free:

  1. Eat for nutrients and you’ll lose weight and stay healthier.
  2. Every nutrient has a purpose and if you consume a well-rounded diet plan, you’ll naturally be healthier.
  3. An alkaline diet creates a less hectic lifestyle. Good stress = better metabolism.
  4. Fruits and vegetables create an alkaline environment, avoiding heart diseases, cancers, etc.

God’s Common Sense Free Diet Plan based on Genesis 1:29 & 9:3 stands the test of time. For the past 4 1/2 years New Creations Ministries has been spouting healthy eating plans with my mantra, Eat for nutrients!  Along comes the Sirtfood Diet Plan and voila’, all of a sudden everyone is talking about nutrients.

This diet sounds great and in some ways it is. Except it advocates easy-ways-to-lose weight loss with half-truths once again.  

“For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions,” (2 Timothy 4:3)

Where it’s off-base:

The basic premise of this “new” diet plan is simple. Starve yourself on 800/1000 calorie a day for 3 days and then consume around 1500-1600 calories per day for 4/5 days.

So let’s address this low-calorie suggestion. Whenever you commit to a starvation plan, your brain will believe you are sick and will slow your metabolism to a crawl. When you decide to eat normally, you’ll likely gain weight. It’s your body’s innate defense ability.

But does this book explain how nutrients work in conjunction with metabolism? (If not use my search engine and you’ll discover WHY.) Address cravings?  Does it teach how to create good habits, overcome temptations when pressured at a party or family dinner? Doubt it, you’re on your own then or purchase my book, “Life’s Too Short to Eat Bad Cheese . . .” (Nutritional and Life Lessons God Teaches Us)

Therefore exercise to maintain normal metabolism. Vary nutrient-dense foods throughout the day so your body doesn’t believe you’re starving. Increase water intake to flush ketones (toxic chemicals) out of your system.

As I said, the SIRT diet isn’t bad but is this how you’ll eat throughout life? I’d rather recommend the Mediterranean, DASH or Weight Watchers for a lifetime diet plan. Stay healthy!