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“What About Boxed Diet Programs?”

Please tell me what’s wrong with this statement?

“I know certain diets don’t work because I’ve tried them all. But this (boxed) program? I know that works, because it worked for me SEVERAL TIMES!!!”

That was the response I received as I counseled a new patient whose goal was to lose 150 pounds. Poor sweet lady, she just didn’t get it; she was only stressing her heart as she searched for an easy fix, believing a convenient “buy a box” program would work again.

First, the only real diet is one that will work for an lifetime. Of course one could get lucky and lose a few pounds on a gimmicky diet plan but for how long? Sure it worked for celebrities but will it fit into your lifestyle? For example, if you entertain clients at restaurants, host office dinners for your husband, teach 32 children in your classroom or show homes as a realtor, it’s nearly impossible to follow a boxed diet program successfully.

And keep in mind that the celebrity spokesperson, ecstatic over her current boxed food plan, has a lucrative contract, personal shopper, chef, publicist, housekeeper, private gym with trainer, stylist, masseuse and an incentive to look good in front of the television cameras!  You’ve got a mirror and box of cheese doodles in your cabinet. And I can buy my family an entire day’s worth of food for one individual’s cost of a boxed program at $9-11 per day, not counting the extras that go with it like dairy, vegetables and fruit.

Secondly, unless one knows how to maintain a balanced, HEALTHY diet, purchasers usually gain it all back and then some! Look at Oprah. Currently there are no one-on-one meetings with counselors to answer personal challenges on topics relevant to your individuality.

A nutritional counselor will discover the root cause of your self-destruction. Check a company out thoroughly and ensure the diet company has counselors who will keep you educated on physiology so you can maintain the weight loss under real life circumstances.. (Think Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig.)

We are each uniquely designed by God. We also have different DNA’s, lifestyles and challenges we face daily. A stay-at-home mom faces different stressors than a lawyer who’s single. That mom needs to know how to overcome the cupboard temptations calling her name while the lawyer needs to alleviate mental stress by hitting the gym after work.

Pre-planning and controlling our own destiny instills personal confidence that we can overcome anything. No one else can get healthy for us. We might think that someone else preparing our meals so we can simply pop them in the microwave is convenient but what have we learned about meal preparation, grocery shopping for healthier choices, portion sizes and cooking for a family of five? That’s right, nothing! We might get a few brochures and pamphlets but can we decipher it? (Or as I usually ask, “Do you know what it means to you in dog years?”)

Selecting the right foods isn’t that hard. It’s common sense. Choose as many whole foods, lean meats, good quality yogurt and healthy fats (olive oil, coconut, milled flaxseed or avocados, etc.)

“You say, “I am allowed to do anything”–but not everything is good for you. And even though “I am allowed to do anything,” I must not become a slave to anything.”   (1 Corinthians 6:12)

Very few remain healthy and slim on a prepackaged meal plan. Please don’t believe everything your itchy ears want to hear. (2 Timothy 4: 3-4)

 

 

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Eat Breakfast? But I’m Not Hungry!

God created us with powerful physiological engines. We wouldn’t expect a car to run efficiently without gasoline or oil, nor a refrigerator without electricity; therefore  our body needs to generate the right energy to work efficiently as well.

“Your hands made me and formed me; give me understanding to learn your commands.” (Psalm 119:73)

Think of a historical train’s steam engine. As long as the engineer continues to stoke the engine with coal or wood, the train contentedly moves along. If the engineer falls asleep, runs out of coal and fails to do so, the engine begins to run out of steam and the train slows to a stop. Then it takes longer to get back to proper speed.

Same with us. If we fail to eat regularly, we’ll also run out of steam.

When we wake in the morning we’ve been without food for 6-8 hours. If we refuse to eat, our brain will believe we are ill and will slow down our metabolism. It holds on as protection so it can disperse calories when necessary. It can’t comprehend we would want to starve on purpose so it believes it’s protecting us.

Therefore, eating mini-meals throughout the day will naturally allow us to think, move and operate effectively.

Start each day with breakfast:

Quick energy is what we need most each morning so we can wake up our brain, which runs almost exclusively on glucose, a sugar. That means beneficial carbohydrates which enter our blood stream in about 15-30 minutes. But there’s a problem: carbohydrates only last about 2-3 hours at a time.

Have you noticed that if you have a sugary donut, your body is energized but then crashes quickly? You probably get hungry, spacy and perhaps even jittery within an hour or two. If you don’t want to crash mentally or physically, choose any high-fiber complex carbohydrate such as Grape Nuts, Shredded Wheat, Kashi or Raisin Bran (with 1-2% milk) for quick energy but fiber for sustaining energy. Fiber allows insulin to be released more slowly into your system, thus you won’t get that jittery feeling in an hour.

And I’d much rather see someone add a little real sugar (at 16 calories per teaspoon) than spoon any chemically created artificial sugar into their coffee, tea or cereal. Why consume unnatural processed food with absolutely no nutritional value? You’ll become a walking chemistry experiment, ready to erupt with cancer or illnesses when processed chemicals collide!

You’ll then need to sustain that energy with a little (2-3 ounces) quality protein which lasts about 4 hours in your system. Low-fat, good-quality yogurt with a serving of fruit, walnuts and sprinkled with milled flaxseed is wonderful or consume a slice of low-fat ham like Canadian bacon and egg between an English muffin. Even bagels, toast, Buckwheat (kasha) pancakes or waffles are fine in moderation. But go easy on the syrup or add fresh fruit instead. Add a little peanut butter or lower-fat cream cheese spread on your bagel for sustained energy.

Finally, we need to keep our bodily machine well-oiled by consuming good quality fats like real butter, milled flaxseed, coconut or almond milk. Fat remains in the system for 5-7 hours.

Consume a banana, apple with cheese or graham cracker with peanut butter as a mid-morning snack.

By consuming healthy food at breakfast, you set yourself up for a day of vitality and contentment. Your mind and spirit will be renewed and your energy level will at least get you through breaktime without giving in to sugary snacks!

It’s all about balance and physiology, not lack of willpower!

Omega 7’s “It’s All Greek to Me!”

What did we ever do without the internet? Well some days I’d sure like to know!

A few weeks ago, our internet went down. So trying to be helpful, I called our internet provider, intending to have it running normally by the time my husband returned from work.

Isn’t it frustrating discussing internet challenges with a technician over the phone when one isn’t a tech herself? And if that’s not enough hassle, why do we need to repeat the same info to yet another person on the other end of the line, as we did to the first and second representative! Why?

“Do not lack diligence; be fervent in spirit; serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope; be patient in affliction; be persistent in prayer.” (Romans 12: 11-12)

Remind me never to pray again for patience, for God has a strange way of teaching me that characteristic.

Understanding Technology:

So back to my computer challenge: unless I knew computer terminology, which I don’t, I was at a loss. Yes, I told her, I checked the connections. Yes, I’d find the modem model number for her . . . eventually. Huh . . . what do you mean, what else did we have connected to the modem? Beat’s me. Had she meant that particular computer terminal or connections to all the other devices throughout the house???

Finally I did what every other sweet, helpful wife would do, I sighed, “I don’t even understand the technology you’re asking about. I’ll just have my husband call you when he returns from work. Thank you for your time.”

If we don’t understand technology, it’s all Greek to us, isn’t it? If we don’t keep up with new technical jargon, we tend to get confused quickly.

Nutritional facts can get confusing when they are updated quickly too. My occupation is continually being updated.

For example, at a seminar I conducted Monday, a very nice gentleman came up afterwards and asked, “I know you were talking about omega 3’s but what about omega 7?”

Such a simple question and yet I didn’t actually know what he was asking for. I apologized, saying I wasn’t familiar with it, but would read up and discuss it next week.

At home, I found Omega 7’s were harvested from Sea buckthorn. Now that was a plant I was familiar with since the 1990s.  I knew it in nutritional textbooks as “palmitoleic acid.” But I hadn’t heard this new classification.

In fact, the ’90s, produced a plethora of new miracle plants and herbs including Pycnogenol, Colloidal silver, Glutathione, Allicin, Grape seed extract (GSE), Chromium picolate, Ginkgo biloba, Ginseng and other popular items gathered from various rain forests and Oriental medicine. Some have become mainstream while others have thankfully been debunked as unsafe (like Ephedra.)

Over time, Sea buckthorn obtained the name “Omega 7.” Well, Omega 7 is a powerful fatty-acid which will assist in reducing inflammation, improve circulation, digestion, heart disease, wound healing, weight loss and it’s anti-aging. (It also contains omega 3’s and 6’s.)

Although it is classified as a trans-fat, it works similarly to eggs and shrimp which mysteriously reduce the bad cholesterol in our system while raising the good.  Omega 7 are also found in Macadamia nuts, olive oil, butter, cheddar cheese and Sea buckthorn supplements at your local Walmart.

I urge you to research any product before you haphazardly follow some false diet guru who tells you what your “itchy ears want to hear” and pop supplements Above all, we shouldn’t want to harm our earthly temple.

“Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?”  (1 Corinthians 3:16)

Why Do People Reject the Poor Carb???

I’m sure my fellow nutritionists and dietitians have similar frustrations when they hear someone gleefully announce, “I’m giving up all carbs to lose weight!

Before you swear off all carbohydrates, STOP and THINK. Here are some important facts for your brain to digest:

The brain feeds primarily on glucose. Glucose is a carbohydrate. The most important carbohydrate in the body. I don’t know about you but I intend to retain as many brain cells as I can; especially during this era of ever-increasing dementia.

Glucose circulates in the bloodstream as sugar and is also necessary for cell respiration and energy.

I’ve heard people declare they’ve sworn off peanuts, lentils (Paleo Diet) and that they’d NEVER eat bananas because they’re “fattening.” What false beliefs! All the above carbohydrates contain valuable tryptophan which turns into the feel-good neurotransmitter, serotonin. The body needs serotonin to remain happy. (Pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds are also excellent.)

By lumping all carbohydrates together, it causes confusion. There’s a difference between simple versus complex, good and not-so-great carbs:. Donuts, cakes, cookies, pies, Twinkies, Pop Tarts and candy are much different from cherries, apples, oranges, broccoli, spinach and sweet potatoes. One group contains a great deal of nutrients and the other . . .  not-so-much. Yet they are all classified as carbs.

Beneficial complex carbs contain nutrients while candy and other simple carbs contain little or none. Simple should be eaten for pleasure and in moderation. For a special treat, try a piece of fruit dipped in melted dark chocolate (with valuable antioxidants.)

Wholesome, complex carbs contain fiber. Fiber is essential for good health because dangerous toxins, preservatives, dyes and other chemicals attach themselves to fiber and are moved out of the bloodstream as well as through the intestines. Carbohydrates are only found in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and herbs. (No matter how tough that steak was it contains no fiber!)

Without beneficial fiber, toxins fester in the cells, creating the possibility of cancers or implementing metabolic syndromes. Without fiber, parasites and other disgusting creatures remain in your gut and thrive. Lovely.

When someone avoids carbs and then goes back to them once again, they complain they’ve gained weight and thus blame the poor carbohydrate. Of course, it’s a physiological fact that fibrous carbs retain water which expands fiber – so someone on a high protein or high fat diet, will lose water weight rather than fat.

Those on a high protein or high fat diet, are usually crankier because their pH system becomes acidic rather alkaline.

Carbs produce energy in approximately 15 minutes and are burnt up within 2- 3 hours. To maintain your body’s efficiency, keeping it running like a well-oiled machine you desire, attempt to eat nutritious mini-meals throughout the day.

God could have placed Adam and Eve anywhere . . . on a beach, in a desert or on a mountain top. But He didn’t.  He placed them in a Garden. Why? For that is where all the nutrients to sustain life are found! He then gave them dietary instructions found in Genesis 1:29. Later in Genesis 9:3, mankind was told to consume meat.

We live under Grace and we’ve been told we can consume anything in moderation. (1Corinthians 10:23) It’s a matter of balance. To say what God has created is “unclean” or “bad” is like a slap in the Face of God. Strive to honor God always with our all our mind, heart, soul and strength.

“For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 14:17) 

The Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar

For years I have touted the benefits of apple cider vinegar (ACV) with its positive health properties. Well it seems to becoming back with a vengeance simply as a weight loss tool. Yes, it certainly assists in shedding pounds but there is so much more to ACV than that.

One might think, because of its sour taste, ACV would produce an acidic pH. “And Ellie,” you protest, “you’ve always flouted how humans should strive to become more alkaline!” Yes that’s true and ACV certainly does that.

Imagine the pH scale as a line from 1-14;  7 being pure water. Everything below 7.0 is acidic and above 7.0 is alkaline. To be their healthiest, one should remain around 7.2 – 7.45.  Just like lemon and lime, ACV turns into an alkaline pH as it metabolizes. Why is this important in the first place? Because an alkaline pH protects the body from toxic conditions and illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes and cancers! Disease cannot thrive in an alkaline environment. Wow, how smart is God???!!!

There’s another important benefit to having a more alkaline pH: it improves your mood! When someone is on the acidic scale side, below 6.9, they are usually grumpier; so provide more fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds and herbs at mealtime to create a more pleasant family member.

ACV contains a great many nutrients: A, C, Riboflavin, Thiamine, B6, manganese, calcium, iron, magnesium and potassium to name a few. Due to its alkaline producing pH, it affects insulin levels and acts as an appetitive suppressant; one reason it’s a beneficial weight loss aid.

It’s also high in probiotics which boosts our body’s good bacteria. This will not only protect against urinary tract infections and candida, but skin flare-ups, eczema, psoriasis and other fungal ailments. If suffering from acne, use a small solution of 2 parts water and 1 part ACV to clear and tone any skin challenges. (Do not use straight for it’d be too strong and might hurt tooth enamel.)

By drinking 2 teaspoons of ACV with 4 ounces of water daily it will reduce the sludge of cholesterol and triglycerides in your bloodstream and allow for healthier circulation. ACV actually lowers bad LDL cholesterol and increases the good HDL.  It also regulates blood sugar and improves one’s energy levels.

I’ve worked extensively with patients who suffered from fibromyalgia. There was a common correlation among them. They all, in some way, worked with or around chemicals. These chemicals built up in their system. ACV is rich in enzymes to stimulate bile and liver function. This action reduces toxins by binding and removing them through urine. This should also help with arthritic and joint pain.

Amazingly, ACV is also beneficial to bone health for it allows the body to uptake and absorb calcium more affectively. If one’s bones aren’t hurting they enjoy exercising more and therefore remain flexible and energetic. Thus it slows aging as well. (This is the opposite of debilitating Metabolic Syndrome.)

With its antioxidants it’ll neutralize free radicals, preventing sun damage, so you’ll look younger as well. Still need more convincing? It is antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal. ACV also improves brain health by increasing healthy neurotransmitters like serotonin. Serotonin is similar to a fireman who douses a fire with water, except this one douses the brain with the feel-good neurotransmitter, serotonin.

But simply because something is good doesn’t mean more is better! God states that quite well:

“I have the right to do anything,” you say–but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”–but not everything is constructive.”   (1 Corinthians 10:23)

Moderation, dear people is the key to everything healthy.

Counting the Cost Before “Dieting”

“Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’ (Luke 14:28-30 28)

Many people jump into the dieting realm without counting the cost too

A sensible diet begins by contemplating ALL options of a health plan: how solid is the “soil” I’m building upon, how much time do I invest, what is the environment surrounding the “project” like? Which architect designed the plans and is he/she credible?

1. Do you decide which diet you’ll try because it’s currently popular? “Well that celebrity lost weight!” (Bear in mind that celeb has a personal trainer, chef, massage therapist, psychologist and a contract!!!)

Successful plans begin with solid foundations. Does it include wholesome complex carbohydrates, (fiber) lean protein, good fats? Steer away from fake diet gurus who advocate eliminating entire nutritionally-dense food groups because the brain’s hypothalamus will nag for specific nutrients until you give in. (But you’ll believe you have no willpower.)

2. Seek one that fits your lifestyle

Let’s say in the corporate world your job includes escorting clients to restaurants. Getting healthy will then only work if you know what constitutes sound selections like grilled meats or fish, veggies and a salad with a smidge of dressing. (Mediterranean, DASH, Volumetrics diet) Guard against peer pressure and concentrate on nutrients. Pre-plan accordingly.

3. Are you focused on an event rather than a lifestyle change? Do you contemplate the time of year or events coming up; vacations, holidays . . . parties?

Some people go on a “diet” to look good for a wedding, class reunion or other social occasion. When the event is over, so is their motivation. Ask yourself: how happy was I walking into that room feeling like a million bucks?  Don’t you want to feel like that every day??? You’ve worked hard to get in shape; now use visualization/mental discipline to maintain your hard work.

The only true diet is the one you stay on forever: moderation.

4. Recognize what type of personality you have and whether it will compliment the diet plan you attempt.

For example, if you absolutely love food, going on a liquid diet will drive you crazy. Besides that, the body has an innate desire to chew (because it releases enzymes to metabolize food) and you’ll be grabbing some pretzels by 2pm.

If you’re a curious person, stay away from buffets.

5. Most importantly, you must ask: are you truly, mentally ready to impart on a lifestyle change? Have you emotionally hit rock bottom, been ridiculed or lost total control in public; been diagnosed with a debilitating health issue?

All of these questions and others must be addressed before one jumps into a health plan. Otherwise you’re set for failure and all that does is discourage, shame and have you believing the lies of the devil who whispers in your ear, “See I told you, you couldn’t do it. You’ve failed yet again!”

Crazy diets never work and yet even healthy diets won’t if you aren’t ready to change your lifestyle!

When I find myself losing control at buffets or a party, I ask myself, “Which do I love more, this food or my Lord who sacrificed himself for my gluttony and idol worship of food?”

No contest – my Lord Jesus wins every time!

“Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!”  (Psalm 34:8)

 

 

Controlling Blood Sugar Sensibly and Effectively

Since I began working for physicians, where I specialized in the disease, diabetes has increased to epidemic proportions in this country. It’s also sad to report that more children than ever have this disease. Why?

For one thing, we have become even more of a Fast-Food-Nation with all its tempting, fat-laden, high caloric choices. Sadly, obesity has run rampant in our country.

Surprisingly, fat is more detrimental to the diabetic than sugar! Fat clogs the arteries which stresses the body, which raises insulin levels which creates hunger pangs. It’s a vicious cycle.

But avoid those artificial sugars, especially Splenda which produces dangerous side effect. Use Stevia, less regular sugar or honey instead.

A practical diabetic diet (due to everyone being physiologically different) should consist of 50 -60% complex carbohydrates, 20-25% lean protein and 2025% beneficial fats like olive or canola oil, avocados, fatty fish and nuts. Avoid chemically processed items and select whole foods. Make lean pork, sirloin, chicken, eggs, turkey and fish your preferred meat options.

There are basically only 3 food groups: Carbohydrates, Proteins and Fats. All carbs produce a form of glucose (which is necessary for brain function!) but simple (sugary) carbohydrates should be consumed only in tiny amounts.

Most diabetics reach for sugar-free items which are high in fat. One patient wrote in her food diary that she consumed 6 cookies at one sitting. When asked why, she answered, “But Ellie they were sugar-free!”  Sugar-free doesn’t mean calorie free and these were loaded with fat.

The best habit diabetics can incorporate into their daily routine is consuming 35 – 45 grams of fiber to their daily diet. 4 grams = 1 teaspoon – or approximately  9 – 10 teaspoons of fiber per day, (now you know what it means to you in “dog years.”)

Adding fibrous foods helps one lose weight. Fiber allows insulin to be dispensed more slowly into the blood stream so you won’t feel jittery or hungry and reach for that Snickers bar. Fibrous foods mean fresh fruits with skins, vegetables, whole grains, cereals (with 5+ grams of fiber,) nuts, seeds and herbs. Eat sensibly, your health depends on it! Diabetics however should avoid fruit salads since it’s too much sugar at once.

Establish a routine. A diabetic needs to live a disciplined life. Eat systematically to keep blood sugar levels stable, meaning same time each day, example: 8am, 10am snack, noon, 2pm snack, 6pm and always incorporate a small protein-rich snack before bedtime.

Moderate exercise is also essential on a routine basis to avoid nerve damage and create ways to release life’s stresses which raises insulin levels. The hormone adrenaline, designed for the human “fight or flight” reaction, increases fatty acid production while shutting off insulin while under stress. Constant stress upsets pancreatic balance which solicits diabetes.

Certain nutrients/foods regulate insulin:

Chromium. Chromium is like the doorknob which allows insulin to flow slowly into your system. Some foods containing chromium include mushrooms, corn, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, beets, turkey, shellfish, garlic, apples and basil. Add garlic to as many foods as you can; pasta sauces, pork loin, chicken, breads . . .

The antioxidant lipoic acid, contained in spinach, potatoes, broccoli, liver and red meat, fights premature aging of the arteries (aging arteries makes the heart pump harder, increasing insulin stress.)

Cinnamon allows your fat cells to recognize and respond to insulin more efficiently. Shake it on cereals, over whole grain toast and fruit. Along with a half teaspoon of cinnamon, I place a few dashes of turmeric in my morning coffee as well. Makes the smoothest cup of coffee I’ve ever tasted!

“Worship the LORD your God, and his blessing will be on your food and water. I will take away sickness from among you,” (Exodus 23: 25)