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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!

 

 

 

Another “What Does It Mean To Me in Dog Years?” Post

My husband sat with his morning coffee, reading a magazine. After finishing an article, he shook his head and murmured, “Hmmff.” He placed a piece on health in front of me entitled  Know Your Numbers. “I bet you can tell me what’s wrong with this.”

heart-healthy-foodsGlancing through it, I read how it recommended knowing our blood pressure, glucose and cholesterol level numbers. It wasn’t long before I understood what hubby meant. It never once mentioned what those numbers were, the standard to which we should compare ourselves.

In other words, my blood pressure could be 230/150, my glucose 65 and my cholesterol 360 and it wouldn’t mean a thing! I wouldn’t know if my stats were low, balanced or dangerously high.

Even if I “know my numbers” it wouldn’t mean squat unless I knew what it meant to me in dog years? (We know if dogs are 12, they are actually 7x’s that in human years. Now we can relate to why he’s sore after climbing stairs.) How in the world could we possibly “know” our numbers when it never provided the standard in which we should compare ourselves with? 

So in case you happened to read this same article, here’s a quick overview. These are physiological standards which we should aspire to in order to remain the healthiest we can be.

Our blood pressure should consistently be within the 120 systolic and 80 diastolic range under normal circumstances. That means in a non-stressed atmosphere. Like not being chased by a rabid animal or being in a job you don’t enjoy. By constantly being provoked, the heart remains under constant stress, increasing blood pressure. Therefore find ways to distress with soft music, bubble baths, exercise, fresh air . . .

Our blood glucose should remain between 90-120 before meals. Glucose is brain/body fuel. Consuming well-balanced, fibrous mini-meals throughout the day will keep our metabolic engine running efficiently. Skipping meals will make us susceptible to bingeing for quick energy and the fastest energy is sugar! Sugar enters our system within 15 minutes but burns up very quickly, dropping insulin levels. We then become extremely hungry and sugar cravings begin again.

High glucose levels are more dangerous to us than simply weight gain. Consistently high glucose levels can cause kidney, nerve and eye disease or even amputation of limbs. To stabilize blood sugar consume lean protein and a high fiber diet of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and herbs. Try to consume from 25-35 grams of fiber daily. (4 grams equal approximately 1 teaspoon.)

Cholesterol is more complex. There is “helpful” cholesterol (HDL) which protects the heart and transports bad cholesterol out of the body.  HDL should remain above 45 mg/dl. (Milligrams per Deciliter.) LDL, “lousy” cholesterol, creates plaque,clogging arteries. LDL should remain lower than 100 mg/dl. Beneficial fiber (with water) clears our arteries like Roto Rooter.

Stay away from high protein diets which contain a higher cholesterol rate. Also stay away from sugary donuts and processed desserts which raise triglycerides which should remain lower than 150 mg/dl.

If we eat unhealthily because we demand instant gratification, how could that ever please God? As Christians, God provides a Biblical standard which we judge ourselves against. The Bible contains Absolutes, to which we should aspire: “Be holy for I am Holy” (1 Peter 1:16.) If we didn’t, we’d have no moral compass and would reap the unhealthy lifestyle which we ourselves sowed. To paraphrase Judges 21:25, “everyone would eat what was right in his own eyes,” regardless of consequences.

“Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.” (3 John 1:2)

Before You Begin Your Weight Loss Resolution

“But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.” (2 Chronicles 15:7)

Most of us will endure another week of holiday eating before our weight loss resolution kicks in. Initially, January 2nd, we start out so determined, this time I’m really going to do it! But then the first football play-off party, bridal or baby shower invite arrives and bam, you lose your resolve and cave in before that chicken wing idol.challenges-are-what-makes-us-interesting

Now you’re discouraged. Why bother, I’ve failed again! No you haven’t. Life is a process, a learning experience and a journey of successes and failures. Only one person was perfect and we are not Christ. Weight loss isn’t easy but it sure is rewarding when you conquer any addiction. And you know what? Success gives you confidence.

Before you begin, understand physiology:

Weight, among other reasons, fluctuates with stress, the time of day, (or month) or the sodium you consumed. Rather than trust your scale, ask yourself: how do my clothes fit? How much energy do I have? How does my complexion look? All these are much better indicators of healthy or unhealthy living.

Weigh yourself, then put away your scale. Weight is relative, health is not! A pint equals a pound. A couple of cups of coffee and you are a pound heavier. Take a shower, your hair is wet, you’re heavier. It’s an illusion, it’s not unhealthy weight. Excess fat is unhealthy.

Besides weighing oneself daily is discouraging – if it doesn’t come quickly enough, the tendency is to give up. We are an instant gratification society but instant anything doesn’t teach us how to strategize against challenges. On the contrary, it makes us spoiled, demanding children. So weigh yourself every couple of weeks or better yet go by how energetic you feel and look.

Don’t forget to breathe, enjoy life and take time to laugh! Find ways to relax. Stress increases toxic conditions. Toxins increases insulin levels, making the body work harder which tires us. When one is tired the body nags us for food to regain that energy. The quickest energy is sugar which raises insulin levels and thus it’s a vicious circle.

Start cleaning out those toxins. All those sugary desserts, alcoholic drinks  and fattening foods contribute to an unhealthy acidic pH. This ages us while stressing out the kidneys and liver, making them work harder to detoxify our system. Our pH should to be around 7.3 which is a healthy alkaline level (that’s another post.) Simply consuming the most colorful fruits vegetables will supply many wonderful nutrients as well as fiber, to get you back on track.

Begin by flushing out toxins with lemon water, consuming lots of green leafy vegetables and fibrous fruits. Try cleansing your digestive tract with water-based foods such as vegetable soups and juices for several days. Steer away from the cream-based soups for now. Consuming tomato, vegetable beef, chicken noodle, hearty pea or bean soups instead as wonderful alternatives.

Vary caloric intake too. It’s shakes up metabolism. If you normally consume approximately 1800 calories per day, one day consume 1200, the next 1500, the next 2200 and the following day 1600. But do not starve! When one loses weight they’ll also lose muscle, which burns fat. When they gain, especially without exercising, they’ll gain fat back. One can’t outsmart a fat cell. Starving will simply slow metabolism to a crawl which begins “yo-yo” dieting.

Be determined! God wants you healthy and so do I, so stay tuned for more practical healthy tips over the next weeks.

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Maintain Victory Over Holiday Food Temptations

Caution . . . culinary temptations attack the senses from everywhere this time of year. holiday-partyYou might be wondering, “Why bother? I’ll have fun and simply begin again in January.” But why go backwards? You’re already healthier, so don’t give in to stinkin’ thinkin’! Your goal during this time of celebration is to at least maintain . . . not gain!

Hebrews 10:35 – 36 says, “So do not lose the courage you had in the past, which has great reward. You must hold on, so you can do what God wants and receive what He has promised.”

Remember these basic truths when tempted at holiday parties:

1.  Health is more important than weight loss. A 180 lb person could be perfectly healthy while someone 110 lbs. might not.  Simply because someone is thin doesn’t make them healthy. Consuming nutrients do. However, this truth shouldn’t give you license to trash God’s Temple.

Whatever you consume, it’s your choice.  I don’t care if your mother-in-law would be offended if you don’t eat her fruit cake. It’s your choice whether you do or not!  There are ways to maintain weight control without hurting someone’s feelings. Kindly announce, “You know Mom, I’ve been so proud of myself for getting healthier. With your encouragement, I’ll reach my goal. Will you be my support partner with this?” Make sure you stress ‘health’, not weight, or she’ll certainly come back with, “Honey, you’re fine the way you are!” or something similar.

2. Any food is fine in moderation. There is no such thing as a good or bad food, it is simply food, which means energy for the body. Select the best choices among those available. That way you control your circumstances, not the other way around.

3. Move to burn calories!  Develop a variety of enjoyable exercises this month. Dance at home, ask a partner to jazzercise, racquetball, walk, jump rope or use a Wii program. Develop new muscle to burn those extra calories.

4. Identify your “why” before you give in to that tempting morsel. Most of the time people eat for reasons other than hunger. Are you really hungry or just tempted by your eyes?  Are you provoked by a feeling, just need something to do with your hands? Are you self-conscious, eating so you won’t have to speak? Recognize and strategize a way out, like go to another room or turn your back to the food table.

5. Identify your “trigger” foods and don’t bring those into the house. If you were a recovering alcoholic you wouldn’t socialize at a bar right? So avoid the pastry aisles at the supermarket and don’t buy that Bailey’s just in case your “friends” pop over for a drink.

6.Understand how thoughts patterns affect eating habits. It’s not an “all or nothing” proposition. You’re not a failure if you over-indulge, but you won’t feel great about yourself either. Visualize how victorious you’ll feel the next day if you avoid pigging out at that party or family function.

7. Create a Victory Jar.  Set up a calendar, documenting each accomplishment. Reward yourself each week with a nonfood reward for reaching goals. Write down rewards on a piece of paper or place a dollar bill into a clear jar. Every time you view those successes, buy something you want more than food.

Satan wants us to self-destruct and feel like a failure. But don’t give him a foothold! You’re Victorious when you allow God to control your actions. Shouldn’t you love the LORD more than food?

“No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.”  (Romans 8:37)