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How Does Food Control Us?

Do you wonder also why you suddenly crave something salty, crunchy or a piece of chocolate? As a nutritional counselor, studying the mind and body is a fascinating profession. Many false beliefs will challenge my patients. Some believe eating right is simply a matter of willpower, but it’s not.

Here are several reasons why we eat:

Reason #1:

The answer literally starts in the mind with the hypothalamus. Our bodies need nutritional balance, which we often don’t select. The hypothalamus acts like a little drill instructor indicating what nutrients you require and what food supplies it.

For example, if you haven’t consumed enough copper, the hypothalamus will torment you until you reach for a food containing it. Kale contains copper – so does chocolate.  Which would you reach for? (Yeah, sure you’d choose the Kale chips.)  Therefore it is important to  eat a well-balanced diet from the beginning or it’ll take enormous effort to overcome unhealthy cravings. You’ll become frustrated and quit, believing it’s your lack of willpower. It isn’t, it’s about physiology.

Reason #2:

Emotions and memory can be your best friend or worst enemy. One example: your childhood affects your eating habits today.

If you were poor or had to compete with eight siblings, you might be a fast eater. You might believe that it’s not going to be there tomorrow, so I better eat as much as I can now! Therefore, you’ll consume food without chewing enough to release enzymes or place more on your plate than you can eat.  Did your mother ever profess, “Your eyes are bigger than your stomach!”

As you age, hopefully you understand that you are neither poor nor have to fight off others for that last cupcake or slice of pizza. But now you can have as much as you want, whenever you want, creating gluttony or closet eating.

Talk yourself into success, recognizing that you are an adult and only answer to God for your eating behaviors. Do you believe God would allow you to starve?  On the contrary, He only wants what is best for His children as He cared for the Israelites when they wandered in the desert:

“At twilight you will eat meat, and in the morning you will be filled with bread. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God.”  (Exodus 16:12)

God however, provided enough meat and manna only for one day. God never stuffed His children with more food than they required for energy. Still the Israelites complained, didn’t they? Human nature never changes! “I don’t want salad! I want a big juicy hamburger with greasy French fries and a frosted malt and I want it NOW!”

Reason #3:

Insulin. Have you ever had a hazardous encounter? Driven on ice or thought someone was following you? Under stress your heart raced and your body instinctively went into a “flight or fight” mode. That drew blood away from vital organs into your outer extremities, ready for action. What happened next? When the threat was over, you probably reached for comfort food. Why?

When the body is under stress, it readily prepares for the next crisis. Routine blood insulin is lost quickly.  Therefore, under constant daily stress (work, children, finances) you are always hungry, seemingly “for no reason whatsoever” in your mind. I just need more willpower, you tell yourself. Not true. What you need, is find a way to relax . . . a walk, bubble bath, Bible meditation, soft music or other activity to conquer your stressful life.

Health begins in the mind. Recognize the many reasons your body protects you physiologically and strive to honor it for doing so!

“you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” (1 Corinthians 6:20)

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

So Many Diets – So Little Truth!

“But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you.” (Romans 8:9a)

LTSTEBC high resolution cover for TwitterWould you trust a pastor who only consulted outside sources for Biblical Truth?  What if his sermons professed “truth” using his horoscope, a crystal ball, Nostradamus or the New York Times? What if he counseled you in his office using People magazine? Would you trust and follow what he preached? Basically he’s feeding you cornflakes; food with little fiber or substance.

Traveling extensively, my husband and I have sat in many a church pew and heard powerful sermons. However, we have also seen ministers never open the Bible or reference Scripture.  One sermon consisted of the man’s entire vacation, yippie, how motivating. Our young people are floundering, thirsting for clear Biblical direction and they don’t hear Truth from the pulpit! Where can they go for Spiritual Truth? Usually they give up, discouraged; believing the Bible is simply not relevant to their lifestyle.

Therefore I trust you’ll understand my frustration when I hear Christians announce triumphantly at the beginning of each year that they are trying the Atkins, Paleo, carb-free, fat-free, grapefruit or some other gimmicky diet before they ask me for direction, a certified nutritional counselor who worked alongside primary care physicians.

I can’t tell you how many times, I’ve heard, “I don’t understand why I can’t stay on a diet?!”  as they flit from one flawed diet plan to another. There’s a specific reason and it’s either a mental, spiritual or Spiritual one. “Life’s Too Short to Eat Bad Cheese . . .”  gets to that source.

Desperate people spend hundreds of dollars on special boxed-foods, caloric formulas, videos and even bariatric surgery before they ask me for advice. (My average patient attempted six different plans before they came into my office.)  I’ve counseled all types in my twenty-plus years as a healthcare practitioner.  One truth I’ve always stressed is: Health begins from the inside out! Get to the heart of the “why” and improvement begins.

New Creations Ministries is just that; my ministry. I’m happy to help anyone who has questions for free, but sadly, I am not omnipresent. So using clearly defined illustrations and applications, I created a practical, motivational guide urging all who desire true health to become their most vibrant self . . . and it’s less expensive than a doctor’s visit!

“Life’s Too Short to Eat Bad Cheese . . .” (Nutritional and Life Lessons God Teaches Us) is printed in different languages. It contains a study guide and is available through Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, (or Google it.) An e-book only $7 and the 234 page print version is only $14.95.

LTSTEBC addresses nutritional and life situations we all encounter. Using Biblical principles you’ll finally understand the true Joy of living a healthy, vibrant lifestyle. Health is significantly more important than  the number on the scale.

Our Heavenly Father doesn’t want his children to suffer any more than we want ours to. Why survive on rice cakes with no nutritional purpose? Eat for nutrients, not for grams and caloric formulas. And learn what that means to you in relative terms!

Please don’t settle for second best and present that self to God. You’re better than that! God wants us to enjoy His Bounty but not make food our god. “Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things.”  (Philippians 3:19) 

Eat nutritionally sound. We wouldn’t throw trash on the floor of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem so why do we trash our bodily temple?

 

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!

 

 

 

Following an Anti-inflammatory Diet

If your physician has prescribed an ‘anti-inflammatory diet’ would you know what to eat?  Probably not. It’s one of those  “dog year” questions (relatable in practical terms.) It has to do with the pH scale’s acidic/alkaline relationship.  The more acidic one is, the more prone to illness one becomes.ph-scale

Imagine the pH scale being in a straight line from 1-14.  7 is neutral, (like pure water.) 1 is acidic, (like battery acid) and anything above is considered alkaline.  Balance is what it’s all about. Try to maintain a pH around  7.3 – 7.4.

Coffee, alcohol and soft drinks are incredibly acidic so cut down. Increase your water intake with lemon. Although you’ll notice lemon and vinegar is acidic on the pH scale, each actually metabolizes into an alkaline food. (God knew it all the time!)

The anti-inflammatory diet isn’t a “diet” as much as a lifestyle choice. One thing is certain however, not addressing your health concerns will only create larger ones down the road! Chronic inflammation is dangerous! It is not a “little” problem if you ignore will simply go away. Chronic inflammation can eventually cause intense health issues including heart disease, IBS, colitis, arthritis, dementia, kidney disease and cancers.

What causes inflammation? Stress is a major contributor and in today’s world who isn’t under stress? Find ways to relieve daily stress through exercise, relaxing bubble baths, soft music, fresh air, massages or anything that calms you besides food.

A healthy anti-inflammatory diet is on the alkaline side of the pH scale. It primarily consists of: fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, herbs and whole grains such as oats, quinoa, brown rice and buckwheat (kashi).  In truth, if you eat as God instructed Adam in the Garden of Eden, you’ll add a lot more life in your years.

Every meat is acidic, especially the processed meats with dyes and chemicals such as cold cuts, bacon or hot dogs, so consume lean protein like fish, chicken, sirloin and pork loin.

Sugar and artificial chemically treated foods are highly acidic. Unfortunately so are the nightshade plants like tomatoes, potatoes, peppers and eggplant. This doesn’t mean you must give them up entirely, but only consume occasionally. Balance is the key here.

Wheat, unfortunately, is on the acidic side of the scale. However whole wheat contains a great deal of fiber, so only avoid enriched breads and balance whole wheat products with more fruits and vegetables. Try to consume fiber-rich vegetables like sweet potatoes, corn, squash, alfalfa, beans and lentils. The fiber helps remove toxins from your system and avoids damaging inflammation. Increase water consumption also.

One characteristic of the anti-inflammatory diet is the recommended inclusion of omega-rich fatty acids, especially omega 3’s. These consists of milled flaxseed, walnuts, olive oil (best used cold), avocados, good fatty fish like salmon, tuna and sardines.

Avoid salt and choose to flavor your foods with healthy herbs. Garlic, turmeric, cinnamon and capsaicin are especially helpful with their anti-inflammatory properties!  And don’t worry about not enjoying any treats either. A good dark chocolate contains a great deal of antioxidants as does a glass of red wine.

Do you see the pattern here? You can enjoy so much more than you thought you could! Simply eat healthier and consume more whole foods to rid yourself of the artificially flavored, chemically processed boxed foods you might pick up at the supermarket for “convenience.” There is nothing convenient about pain and inflammation! Strive for a happier, healthier lifestyle.

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

Standing Fast for the Truth

It’s been about three weeks since you’ve begun your yearly “diet” program. You’ve trudged along, lost a few pounds but in your opinion, the weight isn’t coming off quickly enough. That “Lose 10 Pounds in Ten Days!” starts to sound really inviting. Please, please don’t fall for something that sounds good but isn’t nutritionally sound. delcious-salads

First there is no way anyone can lose 10 lbs. of dangerous fat in 10 days. 3500 calories will create one pound. How many calories do you consume daily? Right. So even if you starved yourself, eating nothing for 10 days you wouldn’t be healthy or lose 10 lbs. Instead you would lose muscle, brain, bone and heart muscle while your body searched for ways to keep your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate= the rate your body consumes calories) healthy. I don’t know about you but I don’t have that many brain cells to lose at my age!

Sometimes I feel like John the Baptist professing Truth among many false gods. Over the past 60 years, health fads created by false diet gurus have come and gone. They cry out, “I have the answer!” which become the no-carbs, all-carbs, no fats, mostly fat, only fruit, no sugar, high protein, even a bacon diet plan emerged over time! People will believe what they want to believe and the majority of diet plans out there aren’t proclaiming Truth.

First we are all uniquely made so of course all diets work for some people. However some are actually unbalanced and harmful to us, like diet pills and cutting out entire food groups. For example: high protein diets. The body can only tolerate so much protein before the kidneys start stressing out or even failing. If the kidneys are stressed, the liver must take over, doing the work of the kidneys. Do you know one of the primary function of the liver? It’s to metabolize fat.

One of my favorite sayings is a Chinese one stating, “Even if 5,000 men are wrong . . . they are still wrong.” Don’t follow the crowd going in the wrong direction on the Poseidon.

Stand for Truth. Start reading about physiology. You’ll develop confidence when you understand how God created our body to function. Consume a variety of nutrients. All nutrients have a different purpose and work for true wellness.

“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.”  (2 Corinthians 4:16)

You can be healthy this year and not suffer! The primary way to safely lose weight and inches is to the old standby:

  1. Eat for nutrients. That means a variety of complex carbs, lean protein and good fats like omega 3’s. Choose various colors, food groups and remember anything’s fine in moderation.
  2. Drink water. Add lemon or fruit to make it a more alkaline and flavorful choice. Ditch the sodas!
  3. Exercise – find something you enjoy: dancing, biking, hiking, skiing, tennis, etc.
  4. Avoid food temptations – don’t bring them into the house, not even “for the kids.” (If you were an alcoholic would you bring alcohol into your home, resisting that challenge each day? So why bring cupcakes, potato chips or candy into your house? Why get the children addicted?)
  5. Stop gobbling your food! Savor it and enjoy the taste and texture of food for twenty minutes, the time it takes for your brain to know your stomach is full.
  6. Find some smaller plates instead of the ones used at King Henry VIII’s banquet. You’ll feel like you’ve eaten more because your brain tells you that.

Keep striving for your best! You can do it!!!

Renewing of the Body AND the Mind

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

A New Year means a new start. You’re determined – this year is the year you’ll be healthier. This year you instantly-thinwon’t cave before a pepperoni pizza or chocolate cake graven image. It’s kale everything from now on, you declare! God will be so pleased when He sees you are suffering to obtain perfection. Not!

But eventually, when you find yourself giving in to temptation you consider yourself a failure and announce, “Oh if only I could be instantly thin!”

Well if I had a magic wand and could make you instantly thin, I still wouldn’t do it.

“Why, that’s mean,” you protest.

Think I’m mean? Not really. For example, you could certainly lose weight by starving or on a boxed food program. But without knowing how to prepare your first meal after you reached your goal weight, I promise you the pounds will gradually reappear.

Time and experience teaches, instant gratification does not. The process is so much more important than the progress you make!

The process educates:

  1. it teaches us to slow down, savoring our food
  2. how physiology relates to cravings
  3. how we can control our emotions when challenges arise
  4. to strategize correctly during certain situations
  5. and what it’s like to feel successful because you did it without gimmicks!

Don’t you always want to feel proud that you conquered these challenges? No one else lives in your body but you. No one else can make you healthy but you.

Education teaches, instant gratification doesn’t. How many times has the latest sports rookie signed on to a team for a small fortune, only to lose that fortune to fast cars, drugs, gambling or something else. How many lottery winners go through all their money in a few years and wind up unemployed and homeless? And don’t get me started on those young actors or actresses who face jail time because they don’t realize how fortunate they are and feel they are above the law. Too much, too soon! They never learned the process of control. The reward came instantly before the self-discipline took hold and controlled their actions.

The same factor pertains to weight loss. Successful gradual goals will earn long term success, not instant gratification.

Christ didn’t rely on instant gratification although he could have.  He knew that as God, He came to earth to live as a man. It’s important to remember that He experienced  hunger, heat, discouragement, betrayal, heartache, suffering and everything we are tested with. But He endured, conquered all of those obstacles and triumphed! He understands what you are going through too. He realizes it’s challenging to discipline yourself to do the right thing. But it did it for us, return the favor.

This week start out with small goals: walk a half mile today, tomorrow an entire mile. Drink four glasses of water today, tomorrow six. Select and bring home from the store only good fruits, vegetables good fats and lean meats this week.

Everyone must start somewhere, so choose to start today!  It’s your choice – choose to begin and end  sensibly. Be proud of becoming a New Creation for Christ in 2017!

“Therefore prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.” (1 Peter 1:13)