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Childhood, Adulthood and Happy Thanksgiving

To quote one of my favorite sayings of a Jesuit priest, “Show me the boy at 7 and I’ll show you the man he will become.” Oh, our wonderful formative years!

What we were like as a child stays within and in a moment we become what we once were.

That seems even more true as we approach the holiday season. Next up, Thanksgiving! One holiday meant to be celebrated by eating all day.

“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” (Ephesians 5:15-17)

Let’s take a quiz shall we? These personality examples typify profiles of many patients I’ve counseled:

  1. Did you expect your Mom and Dad to complete your homework?
  2. Did your “mean” parents not allow you to watch television until you accomplished your chores?
  3. Did “Some Assembly Required” drive you bonkers, but stubborn and determined you finally got it right?!
  4. Or did you give up and let someone else complete that bookshelf?
  5. Were you the first to finish projects so you could have bragging rights?
  6. Did you procrastinate, waiting until the last-minute to finish anything?
  7. Think back to high school: a. Did you join many clubs? or b. join only to quit when you got bored?

Now how did you do?

#1. Personal responsibility is a foreign concept. At work, someone else can pick up the slack . . . eventually. There’s always someone else to do your work. You’ll start a diet on January 2nd and quit by the third week.

If 2. Now you’re in charge of your life and freedom is intoxicating! You’re rebellious and can do whatever you wish! That includes eating whatever you want. You have a desire to succeed but why give up freedom for more hassle? You infrequently reach goals.

3. You’re analytical, needing proof. How does this plan work? You’ll question, dissect and figure out how it’ll be successful before wasting your time or money. In weight loss it’s the counselor’s job is to educate you on the first visit or else. Once you commit, you’re determined to finish what you started. You’re a “Mom I can do it myself!” personality.

4. If circumstances become too complicated, it’s easier to give up. That includes marriage, employment, gym membership or weight loss. You need to establish “small goals to reach goals” so you won’t feel like a failure when large goals aren’t met. Two steps backward but five steps ahead.

5. Competitive, you make life a game. Always striving for short-term goals to makes life interesting, you’ll join a sports team or gym to be the best there. However since you have perfectionist standards, life sometimes becomes an “all or nothing” encounter. Competitive, you might be the heaviest in the crowd because of you desire to be #1! “I can out eat you! Just watch!”

6. Procrastinators never seem to find an ideal time to begin. There’s always a special party or a wedding coming up. “I’ll start next week” and of course next week never comes. A procrastinator usually fears failure, rejection, sets unrealistic goals or needs stimulation to meet deadlines.

7. a. If you joined and stuck it out, your word is your bond. You value your principles and reach goals. If b. then you’ll quit everything you begin. On a diet plan, you’re always searching for another quick fix. No one holds you accountable. Beware! Learn to hold yourself accountable, developing self-discipline. Quitting does nothing for an ego except defeat it.

You’re probably a combination of the above personalities. But understand, Satan wants us to feel defeated, to say, “Well, that’s the way God made me so I guess I’m stuck.” Pity party!

“For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” (2 Timothy 1:7)

Be disciplined and conquer any characteristics that aren’t advantageous. You’re worth it to God.

(Enjoy a controlled and Happy Thanksgiving – I’ll return first week in December.)

Feeding on Ashes

“He feeds on ashes; a deluded heart has led him astray, and he cannot deliver himself or say, “Is there not a lie in my right hand?” (Isaiah 44:14–20)

With an abundance of great culinary choices, why do we continue to choose unwisely? Why do some choose to feed on ashes? That’s unnecessary. If one eats as God intended, even if you have a debilitating illness (which be honest, unhealthy food choices most likely contributed to) it can greatly change your quality of life.

Some follow what I call, “the penance principle” when they decide to follow a “diet.” Believing they must flagellate myself and suffer or God won’t bless them. That means rice cakes and celery sticks every day.

Some (and this is sad – even some CHRISTIANS) follow a magical formula proposed by some health professional. After all, with modern science, those diet gurus must know more than God. I’m talking about the Paleo, Atkins, Paleo which restricts a certain food or entire category of foods while proclaiming the same unbiblical notion repeatedly.

These are False and all have the same theme! There is nothing new under the sun.

“What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.”  (Ecclesiastes 1:9)

Don’t we realize what a slap in the face of God it is to follow a false teacher rather than HIm? To say, “Well, God made a mistake, I know better now.”

I prefer to follow and profess God’s Will:

And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. (Genesis 1:29)

Every nutrient needed for optimum health can be found in the rain forests and family farms. God bless the farmers! I believe that after the world-wide flood, the atmosphere and probably our physiological chemistry needs changed (and animals could over-populate the earth) God declared:

“Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything.” (Genesis 9:3)

Must I remind you that doesn’t give us license to gorge ourselves, destroying our temples with fattening, processed, chemically-infused foods?

In “1 Corinthians 10:23 we read: “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.”

We need to practice self-control and make wise choices.

“Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit,”  (Ephesians 5:15-18)

Whatever takes the place of God, preventing us from maintaining control; preferring that item to God becomes an idol. Replace the word wine with chocolate, French fries, colas, fast food, smoking, sports, television even and you understand what I’m talking about.

God did not create a robotic nature for humans. He wants us to follow Him out of our own free will, out of Love. It’s our choice. I choose our Lord over French fries.  Easy choice.

Disclaimer: Yes I know some consume charcoal as medicine but that’s not God’s or my intended content here.

Optimum Health: Challenging Our Teeter Totter Mind!

Life itself is one creative teeter totter ride – up/down/up/down. If we remained in one spot however, it would be stagnant, tedious. What fun is that?

Sometimes diets can become pretty stagnant too. Why continue to strive for a healthier, positive mindset when diets are so boring?

I can’t imagine existing on carrots, rice cakes and celery for months to lose weight. Yuk! And yet I can’t imagine a diet of chemically-processed, fast-food or boxed meals all the time either. Eat a variety of nutrients. It’s physiologically essential for optimum health.

But lifetime diets can be like riding a teeter totter too. Some days I eat an extremely healthy diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and yet some days I look forward to BBQ ribs, fries and coleslaw . . . in moderation. Then the next day, I am right back selecting healthier choices and not worrying about it

But don’t blame God for what we couldn’t control. I don’t remember who wrote this but it is worth repeating for its Truth: “We can’t blame God for not being in circumstances we stepped outside of him to make happen. Sometimes consequences make great teachers.”

It takes an enormous amount of effort to remain on that health plan when ice cream or cheese fries whisper our name. That is why we need a battle plan, a strategy to resist, knowing that temptations don’t come from God, but from the devil.

When one attempts to establish a healthier lifestyle, it seems culinary temptations cross our paths daily. It’s frustrating because Satan knows our weaknesses. We certainly battle a formidable opponent:

“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8) 

Stay Balanced!

First thing I do is memorize Scripture. Satan knows Scripture. That is how he tried to tempt our Lord after Jesus fasted in the desert. Scripture allows us to stand fast, remaining confident and vigilant. Quote some heavy-duty Scripture such as 1 John 4:4 and eventually the devil will tire of his game.

Next, envision that beast triumphantly announcing to all, that we follow him now instead of our Lord. His crafty temptations ensnared us. Impossible you say?  Well, creating a god out of cheese is no different than creating a golden calf, isn’t it? It’s an idol. We are worshiping a food item more than God. How silly to reduce our testimony to a block of cheese, when our Lord has done so much for us!

Every day produces highs and lows, so go with it. Let’s vary our diet, make wiser choices over the course of our life and glory in our godly accomplishments. Ups and downs . . . remember life is one endless teeter totter ride. So don’t fall off or stay down for long. There’s a magnificent view on top!

“Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,  I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3: 13b-14)

Healthy Encouragement to Succeed!

One of the best selling writers, Jerry Jenkins, expressed it very well: “I’ve made it my life’s work to coach writers because I’d love to see you enjoy the benefits I’ve enjoyed.” Well said, Mr. Jenkins.

I’m an author of several books, as well as a nutritional counselor. Like Mr. Jenkins, I urge and coach others to strive for healthier living because I want to see everyone enjoy the benefits I’ve enjoyed. By eating sensibly, you’ll obtain increased energy, more muscle (which burns fat), improved moods and a fit physique. I want you to feel JOY!  

I have no ulterior motive. Sure, I’d love to sell many more books, what author wouldn’t? And I enjoy hearing how I’ve  helped others. But have you noticed what’s happened to our culture over the past fifty years? With an abundance of fast-food locations, conveniently-packaged, chemically-based food choices, we’ve created an environment plagued by obesity.

One nurse I worked with years ago, playfully teased me at lunch in front of a group while eating a spoonful of icing. “Watch out, we’re being baaad and here comes the Food Police!” As she withdrew another huge spoonful from the container, she taunted, “Look Ellie, I never knew Crisco and powered sugar could taste so good! Mmmm.”

Okay, funny but some don’t get it! The icing isn’t bad. Losing control while not understanding why or not caring is!!! In fact, I’ll eat icing sometimes; but not much because although there’s pleasure in sugar, there are few nutrients. Sugar releases valuable serotonin but too much sugar creates moodiness, the “jitters” and ages us. Want that?

Even sadder is the fact that many do nothing to educate themselves regarding why and how to control their impulses. I have no willpower, they believe. Hardly. That same willpower which prevents us from telling off our mother-in-law is the same willpower we tap into when we need resistance. We have willpower, it simply needs to be prioritized.

There are other reasons why people overindulge besides lack of willpower – occasionally it’s emotional while other times it’s physical: medication, insulin production, inherited DNA among several.

A few suggestions to resist and overcome:

  1. Recognize why you crave this particular food. Let’s use icing as an example. We never truly outgrow our childhood. Perhaps you’re experiencing a horrific day and all you want to do now is feel the same secure warm-blanket-closeness you felt when your mom let you lick the spoon. Understand your feelings might not be about true hunger but what’s eating at you.
  2. A little icing is fine but if you can’t control your temptations, for heaven-sakes, don’t bring it into the house. Use sliced fruit or a drizzle of melted chocolate as a topping instead.
  3. Understand this: God wants you happy and healthy. If you can’t resist – get out of the house and go walking, biking, gardening or some other fresh air activity for at least twenty minutes. (If it’s in your house, it’s in your mouth!) You can also read, write, watch a movie or something which will get your mind off eating.
  4. Personal favorite:  paint your nails!  (Okay, men, grease an axel.) We can’t get into a bag of chips if our nails are gooey. If that doesn’t work, take a bubble bath, wash your hair or call a supportive friend.

I wish people realized when a loved one suffers, everyone who cares about them does as well, especially God!

 “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.” (Psalm 32:8)

Live Vibrantly Healthy!

A “Modified” Keto Diet?

Last week, did you happen to catch an MSN’s Health section headline with the proclamation, “How I lost weight with a modified Keto Diet!”

News Flash: If a diet is modified, it is NOT the same diet plan. If I modify my Mediterranean Diet plan, it becomes a DASH or Volumetrics Diet. All excellent by the way. But modifying the dangerous Keto diet is putting lipstick on a pig and dancing in toxic waste.

I glanced over her “modifications” and discovered she continued to consume bacon, salami and other dyed, chemically-based, highly-saturated, fattening foods containing very few nutrients and fiber. Where’s the nutrients???

Listen, your body is comprised of chemicals while food is a bunch of chemicals. I’m sure you’ve seen what happens in a lab when too many chemicals are mixed together – Kaboom!!! Do you want your body to become toxic chemicals?

When one consumes Keto’s fat-based diet, theoretically a body burns fat for energy. Well how does that work? Let me explain:

We’ve all seen how a rocket blasts into space, right? That plume of smoke emitted from the back of the rocket as it launches off its pad is similar to what the body does when it produces energy to move as well. But our energy fumes are primarily converted inside and those toxins need to exit our body through urine and sweat.

Dangerous conditions result when one fails to drink pure clean water (most dieters drink Diet Coke with even more chemicals like Splenda or aspartame.) If you don’t drink enough water, those toxic chemicals remain in your system, festering in your cells, compounding unhealthy, acidic conditions. If your body is acidic, it becomes a  test tube for cancers, high cholesterol, heart disease, liver and kidney conditions among many others.

I’m not a gambler and don’t want to wager on a diet prone to precarious life-threatening illnesses. I also haven’t met anyone who has KEPT their weight off by staying on this diet forever. As we all know, the only real and reasonable diet is one that you can maintain for a lifetime.

I am not saying that one can never have bacon again. I eat bacon, cheese and cold cuts occasionally. However if I have a ham sandwich for lunch, then I’ll have lean meat: chicken, pork loin, sirloin, salmon, fish and fibrous veggies for dinner.

1 Corinthians 10:23 states that anything is fine in moderation but not everything is beneficial. I created and follow the Biblical Diet Plan found in Genesis 1:29 where God told Adam to eat plant based foods and then Genesis 9:3 in which He told Noah after the Flood with its newly created environmental climate that it’s now fine to consume meat.

Don’t struggle with crazy restrictive diet plans believing you are pleasing God. I actually call this “The Penance Principal.” Several of my patients believed they had to suffer; consuming bland foods, “sticks and twigs” in order to please God. On the contrary, it’s a slap in the Face of God when you say, “Oh dear, why did You create eggs and bananas? This human scientist says they are bad for me. After all scientists know more than you, don’t they?” Wrong, and besides science is always changing, God does not!

“So where does this leave the philosophers, the scholars, and the world’s brilliant debaters? God has made the wisdom of this world look foolish.” (1 Corinthians 1:20) NLT

As for me and my house, I will trust the Lord! (Joshua 24:15)

Eat nutritiously and prosper.

Caterpillar or Butterfly?

Does a butterfly look back on its life and wish it had remained a caterpillar? (I do wonder about strange things, don’t I?)

Beauty is indeed in the eye of the beholder but most of us, if given a choice, would choose to be a butterfly I believe, rather than a caterpillar.

When it’s a caterpillar it’s pretty adorable; all soft and fluffy. And we usually “ooo” and “aah” over a butterfly and only “aahh, so cute!” over a caterpillar. Most of us just  aren’t content to be cute – we’d rather be beautiful, it’s human nature.

The caterpillar had the DNA inside him to change his nature, so do we? Some are naturally meant to be thinner than others; but we should ALL  desire to be our healthiest self. The butterfly eventually changed into the best of himself, so can you! Don’t be content to settle for a second best you.

Do you think the caterpillar knew its destiny or was it content to crawl around the leaves and up stems of flowers and never soar? Was it aware that it would eventually transform into a beautiful creature? I would think it was probably content in its ignorance. Just like discouraged dieters who sigh, “Well, I guess this is how I was made, so I’ll just accept it.”

In God’s timing, the caterpillar metamorphosed into a butterfly; and with its beautifully extended wings alighted on a flower for the first time. What a glorious accomplishment! Do you think it then grieved for its past life or rather rejoiced in its new abilities to fly? Did it ever wonder, “Why didn’t I do this sooner!”

So many of us are content in bodies that crawl or even stumble exhausted through life without any desire to reach greater heights! Strive for something better than mediocrity, you deserve it!

“And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:18)

As a nutritionist, I usually heard a patient, after they met their goal, exclaim, “I feel wonderful! Why didn’t I do this sooner?!!!” In God’s timing He won’t force us to becomes healthier. It’s our decision. Only when we are ready to make him LORD over our choices will we be ready to become a new creation.

“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)

Don’t be content to drag yourself through your day with extra pounds and potential health issues. Are you tired of taking countless pills for blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes or a heart condition? Instead allow yourself to become a New Creation.

I very much enjoy watching the television show, Aerial America? Isn’t it amazing how soaring over this country can change our perspective on how we view objects we’ve seen countless times?! Isn’t it about time you saw life from a different perspective? Choose a healthier lifestyle and take control of your life.

Don’t crawl through life, SOAR with wings like the butterfly.

 

Braving Our Personal Storms in Life

As we sit here, enjoying a beautiful sunset over western Florida, escaping the wrath of Hurricane Dorian, I can’t help but wonder how many have cried out, “Why, God?” when destruction hits.

Why does God allow storms to enter our lives? How are we to deal with them?

Reflecting, I saw a comparison of personal godly storms and how we can get through them by trusting God.

God is Loving in spite of our rebellion

Twice in our married life we have turned from God, who brought us back through loving discipline. True, we suffered and are still reaping consequences but never have we complained it’s God’s Fault!!! In fact God graciously forgave our immaturity and we’ve learned from that experience. It’s helped us to counsel others because we’ve “been there.” We accepted the fact that we were far away from God’s Will and absolutely recognized we deserved more punishment than our loving LORD dished out.

Have you ever strayed from healthier eating? Of course, everyone has. When you did, what were the consequences? Stomach ache? Fatigue? Diabetes? Something worse? Well, did God force you to eat those double cheeseburgers – make you ill? No, we did it to ourselves and must accept the consequences. God however, graciously prepared a way of escape with wisdom, medications, exercise, healthier foods . . . and you know what? I bet you like yourself better when you eat better!

“The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.” (1 Corinthians 10:13) LSV

As a father lovingly disciplines a child, God warns us, might even punish us for what we have done. Just look at King David and what resulted after his sin with Bathsheba. God doesn’t play favorites.

God sometimes creates storms to navigate us to safer ports.

Last year we were working in a toxic environment but prayed we could still make a difference. God loved us enough to prod us out of that unhealthy environment and to move us into a blessed Christian opportunity and lifestyle experience.

Sometimes we remain in an environment we shouldn’t. We settle for mediocrity. Nutritionally, have you ever thought, “Okay, one piece won’t harm me.” However one leads to another and suddenly it’s ten extra pounds gained. Don’t settle in a bad habit! God desires so much more for you.

Knowing God’s Word Prevent Storms

False prophets twist and turn God’s Word around making it sound better to anyone wanting to believe it. I saw this with politicians while working in public relations. They proclaimed promises the crowd wanted to hear. People who fall for these haven’t researched what Truth is! There’s little distinction between false prophets or false diet gurus. Know what you should believe and why. Do. Your. Research. Understanding physiology is important!

God is Good. He instilled in us common sense. Provided great nutritious foods to enjoy. Therefore eat what you desire in moderation. Avoid man-made, chemically-based foods most of the time, consume good fats and colorful food. If you crave a particular food, ask why. Are you physically hungry, sad, bored, lonely, stressed? Decide for yourself whether you are really hungry or simply emotional. Know yourself.

It’s not easy traveling a Christian path. Nor is it easy reaching a healthier goal. In nutrition no one wants to suffer, yet everyone wants a quick fix. There is no need to continuously sacrifice. Enjoy His Bounty and Stay Healthy in Body and Spirit.