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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)

10 Successful Habits for Abundant Health!

 “For it is written, You must be holy, because I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:16)

We are commanded to honor God with our bodies and let’s face it, no one desires to fail on a “diet” plan. But every time we get exasperated, wanting to quit, the devil taunts: see I told you couldn’t do it! Don’t believe it! The Lord knows you are more powerful than Satan so tap into God’s power! (1 John 4:4)victory-on-mountaintop

To ensure weight loss success, establish your defenses against Satan’s lies.

1. Winners know who they are.  Accept your need for self acceptance. You are unique, revel in that. Build your worth around your personality, love for God, others and family. Real beauty comes from within. (1 Samuel 16:7) There are some very attractive but mean-spirited people you’d prefer not to be around, agree?

2. Become conscious of how you react to food. Are you really hungry or just provoked by a feeling? Do you eat healthy foods or do you bring tempting junk into your home? Do you eat quickly or dine leisurely with friends and family?  It takes 20 minutes for your brain to know your tummy is full, so relax and enjoy your food.

3.  Build a support system for accountability/encouragement. God declared that it wasn’t good for man to be alone.  Your friends and family care if you’re unhealthy. Love yourself enough to change for their feelings as well as your own.

4. Successful people are committed to reaching goals. They don’t allow set-backs to deter them. Sometimes you’ll be ten steps forward and then four steps back, but remember, you’re still going forward! As a Christian, is there anything that would entice you to return to a decadent lifestyle? Hope not! Realize that God doesn’t expect perfection from you, only obedience –  so don’t expect it from yourself.

5Successful people develop strategies. They have created strategies to overcome temptations before they arise. Outside influences don’t control them. They know honoring God is more important than   establishing a fattening treat as their idol.

6. They find pleasure in other actions besides eating! Develop a hobby, write, paint, exercise, read a favorite novel, garden, learn a new skill. You do so much for others, now spend time on yourself. It’s not selfish to find satisfaction in a well-rounded lifestyle! Food then won’t be the highlight of your life.

7.  Motivated people use visualization skills.  Try visualizing yourself covered in beef fat. Visualize eating raw chicken skin, mmm . . . or bacon grease coursing throughout your veins.  Not very attractive. Think of your heart as a separate entity, faithfully working day and night to keep you alive. Your heart deserves better!

8Winners are confident people! Aren’t you drawn to confident leaders? Just think how mentally strong you become, because no one else can lose your weight but you!! If you can lose weight you can do anything, so walk like a winner!

9. Winners become educated. They understand why they eat, where the temptations are. They control their daily fat intake and rarely eat junk food which greatly ages the body. They exercise because it’s beneficial. They’ve learned how the body works. What a fascinating machine God gave us!

10. Feeling great is their everyday routine. Healthy people smile more, enjoying life! Being healthy improves one’s looks, energy level, longevity, self-esteem and is a testimony to how God gloriously rules in our lives.

Walk with God’s Strength, it’s something winners strive for.

“For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.” (Isaiah 41:13)

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)

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)

 

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)

The Most Grandiose Season of the Year!

Welcome to the most grandiose season of the year!!! No, not Thanksgiving or Christmas: it’s Weight-gain Season!

gluttonyAs the lyrics from the movie Oliver professes, “Food, Glorious Food . . . !” The holiday pig-out season now begins at Halloween and ends with the last Super Bowl party in February. That’s one long temptation for someone suffering from food addiction. So how does someone resist the seduction of food?

My mother always cautioned me if I ever greedily placed too much on my plate, “Your eyes are bigger than your stomach!” She was right and since I originally grew up on a run-down NJ farm, whatever I took, I was forced to eat. I vowed someday I’d consume an entire package of chocolate pudding by myself! I did – it was a learning experience. I’m not poor anymore but sometimes my mind taunted me to believe otherwise. All-One-Can-Eat-Buffets are still my worse temptation.

With God’s help I overcame the enticement of food. It feels wonderful to conquer the temptation of overeating, however I know many will suffer through this holiday season. Stay strong!

First, enjoy food! Don’t believe the lie of “good and bad” foods. Once I believed that. So what did I do? Feeling like a “rebellious child” I snuck food secretively in case someone caught and belittled me.

According to God any food is fine in moderation if we remain in control. Don’t become a slave to a deep-fried Twinkie!

“All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be enslaved by anything.” (1 Corinthians 6:12)

How do we remain in control? Strategize. Why not spread much smaller portions of white meat turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes with gravy, sweet potatoes, green beans and a sliver of pumpkin pie rather than piling our plate, eating everything? Are we suffering then? No. Have we deprived ourselves of pleasure? No. The first bite of anything always tastes best because fat coats the tongue, taking more to satisfy. Allow our brain to tell us we are sampling fabulous nutrients. Savor it, eat slowly and don’t feel guilty.

If you overeat, ask why you lost control. Is it because you’re angry, feel you “deserve it,” are uncomfortable around family, greedy or simply peer-pressured, etc?  If those reasons apply, it’s more about physiology, strategy and psychology than control, (another post.)

 “For everything in the world–the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life–comes not from the Father but from the world.” (1 John 2:16)

Have we created an idol out of food? Remember our Lord actually died for every sin, which means gluttony as well as murder or theft.

“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)

All choices have consequences and whatever we choose, we own. With food however, whatever we choose we wear! Do you love that food enough to wear it? That’s not an exaggeration. We wear it on the inside and it shows on the outside: we’ll have a grey appearance, our energy level will be low; we’ll be overweight and susceptible to illnesses. Were all those chemically, calorie-laden foods worth it? Is it worth the sorrow on your children’s faces when they learn you have diabetes or heart disease?

Now please don’t misunderstand, enjoy your parties and holiday dinners. But consume a variety of more healthier (80%) than non-healthier items. Take smaller portions, chew thoroughly, slow down and relish the flavors. Conquer your desire of addictive foods and enjoy God’s Bounty.

Don’t Get Caught in a Marketing Net!

Caution: the holiday season is quickly approaching and advertisers are trying to lure you into their net.

I recently heard a pastor comparing a fish lured by an enticing fish-hook to humans being ensnared by the temptations of this world. Now being a nutritionist, I view everything through a nutritional lens, so I immediately thought, “hmmm, how true! Another similarity between nutrition and spirituality.”

“For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” 1 John 2:16 (KJV)

How many times have we innocently strolled along the aisles of the local mall when we suddenly get a whiff of cinnamon or popcorn and start salivating? Or walk past th[2]the Food Court and a McDonald’s calls our name? Eating at a restaurant is not wrong. However if we are trying to become healthier and food controls us, then we have a problem.

Although focusing on finding that perfect pair of jeans, we can’t get the thought of those cinnamon pretzel sticks out of our mind, no matter how hard we try! Now we notice that every corner has an Auntie Anne’s, Cinnabon or Wetzel’s Pretzels. Temptation begins to lure us in through its cinnamony, buttery aroma and a feast for the eyes as we observe others pulling apart its flakey bounty. That’s all it takes and we’re hooked! Losing control, we feel like failure and Satan gleefully dances while we suffer.

Why is it that as we attempt to eat healthy, tempting food choices abound everywhere?! Satan wishes to destroy our bodily temple with unhealthy fats, preservatives and chemicals. He cannot read our minds but he sure is attuned to our human nature, having deduced what our weak links have been. It takes Herculean power to resist his hook baited with temptation, but it sure feels great when we do!

Marketing knows what it takes and are counting on that fishhook to lure us in too!  As the world becomes more globally secular through the internet, raunchy sit-coms, music and even commercials, it’s easy even for a strong Christian to be side-tracked nowadays with the many lures of secularism.

So how do we resist the lure of temptation? It’s extremely tough, so we must be prepared. Especially now, if we’re on a healthier dietary plan, we usually gets sidetracked, giving up until January. Never ever give up striving for health! God wants us healthy!

“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7

Logically, think ahead, in regards to challenges. You already know as you shop for gifts, there are plenty of food trip-ups at the mall so be prepared:

  • Don’t go hungry. Duh.
  • Love cinnamon? Have it on your yogurt, in your coffee or on your whole wheat toast before you go. Your hypothalamus, the little traffic cop in your brain, will regulate and dispel your desire for that nutrient.
  • Bring a snack with you, such as homemade granola, peanut butter on whole grain crackers, 2 Hershey Kisses, grapes, banana or an apple.
  • Shop with a disciplined friend who isn’t a “yes ‘mam” when it comes to being tempted and will keep you in control.
  • Reward yourself with something you want more than food when you overcome temptation! Perhaps a scarf, a book, CD, manicure or other non-food reward.

I promise you, nothing tastes as great as being Victorious ever will!

“But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.” 1 Corinthians 9:27