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Taking Baby Steps Toward Success

When we are born, we don’t learn to walk overnight do we? As we grew, first we learned how to sit up, crawl, stand, then take baby steps. We fell a lot too. But one thing I do know, we never gave up. But does a baby whine, ‘Well for heaven’s sakes, I failed again; so I’m gonna sit around on my butt forever!”

Of course not. As Thomas Edison said so eloquently, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”As we’ve seen, babies pick themselves up time after time, eventually running around with boundless energy.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have that much energy again? So why do we sit around believing we’re a failure? Because we’re human!Keep striving for success anyway.

As Christians, we don’t become our best self overnight either. Life experiences teach us what works and what behaviors don’t. As children, through life’s experiences, we learn not to touch hot stoves or disturb a dog while he’s eating. By trial and error we grow, recognizing good from bad.

Instilling a positive attitude becomes second nature, building confidence.

As a counselor, amazingly I noticed some patients preferred living with self-pity. It brought attention but it was so wasteful. Some dieters gripe, make excuses and settle for second best when God wants them to enjoy an abundant life!  But then again, many times after a patient finally reached their health goal, I heard the phrase, “Why didn’t I do this sooner? Why did I settle for mediocrity when I could have felt like this?”  It feels wonderful to conquer challenges so strive to become your best self starting today!

“Well that sounds Hunkie-dory Ellie, but how am I supposed to do that?”

With a different mind-set.

  1. Create a chart and reward yourself for each 5 pounds lost with something you want more than food: moisturizers, DVD’s, music, manicures, books, cologne . . . you’ll continually feel successful!
  2. Post a photo on the fridge to motivate you. Keep your goal visual.
  3. Remember you are worth everything in God’s Eyes. He doesn’t create junk!
  4. Give yourself the “pep-talk” and strategize action plans for future situations.
  5. Whatever  actions you do, own them. It’s your body, your decision.
  6. Accept that it’s not easy – you’ll crawl before you walk – but conquering habits feels victorious!

“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)

Eat well! God didn’t tell you to eat sticks and twigs either. Man created that foolish rule which tells us we’ll have to suffer, eating “sticks and twigs” for losing control. What a fallacy! God provided an abundance of colorful, flavorful food for our pleasure and greater health. The nutrients in those foods will energize our human machine as beautifully as a Maserati. Man-made chemicals will wear us out, making us hack and sputter like an old clunker.

As we strive to become healthier we might find ourselves giving in to cravings, overindulging or feeling lethargic about exercise. We might hit a weight plateau and get so discouraged we’ll feel like giving up. Be kind, forgive yourself. Don’t expect instant gratification, healthy driven people don’t! But don’t sit there on your butt, having a pity-party, whining either. Conquer that inner voice which tells you, I knew you couldn’t do it, you always been a quitter so why stop now? Continue striving for excellence.

The toughest struggle we fight is in our own mind. We’re not a failure, we have worth – God thinks so, why don’t we? Become a Strong New Creation by continuing to grow smartly!

Keeping Our Bones Stronger Throughout Life

When I developed osteoporosis, I tried to argue that the test was inaccurate. I eat too well! I protested. I exercise daily, walk, lift weights, . . . so the test must be wrong. After all, as a nutritionist, I know what to eat and practice what I preach! But as the verse goes, “Pride Goeth Before a Fall.” (Proverbs 16:18)

I had inherited my mother’s bone structure. I was arguing with God and one shouldn’t argue with our Maker. I should be grateful for how He created me.

“You turn things upside down, as if the potter were thought to be like the clay! Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, “You did not make me”? Can the pot say to the potter, “You know nothing”? (Isaiah 29:16)

God’s smarter than me.

Did you know that there is a simple way to determine your bone size? Wrap you thumb and your middle finger around your wrist. If you can overlap your fingers, you are small-boned. If your fingers just meet, you are medium and if your fingers don’t touch, you are large-boned. The smaller the bones, the more susceptible to osteoporosis. (Recently some dispute this method but it works for me.)

As in everything with God’s Handiwork, balance is the key to healthier living.

Calcium is essential for regulating the passage of nutrients in and out of cells and need to be taken with food. Vitamin D should be consumed alongside calcium, magnesium and boron (grapes, apples, nuts) for maximum effect.

Anyone over 18 should consume approximately 1000-1200 milligrams of calcium, spaced throughout the day. Too much calcium could manifest in kidney stones. Too little and you’ll not only develop osteoporosis but insomnia, nervousness, an irregular heartbeat, hypertension, aching joints, irritability, leg cramping and brittle nails.

Calcium assists with insomnia and is a natural tranquilizer. It’s one reason why stressed-out people run to creamy foods such as macaroni and cheese or ice cream when under pressure. Their body is crying out for calmness amidst life’s storms. Our protective hypothalamus in our brain is informing us this nutrient will help. (Fresh air  calms us too.)

What Foods Contain Calcium?

  1. Did you know skim milk contains more calcium than regular milk? (316 mg. versus 290)
  2. Consume vegetables such as: Arugula, kale, spinach, broccoli, Bok Choy, acorn squash, dandelion, collard, mustard or turnip greens.
  3. Beans and legumes are excellent sources of beneficial calcium. So are whole grains, bread and cereals, so watch out Paleo Diet activists. You are playing Russian Roulette. For God knows our frame and how our bodies work. (Psalm 103: 14)
  4. Almonds, cashews, sesame and sunflower seeds can be eaten in moderation (2 tablespoons daily.) Excellent on rich garden salads!
  5. Consume seafood: Salmon, sardines, mackerel, anchovy, cod fish, oysters and crab.
  6. Calcium rich fruits are figs, kiwi, and fortified orange juice.
  7. Cheeses: Mozzarella, parmesan, Swiss, Laughing Cow. (The lighter the cheese the less cholesterol.)
  8. I usually recommend alfalfa tablets which can be found very cheaply. The roots of the alfalfa plant grow so deeply that they naturally contain many nutrients, including calcium.

It’s also important to consume foods high in the amino acid lysine along with calcium for maximum absorption. This is found in eggs, cheese, potatoes, red meat and soy. Amazingly, some of the foods forbidden on certain “diets.” Perhaps a mistake has been made? Is God or man correct? I’ll choose God every time, won’t you?

Bottom line: Calcium helps us lose weight, improves our mood and  keeps us healthy and younger looking! God knew it all the time! That’s good enough for me.

Be as Determined as Caleb in Healthy Ways

I must admit I have favorites in the Bible: Joshua because of his faith, Joseph for his patience and Caleb for his “can-do” spirit. We can learn a lot from these men in respect to our relationship to health too. All three lived mentally, spiritually and physically well-balanced lives.joshua-battle

I have listened to many whiners while counseling: “It’s too hard.” “It’ll take too long!” “My mother-in-law brought dessert and I had to eat it, Ellie.” And on and on. All are simply excuses to avoid healthier living. God commands us to maintain healthier lifestyles (1 Peter 1:16) and Satan wants our destruction; “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)

I admire Caleb for his courage. When faced with a challenge he never ran away, whining it was too hard. Entering the Promised Land with Joshua, he saw conflict and fortified himself with Truth. God would stand with him, not abandon him, giving him strength to endure any conflict. Today God doesn’t abandon us either! (1 Corinthians 10:13)

How many when faced with a health challenge feel defeated? God wants you living a vibrant life, not a diseased one. Are you running from what you know is healthy truth? Self-destructing with chemically-treated, fattening fast food every day is not what God wants for you! Remember that anything is fine in moderation and we live under grace, but consuming a daily unbalanced diet is not holy nor healthy! Think it’s too hard? Hard is enduring cancers, heart disease, diabetes and other debilitating illnesses when you knew it could have been prevented.

Now look at Joseph. God didn’t instantly grant his prayers while imprisoned. Why not? Perhaps God wanted Joseph to grow in grace and maturity before he would handle what God entrusted him with. Maybe God wanted to strengthen his faith. As Joseph patiently endured his trials, he mastered his emotions and actions, eventually becoming second-in-command to Pharaoh. Would he have been ready earlier? No, God’s timing is always perfect.

Today everyone demands instant gratification! I like the quip, “Today’s generation is the only one who will stand in front of a microwave and complain if it’s not fast enough!”

Do you want instant gratification? Would that teach anything? No. The journey is as important as the destination in life. The learning process teaches us to endure, to handle and overcome frustrations. For example, if we always ran to our parents to figure out math questions, we wouldn’t know how to balance a checkbook today, would we?  Challenges strengthen our body, mind and spirit.

Then we have Joshua. He was fearless and faithful. He never caved to temptation or peer pressure when others began worshipping false gods. (Joshua 24:15) He knew God had a plan for everything. He mastered discipline as he trained, wandering patiently alongside Moses 40 years in the desert. When the time came he was a tremendous champion for Israel, leading them into their Promised Land.

Foods can become idols too. Remain disciplined! October is pastor appreciation month. As we ate out with two other couples last week, a luscious peanut butter pie was delivered as a surprise appreciation gift for my pastor husband. Now he loves pies and the pieces were humongous! As we ate our pie, halfway through my husband stopped and asked for a take-home box. He felt no peer pressure to consume it all and enjoyed the rest the following day. I’m proud he honored God.

God and I were pleased. Stand fast also!

The “Secret” of Hyaluronic Acid and Younger Looking Skin

healthy-foodsI recently clicked onto an internet article on an anti-aging “secret” only to discover it was a come-on for a very expensive product promising younger looking skin. As I indicated in my last post, if we only ate better we’d look younger. Certainly we live under Grace and could spend mucho dollars each month searching for the illusive Fountain of Youth or we could simply eat better quality nutrients and save up for that world-wide cruise we long for.

The advertised product featured hyaluronic acid together with vitamin C. Big Whoop. I’ve always recommended vitamin C for younger looking skin to produce collagen but few people would recognize the fancy 50 cent word Hyaluronic Acid. Sounds impressive . . .  but is it worth the cost of an around- the-world-trip?  You make the call.

Hyaluronic acid (HA) is simply a carbohydrate which can be found in green leafy vegetables, pineapple, pears, peaches, tomatoes, apples, bananas and avocados. It assists in rebuilding our skin tissue and stimulating collagen production. Who knew one could have radiant and luxurious skin simply by consuming fruits and vegetables???  Oh right, God did in Genesis 1:29 and 9:3.

One of the best sources of HA is found in chicken skin and bone broth. Chicken isn’t expensive and your grocery most likely has beef/pork bones to make your own broth. Other nutrients found in bone broths include magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, calcium, chondroitin sulfate and collagen. All work together with HA to keep us vibrantly young.

With the cold weather quickly approaching, I urge you to create your own healthy soups. There are plenty of recipes available! Search for any with lots of broth, tomatoes or green leafy vegetables and make a large pot of wholesome goodness to warm your insides and keep you young. “Consume 2 cups and call me in the morning.”

Lean proteins found in fatty fish will supplement the amino acids one needs to produce HA. So increase your consumption of salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines or trout.

There are other benefits to HA than simply younger looking skin. As we age, our eyes get dryer and our eyesight changes. Not only does HA affect your skin but it also moisturizes your eyes and improves eyesight because HA soaks up water like a sponge.

And as we age our joints begin to stiffen. HA surrounds and supports our molecular structure by absorbing  the water in foods. Therefore HA is a beneficial nutrient in saving our mobility too.

HA is found in so many items it’s almost impossible to miss out unless you consume a diet high in fattier proteins like sausage, ribs, bacon, cold cuts, etc. without fibrous vegetables which stimulate the production of HA, like most root vegetables such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, beets, yams and brown rice.

Have a glass of red wine or red grape juice with dinner. The skins of the grapes contain phytoestrogens which keeps our skin young-looking. Now phytoestrogens (plant-based estrogens like soy products)  have been controversial over the years because of the rise of breast cancer symptoms. Personally I’m not worried because phytoestrogens are God-created. I’m more concerned with the large consumption and use of hormones and chemicals found in fast foods. However it would be wise to check with your doctor if your family has a history of breast cancer.

Sometimes I hear, “Ellie, it’s too expensive to eat well!” but that same complainer will spend a fortune on some illusive fountain of youth cream. Remember God looks at our tender heart, not our face!

“Happy is a man who finds wisdom and who acquires understanding,” (Proverbs 3:13)

When Opinions From Others Matter

thTCNBJAN3Some people radiate a confidence that epitomizes success. But if God isn’t glorified through it, once again, it’s off-balance.

“For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.”   (Galatians 1:10)

If one believes they’ve accomplished each achievement by themselves, they become King Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 4:30) who gazed over his kingdom, extolling, “Look at all I’ve done. Aren’t I Mr. Wonderful?!” Wrong, what ingratitude! God alone is the Giver of ALL. Not giving God the Glory for their successes, makes all our worldly accomplishments wither like burnt grass. Let’s try not to believe our own publicity.

On the other hand, being a counselor, most come to me epitomizing a self-conscious, worthless, defeated spirit. After all, others have taunted those faults in their face so it must be true. Must I remind you: God doesn’t make junk?! You have value because God created you. You are children of the King, therefore royalty.

Why do we allow other people’s opinions to matter so much? When someone criticizes or compliments, consider what motivates them. Are their words Scripturally sound? Flattery or Truth? Is someone concerned about our best interests or are they simply spiteful, jealous or insecure themselves? Consider the source.

Ultimately, it’s only God’s opinion that matters. God’s Word restores Power! (1 John 4:4)  It’s our choice to believe Truth or the lies of the devil who uses others to whisper in our ears that we are unloved, failures, trash.  Satan wants to drag us into his pit. God tells us we should remain confident, strong, withstanding all obstacles through Him who gives us strength. (Philippians 4:13.)  Choose wisely.

Counseling is unique. Different personalities require different approaches. We choose what we believe about ourselves. Perception becomes reality. Life has many challenges and overcoming adversity makes us stronger! Personally I emerged from the most horrific childhood imaginable but I don’t live there anymore. “But forgetting what is behind . . .” (Philippians 3: 13-14) God has restored me. I choose a joyful life and I want that for you! Don’t allow the opinions of others hold you back.

I followed many destructive paths searching for worth and love before becoming a New Creation in Christ. A “people-pleaser,” I finally understood that I could never make everyone happy. Never be good enough. It was the old story of the boy, the old man and the donkey. In short, no matter who rode the donkey, someone criticized the decision. No one was happy.

Become a New Creation for the right reasons. Healthier living pleases God. Stop self-destructing! One wouldn’t throw trash on the floor of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, so why trash our personal temple of the Holy Spirit? What we treasure we take care of.

Have you said, “Then who cares? Forget them, I’ll do what I want!”  (Judges 21:25) Self-destruction always occurs for underlying emotional reasons: unworthiness, anger, attention, loneliness or whatever produces mental, physical and spiritual demolition. Do what God wants.

Others try and please in an attempt to appease others. If I (lose weight, quit drugs or smoking) then they’ll be happy and stop nagging. But since one isn’t doing so for the right reasons, failure results. God wants you healthy.

Some are insecure, seeking validation/acceptance/praise from others. Like “Oh you’re so beautiful” selfies. Or they’ll try some foolish activity like drugs hoping to win friends. That’s traveling down a dangerous path.

Your Christian life represents Jesus. His opinion matters. Strive for excellence, He’ll be well-pleased and THAT matters!

Cholesterol and Fats – The myths and the legends!!

Sally Cronin is one of the most knowledgeable and practical nutritionists I know. There is a ton of information in her article and I simply had to pass this along. Enjoy and take heed, blessings

Smorgasbord - Variety is the spice of life

smorgasbord health

This week the focus has been on cholesterol and the nutrients that maintain a healthy balance in the body. Cholesterol is not a random substance and is essential for many of the major functions in the body including the production of hormones. I cover that function tomorrow in the serialisation of my book Turning Back the Clock.

Today I wanted to focus on fats which also play a massive role in the balance of LDL (potentially unhealthy cholesterol) and HDL (healthy cholesterol) See yesterday’s post. B3 and cholesterol

It can be tricky because the good fats are fairly easy to spot but the harmful fats tend to be hidden and disguised in the packaged and processed foods we buy. Responsible manufacturers have mainly moved away from using the highly toxic ‘trans fats’ but unfortunately the cheaper your processed family meal for four is, the more likely it is to have…

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A List of Top Metabolic Burning Foods

“So I commend the enjoyment of life, because there is nothing better for a person under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad.” (Ecclesiastes 8:15)

 

If you are like me your eye is captured by “lists.”  You know, “the 100 best movies of all time,” “25 favorite vacation destinations,”  “50 most affordable places to live” . . .  So in that spirit, here is a list of my favorite spicy, fat-burning foods.thKVVEP8R6

I want to emphasize that spicy foods increase metabolism only in a small way.  They are not miracle cures. Statistics from studies have shown however, an increase of 45 – 76 calories burned over three hours. Therefore it’s still valuable. More importantly, the nutrients found in all these foods improve health which is the significant reason for consuming beneficial nutrients in the first place.

But what does metabolism mean in dog years? Well, your body is a bunch of chemicals, food’s a bunch of chemicals. Metabolism is how your body biochemically reacts to what you place in your mouth. Garbage in – garbage out. Want to run like a well-managed machine? Then treat yourself like a Ferrari, not a Pinto.

My Favorite Hot, Spicy, Therapeutic Foods:

Hot spicy foods do jumpstart one’s metabolism. Now I’m not giving you license to go out and eat a bucketful of Buffalo wings. But do try hot chili spices, cayenne peppers, red pepper (capsaicin), paprika, curry, horseradish, wasabi, banana and jalapeno peppers on your cuisine.

Ginger is another wonderful spice that assists with the burning of calories. Biochemists discovered through an 1980s study that fresh and dry ginger burned up 20% more energy in animal tissue. Further studies demonstrated it has also worked effectively in humans due to its thermogenic ability to raise metabolism one degree.

Hot spicy mustards not only are a metabolism booster but mustard also contains turmeric which is one of the most therapeutic nutrients for healthy living!  I even add a small (pinch) amount of turmeric to my coffee for a very smooth tasting beverage.  Strange but true. You might think that it would taste “mustardy” but I can assure you it does not.

Hot spicy foods provide many benefits:

  1. Anything that will make your eyes and nose water will open up your lungs, allowing you to breathe easier.
  2. Spicy foods reduce inflammation, reducing pain in one’s joints.
  3. Hot spices will thin the blood.
  4. They can even increase resistance to cancers.
  5. They work well for headaches and pain relief. The brain releases serotonin (a feel-good neurotransmitter) into the brain’s pain receptors.  This is a natural way to reduce pain without the side effects of ibuprofen. (All medications have side effects.)
  6. They also kill bacteria so are beneficial in fighting off ulcers.
  7. They improve moods. Hot spicy foods act as little firemen who run to dispense the neurotransmitter serotonin into your brain’s pain receptors and make you feel better.
  8. When you are not feeling pain, you have less stress on your system. Less stress means steadier insulin production and thus makes you less hungry.
But if you protest, “But then I’ll get hungrier,”  please understand the First Law of Thermodynamics: It takes energy to make energy! God’s balance again. By spicing up your high fiber foods, (fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds and herbs) insulin will be released more slowly into your system and thus balances out the uncontrolled eating frenzy.   Experiment with spices and enjoy God’s Bounty of Flavors!