Archives

Excuse Me This, Excuse Me That . . .

Some visualize Jesus as a robotic personality who never showed much emotion. But while on earth, our Lord experienced friendships, joy, pain, loss, exhaustion. In other words, he recognizes and feels the challenges of everyday life. But did he offer excuses??? No.

He also got righteously angry upon seeing his Holy Temple in Jerusalem misused. So how do you think Jesus feels when he sees us destroying our bodily temple of the Holy Spirit? Probably the same.

As a counselor I get frustrated with excuses too. Here’s a sample of what I’ve listened to over the years and what I’d offer as an alternative, practical solution to overcome them:

“If I don’t eat right, I can simply take a vitamin pill” Our bodies work within a fascinating team environment. Vitamins and minerals need food in conjunction with each other to produce optimal efficiency. For example; iron should be consumed with vitamin C for maximum absorption, (try tomato sauces with meat). Calcium, Magnesium and potassium work together for electrolyte balance . . . and so on. Without food, vitamins aren’t effective, so eating junk and then popping a vitamin won’t succeed and you’ll be wasting your money.

But without fat, food doesn’t have flavor” Oh, really? Well then, open a Crisco can and dig in. It’s herbs and seasonings that give flavor to food. Avoid heavier fat items such as ice cream or whole milk for a while and you’ll taste the difference when you resume. (Fat coats the tongue, thus no flavor after awhile.)

Garlic, onions, mustard, curry, oregano, sage, thyme, cumin, lemon, even wine and vinegar enhance food flavor. Try adding vinegars, especially balsamic vinegar, to pasta sauces. Sure, use real butter, but use less of it.

“I have no time to eat right” By the time you get to the fast food joint, get out of your car, get in line, order, wait around, pay for your order, get back into your car, drive home, change into something comfortable, get your place settings out, get drinks and sit down, you could have pounded a chicken schnitzel, popped a few baked potatoes in the microwave, created a salad and have relaxed with a glass of wine! So don’t give me that excuse!!

“It’s too expensive to eat right” See above. For the amount you paid for that bucket of chicken, you could have purchased spinach, romaine lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, radishes, any meat on sale, potatoes and a loaf of French bread and had leftovers! Search store circulars and choose sale items from that week. As my mother said, “You can have anything you want . . . and this is what you want.”

“I have no time to exercise!” Listen, I know you’re tired after a tough day at work. Exercise revives you! Do you watch TV at night? During the commercials use stretchy bands or lift small hand weights. One of my patients peddled her stationary bike while watching Jeopardy each evening. Have children? On weekends, get them involved! Dance with them, rake and jump in leaves, play Simon Says, walk the dog, go to the park, throw the ball around. Your children will forever cherish those memories with you.

 “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:21)

In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus didn’t offer excuses. Are your excuses more important than HIS were? He went to the cross because he thought you and I were worth it. Respect Christ’s choice and let’s choose to honor God with our bodies.

“for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” (1 Corinthians 6:20)

Advertisements

“What About Boxed Diet Programs?”

Please tell me what’s wrong with this statement?

“I know certain diets don’t work because I’ve tried them all. But this (boxed) program? I know that works, because it worked for me SEVERAL TIMES!!!”

That was the response I received as I counseled a new patient whose goal was to lose 150 pounds. Poor sweet lady, she just didn’t get it; she was only stressing her heart as she searched for an easy fix, believing a convenient “buy a box” program would work again.

First, the only real diet is one that will work for an lifetime. Of course one could get lucky and lose a few pounds on a gimmicky diet plan but for how long? Sure it worked for celebrities but will it fit into your lifestyle? For example, if you entertain clients at restaurants, host office dinners for your husband, teach 32 children in your classroom or show homes as a realtor, it’s nearly impossible to follow a boxed diet program successfully.

And keep in mind that the celebrity spokesperson, ecstatic over her current boxed food plan, has a lucrative contract, personal shopper, chef, publicist, housekeeper, private gym with trainer, stylist, masseuse and an incentive to look good in front of the television cameras!  You’ve got a mirror and box of cheese doodles in your cabinet. And I can buy my family an entire day’s worth of food for one individual’s cost of a boxed program at $9-11 per day, not counting the extras that go with it like dairy, vegetables and fruit.

Secondly, unless one knows how to maintain a balanced, HEALTHY diet, purchasers usually gain it all back and then some! Look at Oprah. Currently there are no one-on-one meetings with counselors to answer personal challenges on topics relevant to your individuality.

A nutritional counselor will discover the root cause of your self-destruction. Check a company out thoroughly and ensure the diet company has counselors who will keep you educated on physiology so you can maintain the weight loss under real life circumstances.. (Think Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig.)

We are each uniquely designed by God. We also have different DNA’s, lifestyles and challenges we face daily. A stay-at-home mom faces different stressors than a lawyer who’s single. That mom needs to know how to overcome the cupboard temptations calling her name while the lawyer needs to alleviate mental stress by hitting the gym after work.

Pre-planning and controlling our own destiny instills personal confidence that we can overcome anything. No one else can get healthy for us. We might think that someone else preparing our meals so we can simply pop them in the microwave is convenient but what have we learned about meal preparation, grocery shopping for healthier choices, portion sizes and cooking for a family of five? That’s right, nothing! We might get a few brochures and pamphlets but can we decipher it? (Or as I usually ask, “Do you know what it means to you in dog years?”)

Selecting the right foods isn’t that hard. It’s common sense. Choose as many whole foods, lean meats, good quality yogurt and healthy fats (olive oil, coconut, milled flaxseed or avocados, etc.)

“You say, “I am allowed to do anything”–but not everything is good for you. And even though “I am allowed to do anything,” I must not become a slave to anything.”   (1 Corinthians 6:12)

Very few remain healthy and slim on a prepackaged meal plan. Please don’t believe everything your itchy ears want to hear. (2 Timothy 4: 3-4)

 

 

Eat Breakfast? But I’m Not Hungry!

God created us with powerful physiological engines. We wouldn’t expect a car to run efficiently without gasoline or oil, nor a refrigerator without electricity; therefore  our body needs to generate the right energy to work efficiently as well.

“Your hands made me and formed me; give me understanding to learn your commands.” (Psalm 119:73)

Think of a historical train’s steam engine. As long as the engineer continues to stoke the engine with coal or wood, the train contentedly moves along. If the engineer falls asleep, runs out of coal and fails to do so, the engine begins to run out of steam and the train slows to a stop. Then it takes longer to get back to proper speed.

Same with us. If we fail to eat regularly, we’ll also run out of steam.

When we wake in the morning we’ve been without food for 6-8 hours. If we refuse to eat, our brain will believe we are ill and will slow down our metabolism. It holds on as protection so it can disperse calories when necessary. It can’t comprehend we would want to starve on purpose so it believes it’s protecting us.

Therefore, eating mini-meals throughout the day will naturally allow us to think, move and operate effectively.

Start each day with breakfast:

Quick energy is what we need most each morning so we can wake up our brain, which runs almost exclusively on glucose, a sugar. That means beneficial carbohydrates which enter our blood stream in about 15-30 minutes. But there’s a problem: carbohydrates only last about 2-3 hours at a time.

Have you noticed that if you have a sugary donut, your body is energized but then crashes quickly? You probably get hungry, spacy and perhaps even jittery within an hour or two. If you don’t want to crash mentally or physically, choose any high-fiber complex carbohydrate such as Grape Nuts, Shredded Wheat, Kashi or Raisin Bran (with 1-2% milk) for quick energy but fiber for sustaining energy. Fiber allows insulin to be released more slowly into your system, thus you won’t get that jittery feeling in an hour.

And I’d much rather see someone add a little real sugar (at 16 calories per teaspoon) than spoon any chemically created artificial sugar into their coffee, tea or cereal. Why consume unnatural processed food with absolutely no nutritional value? You’ll become a walking chemistry experiment, ready to erupt with cancer or illnesses when processed chemicals collide!

You’ll then need to sustain that energy with a little (2-3 ounces) quality protein which lasts about 4 hours in your system. Low-fat, good-quality yogurt with a serving of fruit, walnuts and sprinkled with milled flaxseed is wonderful or consume a slice of low-fat ham like Canadian bacon and egg between an English muffin. Even bagels, toast, Buckwheat (kasha) pancakes or waffles are fine in moderation. But go easy on the syrup or add fresh fruit instead. Add a little peanut butter or lower-fat cream cheese spread on your bagel for sustained energy.

Finally, we need to keep our bodily machine well-oiled by consuming good quality fats like real butter, milled flaxseed, coconut or almond milk. Fat remains in the system for 5-7 hours.

Consume a banana, apple with cheese or graham cracker with peanut butter as a mid-morning snack.

By consuming healthy food at breakfast, you set yourself up for a day of vitality and contentment. Your mind and spirit will be renewed and your energy level will at least get you through breaktime without giving in to sugary snacks!

It’s all about balance and physiology, not lack of willpower!

Are You a Godly Role Model for Your Children?

Over the years, hundreds of books were written meant to uncover why adults acted as they did.

Each touched on:

  • what motivates us;, how to be successful.
  • how we should view ourselves,
  • what’s our “sign”
  • discovering what type of personality we have: Type A, B, and so on.

Notice the common denominator? It was all about “self.” These books were written with the distinct purpose of reflecting how people should view themselves. Everyone got placed in a box, tied up with a brightly colored ribbon. Formula!

What self-centered thinking! Quite the opposite of “God First, Others Second and I Am Third.”

We are a combination of many personalities, because God created each of us uniquely. Our uniqueness makes us special. For example, my husband and I respond differently to different stimuli. I’m more impulsive, my husband’s more methodical. I need to talk it out, he needs time to think it through . . .

Therefore, it’s extremely important for each parent to discover their child’s “Love Language” also. Authors studied and targeted older generations and forgot about children.

Have you ever thought, the way we treat our children shouldn’t be the same as we treat an adult? Our children are as individual as we are. Each child has a distinctive personality and a separate need for recognition, discipline, space, acceptance and approval.

An emotional or affectionate child responds better to physical rewards such as a hug rather than a toy as a reward. He wants to know he is worth more than “things.” No amount of materialism can purchase this child’s love. He needs to be assured that he is more than simply another possession you own or he’ll turn to food or drugs for unfulfilled, comforting emotions.

One child is more analytical, another is a studious bookworm. These children desire stimulating conversation even more than hugs. Praise and respect them for their curiosity and dedication to studies (and of course hug them anyway!)

Sometimes a child only wants time with their parents, but rarely finds it. Sometimes the parents are so busy keeping up with the ‘Joneses’, working sixty-hour weeks in order to reward their child with “things” rather than what their child’s soul longs for; attention.

This creates a chasm between a child-parent relationships, perhaps one which will never fully heal. This child could even grow up to be introverted, placing a protective shell around his heart to avoid perceived abandonment issues.

Or perhaps he becomes another workaholic for his parent’s sought-after blessing. As he matures, he might want to sit and enjoy a movie, snuggling with his child, but years of training taught him that’s considered “unproductive” time. So he continues to strive for approval through hard work.

We are God’s child but do we spend time with the Lord? Think he doesn’t love us; accepts us as we are, faults and all?  Our Lord understands our Love Language! If we simply want to spend time with Him, wrapped in prayer, He’s always available to listen. If we encounter trials, we can rest in our Father’s Arms, finding comfort rather than criticism.

If we are analytical, He’ll provide knowledge and wisdom through His Word so we can understand. God’s always attuned to our needs even before we know them ourselves.

We can learn so much from our Heavenly Father. Remember that most children first identify our Heavenly Father with their earthly father. Appreciate each child as the blessing from God they truly are!

“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” (3 John 1:4)

Are We Becoming a Wasteland?

“Behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord GOD, “When I will send a famine on the land, Not a famine for bread or a thirst for water, But rather for hearing the words of the LORD. (Amos 8:11)

I must have finally become “old” for I am longing for the good old days. I remember a time in the 1950s when my grandfather declared that Rock and Roll was destroying today’s youth! Now those songs seem so innocent compared to the Rap, Rock and even Country lyrics heard today.

I know we tend to build on memory and make the past better than it was, but I don’t recall a previous time when civility was as out of control as it is today! Even during two terrible world wars, most people still had respect for one another.

Not today. And even in the ’50s and ’60s, when there were strip clubs and pornography, it wasn’t blatantly viewed daily on television as we do now. Even during the angry generation of the 1960s, if a man swore in front of me, he’d immediately apologize afterwards. Now young men in stores casually drop f-bombs and think nothing of it. I have seen little girls go from wearing patent leather shoes to high heels and butt-exposing shorts with no regard to modesty, while her mom apparently approves because she’s wearing a matching outfit.

Heard nightly on the news, protest groups want to convert others to their radical “religion.” I ask you: ‘Why would we EVER want to become them? Their ways are neither loving nor uplifting.” And I am not only talking about radical religions in other countries but our own as well! When viewing someone’s unkind Christian remarks, what would make us desire their religion? I follow NO religion . . . I follow Christ!

In today’s world of apathy and depravity, how many long to hear the sweet words of our Lord? You’re right, not many. We have a great famine in our country and it’s not for lack of food. 66% of our country is overweight and don’t care! They’d rather follow a famous false diet guru than God’s healthy- living plan.

The famine I speak of is a famine for Moral Truth. Please don’ become an unthinking sheep wandering in a swamp of destruction. How much farther can our nation plummet into the muck before we’ll perish? Who has the courage to stand out with Godly Conviction, declaring “enough!” and lead us out of our pit?

Today we see so many children innocuous to suffering, either due to ignorance, (no one has shown them Jesus) apathy (which is the opposite of love) or blatant disregard for rules and regulations. After all, taking drugs isn’t hurting anyone else! Must I remind you that we don’t live in a vacuum? Everything we do affects someone else! It’s called the “Butterfly Effect.”

“They wouldn’t listen or pay attention but became obstinate, not listening or accepting discipline.” (Jeremiah 17:23)

I believe your neighbor is thirsting for the Word of God (and everyone is our neighbor!) All you have to do is speak out. I realize it’s scary at first to profess Christ, but it gets easier as Jesus controls your life. Pray for opportunities and they will come. Don’t be afraid – for won’t it be more embarrassing if before they are sentenced to an eternity in hell, they ask God, But why didn’t Ellie tell me about Christ? As Christians, remember we never stand alone! Put on that full Armor of God and don’t hesitate to spread the Word of Truth!

 

Why Do People Reject the Poor Carb???

I’m sure my fellow nutritionists and dietitians have similar frustrations when they hear someone gleefully announce, “I’m giving up all carbs to lose weight!

Before you swear off all carbohydrates, STOP and THINK. Here are some important facts for your brain to digest:

The brain feeds primarily on glucose. Glucose is a carbohydrate. The most important carbohydrate in the body. I don’t know about you but I intend to retain as many brain cells as I can; especially during this era of ever-increasing dementia.

Glucose circulates in the bloodstream as sugar and is also necessary for cell respiration and energy.

I’ve heard people declare they’ve sworn off peanuts, lentils (Paleo Diet) and that they’d NEVER eat bananas because they’re “fattening.” What false beliefs! All the above carbohydrates contain valuable tryptophan which turns into the feel-good neurotransmitter, serotonin. The body needs serotonin to remain happy. (Pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds are also excellent.)

By lumping all carbohydrates together, it causes confusion. There’s a difference between simple versus complex, good and not-so-great carbs:. Donuts, cakes, cookies, pies, Twinkies, Pop Tarts and candy are much different from cherries, apples, oranges, broccoli, spinach and sweet potatoes. One group contains a great deal of nutrients and the other . . .  not-so-much. Yet they are all classified as carbs.

Beneficial complex carbs contain nutrients while candy and other simple carbs contain little or none. Simple should be eaten for pleasure and in moderation. For a special treat, try a piece of fruit dipped in melted dark chocolate (with valuable antioxidants.)

Wholesome, complex carbs contain fiber. Fiber is essential for good health because dangerous toxins, preservatives, dyes and other chemicals attach themselves to fiber and are moved out of the bloodstream as well as through the intestines. Carbohydrates are only found in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and herbs. (No matter how tough that steak was it contains no fiber!)

Without beneficial fiber, toxins fester in the cells, creating the possibility of cancers or implementing metabolic syndromes. Without fiber, parasites and other disgusting creatures remain in your gut and thrive. Lovely.

When someone avoids carbs and then goes back to them once again, they complain they’ve gained weight and thus blame the poor carbohydrate. Of course, it’s a physiological fact that fibrous carbs retain water which expands fiber – so someone on a high protein or high fat diet, will lose water weight rather than fat.

Those on a high protein or high fat diet, are usually crankier because their pH system becomes acidic rather alkaline.

Carbs produce energy in approximately 15 minutes and are burnt up within 2- 3 hours. To maintain your body’s efficiency, keeping it running like a well-oiled machine you desire, attempt to eat nutritious mini-meals throughout the day.

God could have placed Adam and Eve anywhere . . . on a beach, in a desert or on a mountain top. But He didn’t.  He placed them in a Garden. Why? For that is where all the nutrients to sustain life are found! He then gave them dietary instructions found in Genesis 1:29. Later in Genesis 9:3, mankind was told to consume meat.

We live under Grace and we’ve been told we can consume anything in moderation. (1Corinthians 10:23) It’s a matter of balance. To say what God has created is “unclean” or “bad” is like a slap in the Face of God. Strive to honor God always with our all our mind, heart, soul and strength.

“For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 14:17) 

The Temptation to Become a Diet Chameleon

Have you seen them too?

I’m speaking of those who attend church looking properly pious during each service. However, as soon as church is over, they blend into a worldly crowd: they laugh at a co-worker’s dirty joke, fudge a report or degrade other Christians. The home-front is a battlefield but on Friday night they’re the ‘life of the party’  couple.

Back on Sunday morning though, they reverently sing hymns and pray righteously for all the world to hear. They blend in with the crowd wherever they go, the church or the world.

I call these people, “Spiritual Chameleons”. Sadly, it’s one of the reasons people avoid church. They’ve done more to turn others away from God’s Word than any other obstacle!

I asked a patient once why she didn’t attend church. “The church doesn’t work for me!” she replied. “Too many hypocrites!”

How sad. She failed to comprehend that we shouldn’t attend church to be seen, but to discover God’s Word and worship Christ!

Similarly, if you desire a healthy lifestyle, look to Absolute Truth in physiology. Don’t become a “weight-loss chameleon”. It won’t work, no matter how hard you try!

Unfortunately I see health chameleons all around us. Several famous talk show hosts flit from one diet plan to another, drawing others into their dangerous web. If they truly knew how they dangerously influence others they probably wouldn’t!

Does anyone remember in the mid ’90s, when Oprah wanted to know how desperate people were to lose weight? She set up a totally fictitious diet center in a mall. That ‘diet’ consisted of consuming only hot dogs and ice cream! How silly, you think, who’d sign up for that??? Well . . . 41 people did in three days.

Suppose someone suggests, “Hey I’m on the Atkins diet. You should try it. I lost 39 pounds this month!!!” So you try it and all you feel is sluggish with risky cholesterol. Didn’t work for you, although it worked for her.

Next you’ll see a celebrity on television stating they lost 60 pounds on this boxed food program. So you’ll try that. You might lose 2 pounds a week and spend a bunch of money on packaged food that isn’t appetizing after you’ve consumed it twelve times. You cheated and regained even more. Your wallet’s lighter though.

Okay, so now you’re getting desperate and searching for quicker results. That new popular pill that health clinic is advertising seems like the perfect solution! After a month of heart-racing, nervous reactions, a cranky attitude and a husband who doesn’t enjoy coming home to a nasty, unkind, hungry wife, it’s too high price to pay for thinness. (Notice I didn’t say health)

After trying hard to become thinner by attempting everything the world has, you might throw up your hands: “I give up! They’re all shams! Never again!”

Becoming a weight-loss chameleon never works! Embrace your uniqueness! You aren’t meant to blend in with everyone else!

Don’t compare yourself with anyone else, for we are all accountable for our own actions. Consider it a Spiritual Westminster Dog Show! Compare yourself only to the standard Christ set down for us, His Holy Word. Ask: what does God think?  Am I honoring Him?

Happily. God established a true diet plan for our physical health in the Garden: moderation!  Fruits, vegetables, seeds, whole grains and after the flood, lean meat. Try Truth . . . it works.

“If I have walked with falsehood and my foot has hastened to deceit; Let me be weighed in a just balance, and let God know my integrity!”

(Job 31:5,6)