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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) 

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The Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar

For years I have touted the benefits of apple cider vinegar (ACV) with its positive health properties. Well it seems to becoming back with a vengeance simply as a weight loss tool. Yes, it certainly assists in shedding pounds but there is so much more to ACV than that.

One might think, because of its sour taste, ACV would produce an acidic pH. “And Ellie,” you protest, “you’ve always flouted how humans should strive to become more alkaline!” Yes that’s true and ACV certainly does that.

Imagine the pH scale as a line from 1-14;  7 being pure water. Everything below 7.0 is acidic and above 7.0 is alkaline. To be their healthiest, one should remain around 7.2 – 7.45.  Just like lemon and lime, ACV turns into an alkaline pH as it metabolizes. Why is this important in the first place? Because an alkaline pH protects the body from toxic conditions and illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes and cancers! Disease cannot thrive in an alkaline environment. Wow, how smart is God???!!!

There’s another important benefit to having a more alkaline pH: it improves your mood! When someone is on the acidic scale side, below 6.9, they are usually grumpier; so provide more fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds and herbs at mealtime to create a more pleasant family member.

ACV contains a great many nutrients: A, C, Riboflavin, Thiamine, B6, manganese, calcium, iron, magnesium and potassium to name a few. Due to its alkaline producing pH, it affects insulin levels and acts as an appetitive suppressant; one reason it’s a beneficial weight loss aid.

It’s also high in probiotics which boosts our body’s good bacteria. This will not only protect against urinary tract infections and candida, but skin flare-ups, eczema, psoriasis and other fungal ailments. If suffering from acne, use a small solution of 2 parts water and 1 part ACV to clear and tone any skin challenges. (Do not use straight for it’d be too strong and might hurt tooth enamel.)

By drinking 2 teaspoons of ACV with 4 ounces of water daily it will reduce the sludge of cholesterol and triglycerides in your bloodstream and allow for healthier circulation. ACV actually lowers bad LDL cholesterol and increases the good HDL.  It also regulates blood sugar and improves one’s energy levels.

I’ve worked extensively with patients who suffered from fibromyalgia. There was a common correlation among them. They all, in some way, worked with or around chemicals. These chemicals built up in their system. ACV is rich in enzymes to stimulate bile and liver function. This action reduces toxins by binding and removing them through urine. This should also help with arthritic and joint pain.

Amazingly, ACV is also beneficial to bone health for it allows the body to uptake and absorb calcium more affectively. If one’s bones aren’t hurting they enjoy exercising more and therefore remain flexible and energetic. Thus it slows aging as well. (This is the opposite of debilitating Metabolic Syndrome.)

With its antioxidants it’ll neutralize free radicals, preventing sun damage, so you’ll look younger as well. Still need more convincing? It is antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal. ACV also improves brain health by increasing healthy neurotransmitters like serotonin. Serotonin is similar to a fireman who douses a fire with water, except this one douses the brain with the feel-good neurotransmitter, serotonin.

But simply because something is good doesn’t mean more is better! God states that quite well:

“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.”   (1 Corinthians 10:23)

Moderation, dear people is the key to everything healthy.

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)

Controlling Blood Sugar Sensibly and Effectively

Since I began working for physicians, where I specialized in the disease, diabetes has increased to epidemic proportions in this country. It’s also sad to report that more children than ever have this disease. Why?

For one thing, we have become even more of a Fast-Food-Nation with all its tempting, fat-laden, high caloric choices. Sadly, obesity has run rampant in our country.

Surprisingly, fat is more detrimental to the diabetic than sugar! Fat clogs the arteries which stresses the body, which raises insulin levels which creates hunger pangs. It’s a vicious cycle.

But avoid those artificial sugars, especially Splenda which produces dangerous side effect. Use Stevia, less regular sugar or honey instead.

A practical diabetic diet (due to everyone being physiologically different) should consist of 50 -60% complex carbohydrates, 20-25% lean protein and 2025% beneficial fats like olive or canola oil, avocados, fatty fish and nuts. Avoid chemically processed items and select whole foods. Make lean pork, sirloin, chicken, eggs, turkey and fish your preferred meat options.

There are basically only 3 food groups: Carbohydrates, Proteins and Fats. All carbs produce a form of glucose (which is necessary for brain function!) but simple (sugary) carbohydrates should be consumed only in tiny amounts.

Most diabetics reach for sugar-free items which are high in fat. One patient wrote in her food diary that she consumed 6 cookies at one sitting. When asked why, she answered, “But Ellie they were sugar-free!”  Sugar-free doesn’t mean calorie free and these were loaded with fat.

The best habit diabetics can incorporate into their daily routine is consuming 35 – 45 grams of fiber to their daily diet. 4 grams = 1 teaspoon – or approximately  9 – 10 teaspoons of fiber per day, (now you know what it means to you in “dog years.”)

Adding fibrous foods helps one lose weight. Fiber allows insulin to be dispensed more slowly into the blood stream so you won’t feel jittery or hungry and reach for that Snickers bar. Fibrous foods mean fresh fruits with skins, vegetables, whole grains, cereals (with 5+ grams of fiber,) nuts, seeds and herbs. Eat sensibly, your health depends on it! Diabetics however should avoid fruit salads since it’s too much sugar at once.

Establish a routine. A diabetic needs to live a disciplined life. Eat systematically to keep blood sugar levels stable, meaning same time each day, example: 8am, 10am snack, noon, 2pm snack, 6pm and always incorporate a small protein-rich snack before bedtime.

Moderate exercise is also essential on a routine basis to avoid nerve damage and create ways to release life’s stresses which raises insulin levels. The hormone adrenaline, designed for the human “fight or flight” reaction, increases fatty acid production while shutting off insulin while under stress. Constant stress upsets pancreatic balance which solicits diabetes.

Certain nutrients/foods regulate insulin:

Chromium. Chromium is like the doorknob which allows insulin to flow slowly into your system. Some foods containing chromium include mushrooms, corn, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, beets, turkey, shellfish, garlic, apples and basil. Add garlic to as many foods as you can; pasta sauces, pork loin, chicken, breads . . .

The antioxidant lipoic acid, contained in spinach, potatoes, broccoli, liver and red meat, fights premature aging of the arteries (aging arteries makes the heart pump harder, increasing insulin stress.)

Cinnamon allows your fat cells to recognize and respond to insulin more efficiently. Shake it on cereals, over whole grain toast and fruit. Along with a half teaspoon of cinnamon, I place a few dashes of turmeric in my morning coffee as well. Makes the smoothest cup of coffee I’ve ever tasted!

“Worship the LORD your God, and his blessing will be on your food and water. I will take away sickness from among you,” (Exodus 23: 25)

Digestive Tips for the Body and Soul

Do you ever get embarrassing stomach issues, indigestion, gas or bloating? Yes, sorry to say, these predicaments happen to all of us at one time or another. We might feel like this little guy below . . .  but we’re human.

Before you run for medication, attempt more natural ways of relieving digestion dilemmas.

Digestive problems are more of a modern phenomenon. Years ago, people dined more leisurely, ate more fiber and enjoyed sharing their meals with the family or others while discussing the day. That seems to have become a thing of the past.

In this stressed-out culture we live in, we’re always running from one activity to another. Therefore, we gulp down our food and dash off to another assignment on our list. By not chewing our food completely, we fail to release all the enzymes which are vital for proper digestion function.

So the first rule for great digestive health is to slow down! Show Gratitude, Chew and Enjoy God’s Bounty!

“Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!”  (Psalm 34:8)

Next, go to God’s Healing Garden and help yourself:

  1. Papaya is a natural enzyme that breaks down proteins and has 5xs as much C as an orange. Best of all, it’s also a natural antacid.
  2. Cranberry kills bacteria and e coli from entering the body, thus relieving the system from digestive stress.
  3. Peppermint settles the stomach and curbs cravings. It also sends out a message which stimulates the release of a hormone that causes the gallbladder to release bile and the colon to relax muscles. This bile makes fats more water-soluble and reduces large fat molecules into smaller, simpler fats, moving it through the digestive system easily.
  4. Any type of herb in the carminative family, such as cloves, allspice, dill, peppermint, thyme, fennel or carraway will help restore digestive balance.
  5. What a diversified herb Basil can be! Basil contains a compound which eases muscle spasms and helps to alleviate gas pains. Within its leaves is the chemical eugenol, which has been proven to inhibit the growth of 30 strains of bacteria; so it’s an excellent herb for healing ulcers.
  6. Bananas will help with upset stomach relief and heartburn because it produces more natural enzymes to protect it from harmful acidic conditions. Bananas also replenish the vital liquids, electrolytes and nutrients which are lost through stomach upsets.
  7. Avoid or consume very little fast food. Too much fat will weaken and block the base of the esophagus, causing acid reflux, nausea and heartburn. Cut the fat!
  8. Ginger! Grate your own and put it in your tea for quick, effective relief. Or sip a ginger ale.
  9. Consume foods loaded with pectin, a form of soluble fiber. This will help with diarrhea troubles. Soluble fiber turns into a gel in your body. Therefore it’s less rough than insoluble fiber which remains intact as it passes. Apples are excellent sources of pectin. So are carrots, blueberries, apricots, peaches, grapefruit, potatoes and bananas.
  10. If you can include garlic in your healing soups or broth, it will greatly assist in the recovery process. Garlic is antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral and probiotic. (I’ve written extensively about garlic, so please use my search engine above and you’ll find many other posts about the benefits of garlic.)

Most importantly, take time to enjoy the beauty in this glorious world God gave us. By simply slowing down, breathing deeply and meditating on God’s Word, it calms the spirit and unclenches the digestive system. You’ll be amazed how much more relaxed life becomes.  Just Breathe!

 

The Benefits of Spicing Up Your Life!

“Dear friend, I hope all is well with you and that you are as healthy in body as you are strong in spirit.” (3 John 1:2)

Many people are “sunny personalities,” tying their moods and energy to sunshine. To me, the grey, overcast days are much worse than the cold ones.

When depressed, the mind appeals for relief. People tend to gravitate to comfort foods but that simply puts on the pounds. Instead of reaching for chocolate pudding or potato chips, how about going for something producing healthier results?

First turn to Scripture and what truly brings Joy to the soul, Jesus! Then go to God’s Healing Garden:  Hot spicy foods improves one’s mood naturally. (Drugs and alcohol don’t!)

The chemicals in spicy foods have so many medicinal factors to improve health; it’s hard to know where to start!

Let’s look at cravings:

  1. When one is mired in a depressed state, it craves happiness.
  2. When one is in pain, they tend to seek out emotional relief found in comfort foods.
  3. When our bodies are exhausted, it requires food (water)for quick energy.

That’s when we should turn to hot spicy foods!

Whenever one consumes horseradish, hot sauce, salsa, hot peppers, hot mustards, wasabi and Chili spices, it affects the brain’s neurotransmitters. (Just a fancy word regarding how the nerves send messages to each other.)

When our brain communicates its desire for relief from pain, depression or lethargy, it sends out a signal. Then tiny chemical “firemen” answer the call, running in with fire hoses blasting our brain with the feel-good neurotransmitter serotonin. “Aah” you sigh, “I feel so much happier and more energetic now.”

So, I add hot spices not only to Chili, pasta, Oriental foods and soups but even special wine sauces, tomato juice or chocolate for a boost of happiness. (Chili spice in chocolate??? Try it, it’s amazing! Probably dating back to the Mayan culture?)

Haven’t lost weight recently, no matter how much you exercise or cut down? Chili’s affect one’s metabolism by revving up your internal engine. Consume a week of smaller, spicier meals and see how the pounds decrease.

Hot spices burn off calories because the heat one feels is the energy needed to consume them. Fascinating, right?

This knowledge doesn’t give you a license to eat more, mind you! Use restraint and discipline. Anything that makes one feel good can become addictive. I say this because hot, spicy food is my trigger food. It’s tough for me to stop gobbling down salsa and chips at a Mexican restaurant.

However, it should naturally curb your cravings because it sends out a blast of overwhelming flavors, fooling the brain into believing it has eaten more than it has and voila’, you find you’re not as hungry.

Chili peppers contain capsaicin, a natural immune system protector.

Experiencing a cold? Chili’s are a natural decongestant and expectorant. Anything that will make one’s eyes moisten will also open up the lungs and sinuses. Reach for the hot peppers, horseradish or spiciest salsas! Hot wings or General Tso’s Chicken anyone?

People spend a fortune on over-the-counter drugs when it’s right in your refrigerator. So when you’re experiencing arthritic or muscle pain; or coming down with a sore throat, reach for the hot Tabasco sauce and add a few drops in your chicken soup or sauces.

So many remedies, so little time! I haven’t even begun to discuss how hot peppers contain antioxidants which keep us young, neutralizes free radicals, protects us against heart disease, strokes, cell damage, cancers and other illnesses. That’s for another post!

Yes, Praise God, He definitely provided natural relief!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why Do We Crave Certain Foods?

It’s a mystery isn’t it? Going from fridge to cabinet to pantry knowing you are hungry but not knowing what you’re hungry for?

Hunger is an umbrella whose spokes branch out in different directions. Sometimes it’s not a food you’re even seeking. Rather it could be comfort, security, to soothe loneliness or a need for increased mental focus.

Occasionally your body simply desires water which is found in all foods and it’s not hunger pangs at all. So drink a glass and see if that helps. If not, ask yourself, “Am I really hungry or is it simply a feeling that needs addressing?”

By understanding the reason why behind the loss of control, you’ll recognize the urge when it occurs again.

Certain food cravings have hidden meanings. One should be aware of personal trigger mechanisms. Always ask yourself, what happened just before I craved this type of food and lost control?

Creamy foods like mac and cheese provide comfort. Are you sad, lonely or did you recently suffer a loss?

Hard, crunchy foods is usually an indication you are angry or stressed. Did your boss or mother-in-law tick you off today?  Stress affects the adrenal glands and releases toxins into your system which is dangerous.

Sometimes we simply love to eat! Therefore select wisely:

Craving sweets? Slice up a nutrient-dense apple or banana and dab a teaspoon of peanut butter on a few pieces. For a real treat, melt about 12 semi-sweet chocolate chips and dip some strawberries into the sauce. You’re getting magnesium, potassium, choline, copper, B vitamins, iron and many other essential nutrients. Not bad!

Craving specific nutrient-based foods is the way the brain’s hypothalamus tells someone they are low in a particular nutrient.

For example, low in energy? Lack of chromium or iron could be the cause of an insulin imbalance resulting in low blood sugar and energy. Instead of reaching for a piece of cake or a sixth cup of coffee, reach for raisins or a teaspoon of blackstrap molasses. For lunch create a spinach salad, roast beef sandwich or grill a 93% hamburger.

Another alternative would be to select foods high in Chromium.  This essential micronutrient acts like a doorknob, allowing insulin to be enter your body more slowly. You can find it in walnuts, sliced chicken, red grapes, corn, broccoli or mushrooms. Always try to balance your meals with a combination of lean protein, good omega 3 fatty acids and fibrous carbohydrates for longer lasting energy.

Finding yourself mentally fuzzy-brained and reaching for that energy drink to get you through the day? Rather than consuming that sugary donut or chemically-dangerous beverage, consume nutrients with a bit more beneficial power like green tea, avocado, banana or berries, especially blueberries. Spicy foods like salsa also rejuvenate!

It’s not unusual during the winter season to become depressed as sunshiny days are few and far between. Garlic is a great mood enhancer. Add it to pasta sauces, pork, beef, chicken recipes, grilled vegetables or as a dip with vegetables.

Anything’s fine in moderation!  Indulging in a piece of good quality dark chocolate is absolutely acceptable each day as long as it doesn’t challenge common sense. Make yourself a fruit smoothie or even a chocolate shake with 1% milk and ice. Yum! If chocolate becomes addictive with uncontrollable cravings, don’t bring it into your home.

As the Apostle Paul says: “I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.  (1 Corinthians 9:27)

By taking control of your cravings you’ll feel as empowered every day!