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The Most Inspiring Young Lady I Know!

This post is dedicated to one of the bravest young ladies I know. She battles an illness many others would never reveal and does so with strength and courage. Can you imagine standing up and resisting any friend who pushes delicious (but harmful to her) foods like fried chicken, donuts, potato chips, soft drinks or spicy foods? That demonstrates incredible perseverance in resisting peer pressure and setting priorities! She’s truly independent and strong and I’m very proud of her!

Diagnosed last year with ulcerated colitis at age 9, she has shown remarkable determination and dedication to healthier living. UC is an inflammation of the colon causing bloating, gas, intense pain, bloody diarrhea and other embarrassing biological responses. Maintaining a strict diet is the only way to endure this debilitating illness.

One of her biggest daily challenges is consuming valuable nutrients which will remain in her system. Now vital nutrients are carried away without infiltrating the digestive system. The body  derives much of its nutrient balance through the intestines. Therefore it’s imperative to consume valuable vitamins, minerals and protein. But if one is constantly dealing with diarrhea that’s tougher. Consuming mini-meals and lots of water to avoid dehydration throughout the day will help.

ALSO IMPORTANT: Chew your food!

Chewing releases enzymes. Digestion can’t happen without enzymes.  No vitamin, mineral or hormone can work without enzymes. Without enzymes one can’t breathe, walk or complete any other function! Think of enzymes as the moving men who distribute boxes to the right room in your house; except enzymes move nutrients to the correct part of your bodily home.

Lipase is the enzyme which moves fats throughout the digestion system and is released through the intestines. If one is constantly battling diarrhea, digestion is poor and even the best eating plan won’t work, fatigue, weakness and anemia could occur. Consume good fats like avocado, coconut oil and milled flaxseed.

Probiotics

To build up the immune system eat probiotic and prebiotic foods. These foods will increase good bacteria in your gut so enzymes can work properly. Find these in garlic, onions, tomatoes (mmm, Italian food anyone?) They are also found in fermented foods like sauerkraut, kefir, sour cream, cheeses and yogurt.

Let’s talk about yogurt. Most contain too many fillers, chemicals and sweeteners and should be labeled junk food! It’s the beneficial bacteria that’s important and these contain little if any! Also avoid “light” yogurt which contain artificial sweeteners.

A good yogurt is one that states there are active cultures inside. This is the beneficial bacteria which keeps your colon healthy while fighting our body’s harmful bacteria. The label usually will have names like Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophiles along with active cultures.

I purchase Dannon Natural Vanilla but these brands are also good:  Fage, Stonyfield, Liberte’, Mountain High. Always check the label for “active cultures.” Add your own fruit, honey, milled flaxseed or cinnamon for flavor. You can also create smoothies with cultured yogurt, bananas, oranges, coconut, smooth peanut butter or other creation.

Those with UC have a harder time metabolizing insoluble fiber because it passes without breaking down, (think corn, seeds, apple skins.) Strive to consume soluble fiber which becomes a gel and won’t incite flare-ups. Applesauce, stewed pears, Guacamole, oatmeal, mashed sweet potatoes are suggestions. Baby foods, Ensure or Boost will help when you’re having an especially tough day.

Bottom line, eat for nutrients and reduce stress. Keep a food diary and recognize what works and doesn’t. Unfortunately there is “no-one-size-fits-all” diet plan. Resist discouragement and don’t allow the devil to steal your Joy! Count your blessings in all God has allowed you to do!

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”  (John 10:10)

 

 

 

 

 

Revving Up That Old Clunker: Metabolism

If you’ve been feeling more like a 1971 Pinto than a Ferrari, perhaps it’s time to rev up that old metabolism. Start modifying your engine. I know it seems like an impossible task but there are many easy lifestyle habits to incorporate into your routine to change for the better.

Let’s look at creating a healthy ritual:

First thing in the morning, consume a glass of water. This starts the digestive track moving and awakens your entire system. When your digestion is working better, nutrients can be absorbed more effectively.  Why does that matter? Because all vitamins have a purpose and B vitamins especially, convert carbohydrates, protein and fats into energy. Absorption means better metabolic function.

Drinking enough water is essential because this allows your kidneys to remove toxins and the liver to metabolize fat. Add a slice of lemon, lime or apple cider vinegar  to water during the day as well. Why? It will create a more effective alkaline pH.  A slightly higher alkaline pH protects you against disease and reduces stress. Stress destroys B vitamins (see above.)

Enjoy your cup of coffee without guilt. Anything is fine in moderation but too much destroys B vitamins.  Adding a bit of cinnamon or turmeric actually improves the health benefits.

I’m often asked when is the best time to exercise. Short answer: anytime! Exercise will rev up your metabolism for hours so try to get some in several times a day. For example, stretch and do leg exercises in the morning. Walk the dog or run up and down stairs, garden, vacuum, clean your home, etc. during the day, lift light weights watching television in the evening. Don’t feel like it? Do it anyway! It feels victorious to conquer lazy habits!

Exercising in the fresh air increases serotonin levels and is a great stress reliever. Stress increases cortisol and other destructive hormones, making you hungrier, increasing cravings. Another benefit of exercise is building muscle. Muscle burns fat. Get your BMR to a healthy rate. (Basal Metabolic Rate is the amount of calories it takes to maintain individual normal bodily functions.)

Consuming a healthy breakfast is imperative! Your body has been without food probably ten hours or more. Therefore it must “break-its-fast” or your brain will believe you are ill and will compensate by slowing down metabolism. A body protects itself at all costs so you’ll never starve yourself healthy!

It’s imperative to begin your day with a balanced diet containing all three food groups at every meal: protein, complex carbs and healthy fat.

What does “balanced” mean exactly? Well here’s some breakfast examples: Create an egg, cheese and veggie omelette. 2. Consume yogurt, berries, an ounce of walnuts and milled flaxseed. 3. Buckwheat pancakes with pecans, sliced bananas & drizzle of pure maple syrup, or 4. any fiber-based (5+ grams) healthy cereal, berries and 1% milk (which is 20% fat.) Each suggested example is balanced with all three food groups. Eat proportionately during lunch and dinner as well. (example: 60% complex carbs, 20% lean protein and 20% healthy fat.)

Balanced snacks should also be consumed throughout the day: peanut butter on a small apple or banana, white cheese (white has less cholesterol) and fruit, sliced avocado, turkey or ham on fibrous crackers, etc. You and your auto shouldn’t run out of gas during the day.

Hot spicy foods such as cayenne, wasabi, horseradish, spicy mustards revs metabolism and releases serotonin to the brain which reduce cravings.

God has given us a cherished gift. Life. What you cherish you take care of, so cherish your incredible, unique body! Don’t allow bad habits to overrule what you know is right!

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10)

 

 

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.

So Many Diets – So Little Truth!

“But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you.” (Romans 8:9a)

LTSTEBC high resolution cover for TwitterWould you trust a pastor who only consulted outside sources for Biblical Truth?  What if his sermons professed “truth” using his horoscope, a crystal ball, Nostradamus or the New York Times? What if he counseled you in his office using People magazine? Would you trust and follow what he preached? Basically he’s feeding you cornflakes; food with little fiber or substance.

Traveling extensively, my husband and I have sat in many a church pew and heard powerful sermons. However, we have also seen ministers never open the Bible or reference Scripture.  One sermon consisted of the man’s entire vacation, yippie, how motivating. Our young people are floundering, thirsting for clear Biblical direction and they don’t hear Truth from the pulpit! Where can they go for Spiritual Truth? Usually they give up, discouraged; believing the Bible is simply not relevant to their lifestyle.

Therefore I trust you’ll understand my frustration when I hear Christians announce triumphantly at the beginning of each year that they are trying the Atkins, Paleo, carb-free, fat-free, grapefruit or some other gimmicky diet before they ask me for direction, a certified nutritional counselor who worked alongside primary care physicians.

I can’t tell you how many times, I’ve heard, “I don’t understand why I can’t stay on a diet?!”  as they flit from one flawed diet plan to another. There’s a specific reason and it’s either a mental, spiritual or Spiritual one. “Life’s Too Short to Eat Bad Cheese . . .”  gets to that source.

Desperate people spend hundreds of dollars on special boxed-foods, caloric formulas, videos and even bariatric surgery before they ask me for advice. (My average patient attempted six different plans before they came into my office.)  I’ve counseled all types in my twenty-plus years as a healthcare practitioner.  One truth I’ve always stressed is: Health begins from the inside out! Get to the heart of the “why” and improvement begins.

New Creations Ministries is just that; my ministry. I’m happy to help anyone who has questions for free, but sadly, I am not omnipresent. So using clearly defined illustrations and applications, I created a practical, motivational guide urging all who desire true health to become their most vibrant self . . . and it’s less expensive than a doctor’s visit!

“Life’s Too Short to Eat Bad Cheese . . .” (Nutritional and Life Lessons God Teaches Us) is printed in different languages. It contains a study guide and is available through Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, (or Google it.) An e-book only $7 and the 234 page print version is only $14.95.

LTSTEBC addresses nutritional and life situations we all encounter. Using Biblical principles you’ll finally understand the true Joy of living a healthy, vibrant lifestyle. Health is significantly more important than  the number on the scale.

Our Heavenly Father doesn’t want his children to suffer any more than we want ours to. Why survive on rice cakes with no nutritional purpose? Eat for nutrients, not for grams and caloric formulas. And learn what that means to you in relative terms!

Please don’t settle for second best and present that self to God. You’re better than that! God wants us to enjoy His Bounty but not make food our god. “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) 

Eat nutritionally sound. We wouldn’t throw trash on the floor of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem so why do we trash our bodily temple?

 

Do You Enjoy Being a Human Chemistry Set?

             “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”                                                                                                                           (1 Corinthians 10:31) 

I believe in eating as naturally as possible. Artificial ingredients, dyes and chemically-altered, processed food choices change body chemistry. It seems every time man comes up with a new idea: oleo versus butter, artificial sugars versus real sugar, Egg Beaters versus real eggs, God’s ideas best man’s ideas every time!

I base my personal sensible diet on Genesis 1:29 & 9:3 which encourages consumption of natural fruits, vegetables, whole grains, seeds and herbs. Meat protein, which God advised us to consume only after the Flood (Genesis 9:3) is rich in B12, but other than that, every nutrient to sustain life as well as heal the body, is found in Genesis 1:29.

God originally designed us to live forever but sin destroyed Eden and the Second Law of Thermodynamics began to apply. That Law states that everything on Earth is winding down and wearing out, humans included.

(That alone should contradict man’s theory that through evolution, man progressed into a better life over millions of years.) But back to nutrition.

When we consume chemically modified food, those chemicals land in the liver, the clearing house for the body. Since the liver can’t metabolize these chemicals, they remain. Of course we can give ourselves a fighting chance by detoxifying our system but even then, some toxins remain. Tell me, when studying chemistry in high school or college, what happens if too many dangerous chemicals are placed in a testing tube? You’re right, most of the time, the chemicals corrode, churn and then blow up.

Do you enjoy being a human chemistry lab?  All those toxins in our body fester, create an acidic environment, ulcerate and turn into debilitating illnesses. And we have more man-made chemicals in foods than ever before!

Sadly, we can’t get away from every toxin, pesticide, fertilizer, GMO or other questionable food treatment. Life goes on and we must use common sense, trust God and live without fear or there would be nothing left for us to consume!

Also most people nowadays don’t garden and must rely on supermarkets for their food supply.  But we can certainly and voluntarily stay away from artificial  sugars, colas, chemically-processed and fast food. TIP:  If you want a soda, place seltzer water and ice into a glass and fill the remainder with orange, grape, cranberry or other quality juice. Seltzer contains no sodium, thereby you’ll keep your bones longer. High salt intake is linked to a loss of calcium and thus a deterioration of bone structure.

Organic products are wonderful but don’t be fooled. Realistically organics are only as good as the farm next to it. When the neighboring farm is sprayed with chemicals and the wind blows, unfortunately your organic farm isn’t as much anymore. And if it uses the same water supply, chemicals get into the water and affect results too. So what can you do? Buy in season and as much locally grown produce as possible or plant your own fruit trees and garden.

Bottom line: How do you think God views a Christian who purposely defiles his body, the temple of the Holy Spirit, with gluttonous, selfish desires, pleasing his body rather than his soul? You’re right, I’m sure it grieves Him or makes Him angry. Let’s strive to honor God with our bodies by remembering God’s strong Words:

“If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.” (1 Corinthians 3:17)

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)

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)