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A Christmas Gift That Will Last a Lifetime

Years ago, the holiday season was merely a month-long event: Thanksgiving to Christmas. Well, not anymore!

It begins when your best friend has a masquerade/Halloween party. Then it’s Thanksgiving with all the trimmings. Soon it’s the office and personal Christmas parties, Christmas Eve and Day with family and friends; then New Year’s Eve parties and a New Year’s Day feast.

Disgusted with the lack of control you promised yourself, you vow to take the extra weight off beginning January 2nd! But in January, the NFL playoffs come around and that means more parties and of course the Super Bowl. After that comes Valentine’s Day and chocolate, chocolate, chocolate! Is it any wonder we sometimes gain 6-10 extra pounds over the “holidays?”

Okay . . . so now that you’ve pigged out over this past Thanksgiving weekend (even thought you convinced yourself, you wouldn’t this time) now what?

Becoming your healthiest self isn’t about willpower, complicated diet plans or even some magic formula. It’s about physiology, unique educational understanding and mentally deciphering why you act as you do around food.

I’ve professed many times that sometimes when you crave a cookie . . . it isn’t “just a cookie!” It represents so much more; discover what that is!

Until one becomes aware of that “why” reason, one’s simply spinning their wheels or even worse; wasting time, muscle, brain cells and money. The only thing lighter is your wallet.

Health is even more important than weight loss and losing weight is especially important if you have diabetes or other illness and isn’t being healthy every day vital?

Becoming your best self has always been a combination of our individual mental, physiological and spiritual relationships to food. You aren’t like anyone else so stop wasting money! There simply is no “one size fits all” diet plan.
So now what?

Those answers are all laid out in my 242 page paperback, in my practical, nutritional self-help book: “Life’s Too Short to Eat Bad Cheese . . . “ (Nutritional and Life Lessons God Teaches Us) which addresses our mental, physical and spiritual relationship to food.

Have you ever wondered why you didn’t (or couldn’t) stay as disciplined as you wanted around tempting cuisine? Why you could control an entire boardroom of employees but lacked willpower around potato chips . . . or suddenly gave in to peer pressure and are plain disgusted with yourself for your lack of “discipline?”

Written in easy-to-read informative vignettes, like my blog, sample chapters include:

• So You Think You Want Instant Weight Loss?
• “But I Have No Willpower!”
• Why Dieting is like the Westminster Dog Show
• “Why, When I Eat Breakfast, Am I Hungrier Afterward?”
• Daily Serving Sizes Deciphered
• Addressing Food Fallacies
• “Help!!! I’m Trapped in This Body!”
• Ya Gotta Be More Stubborn than a Lhasa Apso!
• Break Free From Food Bondage
• Don’t Become a Lab Rat. (How Advertisers Manipulate Your Mind)
• Stressed? Who’s STReSSed?? Just Give Me Chocolate!!!
• Strive For Excellence, Not Perfection

I repeat: “Health is always more important than weight loss!”

“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) Please don’t set your mind on earthly goals but godly ones.

“Life’s Too Short to Eat Bad Cheese . . . ” (Nutritional and Life Lessons God Teaches Us) is the perfect Christmas gift. What a way to start the New Year; healthier and happier!

(I noticed my paperback book is currently available from amazon.com from $10.55 when it’s usually $14.95!!!) so please act quickly to order because healthy living spread out over a lifetime, is PRICELESS!

My sincere apologies to those who received this post a second time. It looks like I messed up and some were not getting on my blog. I had no choice but to eliminate try reposting, Ellie

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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)

“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)

 

 

Whole Life Challenge review

I absolutely love this intelligent and thought-provoking post. It’s so great to come across another dietitian who understands all aspects of nutrition (while calling out the false diet gurus who proclaim anything people want to hear.) I highly recommend finding and following her blog too:

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You know what I’m sick of? Engineers and people with zero nutrition education making claims that you can “biohack” your life, undermining dietitians, and giving one-size-fits all nutrition advice. This rant seems appropriate coming on the heels of my post about the carnivore diet.

Earlier this summer my brother asked for my thoughts about this “Whole Life Challenge” that a bunch of people in his office were doing. He was a little sceptical about the nutrition advice they were providing and wanted to know my thoughts as a registered dietitian.

My first question was, “who is behind this challenge?” Well, we’ve got the founders: Andy who has a background in sales and engineering (quelle surprise) who then opened a crossfit gym and Michael who was a coach and manager at a crossfit gym, and has a degree in philosophy and culinary arts. Well, at least he’s got a…

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Discipline: “It’s Such a Lonely Word”

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

Discipline. It’s hard to maintain, isn’t it? But allowing yourself to put off a task or an obligation is like sin. Sin creeps in only when we allow it. We all know the “big” sins like murder and adultery, but in God’s eyes, SIN IS SIN. Gossip and gluttony are as abominable to the Lord as killing someone.

How easy it is to allow the mind to rationalize sin. “I’ve been so good I deserve an extra slice of cake,” even though you know that sliver of extra cake will skyrocket our insulin level, our waistline increase and body will begin deteriorating once again. Before long the slices become larger, the portion sizes of ice cream stream over the bowl and we’re hooked!

Now as I’ve spoken about anything is fine in moderation, countless times, but when the food begins controlling us instead of our common sense, we’re in trouble. Renewal begins by disciplining and changing our mindset:

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2)

But don’t we try to justify our actions, “Oh just this once won’t hurt.” “I’ll begin anew tomorrow.” “Well, after-all I didn’t want to hurt the host’s feelings.” 

Yes, it does hurt! If we don’t stay in control of our emotions and conquer our will, then how are we, as Christians, any different than the world? Truth is we’re not. A story is told of D.L. Moody going to visit Charles Spurgeon in England. As he knocked on the door, Spurgeon answered the door smoking a cigar. When Moody criticized Spurgeon’s cigar habit, Spurgeon stared at Moody and rebuked him with, “When you take control of your out of control gluttonous habit, I’ll take care of my smoking habit.”

You are the only one (and the Holy Spirit if Christian) who lives within your body and can make the changes. That’s why it feels so great to overcome temptation! I urge you to restore discipline in your life and not become as the Apostle Paul reprimanded:

“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)

No one is perfect and we all have habits we find hard to control. Changing habits begin slowly. there’s no instant gratification here. Create small goals to overcome big, bad habits. Find something you want more than food! But for goodness sakes, we reward our dogs when they obey us, and look how happy they are! Why do we feel it’s selfish to reward our good changes?

It takes a disciplined will to say, “NO” to self. I don’t know about you but I don’t particularly like myself when I sin. Only by focusing on God can we truly make him the LORD of our lives. I’ve turned mine over to the Lord time and time again and I’m still fighting those but I’ll never stop striving for excellence!

“Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31) 

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)