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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)

Should moderation have a place on your plate?

This wonderful dietitian stated it as well as I ever could. I believe her sensible, encouraging posts should be read by all those who desire actual healthy living, not another fantasy diet profession.

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I found myself getting annoyed by this article as I was reading it. While I agree that “moderation” is not the best term to use when referring to eating habits, I don’t agree with the way that this article characterized it.

According to the article, “moderation” should be done away with because there are some foods that we should eat lots of and other foods that we should avoid. I’m more inclined to think that we should do away with “moderation” because it’s not clearly defined in terms of a balanced diet. I see nothing wrong with the sentiment that all foods can be a part of a healthy diet. However, instead of “moderation” we should probably be talking about “every day” foods and “sometimes” foods.

As the article states, we should be eating plenty of vegetables and fruits. Few would dispute that. Where the article and I disagree is…

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Standing Firm Against Dietary Temptations!

“When tempted, no one is to say, “God is tempting me” For God cannot be tempted with evil, nor does he tempt anyone, but each one is tempted when by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed.”  (James 1:13)

Let’s face it, Satan does NOT want us to succeed. If he sees a Christian or church growing closer to the Lord, he will influence them by throwing roadblocks, half-truths or unholy actions into their midst to disrupt their progress.

In the same way the devil will do anything in his power to steer the health- conscious away from reaching positive goals. He doesn’t want us to honor our earthly temples of the Holy Spirit!

And don’t be fooled, Satan isn’t the ugly red monster with horns and a pitchfork we see in cartoons. Satan is a beautiful, enticing creature – the George Clooney of the angels. He is attractive and very tempting, literally.

Satan discerns a dieter’s weaknesses; so whether it is fried chicken, chocolate cake, being a people pleaser or tendency toward laziness, those temptations will “suddenly” appear when we are at our most vulnerable. Then, if we fall to temptation, we feel like a failure, giving up, discouraged, worthless and discouraged.

How do we learn not give in to temptation? First study Scripture! Believe, as a Christian, you inherit your own power to overcome temptation! God wants you to succeed!

“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.” (Isaiah 40:29)

Don’t stand around debating “Gee – should I or not?” or justifying your behavior: “Well, I’ve been so good, maybe God wants me to have this Snickers and Ellie did say anything was fine in moderation.” Sure, but not if it’s trashing your temple of the Holy Spirit; your health depends on it and there are some perfectly good grapes in the fridge! God does not want you to have a heart attack!

You know what to do! Flee youthful lusts! Memorize 2 Timothy 2:22 and 1 Cor. 10:13.

Talk yourself into success but heaven forbid, if you give in, forgive yourself and go on. It’s not the end of the world, it’s a learning experience. Visualize Satan laughing, taunting you and keeping score if you fail. But he hasn’t won yet! It’s not how many times you fail, but how you react to failures that builds character and success.

Just imagine if you and your family were driving to the Grand Canyon on vacation. You mistakenly take a wrong exit. Now what? Do you turn to the back seat and state, “Sorry kids, Dad made a mistake, guess we have to give up, vacation’s over.” Of course not! You’d turn around, get back on the right road and continue toward your destination.

You’re not a failure if you make a mistake. You’ve only discovered the correct road to get to your destination. That’s a learning experience and progress.

Suppose you did give up? Can you imagine the howls of protest you’d hear? How could you consider giving up and disappointing your family? In the same way, your health dedication should inspire your entire family.

  1. You’re providing life lessons on self-denial, personal strength, fortitude and character.
  2. You’re demonstrating examples of overcoming challenges to reach a goal.
  3. You are a living example, showing them how to never give up on their dreams.

“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God, and that you are not your own?” (Corinthians 6:19)

I urge you to honor your personal temple of the Holy Spirit, continuing to strive for excellence!

 

Green Tea on a Wintry Day Provides More Than Warmth!

What’s more comforting than a cup of tea on a frosty day? Sure, it’s nice to enjoy a cup of freshly brewed coffee or steamy cocoa occasionally. There’s nothing wrong with that; anything’s fine in moderation! But  some experience the guilt of loading on plenty 0f additional goodies like whipped cream and cookies when trying to maintain control during the holiday season too.

A piping cup of green tea however provides so many healthy benefits, like great mental and physical health, you might offset your snack cravings.

Let’s look at Green Tea’s Benefits:

  1. Green tea is steamed rather than fermented. What that means to you is that it maintains it’s potency properties to heal quickly.
  2. Green tea protects brain cells from deteriorating and has proven to even restore cells, lowering the risk of Alzheimer’s and other dementia challenges.
  3. It contains bioflavonoids which is a powerful immune system booster, reducing the risk of cancers and other infections. Scientists and doctors have tested it on those suffering from stomach, lung, breast, bladder, colon, liver, prostate, skin and intestinal cancers with great success.
  4. Its potent antioxidants (called catechins) build immunity against cancer-causing toxic nitrosamines formed from nitrates. (Bacon, cold cuts, salami and other cured meat contain nitrates.) 90% of nitrates are considered carcinogenic but surprisingly fruits and vegetables which also contain nitrates, are the 10% that aren’t. Why? Because all meat is acidic and vegetables are alkaline. More proof that cancer cells can’t exist in an alkaline environment which God knew it all along! (Please use my search engine to read my posts on the pH scale)
  5. Green tea is a detoxifier. That means that energy producing nutrients are absorbed quickly and begin to burn calories without having to battle against other toxic chemicals first within the intestines or bloodstream.
  6. It will kill the unhealthy bacteria in the mouth and on your teeth and gums. The Japanese routinely consume green tea after dessert and have far fewer cavities than western cultures. Less bad bacteria = better health overall.
  7. Green tea can lower LDL (the bad) cholesterol in your bloodstream.
  8. And of course what is good for your heart and circulatory system is also beneficial for your brain. Green tea boosts  memory retention and improves alertness.
  9. It stabilizes blood sugar. Therefore you won’t feel as hungry and it will assist with blood sugar challenges and diseases such as diabetes and hypoglycemia.
  10. Green tea contains an element which has proven to be helpful in preventing blood clots. Therefore if your family history is prone to strokes, arterial sclerosis or deep vein thrombosis, ask your doctor if this would beneficial for you.
  11. Bonus:  Drinking green tea stimulates your metabolism and burns about 100 calories daily. It transports the type of fat called triglycerides throughout your bloodstream which releases beneficial polyphenols, which in turn activate certain enzymes, burning fat.

One necessary precaution, if your physician has cautioned you against imbibing in any form of caffeine, it is best to avoid all types, even those in tea, coffee (and colas, which one should avoid anyway) until the condition improves or science proves it’s not a safety issue.

Isn’t God amazing? No wonder He placed Adam and Eve in a Garden! Some diet gurus might discount the benefits of green tea, but will quickly sell you a fad diet program or pill. Don’t be fooled. Listen to the Great Physician first.

“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)

 

Achievable Health

 “For it is written, You must be holy, because I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:16)

We are commanded to honor God with our bodies and let’s face it, no one desires to fail on a “diet” plan. But every time we get exasperated, wanting to quit, the devil taunts: see I told you couldn’t do it! Don’t believe it! The Lord knows you are more powerful than Satan so tap into God’s power! (1 John 4:4)victory-on-mountaintop

To ensure weight loss success, establish your defenses against Satan’s lies.

1. Winners know who they are.  Accept your need for self acceptance. You are unique, revel in that. Build your worth around your personality, love for God, others and family. Real beauty comes from within. (1 Samuel 16:7) There are some very attractive but mean-spirited people you’d prefer not to be around, agree?

2. Become conscious of how you react to food. Are you really hungry or just provoked by a feeling? Do you eat healthy foods or do you bring tempting junk into your home? Do you eat quickly or dine leisurely with friends and family?  It takes 20 minutes for your brain to know your tummy is full, so relax and enjoy your food.

3.  Build a support system for accountability/encouragement. God declared that it wasn’t good for man to be alone.  Your friends and family care if you’re unhealthy. Love yourself enough to change for their feelings as well as your own.

4. Successful people are committed to reaching goals. They don’t allow set-backs to deter them. Sometimes you’ll be ten steps forward and then four steps back, but remember, you’re still going forward! As a Christian, is there anything that would entice you to return to a decadent lifestyle? Hope not! Realize that God doesn’t expect perfection from you, only obedience –  so don’t expect it from yourself.

5Successful people develop strategies. They have created strategies to overcome temptations before they arise. Outside influences don’t control them. They know honoring God is more important than   establishing a fattening treat as their idol.

6. They find pleasure in other actions besides eating! Develop a hobby, write, paint, exercise, read a favorite novel, garden, learn a new skill. You do so much for others, now spend time on yourself. It’s not selfish to find satisfaction in a well-rounded lifestyle! Food then won’t be the highlight of your life.

7.  Motivated people use visualization skills.  Try visualizing yourself covered in beef fat. Visualize eating raw chicken skin, mmm . . . or bacon grease coursing throughout your veins.  Not very attractive. Think of your heart as a separate entity, faithfully working day and night to keep you alive. Your heart deserves better!

8Winners are confident people! Aren’t you drawn to confident leaders? Just think how mentally strong you become, because no one else can lose your weight but you!! If you can lose weight you can do anything, so walk like a winner!

9. Winners become educated. They understand why they eat, where the temptations are. They control their daily fat intake and rarely eat junk food which greatly ages the body. They exercise because it’s beneficial. They’ve learned how the body works. What a fascinating machine God gave us!

10. Feeling great is their everyday routine. Healthy people smile more, enjoying life! Being healthy improves one’s looks, energy level, longevity, self-esteem and is a testimony to how God gloriously rules in our lives.

Walk with God’s Strength, it’s something winners strive for.

“For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.” (Isaiah 41:13)