Tag Archive | Christian living

Have You Tried the Sausage and Ice Cream Diet?

So how many diets have you tried already? The no-fat, no-taste diet? The no sugar-penance diet? The no-carb diet plan? The bacon and cheese diet?

By now, have you realized the only thing lighter is your wallet? This is the time of year when normally sensible humans start believing in unicorns and Big Foot.

There is no magic formula to lose those pounds. If there were, everyone would be following one diet plan instead of grasping at rainbows.

False diet gurus are nothing but modern day snake oil salesmen. They get richer while you get fatter. I’m always amazed how many believe their proclamations: “by consuming sausage and ice cream you will lose weight while remaining healthy.” Those are the same people who laugh at me, as a Christian for believing God created mankind and I trust in Him. I have physiological proof for my diet, do they?

There’s a reason God created the three food groups: carbohydrates, proteins and fats – the Absolute Laws of Physics don’t change! Our bodies don’t “evolve” into different creatures!

FACT: The body needs nutrients to survive and to work as a well-run machine. FACT: The body needs balance – the three legged chair of nutrients carbohydrates, proteins and fats creates a balanced physiological system. FACT: Missing essential nutrients upsets nutrient balance, resulting in  bodily chemical chaos.

Every nutrient has a purpose. Skipping certain nutrients increases the possibility of illness such as diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol or worse. Without balance you set yourself up for Metabolic Syndrome. MS is similar to the domino affect. For example, consuming too much fat makes your heart work harder, resulting in higher LDL cholesterol which leads to heart disease, which leads to stress, leading to potential nerve damage – you get the picture.

To empathize how desperate people are to lose weight, I remind you of the time Rachel Ray posted this advertisement:

Wanted: Volunteers to test new diet program. Some foods are toxic and will cause blindness and death. Call 555-. . . . . . .

You think this is too farfetched? Wonder, who in the world would sign up for such a crazy plan??? Well, over 1400 people, that’s who.

Oh I’d never fall for that, you protest. Really? If you believe that the Keto Diet can assist in weight loss for a lifetime, I urge you to place oil in your gas tank and see how long that works for your car.

Even Paleo has changed their recommended diet foods to include more balanced offers. But Paleo still for some reason, rejects legumes, cereal grains and potatoes – all fibrous selections. (Yes avoid sugary cereals but Oatmeal, Raisin Bran and Kashi brands are far different from Fruit Loots. And they don’t clarify that oily French Fries everyday is far worse than a fiber-rich, nutrient-dense baked potato.) God’s diet never changes its mind.

Don’t follow blindly, question everything about a diet plan.

It’s simple: anything God created, should be fine in moderation. It’s man that messes things up. Be careful with processed foods. Consuming all those chemicals in one’s body festers inside us like a chemistry set. We all know what happens if too many chemicals come in contact with each other . . . disastrous results!!!

Try to eat as many whole foods as possible. Even eat those in moderation. I’ve even counseled overweight vegetarians. Live smartly and eat well.

“Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!”  (Psalm 34:8)

God’s Plan doesn’t restrict your culinary enjoyment; He simply urges sensible eating!

Searching for Dieting Perfection? Not Gonna Happen!

Do you expect dieting perfection from yourself? Face it, you’re searching for an unrealistic goal. Continue toward healthy living and you’ll become your healthiest self.

There was only one perfect person born on earth, our Lord, and we are not him! If God doesn’t expect perfection from us; only obedience and goodness, why do we think we are better than Jesus at achieving it?

God made you human, not perfect. Give yourself a break! Realize that even if you make a mistake, you certainly can strive to do better in the future. Talk yourself into success. Mistakes are wonderful opportunities to learn to overcome obstacles in the future!

“And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God,” (Titus 2:12) NLT

Build your own strategies, but here are some suggestions to start you off. When you feel like eating, go for a ten minute walk up the street and ten minutes back, submerge yourself into an exciting novel, take a bubble bath or paint your nails – you can’t get into a potato chip bag with your nails wet, right? Write your strategies down so they’ll be available when you need them.

There’s a encouraging story about goodness versus perfection which goes like this:

Once upon a time, in a galaxy far away, the mighty Ruler of Galatica sent two space ships to earth . . . (well, I didn’t tell you it was a true story) . . . anyway, he told the first Explorer to travel to Earth and find everything that was perfect on the planet and bring all that he found back to him in his spacecraft.

To the other Explorer he ordered him to go to Earth and find everything that was good, and bring all he found back to him in his spaceship.

Well, time progressed and finally the first Explorer returned home. The King rubbed his hands together and jumped up and down, anxiously awaiting all the provisions he’d see. But the Galatican arrived back empty-handed.

“What is the meaning of this?” demanded the King.

“Oh Sire, what a despicable place this earth planet was! I searched everywhere! I could find nothing perfect on it at all! Why, there was pollution, people protested in mobs, I found war even on their playthings. Cars honked incessantly and it always rained in Seattle. Gas was $5 a gallon and this thing called fried butter was horrendous! I repeat nothing on Earth is perfect!”

Discouraged, the Ruler waited for the other explorer to return. Finally, the second explorer arrived home and was summoned to the Palace.

“Were you able to find anything good on Earth?” His King asked dejectedly.

“Oh gracious King, you wouldn’t believe all the good I found on planet Earth!” he exclaimed enthusiastically! “Why, there were birds singing, amazing sunsets, rainbows, beautiful homes and automobiles. The taste of ice cream is terrific! Why, I couldn’t bring all I found back to you, because there was just too much good in that world!”

So the moral of that story is, if you search for perfection you won’t find it anywhere, but search for good and it will be all around you.

“For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light! For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true. Carefully determine what pleases the Lord.” (Ephesians 5: 8-10) NLT

I urge you to continue to strive for excellence in your health quest!

What are You waiting For? Get Healthy Now!

We’re approaching that time of year again when approximately 45% of people resolve to go on a diet and 70% resolve to become healthier. They check out diet program after diet program, read countless magazine articles professing a secret formula, spend a fortune on boxed food and profess, “The eighteenth time is the charm! This time it will happen! This year, I’m resolved!”

That resolve usually lasts 2-3 weeks. But hope springs eternal – Your friend said she lost 20 pounds in a week on yet another diet and surely if she did, so will you!!! Nope.

Why don’t these programs work? Because each of us have different physiology, personalities, stress levels, metabolism, employment, family responsibilities, etcetera,  etcetera . . . Next, even if you eliminate 3500 calories, the amount needed to lose a pound each day, for a week, you’d only lose seven pounds.

Face it, everyone knows how to lose weight. Eat less, exercise more. Drink water, exercise, slow down and consume smaller portions. Easy peasy, everyone says – until everyone fails. Then everyone believes they have no willpower, they give up and pompously declare, “Well, this is how God made me, therefore, “so be it.”

Wrong! God wants you healthy whether you’re a size twelve or two. Health is more important than weight loss.  True health incorporates energy level, how your clothes fit, emotional wellness, whether you are mentally alert or “fuzz-brained.”

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve overheard someone speak about their current diet announcing proudly, “I’m cutting out all carbs!” while the companion nods his head in agreement.  AAARGGHH! (If you don’t consume wholesome carbohydrates, your brain doesn’t get energized daily. Our brain feeds on glucose, a carbohydrate!)

It gets discouraging when few listen to the nutritionist who has kept her weight off for thirty years but they follow false diet gurus. Now I don’t expect you to be a size two, but I do practice what I preach and enjoy a vibrant and energetic lifestyle – I only want you to also.

What I follow is a diet plan based on Genesis 1:29 and Genesis 9:3. Anything is fine in moderation. Very similar to the Mediterranean, DASH or Volumetrics diet plan. Over the next few weeks I’ll offer the “why” and provide practical applications.

For now: Consume five times more veggies and fruit than meat on your plate. Eat healthy omega 3 fats and wholesome whole grains. In leu of processed foods, choose fibrous foods. Next exercise, relax and don’t sweat the small stuff.

No one gets healthier unless they are mentally, physically or spiritually ready to. It’s the main reason I started this blog and wrote, Life’s Too Short to Eat Bad Cheese (Nutritional and Life Lessons God Teaches Us) available on amazon.com.

Everyone starts out with good intentions. No one starts out wanting to fail; it’s humiliating!  But people self-destruct for different reasons;  could be educational fallacies, while other times psychological. Do you realize that sometimes when you reach for a cookie, it’s not a cookie that you desire but the warmth and security of family memories?

Having a goal to become healthier is more important than weight loss. Building muscle creates the physiological furnace that burns fat. Get moving! Exercise releases feel-good endorphins; so find some form of exercise you enjoy! Walking, gardening, dancing, biking . . . Being out in the fresh air contributes to an extra endorphin bonus.

Over the next several weeks, I’ll provide practical information so you won’t “spin your wheels” on another useless diet program. Get Healthy Now!

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

 

“How to Lose Weight in Five Easy Steps!”

Research shows that people gravitate to articles with this type of headline. I do too.

But how many nutritionists have heard the pleading words from a patient, “Just tell me what to do!” Like there’s a magic formula for rapid weight loss! The question is, will the same plan which works for Suzie, work for you?

Possibly, if it’s practical and nutritionally balanced like the Mediterranean Diet – but even then, we should realize we are all uniquely made.

We don’t see too many commercials any more with some beautiful person claiming “I’ve lost 58 pounds in a month . . . and you can too if you simply purchase “X.”

It’s the equivalent of: I’ve told you what to do, just do it and you too will look like me! Of course within a few months the weight comes back on and the dieter feels it’s his/her fault – I didn’t follow the formula correctly. Stupid me. Failure doesn’t do much for self esteem issues; (a reason we overeat.)

Weight loss success means knowing the “why” of it all. What are the personal habits and food idols which prevent you from succeeding? How’s your self-discipline? Is your lifestyle frantic? Are you currently battling a certain emotional trauma? Are you big-boned? Consider the fact that we all have a different physiological makeup, emotional background and discipline.

Health is a slow and steady individual process while learning to create new habits, eat balanced and overcome temptations in order to become a healthier version of oneself. It shouldn’t be about becoming a size two. Please don’t trust in an unreachable fantasy.

Salvation and nutrition are so similar in nature. You are the only one who can lose weight and become healthier. No one else can choose a different pathway except you. Sadly, lifestyle changes are not perfect pathways. It usually takes slow and steady progress to create new habits, avoid temptations and become a healthier version of you.

Jesus also knows each of us as individuals. He knew the rich young ruler (Luke 18:18–23) would never give up his wealth to follow him – it was his god. The Pharisees would never give up their power and recognize Jesus as Lord. Position and pride were their gods.

I ask you then, “What is your god?” Is it sleeping in instead of exercising? Consuming French fries each day instead of vegetables? Convenient Fast food instead of eating at home? None of these are wrong unless you love it more than your LORD.

Understand what’s keeping you from sucess. Take small steps to accomplish a goal. Reward yourself for each goal reached. Instant gratification never accomplishes much because nothing was done to achieve it and many people who win the lottery are broke within a few years without personal discipline.

Changing and becoming healthier improves character and when you sometimes fail, (which we all do) learn from it! It builds resolve!

“For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness;” (1 Peter 1:5,6) 

How do you begin to change the inner self? First place the LORD over self. You’ll like that person you’ve become. What one cherishes, they take care of. Have you ever noticed that happy people are content with who they are? They aren’t necessarily the beautiful or thin people either! Contentment emanates from God’s Love. Appreciate Him enough to be your healthiest!

Braving Our Personal Storms in Life

As we sit here, enjoying a beautiful sunset over western Florida, escaping the wrath of Hurricane Dorian, I can’t help but wonder how many have cried out, “Why, God?” when destruction hits.

Why does God allow storms to enter our lives? How are we to deal with them?

Reflecting, I saw a comparison of personal godly storms and how we can get through them by trusting God.

God is Loving in spite of our rebellion

Twice in our married life we have turned from God, who brought us back through loving discipline. True, we suffered and are still reaping consequences but never have we complained it’s God’s Fault!!! In fact God graciously forgave our immaturity and we’ve learned from that experience. It’s helped us to counsel others because we’ve “been there.” We accepted the fact that we were far away from God’s Will and absolutely recognized we deserved more punishment than our loving LORD dished out.

Have you ever strayed from healthier eating? Of course, everyone has. When you did, what were the consequences? Stomach ache? Fatigue? Diabetes? Something worse? Well, did God force you to eat those double cheeseburgers – make you ill? No, we did it to ourselves and must accept the consequences. God however, graciously prepared a way of escape with wisdom, medications, exercise, healthier foods . . . and you know what? I bet you like yourself better when you eat better!

“The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.” (1 Corinthians 10:13) LSV

As a father lovingly disciplines a child, God warns us, might even punish us for what we have done. Just look at King David and what resulted after his sin with Bathsheba. God doesn’t play favorites.

God sometimes creates storms to navigate us to safer ports.

Last year we were working in a toxic environment but prayed we could still make a difference. God loved us enough to prod us out of that unhealthy environment and to move us into a blessed Christian opportunity and lifestyle experience.

Sometimes we remain in an environment we shouldn’t. We settle for mediocrity. Nutritionally, have you ever thought, “Okay, one piece won’t harm me.” However one leads to another and suddenly it’s ten extra pounds gained. Don’t settle in a bad habit! God desires so much more for you.

Knowing God’s Word Prevent Storms

False prophets twist and turn God’s Word around making it sound better to anyone wanting to believe it. I saw this with politicians while working in public relations. They proclaimed promises the crowd wanted to hear. People who fall for these haven’t researched what Truth is! There’s little distinction between false prophets or false diet gurus. Know what you should believe and why. Do. Your. Research. Understanding physiology is important!

God is Good. He instilled in us common sense. Provided great nutritious foods to enjoy. Therefore eat what you desire in moderation. Avoid man-made, chemically-based foods most of the time, consume good fats and colorful food. If you crave a particular food, ask why. Are you physically hungry, sad, bored, lonely, stressed? Decide for yourself whether you are really hungry or simply emotional. Know yourself.

It’s not easy traveling a Christian path. Nor is it easy reaching a healthier goal. In nutrition no one wants to suffer, yet everyone wants a quick fix. There is no need to continuously sacrifice. Enjoy His Bounty and Stay Healthy in Body and Spirit.

The Uniqueness of You

When I asked my mother what she wanted for her birthday, she would always smile and answer softly, “Oh, peace and contentment.” Isn’t that what we all should strive for?

Becoming a New Creation means embracing the true you, even imperfections. How many are content and at peace with who they truly are? Those I counseled usually wanted to look like someone else, a celebrity or a prettier version of themselves. Few told me they wanted to be a healthier version of themselves.

I would patiently customize a sensible meal plan that would fit with a patient’s tastes, budget and particular lifestyle. Stressing, Eat for nutrients; eat anything in moderation . . .

Week after week, some would lose weight while others presented excuses; (unexpected company, special events, holidays, etc.) to justify their lousy week. I had provided practical applications to avoid those temptations, yet they failed to comply. I’ve heard every excuse. They weren’t fooling me; they were fooling themselves.

For if one has the will, they’ll find the way – if it’s something they truly want.

Even if I had a magic wand and could instantly turn them into a size two, I know they wouldn’t remain a size two for long, because there was something masking the true reason they weren’t getting healthy.

If this is you, figure out why you’ve self-destructed:

1. Whether it is one’s upbringing, “You better eat everything on your plate or NO DESERT for you!” – insecurity, shame, illness, circumstances – many eat for “masked” reasons. It might not even be a seemingly bad reason – some are simply happy or curious eaters and lose control. Someone, perhaps being poor growing up, subconsciously fears food won’t be there tomorrow.

2.  Occasionally it’s a medical reason. Illnesses and medications can slow metabolism, influence electrolyte and water balances. It’s extremely tough, but have patience. Consuming healthier foods; all while learning new habits is what I’d recommend until off medication and weight loss can begin.

3. Perhaps it’s psychosomatic; stress, emotional issues or perceived guilt denies success, especially when the mind believes it must protect itself. Reading positive books, exercising, fresh air, meditating, listening to soothing (or even rock) music can calm or invigorate.

4. Sometimes it’s physical challenges. If someone is big-boned, they’ll never become a comfortable size two, no matter how much they desire to. “To accept the things we cannot change,” is part of the serenity prayer. We are all unique and becoming the best creation you can be should be the goal, not lusting after a celebrity’s body shape or lifestyle. Focusing on unrealistic possibilities makes us miss out on so much in life!

I especially enjoy counseling when that aha moment appears. When a patient finally recognize why they act as they do. I know then, they’ll truly begin taking control of their health. Find yours!

Bottom line? Since we’re all unique there’s no “one-size-fits-all” reason for success or failure. We are all individuals with different needs and desires. Know yourself as God knows you. For Psalm 139: 13-16 professes:

For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.  (ESV)

God knows you are unique and loved. He created you. Love back – honor your earthly temple.

Personal River of Change

Thank you to all of my followers who didn’t quit on me during my long sabbatical. It’s hard to return after being away from blogging. One reason is because it’s difficult to come up with a first post! It’s not as easy as: “Hi, I’m Back!!! Gotta love me!”

Recently I saw a poster entitled “Life is like a River.” How often have you heard that saying? Poems are written about it, Facebook posts share it and Garth Brooks beautifully sang about it. Wouldn’t a river analogy be the perfect segue after a life-changing sabbatical?

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.” (Isaiah 43:2)

 

Rivers are molded by their environment.

Rivers are amazing and beautiful. They can gently bring life back to a community or can flood it with a vengeance, if influenced by outside sources. Rivers can gently round off rocks, creating their beautiful smoothness or mold them into craggy, sharp, dangerous edges.

During my teenage years, our farm bordered part of the Susquehanna River. Since we weren’t far from its source in Cooperstown, NY, it wasn’t very wide. A stone could have easily been thrown across it. That is until the rains came and the river overflowed onto our fields. This could have been a good or bad event. It could destroy crops or enrich the soil.

Events happen in our lives that we have no control over. When downpours come into our lives, do we rant and rave? Sure, but even if justified, do we allow it to destroy our happiness? Do we accept life’s challenges, make the best of it and move on or have a pity party, mope and complain? How we react to a crisis is a personal choice. Choose Joy!

River intensity changes frequently

Our personal “life river” became a white water rafting trip last year when we traveled over some rocky shoals of life. Sadly, we were betrayed by beloved trusted friends, accosted and blindsided by an angry mob of “Pharisees.” Other innocent friends were hurt simply for being our acquaintances. Yet still their and our Faith never wavered.

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)

Yes, God is Faithful. He almost miraculously moved us out of a toxic environment and provided a way of escape. (1 Corinthians 10:13) Over the past five months, life has become incredibly rewarding and joyful once again, living in paradise. We are coasting on smooth waters and our faith not only endured but flourished.

Rivers are always moving forward, therefore no two days are ever the same: 

Several years ago, after my husband accepted his previous position, he was asked to join the staff of a wonderful Christian college. Having integrity, he declined, faithfully serving his congregation. It was evident that God’s River moves at its own pace, patiently instilling life experience. God eventually provided abundant blessings; moving us to that new teaching position and true Christian friendships.

Rivers are so diverse, no two are alike. Just like people 

I’m here to implore you to not focus on fragile, fallible Christians. God alone is perfect. Our past is a training field, learn from it. If you don’t like your circumstances, change them. If you trust in God, rely on His Will, He will never forsake you!

It’s good to be back, my friends.