Tag Archive | Christian living

Why Do We Crave Certain Foods?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sometimes we simply love to eat! Therefore select wisely:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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







Find Healthy Support Thru A Redwood Forest Analogy

This has been my most viewed (and most “copied”) post in the past 5 years so I thought it bore repeating, especially this time of year:

If you’re attempting a  healthier lifestyle, you shouldn’t do it alone. Find someone to be your Champion – someone to hold you accountable, encourage, motivate and celebrate your victories with. A friend who will support you like a Redwood tree!

Have you ever driven through the magnificent Redwood National Forest in northern California?  As you gazed upon those majestic 350 foot tall trees towering above you, you probably thought as I did, Man, their roots must tunnel 50 ft. into the earth! 

Amazingly, that’s not the case. Their roots are only a few feet deep! So what’s to prevent them from toppling over and being destroyed, you ask, when diaster strikes? Surprisingly, support from fellow trees.

“Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let the sea resound, and all that is in it; let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them. Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy;” (Psalm 96: 11,12)

As Christians we can learn valuable lessons from the Redwoods by copying their support system when trials occur in our lives.

1.  The tree’s root structure supports each other by interlocking their shallow roots with the other Redwoods surrounding them. When under duress, the older trees buttress each other by developing roots on the downward side of those under stress. The younger trees are bolstered up by the older ones, thus supporting the younger generation.

When we recognize someone struggling to become healthier in mind, body and spirit, do we encourage or hinder them? Do we strengthen them with Scripture or sabotage them with tempting treats or disparaging statements? Allow them to struggle on their own? Everyone needs some  “atta-boys” to keep them going along their pathways to health. Do we offer wise, practical strategies or defeatist advice?

2.  The charring of their bark actually makes them stronger!

When exposed to challenges like fire, they develop a protective shield.

Has God strengthened you through challenges? Many have gone through the worst that man can dish out; drug, mental or sexual abuse, abandonment, cancer or other health obstacles, but inwardly they’ve strong. They’re still standing!

3.  A fallen Redwood will ultimately branch out and grow. Still useful; its roots become other trees.

Never give up simply because you face obstacles. Overcoming adversity and temptation makes us stronger, wiser and more confident. Pass along those life skills to help others because God bestowed them on you for a reason.(Genesis 50:20)

Just as in life, some young trees won’t survive, but many will because of the support of older trees.  Proverbs 22:6. Young Redwoods are more vulnerable, just like young Christians.  Instill in them that growth is a valuable process.

4.  Surprisingly, the chemical composition of the bark is distasteful and even poisonous to termites and other pests! Develop ‘Bodily Armour of God’ so strong  that even the demons don’t dare to bother us!

5.  Which brings me to my last point.  The bark of the Redwood is a foot thick!  Fire and man are the Redwoods only natural enemies, similar to trials and worldly temptations for Christians. Strive to develop a thicker skin when criticized. Whether it’s about being too “thin,” too “heavy” or too “Christian,” the only one we need to impress is our Lord.  Stand fast. Never give in to peer pressure.

Everyone needs a support system.

“For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up.” (Ecclesiastes 4:10)


You’re an Individual, Lose Weight as One!

Everyone’s lives are chemically differently with various bone structure and stress levels so there’s really no “one-size-fits-all” diet plan.  Besides you don’t want to rely on a “diet” – you want to change your lifestyle.

An adult’s caloric intake should never drop below 1200 calories or your metabolism will begin shutting down and physiologically you’ll gain when you eat “normally” again. Keep things simple, slow and steady. I suggest reducing 500 “junky” calories per day x 7 days = 3500 calories which equals a pound of fat loss safely per week. Add daily exercise and you’ll lose even more of course.

You must eat!!! Starvation never works.Your body is like an engine. It needs to be kept powered with energy to produce energy; that’s the First Law of Thermodynamics. So strive to consume mini-meals throughout the day.

Keeping it simple, here’s a suggested sensible typical daily eating plan that can be adapted to fit your schedule:

For Breakfast:  Choose 4-8 oz. of good quality yogurt, Dannon Natural or Mountain High are my favorites. Eat yogurt first. Why? Because the good bacteria strengthens your immune system’s digestion track. (Also the natural   liquid whey contains weight loss properties.)

Most nutrients get dispersed out of the small intestine so if it’s clogged up, it can’t function properly. In a hurry? Create a quick smoothie with yogurt, a banana, orange juice, ice and 1% milk.  I call it my “magnesium-potassium” shake.

Then consume 3/4 cup of a high fiber (5 grams +) flavorful cereal like Great Grains, Shredded Wheat, Raisin Bran, Grape nuts, Kashi products. If you have high cholesterol, choose soluble fiber which turns into a gel, like oatmeal, reducing bad cholesterol. Insoluble fiber, like bran, push waste through your digestion system so you’ll absorb nutrients efficiently.  Add a banana, raisins or berries for additional fiber. Use almond, soy, 1% milk (2% is 40% fat).

Carbohydrates remain 15 minutes – 3 hours in your digestive system, depending on the amount of fiber contained in the carbs which lasts longer. Then increase water. You’ll feel fuller because fiber expands, which also slows down insulin dispersion.

Mid-morning:  Bring a snack to work like a 1/4 cup of walnuts, an apple, red grapes, banana or other fruit for brain function. Your brain feeds primarily on glucose.

Lunch:  Choose low-sodium or homemade soups, a salad with protein/colorful greens for nutrients, a low-sodium  microwaveble meal, a small  veggie/low-cal sandwich, one brought from home on whole wheat.  You can also bring ‘planned-overs’ from last night’s dinner.

Proteins last in your system from 2-4 hours. We only burn up about 30 grams of protein in 2 1/2 hours so don’t over-indulge!

Afternoon snack: If you won’t arrive home until late, try carrot sticks, 2 thin slices of light cheese on 4 Triscuits. a tablespoon of peanut butter on two low-fat crackers, apple or a cup of herbal tea.

Home now, go for a walk to relieve stress or listen to music, take a short bath and de-stress before eating.

Dinner: Lots of choices!! Consume 3-4 oz. of lean protein, sirloin, pork loin, chicken breast, shrimp, crab, tuna, any white fish.

Eat 5x’s more water-based vegetables than meat, (broccoli, garden salad, sliced tomatoes, cucumbers) a whole grain such as a baked potato, pasta, corn, peas, bread.  Avoid frying your food and enjoy the taste of grilled, broasted or baked choices.  Add olive oil or canola oil to your salads and use real butter sparingly.

Desserts?  Indulge in one individual dark Dove, Ghirardelli or other fine high quality chocolate and savor the taste.

You’re in control now.  Making the right decisions is empowering!!!

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

Losing Weight Through a Balanced pH System

Let’s discuss how the body’s PH scale is pertinent to weight loss. Okay, okay, I can hear you grumbling now . . .  gosh I’m back in school. I promise I’ll make it interesting.  

First what is the pH scale?

Visualize a vertical line numbered from 1-14 with water right smack in the middle, neutral at 7.0. Anything above 7.0 is an alkaline item and anything below is acidic. The stomach is 2.0 – 3.0. It must be that acidic in order to aid digestion processes.

When your body’s PH is alkaline, it’s not as hungry! Try drinking water with lemon with meals.

Now I know what you’re thinking . . . “but Ellie, lemon is so sour, how can it NOT be acidic?” That’s true – lemons, limes, grapefruit begin as an acidic element but transforms into an alkaline product as it metabolizes.  Isn’t God amazing?!  And some think this just “happened by chance.”

“Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous–how well I know it.”  (Psalm 139:14) NLT

Most people who suffer from an illness are acidic. Stress creates an acidic environment. When you’re ill or under stress, your body is forced to borrow minerals such as calcium, potassium and magnesium from your bones or vital organs to neutralize the acid and remove it safely from your system. These same minerals regulate your heart function!

Prolonged stress can cause acute diseases, so take steps to relax. Although the verdict’s still out on whether an alkaline diet prevents cancer, it does make biological sense, doesn’t it? By eating fruits and vegetables, the body maintains a healthy PH and therefore in most cases avoids disease and cancers.

Important: Soft drinks, especially those with artificial sweeteners, make the body acidic!  Is it worth the risk? (And now you’re hungrier so it kind of defeats the purpose, doesn’t it?)

Keeping your PH between 7.3 – 7.45 is considered ideal. Remember your body is 55-70% water. Balance is the key! Alkaline foods consist primarily of fruits and vegetables.

Therefore if anything below 7.0  is acidic, meats, dairy, sugars, caffeine, alcohol and anything processed are all acidic products. Now you’re saying, “But Ellie that’s how my family eats!”  Bingo, that’s the stereotypical American diet and that’s why we’re such a sick society today!!!  Asian countries don’t eat this way.  Their daily diet consists of vegetables, rice, very little meat. Asian countries also have less cancers.

Eating needn’t be complicated. An alkaline diet is mostly vegetarian. Remember what I told you previously? Eat 5x’s more fruits, vegetables and whole grains as meat (3-4 oz) on your plate. Now it’s visual.

Here’s a partial list of beneficial alkaline foods, but remember that anything’s fine in moderation:

  • Fats: Almond nuts, olive, canola, flaxseed oil
  • Grains: Quinoa, wild rice, amaranth, millet, oats
  • Sugars: maple syrup, Stevia
  • Vegetables: tomatoes, mushrooms, potato skins, olives, carrots, corn on the cob, lettuce, beets, sweet potatoes, squash, green beans, cabbage, peas, raw spinach, asparagus, onions, raw spinach, broccoli, garlic
  • Fruits: apples, melons, mangoes, papaya, blueberries, oranges, pears, raisins, bananas, peaches, pineapple, grapes, avocado
  • milk: soy products, feta goat cheese

Bottom line: Eat Balanced.  A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, whole grains, soy products and plenty of water will build your immune system.  Too many processed foods, caffeine, dairy, white sugar, meats and white flour products will destroy your godly temple. Change your thinking, your family’s diet and leave a legacy of health to your future generations.

Where’s Christmas . . .???

The other day I set out to find a small manger for a Christmas craft project I was working on. It could have been anything, an ornament, a Christmas card, even a figurine.

First I went to the Dollar Store. I found nothing Christian but two sets of Christmas cards with no manger scene on them. Next I went to Walmart (good luck there.) Nada. Then I walked through Home Depot – absolutely nothing Christian at all, but I could have purchased a red and green six foot dragon . . . what that has to do with Christmas I’ve yet to figure out.

A few days later I traveled to two shopping centers in another town. I checked out Michael’s craft store. The sweet girl acknowledged they used to carry them . . . but searching together, neither of us could find them anywhere. Neither did World Bazaar, J.C. Penny or T.J. Maxx.

Undoubtedly, I thought, Christian-run Hobby Lobby would carry a small manger scene, even if it was on a postcard! Yet once again, found nothing. I’m praying they were only sold out.

Finally I found a Lifeway Christian bookstore. Aha! I thought, of course I’ll find a manger scene here! And yes I did! It was on a box of spiced apple cider. Desperate to find anything that might work, I purchased the over-priced drink mix and cut out the cardboard manger scene on the front and pasted it on my craft project. (At least we’ll enjoy the beverage sometime during these cold winter months.)

Halfway through this hectic quest I felt like Charlie Brown, frustratingly asking where was Christmas??? I could find a plethora of Santa’s, sleighs, reindeer antlers, elf hats, chipmunks, cute bears and Grinch’s, but no Christ in Christmas!

Then I thought, I can certainly find Christmas at church.  Absolutely I’ll find Peace on Earth here during this Joyous Season. Instead I found a church member fussing in public, running around fuming, complaining, blaming others because they felt unappreciated in their position. (Hey, if your position is primarily to please people and not our Lord, get your priorities straight!)

Then yesterday, as my husband and I were finalizing the Christmas gifts and food for four community families in need; getting ready to drop off our many  congregation’s generous donations, I found it. Eureka!

THIS IS WHAT CHRISTMAS IS ALL ABOUT:  Christmas is about blessing others, not ourselves. Bringing smiles and true Joy to others!

As Jesus left his heavenly home, to be born in Bethlehem, living as a man among us, he understood that completely. He beheld some petty frustrations of his friends, as well as the slings and arrows of the Pharisees. He experienced the same feelings, joys, frustrations, challenges and laughter that we do.  He gave of himself, unselfishly. He sacrificed EVERYTHING, his very life for our pettiness, grumpiness, busyness and selfish behavior. That was the best GIFT he could ever give.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”   (John 3:16)

Christmas is all about giving unselfishly from one’s heart, as Jesus did as well.  Merry Christmas everyone – Always Remember the Reason for the Season.



The Christmas and holiday season will affect our skin and hair. This lovely lady is now following my blog and her practical tips are easy to read and follow.

Stress will affect the hair. (And you must admit this season is a stressful one!) Also all the social events, delicious but non-nutrient dense choices will wreck havick on our skin and hair. I’d also recommend a cinnamon and honey mask for your skin along with these great practices. Relax and don’t forget to breathe!!! Remember the real reason for the season, ❤

“Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.”   ( Proverbs 31:30)


Hi friends,here I am with an another new post.In my previous post I shared my thought on how to pamper your skin during this winter season.After skin care we all think about our hair care regime because winter takes its toll with flying hair, dry scalp and styling problems caused by wearing hats. In the winter months, hair needs a lot of tender loving care.

Now that the winter months are upon us and the days are much colder, it’s time to start thinking about ways to protect our hair from the damage that the winter elements can cause. Here are some key tips and tricks to keep your hair and scalp healthy during winter.


  1. CLEAN YOUR HAIR : Always make sure that your hair is clean and keep it dirt free. Pollution makes our scalp dirty,results itching problems and dandruff.One very simple tip is to wear a hat when out…

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Are You Goal-Minded or Wandering Aimlessly?

My husband and I have crossed this country twelve times, as well as lived and traveled extensively in Europe. During my husband’s military career, when it was necessary to transfer to a new duty station, I would always be curious about our next home. I’d research as much as I could about the area, contacting the Chamber of Commerce for information, search for a realtor and so on.

As we traveled, we always had a map and a daily mileage goal. Without an intentionally defined goal we would have wandered aimlessly. We probably wouldn’t have reached our destination without a lot of frustration.

Doesn’t that also sound like many without a clear health goal?

The same principle applies. Before a smart person can accomplish an objective, they lay out a strategy of how to get there. As much as we’d like a “beam me up Scottie” instantaneous weight loss result, it’s not going to happen this side of Heaven. Besides that, the journey is as important as the destination. If we could have instantly arrived in Monterey, California from Washington DC, we would have missed the Grand Canyon, Mount Rushmore, Graceland and so much more! What a loss.

With health goals, you’d also be missing out too. Since 0nly you physically live inside your body, only you can develop strategies, overcome challenges, gain confidence and become victorious.

Don’t make goals complicated. Start with only one and build upon it.

Write out realistic goals and track progress.

In spite of advertising claims proclaiming, “you can lose 10 pounds in a week!” it ain’t gonna happen healthily! It takes 3,500 calories less each day to lose one pound of fat. Do you even consume that many daily calories daily? (Probably the only time I did was on a cruise and I was miserable!)

A slow, steady weight loss of 2, maybe even 3 pounds per week will allow your body to adjust and keep the weight off. If you lose too quickly your metabolism slows; believing you are ill, it attempts to hoard calories as protection.

Remember anyone can lose weight on fad diets but as a nutritional counselor for over twenty years, I haven’t met ONE person who kept it off on a crazy diet. Why?

“But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire”  (James 1:14)

Analyze why you eat as you do, (another blog.)

Eat for nutrients!

If you consume good quality nutrients, your body receives all you need for healthy living, creating an active metabolism. Then you’ll overcome cravings when, for example, your brain’s hypothalamus nags you for magnesium. Of course broccoli contains magnesium, so does chocolate – which one do you think you’ll choose?

Create small, reachable goals and make them fun!

Create a weekly spread-sheet chart. For each pound lost, fill in a block. For every five pounds you lose, reward yourself with a non-food reward. The more lost, the larger the reward: bath salts, body lotion, nail polish, new scarf, a book (maybe mine?) a CD, DVD . . . then a BRAND NEW CAR . . . sorry just kidding.

One important factor in weight loss: the only good diet is one you’ll be able to live on forever. God doesn’t expect you to suffer through rice cakes, sticks and twigs. He provided a bounty of natural, fantastic foods to enjoy. The more your body consumes nutritious choices, the more junk food cravings will disappear. Trust me, it happened to me.

Lastly, establish a close support group of positive, encouraging friends!

“Without guidance, people fall, but with many counselors there is deliverance.” (Proverbs 11:14)