Tag Archive | Food

“The Spring Keeper”

Last Sunday, our pastor included a wonderful illustration which I also found epitomizes our relationship between Christianity and nutrition.

The illustration by the late chaplain of the US Senate, Peter Marshall, was entitled, “The Keeper of the Spring.” Perhaps you’ve heard it before. Here’s the Cliff note version of it:

“It seems a spring at the top of an Austrian mountain provided water to a charming, picturesque village down below. The village council hardly saw the keeper and began questioning why they were paying for a service when they never saw the benefit. So they fired the Spring Keeper.

As time went on, leaves and debris began to clog the source of the well. Then downstream, leaves, twigs and debris muddied the water. It smelled and tasted badly. Tourists stopped coming, restaurants served less tasty food and the town lost its beauty and charm.

Finally the council realized its mistake and rehired the Spring Keeper, who restored the beauty of the stream at its source, thus restoring the village’s productivity.”

Do we always see the results of eating healthily?

I’d surmise that without clean, refreshing water the village became toxic in body and soul, losing its charm along with the tourist industry. Who wants to be around grumpy, toxic people?

I’ve written many posts on the benefits of water (please find via search engine) so that’s not the subject of my post today. Rather I believe my point is to encourage us to remain close to the source of true health.

“Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” (Proverbs 4:23)

Cleaning up the lake from the bottom only cleaned symptoms. Problems continued. Cleanliness had to begin at the source of the stream.

There are many people who believe fancy box diets or diet plans like Paleo and Keto will restore clean living. Sorry, that’s attempting to clean up symptoms, not the base of one’s health. Why psychologically and physiologically one eats. This only muddies the body with a diet one can’t exist on forever!

Our Lord wants us to honor him. How can we do that with a mouth that professes faith but throws trash into our earthly temple? “Be holy for I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:16 pleads. One wouldn’t throw trash on the floor of Jerusalem’s temple – so why do we trash our earthly one?

Clean up your unhealthy lifestyle at the source and you’ll naturally become happier, healthier and energetic. Even though it’s fine to eat anything in moderation, please strive to eat more wholesome healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, herbs, seeds and nuts. Consume only a small amount of meat daily, (6 ounces) and your body will remain more alkaline, less acidic.

Change your mindset at the source to become a more positive, happier individual. Others want to be around you. Gather encouraging friends around you, read inspirational books.

Fresh air improves the mind and circulation. If you haven’t exercised, get busy and just do it! Find something you enjoy, walking, dancing, biking, etc.

Don’t focus on what you don’t have, rather breathe deeply and count your blessings. Relaxation restores peace of mind and positive attitudes.

Ultimately we are simply passing through this world until we see God’s Face. When you feel life is drowning you in heartache and tribulation, get back to the living source of joy and happiness: Christ.

“But whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:14)

Football, Dr. Oz and Breakfast as a Team Sport

Super Bowl Sunday’s coming and both have strong teams. Your body’s a strong team too.

Imagine a football quarterback as the body of the “NUTRIENT” team. In order to win effectively, his metabolism needs a nutrient-dense offensive line. Without one, he has no defense against illness.

Now imagine in front of him are ten players, each representing unique nutritional functions: the center, (B’s) running back (D), tight end (C), corner back (magnesium) fullback (calcium) and wide receiver {omega 3s.) Other nutrients are on the bench ready to participate as needed.

If the team consisted of only fullbacks, how well would the team work? Not efficiently at all. Similarly, a diet consisting of fruit alone would prevent the body from absorbing over 50 vital nutrients for optimum health. We need nutrient variety as much as a football team needs various players to win.

Vitamins are utilized and dispersed through FOOD. B vitamins convert food into energy. Fat soluble vitamins need fat to be absorbed. No food in your stomach – no energy. No chewing, no enzymes either. Without enzymes, one cannot walk, talk, think or move!

Dr. Oz held more interviews January 22, again claiming, “We don’t need breakfast!”  Who’s we? I need breakfast.

“Eating breakfast isn’t based on any medicine,” he insisted.  Of course not, doctor – it’s not medicine, it’s based on physiology.

He insisted breakfast is simply “marketing hype.” Some advertisements ARE to blame for unhealthy children. I too wish children weren’t feed Sugar Smacks but consuming a healthy breakfast is important for physiological reasons. Any teacher who sees hyperactive children arriving or her student’s blood sugar slumping mid-morning will attest to that.

“Our ancestors didn’t eat right away, they had to hunt and gather.” Our ancestors??? Maybe Dr. Oz’s came from cavemen. Mine were created by God. Adam and Eve were created perfectly . Originally farmers, they probably ate grains and fruit for breakfast. (Naturally I’m not dogmatic about this because I wasn’t around then. We’ll find out in Heaven.)

It’s personal choice to eat or not eat immediately. Listen to your body. I usually wake up with coffee, eating about hour or later. No need to eat breakfast immediately, eat small meals but make them nutritious, not caloric.

Our body utilizes calories for energy – any food produces energy. But a calorie isn’t a calorie: donuts are empty calories, a banana is packed with B vitamins, potassium, magnesium, fiber, etc.

Simply cutting calories for weight loss won’t make us healthy. Every nutrient has an individual purpose. Without nutrients, it takes a toll on bodily functions.

When I worked in an office, sometimes I didn’t eat breakfast. However, around 10am, starving, I reached for the first thing I found in the break room for ENERGY: donuts or coffee cake. It takes Herculean effort to resist when hungry. By eating breakfast, it never tempted me. After awhile, I usually brought a healthy snack with me.

Dr. Oz thought everyone should eat brunch instead. Brunch??? How is that going to help the teacher, nurse, factory worker or myriad of others who can’t tell their boss, “Excuse me, I’ve got to eat brunch now.” You’ll have plenty of time to eat in the unemployment line.

“Listen to your body,” Dr. Oz suggests. I’ve said that from day one. But I also advised my patients to use common sense. Dr. Oz logic comes from viewing food as calories – I’m viewing food as nutrients.

Eat to have a healthy system filled with nutrients rather than simply food. Amen!

“Teach me good discernment and knowledge, For I believe in Your commandments.”  (Psalm 119:66)

Dr. Oz Says “Skip Breakfast!” Should We?

In a video-taped interview this week with Fox News, Dr. Oz admits that doctors don’t learn much about nutrition in med school. I wondered then, how did he discover this remarkable “new” idea of skipping breakfast? He learned this dietary concept through Hugh Jackman. A terrific, talented and one of my favorite actors, but hardly an expert on physiological nutrition.

Dr. Oz went on to claim the average person eats continually over a 17 hour day. Very few healthy people I know eat “continuously.” If consuming potato chips at 11pm is a habit, then we have a counseling problem.

I do agree that eating before bedtime is not beneficial to sleep. Sleep releases beneficial growth hormones – lack of it leads to mental deterioration, internal stress and illness.

“I think for 2020, the first thing I’m going to do is ban breakfast,” the celebrity doctor recently told TMZ. “I don’t think we need to eat breakfast. That’s an advertising ploy.”

Well that settles it doesn’t it? If that bastion of newsworthy journalism, TMZ broadcasts it – then it must be true.

Dr. Oz goes on: “Unfortunately, a lot of the dogma that we were fed for decades came out of advertisements. It wasn’t really based on the truth around our health.”

Well that’s true – advertisements are meant to manipulate the public into purchasing their product; but let’s break his statement down.

Never did the doctor clarify what a healthy versus unhealthy breakfast is. Eggs contain countless nutrients which I’ve written about, whole wheat French toast is better than white. There’s a huge distinction between sugary Honey Smacks with a quarter teaspoon of fiber and 5 teaspoons of sugar and Shredded Wheat with a quarter teaspoon of sugar and two teaspoons of fiber. Add a banana, berries and cinnamon for nutritious fructose and added fiber because fiber also allows the body to rid itself of toxins through bowel movements.

Thankfully Mark Wahlberg (who wakes up at 2:30am and eats breakfast at 3:15) and Dietitian Kristin Kirkpatrick, the manager of wellness nutrition services at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute respectfully disagreed with Dr. Oz’s finding.

In response, Dr. Oz shot Mark down, “Well, powerful medical literature and lots of athletes support me and show that intermittent fasting flips the switch so it bolsters your physical and your mental performance.”

Great, I can recruit just as many athletic directors and dietitians who would declare the opposite. But the response of “Oh yeah, did not,” “Did too,” is kind of childish isn’t it? Even if 5,000 men are wrong, they’re still wrong! (old Chinese saying.)

We are all uniquely created. I don’t eat breakfast immediately either – I like to be awake. I don’t measure portion sizes anymore – after measuring several times, usually you’ll know how much is normal.

I DO eat for nutrients. My morning begins around 7am with two cups of coffee, creamer, cinnamon and turmeric, an hour later, ¾ cup of quality yogurt, walnuts, berries and milled flaxseed. About 1/2 to 1 hour later, whole grain cereal and a half banana. At lunch I’ll have variety: a small salad, a half sandwich or planned-overs from the night before. Dinner consists of 3-4 ounces of meat with 5xs more veggies. A small dessert is eaten about 2 hours later. Sometimes in the afternoon I’ll eat a square of dark chocolate.

For my dietary advice I will go to The Great Physician. He lovingly created us individually according to Psalm 139 and Jeremiah 1:5. In Exodus 16:21, God ordered the Israelites to gather manna every morning. Even God believed in breakfast! I’ll cast my lot with my LORD. I believe God’s smarter than any man.

The Many Benefits of Increasing Water Intake

If ‘dieting’ is giving you a headache, making you grumpy or feeling out of sorts, there’s an easy fix. Increase your water intake. Why, you ask?

There are many reasons to drink water and my favorite is this:

Have you ever worked in an office when someone was ill and you had to take over their job that day? What then happened to your desk? Your paperwork began to pile up, resulting in not being able to accomplish all of your responsibilities, right?

Well, God created a similar relationship between our kidneys and liver. When we don’t drink enough water, the kidneys are basically “out sick” and the liver has to take over. One of the liver’s major job is to metabolize fat, which it can’t do because it’s currently working for the kidneys. Therefore, fat cells increase. Increasing water will allow us to reach and maintain a healthy weight naturally and painlessly.

Did you think drinking water was simply to make you full? Yes, water (especially with lemon) does suppress the appetite by alkalizing one’s pH, but that’s not the main reason you should hydrate. It’s physiology. God created our bodies as this incredible machine. Women consist approximately of 50-60% water and men, 60-70%! (The more muscular, the more water you contain.)

Consider also these important incentives for drinking water:

  1. When your body is thirsty, your brain sends out hunger signals because all food contains water. Drink a glass of water and after ten minutes, see if the hunger pains depart. If you’re still hungry, eat something small and water-based, such as an apple, orange or berries.
  2. The more we eat, the more water we need to dilute our food. Eight glasses daily is a great start, but the heavier you are, increase intake. If you can’t stand water add a slice of lemon. Try pure seltzer water and add a splash of orange, cranberry or pomegranate juice for a “soda.”
  3. Besides rehydrating your skin, water dilutes your veins and improves circulation.
  4. You’ll begin to feel more energetic when you hydrate because your body isn’t resisting the toxins that tire you.
  5. Water assists in muscle tone, preventing your muscles from cramping up.
  6. Water gets rid of toxins, relieves constipation, ridding the intestines of waste, thereby allowing absorption of more nutrients.
  7. Water flushes away those toxins, making us less cranky. 
  8. Drinking more water is the best treatment for edema and other fluid retention problems. Diuretics are only a temporary solution because it forces water out of your system. Your body recognizes that’s not natural and retains water to protect you.
  9. Relieving constipation, it rids the intestines of waste, therefore allows absorption of more nutrients.
  10. We think more clearly and helps eliminate headaches.
  11. Water moisturizes the skin, making us look younger than we are! That alone is a great incentive!

What type of water is best? There’s no need to go out and buy expensive bottled water, you might not get what you think! Spring water depends on the spring it comes from, those drinking water bottles sometimes are plain tap water. I recommend distilled water in the gallon bottles.

“But Ellie, that’s what I put in my iron,” you protest. Distilled water is steamed and drips down in a purified state. It’s pure water. (Anytime an element is added to water, it takes longer for the body to break it down.)

Jesus gives us the Living Water which refreshes our Soul. Remember that’s the BEST WATER ever!

“He believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” (John 7:38)

Drink up!

 

 

 

 

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!

So Today’s the Day? Start with a Basic Overview

“This is the day,” you vow.  You and millions of your closest friends pledge to lose those pesky pounds you’ve gained over the holidays, January 2nd. Good for you.

Here’s my first advice:   Don’t Stress About It!!! Anything’s fine in moderation.

Start with the basics. When a the golf pro begins golf lessons he always starts with the basics: grip, aim, stance, etc. It’s the same with a health quest: start with the basics.

Begin with realistic, smaller goals. Don’t attempt everything at once – it’s too overwhelming. You’ll get frustrated and quit. Start small:

  1. Consider why you want to change. If you’re not ready you’re simply spinning your wheels. Start when you’re determined.
  2. Recognize what you’re eating now, is it primarily processed foods or whole foods? Whole foods should be one of your first goals.
  3.  How much stress is in your life?  Stress changes chemistry into a acidic pH which creates hunger pangs and worse, illness. Practice relaxation techniques, soft music, massages, aroma therapy . . .
  4. Do you eat too quickly? Why? Do you lead a hectic life? Put that fork down in between bites and savor your food. Chewing releases enzymes.
  5.  How much exercise do you incorporate into your daily routine? Find something you enjoy; walking, gardening, pickleball, dancing . . . exercise should be play. You know: fun! It was when we were kids, why not now?
  6.  Are you skipping an entire food group because of crazy diet fallacies? Contrary to popular belief there are only three food groups: carbohydrates, proteins and fats. (water, mineral, vitamins are included in those basic food groups already.)

Target one unhealthy habit a week. I know, I know, we live in an instant gratification society and everyone wants instant weight loss. Quick weight loss doesn’t stay off. Physiologically, your body will rebel and hold on to calories to “protect you.”

There’s a cute saying I heard years ago which professed: Today’s generation is the only one who can stand in front of a microwave and complain it’s not fast enough!

Slow down!!! Trying to accomplish too much only leads to frustration. But surely you can overcome ONE habit and then go on to the next, right?

Conquering a bad habit by replacing it with a good one builds discipline and self-esteem.

Let’s say you want to eat healthier. Start out small – by adding more vegetables and different whole foods and less processed foods into the daily mix. Search for interesting recipes which are simple to make and chocked full of nutrients. Eat for nutrients!

“But carbs are fattening!” You declare.  Not if  you eat fruits, veggies and whole grains. In fact that’s where we get most of our B vitamins. A whole grain means corn, sweet potato, flaxseed, beans, quinoa, couscous, oatmeal, whole wheat or whole grain pasta to name a few.

Please distinguish the simple versus complex carb difference. Whole grains are packed with B vitamins. Riboflavin, Thiamine, Niacin and the various other B’s convert fats, protein and carbohydrates into energy. If you fail to eat complex carbs how are you going to absorb B vitamins? Become cognizant of what you eat.

Are you planning to weigh yourself daily? Some dieters swear by it; but I wouldn’t recommend it. A pint = a pound and sodium holds water weight. Rather weigh yourself once weekly at the same time. In the meantime, how do your clothes fit? Take a photo and compare your facial characteristics a month later. You’ll probably notice a thinner face. That’s true, noticeable progress.

“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,” (Colossians 3:23)

This has only been an overview. In the next few weeks we’ll dig more deeply into our mental, physiological and spiritual relationship to food.

Childhood, Adulthood and Happy Thanksgiving

To quote one of my favorite sayings of a Jesuit priest, “Show me the boy at 7 and I’ll show you the man he will become.” Oh, our wonderful formative years!

What we were like as a child stays within and in a moment we become what we once were.

That seems even more true as we approach the holiday season. Next up, Thanksgiving! One holiday meant to be celebrated by eating all day.

“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” (Ephesians 5:15-17)

Let’s take a quiz shall we? These personality examples typify profiles of many patients I’ve counseled:

  1. Did you expect your Mom and Dad to complete your homework?
  2. Did your “mean” parents not allow you to watch television until you accomplished your chores?
  3. Did “Some Assembly Required” drive you bonkers, but stubborn and determined you finally got it right?!
  4. Or did you give up and let someone else complete that bookshelf?
  5. Were you the first to finish projects so you could have bragging rights?
  6. Did you procrastinate, waiting until the last-minute to finish anything?
  7. Think back to high school: a. Did you join many clubs? or b. join only to quit when you got bored?

Now how did you do?

#1. Personal responsibility is a foreign concept. At work, someone else can pick up the slack . . . eventually. There’s always someone else to do your work. You’ll start a diet on January 2nd and quit by the third week.

If 2. Now you’re in charge of your life and freedom is intoxicating! You’re rebellious and can do whatever you wish! That includes eating whatever you want. You have a desire to succeed but why give up freedom for more hassle? You infrequently reach goals.

3. You’re analytical, needing proof. How does this plan work? You’ll question, dissect and figure out how it’ll be successful before wasting your time or money. In weight loss it’s the counselor’s job is to educate you on the first visit or else. Once you commit, you’re determined to finish what you started. You’re a “Mom I can do it myself!” personality.

4. If circumstances become too complicated, it’s easier to give up. That includes marriage, employment, gym membership or weight loss. You need to establish “small goals to reach goals” so you won’t feel like a failure when large goals aren’t met. Two steps backward but five steps ahead.

5. Competitive, you make life a game. Always striving for short-term goals to makes life interesting, you’ll join a sports team or gym to be the best there. However since you have perfectionist standards, life sometimes becomes an “all or nothing” encounter. Competitive, you might be the heaviest in the crowd because of you desire to be #1! “I can out eat you! Just watch!”

6. Procrastinators never seem to find an ideal time to begin. There’s always a special party or a wedding coming up. “I’ll start next week” and of course next week never comes. A procrastinator usually fears failure, rejection, sets unrealistic goals or needs stimulation to meet deadlines.

7. a. If you joined and stuck it out, your word is your bond. You value your principles and reach goals. If b. then you’ll quit everything you begin. On a diet plan, you’re always searching for another quick fix. No one holds you accountable. Beware! Learn to hold yourself accountable, developing self-discipline. Quitting does nothing for an ego except defeat it.

You’re probably a combination of the above personalities. But understand, Satan wants us to feel defeated, to say, “Well, that’s the way God made me so I guess I’m stuck.” Pity party!

“For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” (2 Timothy 1:7)

Be disciplined and conquer any characteristics that aren’t advantageous. You’re worth it to God.

(Enjoy a controlled and Happy Thanksgiving – I’ll return first week in December.)