Tag Archive | health

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.)

Feeding on Ashes

“He feeds on ashes; a deluded heart has led him astray, and he cannot deliver himself or say, “Is there not a lie in my right hand?” (Isaiah 44:14–20)

With an abundance of great culinary choices, why do we continue to choose unwisely? Why do some choose to feed on ashes? That’s unnecessary. If one eats as God intended, even if you have a debilitating illness (which be honest, unhealthy food choices most likely contributed to) it can greatly change your quality of life.

Some follow what I call, “the penance principle” when they decide to follow a “diet.” Believing they must flagellate myself and suffer or God won’t bless them. That means rice cakes and celery sticks every day.

Some (and this is sad – even some CHRISTIANS) follow a magical formula proposed by some health professional. After all, with modern science, those diet gurus must know more than God. I’m talking about the Paleo, Atkins, Paleo which restricts a certain food or entire category of foods while proclaiming the same unbiblical notion repeatedly.

These are False and all have the same theme! There is nothing new under the sun.

“What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.”  (Ecclesiastes 1:9)

Don’t we realize what a slap in the face of God it is to follow a false teacher rather than HIm? To say, “Well, God made a mistake, I know better now.”

I prefer to follow and profess God’s Will:

And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. (Genesis 1:29)

Every nutrient needed for optimum health can be found in the rain forests and family farms. God bless the farmers! I believe that after the world-wide flood, the atmosphere and probably our physiological chemistry needs changed (and animals could over-populate the earth) God declared:

“Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything.” (Genesis 9:3)

Must I remind you that doesn’t give us license to gorge ourselves, destroying our temples with fattening, processed, chemically-infused foods?

In “1 Corinthians 10:23 we read: “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.”

We need to practice self-control and make wise choices.

“Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit,”  (Ephesians 5:15-18)

Whatever takes the place of God, preventing us from maintaining control; preferring that item to God becomes an idol. Replace the word wine with chocolate, French fries, colas, fast food, smoking, sports, television even and you understand what I’m talking about.

God did not create a robotic nature for humans. He wants us to follow Him out of our own free will, out of Love. It’s our choice. I choose our Lord over French fries.  Easy choice.

Disclaimer: Yes I know some consume charcoal as medicine but that’s not God’s or my intended content here.

Water Helps Us Lose Weight, How???

You’ve always heard how water is essential to weight loss, right?

When I asked patients to increase water intake, occasionally they’d roll their eyes. “I know, I know,” they whined, “water makes us feel fuller.” Actually drinking water doesn’t make me feel full for long, does it for you?

Or someone might challenge me with “what about that woman in 1934 who died because she drank too much water???” (Obscure example.) Of course balance is key.

Know why:

“A plan in the heart of a man is like deep water, But a man of understanding draws it out.” (Proverbs 20:5)

Our God is a God of balance and doesn’t make mistakes! He’s created us well. More is not better and homeostatis (balance) is the key to true health.

There are certainly important physiological reasons why we should consume water! Water is the magical elixir in optimum health and it seems so obvious.

Our body is comprised of at least 70-75% water. Our brain: 75%. H2O – the “O” stands for oxygen of course. Oxygen transports energy. Oxygen helps the brain produce neurotransmitters and hormones. We won’t have as much brain fog so prevalent as we age if we hydrate more.

Unfortunately, cell performance deteriorates as we age. It’s the Second Law of Thermodynamics – everything’s winding down.

Water fights off aging. You’ll have fewer headaches, be less tired and cranky, retain mental capacity, blood pressure will be regulated and constipation won’t be an issue. Those who consume water have a more fluid, youthful, steady gait. Our knees and joints are safely cushioned; surrounded by water.

Water allows the kidneys to do their job of filtering out toxins, making our pH less acidic. We’re sick less often. I’ve used this illustration often but it’s important enough to repeat here:

Suppose one of your co-workers fails to come to work. The boss says you’ll be required to do that employee’s work along with your own. What happens? Your desk piles up with unfinished business, right? That’s the symbiotic relationship the liver has with the kidneys.

The kidneys filter out toxins. One of the most important responsibilities of the liver is to metabolize fat. When one doesn’t drink enough water, the liver has to step in, doing the work of the kidneys and thus cannot do its primary job. Therefore the body gets fatter.

Water transports nutrients and eliminates toxins. Electrolytes can then move messages efficiently. The accumulation of toxins places undo stress on the body, going into survival mode. (Survival mode slows down metabolism!) Blood begins to flow toward our outer extremities in our “fight or flight” mentality; thus away from our digestive system, virtually shutting it down.

Water cushions our vital organs, acting as a shock absorber. Once again, lack of water produces bodily stress. Water provides oxygen and therefore assists the energy cells: (mitochondria) in energizing our body. If we are dehydrated our blood pressure increases, our urine is darker and we feel sluggish and dull-headed.

Drink pure water – it takes metabolism longer to break down elements added to water. Cold water increases metabolism a bit. (Keep a pitcher of water/lemon in the fridge.) Warm beverages are comforting, a stress reliever.

Of course there are other side benefits as well. Water plumps up our skin and keeps us looking younger. Who doesn’t want to look younger? If we fail to hydrate, we fail to rid our skin of toxins and dry skin, acne, wrinkles and sun spots increase.

Therefore, consuming water gives us not only a young-at-heart attitude but younger looks as well. Thank you God for H2O!

 

 

 

Optimum Health: Challenging Our Teeter Totter Mind!

Life itself is one creative teeter totter ride – up/down/up/down. If we remained in one spot however, it would be stagnant, tedious. What fun is that?

Sometimes diets can become pretty stagnant too. Why continue to strive for a healthier, positive mindset when diets are so boring?

I can’t imagine existing on carrots, rice cakes and celery for months to lose weight. Yuk! And yet I can’t imagine a diet of chemically-processed, fast-food or boxed meals all the time either. Eat a variety of nutrients. It’s physiologically essential for optimum health.

But lifetime diets can be like riding a teeter totter too. Some days I eat an extremely healthy diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and yet some days I look forward to BBQ ribs, fries and coleslaw . . . in moderation. Then the next day, I am right back selecting healthier choices and not worrying about it

But don’t blame God for what we couldn’t control. I don’t remember who wrote this but it is worth repeating for its Truth: “We can’t blame God for not being in circumstances we stepped outside of him to make happen. Sometimes consequences make great teachers.”

It takes an enormous amount of effort to remain on that health plan when ice cream or cheese fries whisper our name. That is why we need a battle plan, a strategy to resist, knowing that temptations don’t come from God, but from the devil.

When one attempts to establish a healthier lifestyle, it seems culinary temptations cross our paths daily. It’s frustrating because Satan knows our weaknesses. We certainly battle a formidable opponent:

“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8) 

Stay Balanced!

First thing I do is memorize Scripture. Satan knows Scripture. That is how he tried to tempt our Lord after Jesus fasted in the desert. Scripture allows us to stand fast, remaining confident and vigilant. Quote some heavy-duty Scripture such as 1 John 4:4 and eventually the devil will tire of his game.

Next, envision that beast triumphantly announcing to all, that we follow him now instead of our Lord. His crafty temptations ensnared us. Impossible you say?  Well, creating a god out of cheese is no different than creating a golden calf, isn’t it? It’s an idol. We are worshiping a food item more than God. How silly to reduce our testimony to a block of cheese, when our Lord has done so much for us!

Every day produces highs and lows, so go with it. Let’s vary our diet, make wiser choices over the course of our life and glory in our godly accomplishments. Ups and downs . . . remember life is one endless teeter totter ride. So don’t fall off or stay down for long. There’s a magnificent view on top!

“Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,  I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3: 13b-14)

Healthy Encouragement to Succeed!

One of the best selling writers, Jerry Jenkins, expressed it very well: “I’ve made it my life’s work to coach writers because I’d love to see you enjoy the benefits I’ve enjoyed.” Well said, Mr. Jenkins.

I’m an author of several books, as well as a nutritional counselor. Like Mr. Jenkins, I urge and coach others to strive for healthier living because I want to see everyone enjoy the benefits I’ve enjoyed. By eating sensibly, you’ll obtain increased energy, more muscle (which burns fat), improved moods and a fit physique. I want you to feel JOY!  

I have no ulterior motive. Sure, I’d love to sell many more books, what author wouldn’t? And I enjoy hearing how I’ve  helped others. But have you noticed what’s happened to our culture over the past fifty years? With an abundance of fast-food locations, conveniently-packaged, chemically-based food choices, we’ve created an environment plagued by obesity.

One nurse I worked with years ago, playfully teased me at lunch in front of a group while eating a spoonful of icing. “Watch out, we’re being baaad and here comes the Food Police!” As she withdrew another huge spoonful from the container, she taunted, “Look Ellie, I never knew Crisco and powered sugar could taste so good! Mmmm.”

Okay, funny but some don’t get it! The icing isn’t bad. Losing control while not understanding why or not caring is!!! In fact, I’ll eat icing sometimes; but not much because although there’s pleasure in sugar, there are few nutrients. Sugar releases valuable serotonin but too much sugar creates moodiness, the “jitters” and ages us. Want that?

Even sadder is the fact that many do nothing to educate themselves regarding why and how to control their impulses. I have no willpower, they believe. Hardly. That same willpower which prevents us from telling off our mother-in-law is the same willpower we tap into when we need resistance. We have willpower, it simply needs to be prioritized.

There are other reasons why people overindulge besides lack of willpower – occasionally it’s emotional while other times it’s physical: medication, insulin production, inherited DNA among several.

A few suggestions to resist and overcome:

  1. Recognize why you crave this particular food. Let’s use icing as an example. We never truly outgrow our childhood. Perhaps you’re experiencing a horrific day and all you want to do now is feel the same secure warm-blanket-closeness you felt when your mom let you lick the spoon. Understand your feelings might not be about true hunger but what’s eating at you.
  2. A little icing is fine but if you can’t control your temptations, for heaven-sakes, don’t bring it into the house. Use sliced fruit or a drizzle of melted chocolate as a topping instead.
  3. Understand this: God wants you happy and healthy. If you can’t resist – get out of the house and go walking, biking, gardening or some other fresh air activity for at least twenty minutes. (If it’s in your house, it’s in your mouth!) You can also read, write, watch a movie or something which will get your mind off eating.
  4. Personal favorite:  paint your nails!  (Okay, men, grease an axel.) We can’t get into a bag of chips if our nails are gooey. If that doesn’t work, take a bubble bath, wash your hair or call a supportive friend.

I wish people realized when a loved one suffers, everyone who cares about them does as well, especially God!

 “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.” (Psalm 32:8)

Live Vibrantly Healthy!

News Flash??????? Red Meat’s Now Okay!

Oh gracious, stop the Presses; there’s been a remarkable News Flash proclaiming: “Red Meat is NOW acceptable to eat!”

Well, when wasn’t it? Oh right, about thirty years ago when scientific studies came out claiming it caused horrific artery blockage, while little nutritionist me, was scoffed by declaring, “it’s fine in moderation.”

“He feeds on ashes; a deluded heart has led him astray, and he cannot deliver himself or say, “Is there not a lie in my right hand?” (Isaiah 44:14–20)

This recent study didn’t go into detail as to how much red meat one should reasonably consume. Nor did I see where it even distinguished between the skinnier sirloin or filet mignon, as opposed to fattier prime rib or 73% hamburger.

Why is that important? First, one cut of beef is not the same as another. Secondly, more is not better. Depending on its type, it takes longer to digest the protein and fat in beef, from 4-8 hours. (Plant/fruit/grain protein is normally 2-4  hours.)

Of course red meat is very beneficial in moderation. Red meat contains iron for red blood cells and is one of the only protein ways to obtain B12 as well.

But so many misconceptions! I was appalled when I overheard a trade show vendor pitching a product which supposedly absorbed fat. She proclaimed as her selling point: ” . . . and red meat rots in your stomach!” People believed this claim!

Actually, stomach acid has a pH of 1- 3, about the same as battery acid. This acidic environment helps create pepsin, the enzyme which breaks down food in the stomach. Not much can survive intact within that acidic pH!

But I can hear the critics exclaim, “How then are we to know what to believe? Nutritional scientists are always changing their minds on what we can eat!”

Well, that’s what happens when people listen to science. They begin to worship the creation instead of the Creator. My Creator God told me in Genesis 9:3 that it was perfectly all right to consume meat. So I do . . . in moderation . . . as I’m also told in 1 Corinthians 10:23. What’s moderation? About 6-8 ounces of meat per day.

Balance is needed. Red meat has many benefits: It’s high in minerals including zinc, iron. phosphorus and selenium, a “feel-good” nutrient. It also contains amino acids and the antioxidant Glutathione. L-Carnitine metabolizes fat and is proactive in heart health.

But beef has a few precautions as well.

Cows nowadays are pumped up with growth hormones to hurry beef off to market. People ingest these hormones because they’re eating out much more – especially at convenient, fast food restaurants. Young people are affected greatly. Why do you think children as young as 8 – 9 approach puberty sooner?

I know someday, someone will sit near me consuming a huge 20 ounce bacon-wrapped steak, happily stuffing themselves into oblivion because some study told them it was okay to do so.

Regarding the study, I’d need to know more. It simply acknowledged it used a large, diversified demographic and geographical group. I’m skeptical. What type/categories of people participated?

We are all unique with a different physiological makeup. Did they use many more athletic high school and college aged men who worked out five times per week, an elderly or overweight population or those who took a cholesterol-lowering drug daily? Who paid for this study? Was it the beef industry or someone with an agenda regarding the outcome?

I urge you to never become a sheep when reading any study. Don’t follow blindly. I know what I believe and why. I’d rather trust God than men. Men make mistakes, God does not!

 

Adrift in a Sea of Nutritional Myths

When are we going to learn that God is actually smarter than we are? When are we going to trust that what He proclaimed  6,000 years ago nutritionally, is still Truth for today?

There are plenty of false diet gurus who testify how, by abstaining from this particular food type, you’ll lose weight. Please don’t be a sheep and follow blindly. We must realize if someone is pushing a diet agenda, there’s usually something profitable for the one doing the pushing!

God has no agenda except keeping you healthy in order to honor Him. He wants you to live a vibrant, productive life. He’s not Lucy waiting to take away your fun. Follow His dietary plan in Genesis 1:29 & 9:3 and enjoy a healthy life!

Contrary to what many scientists believe, our DNA wasn’t derived from apes, crystals or aliens. God created Adam with the perfect brain and physique with the intention of avoiding the Second Law of Thermodynamics when He said, “Do Not Eat!” But Adam believed a false prophet (Satan) and ate what was never intended for him. Mankind has deteriorated ever since. Lucky us.

“Discretion will watch over you, and understanding will guard you.”   (Proverbs 2:11)

Use discretion! Let’s look at some food fallacies people believe today. Avoiding: 

Bread.  A 1970’s Scandinavian study discovered when men consumed twelve slices of bread every day for weeks, rather than gain, they lost weight. Full of B vitamins, whole grains convert fats, proteins and carbs into energy. Fiber in hearty bread attaches to cholesterol, moving sludge out of one’s system, allowing the absorption of nutrients, which process food into energy.

Avocados: Physiologically, this fruit contains monounsaturated fat which attacks lousy LDL cholesterol and the stress hormone, cortisol which produces acid, creating toxins, which increases one’s waistline.

Pork: Pork loin contains less fat than the equivalent amount of skinless chicken breast. It contains thiamine, a calming B vitamin which overcomes stress. Choline and amino acids assist with metabolic processes.

Coconut: medium-chain trigylcerides and lauric acid target belly fat. This is one food stressed on the Keto Diet and why it works for some but overall Keto is a dangerous diet plan and never one I’d recommend!

Bananas: This often maligned fruit is one everyone should purchase! Magnesium, potassium, B’s, even vitamin C! Chocked full of fiber, it allows insulin to be released more slowly into your system, thus less hunger pains. Starts out as a starch. becoming more of a simple carbohydrate as it ripens (still nutritious.)

Nuts: Nuts are packed with protein, enzymes, antioxidants and so many beneficial nutrients like thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, B12, vitamin E, manganese, potassium, magnesium, iron, zinc and essential fatty acids. Pistachios fight cortisol, the stress hormone and walnuts are fabulous for cognitive retention!

Eggs:  Eat for nutrients!  A, D, E, B6, B12, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, zinc, iron, choline, folate, selenium, potassium, magnesium, calcium and vital amino acids among other nutrients, nuff’ said?

Beans/lentils: The Paleo diet says avoid them. Really? These beneficial foods have both soluble and insoluble fiber plus protein, thiamine, E, folic acid, iron, magnesium, potassium, calcium, etc. etc. . . .  what do you think???

Milk/ Cheese: Calcium/D for strong bones and muscle mass, (muscle burns fat.) Probiotics and whey for weight loss and digestive health.

You’ve probably guessed by now that God’s simple diet plan is the most beneficial, while offering Moderation!  I believe I’ll follow it, will you?

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  (Jeremiah 29:11)