Tag Archive | healthy-living

Sage Advice From a 100-Year-Young Friend

“Wisdom is with the aged, and understanding in length of days.”  (Job 12:12)

Everyone desires to live a productive and happy life. Few achieve it. My dear friend Judy exemplifies it!

Tomorrow marks her 100th birthday. Yes, she moves a little slower but her mind is still sharp. She resides in a lovely assisted living facility but never misses a Sunday service if she can. With so much energy, I can’t help but think she must have been somethin’ in her prime!

Now imagine all she has seen since 1917; how the world has transposed amidst industrial growth, space flights, world wars, technical advances and changes in society which have occurred over a century.

I interviewed her recently to unearth how she accomplished what so many seek but never find; peace and contentment.

Ellie: Judy, you are one of the most gracious people I know. I never hear you complain about aches, pains or grumble as so many older people do. What’s your secret to being so youthful?

Judy, without a moment’s hesitation deadpanned, “Good genes!” (A great sense of humor is also a wonderful age-resister: Proverbs 15:13.)

E: And that’s certainly part of it. You still look and act young-at-heart. But I also know you’ve gone through challenging times. What has given you such a positive outlook on life?

J:  (pausing) I guess my mother was the greatest influence in my life. When I was a teenager, she wouldn’t allow me to  complain when others had so little compared to us. She always told me to count my blessings.

E:  This was during the Great Depression?

J: Yes, we weren’t rich but we weren’t poor either. My mother was always sharing what we had with those less fortunate than us. Her generosity was a good example to follow.

“I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his children begging for bread.”   (Psalm 37:25)

E:  So what was the most important piece of advice your mother ever gave you?

J: She taught me that if you don’t give – you won’t receive. Help others as best you can. Give from the heart but be genuine about it.

E: What’s your secret to aging gracefully? You certainly don’t act 100. I know they feed you well here.

J:  In here, one eats what they put in front of you. (smiling) Well . . . there’s always an activity to occupy our time if we want and I’m happy being here near friends. My mother told me there is always someone who is better off or has less than me so I try to live my best life. Until I see Jesus, this is the life I’m given and I am content.

E: Is that another of your many secrets? So many who live in Assisted Living Facilities miss their previous home and lifestyle, but I’ve never heard you complain.

J: I think I’ve never minded change. I’ve lived a long time and have seen this world change a great deal. Look at how technology has grown. I’m able to watch TV, talk on my cell phone and have friends drive me to church.

E: With that being said, what words of wisdom would you give today’s generation?

J: I’m sorry so many seem to have lost the Godly values my generation had and I’d like to see more kindness.  Young people used to stand aside to allow older people to enter a building. Few do today.

E:  You don’t seem to live in the past as so many do.

J:  I remember my past but I don’t live in it.

Judy epitomizes what being young-at-heart is all about. To be truly content one must be grateful for God’s blessings in one’s life, remain mentally and physically active while being surrounded by loving, supportive friends. Those are the keys to a Joyous Life.

She has truly exemplified Philippians 4:11, “Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have.”

 

The Most Inspiring Young Lady I Know!

This post is dedicated to one of the bravest young ladies I know. She battles an illness many others would never reveal and does so with strength and courage. Can you imagine standing up and resisting any friend who pushes delicious (but harmful to her) foods like fried chicken, donuts, potato chips, soft drinks or spicy foods? That demonstrates incredible perseverance in resisting peer pressure and setting priorities! She’s truly independent and strong and I’m very proud of her!

Diagnosed last year with ulcerated colitis at age 9, she has shown remarkable determination and dedication to healthier living. UC is an inflammation of the colon causing bloating, gas, intense pain, bloody diarrhea and other embarrassing biological responses. Maintaining a strict diet is the only way to endure this debilitating illness.

One of her biggest daily challenges is consuming valuable nutrients which will remain in her system. Now vital nutrients are carried away without infiltrating the digestive system. The body  derives much of its nutrient balance through the intestines. Therefore it’s imperative to consume valuable vitamins, minerals and protein. But if one is constantly dealing with diarrhea that’s tougher. Consuming mini-meals and lots of water to avoid dehydration throughout the day will help.

ALSO IMPORTANT: Chew your food!

Chewing releases enzymes. Digestion can’t happen without enzymes.  No vitamin, mineral or hormone can work without enzymes. Without enzymes one can’t breathe, walk or complete any other function! Think of enzymes as the moving men who distribute boxes to the right room in your house; except enzymes move nutrients to the correct part of your bodily home.

Lipase is the enzyme which moves fats throughout the digestion system and is released through the intestines. If one is constantly battling diarrhea, digestion is poor and even the best eating plan won’t work, fatigue, weakness and anemia could occur. Consume good fats like avocado, coconut oil and milled flaxseed.

Probiotics

To build up the immune system eat probiotic and prebiotic foods. These foods will increase good bacteria in your gut so enzymes can work properly. Find these in garlic, onions, tomatoes (mmm, Italian food anyone?) They are also found in fermented foods like sauerkraut, kefir, sour cream, cheeses and yogurt.

Let’s talk about yogurt. Most contain too many fillers, chemicals and sweeteners and should be labeled junk food! It’s the beneficial bacteria that’s important and these contain little if any! Also avoid “light” yogurt which contain artificial sweeteners.

A good yogurt is one that states there are active cultures inside. This is the beneficial bacteria which keeps your colon healthy while fighting our body’s harmful bacteria. The label usually will have names like Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophiles along with active cultures.

I purchase Dannon Natural Vanilla but these brands are also good:  Fage, Stonyfield, Liberte’, Mountain High. Always check the label for “active cultures.” Add your own fruit, honey, milled flaxseed or cinnamon for flavor. You can also create smoothies with cultured yogurt, bananas, oranges, coconut, smooth peanut butter or other creation.

Those with UC have a harder time metabolizing insoluble fiber because it passes without breaking down, (think corn, seeds, apple skins.) Strive to consume soluble fiber which becomes a gel and won’t incite flare-ups. Applesauce, stewed pears, Guacamole, oatmeal, mashed sweet potatoes are suggestions. Baby foods, Ensure or Boost will help when you’re having an especially tough day.

Bottom line, eat for nutrients and reduce stress. Keep a food diary and recognize what works and doesn’t. Unfortunately there is “no-one-size-fits-all” diet plan. Resist discouragement and don’t allow the devil to steal your Joy! Count your blessings in all God has allowed you to do!

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”  (John 10:10)

 

 

 

 

 

Following an Anti-inflammatory Diet

If your physician has prescribed an ‘anti-inflammatory diet’ would you know what to eat?  Probably not. It’s one of those  “dog year” questions (relatable in practical terms.) It has to do with the pH scale’s acidic/alkaline relationship.  The more acidic one is, the more prone to illness one becomes.ph-scale

Imagine the pH scale being in a straight line from 1-14.  7 is neutral, (like pure water.) 1 is acidic, (like battery acid) and anything above is considered alkaline.  Balance is what it’s all about. Try to maintain a pH around  7.3 – 7.4.

Coffee, alcohol and soft drinks are incredibly acidic so cut down. Increase your water intake with lemon. Although you’ll notice lemon and vinegar is acidic on the pH scale, each actually metabolizes into an alkaline food. (God knew it all the time!)

The anti-inflammatory diet isn’t a “diet” as much as a lifestyle choice. One thing is certain however, not addressing your health concerns will only create larger ones down the road! Chronic inflammation is dangerous! It is not a “little” problem if you ignore will simply go away. Chronic inflammation can eventually cause intense health issues including heart disease, IBS, colitis, arthritis, dementia, kidney disease and cancers.

What causes inflammation? Stress is a major contributor and in today’s world who isn’t under stress? Find ways to relieve daily stress through exercise, relaxing bubble baths, soft music, fresh air, massages or anything that calms you besides food.

A healthy anti-inflammatory diet is on the alkaline side of the pH scale. It primarily consists of: fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, herbs and whole grains such as oats, quinoa, brown rice and buckwheat (kashi).  In truth, if you eat as God instructed Adam in the Garden of Eden, you’ll add a lot more life in your years.

Every meat is acidic, especially the processed meats with dyes and chemicals such as cold cuts, bacon or hot dogs, so consume lean protein like fish, chicken, sirloin and pork loin.

Sugar and artificial chemically treated foods are highly acidic. Unfortunately so are the nightshade plants like tomatoes, potatoes, peppers and eggplant. This doesn’t mean you must give them up entirely, but only consume occasionally. Balance is the key here.

Wheat, unfortunately, is on the acidic side of the scale. However whole wheat contains a great deal of fiber, so only avoid enriched breads and balance whole wheat products with more fruits and vegetables. Try to consume fiber-rich vegetables like sweet potatoes, corn, squash, alfalfa, beans and lentils. The fiber helps remove toxins from your system and avoids damaging inflammation. Increase water consumption also.

One characteristic of the anti-inflammatory diet is the recommended inclusion of omega-rich fatty acids, especially omega 3’s. These consists of milled flaxseed, walnuts, olive oil (best used cold), avocados, good fatty fish like salmon, tuna and sardines.

Avoid salt and choose to flavor your foods with healthy herbs. Garlic, turmeric, cinnamon and capsaicin are especially helpful with their anti-inflammatory properties!  And don’t worry about not enjoying any treats either. A good dark chocolate contains a great deal of antioxidants as does a glass of red wine.

Do you see the pattern here? You can enjoy so much more than you thought you could! Simply eat healthier and consume more whole foods to rid yourself of the artificially flavored, chemically processed boxed foods you might pick up at the supermarket for “convenience.” There is nothing convenient about pain and inflammation! Strive for a happier, healthier lifestyle.

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

Keeping our Brain Young Thru These Food Choices

God gave us a brain for a purpose and we should always aspire to honor God in the way it is used!

 “Who endowed the heart with wisdom or gave understanding to the mind?”  (Job 38: 3)

I love lists and to this day create lists as I head out to the grocery or department store.  Internet lists are also enticing to me. I especially get hooked by those intriguing articles that bait: “The Best Cities for Dog Lovers,” “100 Best Movies in History!” or some such title.

th[7]Anyway, if you enjoy fun facts as much as I do, here is my personal list on “Food Facts to Keep Brain Cells.”

Did you know . . . ?

Prunes, raisins, garlic, blueberries and blackberries contain so far, the highest rated ORAC’s (oxygen radical absorbency capacity) which determine the strongest antioxidant values of any fruit and vegetable tested.

Commercial grape juice and tomato juice surprising contain more antioxidants than the same fresh produce in the produce aisle?

Spinach, blueberries and strawberries improve short term memory! Any antioxidant will protect brain cells but these three actually restore brain receptors.  Strawberries with walnuts on a spinach salad with a little olive oil is really brain food!

Blueberries will help restore balance and coordination. (Which is important since we tend to lose those as we age.)

Green tea versus black tea: Green is higher in one antioxidant (50 cent word alert: epigallocatechin gallate)  but black tea is higher in all-around antioxidant potency. Those pre-packaged mixes contain little if any antioxidants, so brew your own.

Pregnant mothers especially, should be consuming eggs for the brain health of their babies. (As we all should.)  Eggs are one of the few foods that contain the amino acid, choline. And many dieters stay away from eggs mistakenly believing they are fattening.

The brain feeds primarily on glucose derived from complex carbohydrates from fruits and vegetables. Fruits contain more ORAC’s overall than vegetables, although kale, spinach and Brussels sprouts rank very high. Although you will derive quick energy from a Snickers bar, you are consuming empty calories! Not recommended.

Monounsaturated fats such as olive oil, avocado, nuts, milled flaxseed and fish oils keeps your brain cells flexible and fluid.

Eat Fish! Fish oil is amazing! It restores concentration through the brain/blood barrier, speeds up brain waves, calms mental stress and relieves depression. So eat fish, especially the fatty fishth[5] like salmon, sardines, tuna and mackerel.  Brain cells are lined with Omega 3 fatty acids which reduce inflammation. Therefore these good fats keep cells fluid, elastic  and fights inflammation. If you absolutely hate fish, then at least take a fish oil supplement such as cod liver oil.

Dark Chocolate boosts antioxidant protective polyphenols properties higher than red wine.

Now Change These Habits:

Quit Smoking! Smoking constricts major blood pathways to the brain which eventually decreases memory and mental capacity. Quit this filthy habit which has no redeeming value and hurts all around you, either through the air they breathe or the pain they’ll suffer when you become incapacitated!

Cut down on sugar! Did you know that high blood sugar stimulates a thickening of the blood vessel walls? No pun intended but think about that! How long do you want to retain your brain cells . . . perhaps just a little longer?

Try reducing colas and caffeinated products which can cause an imbalance in our bodily functions; increasing anxiety, sleep disruptions, higher blood pressure and ages cells. (2 cups of coffee or tea is fine.)

All through life, honor the LORD.

 “So I turned my mind to understand, to investigate and to search out wisdom and the scheme of things . . .” (Ecclesiastes 7:25 

 

No Such Thing As “Free” Food!

chinese buffetEver go to an “all you can eat” Buffet and rationalize, “I better eat enough because after all, it’s free food!” Six plates of food and five desserts later, you’re not feeling so great about your decision.

News Flash: “All you can eat” is never free. Overindulge and there’s a price to pay. It hangs on to you like a demon, causing heart and cholesterol problems.

When you think about it, nearly every disease can be traced back to what we place in our mouths. Type 2 Diabetes, high blood pressure, cancers, gout, diverticulitis . .  . it’s sad but basically true.  Why do we do that to ourselves? Why do we self-destruct our precious temple of the Holy Spirit?

We wouldn’t think of entering the Temple of Jerusalem and throwing trash onto that sacred floor, would we? But in essence, that is exactly what we are doing when we consume all those processed meats, artificial chemicals and fast foods everyday. Trashing our personal temple.

Remember, food isn’t necessarily good or bad, it is simply food, a way to convert nutrients into energy. Anything’s fine in moderation, but consuming junky foods everyday leads to illness, denigrating our earthly temple.  Have we ever contemplated how our out of control actions delights Satan who despises our Lord and any who follow Him? By losing control over food, we make it an idol. We are worshipping at our personal “Temple of the Krispie Kreme.”

Joshua 24:15 “

“And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” Joshua 24:15, NKJV.

Choose this day whom you will serve! . . .  As for me and my house, I will serve the Lord!  Now it’s your choice. Please don’t create a graven image in the form of a donut or a potato chip.

But It Won’t Be There Tomorrow!  If you grew up poor, during the depression or in a huge family where you had to grab it before it was gone, you might also not believe food will be there tomorrow.  Your subconscious mindset is; “I better eat my fill today, while I can, before it’s all gone.”  That’s false thinking!

Talk yourself into success, creating a plan beforehand to foster self-control.

  • Remind yourself that food isn’t your controller!
  • Remember food isn’t free, eating too much at a buffet affects all your bodily functions. Choose health!
  • Visualize yourself in a battle with Satan. Are you going to let him win? NO! Believe 1 John 4:4, “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.”  Tell Satan, “I win, you lose! Ha, ha!”
  • Socialize with others as you eat. slow down and concentrate and enjoy what you have on your plate. Remember it takes 20 minutes for your brain to know that your stomach is full.
  • Eat something small and healthy before going out, so you won’t be ravenous when you arrive and overindulge with the lust of the eyes. 1 John 2:16.
  • After being victorious, reward yourself with a non-food item, such as a hair product, hat, book, exercise video, sunglasses or movie when you overcome temptation.

Recite Philippians 4:13 “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” and just do it!

Desiring To Be Intentionally Fit? A Must Read!

“Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed–not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence–continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling,” 

                                              (Philippians 2:12)                                                                

Inspirational author Mary Graziano Scro, epitomizes the total mind, body and Spiritual connection to fitness in her new book, Intentional Fitness: Working Out Your Salvation.Intentional Fitness  As Mary asserts early on, “Only by being intentional in our Spiritual life can we become intentionally fit in our personal lives.” So True!

Ms. Scro stresses that our life’s goal is not for man’s adoration but to honor and glorify our earthly body for our LORD.  Each of us should strive to be healthy, not only to be physically fit but to ultimately honor God and live as He designed us to live; with energy, vitality and True Joy.

Why then, when we desire to become healthy, certain obstacles prevent us from accomplishing that feat? Mary urges us to not believe Satan’s lies. The devil has no power over you unless you allow him to fill your mind with defeat. You are an imperfect being, so what? Aren’t we all? God understands our imperfections and is ready to restore us if we seek Him.

“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13)

The author addresses the fact that to fully accomplish any health goal, one must understand how our inward thoughts and actions affect us. Recognizing what ingrained habits and thought-patterns obscure our path will allow us to rid ourselves of any sinful baggage which holds us back. Only then, using Godly principles, can we strive for success.

Intentional Fitness is aimed at dispensing practical applications and steps to reach personal goals and provides in-depth, thought-provoking questions at the end of each chapter. Since each of us have different personalities and trials to overcome, each question will assist the reader in discovering what motivates his/her mind-set and actions toward victory or failure.

A1tH-+XJslL._SX80_[1]Wonderfully written and presented in her humorous, encouraging and motivating writing style, Mary Graziano Scro’s inspirational book is a short 108 page easy-to-read delight. Mary discloses personal analogies and illustrations which many of her readers will relate to. Her testimony of how she met her husband is priceless! She reveals how God answered her prayers and met her needs and will do so with you as well, if you are truly ready to lay your burdens down and let God take over.

Intentional Fitness: Working Out Your Salvation can be found on Amazon.com for only $2.99!  For that price you can even purchase an additional one for a friend!

 

Retaining a Healthy Control at Holiday Functions

party foodIt’s quite common at this festive time of year to overeat rich, decadent foods. It seems our will power is challenged greatly and can easily go out the window at the first sign of chocolate! How can we stay healthy while partying with family, friends, our church congregation as well as at employee Christmas parties during this season?

Let me tell you, it’s not easy but it can be done.

Be prepared. You already know Aunt Martha will bring her creamy, “to die for” chocolate peanut butter torte. So your choices are as follows:

Avoid consuming something else at the function that’s fattening. It’s not complicated; it’s simply an exchange method. Don’t eat mashed potatoes or buttery bread so you can enjoy a small slice of that torte for desert without guilt feelings. You’ve remained in control while selecting something you really desired. It’s being out of control that destroys us. Don’t allow food to become your idol by craving it more than a Christ centered mind-set!

You can work out the next day (and the following week as well, if you really pig out!) This is another trade-off method. Health has a cost and food is never free! Temptation will hang on you like a demon, destroying your temple of the Holy Spirit. But God is not a wicked parent who wants to take away your desert simply because you’ve been bad. He gave us free will and the good news is: you get to choose.

But not all choices are wise.

“Everything is permissible” . . . but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible” . . . but not everything is constructive.” (1 Corinthians 10:23)

Conquer your cravings by beating them into submission. Okay, you ate it, you own it; now what? Remember to choose some type of exercise which is fun! Exercise shouldn’t be drudgery. By choosing what you enjoy, once again you are in control. Ask a friend to walk with you or walk your dog. Play in the snow, dance with your children, Zumba, jump rope, bike, play indoor tennis or buy a new exercise equipment or video.

Know yourself! Are you competitive, a socializer, shy or have a curious personality? Your temperament indicates how you’ll subconsciously react at functions.

  • If you’re a curious person, you’ll try some items simply to discover how they will taste.
  • If you are introverted, you’ll eat to keep your hands occupied
  • and a social person is a people pleaser; sometimes trying items simply to tell the creator how delicious and enjoyable something was.

Now none of these are wrong, well, unless you are out of control. (Are you recognizing a theme here?) Embrace your personality or change it, striving for excellence. Your choice.

Don’t go to any activity overly hungry! If you are starving, you’re tempting yourself to lose control. And if you drink alcohol on an empty stomach, you’ll lose even more control. Common sense; about an hour before you leave, have a piece of fruit with a little bit of peanut butter (for complex carbohydrate, fat and protein balance) and a cup of herbal tea.

So there are just a few ways you can enjoy your holiday parties without beating yourself up the next day. If you have additional suggestions to help others let me know. Thanks and blessings for a safe and controlled season

“Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.”  (Colossians 3:2)