Tag Archive | practical lifestyle applications

Should We Expect Rewards for Bad Behavior?

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

I haven’t posted about our pup, “Mr. No-no” in a while. How quickly times flies. He’s 17 months now and still mischievous. Honestly though, he’s so gosh-darn-fluffy-cute & affectionate, I can’t stay angry at him long.

Unfortunately I must be more stubborn than the pooch or I’d have a very spoiled dog and no one likes that. He gets away with some bad behavior occasionally, but mostly he’s a  joy to be around, sweet but challenging.

In spite of all the toys he has to play with, we’ll still catch him chewing on the edge of our carpet. We know he realizes right from wrong because as soon as I gasp at what he’s doing, he’ll run into his crate and give himself a “time-out” and look absolutely  sorrowful for what he’s done.

Or is perhaps the real reason he’s miserable, is because he got caught?!

How like unruly pooches we are too. Many of my patients were extremely sorry after consuming all those chemically-based, fattening foods which evolved into heart disease or diabetes. But were they really  (???) . . . or was it the fact that their behavior caught up with them and they had to face the consequences of their actions which caused the sorrow?

Everyone realizes that choosing unhealthy foods MOST of the time isn’t good for us – that’s a “duh” statement. But we do it anyway, don’t we? It’s the main reason I enjoy counseling because getting to the root of  why we self-destruct with foods must come first.

Our American diet has become so unhealthy: Breakfast of bacon, 3 egg cheese omelette, hash browns, buttered toast followed by fast-food double cheeseburgers, French fries and shake for lunch. Then for dinner fried chicken and a “diet” coke. (Or the equivalent daily.)

Recently we were visiting at someone’s house and our dog kept jumping up, demanding a treat. I asked the friend not to give it to him unless he sat first. The man laughed, shook his head and stated, “Oh that’s okay, he’s just a puppy.” and promptly gave Mr. “No-no” a treat. So what did our dog learn? That jumping is acceptable and you’ll be rewarded if you keep it up.

That’s so contrary to Scripture. What if God laughed at our ungodly behavior and smirked, “Well, that’s just Fred. He’s a new Christian. Here’s a treat . . .”

No! Actions have consequences. “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.” (Galatians 6:7)  Or as we say in today’s terms, “Garbage in, garbage out.” God stated anything is permissible. but not everything is constructive. (1 Corinthians 10:23)

Sure consuming BBQ ribs, fries, milkshakes, steaks, etc. is permissible. Simply eat less and balance  nutrients out. Personally I avoid most fattening foods because fat actually coats the tongue which prevents us from really tasting our food. Therefore we eat more, trying to derive more flavor. That first bite of ice cream or donut might taste fantastic but after a while, we don’t reap as much enjoyment because our taste buds are covered.

80% of the time choose healthy nutritious foods. What God created in Genesis 1:29 and 9:3, He preferred us to eat. He provided us with excellent and varied choices for our best metabolic function. We should always attempt to honor God with our lifestyle and diet. If we abuse our bodies, remember it was our choice.

Discipline your body! Don’t create an idol out of food, because actions always have consequences.

 

 

 

 

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Before You Take Drastic Measures to Lose Weight . . .

It is always wise to determine your personality, lifestyle and relationship to food before jumping into any “diet” plan. It could influence whether you succeed or fail.

What I enjoy about counseling is that every patient is different, keeping me on my toes. But all new sessions begin with the Guess Why I Can’t Lose game. Some tell me what I want to hear while others deny they even have a problem. “I don’t have a problem, my husband has the problem! He’s pushing me to lose!” But I can’t assist anyone until they understand there’s a crisis. They’re in denial. I can’t fix what someone won’t recognize as broken. The first step in overcoming is awareness.

Another denial is if the doctor circled obese on their chart. “I am NOT obese. I’m only sixty pounds overweight – how dare he call me obese!” (More importantly, every pound of fat requires 2-7 extra miles of blood vessels. That’s stressing the heart!)

Or we play their hide and seek game: “Unless you discover my hidden insecure pysche, I’m terrific!” Having perfectionist tendencies tends to feel like admitting any mistake is a chink in their armor. Believe me I won’t think less of them and success will come faster. In counseling, the more we discovered together, the more the patient recognized the challenge to address.

The saddest scenario however is when someone desperately searches for drastic methods to lose weight, without knowing how their lifestyle affects their eating habits. Such was the case with “Sheila.” who underwent stomach reduction surgery in the mid ’90s. This surgery was considered permanent then.

Why a doctor would have endorsed an operation like that for someone who lived for food is beyond me. The doctors I worked for would never have approved such surgery unless it was a lifesaving procedure.

Sheila loved everything about food! She enjoyed the taste, texture, cooking, baking, dining with friends, exploring new restaurants and entertaining in her luxurious home. Life was one big party! As a teenager she was a healthy 125 pounds but over the years she lost control. She believed all her problems would be over if she only had the surgery. Then she’d return to her normal weight and carefree lifestyle once again.

What Sheila didn’t understand was that eating normally again as she knew it, would never happen. For someone whose world revolved around food this was a living nightmare she’d never wake up from. After the surgery, she could only consume 2 ounces of food at any one time while her friends dined on thick steaks, French fries, buttery rolls plus dessert. She became jealous, angry at having lost her eating pleasures.

Why she hadn’t realized she’d have to drastically reduce her portion sizes was puzzling. Sheila never acknowledged if she hadn’t understood the consequences or if the doctor failed to emphasis this essential restriction. She only knew that when others enjoyed Thanksgiving with all the fixings, she ate two ounces of pretty much nothing. She suffered from depression, malnutrition, anemia and anger issues, despising herself for her impulsive action.

There’s a safer way. Talk to a qualified nutritional counselor first before taking drastic steps or attempting crazy diet plans. It’s the same  adage as “when all else fails, pray.” Actually we should go to God first. Not as an after-thought. God wants you healthy and so do we!

“Why spend your money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in rich food.”  (Isaiah 55:2)  ISV

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)

Another “What Does It Mean To Me in Dog Years?” Post

My husband sat with his morning coffee, reading a magazine. After finishing an article, he shook his head and murmured, “Hmmff.” He placed a piece on health in front of me entitled  Know Your Numbers. “I bet you can tell me what’s wrong with this.”

heart-healthy-foodsGlancing through it, I read how it recommended knowing our blood pressure, glucose and cholesterol level numbers. It wasn’t long before I understood what hubby meant. It never once mentioned what those numbers were, the standard to which we should compare ourselves.

In other words, my blood pressure could be 230/150, my glucose 65 and my cholesterol 360 and it wouldn’t mean a thing! I wouldn’t know if my stats were low, balanced or dangerously high.

Even if I “know my numbers” it wouldn’t mean squat unless I knew what it meant to me in dog years? (We know if dogs are 12, they are actually 7x’s that in human years. Now we can relate to why he’s sore after climbing stairs.) How in the world could we possibly “know” our numbers when it never provided the standard in which we should compare ourselves with? 

So in case you happened to read this same article, here’s a quick overview. These are physiological standards which we should aspire to in order to remain the healthiest we can be.

Our blood pressure should consistently be within the 120 systolic and 80 diastolic range under normal circumstances. That means in a non-stressed atmosphere. Like not being chased by a rabid animal or being in a job you don’t enjoy. By constantly being provoked, the heart remains under constant stress, increasing blood pressure. Therefore find ways to distress with soft music, bubble baths, exercise, fresh air . . .

Our blood glucose should remain between 90-120 before meals. Glucose is brain/body fuel. Consuming well-balanced, fibrous mini-meals throughout the day will keep our metabolic engine running efficiently. Skipping meals will make us susceptible to bingeing for quick energy and the fastest energy is sugar! Sugar enters our system within 15 minutes but burns up very quickly, dropping insulin levels. We then become extremely hungry and sugar cravings begin again.

High glucose levels are more dangerous to us than simply weight gain. Consistently high glucose levels can cause kidney, nerve and eye disease or even amputation of limbs. To stabilize blood sugar consume lean protein and a high fiber diet of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and herbs. Try to consume from 25-35 grams of fiber daily. (4 grams equal approximately 1 teaspoon.)

Cholesterol is more complex. There is “helpful” cholesterol (HDL) which protects the heart and transports bad cholesterol out of the body.  HDL should remain above 45 mg/dl. (Milligrams per Deciliter.) LDL, “lousy” cholesterol, creates plaque,clogging arteries. LDL should remain lower than 100 mg/dl. Beneficial fiber (with water) clears our arteries like Roto Rooter.

Stay away from high protein diets which contain a higher cholesterol rate. Also stay away from sugary donuts and processed desserts which raise triglycerides which should remain lower than 150 mg/dl.

If we eat unhealthily because we demand instant gratification, how could that ever please God? As Christians, God provides a Biblical standard which we judge ourselves against. The Bible contains Absolutes, to which we should aspire: “Be holy for I am Holy” (1 Peter 1:16.) If we didn’t, we’d have no moral compass and would reap the unhealthy lifestyle which we ourselves sowed. To paraphrase Judges 21:25, “everyone would eat what was right in his own eyes,” regardless of consequences.

“Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.” (3 John 1:2)

Don’t Get Caught in a Marketing Net!

Caution: the holiday season is quickly approaching and advertisers are trying to lure you into their net.

I recently heard a pastor comparing a fish lured by an enticing fish-hook to humans being ensnared by the temptations of this world. Now being a nutritionist, I view everything through a nutritional lens, so I immediately thought, “hmmm, how true! Another similarity between nutrition and spirituality.”

“For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” 1 John 2:16 (KJV)

How many times have we innocently strolled along the aisles of the local mall when we suddenly get a whiff of cinnamon or popcorn and start salivating? Or walk past th[2]the Food Court and a McDonald’s calls our name? Eating at a restaurant is not wrong. However if we are trying to become healthier and food controls us, then we have a problem.

Although focusing on finding that perfect pair of jeans, we can’t get the thought of those cinnamon pretzel sticks out of our mind, no matter how hard we try! Now we notice that every corner has an Auntie Anne’s, Cinnabon or Wetzel’s Pretzels. Temptation begins to lure us in through its cinnamony, buttery aroma and a feast for the eyes as we observe others pulling apart its flakey bounty. That’s all it takes and we’re hooked! Losing control, we feel like failure and Satan gleefully dances while we suffer.

Why is it that as we attempt to eat healthy, tempting food choices abound everywhere?! Satan wishes to destroy our bodily temple with unhealthy fats, preservatives and chemicals. He cannot read our minds but he sure is attuned to our human nature, having deduced what our weak links have been. It takes Herculean power to resist his hook baited with temptation, but it sure feels great when we do!

Marketing knows what it takes and are counting on that fishhook to lure us in too!  As the world becomes more globally secular through the internet, raunchy sit-coms, music and even commercials, it’s easy even for a strong Christian to be side-tracked nowadays with the many lures of secularism.

So how do we resist the lure of temptation? It’s extremely tough, so we must be prepared. Especially now, if we’re on a healthier dietary plan, we usually gets sidetracked, giving up until January. Never ever give up striving for health! God wants us healthy!

“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7

Logically, think ahead, in regards to challenges. You already know as you shop for gifts, there are plenty of food trip-ups at the mall so be prepared:

  • Don’t go hungry. Duh.
  • Love cinnamon? Have it on your yogurt, in your coffee or on your whole wheat toast before you go. Your hypothalamus, the little traffic cop in your brain, will regulate and dispel your desire for that nutrient.
  • Bring a snack with you, such as homemade granola, peanut butter on whole grain crackers, 2 Hershey Kisses, grapes, banana or an apple.
  • Shop with a disciplined friend who isn’t a “yes ‘mam” when it comes to being tempted and will keep you in control.
  • Reward yourself with something you want more than food when you overcome temptation! Perhaps a scarf, a book, CD, manicure or other non-food reward.

I promise you, nothing tastes as great as being Victorious ever will!

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

A Choice Between Nebuchadnezzar and Jezebel – Oh Goodie

Tomorrow is Election Day. Soon this painfully long spiteful political season will be over. Can I hear an “Amen?”

It seems we only have two possibilities even if several lesser candidates would be a better choice. With 322 million residents in the United States, many are wondering, is this the best we can do? Oh how the public is fretting over this election!

Wake up America! I don’t place my trust in government, I place it in my LORD and Savior. No matter what, God is in control! In Him I will place my trust! As it states in Psalm 118:6, “The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” and as Paul stated, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:21) Although I’d unafraid of dying, I’d rather not nebuchadnezzarbecome Soylent Green. (It’s a futuristic movie where old people become food because the economy fails.)

No matter who wins, every one of our candidates is a flawed one. (Same as us, so let’s not get too judgmental.)

One candidate acts like Nebuchadnezzar and the other as King Ahab’s wife, Jezebel. Don’t know who these people are? Never heard of them? Check out Daniel 4 in the Bible and 1 Kings 16:31; 18:4-19; 19:1, 2; 21:5-25.

In Daniel 4: 28-37, we find Nebuchadnezzar, the pompous King of Assyria who conquered the Israelites. Now he had a huuuuggge ego. One day as he gazed out over his vast kingdom, he pompously proclaimed how impressed he was with this Empire which he had built. Due to Nebuchadnezzar’s incredible arrogance, God immediately drove him from his kingdom. He lived  in madness outside his beautiful Babylonian city living literally as a beast in the field for seven years, until he humbled himself and gave God the glory. God restored him when he gave honor and worship to the One True God. God is in control!

King Ahab’s wicked wife Queen Jezebel on the other hand, let nothing get in her way while winning thejezebels-death crown. Diabolical, she ruled over her weak husband and recklessly destroyed anyone who got in her way, including family members. She lusted after control and would do anything to achieve it. She was determined to destroy all God’s prophets to retain it and worship idols. Power was her idol. In 2 Kings 9: 30-37, she met a gruesome death when members of her own court threw her out of a window and her flesh was eaten by dogs. Again God is in control!

Remember the saying, anyone who doesn’t remember the past is doomed to repeat it? Well here we go again. We should always respect the office and authority but only have one God. These are dark days but I know who rules the future and it is no candidate.

Please vote with a Spiritual lens and trust the Lord.

“But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”  (Joshua 24:15)

 

 

The Joy of Obeying Our Master

For a while our 6-month-old Cavashon puppy must have thought his name was “No-NCJ at six monthso” because he got into so much trouble due to his curious mind. Poor little guy, he tries so hard to make us proud of him; he’s such a sweet dog. However, if we didn’t train him correctly he’d become an uncontrollable dog; (like unruly kids we who are never given boundaries.)

Our puppy wants to please us. He takes joy in hearing “Good boy!” (Or perhaps he’s thinking, “Yeah sure lady . . . just give me that treat.”)

It takes a lot of training and energy to learn something right. Just like our children, “we must train up a puppy in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it” (paraphrasing Proverbs 22:6.) A well-mannered dog is a pleasure to be around, similarly to lovely children.

This got me thinking about the correlation between boundaries in a dog’s world and those within Christianity and food. What if we all did what was right in our own eyes; no boundaries? (Judges 21:25) The world is leaning greatly in that direction, isn’t it? Just look at what is acceptable behavior today which wasn’t even 50 years ago.

When I accepted the Lord as my Savior, I attended a very legalistic church. As an opinionated teenager, I constantly heard “no-no’s” too: “Don’t wear makeup.” “You can’t wear skirts that short!” “Movies are forbidden!” “Modern music is the devil’s voice” “Dancing is upright fornication!” But I heard no sermons on the Joy in the Lord. My goodness, no wonder I rebelled in college – I was finally free – no boundaries!

We live under Grace today. God gives us the right to choose how we live and would never legally restrict us or hold anything back. Regardless, He wants us to choose to obey Him out of love and gratitude. After all, Christ sacrificed ALL on the cross for us – is that asking too much?

“For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace. What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! Do you not know that when you offer yourselves as obedient slaves, you are slaves to the one you obey, whether you are slaves to sin leading to death, or to obedience leading to righteousness?…   (Romans 6:14-16)

As for our nutritional habits, we should strive to live healthy lives because we want to please our Lord and Savior, not because we have to. Scripture states that under grace, anything is fine in moderation. (1 Corinthians 10:23.) Is it too much of a sacrifice to eat only four Hershey Kisses (25 calories each) instead of the entire bag? Consume 6 ounces of sirloin instead of half a cow? Who is your Master, food or God?

Regarding our puppy, it’ll take time to master our commands. We don’t expect him to be perfect. And as Christians, we’ll never be perfect either, so strive for excellence and obedience. As far as our eating habits go, try to master cravings, don’t allow them to rule over you. God doesn’t restrict your culinary pleasures; you can consume bacon and French fries, but why would you eat them everyday if they destroy your personal temple of the Holy Spirit? You wouldn’t think of throwing trash on the floor of a sacred site in Jerusalem, why trash your bodily temple?

I look forward to my own “Good Girl” approval when God lovingly looks at me and says, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”   (Matthew 25:23)   That would mean more than Chocolate!!!