Tag Archive | sensible eating

Eat Breakfast? But I’m Not Hungry!

God created us with powerful physiological engines. We wouldn’t expect a car to run efficiently without gasoline or oil, nor a refrigerator without electricity; therefore  our body needs to generate the right energy to work efficiently as well.

“Your hands made me and formed me; give me understanding to learn your commands.” (Psalm 119:73)

Think of a historical train’s steam engine. As long as the engineer continues to stoke the engine with coal or wood, the train contentedly moves along. If the engineer falls asleep, runs out of coal and fails to do so, the engine begins to run out of steam and the train slows to a stop. Then it takes longer to get back to proper speed.

Same with us. If we fail to eat regularly, we’ll also run out of steam.

When we wake in the morning we’ve been without food for 6-8 hours. If we refuse to eat, our brain will believe we are ill and will slow down our metabolism. It holds on as protection so it can disperse calories when necessary. It can’t comprehend we would want to starve on purpose so it believes it’s protecting us.

Therefore, eating mini-meals throughout the day will naturally allow us to think, move and operate effectively.

Start each day with breakfast:

Quick energy is what we need most each morning so we can wake up our brain, which runs almost exclusively on glucose, a sugar. That means beneficial carbohydrates which enter our blood stream in about 15-30 minutes. But there’s a problem: carbohydrates only last about 2-3 hours at a time.

Have you noticed that if you have a sugary donut, your body is energized but then crashes quickly? You probably get hungry, spacy and perhaps even jittery within an hour or two. If you don’t want to crash mentally or physically, choose any high-fiber complex carbohydrate such as Grape Nuts, Shredded Wheat, Kashi or Raisin Bran (with 1-2% milk) for quick energy but fiber for sustaining energy. Fiber allows insulin to be released more slowly into your system, thus you won’t get that jittery feeling in an hour.

And I’d much rather see someone add a little real sugar (at 16 calories per teaspoon) than spoon any chemically created artificial sugar into their coffee, tea or cereal. Why consume unnatural processed food with absolutely no nutritional value? You’ll become a walking chemistry experiment, ready to erupt with cancer or illnesses when processed chemicals collide!

You’ll then need to sustain that energy with a little (2-3 ounces) quality protein which lasts about 4 hours in your system. Low-fat, good-quality yogurt with a serving of fruit, walnuts and sprinkled with milled flaxseed is wonderful or consume a slice of low-fat ham like Canadian bacon and egg between an English muffin. Even bagels, toast, Buckwheat (kasha) pancakes or waffles are fine in moderation. But go easy on the syrup or add fresh fruit instead. Add a little peanut butter or lower-fat cream cheese spread on your bagel for sustained energy.

Finally, we need to keep our bodily machine well-oiled by consuming good quality fats like real butter, milled flaxseed, coconut or almond milk. Fat remains in the system for 5-7 hours.

Consume a banana, apple with cheese or graham cracker with peanut butter as a mid-morning snack.

By consuming healthy food at breakfast, you set yourself up for a day of vitality and contentment. Your mind and spirit will be renewed and your energy level will at least get you through breaktime without giving in to sugary snacks!

It’s all about balance and physiology, not lack of willpower!



While working with doctors in the ’90s, I specialized in diabetic care. “Joe,” a 55-year-old overweight patient was a Type 1 Diabetic. He had been injecting insulin shots for over 40 years. Joes’ obesity didn’t thBCI8XUYSallow insulin to reach his insulin-responsive muscles and was in danger of losing a limb. Through a better diet and daily exercise, he lost 75 pounds in 14 months. His blood sugar levels stabilized and I was extremely proud of his dedication to healthy habits.


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Chocolate Pills Now? Really?

Honestly, what next? Yes it is wonderful that the nutritional world has finally caught up and acknowledged what God always knew, that chocolate is beneficial, but why pills? The sheer luxury of chocolate soothes the soul. Why deny yourself the pure enjoyment of a beneficial piece of chocolate?

choclate pillsDark chocolate contains valuable nutrients, that’s a given. Antioxidants also protect us against damaging free radicals because it is infused with disease-fighting flavonoids which boost the immune system. Some studies even claim that chocolate contains more flavonoids than any other food. Nice to speculate, but I don’t believe everything I read. In a huge world of nutritious choices, that statement could be debatable at any time. Granted chocolate might be, in its most unchanged form, but who is going to chow down on natural cocoa beans? Perhaps in this way, pills could be useful but why deny yourself the pleasure of mouthfeel?

It is factual, however, that dark chocolate  will lower your blood pressure, thinning your blood and improving blood flow to the brain and heart. This makes blood platelets less sticky and able to clot. Two Italian studies discovered that participants who consumed 3.5 ounces of dark chocolate daily lowered their insulin resistance.  Don’t you wish you could have participated in THAT study? This was probably due to chocolate’s high chromium content which regulates our insulin sensitivity. As Hippocrates noted, make food your medicine. “So take a square of Ghirardelli and call me in the morning.”

Dark chocolate increases the serotonin levels in our brain so if we are feeling depressed, we might find our brain’s hypothalamus subconsciously nagging us until we give in to this soothing, tranquilizing chemical ingredient. Our brain is recommending chocolate for our own good! If you are under the false belief that chocolate is bad for you, then you begin to feel guilty. That is why chocolate has erroneously been called a “guilty pleasure.” Chocolate contains the chemical phenylethylamine, which stimulates the same feelings as being in love. This chemical releases endorphins which make you feel happier, so now can you understand why you unconsciously run to chocolate for comfort?

Chocolate also contains potassium, magnesium, iron and copper which benefit heart function. Copper also allows our hair to remain its natural color longer and iron protects against anemia. Remember the old wives tale that consuming chocolate was bad for your teeth? Well, just the contrary; chocolate contains theobromine, which has been shown to harden tooth enamel.

The first cocoa beverage was simply ground cacao beans and water, enjoyed by the natives of South America. Enticing to me, who enjoys chocolate as dark as it gets, but it wouldn’t be to most people. The most beneficial antioxidants and flavonoids are found in chocolate containing 60% cacao or above, so strive to purchase these for increased health benefits.

Chocolate calories varies but one average piece of high quality dark chocolate contains approximately 55 calories, 5 grams of fat (3 grams of this is saturated = about 3/4 teaspoon) and also healthy monounsaturated fat. It even contains 1 gram of fiber. Vanilla will boost the flavor in dark chocolate without adding sugar. Forget purchasing white or even milk chocolate for it has fewer nutrients. And please understand that dark chocolate should be consumed in moderation.

Would I recommend chocolate pills?  Only if chocolate is a trigger or addictive food; meaning you can’t stop at one piece. Otherwise enjoy God’s wonderful bounty and don’t waste your money.

“Why do you spend money for what is not bread, And your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, And delight yourself in abundance.” (Isaiah 55:2)  

Good News – Eating Sensibly Endorsed. Gosh, Who Knew???

This morning the word was out. The top five diet plans were endorsed and announced according to The US News and World Reports.

Dash Diet Food PyramidA drum roll please. They were:

  • The Dash Diet
  • Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes (TCL)
  • Mayo Clinic Diet
  • Mediterranean Diet
  • Weight Watchers



Life Lessons We Learn From Dogs . . .

We can learn a lot from dogs.

I’ve  written more about our little white Lhasa Apso than I have our sweet, beautiful Cocker Spaniel, Sebastian. He’s intelligent and well-traveled, having crossed this country six times and viewed 36 of the 49 States we’ve driven through in our motorhome.

Sebastian cropped phot 2Because we rescued him and fixed his myriad of physical problems, you could say he’s been slightly spoiled with attention. Now he believes he’s very handsome. We spoil him with love, play and lots of grooming. We speak to him as we would an older child and he actually understands.

But I’m stricter than my hubby. I feel good dogs should be taught manners. When we’re eating at the table, Sebastian should know that it’s “parents” time and not play time. While Jewel lays beside us and mimics us by chewing one of her “chewies”, alas Sebastian does not. It’s not like Sebastian isn’t one smart dog. In fact once, when we returned to my mom’s home, he rushed in, ran to her bedroom and looked on top of her dresser for a stuffed bear that he found there a year and a half ago! So my point is, he’s trainable.

A dog learns from his environment, same as children.  Sometimes Sebastian fusses for his food, expecting to get a dab of plain yogurt on it. If he doesn’t, he’ll pout, camp out by the bowl, going on a hunger strike. (I remember our children doing that as well.) But I’m more stubborn than Sebastian is and eventually when he gets hungry enough, he’ll eat. So did our children.

But during dinner lately he’s been vying for our attention and wants to play. My husband then tosses the Kong to him. This habit is driving me crazy because now he’s decided that it’s “his time” and not ours. As any adult knows, it’s tough to unlearn a habit!

So here’s the question: do we do the same thing with ourselves and our children? Can we resist? Or just as a child cries for a treat in the store, refusing to eat or throwing a tantrum in a public place, do we say “NO” but then give in? Even to ourselves? And what does that teach our children but to whine, fuss and disrespect authority if they don’t get their way? Spoil our children (and ourselves) with love, not things! Pamper our families with laughter, together-time and relaxation, not stress during this holiday season.

“Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” Proverbs 22:6

And one more thing: If a dog lives what he learns, then so do children! Giving in to a temper tantrum instills many bad habits! If a child becomes accustomed to eating only non-nutritional foods because a parent gave in, most likely you’ll never instill self-discipline, rather they’ll “super-size me” and choose unwisely later on. If they learn that throwing a temper tantrum at home gets them what they want, then they’ll most likely be disrespectful to authority figures in the work place. Would that make you proud?

It’s the seemingly insignificant things in life that molds someone’s personality. It takes a lot of patience to have a well-mannered child. What I’ve heard in the malls this season, “But I want it now!” makes me cringe.  We are becoming more of an entitlement society today and if we want it to stop, it must begin in the home!

“but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined.” Titus 1:8

Honestly! Are These Studies “Nuts” or What???

In the Sunday paper yesterday I came across a headline from the Associated Press proclaiming, “Researchers link eating nuts to good health, low death risks.” Sigh. I wonder how much that project cost us when common sense costs nothing?

Read Genesis 1:29 and images[3]you’ll see that the nut was one of the good items which God created and advised Adam to eat.

“For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding;” Proverbs 2:6

Here we have yet another study professing shock that a food supposedly bad for us at one time, actually holds beneficial  nutritional value. The study goes on to report that 119,000 people who ate nuts practically every day had a 20% less percentage of dying of any disease than those who avoided nuts. Those participating found heart disease dropped 29% and cancer risk 11%.

This was true of any variety of nut they tested; almonds, pistachios, walnuts, even peanuts.  It didn’t however test how they were prepared, meaning salted, oiled, raw or roasted. If that important factor had been added to the equation, I believe results might have been decidedly higher. Peanuts eaten dry-roasted would likely yield a different result than consuming typical peanut butter with hydrogenated oil.

A bonus was that the study’s participants actually remained thinner!

Since I seem to be developing a theme lately regarding false claims about wholesome foods, I thought I’d clear up some confusion about the lowly nut. (and no, I’m not talkin’ about your Uncle Sal)

Unbelievably this article actually stated: Researchers don’t know why nuts may boost health . . .”  but went on to inform us of the cholesterol and inflammation lowering hypotheses found in other studies as well. My goodness, researcher, non-celebrity, nutritionist me, could have advised them why nuts are beneficial to health.  How many other costly studies do we need, in order to know basic nutritional science?!

Want to know a few reasons why nuts are beneficial?  Here’s why:

Nuts contain magnesium, an essential nutrient needed for enzyme activity. Enzymes are necessary for all metabolic properties. Magnesium, also used in conjunction with calcium and potassium, regulate heart function.

Nuts are high in vitamin E which of course protects against artery damaging heart disease.

Nuts have blood thinning properties which assists in preventing blood clots, making your blood more elastic, thus cutting down on heart disease.

Nuts also contain alpha-linolenic acid and gamma-tocopherol, two 50 cent words which reduces the risk of coronary heart disease with its anti-arrhythmic properties.

Ellagic acid in nuts, prevent lung, esophagus, liver and skin cancers.

Nuts contain Fiber. Fiber allows insulin to be released more slowly into our system, thus regulating blood sugar. Peanuts are especially beneficial, therefore diabetics would benefit from a small handful (1/4 cup) nuts.

Fiber from nuts also protect one from colon cancer by escorting toxins out of our system so they don’t fester in our digestion tract.

Brazil nuts contain selenium, an antioxidant which lowers the risk of cancers and heart disease. Selenium also improves mood, which reduces stress. (But one should only take two a day because they’re toxic in large doses!)

Nuts are rich in oleic and omega-3 essential fatty acids – not only heart healthy but benefits healthier skin and hair.

This doesn’t give one license to over-indulge, but any food’s fine in moderation. God instilled us with common sense for a reason and if I need a study, it’ll be Biblical. My soul already revealed that truth to me.

“Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul”             3 John 1:2