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!

Overcoming

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

The Actual Grain Brain Connection

“Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.” John 6:35

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Dr. Perlmutter, well-known neurologist, has released a new book, Grain Brain. It’s on track to be the newest fad in healthcare.

One advertising headline screamed, “The devastating truth about the effects of wheat, sugar and carbs on the brain with a 30 day plan to achieve optimum health.”

Oh my, the truth, who knew???  (tongue firmly planted in cheek)

This is how Barnes & Noble has touted its release: Renowned neurologist David Perlmutter, MD,  blows the lid off a topic that’s been buried in medical literature for far too long: carbs are destroying your brain. And not just unhealthy carbs, but even healthy ones like whole grains can cause dementia, ADHD, anxiety, chronic headaches, depression, and much more.”

Man, it’s always something isn’t it?  Actually those who should avoid gluten (found in wheat, barley, rye and perhaps oats), are those with Celiac disease, a debilitating autoimmune condition in which the body perceives gluton as a threat and damages the lining of the small intestine.

But my goodness, this doctor is leading people in a wrong direction. Did God lie? Make a mistake? If so, it would be God’s first mistake in man’s 6,000 . . .  oh wait, make that 69.9 million years if you’re an evolutionist.  Guess you know I’m not.

“God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?”   Numbers 23:19

Here’s why I’ll stick to Gods’ plan:

  1. Man has been consuming complex carbohydrates since the Garden of Eden, which God endorsed as he  instructed Adam.
  2. Jesus stated that he was the Bread of Life. He’s God! He cannot lie!  I doubt He misspoke or knowingly stated that whoever came unto me would be susceptible to dementia! Do you?
  3. The brain feeds primarily on glucose derived from carbohydrates. Consume complex types: fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds NOT donuts and candy!
  4. The Far East and other cultures consume far more carbohydrates than we do and yet have much lower rates of dementia and other illnesses than the US which consumes a more fatty diet.
  5. In his interview, Dr. Perlmutter encourages modern society to go back to an early man diet; 75% fat and 5% carbs.  Excuse me, not true. Early man’s diet consisted of one given by God when He placed Adam  in the Garden of Eden.

“Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.” Genesis 1:29.  

Man didn’t eat meat until after the flood!  Genesis 9:3.

I could write pages on the benefits of whole grains and how complex carbohydrate’s benefit bodily functions but here are just a few:

  1. Whole grains contain fiber, a necessity for good digestion. Fiber escorts toxins out of our system so the liver is cleaner,  allowing for dispersing of nutrients more effectively.
  2. Whole grains contain beneficial B vitamins which improve mood and convert carbs, protein and fats into energy.
  3. Whole grains are a good source of magnesium, iron, manganese, selenium, Vitamin E, and valuable antioxidants which prevent aging among other benefits.
  4. One can develop allergies in anything if one consumes the same food all the time. Consume a variety of whole grains to prevent this: amaranth, buckwheat, corn, millet, oats, quinoa, wild rice, couscous.
  5. Whole grain (complex carbs) regulates blood sugar by allowing insulin to be released more slowly into our systems, thus benefiting diabetics.
  6. Whole grains escort the sludge through our veins, thus preventing heart disease and colon cancers.
  7. Since whole grain contains valuable fiber which expands when drinking water, it helps with weight management too!
So you make the call  . . . do you believe in Grain Brain’s theory or God’s Truth?

Ridding Yourself of Headaches

. . . and no, I’m not talking about that crabby co-worker.  I’m speaking of that piercing, recurring headache which finds you seeking a dark room and laying down for a while.  What can we do about those? Before you reach for that dog with headacheaspirin or Tylenol, try some natural ways:

First, drink plenty of water. Dehydration can leave our arteries thin and pulsating. Water enlarges our veins so blood can flow more easily. It washes toxins out of our system, restoring hormonal balance and prevents toxin-producing constipation  Aren’t headaches exhausting?!  It’s tiring fighting against toxins!

If you are an habitual cola or coffee drinker, relying on caffeine to get you through the day, it’s NOT advisable to go cold turkey to get off the stuff. Gradually tone it down – and I mean over days or weeks. I once counseled a patient who drank over 30 cups a day (!) and it took two months to wean her off of it.

Another side affect of excessive caffeine is that it artificially revs up our metabolism.  Therefore there’s a possibility we’ll gain weight when we cut down our intake. Caffeine, nicotine are drugs and are NOT the way to lose weight because our body will recognize an unnatural threat and shut down our metabolism to protect us. If you’re a smoker, you’ll most likely incur headaches upon cessation of that habit too.

Caffeine is fine in moderation but also dehydrates and is a drug, so there could be withdrawal symptoms. Be advised that certain common medications taken for a headache also contain caffeine;  Anacin, Excedrin, Dristan, Midol . . .  If you take daily medication, drink plenty of water to maintain balance.

Second, get out in the fresh air. Fresh air releases natural endorphins which make us feel good. Go onto your patio or deck and recline, laying a lavender-infused cloth over your forehead. Play soft music in the background and feel the tension exiting your body. Of course if your spouse wants to massage your shoulders, that’s an added bonus! If you’re fortunate to have a pool, swim several soothing laps and see if that doesn’t make you feel better through water’s buoyancy. If you feel up to it, take a tranquilizing walk along the beach or in the woods. Nothing relaxes better than fresh sea air or pine!

Third, place a small amount of tabasco sauce, horseradish, wasabi or equivalent spicy seasoning on a teaspoon and swallow.  The brain then releases serotonin, a neurotransmitter. Serotonin acts like a fireman over-powering the flames with feel-good chemicals which regulates the constriction of blood vessels!  (Hot spicy foods is one of my recommendations to those who suffer from depression too.)

Fourth, try regulating blood flow with hot/cold compresses. Place a heated towel on your lower neck for a couple of minutes.  Then place a cold compress over the same area.  This allows the blood flow to pulsate, hopefully relieving the problem quite quickly. Make sure you drink water to again wash those toxins out of your system.

Fifth, place your fingers against the area affected. Press and inhale deeply through your nose slowly until you your entire lung area’s constricted. Hold it. This process increases nitric oxide, which relaxes and dilates the arteries.  Then slowly exhale.

Sixth, increase magnesium, calcium based foods: leafy greens, yogurt, bananas, walnuts, etc. which relax blood vessels.

Don’t lose heart, remember this too shall pass!

“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.  For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison,”

2 Corinthians 4: 16-17

Craving Chocolate isn’t a Personality Flaw

As  my “New Year, New You” class began one morning, I placed a single Dove Dark Chocolate piece in front of each attendee. I never said anything, just watched.

Dove ChocolateWell, it didn’t take long. Some opened it and ate immediately. Another placed it in her pocketbook. One man gave it to his wife. Most kept it in front of them, awaiting instruction.

Then I asked the question, “Why did you act as you did?”  Almost all of them shrugged subconsciously. Then someone broke the ice. “Well, I thought you were going to take it away from me, so I ate it before you could!” Laughter ensued, opening up the discussion. “Well, I know my wife loves these, so I gave it to her.” I was waiting for you to tell us what to do.” “I’m saving it for after lunch.” “I thought it was a test and I didn’t want to give in.”

“Well,”  I explained, “I suppose in a way it was a test but probably not in the way you expected. It wasn’t a test of willpower, it was a test of reaction. How we act around food tells us a great deal about ourselves. I was curious to observe how you would react to a seemingly ‘bad’ food. Decision-making and how peer pressure influences you. Until someone knows why they eat the way they do, they’ll never change our habits and reactions around food.”

So what would you do?

If you’d eat the candy right away,  you’re likely an independent thinker, sometimes rebellious, a ‘show me why that’s important’ type of personality.  You’re saying, “If it makes sense I’ll follow your direction, but if it doesn’t, forget it, I’m doing my own thing!”  These are the type of patients who need common sense instruction. Like what does this mean to me in dog years? This personality is trained like a great race horse. As they learn, let them take control of the reins.  They accept responsibility for their actions but need to understand diet truths.

  Timothy 1:7 states, “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but of power, of love and of self-discipline.”

Those who waited for instruction, indicated they were strict ‘rules and regulations’ types. They follow instructions but won’t show initiative unless they know their actions are approved. They don’t want to look foolish or make mistakes. They are people pleasers but expect perfection from themselves. These tend to lean on a counselor as a crutch. If they begin to get too close to their  goal, they’ll gain weight, afraid to break the bond and be on their own.  They need confidence and belief in themselves.      

2 Timothy 2:15, “Study to show yourselves approved by God . . .”

The husband who gave away his candy to his wife, thought his actions were kind. In actuality, he became a saboteur.  His wife, a people pleaser, couldn’t hurt his feelings, so she ate it, sabotaging her efforts. This couple, I would urge to be each other’s support system for good not evil. Giving in or enabling another’s bad habits is never a good thing. Strive to build each other by being a support partner.

Philippians 3:14 “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

Be aware of how you act around food, pressing on toward the goal of becoming your own New Creation, pleasing God in all things.