1. The Importance of Water
If you’re looking for a “miracle elixir,” water may be the closest thing you’ll find in this world. The word “water” occurs 396 times in the Bible. It represents all that is clean, refreshing, wholesome, and life-giving. Remember Jesus didn’t say He’d give believers the iced tea or soda pop of life!
Water is the God-made drink. It’s part of every body function including: breathing, eating, movement, brain function. Every 24 hours your amazing God-made body recycles the equivalent of 40 thousand glasses of water! In that process 6 to 10 glasses a day are lost – so to keep from being dehydrated, drink at least that much – and if you’d like to lose weight or detoxify the body, drink more.
That’s right, water may be the single most important catalyst in weight loss and maintaining a healthy weight. Increasing water intake can reduce fat deposits. And if you think you’re hungry – you may actually be thirsty – so go for a big glass of purified water before having that snack.
2. Making Good Foods Convenient
Which is the healthier choice – pre-packaged convenience foods or making fresh food more convenient? If you make healthier choices convenient, you and your family will be less likely to opt for poor quality, highly processed foods when blood sugar is low and you’re not thinking as clearly.
I learned a long time ago the wisdom of four little letters H-A-L-T which form one big word HALT! “HALT” means we’re not to allow ourselves to become too Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired.
If we become too hungry or stressed, we’re apt to eat too much of the wrong foods, so having fresh fruit, unbuttered popcorn, fresh veggies, almonds and other good foods handy will help you eat for fitness, not fullness.
Another idea when stressed is to HALT and take a 1 Peter 5:7 break: Cast all your care on the Lord because He cares for you. Caring for you is God’s job – so cast the whole of your care on Him.
3. Food supplements
If we’re eating less processed foods and more foods as God made them, why should we take vitamins? Well, as important as a healthy diet is, the vast majority of nutritionists, dieticians and doctors now recommend we take food supplements.
But remember, vitamins, minerals and herbs are called supplements for a reason. They’re meant to supplement, or complement, a healthy diet. It would be silly to live on cokes and fries, pop some vitamin pills and expect to be healthy.
Go to your local health food store and ask them to help you find a good, balanced multivitamin. Don’t look for the cheapest one you can find either – your health is worth the extra money. And since most of us don’t eat 5 to 9 servings of fresh fruits and vegetables a day, a couple of scoops of powdered concentrated greens can make up the difference – just sprinkle over salad or add to a shake.
And don’t forget Vitamin R – Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say, Rejoice!
4. Good Fast Food
Is there such a thing as good fast food? Well, let’s hope so – we can’t always eat at home or take food with us, especially when traveling.
More fast food places are offering options for the health-conscious – and that’s good for them and good for you, too! Look for fresh salad choices, roasted or baked meats, non-fried foods and steer clear of heavy sauces.
Here are some smart choices at your local Drive-thru café: Roast turkey, chicken or veggie wraps, salads made with fresh vegetables and meats (hold the croutons and heavy dressings). How about some chili, scrambled eggs or vegetable soups? Pita pockets or wraps made from whole wheat are a good-for-you alternative to white bread buns and rolls. And who says you have to have a 64-ounce soda pop with that? Water is always the healthier choice.
1 Corinthians 6:19 says your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit – so let’s keep our temple tuned with food that’s delicious and nutritious.
5. What’s for Breakfast?
Breakfast – I see it as a command – Break fast! We’re to break the fast we’ve been on since the night before.
How can we put together something delicious and nutritious for the whole family on a tight schedule, tight budget – or both? It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3:
One – Start with a simple carbohydrate for fast-start energy (such as juice, or fresh fruit); Two – Pick a complex carbohydrate for sustained energy (such as cereal, bread, or whole grains); and Three – protein for muscle-building energy (eggs, meat, dairy, nuts, or soy).
For example: ½ banana + one cup of whole grain cereal + ½ cup skim milk. Here’s another: Orange juice + one slice of whole grain toast + 2 scrambled eggs.
Get the idea? Now you try it: A simple carb (fruit) plus a complex carb (grain) plus protein equals a quick and easy breakfast to help you be a fit witness on-the-go.
6. Artificial Sweeteners, Stevia and Honey
We all know that eating too much sugar is not good for you. “No problem,” you say. “I drink diet soda and use artificial sweeteners.” Well, some nutritional experts believe artificial sweeteners are worse than sugar, and make you crave more sweets and fattening foods.
Oh, great – the reason many of us buy artificial sweeteners is for weight loss, right? But according to some studies, artificial sweeteners may actually stimulate the appetite!
Well, here’s where what I call the Little Stevia Wonder can come to the rescue. Stevia is a little herb related to the chrysanthemum family, and it may be the answer to our sugar blues. With zero calories, no carbs or chemicals, stevia is actually a dietary supplement you can use to sweeten your tea or use in cooking – and it’s actually good for you, too.
Look for stevia in your health food store or supermarket and thank the Lord your world just got a little sweeter!
7. Food: Clean vs. Unclean – what do the Bible and science say?
Jesus, being a devout Jew, did not eat pork.
Of course God didn’t forbid the Jews from eating pork by chance – there was a reason. In 1953 science caught up with Bible truth when Dr. David Macht of Johns Hopkins University studied the toxicity of clean and unclean animals listed in Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14.
Not surprisingly, every animal God calls toxic science finds toxic, too. The clean animals include cattle, goats, sheep, oxen and deer.
Many of the animals God calls unclean eat flesh or have parasites dangerous to humans. Instead of pork, how about turkey franks or kosher beef hot dogs once in a while?
There are many good vegetable protein products available now, too. A stir fry with fresh vegetables, crumbled soy burger, slivered almonds and water chestnuts is a quick and easy dinner your family will love.
8. God-made food vs. man-made food
Would you like more energy? One way is to eat less processed foods and eat more foods in their natural state (as God made them). For example, your body processes fruit better than the synthetic chemicals, preservatives and colors of a low carb candy bar.
Not all processed foods are bad for us, of course. In fact, processed food is mentioned in the Bible. Bread is processed grain, and it’s mentioned as early as the third chapter of Genesis.
Simply put, the more processes a food has gone through and the more preservatives and chemicals are added to increase its shelf “life,” the less nutritional value there is for our bodies to use. Also, the more potentially harmful these non-food items become as our bodies struggle under the weight of the toxic load.
Start by limiting some processed foods. Notice I say “limit” not “go cold turkey.” Don’t be too hard on yourself or you’ll give up. Why not start with a piece of fruit right now instead of that candy bar?
9. Quick and Easy Healthy Meals
Picture this, you’re on your way home, it’s less than an hour to dinner time and you forgot to take anything out of the freezer. You think, “Do I hear the pizza man calling my name?” Yeah, but that would be the third night this week. Ouch!
The secret to healthy, economical meals for your family is meal planning – but what can you do that’s nutritious, delicious and quick right now? Think: stir fry! If you can run by the market on the way home, start with veggies: some fresh romaine lettuce or spinach and cherry tomatoes for salad, then bean sprouts, carrots and celery, maybe a can of water chestnuts, too. Pick up some protein in the form of hormone-free chicken or soy burger, and instant brown rice – takes only 10 minutes.
Once home, stir-fry the meat slices and chopped veggies in a little olive oil. While the instant brown rice is cooking, make a side salad. Toss lightly with dressing and voila – a low-fat, high nutrition meal that keeps the pizza man away another day.
10. WWJE? Food in Jesus’ Day
WWJE – What Would Jesus Eat? In Jesus’ day, eating red meat such as beef or lamb was reserved for special occasions only, as it is in many Mediterranean cultures today. The Mediterranean food model is considered by many to be the healthiest – linked to low rates of cancer and heart disease.
In Jesus’ day killing the fatted calf was done on rare special occasions. The people of the Bible would be astonished to find our many restaurants dedicated to the eating of red meat—from steak houses to fast food hamburger joints. In Jesus’ day, fish, poultry and eggs were the preferred animal food. Whole grains and vegetables with beans, nuts, olive oil, dairy products and a little honey rounded out their diet.
Sorry, no Twinkies, Ho-ho’s or Big Macs – and yes, you can be sure the Lord gave thanks to His Heavenly Father for it all – we should, too!
11. Go Organic!
Whenever possible, choose organic foods. Yes, they cost more, but the upside is that you receive the most nutrition possible without added chemicals. We come across enough toxins in our day-to-day lives without having to eat them in our food. The more we understand the benefits of eating healthful, “live” foods and the disadvantages of eating “dead” chemical-laden foods, we’re more willing to invest money in our health upfront instead of spending money on sickness later.
However, if you’re overcoming illness and rebuilding your health now, adding organic foods to your diet can ensure a quicker, more energetic recovery.
You can also consider yourself a better steward of God’s creation by supporting companies which adhere to organic farming practices. Some even follow the Old Testament laws, allowing the land to lay fallow every seventh year. So, to eat healthy—think organic!
12. What is Acrylamide?
The Food and Drug Administration found signs of acrylamide in cooked starchy foods such as potato chips, French fries, processed cereals, rice, and bread.
Acrylamide seems to be a by-product of cooking food at high temperatures (such as frying). It’s used in the treatment of sewage and the manufacture of certain chemicals, plastics and dyes.
According to an article in the FDA’s Consumer magazine, quote “Scientists know that acrylamide causes cancer in laboratory rats. They also know that contact with large quantities of acrylamide can cause nerve damage in humans. But no one knows whether the tiny amounts of acrylamide in cooked foods can cause cancer or have any other harmful effects when ingested by people.” unquote
Quite frankly, I don’t think we want to eat enough of it to find out! Please pray over your food and steer clear of cooked starchy foods which may contain acrylamide.
13. Pasta = Paste
Most people would say they “love” pasta. Yet few of us love it so much that we’d eat it plain. This is because pasta is mainly used as a vehicle for sauces with flavors we enjoy. Unfortunately, pasta is a starch that turns to sugar when we digest it. So, since it’s the flavor of the sauces we really want, let’s use more nutritious vehicles with more flavor and fewer calories.
Try using different vegetables as replacements for starch. Spaghetti squash is great for replacing spaghetti. Strips of zucchini or yellow squash can be cut with a shredder or vegetable peeler to replace lasagna noodles.
If you must have pasta, try whole wheat, rice, spelt or soybean pasta. Average white pasta is bleached white flour and water (remember making paste with flour and water in kindergarten?). Pasta equals paste, so use with care.
14. Flax Seed – Modern Miracle?
The ancient flax seed is actually a modern miracle food. Flax has a type of omega 3 fatty acids similar to that found in salmon—which lowers bad cholesterol and boosts good cholesterol. It may also help lower blood pressure and triglycerides associated with heart disease.
Flax seed is also rich in fiber and lignan, a plant-derived estrogen which may fight tumor formation.
Fats for weight loss? Yes! Fats high in essential fatty acids, such as found in flax seeds, increase the body’s metabolic rate, helping to burn the excess, unhealthy fats in the body.
However, flax seeds must be ground; otherwise they pass right through the system. Grind your own flax seeds fresh in a coffee grinder and add 1-2 tablespoons to juice or onto your cereal or salad.
No wonder Proverbs 31 says the virtuous woman, “seeks wool and flax, and willingly works with her hands”!
15. Terrific Time Savers
Think you don’t have time for nutritious meals? Here are some terrific time savers:
- Plan your meals for the week and buy ingredients ahead of time.
- Spend some time on the weekend cooking large quantities—individual portions can be frozen and reheated later.
- During the week, double or triple a recipe and freeze the rest.
- If you don’t have fresh vegetables handy, frozen veggies are the next best thing.
- Don’t go shopping without a list. Type up on the computer everything you buy with a line next to each item. You only have to do this once. Then print it out each week and put it on the refrigerator. As you run out of an item, any member of the family can put a check mark next to it on the list. It could keep you from making extra trips to the store during the week.
This way you’ll have more time to spend with family and friends—and praise the Lord!
16. Protein for Muscle
Lean muscles are what we need to burn fat, and have a fit, strong body. Protein contains essential amino acids which are the building blocks of healthy, lean muscle tissue.
Eat four servings of protein a day—that means including a lean protein food in each of your meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) and one of your snacks.
Good protein sources include lean hormone-free chicken and turkey, lean grass-fed beef, fish, eggs, soy and low-fat dairy products such as cottage cheese and yogurt.
For snacks, choose a protein shake with less than 5 grams of sugar and carbohydrate. If you prefer a protein meal replacement bar, pick one that’s at least one-third protein by weight and has less than 5 grams of sugar and no more than 10 grams of carbohydrates. Protein is not only good for your muscles; it will keep you from getting hungry longer!