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Are You Rusting?

ship rusting

The right coat of paint would have prevented this ship from rusting!


Do you feel like this old bus looks? Perhaps you are ‘rusting’!

One of the definitions of rust is to ‘deteriorate or degenerate through neglect or inactivity’. Are you rusting? From this definition, it sounds like a lot of us are!

Free radicals are like rust in our bodies.

Free radicals form in our bodies for several reasons, but the most common is from a poor diet. If free radicals are allowed to run unchecked they cause oxidative damage resulting in a variety of debilitating diseases. In other words, we rust!

People who live near the ocean know how damaging salt water can be to anything made of metal. Without antioxidants in our body, the same oxidative damage that can ruin metal, will ruin us. Just like a coat of the right paint can prevent metal from rusting, antioxidants prevent free radicals from ‘rusting’ our bodies.

Your mom was right – eat your vegetables!

Antioxidants are found in a wide variety of our foods, but mostly in fruits and vegetables. Research has shown that natural sources of antioxidants are always best. Because of our Standard American Diet, filled with fast foods and chemical-laden, prepackaged convenience food, most Americans do not get enough fruits and vegetables. It’s no wonder that heart disease, cancer, diabetes and other life threatening illnesses are on the rise!

To get enough natural antioxidants in our diet we need to eat 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. When surveyed, approximately 30% of Americans revealed they never eat raw fruits or vegetables! Not only are fruits and vegetables good for general health but many of them have anti-cancer properties as well. Research suggests if you want the most powerful cancer prevention plan, increase your fruit and vegetable servings to 10-12 per day.

Food for thought..

The tomato has over 10,000 phytonutrient components in it. You can’t match that in a supplement. Want to keep your brain sharp? Eat an apple. Research from the University of Massachusetts Lowell suggests that eating apples “may protect against oxidative damage (rusting) that contributes to age-related brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s, and may help to maintain brain performance.” Gives a whole new meaning to the old adage “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” doesn’t it? Broccoli contains the ingredient sulphorphane which is believed to have anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties. Blueberries contain anthocyanins which help protect against cancer, diabetes, bacterial infections, fibrocystic disease, neurological diseases and inflammation. And the list could go on and on. Do your own research – you’ll find hundreds of ways that fruits and vegetables are good for you – not only in preventing diseases – but healing for already occurring oxidative damage.

Let food be thy medicine.

Hippocrates said over 2,000 years ago, “Let food by thy medicine and let medicine by thy food.” Research continues to prove that food is indeed the best medicine. Most importantly, according to Genesis 1:29-31, God created food for our good: “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. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.’ And it was so. God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.”  The secret to longevity (to keep from rusting) is in the food that God created for us!

Are you trying to incorporate more fruits and vegetables in your diet? I’d love for you to share in the comments!

Healthy, Wealthy and Wise Tips

“Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.”Benjamin Franklin, from the 1735 edition of Poor Richard’s Almanack

Healthy Tip: Add more vegetables in your diet by making soups. I buy several bags of frozen soup mix vegetables and add onions, chicken broth, canned tomatoes and seasonings to make a delicious homemade soup. Incorporate more fruit in your diet by making smoothies. Use frozen berries, bananas, almond milk and a splash of agave nectar – tastes awesome and you get 2-3 servings of fruit in your smoothie.

Wealthy Tip: Try clipping coupons or using coupon sites to save money on your groceries. I love using Southern Savers because you can add coupons to your grocery card electronically. To get the most savings, only buy an item for which you have a coupon when it’s on sale.

Wise Tip: “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of waters that yields fruit in its own season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.” Psalm 100:1-3


Coconut Oil – A Healthy Alternative

Have you tried coconut oil?  I’ve recently started using it and I love it! It turns out that coconut oil is good for you despite its bad reputation due to high fat content. It is actually one of the healthiest oils you can use.

Coconut oil and weight loss

Research suggests that coconut oil can help you lose weight because –

  • It doesn’t turn to fat in your body – it’s easy fuel for your body to burn
  • It keeps you naturally fuller longer keeping food cravings at bay
  • It fires up your metabolism and give you instant energy

Other benefits of coconut oil

An added benefit – the fats in coconut oil don’t wreak havoc on your cardiovascular system. In fact, some research shows coconut oil helps reduce bad cholesterol. Other benefits are it helps control blood sugar, has anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties and helps absorb other nutrients into the body such as vitamin E.

How to use coconut oil

You can use up to two tablespoons per day in place of other fats. Make sure it’s pure coconut oil with nothing else added. Some people simply take it by the spoonful, but I’ll be honest – that did not appeal to me at all.  I use a couple of teaspoons in my oatmeal in the mornings. It gives it a smooth-as-silk texture and a slightly exotic taste. Delicious…and so much better for you than butter.

Unlike some oils, coconut oil has a higher smoke point so it can be used at higher temperatures. Try it for stir-frying vegetables or cooking healthy pancakes. Yesterday I made pumpkin bread and I spread just a smidge on it right out of the oven – yum! A little bit of coconut oil goes a long way.

One of my favorite ways to use coconut oil is to make popcorn. Turn your pan on medium high heat and melt just enough coconut oil to cover the bottom of your pan. Add 3 popcorn kernels and when one of them pops add enough popcorn to cover a single layer in the bottom of the pan. Add a lid and shake until all kernels are popped. Since coconut oil has a higher smoke point, the popcorn doesn’t burn and it tastes great. Just add a little sea salt, pop in a movie and you’re set.

Use your imagination and I’m sure you’ll be adding this healthy oil to your recipes in no time.

Use it as a beauty treatment

Coconut oil is great for your skin and hair. At night after I exfoliate with baking soda, I rub just a dab of coconut oil over my face and neck. My skin has never felt so soft and supple!! Use it all over just out of the shower for silky smooth skin. Be sure it has time to absorb before you put on your clothes or get in the bed. I haven’t tried this but others swear by it – use it to shave your legs. Also if you need to tame your frizzy hair, rub just a little in the palm of your hands then on your hair. Don’t get it near your scalp or your hair will look oily.

Recipe using coconut oil

I came across this recipe using coconut oil and it immediately became a family favorite. It’s delicious and easy to make.

No Bake Oatmeal Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars

  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 2/3 cup honey (I use half honey, half agave nectar)
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil (no skimping or substitutions)
  • 2 cups oats (old fashioned, not quick cooking)
  • 1 1/4 cups chocolate chips (I substitute 1/4 cup of special dark cocoa powder)
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries (I don’t always add, but it is delicious)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut (this was not in the original recipe but it’s delicious)

In medium saucepan melt peanut butter, honey and coconut oil. (If you substitute the dark cocoa powder as I do, add it to this mixture once it starts melting.) Stir until completely melted and smooth. Remove from heat, add oats, chocolate chips (if you don’t used cocoa powder), cranberries and optional coconut. Stir until well mixed and spread in a 9 x 9 pan. Refrigerate to set. (Optional tip – once I’ve spread it in the pan I put in the freezer for 30 minutes to let it set – it’s perfect and ready to eat much quicker than the refrigerator method.) Keep leftovers in the fridge.

If you haven’t used coconut oil, I hope you’ll try it.  If you have, what are some ways you’ve used it? I’d love for you to comment.

“Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed.  The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food.” Genesis 2:8-9

No Bake Oatmeal Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars

Yummy – these don’t last long around our house!

A Love Affair That’s Killing Us

It’s a love affair that’s killing us.  America’s love affair with convenience and fast food, that is. Our society has forsaken the ways of our forefathers who ate what they hunted or raised, for the modern convenience of fast, easy, highly refined, processed, fat-laden foods.  Even though the cost of these foods is relatively inexpensive, they come with a hidden but much higher price tag: our health.

Americans are more obese, more disease-ridden, take more medicine and are less active than ever before.  Our elderly population is suffering at an alarming rate from diseases that most of us consider to be just a part of the ‘natural aging process.’  Wouldn’t it be great to know that we don’t have to end like that – that we can enjoy life and live it to the fullest until we die at a ripe old age of natural causes?  The obvious answer is yes!

I’ve been reading the book Eat to Live by Dr. Joel Fuhrman and he provides some staggering statistics about the American diet:  “Americans currently consume about forty-two percent of their calories from fiberless animal foods and another fifty-one percent from highly processed refined carbohydrates and extracted oils.  Almost half of all vegetables consumed are potatoes and half of the potatoes consumed are in the form of fries or chips.”  Eat to Die would be a great title for a book about the typical American diet.

People groups who consume most of their calories from unrefined plant foods have low death rates from major diseases and are rarely obese.  Americans, on the other hand, consume only about ten percent of their calories from plant-based foods and have around an eighty percent death rate from killer diseases!  Yes, our love affair is killing us.

I love the term ‘nutrient dense’ foods, and I really wasn’t familiar with it until I read Dr. Fuhrman’s book.  After reading a few chapters, the light bulb came on for me.  I realized I was eating nutrient deficient foods and was “digging my grave with a fork and knife” to quote one of his chapter titles.

Dr. Fuhrman suggests that we eat ninety percent of our diet in nutrient dense food (see his website or book) and ten percent of everything else.  The Standard American Diet (SAD – yes, it is sad) recommends eating 8-11 servings of bread, cereal, rice and pasta and a mere five servings of fruits and vegetables daily, a real recipe for disaster.

I decided to give Dr. Fuhrman’s way of eating (I won’t call it a diet) a try.  I worried about my low blood sugar, food cravings, heartburn that I get from certain vegetables and fruits, my sweet tooth and a host of other issues.  I am happy to report that after the first week my food cravings disappeared, I never once had an issue with low blood sugar, my heartburn disappeared and I am not missing sweets!  I’ve also lost 11 pounds in the month and a half that I’ve been eating nutrient dense foods and have much more energy.  Have I gone off any?  Yes, a couple of times when we were having family get-togethers.  I hated the way I felt afterwards and so it was easy to get right back on.  I’m looking forward to more weight loss and feeling even better.

Look up the phrase ‘you are what you eat’ and you will find different answers as to its origin.  However, most agree that it simply means eat good food and you will be healthy – eat bad food and you won’t.  To that I add a hearty amen!

Now, if I would just start exercising…but that’s another blog for another day.

Have you had good success with healthy eating?  Please share in the comments.

Healthy, Wealthy and Wise Tips:

“Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.”Benjamin Franklin, from the 1735 edition of Poor Richard’s Almanack

Healthy tip for today (for your body): Make sure that you get your nutrients from whole foods in their natural state and don’t depend on supplements to make you healthy.  They are called supplements for a reason – they are supposed to be a supplement to a healthy diet. Also, when eating fruit make sure you eat the whole fruit as opposed to just the fruit juice.  You need the fiber and other benefits from the whole fruit that you won’t get in juice only.

Wealthy tip for today (enrichment for your soul): “Oh give thanks unto the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.”  Psalm 118:29  A heart of gratitude is essential to a healthy lifestyle.  According to a 2007 study done by researchers at the University of California – Davis, feeling grateful can positively influence your well-being and quality of life.  Make a list of all the things you are thankful for.  Your spirits will be lifted in no time!

Wise tip for today (for the brain):  Not only do walnuts kind of look like the brain, they are good for the brain – just as our Creator intended.  Walnuts contain many of the nutrients, especially omega-3s, that our brains need for proper functioning and improving memory.  Be sure to eat the brown skin on the shelled walnuts even though it may taste a little bitter.  This flaky outer layer also contains many vital nutrients.  In addition, walnuts seem to increase your levels of melatonin, a hormone which regulates sleep.  Try a snack of walnuts before bedtime and your brain will thank you for the good night’s rest. I like to eat walnuts as a snack, but they are also great in salads, oatmeal and many other recipes.

Walnuts – food for the brain.

A Clarification of Sorts

First of all, I want to clarify something I put in my very first blog.  I mentioned that if I ate healthy that I would be healthy, or at least be healthier.  And I believe that.  But I also know that what I wrote is an oversimplification of the health epidemic we face.  We live in a fallen world and disease happens.  It can strike suddenly or take many years in its process.  I have family and friends who’ve had cancer, heart disease, multiple sclerosis, lupus, diabetes, arthritis, brain tumors, mental illness, depression, dementia – well, you get the picture.  I did not want to imply that by simply eating healthy we won’t get sick.  However (don’t you love the possibilities in that word), eating the natural foods that God created and intended for us to eat will certainly give us a fighting chance to live healthy lives.  I’ve seen several photos on Facebook whose captions read, “If it comes from a plant eat it; if it’s made in a plant don’t.”  Or I like this one, “If God made it eat it; if man made it don’t.”  While these make us smile, they are very good rules.

Another clarification:  I never want to give anyone the impression that I am better than they are because I have chosen to eat healthy.  I know people who do that, and it’s not pleasant.  I don’t pretend to have all of the answers, but what I do know is that all good health, regardless of how we attain it, is from God.  James said in the New Testament:  “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.”  Health is certainly a good gift.  We should accept it as such and never take it for granted!

Now that I’ve cleared that up, my next blog will be entitled “The Love Affair That’s Killing Us”.   Stay tuned…

Healthy, Wealthy and Wise Tips:

“Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.”Benjamin Franklin, from the 1735 edition of Poor Richard’s Almanack

Healthy tip for today (for your body) Health experts agree we need omega-3 fatty acids.  The body doesn’t make them so we have to get them from foods.  Omega-3 fatty acids help reduce inflammation and may help lower the risk of many killer diseases such as heart disease, arthritis and cancer.  They also appear to be essential in brain function, memory and performance.  Foods high in omega-3’s are fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, halibut, and can also be found in algae, krill, some plants and nut oils.  Symptoms of omega-3 fatty acid deficiency include fatigue, poor memory, dry skin, heart problems, mood swings or depression, and poor circulation.  The American Heart Association recommends eating fatty fish at least 2 times per week.  Most people don’t get enough omega-3’s so it’s important to check with your healthcare provider about a proper supplement.  I take Barlean’s Fresh Catch Fish Oil and I get it at Earth Fare. It is orange-flavored and doesn’t leave that fishy aftertaste.  Again, check with your healthcare professional before taking any supplements.

Wealthy tip for today (enrichment for your soul):  “What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul?  Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?”  Mark 8:36-37.  The most important things in life are not things at all.  They are people and relationships.

Wise tip for today (for the brain):  More about brain exercises.  Last time we talked about toweling off in a different way after your bath or shower.   Try these simple tasks to exercise your brain:  Next time you are driving to a familiar place take a different route.  Also, try brushing your teeth with the opposite hand.  Or memorize one phone number in your cell phone.  These simple challenges help build new associations in the brain.  The old saying “use it or lose it” certainly applies to our brains!

Facial regimen straight from the kitchen!

Bonus Tip (for your outer beauty):  In my last blog I mentioned that I would share what I put on my face after cleansing with baking soda.  Well here it is right from the kitchen –   after rinsing the baking soda off, I slather my face with honey!  It’s so yummy and I always lick my lips!  Seriously!  (I have a friend who always says things are ‘delicious’ – well this is delicious!)  Leave it on for 5 minutes then rinse off with lukewarm water. The natural antioxidant and antimicrobial properties of the honey are great for your face.  After drying, I use my next kitchen ingredient – olive oil!  I put just a little in the palm of my hands and gently rub all over my face.  My skin always feels silky, soft and smooth after my baking soda/honey/olive oil treatment!  Try it, you’ll love it!

I Want to Be Healthy

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