What Are You Feeding Yourself?

fruits and veggiesAs I write this I am sitting in a hospital room with my son who has Crohns disease. Unfortunately my daughter and he both have it, and it has caused no shortage of pain and complications in their lives.

With Crohns you have ups and downs, periods of relative calm and periods where you have flair ups and lot’s of infections due to a compromised immune system.

A bit earlier a hospital dietitian came into his room to ask some questions about any possible food allergies, and if there was any particular foods that caused his flair ups. During our conversation, she said something that surprised me. It is something I have believed for quite a while, but many people in the medical profession seem to ignore or deny.

She said she has been a dietitian for 18 years and that she is seeing more and more young people coming down with Crohns. Can you guess what she believes is causing it? She believes it’s the foods we eat.

Now I’m not just talking about the junk food we consume from the fast food industry. I’m talking about all the packaged, processed and chemical laden foods that we ingest.

She also said that more and more people are becoming sensitive to wheat, or more specifically to the gluten in the wheat. Wheat has been a staple in people’s diets since man was created. Why the sudden change in tolerance to it?

Could it have anything to do with the fact that most all wheat, like the soy beans and other crops are genetically modified? Once again, man trying to improve upon what God has created. Or maybe it’s more about the profits that the big Agra corporations are making.

We are being fed a constant stream of genetically altered foods, laced with pesticides, herbicides, chemical dies, chemical flavorings and enhancers.

Is it any wonder that so many of our children have Crohns, or the high rates of cancer and other disease that is rampant in our society?

So, what can we do about it? Well, it would be next to impossible to totally escape it all, but there are things we can do to lessen its effect.

First, we can either completely stop, or cut way back on junk food from fast food restaurants. We can stop with all the highly processed boxed and packaged foods at the store. We can start eating more fresh vegetables and fruits and quit drinking soda.

If you live anywhere near a farmer’s market, take advantage of that while the season is going on. I know it’s more expensive, but get and eat organic as often as possible. Also, if you buy the fruits and vegetables at the supermarket be sure to wash them thoroughly to remove as much of the pesticides as possible. Be sure to read labels and check to see if they’re genetically modified or natural. Avoid GMO’s whenever possible.

Of course drinking lots of water instead of sweetened drinks, and regular exercise will take you a long way toward better health.

When you eat better foods and take care of yourself, you can’t help but feel better spiritually, mentally and physically.

Have you got any suggestions that you’d like to add?

Dealing with Disappointment

woman with a sad faceWhen my children were younger they used to always say, “That’s not fair”, whenever I had to make a decision they didn’t like. My retort was always, “Life’s not fair”. Although I was being a bit glib, it is the truth. Sometimes life just isn’t fair!

People get sick, people’s hearts get broken, and people make mistakes.

Is it fair that someone is born with a deformity? Is it fair that some people are born blind or deaf? Is it fair that some people are born into money and others into poverty? Only God can truly answer those questions, we can only give our opinions.

I do know one thing for sure though, if you’ve been in this world for any length of time, you’re sure to have experienced some trials, tribulations and disappointments. Some of them we can help and others we cannot. When things don’t go according to our plans, it’s natural that we’re going to be disappointed. What we must guard against though, is not letting disappointment beat us down, and steal our joy.

I had a disappointment recently that caused me to do some soul searching. At one time I would have let it get the best of me. I would have beat myself up because things didn’t go according to plan, and my pride was wounded.

This thing is something I really wanted to do, but could not make the cut. After a lot of prayer and meditation, I chose to adjust my thinking a bit, and follow that same path, but in a slightly different direction. So, I took something that was a disappointment and turned it into something good.

I’ve learned that not everybody can be a brain surgeon, artist or astronaut, even if they wanted to be. Now I know a lot of people are fond of saying you can do or achieve anything you want in life. Although I understand the intent, I don’t believe it to be true.

I believe anyone can be successful in life. I believe anyone can find love. I believe anyone can do a lot of things, but I don’t believe anybody can do anything.

For instance, I could not be a brain surgeon no matter how much I wanted to. My hands are not that steady, my mind is not very scientific, and I could never imagine myself using a scalpel on someone. So, I must accept that God did not give me a talent for that calling.

Does that mean I can’t contribute in some meaningful way? Does that mean that I am any less important in God’s eyes? Absolutely not!

We are not all the same, but we’re all we’re all equal in God’s eyes.

If you read 1 Corinthians 12, you’ll see how God has given each of us different talents and abilities. He says they are all equally important, and all of them are needed to make the body complete. God is not a respecter of persons, so He does not look any more favorably on a brain surgeon than He does a day care worker.

So if you’re feeling unfulfilled and disappointed in life, maybe your gifts and talents are not being utilized where you’re at. If you’re disappointment is dealing with some trial, maybe you need to try and find another way of looking at it. Maybe that trial is going to cause you to be a great blessing to someone down the road. Maybe that trial is preparing you for a calling you’ll receive one day.

Instead of letting disappointment beat you down and weary you, let it wake you up to a new direction, and a new beginning in your life.

William Throsby Bridges said, “Disenchantment, whether it is a minor disappointment or a major shock, is the signal that things are moving into transition in our lives”.

Maybe it’s time to transition your life into a new direction.

God has given each of us gifts and talents according to His purpose, which we need to recognize water, grow and use. If we’re not using those God given gifts and talents we can easily become dissatisfied and disappointed in our lives.

Plus, Jesus teaches us a very important lesson in the parable of the talents. Although the talents in the parable were money, we all know the message was about our gifts and what we do with them. If God gives us something, He expects us to use it.

I know it can be hard when disappointments and trials come, but it is those trials that sharpen and refine us. It is the challenges and trials that knock the rough edges off, and makes us more pliable in God’s hands.

We’re told in James chapter one that trials, although painful for a while, produce patience and character.

There is no end to the stories in the bible where God took peoples trials, fears, disappointments and discouragements and turned them into victories and blessing for them and His people.

When something in life disappoints you, scares you, hurts you and or discourages you, try and change the way you look at it. Who knows, it could be preparation for a great blessing in the future.

I’d love to hear why think.
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7 Steps to Great Relationships

two kittens in shoes "you + me = friendship captionEcclesiastes 4:9-10 9 Two are better than one, Because they have a good reward for their labor. 10 For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, For he has no one to help him up.

Reading the scriptures help show us the importance of relationships. Fortunately, scripture also tells us a lot about what makes a good one. Following are just a few of the lessons learned from the bible.

1. Respect People

Always talk to people with respect; speaking to them like you want to be spoken to. Be kind in your words and actions. Think before you speak, because once the words leave your mouth, they can’t ever be taken back. Your words may be forgiven, but they will never be forgotten. When you speak harshly to someone, you put a small crack in that relationship. Too many small cracks and the relationship will crumble.

2. Be Loyal and Trustworthy

Be the kind of person that can always be counted on to do the right thing. Never do anything to betray that trust. Always be honest, and always temper your honesty with kindness. Let them know that they can always lean on you, and even their deepest secrets are safe. If you don’t have trust in a relationship, you don’t have anything to build on.

“A friend is one who walks in when others walk out” ~~ Walter Winchell

3. Put Others First – Be a Friend

I know it’s not easy, but you need to put the needs of others first. By that very act you show how much you care, and how important that relationship is to you. When you enter a relationship with a heart that puts others first, you are blessed by the fruits that are grown from such an act. By showing a genuine interest in others, you show yourself a friend, and gain loyal, lifelong friends to yourself.

As Dale Carnegie said, “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.

“The only reward of virtue is virtue; the only way to have a friend is to be one.” ~~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

4. Don’t Try and Be Someone You’re not

Always strive to be your best self, but never try and be someone you’re not. Relationships built upon lies and distortions will never stand. Real friends are honest and upfront with each other. If you want to have a real friend, then be a real friend. Part of being a real friend is being yourself. If you want to impress someone, impress them with your kindness and friendship.

5. Don’t Take People For Granted

I think this act probably causes more hurt, resentment, or weakening of friendships than any other. We go from enjoying someone’s company, really appreciating all the things they do for us, and thinking about how great they are for the things they do. Then, let a little time go by, and we stop acknowledging the good things about them. We come to expect certain things that we considered special at one time. Don’t do it, it’s a relationship breaker. No one wants to be taken for granted.

6. Be Forgiving

What if the one being taken for granted is you? It hurts to feel like you’re not appreciated. If we aren’t vigilant in caring for our relationships, these things can easily happen. That’s why it is important for us to look at others like Christ looks at us, with compassion and forgiveness.

Be sure to talk to the person taking you for granted. Don’t let it build inside until the relationship is destroyed and irreparable. If they’re a true friend they should apologize and be willing to change that.

Another trick to great relationships is good communications, and not holding grudges. Be forgiving as Christ is forgiving.

7. Be Positive and Encouraging

I love being around people who are positive and encouraging. It brings out the best in me and causes me to want to be positive and encourage to others. Can you think of a better emotional boost than to help put a smile on someone’s face?

Dwelling on and being discouraged over problems will do nothing to make them better. We need to acknowledge the problem, tell that problem it’s not going to define us, and then get to working finding a solution.

When someone you care about is down and hurting, you getting depressed with them will do nothing to help. What you need to do is show them compassion, be empathetic, and let them know you’re there for them.

Then you need to lift them up. Help them to see some of the wonderful things about themselves and their life. Sometimes people just need to be reminded that they’re special, and we believe in them even when they quit believing in themselves.

Get Your Body Moving!

People on tread mills at gymDo you know what the number one killer is in the United States? Heart disease. Most everyone knows it, but so few of us consider it in relation to our own lives.

Now I am going to speak in general terms as I know this doesn’t apply to everyone. There are many people out there who are taking care of themselves, but they are not the minority.

The vast majority of people live rather sedentary lives. Now I’m not saying people don’t work hard, because they do. It’s just that most of that work is being done sitting, standing or moving rather slowly.

Not only are most of us not very active, many of us don’t feed our bodies the right kind of fuel to keep us healthy either. I will be writing more about diet in another post.

Some of the contributing factors to heart disease are, of course; high cholesterol, smoking, stress, being overweight and lack of exercise. If we would just start eating a little healthier, and get our bodies moving, it could make all the difference in the world.

Look at what the University of Maryland Medical Center website says about the effects of exercise on the heart.
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Exercise’s Effects on the Heart:

“Inactivity is one of the major risk factors for heart disease. However, exercise helps improve heart health, and can even reverse some heart disease risk factors.

Like all muscles, the heart becomes stronger as a result of exercise, so it can pump more blood through the body with every beat and continue working at maximum level, if needed, with less strain. The resting heart rate of those who exercise is also slower, because less effort is needed to pump blood.

A person who exercises often and vigorously has the lowest risk for heart disease, but any amount of exercise is beneficial. Studies consistently find that light-to-moderate exercise is even beneficial in people with existing heart disease. Note, however, that anyone with heart disease or cardiac risk factors should seek medical advice before beginning a workout program.”
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I don’t know why it’s so hard for most of us to get up and get moving. I really have to push myself to exercise sometimes, but I can’t think of a time when I didn’t feel very happy and very positive about it afterwards.

There are so many different things you can do for exercise that I can’t imagine there isn’t something for everyone.

One of my favorites is walking; I love to walk along nature trails, and sometimes up my rather steep road; which is quite a challenge.

There is the gym which has lots of great equipment like tread mills, stair steppers and elliptical machines. You can also get some of those machines for your own home, just make sure you use it and don’t turn it into a clothes rack. 🙂

Then there are fun things you can do like taking a dance class or just going out somewhere and dancing free style.

God calls our bodies a temple and has made us responsible for taking care of our temple. If we feed it with unhealthy foods all the time, and don’t exercise it, we are neglecting that temple and allowing it to come into disrepair.

I know it’s not easy to get started exercising, but I hope from just what you’ve read here that you are reminded about how important it is.

Take care of your body and it will take care of you, remember to have balance in life you need to be healthy spiritually, mentally, and physically.

Also, remember to consult a physician before starting an exercise program.

Let me know if you have any other ideas for exercise and good health.

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Choose To Be Happy

Hands holding piece of paper with happiness written on itDid you know that happiness is a choice? It really is!

Now I’m sure someone’s saying, “Hold on a minute, you’re telling me that if I lose my job, or if I lose money in the stock market, or if I find out I’m sick and may not have many years left; I can choose to be happy about it”?

Happy about the situation, no; happy in spite of, yes.

I think most of us misunderstand happiness like we misunderstand joy and peace. Happiness, joy and peace are states of mind, not emotions. We derive emotions from events in life that we label happy, joyful and peaceful; but in their purest form, they are states of mind.

It might help to look at it like this, happy is an emotion, happiness is a state of mind. You may not be happy that you lost your job, but you can still be a happy and optimistic person because life is good.

I like how Groucho Marx put it, “Each morning when I open my eyes I say to myself: I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn’t arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I’m going to be happy in it.”

I also really like a quote by Helen Keller that goes, “When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.”

That statement is so true. When something bad happens to us, like the loss of a job or finding out we’re ill; Instead of taking stock of what we have, or all the other good things in our life, we focus on what’s not right. We might have a couple hundred pluses, but we focus on the one or two negatives.

We have to change our mind set on what happiness really is if we want to have a lifetime of it. It’s a glass half full gratitude attitude.

Or another way to put it is what Frederick Keonig said, “We tend to forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have.”

If we can only be happy when we have everything we want or need, and everything in life is flowing just right, we will spend most of our lives not very happy.

“The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance, the wise grows it under his feet.”~~ James Oppenheim

It really boils down to the things we focus on. If we put most of our focus on the bad, the sad, the difficult, and the disappointments; our outlook on life will be jaded.

Abraham Lincoln really hit the nail on the head when he said, “Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”

God inspired some amazing advice in Philippians 4:8 that should really help us, 8 “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy meditate on these things”.

That was written in a time of great persecution of Christians.

I hope these thoughts will help you or someone you care about to choose happiness, and a more fulfilling way of life.
Let me know what you think!

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“If you like what you’ve read, please feel free to share it with a friend; and recommend yourspiritmindandbody.com to them”.