Top 10 Healthy Holiday Tips

Fall and Winter mixThanksgiving and Christmas are just around the corner.  In anticipation of the upcoming holidays, I have compiled a few simple words of advise.

My Top 10 Healthy Holiday Tips

  1. Choose your attitude.  Include some gratitude in that attitude.
  2. Put the weight loss goals on hold and consider holding your weight.
  3. Keep calm and remember to breathe.  Find little ways to decompress the stress.
  4. When in a time crunch, make those spare minutes count.
  5. Tired of the same exercise routine?  Try something different.  Really, different.
  6. If you’re planning on ‘get-togethers’, plan ahead.
  7. Try a new holiday recipe such as Fresh Cranberry Orange Relish or Pumpkin Custard.
  8. Remember to read something that makes you smile.  Or, something just plain silly.
  9. Rehearse regularly who God says you are in Christ.
  10. Most importantly, know that you are loved.

Thank You God

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Managing Inflammation with Nutrition

How we eat can either help to manage inflammation or cause inflammation to lead to more health problems.  The foods and nutrients that tend to control inflammation are the ones I want to focus on today.  (For an overview of how our health and inflammation is linked, check out my previous post.)

The best place to start is by choosing real, whole foods that are fresh, natural and/or organic.  Our ancestors of eons ago ate this way and consequentially appeared to develop significantly less inflammatory diseases.

When you look at the way Paleolithic and hunter-gather societies ate in comparison to today in our Western society there is quite a contrast.  A few examples:   1) They ate an average of 100 grams of fiber daily in vegetables and fruits (which is excellent).  We eat about 20 grams of fiber daily, mostly from grains (not so excellent).  2) They never ate refined oils (terrific, again).  Most of the oils we consume are refined (not so terrific).  3) Their ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids was about 1:1 (an ideal ratio).  Our ratio is about 20:1 (not even close to ideal).

While I’m not promoting a particular diet or one certain eating style, I am suggesting that in many ways our ‘highly processed’ eating has led us away from a more natural and healthy eating style that was once common.

raspberries & blueberries

Let’s take a closer look at a couple of these areas where most of us have room for improvement — namely, vegetables and fruits and omega-3 fatty acids.  Our standard American diet tends to be consistently low in both of these.  To begin to correct this deficiency, and promote the body’s anti-inflammatory response, eat more of these foods and nutrients.

Eat MORE Vegetables and Fruits.  Vitamins, minerals and antioxidants galore!

Eat more vegetables and fruits – whole, fresh, fresh frozen and organic (when possible).  I think it would be safe to say that at least three-fourths of Americans are still lacking in the minimum of five servings a day.  Five to ten servings a day would be much better.  Choose mostly from the high-fiber, non-starchy ones.  That would include vegetables such as, spinach, cucumbers, broccoli, green beans, and kale and fruits such as blueberries, raspberries, and kiwi, just to name a few.

flaxseedEat MORE Omega-3 Fatty Acids.  More omega-3 fatty acids and less omega-6 fatty acids promotes a better balance of anti-inflammatory nutrients.

We could improve our omega-3 intake by including more fish, especially cold water varieties like salmon and sardines.  You might add some tuna, halibut or cod for variety.  The omega-3 content is a little lower but they are still good choices.  Flaxseed oil and fresh, ground flaxseeds would add some omega-3 fatty acids as well.

Excess omega-6 fatty acids tend to have a pro-inflammatory effect.  The simplest way to reduce these is by switching from any store bought processed cooking oils such as corn, safflower, sunflower or canola to extra-virgin olive oil which is much healthier.

steamed broccoliChronic inflammation and inflammatory disorders are linked to our dietary habits.  We can influence our body’s inflammatory response to some degree with our every day food choices.  How about trying a simple meal like this: Broiled Salmon with Steamed Broccoli and a Fresh Fruit Salad? 

Why not start today?

NA Salmon

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Could Inflammation Be Affecting Our Health?

I’m not a jogger.  But I do run on occasion.  Like when I’m playing with the dogknee inflammation or having
fun on the ocean beach with my daughter.  However, lately my knees have decided to rebel, even when I pick up the pace for very short distances.  “Bursitis”, my doctor says.  (And ‘itis’, as we know, commonly refers to inflammation.)  “Take an anti-inflammatory, over-the-counter pain medication”, he suggests.  Being one who doesn’t like to pop a pill for every pain that comes along, I researched ‘inflammation’ to find the latest information on problems it causes and the best, most natural ways to deal with it.

Inflammation is a big can of worms in the health field.  Even bigger than I thought it was.  As more research is conducted, we find that inflammation is linked in some way to a majority of diseases.  Uncontrolled inflammatory problems tend to snowball and lead to more serious inflammatory diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, asthma, cancer and arthritis, to name a few.

Some have termed this the ‘inflammation syndrome’.  Meaning that it “reflects the coexistence of at least two (and often more) inflammatory disorders that greatly increase the risk of developing more serious inflammatory diseases”.  This definition is from the author, Jack Challem, of The Inflammation Syndrome book.  He goes on to say, “although an inflammatory response may primarily affect specific tissues, such as the knees, {don’t I know it, Jack!} it frequently radiates through the body and attacks other tissues.”  For example, joint injuries can set the stage for osteoarthritis.  Chronic infection and inflammation have a 30% likelihood of leading to cancer.  This is what seems to have happened to my brother earlier this year.  He had a prolonged serious infection unresponsive to treatment, followed by a diagnosis of aggressive prostate cancer which took his life, all in less than a year and a half.

Chronic inflammation simply makes the body more susceptible to disease.  Nutrition plays a large part because nutritional deficiencies or imbalances prime the immune system for the inflammation reactions.  To effectively treat inflammatory diseases nutritional problems need to be corrected.

What are the main foods that contribute to an inflammatory reaction?  In general, highly processed foods.  And more specifically, processed foods high in sugar such as soft drinks and desserts; refined carbohydrates such as white bread, white rice, and cake; processed oils like corn, soybean or sunflower (as opposed to olive oil);  most fast-food restaurant items; prepackaged microwave meals and processed foods that come in boxes, cans and bottles.

This brings us to the flip side – what foods tend to help control inflammation?   In general, fresh and whole foods, such as fresh vegetables and fruits, whole grains, nuts, seeds, extra virgin olive oil, fish and naturally raised lean meats.  Look for minimally processed foods.  For example, a baked potato would be a fresh, whole food verses fast-food French fries, which are potatoes, highly processed.  (For more detailed dietary suggestions check back next month.)

And remember, it’s not just what you choose to eat but how much you eat and how often you eat it.  I’m a firm proponent of ‘80/20’ thinking in regards to healthy food choices.  At least eighty percent of the time, make a conscious choice to eat fresh and whole foods.  Twenty percent of the time (or less), give yourself permission to have those items that you truly enjoy even though they may not be considered a ‘healthy’ food.

I plan to continue to do what I can to manage inflammation.  How about you?

pile of produce

If you want to learn more on how to eat to control inflammation be sure to stop back next month.

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Experience Genuine Transformation in a Small Group Bible Study

I believe there is a supernatural power that flows in a small group Bible study.  I have experienced it as a small group leader and as a student.  Women meeting together to share how God has been working in their lives and to pray for one another is the foundation for truly transformational fellowship.  Small Groups

My friend, Kellan, has written a Bible study based on this premise called Genuine Transformation: a reality driven scripture study. As one of several who have taken part in editing and testing this study, I’m giving this a big thumbs up.

(Excerpt from the back cover)  This study takes what you are going through and who you are, and filters these through scripture in three ways: Discover and focus on who God is and what he does.  Discover and focus on yourself in a healthy way by knowing who you are to God and who you are in Jesus.  Find out God’s truth about your problems, feelings and questions by bringing them to God.

In this unique Bible study you won’t find fill-in-the-blank questions or lengthy chapters to read.  What you will find are prompts for bringing your real life concerns to God, and ways to find answers in the truth of his word.

Kellan has graciously made this Genuine Transformation Bible Study a free downloadable pdf.  You may also download the Leader’s Guide for this small group Bible study.

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.  Amen.   (2 Cor. 13:14)

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No Cooking Required — Summer Salad Bar

Where I live, we’ve been having one of the hottest, driest summers on record.  When the weather is hot like this, I turn to ‘no cooking required’ meals.  A salad bar works well for my family.  I just set out a variety of items in buffet style and let everyone create their own salad.  (And if I’m lucky, I can avoid a trip to the grocery store by using the items I have on hand.)

salad bar in neon

Start with vegetables.  Set out a large bowl of MIXED SALAD GREENS.   In small bowls include sliced or chopped vegetables such as CUCUMBERS, SWEET PEPPERS, TOMATOES or CARROTS.  Consider adding whole SUGAR SNAP PEAS or BABY CORN (canned).  These options are just a starting point.  What’s in your refrigerator crisper drawer or your pantry?

Next, add a protein option such as COTTAGE CHEESE, SHREDDED SHARP CHEDDAR CHEESE or CANNED GARBANZO BEANS to your buffet.

Fresh or canned fruit is a nice addition.  Set out a bowl of SLICED PEACHES or PEARS.  Dried fruit on salads adds a concentrated sweetness and tartness I love.  Try DRIED CRANBERRIES or DRIED MONTMORENCY CHERRIES (my favorite! — find them at Trader Joe’s).

Nuts or seeds add texture and nutrients, such as essential fatty acids.  Try LIGHTLY SWEETENED PECANS or LIGHTLY SALTED PUMPKIN SEEDS.

Add a vinaigrette type item to your buffet such as PICKLED BEETS, MARINATED THREE BEAN SALAD (the canned is great — low in calories and zero fat) or a jar of ARTICHOKE HEARTS.   You may tend to use less salad dressing when you add these vinaigrette items.  I know I do.  And I really like salad dressing.

Speaking of SALAD DRESSING, we all know this is where the entire healthy salad can go south.  However, the combination of the above items creates a salad with so much flavor and interest, I think you’ll find a small amount of dressing will go a long way.  My  recommendation is not a specific brand name of dressing, but a dressing with ‘real food’ ingredients and few additives.  You sometimes pay a little more but it’s worth it.

Balance out your salad with baked CROUTONS or serve some small slices of WHOLE GRAIN ARTISAN-TYPE BREAD on the side.

Happy summer!  Healthy eating!flourish scroll~~~  Looking for more summer salad ideas?  Check out my GREEK SALAD.  ~~~

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Shrug It Off

Let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light…put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for the flesh…  (Romans 13:12, 14)

Let’s say you’re wearing an old, dirty, stained and ragged coat.  You’re given a new, spotless, beautiful coat.  Do you leave the old coat on to put on the new coat?  No.  That would make so sense.  It would be uncomfortable and binding.  And, ridiculous.  You’d shrug that old thing off first.  Then, the new coat would fit right — comfortable, not binding.

To put on Christ you’d let go of the flesh, the sinful nature, the old nature first.  Every day, every hour, every moment is a new opportunity to put on the new nature, provided with love, by your Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  Every time that old nature, the flesh, begins to re-appear and to taint this new nature in Christ, shrug it off.  Accept what Jesus Himself gives you, a new nature, which is new life.  Christ’s Life in you.  That’s the Life that fits.

And stop arguing that the old coat is good enough.  Or that you’re really not worth that beautiful new coat.  Lies!  The enemy’s lies!  When God gives you something, by absolute faith, you are to drop that old ‘whatever it is’ and grab onto that new thing.  No looking back, no questions asked.  Take it whole-heartedly.  This is trust.  Believing the ‘new’ is perfect for you.  The gift is perfect.  The Giver is God Almighty.

His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness.  (2 Peter 1:3)

Put on Christ

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First, Greatest, Everlasting: LOVE

God is love.  1 John 4:16black and red He first loved

We love because He first loved us.  1 John 4:19

And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.  1 Corinthians 13:13

All of Scripture is full of expressions of God’s love.  Everything God has made, all He does, all He says — Genesis to Revelation — everything the Father, Son and Holy Spirit is, is underlined with love.  To miss it is like missing the forest for the trees.  And yet, there are days I do miss it.  Times when I need to revisit the love of God.

To know the love of Christ which passes knowledge.  Ephesians 3:19

The paradox of God’s love — to know something that is unknowable.  Yet, God says I can know love.  Jesus said, “That the love with which You loved Me, may be in them, and I in them.”  (John 17:26)   Jesus declares His love for His own.

This love is not (always) something I feel, but it is, always, something I can know.

This is a supernatural love.  This love is a miracle.  A gift to be received.  It is a work of the Holy Spirit.  Because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.  (Romans 5:5)

So, today, we can remember — God is love.  He first loved us.  He demonstrated His love through Jesus.  He poured His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit.

We can know, as Jeremiah did, that He loves us with an everlasting love.  (Jeremiah 31:3)

God has done it all.  When my heart struggles to believe Him, I will remember this — God is even greater than my heart.  (1 John 3:20)

Bible with heart pages

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A New Spin on Chicken Wraps

Fresh from my Newly Created Recipes file is a terrific Chicken Wrap with Pesto Vinaigrette dish.  I use the term ‘recipe’ very loosely.  I rarely actually cook from a recipe.  So, if you cook like I do, with an ingredients list and an educated guess on the amounts, you’ll love this.

Chicken Wraps with Pesto VinaigretteBon Appetite with Spoons

THE CHICKEN WRAP.  Buy a roasted chicken, de-bone and cut the chicken into bite-size strips.  Lay some chicken down the center of a flavored tortilla.  (Garlic Herb or Sun Dried Tomato tortillas are my favorites.)  Sprinkle a little crumbled feta cheese on the chicken.  Add a few strips of sun dried tomatoes.  If you have a jar of pimentos or roasted red or yellow peppers, add a few pieces.  Roll the tortilla, rather tightly, seam side down.  Slice in half.  Repeat with a few more tortillas.  I usually make about 4 wraps.

THE PESTO VINAIGRETTE.  Buy a jar of traditional Pesto sauce.  Spoon out a couple tablespoons into a small bowl.  Add a splash of Seasoned Rice Vinegar and a couple splashes of Balsamic Vinegar.  Add about one-half teaspoon of brown sugar (or more) to taste.  Stir well.

SERVE.  Warm the Chicken Wraps in the microwave.  Serve with Pesto Vinaigrette.  Garnish with a few pitted Kalamata olives.  

Ta Da!  Enjoy!

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A Good Some Thing

Peace Phil 4:7What hinders your peace? Is it physical pain, worry, regrets, anxiety, depression, stress?  (Confession: That is my personal list, but yours might be something like it.)

Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad.  Proverbs 12:25

What is a good word?

Word (or davar from Strong’s) is defined as: a word, a speech, a matter or thing.  Do you ever have so much bad that you just plain need some good — as in a good some thing?

Word is also defined as: a report, a message.  There are similarities between the Hebrew davar and the Greek logos.  Jesus is the davar of the Old Testament and the logos of the New Testament.  What that looks like to me is that He is the message of the entire book.

Not only does Jesus bring good words, He is the Good Word.

Rejoice in the Lord always.  Again I will say, rejoice!  Let your gentleness be known to all men.  The Lord is at hand.  Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.  Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy — meditate on these things.  Philippians 4:4-8

Cast all your cares on Him, for He cares for you.  1 Peter 5:7

Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bones.  Proverbs 16:24

How do these words from Scripture become real in my life?  How can I put them into action?

  1. Think on good things — things that bring peace.  Meditate on Truth.  (Philippians 4:8)
  2. Pray.  Ask.  Be thankful.  (Philippians 4:6)
  3. Believe the peace of God guards your heart and mind through Christ Jesus.  (Philippians 4:7)
  4. Watch your words, both that which you speak and that which you listen to.  (Proverbs 16:24)
  5. Give your worries, burdens, cares and concerns to God.  (1 Peter 5:7)

The more I know who Jesus is and the more I know who He says I am in Him, the more I know that…

I am more than a conqueror through Him who loves me.  (Romans 8:37)

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Heart Belief



When I decided to start a blog, I committed to one thing — that it be real.  Real stuff from the heart.  Not platitudes or empty words.  That said, in true blog form (I hope), I’m posting a page straight from my personal journal today.

centered heart scroll

For with the heart one believes unto righteousness… Romans 10:10

 What do I believe?  What is this faith?

A daily relationship.  Not religious robotics.  A conversation, talking out feelings, listening, waiting, confessing, cleansing, being as open to God’s presence as possible.  Being filled with the Holy Spirit, allowing His leading of thoughts; absorbing teachings, insight, knowledge, understanding.  Accepting what God has already declared me to be.  Claiming His promises as Truth whether I feel anything or not.  Asking for His will, His working through the day.  Asking for the Holy Spirit’s promptings in how to respond in all circumstances.  Heart belief, fresh faith, deeper relationship.  Narrowing of focus, letting go of distractions, a pure meditation on His Word, all things Spiritual, His direction — leading, guiding — my obedience in following His ways.  Emptying of self, being clay to the Potter, an empty vessel to be filled with all God desires for me.  A confidence in Christ — no confusion — a boldness to take Him at His Word and come before His throne, humbly, with requests.  Releasing and letting go of what binds, ties, shackles, and imprisons.  Taking hold of, clinging to that which frees.  Standing firm on His absolutes, discerning when to be strong, take action, fight and when to simply trust, rest and leave it at His feet.  Dwelling on His goodness, mercy, kindness, love.  Finding no good thing in me (self) and no good thing in man (fallen world/fallen humans), finding ALL good that there is to be found in God.

One thing.  My responsibility: BELIEVE!

Is He able?  Or is He not?  Either He is or He is not.  It’s definitive.  Do I believe Him?  For everything?  In everything?  It’s yes or no — not multiple choice!

Yes, and Amen.  Let it be so.

  •   Out with religion, in with relationship.

I am asking You, God, to fix the broken places in my brain.  Remove the poisoned parts, sweep away the charred bits that serve no good purpose, blow the dust away.  It’s gone.  Now, I’m asking Lord, that You build new neural pathways, brand new brain tissue and fill it only and always with Your Spirit.  Make it real.  Make it so.  Only You are able.  Amen.

  •   Out with the fuzzy, in with the clear.
  •   Out with the useless, in with the useful.
  •   Out with the old, in with the new.
  •   Out with the unclean, in with the clean.
  •   Out with wishy-washy, in with absolutes.


  •   Out with doubt, in with confidence.
  •   Out with chattering, in with listening.
  •   Out with the sorrow of self-loathing, in with the joy of the Lord!
  •   Out with deflecting good, in with absorbing good.
  •   Out with discontent, in with peace.
  •   Out with sleeplessness, in with sleep.
  •   Out with false guilt, in with Holy Spirit conviction.

The negativeness in me is like a cancer.  It’s black and cruddy and ugly and grows!  Take it away.  I give You all the negative (aka: ungodly thoughts, beliefs).  They are NOT me!  They are evil — of Satan and his demons.  That is NOT who I am in Christ.  Greater is He who is in me, than he who is in the world.

  •   Out with Satan’s lies, in with God’s Truth.
  •   Out with believing lies, in with believing Truth.

God is good, all the time.  All the time, God is good.  God is good in His love and in His wrath.  He is ALL GOOD!

He is for me.  Who can be against me?  I am not a victim.  I do not need pity from myself or anyone else.  I can STOP complaining and feeling sorry for myself.  It is a total waste of time, breath and brain cells!

It matters not what my past experiences were.  They do not define me TODAY!  I belong to God.  He defines me.  He created me in His image.  He alone knows who I am and who I am to Him.  He makes all things new.  He restores, revives, renews, regenerates, rejuvenates (and invigorates — oh, God, can I so boldly ask for that — to be invigorated!?!)  You are Almighty God.  There is nothing you cannot do.  Nothing — NO THING — is too hard for You.  You make all things new.  I am an ‘all thing’ — make me new, too.

Take my life and let it be
Consecrated, Lord, to Thee;
Take my moments and my days —
Let them flow in ceaseless praise.
Let them flow in ceaseless praise. [1]

Take my life.  Take all of me.  All of my body, soul, and spirit.  Take it all.  I lay all of me — every last little particle of every cell — at Your feet.  Let me be, Lord, a living sacrifice.  I belong wholly to You.  I am not my own.  I ask that You take me.  I am yours.  All of me, I give to You.

In total, reckless abandon, I consider my life Yours.

In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.  Let it be so.  Amen.

In the name of Jesus, I bind the enemy.  God, that You would keep him at bay.  I am in You, Jesus, and You are in me.  I cannot be touched by Satan.  He has no power over me.  He has no authority to touch any part of my life.  Apart from direct permission from You, Lord God, Satan cannot oppress me!  I belong to You and You have overcome!  You are Lord over all Heaven and earth.  All Creation belongs to You.  All is under Your feet.

Jesus is the vine and I am the branch.  I abide in Him and Him in me.  United with Christ!  What a glorious place to be.  Loved, protected, safe, cared for.  No one, no thing (nothing!) can separate me from Your love.  Nothing can separate me from You at all.  No thing.  Accepted in the Beloved.  I am accepted in Christ.  You chose me God, accepted me in Him, and the Spirit lives within me.  Praise God!

This is Eternity.  Right here.  Right now.  On the continuum of time — from where God created time when there was none — when I was chosen from the very beginning, and have been united in Christ since believing Him, today is the first day of all my Eternity.  Eternity in Christ.  This time is a gift.  This life in this given time in Eternity is a gift from God.  I have today.  I have Life in Christ this day, this hour, this moment.  He determines the number of my days within this time He created.  He made me to be a part of this particular point on His diving timeline.  For this generation he has purposed my life.  I am still here, living in these days where He placed me.  He is not finished with me yet.  My life is within Christ, eternally, in all Eternity.  God, keep this perspective clearly before me — that I was made for this time.  Made for YOU!  Made and chosen to be in Christ.  Let Your will be done.

Take my hands and let them move
At the impulse of Thy love;
Take my feet and let them be
Swift and beautiful for Thee.
Swift and beautiful for Thee.
Take my voice and let me sing
Always, only, for my King;
Take my lips and let them be
Filled with messages from Thee.
Filled with messages from Thee.
Take my silver and my gold —
Not a mite would I withhold;
Take my intellect and use
Every power as Thou shalt choose.
Every power as Thou shalt choose.
Take my will and make it Thine —
It shall be no longer mine;
Take my heart — it is Thine own,
It shall be Thy royal throne.
It shall be Thy royal throne.
Take my love — my Lord, I pour
At Thy feet its treasure store;
Take myself — and I will be
Ever, only, all for Thee.
Ever, only, all for Thee. [1]
[1] Frances Ridley Havergal (1836-1879)


Always, ever, only, all for You.  Amen.

          The End… and, the Beginning…

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