Wednesday, January 30, 2013

A Foods by God Testimoney: Joanna

My friend, Joanna, who is a very gifted and creative teacher, shared with me this past weekend her cookie jar 'victory'.  I asked her if she would write up her experience to share with you.  I know just how severe sugar addiction is and I praise God for her victory over the cookie jar last week.  Don't let Satan overwhelm you with lies so that you think you cannot succeed.  Focus on today and focus on God.  Take small steps, day-by-day, with lots of prayer - with God all things ARE possible!  Don't ever doubt that. 
 
 


joannaAn old eating disorder, no matter how long ago it was in the past, still lingers and can cause the formation of cloudy disordered thinking when it comes to food.  I want to be free from that old bondage.
 
I have been thin but I don’t know that I have ever been truly free in the area of my eating.  What I am learning is that I sure have spent a great deal of time condemning myself, but I’m awakening to the idea that my love of “bad foods” is actually all tangled in chemicals and additive substances in the foods I called “yummy”.  I thought I was bad.  Is the food the bad guy here, not me?  Now there is a novel idea?

What a gift to give a child, to teach her just to eat right.  Eat good foods.  Eat the right amount.  Be the ideal weight.  No thought to the matter at all.  Makes me sigh; it wasn’t that way for me.  I grew up eating wrongly, over eating, emotional eating, under eating, all out binging, and starving, every which way but right.

Now at age 53, I look over at the “Foods By God” blog.  What is this?  I look over at “Foods By Joanna” and I see chaos; I see disordered thinking.  I wonder, “How can I get from here to over there?”

I think about Nehemiah.  He took a survey around the broken down walls of Jerusalem.  He saw rubble, broken down walls, and more rubble.  It is harder to rebuild than it is to build, almost impossible really, but then I guess I shouldn’t mention Nehemiah and his broken down walls, because he actually did rebuild the new walls in 52 days, didn’t he?

I too have crossed many a personal “Red Seas” in my life.  How amazing has been the crossing of impossible waters.  To mention only one, my son should have died in Africa, but we made it out in a medical evacuation and the miraculous story still causes my heart to sing.

At this point, here is what I know: “Foods by Joanna” isn’t working so well!  This way of eating “Foods by God” way seems impossible.  But I do so love the story of Nehemiah, so I take a step towards the impossible crossing.

This week I came upon a cookie jar filled with fairly stale cookies.  I decided to taste one, then another, then another.  I left so that I wouldn’t get another.  I went home, went to bed, and guess what woke up on my mind?  Yes, the jar of cookies at school.  The closer I drove to school, the more I wanted those cookies!  I knew I should pray, but …I could pray later…after I had a few cookies.  I opened the door of the school and God whispered across my heart, “What if I had something else for you?”
 
I stopped in my tracks and looked heavenward.  I wondered what that could mean.  I threw all the stale cookies in the trashcan, and I began looking for the “something else”.  In my mind grew the most delicious idea for my students.  I could take my cute little first graders and we could write our own play, gather props, build a set, and have a wonderful time doing it!  By the end of the week, instead of having more white sugar flowing in my veins, I had ideas flowing wildly.

Simultaneously as I let go of the yucky foods (formerly named 'yummy foods), I'm finding less of a drive for them and a new question arises, "Did I really love them or was I really just addicted to them."  What will I do with my hands, mouth, and feet if I'm not running after those foods?  I know the answer; they will serve the LORD instead of my fleshly passions.
 
Nehemiah’s walls weren’t built in one day, but they were built one day at a time.  May God have mercy and teach me His ways.  “With man it is impossible, but not with God, with God all things are possible.”  Mark 10:27 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Weekly Challenge - Week 5 (1/29/2013)

Don't eat or drink anything (except water) after dinner.

 
This one should be incredibly easy - it takes no effort or shopping, it gives you more time to do something else, and it saves you money!  But, I have a feeling, that this could be incredibly hard for many.  I hope I don't lose your participation with the weekly challenges this week.  It may be hard at first, but I promise that it will soon become a habit and you will no longer struggle with cravings and hunger in the evening hours.  If this is hard for you, please turn your craving to God, and ask for His help in prayer.  This challenge is applicable and healthful for everyone, except the very young who are nursed or still take a bottle before bed.  It is key to healing and maintaining good health because it allows the body to fast and cleanse overnight.

Some tips and suggestions:

1.  Don't starve yourself during the day.  If you starve yourself all day; you will be ravenous by dinner time and you will overeat.  Starved of calories all day, you will likely continue to crave something to eat later in the evening.   To make matters worse, during the day you have slowed your metabolism (the body's defense against times of starvation), and your evening food will be turned into unhealthy fat during the night.  Try to eat three meals at fairly regular times of the day.  Your meals don't have to be difficult.  If you are not at home and don't have much time to eat; pack up some hard cheese (like cheddar), whole grain crackers, raw nuts, carrot or celery sticks, and a piece or two of fresh fruit.  
 
2.  Try to eat your dinner by 7:00 p.m.  My family typically eats between 5:00 and 7:00.  This will allow time for your food to digest before you go to bed.
 
3.  I will be giving you many meal ideas and recipes to help you, but for now, with the knowledge you have already, try to switch to more and more of God-made foods which provide nourishment and satisfy you, as Jennifer has seen over the last month.
 
4.  If you feel you must eat after dinner, try to identify why.  For some people it is a poor diet of man-made food (these foods don't provide the nutrients your body needs and thus they don't satisfy your hunger), but for others it is 'comfort' eating.  If you find you overeat or you eat junk food when you face a disappointment, loneliness, stress, past hurt, or any number of other reasons - recognize what is happening.  This is the first step to overcoming this addiction.  Typically the foods you are eating as 'comfort' foods are the very addictive man-made foods designed by man to make you crave them.  You become trapped in a vicious cycle. 
 
5.  If you are hungry, try drinking some water.  A person can feel hungry when dehydrated.

6.  Change your routine and distract yourself during the time you would normally be snacking.  Take a walk, play a game, connect with your family or neighbors, write a note and mail it, or call a friend.
 
7.  If it seems just impossible for you not to eat before bed, or if you get up in the night to eat, try to eat fresh fruit for your snack.  Fresh fruit takes very little energy to digest so this would be a good transition if you cannot go cold turkey on this challenge.
 
If you have not connected with someone whom you see or chat with, or text with daily, now would be a great time to do so.  It is so much easier, and fun, to face a challenge with the help and support of a friend.

 



 
 
 
I thank God that He put it on my heart to change my diet before I had my sons so I could enjoy the fun times while they grew.  I want to share my daily health struggles and thoughts from when I was eating a diet of mostly man-made food before my boys were born.  I hope this might help you if this challenge is difficult for you.

At one point during my adult life prior to having children, I was convinced that I had to eat in the evening before bed.  I was also convinced by my mother that I had to eat the first thing when I got up or I would pass out.  I did feel like I would pass out if I didn't immediately eat something, so it was easy for me to believe this was true.  My mother told me that hypoglycemia ran in our family, that she and my sister had it, and that she thought I had developed it too. 

She was just conveying to me what she was told when she went to her doctor with similar symptoms and had testing done.  She said that I needed to eat multiple small meals/snacks throughout the day, starting first thing in the morning right up until bedtime, to stabilize my blood sugar.  If you know anything about hypoglycemia, diabetes 'cousin', it is not thought to be a curable disease.

This became my routine.  I ate upon rising, I ate frequently through the day, and I ate right before bed.  I was so far off balance and it got so bad, that I carried food in my purse for those times when I felt so weak and faint throughout the day that I thought I would collapse.  This seems so foreign to me now, like I am writing about another person, not myself! 

For anyone who knows me now, I never have any food in my purse or the car, and can go most of the day without food if I need too.  I get up early at 4:00 or 5:00 a.m.  and drink a glass of water.  I then continue to sip on water until about 7:00 a.m. when I eat some fruit.  Next comes breakfast anywhere from 7:30 to 9:00 a.m.  I eat lunch around noon, have fruit or some other light snack in the afternoon, and dinner around 6:00 p.m.  I never feel faint anymore since I have switched to a diet of excellent quality God-made foods.  God's foods satisfy me and provide the nourishment my body needs, so I do not crave food in the evening before bed nor need it to sleep.  It is amazing what 'diseases' can be cured by a diet of God-made food and following a good daily routine. 

I am sharing this for those who might say, "But my situation is different and I must eat before bed."  Eating before bed is not the answer to your health issue; unfortunately, it is an unhealthy habit and it will not produce the vitality, energy and good health you are trying to achieve. 
 
"Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always."  1 Chronicles 16:11

 
 

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Brownies


Here is the recipe for the brownies about which Haley said, "These are the best brownies I have ever had."  Almost every recipe can be modified to include only God's real foods.  It took three or four tries to come up with this delicious, very easy to make recipe.  Though one should eat a balanced diet without too many sweets, brownies and cookies, and incredible treats, are definitely part of God's food plan if made using 'God-made' food ingredients.

For those interested in going to the next level of 'cooking from scratch', I will be sharing how to make many of the ingredients I use, such as butter and flours.  However, don't be alarmed, this is not necessary, if you prefer to buy them instead.

Ingredients (I use organic ingredients):

1 stick sweet cream butter (I make my butter - so easy to do!)
1/2 cup pure honey 
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
2 range-free eggs (I collect mine from our hen house)
1 tsp. organic vanilla (do not use imitation)

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa (many are sweetened with sugar, read the ingredient list)
2/3 - 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
     (or 1/2 cup soft white wheat berries, finely ground)
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. sea salt

2/3 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 °F. 

Melt butter on low heat on stove.  Remove from heat and stir in honey.  Fork beat eggs in another bowl; add maple syrup and vanilla to eggs.  Stirring quickly and continuously, add the egg mixture into honey butter mixture. 


Combine the dry ingredients. (I always grind my flours fresh for maximum nutrient quality and freshness).  Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until blended.  Don't over mix.  Stir in walnuts (optional). 


Grease an 8" x 8" glass square baking dish with butter, and pour mixture into dish.  (At this point, if you want some brownies with nuts and did not put them in the batter, you can sprinkle chopped walnuts over half of the pan before baking.)
 
 



Bake brownies at 350 °F for 35 minutes, or until center is just set.  Enjoy!

"Eat honey, my son, for it is good;  honey from the comb is sweet to your taste."  Proverbs 24:13




Saturday, January 26, 2013

January 2013 Class - Apples and Pears, and Lemons

Hands-on Demonstrations:  Fresh Fruit Options, Part 2




Apples and pears are two great snack options that you can enjoy at home or easily take with you.  They take no preparation if you just bite into them and eat to the core.  Lemons should not be eaten directly; because they are so acidic, they are very damaging to your tooth enamel.

Pears are one of the best alkaline fruits to eat when detoxing, and apples contain pectin which helps digestive disorders such as IBS and colitis.  It has also been found that apples help lower cholesterol and protect against some cancers, such as colon cancer.

The old adage, "An apple a day keeps the doctor away", has a lot of truth to it.  But do not think you can take a supplement of apple pectin or drink apple juice and get the same benefits.  God made these fruits to be eaten raw straight from the tree, and altered forms destroy the beneficial synergy of nutrients that has been created by God. 

Apple juice, even organic, must be pasteurized before being sold in the United States.  Pasteurization is the heating of a food to a specified temperature for a specified time period, in the attempt to destroy pathogens. Pasteurization destroys many of the beneficial properties and nutritional value of foods.  The only purpose of pasteurization is to allow high volume processing and longer shelf-life. Its purpose is not to preserve the nutritional value of the food. All enzymes which help you assimilate the nutrients in raw foods are destroyed when heated over about 118 °F.

1.  Apples

I only buy organic apples.  The existence of pesticide residues on conventional apples has been widely publicized for years, and apples are number one on the "Dirty Dozen" list.  If you are still not sure if you want to spend extra for organic produce, keep in mind that the interaction of pesticides is not evaluated or studied.  When a pesticide or other chemical, that will be used on or in food, is tested for approval, only that chemical is evaluated, completely independent of the thousands of other chemicals that have already been approved.  A piece of produce tested for the "Dirty Dozen" list typically contains residues of many different pesticides, not just of a single pesticide. 

Organic apples are plentiful and reasonably priced.  There are also many, many, different varieties available.  I never buy red delicious apples because they do not have the depth of flavor of the other apples.  I think they are the most hybridized and you can taste it in the flavor, even in organic ones.  I love trying all the different types (except the red delicious) at the store, and I am usually not disappointed.  Look for the firm, beautifully colored apples.  Though food prices have been skyrocketing the past few years, I still can find and buy organic apples for $1.99 or less per pound.  Buying them in bags is often cheaper, but look closely at the apples to make sure they are not bruised and soft.  For the January class, I found beautiful apples at $1.29, $1.39, and $1.69 per pound.  You don't have to pay $2.49 and $2.99 per pound to get organic.

Apples, or apple slices, are a great addition to a lunch you pack in the morning.  As you probably know, if you slice up an apple, the slices start to oxidize and brown very quickly.  You probably also know that putting lemon juice on the slices will prevent the browning.  This past summer, I found a trick that works so much better than trying to squeeze lemon juice onto the apple slices.  It is so hard to get the juice on all surfaces and you end up with brown patches or the apple slices swimming in lemon juice.

I will describe how I now prepare apple slices (and pear slices) in case you prefer slices and are not eating them immediately.  I first cut the apple or pear in half and then I core it with my apple corer.  (When I try to core it before I cut it, I always miss and the removed core also gets stuck in my corer.) 



Next I cut a wedge of fresh, organic lemon (another citrus fruit; one that I only buy organic).  Now cut your apple or pear slices and immediately rub the white flesh parts with the lemon wedge.  You are then applying minimum lemon juice and your slices will look beautiful for hours.



2.  Pears

There are also many varieties of pears that are available.  As with oranges and lemons, I only buy organic pears (or eat them from my pear trees).  While not on the 'Dirty Dozen' list, pears also are not on the 'Clean 15' list.  Thus since organic pears are also plentiful, reasonably priced, and I a eating the skin of this fruit, I choose to buy organic.

Pears slices can be prepared in the exact same manner as apples.  However, pear slices do not brown as quickly as apple slices.  


Many fruits can be grown in Texas, and my family now enjoys pears, apples, peaches, plums and nectarines from our trees.  If you have a yard and maintain it organically, plant a fruit tree this spring!

"Then God said, 'I give you every seed-bearing plant of 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
  


Friday, January 25, 2013

January 2013 Class - Grapefruit & Oranges

Hands-on Demonstrations:  Fresh Fruit Options, Part 1

Grapefruits and oranges are both citrus fruits, and readily available in the winter.  Since in Texas we typically have an abundance of beautiful grapefruit and it is one of the 'clean' fruits, I usually do not buy organic grapefruit.  The local, conventional grapefruit is more readily available than organic, it typically looks better, and it is very reasonably priced.  However, since organic oranges are readily available and reasonably priced, and I know that the conventional oranges are heavily sprayed with pesticides, I always buy organic. 

These winter fruits are very high in vitamin C and contain a number of natural phytochemicals and other powerful nutrients, which boost your immune system and promote healing and long life.  Unfortunately, since grapefruit has such powerful properties and increases your body's ability to absorb nutrients, it has been found to increase the bio-availability of many man-made drugs. 

I prefer eating God's delicious foods which contain all the nutrients I need to stay healthy so that I don't have to take any man-made drugs.  I have seen many people, who have switched to a diet of God-made foods, eliminated all the over-the-counter and prescription medications that they had been taking, and then enjoyed all of the foods that God has given us, including grapefruit.  Of course, this needs to be done under a doctor's supervision since man-made prescription medications have so many, potentially lethal side-effects.

Grapefruit and oranges are two of the many excellent winter fruits.


 1.  Grapefruit

Grapefruit is delicious once you master how to eat it.  I don't like to struggle with my grapefruit or waste it, so I spend a little extra time upfront cutting it.


To prepare a grapefruit, find its end 'spots' - the navel and opposite side - and cut it in half on a cutting board between these end 'spots'. 



I use my 'special' grapefruit knife, shown in the top photo, to cut along the sections.  This precious knife, a thin-blade serrated knife, was purchased from a garage sale over 30 years ago!  Your kitchen utensils don't have to be expensive.  A paring knife would work well too. 

I cut each section from the center to the edge, and then I cut the back edge of each section.  (I find the pieces come out better if I don't cut through the membrane between each section when going around the edge and it is easier to cut.) 





All done - scoop out now with a spoon and enjoy.  I like to use a grapefruit spoon.  After I finish eating the cut pieces, I squeeze all the juice out and drink it.  I love the taste of a fresh grapefruit with no added sugar or salt.  Of course, you can also peel a grapefruit like an orange. 




















2.  Orange

My family both peels our oranges and cut them into wedges.  Either way, try not to pull all the white pith off - it contains the highest concentration of the beneficial flavonoids (powerful anti-oxidants) contained in the orange.


I cut an orange in the opposite direction of a grapefruit. Cut down through the navel.  Then cut off wedges. 








To eat, pull the corners of the peel back and you can pull the section out easily with your teeth without getting juice all over your face.

 
 
"Then God said, 'I give you every seed-bearing plant of 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



Wednesday, January 23, 2013

A Foods By God Testimony: Jennifer

My friend and team helper, Jennifer, wrote up this guest post.  Thank you, Jenn, for sharing.  I hope she inspires you.  My prayer is that each of you will have the same success! 




When Mary contacted me about two months ago to help her start her blog and be a participant in her new “Foods By God” class, I can best describe this as God’s perfect timing. Although, I had taken Mary’s classes about five years ago and at that time had seen the benefits of eating a God-made diet, my family and I had seriously fallen away from that diet. We were eating a diet that consisted of too many man-made foods and our health was suffering. 

I was having frequent migraines that were at times debilitating and I had even started taking a preventive medicine that was really impairing my thinking. My seven-year-old daughter, Haley, was complaining of headaches and frequent stomachaches. I’d been dealing with back problems for two years, thus my ability to exercise had pretty much diminished. So, I attributed my lack of energy to the fact that I wasn’t exercising like I used to, not my diet.

While helping Mary with her blog, I really felt like God opened my eyes to what our problems were most likely caused by: food. So, I began changing what our family eats rapidly. Since I had the knowledge that Mary had graciously given me five years ago and by just being her friend since, I had the tools to make the changes. I immediately stopped taking the migraine prevention medicine that really wasn’t even working and set to move our family to a God-made diet.

We’ve only been at this for a month and a half at best and the results are astounding. My headaches are almost gone and my energy has improved dramatically. Probably one of the most fun results I can best describe are my tastebuds coming alive! God’s foods taste amazing when you remove all of the artificial man-made foods. An orange really can and will taste better than candy! Now, that I have way more energy, I have the energy to bake and prepare meals for my family. 

Haley’s stomachaches and headaches have disappeared. We have cut all added sugar from her diet. She attended a friend’s birthday party the other day and I explained to her that she could eat the cake if she wanted to but she might end up with a stomachache later. She did eat the cake and did have a stomachache. I think it was a good lesson. The next day we made Mary’s brownie recipe and she said, “these are the best brownies I’ve ever had!”. I explained to her that we can still eat wonderful treats, they just need to be made with good ingredients. She had another birthday party just two days later and chose not to eat the cake, point well taken!

I’ve also noticed while eating God-made foods that the kids and I are not craving bedtime snacks like we used to. That is making some of the “bedtime battles” a lot easier!

I have only been back on track of eating what my body needs for a little while and my health and my family’s health has improved dramatically. I have even lost weight without exercising! I am so thankful for Mary and what I believe to be the mission that God has given her:  teaching people to eat the wonderful food that He always intended for us to eat.

God bless you on your journey to health!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Weekly Challenge - Week 4 (1/22/2013)

Eat a small handful of raw nuts or seeds each day.



A few tips and suggestions:

1.  Be sure you buy raw nuts and seed.  Roasted and salted varieties are not beneficial and will make you gain unhealthy weight.  Raw nuts and seeds are an excellent source of protein, Omega-3 oils, vitamins, and minerals.

2.  If you are trying to lose weight, buy nuts or seeds in the shell so you have to work to eat them.  This will slow you down and help you eat less.

3.  You can eat a small handful a few times throughout the day if you wish but don't eat larger quantities at one time.

4.  There are so many options, select one or two, or try several different ones.  Possibilities include walnuts, pecans, almonds, Brazil nuts, pistachios, cashews, macadamias, hazelnuts, pine nuts, pumpkin seeds (pepitas), and sunflower seeds.

5.  Store your raw nuts and seeds in the refrigerator (or extras in the freezer).  As shown, in the photo above, I store them in glass jars in the refrigerator.

6.  For men:  eat one handful of raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas) each day to ward off prostrate problems.

7.  For women:  eat 4 to 6 soaked and peeled almonds to help stabilize hormones.  Soak a few almonds in a small amount of filtered water for 2 - 6 hours, then peel off the brown skin, and eat.  Almonds are an excellent source of absorbable magnesium (chocolate being another which I think is why women crave chocolate).  During the month, a woman's magnesium levels drop significantly as hormones fluctuate.

8.  For kids:  include their daily raw nuts in their lunch and/or offer as an afternoon snack.

9.  Nuts and seeds are hard for some people to digest because they contain phytates.  In nature, the phytates keeps them from sprouting until the conditions are just right for the seed to sprout into a tree (nuts are tree seeds).  Soaking nuts and seeds, or sprouting them, removes the phytates and makes them easier to digest.

10.  United States federal law has recently made it illegal to sell or buy raw almonds or hazelnuts.  However, there are a few exceptions, so it is possible to obtain them raw if you research the topic. 

Advanced Challenge for those already eating a small handful of nuts or seeds each day.

Include a new nut or seed that you are not currently eating into your diet or investigate the properties of nuts and seeds to learn which vitamins and minerals they contain.  Then you can choose which to eat depending upon your current nutritional needs.

"Then their father Israel said to them, 'If it must be, then do this: Put some of the best products of the land in your bags and take them down to the man as a gift—a little balm and a little honey, some spices and myrrh, some pistachio nuts and almonds.'"  Genesis 43:11 

Monday, January 21, 2013

Mary's (Chocolate Chip) Cookies

These cookies are loved by everyone and are an easy, tasty, nourishing snack. 

A few cookie tips: 

1. Make the cookies small to help keep you from overeating.  Then when you eat three (or six), you are really only eating about one (or two) standard size cookie.  My brain is tricked into thinking I have had plenty by the numbers more than by the actual quantity I eat.

2.  Adding raisins when using chocolate makes you think there is more chocolate - it is an amazing effect.  I don't like just raisins but half raisins/half chocolate chips is excellent.

3.  This is a great base recipe.  Vary the optional ingredients and try adding your own.  For instance, with the options I have given you, you can make chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, or oat & nut cookies.  Sometimes I press a walnut half into the top of the cookie (yes, it is almost as big as the cookie) before baking.  Jon, my youngest, prefers no nuts and I love the nuts, so it is a good way to please us both.

Ingredients (I always use all organic ingredients):

Cream together (I mashed them together with a wood spoon):
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup 100% pure honey

Beat in:
2 range-free large eggs, fork beaten
1 tsp. 'real' vanilla extract (not imitation)

Combine:
7/8 cup soft white wheat berries, ground fine
   (or 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour)
1 1/2 cup rolled oats (not instant)
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. sea salt

Add the dry mixture to the creamed mixture. 

Stir in any of the following:

1/2 cup organic raisins (optional)
1/2 organic chocolate chips, or Energy Chunks* which are chopped into small bits (optional)
1/2 chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 °F.  Drop by small teaspoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet, leaving about 1 - 2 inches between each cookie, depending upon size.  Bake at 350 °F for 10 to 12 minutes, until slightly golden. Cool and enjoy.

Yields: about 3 to 4 dozen

* Chocolate Energy chunks are available at Natural Grocer, Whole Foods and on-line.  I used the 'Cacao with Goji Berries' in the cookies at the January class.  I also enjoy the Carob Supergreen variety.  Read labels - some of their chunk's, such as the Chocolate Paradise, contain sugar and other ingredients like soy lecithin, that are on my avoid list.

 

Sunday, January 20, 2013

My Team




The classes and this blog would not be possible without the help of my three friends.  Let me introduce them to you.

On the left is Jennifer.  She introduced me to blogs and set-up this one for me.  She is also the photographer who is taking many of the photos that you see.  Jennifer is very creative, and her enthusiasm and love of life is inspiring.

In the center is Kris.  She makes things happen and she motivates me!  She is a huge blessing and steps in to help do anything that needs to be done.

On the right is Julie.  She decorates and sets up for the classes.  She is an artist who has an eye to make things look beautiful.  She is also great at connecting people, so please be sure to introduce yourself to her if you come to future classes.

All three love the Lord and are at different points along the path of eating God's foods.  They are giving me feedback to help provide the most useful information to you. 

We are all doing the weekly challenges.  I hope you join us!

Classes

For those who live in the North Dallas (Texas) area, I supplement the blog with occasional classes.  I try to document what is covered at classes so that others can benefit from the information that was presented.   
 

 
Adult Classes: 
 
 


 
 
 
 
Youth Classes:  Learning the Basics
 

 
Over the summer, I will be posting information on a series of nine classes that I taught this past spring to 3rd through 5th graders.  This series could be taught at home or with a group of friends with children.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Foods and Ingredients to Avoid



Here are two lists of the foods and ingredients that I completely avoid and that I minimize.  All are either man-made, heavily processed, or is some way severely altered by man. These items are not listed in order of importance (for instance, I avoid item #11 equally as much as item #1).  I will be gradually providing links that provide more details about why I have chosen each of these items.

don't eat foods that:

1.  contain artificial ingredients: colors, flavors, sweeteners, sulfites, preservatives, BHT(BHA), nitrates/nitrites, etc.
2.  contain monosodium glutamate (MSG) or any of the many other names for free glutamate (yeast extract, autolyzed or hydrolyzed ____, etc.)
3.  are enriched or fortified.
4.  contain high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).
5.  contain hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated fats and oils.
6.  are genetically modified foods (GMO).
7.  contain non-organic soy or corn - because almost all soy and corn grown in the USA is GMO.
8.  are made from unfermented soy such as soy oil - even if organic.
9.  are chemically altered (bleached, homogenized, etc.).
10.  are minimized nutritionally when better alternatives are readily available. (For instance, I never buy low-fat or nonfat dairy products, white rice, etc.).
11.  contain sugar in sweets (refined, white, cane, brown, raw, etc.).
12.  are in Styrofoam.

I minimize eating foods that:

1.  contain wheat flour (the name for white flour on ingredient lists).
2.  contain 'salt' (I choose items which list sea salt when available).
3.  contain sugar in condiments (refined, white, cane, brown, raw, etc.).
4.  are conventionally raised (factory-farm meats, seafood, and dairy).
5.  contain caffeine (teas and chocolates).
6.  are pasteurized.
7.  contain natural flavorings, spices, or seasonings (can be a source of hidden MSG).


These guidelines eliminate most man-processed foods from my diet. I realize that I may occasionally be eating some of the foods on my NEVER list when eating out, but I completely avoid them at home and eat out at a limited number of restaurants which use natural, fresh ingredients. When eating out, I never eat anything that 'looks' fake or man-made. When my sons were young, they were taught that if the food looks a fake color, it probably is fake. This is a great test to help kids and all of us avoid the worst foods. This applies to all the colored icings, cookies, ice creams, popsicles, drinks, sprinkles, chips, snacks, etc. that are so readily available everywhere.  Item # 3 is in the minimize list because of the small amount of sugar contained in condiments such as ketchup.  As a sugaraholic, I choose food sweetened with natural sweeteners such as honey, maple syrup, dates, or molasses which do not have the same addictive power over me.

"Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom." Proverbs 4:7

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Weekly Challenge - Week 3 (1/15/2013)

Read ingredient labels.


Become informed.  Take this seriously and read every ingredient list on the label for every food you eat this week.  It will probably shock and amaze you. 

A few things to think about concerning ingredient lists:

1.  Read the labels of foods already in your home as you use them.

2.  Read the labels of foods which you buy at the grocery store (I know this can take time, but it is worth doing).  If you don't have much time, buy mostly the unprocessed foods given to us by God that don't have labels.  Produce, raw nuts, beans, grains, etc.  These are the best foods to eat and cook with anyway.  Begin eating more and more foods without labels.  (Of course, meats also do not have ingredient lists, but there are other very important things to learn about obtaining good quality meats.  I will share this information soon.)   

3.  Try to buy foods with a short list of ingredients that you can pronounce and identify as a real food item, as shown with the can of diced tomatoes above.

4.  I have a list of ingredients which I never eat, and those which I minimize -  I will provide these later in the week.

The amount of man-made ingredients and additives which are in foods is a huge topic which I will be addressing in much more depth.  This week, I want you to become aware of what is in the food you are eating, and then I will guide you on how to make changes in the weeks to come.

Advanced Challenge for those already reading labels:

Read ingredient labels!  So many times, I stop reading labels of my favorite brands of items that I regularly buy and then by chance look at the ingredient list and find that it has changed (and always for the worse).  So my challenge this week for all of us is to read labels.  Any food item you eat that has an ingredient label, read it.

If you are just beginning the weekly challenges, please be sure to read the posts under Weekly Challenge - In Advance.

"Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”  John 8:32

Sunday, January 13, 2013

To Buy Organic Produce or Not

Is it worth the extra money to buy organic?  I try to use this list to decide what to buy.




This 2012 List from The Environmental Working Group, EWG, shows the pesticide levels in conventional produce. On the left is the produce with the most pesticide residues; on the right those with the least. I try not to buy or eat any of the items on the left unless I can find organic.  I also never buy non-organic corn though it is listed as one of the cleanest in terms of pesticides because almost all corn grown in the United States is now genetically modified (GMO).

Organic produce not only is pesticide-free, but it is grown in soil that is fertilized with compost, which contains about 60 different soil minerals and trace elements. Conventional produce is chemically fertilized with nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium, and the soil soon becomes depleted of necessary minerals and elements.  Humans cannot synthesize minerals and thus must get them from food. They need to be in the correct absorbable form (not man-made). Minerals activate enzymes and hormones that regulate our body functions and are essential for health and vitality.  Produce is an essential part of our diets, and it is good to eat some of your produce raw (enzymes are destroyed at 118 degrees Fahrenheit).  I include at least one fresh ‘raw’ fruit at breakfast, and one fresh ‘raw’ vegetable or fruit at lunch and dinner, plus lots more fruit and vegetables with our meals that are sautéed or cooked.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Eat Fresh Fruit in Season




Yum.  Fresh raspberries and peaches from our yard and some local blueberries.  I love summer foods.  I also love pomegranates in the fall, grapefruit and oranges in the winter, and strawberries in the spring.  These are just a few of the many, many different fruits I enoy.  Fresh fruit in season is God's candy! 

If you eat the produce that is in season, you will be eating better quality fruits and vegetables, you will save money, and they will taste better.  While all of these things are great,  I think the most important reason is that you will optimize your health because your body will receive the nutrients it needs with each season.  For example, different nutrients are needed during a cold winter (lots of Vitamin C to prevent colds) and the hot summer (cooling fruits loaded with antioxidants). This is the plan God created to keep us healthy.

How to buy the produce that is in season (typically):

1.  Choose the produce that is on sale.
2.  Find the produce that is on the end caps (which is often also where the sales items are).
3.  Pick the produce that looks good.
4.  Buy local produce that is available.

The produce that is in season is dependent upon where you live.  If you live on the opposite side of the equator from me, your seasons are reversed.  While you can buy all produce year-round now, the produce that was picked long before it was ripe and shipped halfway around the world is not going to taste very good. Enjoy the local foods that grow close to where you live.




This is a chart for seasonal produce in the south central portion of the United States.  I created the chart for a class I taught five years ago.  The beauty of God's foods is that they don't change so this chart is still valid;  what changes is man's constant alteration of God's foods which is very frustrating (like the genetic modification of foods, GMO foods, which will be the topic of another post).  Keep in mind, that the produce that is available each season varies year-by-year depending on the weather.  For instance, some years there are lots of oranges and grapefruit available, but years when freezes damage the crops, little is available.  Also,  I call March into April the 'dry season' for produce, because it is between the winter and summer crops and not much is available. But soon all of the delicious summer fruits and vegetables are plentiful, such as strawberries, grapes, peaches, plums, cantaloupe, watermelon, tomatoes, cucumber, zucchini, etc.  Summer is the time of year to eat a wonderful variety of fresh produce.   Remember to also include fresh herbs in your diet. Basil, parsley, rosemary, thyme, oregano, dill and sage are all easy to grow in this area.

The freshest produce that you can eat is what you grow yourself. Buy a tomato plant this spring and put it in a bed in your yard or in a large pot on your patio. Plant your herbs in among your flower beds. Zucchini, cucumbers, cantaloupe, pumpkins, okra, winter squashes and many other things are very easy to grow from seed. If you grow your own produce, be sure to grow it organically and do not use chemical fertilizers, herbicides, or pesticides on your yard. Maintaining your yard organically is healthier for your family members, who are walking or playing in your yard, and for the environment.

Google the topic of seasonal produce for your area and you will find many sites with more information. When possible, find local sources of your produce. Produce that is grown close to you does not have to be picked before it is ripe and will taste so much better.  Enjoy!

"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens"  Ecclesiastes 3:1