Summer. Are you getting healthy for it? The brutal winters are a thing of months past. Springtime has come and gone in the blink of an eye. Here in Texas, we are approaching 100 degrees in the middle of May! I recently mentioned to an Uber driver that Summer is upon us earlier than expected!
My Reasons for Wanting to Be Healthy
My P’s and Q’s to a healthy body have helped change my life dramatically! As my spiritual health continues to transform daily, I realize the need to improve my physical health to be around long enough to fulfill God’s will for my life. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, therefore glorify God in your body.”)
Now, I know that God is sovereign and nothing happens outside His will. However, I’ve committed to not making things more complicated than they need to accomplish God’s divine purpose.
Now, I want to say that I am not a doctor. Nor have I had any medical training. What I hope to do in this post is to encourage you to prioritize your health, focus on the things in your control, and let God take care of the rest.
I don’t consider this a “diet” per se, but a LIFESTYLE CHANGE. My goal is to implement these things daily, and if I have an “off day,” I don’t beat myself up. I schedule an intermittent fast and get my body back on track!
Adapting to Healthy Eating
There are some essential changes to how I approach food and eating. These seven changes continue to help me immensely! My doctor has reduced my blood pressure medications by half. Since the stroke, I have now lost over 175 pounds and counting!
However, to clarify again, this is not a “diet” but a lifestyle change. I try to approach each day as eating to live versus eating whatever and whenever I want. Before the stroke, my meals were frequently whatever fast food I could grab on the go to and from work.
One essential thing that helped with these changes was I “prepared my palette” by juicing first. I juiced for about 30 days. I know this helped detox my system, activated some initial weight loss, and re-calibrated my taste buds for healthy, natural foods. My favorite juice was a combination of organic baby spinach, fresh lemon, celery, and granny smith apple. (Juicing is something for the short term because many juicers remove many of the fabulous nutrients that your body needs)
It was refreshing and delicious, and even my young nephew enjoyed it! Now you don’t have to go to the expense of getting a juicer. I donated mine years ago. (Juicing is something for the short term because many juicers remove att the fabulous nutrients that your body needs)
But if you want to remain consistent with your healthy changes, slowly integrate fresh fruits and vegetables into your eating plan.
Seven “P’s” of Progress
Here are just a few things that work for me, and I pray they can be helpful to you going forward.
1-Plan ahead. Planning is critical, whether planning your meals for the day or the week. Having a plan for your meals will help you in the effort to stop and “grab something” throughout the day. Most weekends, I make time to make my grocery list for the week and do food prep. My prep involved making a huge batch of organic steel-cut oatmeal for the week.
However, recently I have cut out the oatmeal and many other grains. I prefer to have two pasture-raised or cage-free eggs for breakfast due to their added vitamins and the Omega 3s. I cook them with some organic spinach that has been sauteed in a coconut/avocado oil blend or avocado oil by Chosen Foods. So my refrigerator is always stocked with these particular eggs. I’ll even boil 6-8 eggs ahead of time for quick tuna fish lunches during the week.
Without consultation, plans are frustrated, But with many counselors, they succeed. Proverbs 15:22.
The mind of a person plans his way, but the LORD direct his steps. Proverbs 16:9.
I mentioned two types of Avocado oil earlier. Avocado oil has changed my life. I no longer buy canola, vegetable, or corn oils. Due to the high content of omega-6, those oils can cause inflammation in your body, leading to PAIN.
Avocado oil has been shown to relieve arthritis in some joints. Of this, I can attest. Praise God! Since using the avocado oils I’ve mentioned above for years and cutting out ALL grains, the osteoarthritis in my knees has improved by leaps and bounds!
The “healthy fats in avocados have many benefits. It is often called the “perfect food.”
I used to HATE mayonnaise! However, since I’ve discovered avocado mayo, I put it on everything and even use it to make salad dressing, too!
These are Must Do’s!
2-Prepare shopping list. Before I go to the store or have my groceries delivered, I research the store or farmer’s market for specials based on what I need at home. Making a list helps prevent me from selecting unhealthy choices, and I can also save money!
I’ve signed up for the newsletters of Sprouts Farmer’s Market and other favorite stores to receive their weekly ads. Produce, Meat, and Dairy/Eggs are usually first on my list.
I make a conscious effort to discover other forms of quality protein: beans, chickpeas, Greek yogurt, and raw nuts like almonds. There has been a need for me to cut way back on red meat to protect my kidneys damaged due to prolonged high blood pressure. the past several years
Another benefit of having a shopping list is looking for organic, wild-caught, or pasture-raised items on SALE! This allows you to stock up. I prefer organic wild-caught salmon or tuna and organic, grass-fed beef when buying red meat. (Maybe once a month now.)
I avoid the bakery area (a weakness for me) and processed foods. However, I do enjoy steaming frozen riced broccoli and cauliflower. The frozen section is also a great place to get quality fruits like cherries, strawberries, and blueberries. They are fantastic in smoothies, thawed, and served with some Greek yogurt and stevia. YUM!
3-Portion control. This is very important! I try to balance my meals with lean protein, a few carbohydrates, and lots of fresh or frozen veggies. Doing this trains my body to eat the proper amount so that I feel content. This revelation of portion control hit me during my stroke recovery while in the hospital. The hospital continuously measured their portions. I never went to sleep starving one time!
The hunger pangs are a good sign that your body has to burn something other than the food you’ve eaten that day, usually stored up fat. So, remind yourself that’s a great thing! (Make sure that you are drinking lots of water daily.)
Also, when dining in restaurants, try eating a portion of the meal and take the rest home for another dinner. Or share an entree with someone and order some extra veggies. I do this because most restaurant portions are enormous and loaded with salt. You want to guard your sodium intake from bottled dressings and sauces. Etc.
You’d be surprised where sodium hides in your foods. My mother was shocked when I told her that even her baby carrots had sodium! It is much easier to fall asleep when you do not have that stuffed or bloated feeling in your belly. (Sodium will have you retaining excess water in your body.)
4-Potato Swap. I loved potatoes so much that my mother considered giving me the nickname “Tator.” Baked potatoes, French fries, mashed, scalloped, roasted, even potato salad! I swapped out about five years ago, buying red or white potatoes for sweet potatoes.
These are not the typical “Thanksgiving” sweet potatoes,” smothered with marshmallows and brown sugar, but I still treat them like a Russet. I like to cube them and make a hash with some chopped onions, and now I’ll add riced broccoli and garlic to the hash. So good, I’ve convinced my family to use them for potato salad. It has become a family favorite at gatherings.
A Few More Healthy Changes
5-Push away from the table. I have learned if I eat until I feel “full,” it is too late. I have probably overdone it. So I pace myself while eating. Chew slower and savor what I am eating. I also drink lots of water before each meal, so I’m not ravenous.
6-Prioritize Your Water Intake. For years I thought that drinking four 16.9-ounce bottles were plenty of water. Somedays, I’d get four, sometimes maybe three. However, my attitude about drinking lots of water dramatically changed once my Chronic Kidney Disease diagnosis and possible cancer concerns came up last year. I have since upped my water intake to five to seven bottles each day. According to my lab results in March, my kidneys are improving, per my kidney specialist. Praise God for His healing and for giving me the wisdom to make better choices
7-Purposely slow down and savor. I used to eat my food so fast that I’m not sure I came up for air! However, now I try to enjoy my food by taking my time eating. Drink some water throughout your meal. It’s effortless to eat too fast, especially watching TV while eating. Eating slower will also allow you to notice when you are satisfied, help keep you from overeating, and prevent indigestion!
Q-Quality. This body is the only body that the Lord has blessed me with, and I want to put quality food in my body. By quality, I do not always mean expensive. I prefer Organic fruits and vegetables. I also eat organic/cage-free eggs because of the healthy Omega-3s. If I plan, I can purchase items while on sale and stock up or freeze them (produce) for later. Like our automobiles, you would not put low-grade gasoline in your vehicle for an extended time without any breakdowns.
Q-Quit making excuses. It’s effortless to say that you’ll change things next week. Or maybe it’s, “I do not have time to exercise, and eating healthy is expensive.” However, since yours is the only body God has blessed you with, prioritize doing your best to take care of your health. Doing so puts you in a better position to carry out God’s purposes for your life.
I hope these tips give you some ideas that help and encourage you to take care of your body. These are just a few that have improved my quality of life dramatically. I know there are physical and emotional things that affect us and are beyond our control. However, making purposeful changes and developing better habits can benefit beyond belief!
Food for Thought
You may have never battled with food. However, the enemy has studied us, and he knows our weaknesses. I know that we all have strongholds that challenge us and work to be better. Whatever you are struggling with, ask God for help. He will offer His omniscient wisdom. Also, He’ll bless you with the courage and strength to face things head-on and accomplish His will for your life.
Are there any changes you have made to help you live healthily now? Is there something that you battle with constantly? Please let me know. I’d love to read and respond. May God bless you on your life-long journey.
The highway of the upright turns away from evil; whoever guards his way preserves his life. Proverbs 16:17.
Horace Williams Jr.