FAITH & FOOD (Devotional)

Matthew 6:24-34 – ”No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you–you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

DO YOU EVER WORRY ABOUT WHAT YOU SHOULD EAT ON YOUR DIET? I DO. 

Being on the Ketogenic diet, I have to prepare what to eat in advance, otherwise I am more likely to be grab anything available in the fridge. I have yet to master meal prepping. So I try to cut out all temptations. Besides maintaining my weight, some of the reasons I have for being on this popular diet is for mental health benefits. My thoughts are much clearer, I am so much more focused, and although my memory can never be perfect, it has definitely improved.

But I’ll be honest, I do worry about what I should eat. I worry that I’m not doing it right sometimes, I worry if I have enough for the week, I worry if what I make is creative enough, I worry if others are judging because my food choices are different from theirs. I worry about my expenses on food.

Despite my worries, one truth brings me back to God. And that truth is the main reason I am on this diet. I want to be healthier for God. I am His vessel through whom His wisdom can be heard. And if my mental health suffers, I don’t have the confidence, focus, and right intention for spreading the gospel.

BEING HEALTHY FOR MYSELF SERVES ME AND NOT GOD, BUT BEING HEALTHY FOR GOD SERVES OTHERS AND HIM, AND MY FAITH THEREFORE FLOURISHES. I AM A FIRM BELIEVER THAT WHEN SOMEONE’S WEIGHT LOSS GOALS ARE FOCUSED ON FAITH AND GOD, CONSISTENT SUCCESS IS THE RESULT. 

 

QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF:

  • Are my concerns righteous when it comes to food and diet?
  • Is my diet more so pleasing to my palate than to my faith overall?
  • What am I doing differently everyday to integrate my faith and mental wellness?
  • How often do I pray about self-control when it comes to food?

>>>GRAB YOUR FREE, PRINTABLE MONTHLY JOURNAL PROMPTS HERE<<<

 

PRAYER:

Heavenly Father, I would not be able to praise You or thank You for the life you have given me if You were not my Creator. You are awesome. Thank you for my heart, my mind, my body, and my soul. Thank You for all the food that you provide this world with, thank You for giving me enough to live off of, for giving me every day as an opportunity to improve my health and well-being. Please forgive me for failing to thank You for Your blessings and for all the times I have not been satisfied when I have so much. Lord, I ask that You give me eyes to see how I can use my creativity and faith to make use of what I already have and help me to count it joy when I am being challenged to give in to my worries, so that I might remember to lift them up to You in prayer. Please help me to be content with what I have and be my self-control when it comes to purchasing only what I need. I want to be healthier for You, so guide me and lead me in this journey. In Jesus’ name, I pray, Amen.

Isaiah 1:19 If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good things of the land;

By His Grace, Sheela (via sheelaleigh.com)

 

God first God always  Start Today Repeat Tomorrow  Pastel Paint Portraits

Why Health (My 2nd Testimony)

Home Improvement was one of my favorite TV shows in the 90s. The middle kid, Randy, was my biggest crush. All throughout high school, I idolized him. When I discovered he was a vegetarian in real life, I thought “Well that’s it! That’s what makes him stand out!” I easily justified his good looks, wit, and smarts to his diet. I admired him and so I wanted to be just like him, or at least be cool like him. I was 9 years old when I first thought of the idea of going vegetarian. I was 10 when I became part-time on the diet. I was 11 when I decided to commit. It caused my family a lot of grief and worry, thinking I’d for sure develop some kind of eating disorder, and end up dead one year later. I was already somewhat health conscious, but I look back now and I really don’t think I knew what I was doing.

https://jttarchive.net/ngg_tag/jonathan-taylor-thomas/nggallery/page/38

 

Jonathan Taylor Thomas was my initial reason, but overtime it changed as I remained committed and outgrew my obsession with him. I was a weird girl. Life was difficult as a teenager. My relationship with my dad was ugly. Read my testimonyI don’t mention this in that post but I basically equated his diet to his anger. I had daddy issues and my hatred for meat grew the more hostile our relationship became. My choice not to eat meat was psychological. I came to discover this for myself when I finally decided to face my fear of forgiving him completely. You hear people going vegetarian or vegan for health or ethical reasons, but I did it because firstly, I was obsessed with a celebrity and secondly, I wanted to get attention from my dad. I was definitely more of a junk food vegetarian because I struggled with focus, memory, and sleep. I was anemic, had eczema, asthma, indigestion, anxiety, and terrible PMS. Had it not been for my pride, I would have given up on the first year on this diet. I guess it was my way of keeping my dad on his toes. WOW is right. How much weirder can this post get? I’ll get to my point I promise.

My doctor never diagnosed me for any of those conditions because I didn’t have an option. My parents didn’t want me ever getting on any special medication, so I sucked it up. Go ahead, state your opinion, but I’m glad  that no matter how difficult I was, I never took to prescription pills. Instead, I took my health into my own hands and became my own health advocate. My parents bought a Jack Lalanne juicer for the whole family, which I now know they really bought it for me. I put that machine to good use as I came to realize I’m 100% responsible for getting as healthy as I could. Each year I became more and more health conscious, but I really didn’t step it up until a very embarrassing moment at work. I was a cashier and the person who gave their payment decided to hand me change after I had already punched in the numbers on the register. I froze and my ears turned red hot because I could not compute in my mind how much change to give back. My manager had to get off her break just to fix my problem, because it was that busy in the store that none of my mates could help me. That was one of the many awkward and embarrassing moments that pushed me to change my diet.  But taking supplements and actually eating more vegetables wasn’t going to fix me overnight.

I lasted 15 years. Do I regret giving up meat for that long? No. Despite the low self-esteem I had, I gradually progressed by committing to make my health a priority. Since JTT’s influence on me, I’ve always believed that food had a connection with behavior and thoughts. In my case, my pride and stubbornness opted to endure problems, which I totally could have prevented if I just knew what I was doing, and if I just had more discipline. I am a health enthusiast today thanks to the psychological and emotional struggles I had due to my poor diet and my relationship with my dad. After my long journey as a vegetarian, I transitioned to pescatarianism for one year then veganism for one week. Today, I’m an omnivore like most everyone else, but I transition through each eating lifestyle (in a different order) throughout each month/menstrual cycle. Sound interesting? Out of all this, I’ve come to develop a diet that has basically been a mental and emotional cure for me, and weight loss was just a bonus. Anxiety, depression, I’ve had my share.

I NOW SUPPORT MY THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS BY INTEGRATING FAITH AND MENTAL HEALTH/EMOTIONAL WELL-BEING. 

I’ve designed an eating lifestyle, which I am hoping works for all menstruating women. I know this is just the beginning of my endeavors with diet and fitness, but if you are a woman reading this and you’re interested in how I balance hormones by balancing nutrients, I’m glad to make this website available for you. Read this post to learn more. The connection between mind and body is amazing and I will never stop studying independently about their relationship, and how we are affected simply by what we consume. I also strongly believe in prevention, why and how it’s better than cures, and why diet alone has a great impact on how a person experiences life overall. Health is important to me because when I lack discipline to maintain good eating habits, my mind goes astray and I lose focus, and focus is a must to maintain. No other person but me experiences what I go through mentally and emotionally when I neglect my own health. And that’s why taking it into my own hands is one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself. I very much strongly believe that health and Christianity go hand in hand and God proves to me time and time again exactly how my body is His temple.

My “Recipes” section is small but I am working on adding more. Check it out here. If you haven’t yet already done so, you can watch my very first video about my diet to learn more on how I’m losing weight.

I had a physical check-up 3 years ago, but that wasn’t my most recent. I told my doctor about how I experience shortness of breath a week to two weeks prior to my period. I have this weird thing that I do. Let me explain. I yawn again and again until I feel like I’ve gotten enough air, but that feeling of relief doesn’t last for long, and I have to force another yawn just to feel okay again. So anyway, I went into grave detail about this issue that I’ve had for over 10 years and asked my doctor if he knew what could be causing my shortness of breath. He responded with a look of bewilderment, saying somewhere along the lines of “It could be your asthma. I never heard of anything like that.” It was another embarrassing moment for me. It’s encounters like this that reaffirms my commitment to be my own health advocate.

*UPDATE: AS OF RIGHT NOW, I AM PUTTING TOGETHER AN EBOOK/PDF FILE OR TWO ABOUT THIS LIFESTYLE I HAVE DEVELOPED THAT REVOLVES AROUND A MODIFIED KETOGENIC DIET AND THE MENSTRUAL CYCLE. SO PLEASE HAVE PATIENCE WITH ME AND BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR THAT.

By His Grace, Sheela (via sheelaleigh.com)

 

God first God always  Start Today Repeat Tomorrow  Pastel Paint Portraits

MORE FISH = MORE FOCUS

Leviticus 11:9 “These you may eat, of all that are in the waters. Everything in the waters that has fins and scales, whether in the seas or in the rivers, you may eat.” 

15 years I was a vegetarian and 15 years I was a vegetable. I was borderline anemic, I had asthma, very bad insomnia, eczema, and especially very bad attention span and memory. Why did I even choose the diet? I thought I was doing myself a favor but it was really just about pride. That’s a whole new story. It just wasn’t for me. I did eat my veggies, but I also ate my junk food. Maybe that’s it. Fortunately, I have a very caring pharmacist for a mother, whom I should have listened to from the very beginning. I started packing on the supplements right out of high school, but I never dared swallow a fish pill, until a few years ago when I went completely blank in the middle of a transaction fail at a Disney Store. Double whammy! The world came crashing down on me as if it were a gigantic snowball that just kept getting bigger and bigger. How could I not do simple math as quickly as I had done when I was a 4th grader? My face and ears turned as red as a drunk Japanese, but God saved my confused, little, flat arse, and my managers didn’t even reprimand me. I was desperate to fix this brain problem I had, and so I knew I would have to let my pride down. I did a lot of research online despite my poor attention, restlessness, anxiety, and irritability, which then led me to a self-diagnosis. I had either ADD or ADHD. As overrated as it sounds, I refused to get a real diagnosis for fear I would be told that I actually had it. I wasn’t going to let it get to me, but I also wasn’t going to be passive about it. My research came down to this…..

adobe-spark-post-13.pngThe Mediterranean Diet is composed of mostly fruits, vegetables, and seafood. The world’s most talented geniuses to make history originated in and around the Mediterranean region of Europe. DING DING DING DING!!!! How about the Asians? No one sets a better example of longevity than the Okinawans. They have their teas daily, munch on their fresh seaweeds and nori wrappers. But Japanese or not, Asians love their fish food. I realized I was the only one who wasn’t in on it, I had a lot of catching up to do, and I’d better start eating like a real Asian. Grandma wasn’t lying when she said “You better eat your fish.” Much respect to her. Here I was having the symptoms of early dementia and there she was reciting the phone numbers of all her grown children, all eleven of them. Whether you’re a vegetarian/vegan or not, if you’re young or old, fish can improve a person’s overall well-being. If you’re allergic, there ain’t nothing you can do. Well, maybe you can introduce it to your system slowly. There are two components of fish oil that can do wonders for you. One is Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) and the other is Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA). EPA is good for the heart, and DHA is good for the brain. What’s good for the heart is good for the brain, and whatever is good for both is good for the libido. 🙂 DHA is also found in seaweed/algae. Figuratively and literally speaking, I took my own dosage into my own hands and worked my way up to 14 fish oils a day. I lectured my personal and trusted pharmacist, and she began to do the same. In her own words, she said, “If I had only done this when I was in college…” It must have been a month later when, not one, but two light bulbs lit up inside my brain. It was ‘a day of Hallelujahs’ I says! Then I started worrying about the mercury that I was possibly ingesting, and wham!! Enter selenium. It was added to my stack. Selenium chelates mercury and so do nuts and seeds! So I went to my favorite health food store and bagged me a gazillion Brazilans! But it’s okay, I didn’t go nuts with them because there is toxicity if eaten too much in a short period of time.

You see, the human body is always under stress due to chemicals like household cleaners, genetically engineered food, MSG, artificial sweeteners, germs, and even antibiotics. It’s just so hard to avoid them. People are becoming more aware of the benefits of vitamins and supplements. Thank God!!! But if you want to make the best use of your money by not urinating most of it, take into consideration that they work best when your body is alkaline and when you take essential fatty acids along with them. Health is such an investment, but I’d rather help myself than have the doctors and nurses help me out of the pit I put myself in. I’ve never experienced the dread of being inside an emergency room, and I don’t plan on being in one until the day I produce me and my future hubby healthy offspring. Shopping for supplements has become more of a treat for me than shopping for discounted shoes. Hallelujah!

Since no one can prevent the onslaught of toxins to the body, you can do something by helping it fight back. Eat right. Toxins are basically free radicals. They are nervous little brats who start turning onto you by looking for extra electrons to stabilize themselves, and a lot of those electrons come from good and bad fat cells. You need to supply yourself with enough of good fats and those good fats come from FISH! As we breathe in oxygen, they meet with fats, and this is called oxidation. It’s inevitable. Oxidation is a tissue damaging process, which the body experiences as stress. That stress may start out small, but if it’s not taken care of, inflammation occurs as your bigger problem. Anything from frequent brain fog to full blown cancer is inflammation. I believe inflammation can be significantly reduced if we take antioxidants seriously. Antioxidants such as selenium, n acetylcysteine (NAC, a precursor of glutathione), grapeseed extract (resveratrol), vitamin E, astaxsanthin (found in pink/orange/salmon colored seafood) all work to protect essential fatty acids like your fish oil, which overall has anti-aging effects. Flaxseed has good fats in it, but is a poor contributor of DHA. Attention Deficit/Hyperactive Disorder is so overrated especially in the U.S. because the Western Diet does not concern itself enough with the many benefits of seafood/fish/fish oil. If you find yourself getting lost in life (figuratively and literally speaking), misplacing things often, losing your train of thought, feeling the blues, any sign that tells you something is not right in your noggin, then start eating salmon and stocking up on fish oil. We’re becoming fatter and lazier and more forgetful. The U.S. is the fattest country with the highest population of cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and blah blah blah. But American or not, we should eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, lean meat, nuts and seeds, and fish, with as little refined sugar and starch. It should be a ratio of 4:1, but oftentimes we do it the other way around, and so we get what we deserve…flabby stomachs and love handles and so on and so on, but we go on complaining. When I learned that ADD/ADHD is not only a hereditary condition, but that it can also be acquired, three of my light-bulbs turned on, and I overdosed on fish pills, DHA, and ate sardines everyday. One day I am going to be a genius, when I’ll have turned on five more.

The average human body is said to be 60-80% water. The brain is said to be made up of more than 60% fat, making it the fattest organ. Just as the body is made up of mostly water, supplying it with water is what it needs to function at its best. And just as the brain is made up of mostly fat, supplying it with the right type of fat is what it needs to function at its best. We were born with each brain cell/nerve cell covered with myelin sheath. This coating is 75% fat and it helps the relay of messages among the cells. Those with the most damaged myelin sheathes are Alzheimer victims. I don’t necessarily want to live a long life, but I definitely want to live it to the fullest. I don’t take fish oil as religiously as I use to. I still have my “spaced out” moments, however it’s nothing compared to how often I had to deal with then. I take breaks here and there, just as with herbs, minerals, and vitamins for the fact that the body does build a tolerance to supplements at some point, so it’s always a good idea to reintroduce them to the system again. And it’s always a good idea to eat whole foods instead of relying everyday on supplements. This is my two cents for today. 🙂

By His Grace, Sheela (via sheelaleigh.com)

 

Christian  Health|Fitness  Portrait Art

 

EatRight.ThinkRight.DoRight.

 

What’s good for the heart is good for the brain. Vice versa. The UltraMind Solution by Dr. Hyman and Change Your Brain, Change Your Body by Dr. Amen are some of the best books I’ve read regarding health. A big part of being a Christian is taking care of one’s health. It would just break my heart not to be able to get up in the morning and go for a run or prepare myself a healthy breakfast because of certain aches and pains that I could have prevented, whether they be physical or mental conditions. It’s detrimental for a Christian’s body to stay fit because it’s what he presents to the rest of the world, so that unbelievers may be inspired, so that believers may be encouraged, that by a Christian’s healthy demeanor, it only makes sense he has an outstanding mindset as well. Christian or not, we are naturally attracted to people with confidence and integrity. Those are the happy, cheerful people who make the world a better place. And that’s always awesome in God’s eyes. It starts with your Creator. “The supreme overall word of the Bible is Life. Life means vitality…to be filled with energy.” That’s what Norman Vincent Peale said in his best-selling book, The Power of Positive Thinking. How can we encourage other Christians or point non-believers to Christ without energy/enthusiasm?

There are so many scriptures in the Bible that deal with health, the body, what to eat, and what not to because our bodies were made to honor Him. So the big point is……work from the inside out. What you put in your body affects the way you think, and how you think affects your actions. If any Christian respects his relationship with God, he must also respect his body. “You are what you eat.” “Life is 10% what happens and 90% how you react to it.” I’ll use me as an example. If I was a lukewarm Christian hangin’ out down the valley because of a terrible break up, I’d probably drop by Walmart and pick me up 2 pints of Ben and Jerry’s Chocolate Therapy, a pack each of strawberry and vanilla wafers, a large bag of Doritos Ranch, and a dozen sugar glazed donuts. YEEEEEE. Feels good eating all that. But before the end of the day, I know I’ll start to feel bad for myself. The toxins, artificial food coloring, excess calories, carbohydrates, and sugar start to do what they know best….scavenge for stable electrons from your good cells! Your good cells!!! Free radicals people!!!!! The rest is history. Not unless you work your butt off right then and there, otherwise come the toxic thoughts. You’re left feeling worse than before and it becomes a cycle. INFLAMMATION DAMNATION!!!!! And you don’t ever what to get up from your bed. This must be it. It’s the end of the world. You feel pathetic. Your relationships are non-existent. REGRETFUL. PITIFUL. ANGRY. OR PASSIVE AGRESSIVE. YOU’RE NO USE IN THE GOOD OL’ KINGDOM OF GOD!!!!!! GO LIVE IN THE DOG HOUSE!!! No one wants to be there.

Eat right. Eat healthy. TREAT FOOD LIKE IT’S MEDICINE!!! I don’t mean to get mad at anyone. I’m preaching to myself too.

Proverbs 17:22 A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.

By His Grace, Sheela (via sheelaleigh.com)

 

Christian  Health|Fitness  Portrait Art