Thursday, April 11, 2013

Healthy Living

Good morning, my friends! It is a gorgeous Spring morning today. The windows are open and there is such a nice cross-breeze. So comfortable in the house with the fan on. Yesterday I ended up turning the a/c on because the house was 90 degrees inside and it was cooler outside at about 80 degrees or so. The a/c works!! YAY! (I'm excited because it needed fixing during the summer last year.)

Daniel 1:8-15 tells us: (emphasis mine)
 But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way.  Now God had caused the official to show favor and compassion to Daniel, but the official told Daniel, “I am afraid of my lord the king, who has assigned you food and drink. Why should he see you looking worse than the other young men your age? The king would then have my head because of you.”
  Daniel then said to the guard whom the chief official had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, “Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see.” So he agreed to this and tested them for ten days.
   At the end of the ten days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food.

Healthy foods, healthy drinks = healthy people

Fresh veggies look so bright and shiny and colorful, don't they?
Who doesn't like fresh fruit?!

Right now I am drinking my breakfast. I know, I know. It is a protein fruit breakfast smoothie which fills you up! It has strawberries, blueberries, banana, peanut butter, honey, vanilla Greek yogurt, milk, and chocolate protein powder. So easy to make by putting the liquid/wet things in the blender first and then all the solids. Blend until it is as smooth or as chunky as you like it. Simple and filling and good for you!

God wants us to be healthy, physically and spiritually. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 tells us: "Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;  you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies."

What do you do with an actual temple building, or church building? You take care of it so it stays standing; it needs a strong foundation. Our bodies being the temple of God also need a strong foundation. We need to take care of ourselves. I'm not talking about spending hours putting makeup on and doing your hair. That's all fine and dandy. It's perfectly okay to want to look nice and for some people it helps them to feel good about themselves.

The care I am talking about is healthy living. This means eat clean, eat well. Whenever you can, eat fresh fruits and vegetables. Cook with fresh herbs, if at all possible. The flavor is AH-mazing! Yes, I mean "AH"-mazing. The kind of good things that make you say, AH. I love going to the Farmers' Markets like Roots in Manheim, PA and Green Dragon in Ephrata, PA. All those stands with fresh fruits and vegetables, herb plants, and other plants. Gorgeous infusion of color everywhere you look! Foods that are in season taste best... mmm, so fresh and delicious. Who better to help you pick the "cream of the crop" and how to prepare them than the farmers themselves? You have questions? They have the answers. They grow them, they know them.

For me, I am finding that the healthier I eat, the "cleaner" I eat - meaning, no processed foods, nothing that you can't pronounce is added - the better I feel. I'm much more energized and my mood is better. (My family is saying a prayer of thanks, I'm sure!) My view is this: If Jesus wouldn't recognize it as food, you don't want to eat it! Now, I'm not saying that I am perfect and only eat clean - I do like my snacks and easy to prepare dishes. But, I am conscious of what I put in my body. I try to eat things that are mostly good for you - or at least not bad for me. The more processed, the more additives and preservatives something has, the worse I feel. Whereas the cleaner I eat, the fresher I eat the better I feel. My skin is softer, less dry - less WRINKLED! Yup, I said it.

Along with the fresh foods, I do try very hard to drink at least 8 - 8oz cups of water a day. It helps maintain the balance of your body fluids, helps keep your skin healthy, it also helps with the digestion in terms of ... maintaining proper "output" if you get my drift. Did you know that sometimes when you feel hungry, you could actually be thirsty or hungry for socialization or rest or even hungry for some alone time to read or pray, etc?

Also along with healthy eating and choosing to drink your water, y'all - instead of all the sodas - you need to get some form of exercise. Just get up and get moving! If all you  can do is go for a walk once a day, get  up off that chair or sofa - or bed even - and grab your comfy walking shoes or sneakers and get out there. Seriously, the morning is gorgeous today so get out there and enjoy it! Some people take prayer walks, some go for jogs, runs. Some people sprint as fast as they can, as hard as they for as long as they can and then they walk for 3 minutes or until you can sprint all out again. I like to feel the burn, so to speak. This week, every day, I have been pushing myself to 25 minutes of working my core (abs and back) and 25minutes working the total body followed by 20 minutes or so of working my lower body. You feel it! You really feel it.

They say if you aren't feeling it as you do it, you aren't doing it right. Say you are doing bicep curls with or without weights - standing up, bending the arms at the elbow one at a time, lifting your forearm up in a controlled motion and lowering it again in a controlled motion. If you aren't controlling your motions, the motion is controlling you and you might as well be sitting on the sofa lifting a strawberry up to your mouth. You will not lose the jiggle, tone or if you going for it, you will not build any muscle that way.

No matter how you choose to exercise or workout, make sure that you are in control of the movements. If you cannot get up and walk, you can sit and work your upper body. Sit straight up with a straight back - not arched - and tighten your muscles in your arms as you lift the up, straight out in front of you and lower them again. This will help strengthen your shoulders and give it good stretches. If all you can do are some stretches, do it. It is good for you! You don't want to be walking around with tight, sore muscles all the time.

Stretching is good for you, especially before and after a workout. You need to warm up your muscles before doing any exercise to avoid injuries. Before going for a walk, stretch out your legs a little bit. Warm up your arms by doing arm circles, even if you aren't going to swing your arms like a crazy walker. The point is to warm those muscles up, walk as quick as you can to get your heart rate up a bit. Just as much as you can, don't push too hard and make yourself sick though!

Along with trying to have or maintain a healthy body, you also need to have a healthy spiritual life. One way to do this is by listening to the Bible on cds, Christian programs on the radio, on the tv. If you are working on a treadmill, outside going for a walk or a jog, pop on a set of headphones or pop in those ear buds and listen to praise and worship music, the Bible, or just pray or meditate on the Word as you move your body.

Reading your Bible is great for you as you take in what you read. Reading it in front of your kids (as well as eating right and exercising) is a great influence on those kiddos. They see mama or papa doing it and they get interested. We teach by example without even realizing it. Who knows, they may end up encouraging you to keep up the healthy living - spiritually and physically!

John 15:5 "I am the vine and you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing."

This tells us that we need God. If you don't already know it, you need God. Even if you do know it, same thing. Everyone needs God. Now, He never said that we would have an easy life, but it is worth it. Eternal life in heaven with Jesus is the goal. Life is the journey to get to that goal. Everyone has a starting line, some later than others and that's okay. Everyone has to start somewhere.

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your strength."
Deuteronomy 6:5

"Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths." Psalm 25:4-5
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him and He will make your path straight." Proverbs 3:5-6
Have a great, and blessed day, my friends.
God's blessing to you.


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