As I continue to study my favorite topics on wellness, fitness, and weight management, I inhale books as fast as I can digest them. I read books by MDs, PhDs, naturopaths, biochemists, nutritionists, personal trainers, and their colleagues on the topics of metabolism, the food industry, the human body, food politics, and pharmaceuticals. As more information presents itself, two common themes pop up again and again. By sharing these themes with you, I hope you will be able make better informed decisions regarding your health and wellness.
Problem #1: Our nation is recognizing a connection (and a problem) between weight and health.
The diet industry is a billion-dollar enterprise, growing by the day. It is no secret that we need to manage our weight and our health. What causes obesity and what are we going to do about it? I will stand with the experts to proclaim from a mountain that fad diets and diet pills are NOT the solution to our problems. “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.” Colossians 2:8
Attaining and maintaining a healthy body must first come from understanding that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit. When we eat processed and packaged food, artificial colors and flavors, and sugar with every meal, our bodies eventually break down from preventable problems and diseases like Type II Diabetes, heart disease, tooth decay, and high blood pressure.
Solution: Give your health to God (and be faithful when he calls you to action).
“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10
“Handiwork,” in Greek, connotates that we are God’s work of art. Our whole mind, soul, and body is created in the image of God. Knowing this, how can we best glorify God with our bodies? We can start by realizing that what we put in our bodies makes up our cells, bones, skin, hormones, and brain. When we load our bodies with junk, we usually lack the energy and ability to function at our best. How can we give God the first fruits of our energy if we have little to begin with? How can we play with our children or open our homes to our friends if we are constantly battling illness or disease? How can we serve God in missions trips at home or abroad if our bodies are not strong enough for the task? These are all great questions to bring to God with an open mind. If you feel convicted of giving God anything less than your best health, ask for forgiveness, give your issues to God, then. . . let it go! There is nothing but freedom to be found when you let God manage your health! Ask for wisdom and strength to make wise decisions with your nutrition and fitness.
I used to say that chronic inflammation was the root of all disease, but I do not believe that anymore. Clinically, I suppose, that statement is still true. But I do believe that putting ourselves last on our priority list, not believing we are worthy of being healthy, or living in fear of vanity are the true root causes. None of those earthly causes are from God. God brings life, freedom, forgiveness, and love. If your health is bringing you closer to God, you know you are traveling on a path toward better health, physically and spiritually. If your health is causing you to feel trapped or is drifting you away from God, it may be time to assess your relationship with God and your health.
Problem #2: Chronic inflammation is a root cause of disease and obesity.
Inflammation is defined as a non-specific protective immune system response to cell injury or irritation characterized by capillary enlargement, attraction of white blood cells to affected area, redness, swelling and partial reduction of normal cell function. (Stay with me, the technical language is almost done!)
What causes inflammation in our bodies? The food we eat and drink and our environmental choices cause inflammation. You can go through the following list to determine if yours is chronic.
Causes of inflammation:
- High consumption of simple sugars like fructose (think corn syrup), white flour, refined grains, and sugary beverages.
- Trans fatty acids (trans fats) from cheap oils, partially hydrogenated oils, and fast food.
- Pollution on and in our foods and beverages like herbicides, pesticides, hormones, and antibiotics.
Dozens of medical journals list chronic inflammation (C-Reactive Protein) as a cause of heart disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes, age-related macular degeneration, Alzheimer’s, Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, asthma, osteoarthritis, stroke, metabolic disorders, digestive conditions and obesity.
Knowing this, what will we do to reduce inflammation and prevent and reverse this treacherous list of diseases?
Solution: Assess your nutrition.
Start with Reduce, Replace, Reduce:
- Reduce your consumption of refined simple sugars like table sugar, corn syrup, white flour, refined grains, and sugary beverages. Instead, eat more whole foods like fruits and vegetables and drink more filtered water.
- Replace trans fatty acids (trans fats) from cheap oils, partially hydrogenated oils, and fast food with healthy fats like extra virgin olive oil, avocado, wild-caught salmon, and raw nuts.
- Reduce pollution on and in your foods and beverages like herbicides, pesticides, hormones, and antibiotics by purchasing organic produce and hormone-free meat when available.
God wants your whole body: spiritually, mentally, and physically. He commands us to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30, emphasis mine).
Are your nutritional choices bringing you closer to God or further away?
Disclaimer: This article is not intended to diagnose or treat any illnesses or disease. Please always check with your physician before beginning any nutritional program or before making any changes to your diet.