Lately, as I continue my study of wellness, fitness, and weight management, I feel like I am inhaling books as fast as I can digest them. I have been reading books by MD's, PhD's, ScD’s, biochemists, nutritionists, personal trainers, and others on topics of the 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.
Theme #1—Problem: Our nation is recognizing a connection (and a problem) with our weight and our health.
The diet industry is a billion dollar enterprise -- growing by the day. There is no secret that we are aware 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.
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 diseases like Type II Diabetes, heart disease, tooth decay, high blood pressure, and obesity.
Solution: Give your health to God (and be faithful when He calls you to action)
We are created in the image of God. 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 fruit 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 mission 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 in health 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 and obesity, but I do not believe that anymore. Clinically, I suppose, that statement is still true. However, I 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 of chronic disease and obesity. 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.
Theme #2—Chronic inflammation is one root cause of all diseases and obesity.
Inflammation is defined as a non-specific protective immune system response to cell injury of 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 can 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 (are your nutritional choices bringing you closer to God or further away?)
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.
Why is this important?
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). As I said before, our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit. When we honor our bodies through nourishing food and exercise, we honor our Lord.
You are worth more than mediocre. You are worth exceptional health!
Ashley R. Darkenwald
© 2017 Living Wellness, LLC Revolutionizing health, one community at a time.
Disclaimer: This article is not intended to diagnose or treat any illnesses or disease. Please always check with your doctor before beginning any new nutritional or fitness program or before making any nutritional/fitness changes.