Top 10 Healthy Food Tips

May 13th, 2019

top-10-healthy-food-tips

My daughter Rachel and I have been learning a lot about food and how it affects our bodies. Rachel created another fun video about hands-on health called “Top 10 Healthy Food Tips.” These tips come directly from her high school health book by Apologia (link is at the bottom of this post):

Healthy Food Tip #1: Eat a variety of foods. Meat, dairy foods, beans, vegetables, and whole grains all have their parts to play.

Each type of food provides different nutrients that are needed by the body. If you don’t eat enough protein, for example, your muscles will feel weak and start hurting because your body will start taking protein away from your muscles to keep your other body systems alive. Without fruits and vegetables, you will not get essential vitamins and nutrients for your body, and you will suffer with poor digestion and other problems.

Healthy Food Tip #2: Choose unprocessed food, closest to its natural state. Choose fruit over fruit juice.

The less processed food is, the better it is for your body. This means that raw fruits and vegetables, for example, are better for you than packaged foods that contain preservatives. Even with fruit, the bulk in the fruit (like the pulp of the orange) has nutrients that are absent in the orange juice that has been pasteurized, a process by which it is heated to high temperatures which strips the orange juice from most of its nutrients. Preservatives are then placed into the juice. So it’s way better to eat an orange, or to squeeze it right before drinking it. The same is true for any other juice.

Healthy Food Tip #3: Limit white carbohydrate foods. These include white flour, white sugar, white rice, and white potatoes.

When we studied biology in our homeschool, we did an experiment where we placed white bread and wheat bread with some water drops in a plastic bag. The wheat bread spoiled a lot faster than the white bread, which had less for the mold to feed on, indicating that mold didn’t even want to eat the white bread because it didn’t recognize the bread as actual food.

The darker rice has the bran and germ still in it, giving it more nutrients, whereas the white rice has the nutrients stripped from it. So try to stay away from white carbohydrates and instead, eat whole grains.

white-grains-not-good-for-you

Healthy Food Tip #4: Enjoy the delicious nutrition of eggs; just average one a day.

Growing up, I heard that two eggs a day is about all you want to eat because of the cholesterol. (This health book recommends eating only one egg for that reason; I’ve also researched online to find that eating a lot of eggs causes heart disease.) But the eggs also contain Omega 3, protein, and other vitamins, so they are good to eat. I’ve heard people argue that the cholesterol in eggs is the good kind, and that the nutrients in the eggs are hard to find elsewhere. So enjoy your eggs; just don’t go overboard–one or two a day is plenty.

Healthy Food Tip #5: Grain and beans together give you all the essential amino acids.

When I grew up in Guatemala, everybody ate black beans and rice. I never knew that together, they provide a complete protein with all the amino acids. Complete proteins contain all 9 essential amino acids, so sometimes you have to combine a grain (like rice or corn) with a bean to get everything you need.

Healthy Food Tip #6: If you have a choice, start with unsalted food and then add a sprinkle of salt at the table if needed.

If you eat too much salt, your blood pressure goes up because of extra water stored in your body. I know so many people who are on high blood pressure medication. I wonder if they cut out salt (as much as possible), if their bodies would not need the medication. For example, if you put cheddar cheese and ham into your scrambled eggs, there is no reason to add salt because the eggs are already flavored. Oregano and other herbs are good for you, unlike salt, so use those instead.

Healthy Food Tip #7: Three 8-ounce servings of milk or yogurt each day cover many mineral needs.

Milk is a rich source of calcium, which is needed for your bones. You can get that calcium from milk products like yogurt, cheese, and even ice cream. Milk products also contain phosphorus and magnesium. If you are lactose intolerant, you can get the same nutrients from vegetables, nuts, eggs, and whole grains.

Healthy Food Tip #8: Eat lots of vegetables, both cooked and raw. Minerals are more easily absorbed from cooked vegetables. Vitamins, on the other hand, are more plentiful in raw vegetables because vitamins are destroyed by the heat used for cooking.

I found it interesting that minerals are more absorbed from cooked vegetables. But raw is better in almost every other way because most of the vitamins are cooked out of the vegetables if you don’t eat them raw. If you grow your own vegetables, eating the vegetables right after picking them will give you the most flavor, too!

fresh-vs-canned

Healthy Food Tip #9: If you have options, choose fresh or frozen food over canned or dry food.

The high temperatures needed for canning remove a lot of the vitamins from the food, so it’s way better to eat fresh or frozen foods. Even dehydrated foods have to be processed, losing some of the vitamins of the food. So fresh food is best, then frozen, then dried, and last… canned.

Healthy Food Tip #10: Limit your intake of table sugar to between 6 and 9 teaspoons each day.

My dad recently died of cancer. Cancer thrives on sugar. And eating too much sugar leads to atherosclerosis, which clogs your arteries. Sugar is empty calories, so you end up gaining weight. Also, sugar makes you feel sluggish. Yes, you can eat sugar in moderation, especially a small piece of dessert with a meal, because when you have other food in your stomach, all of the contents of your stomach are digested together and you won’t feel the sluggishness you would feel if you ate a sugary snack on an empty stomach.

If you enjoyed reading about what we are learning in our health class, you would probably love the book that we are using: (affiliate link) Exploring Creation with Health and Nutrition by Apologia. We hope you enjoyed my daughter’s video where she dramatized each of these food tips, to help you remember to eat well to have more energy!

Stressed? Top 10 Self-Care Tips

April 9th, 2019

My daughter and I have been studying high school health this year as part of our homeschooling. (The link to the Apologia health book we are using is at the bottom of this post, in case you’re interested. The self-care tips that my daughter humorously dramatized in this post come straight out of her book.) We have learned a lot of interesting things about physical, mental, and emotional health. We have also been reminded of some basics of how to take care of our bodies. As a result, we’ve been exercising a lot more and drinking fruit smoothies.

In order to not be emotionally stressed out, here are some self-care tips to keep in mind:

Self-Care Tip #1: Eat regular, healthful meals.

Don’t eat mindlessly. Plan your meals and choose healthy foods like fresh fruits and vegetables, protein, and whole grains. If you have a test or need to think, eat some protein, raw vegetables, or orange juice. These have helped me personally to have a surge of energy to think more clearly.

Self-Care Tip #2: Avoid junk food.

If you have a healthy meal, you can have a small amount of dessert without having your body feel yucky, because the nutrients of the meal counteract the empty calories that would make your energy crash if you ate them on their own. Pay attention to how sluggish you feel after eating potato chips on an empty stomach, and compare that to how you feel after eating raw broccoli on an empty stomach. Your body feels WAY better with the raw vegetable.

Self-Care Tip #3: Be sure your diet includes enough protein with all the essential amino acids.

If you are deficient in protein, you may feel depressed, moody, or anxious. Your brain needs amino acids, the building blocks of protein. Like I said earlier, eat some protein before a test to think more clearly. One of my sons is taking the SAT this year, so he will be eating eggs and ham for breakfast before he takes the test.

Self-Care Tip #4: Get enough sleep.

If you get no sleep for many days in a row, you go insane. Literally, when you are sleepy and drive a car, you act similar to a drunk driver. Even with a small amount of sleep, you are more likely to get sick, make mistakes in judgment, and not be able to enjoy your life. Most people need 8 hours of sleep. I’ve done a lot of research to find out how to get better sleep, which you can read about here: Getting Better Sleep (Part 1) & Getting Better Sleep (Part 2)

Self-Care Tip #5: Drink enough water.

Most people don’t drink nearly enough water. Your body doesn’t function properly when it is dehydrated, leading to headaches, dry skin, etc. Optimally you need about one gallon of water (or other liquids) a day.

Self-Care Tip #6: Get appropriate exercise, not too much or too little.

Exercise helps to improve mood, boost energy, and improve sleep, among other things. Twenty minutes of aerobic exercise 3-5 days a week is good. If you overdo exercise, lactic acid build-up can cause muscle pain. You are more likely to sustain injuries as well.

Self-Care Tip #7: Limit grief and rumination. If you find yourself trapped in them, decide to find something better to do with your time and energy.

There is a chapter on emotional stability in this health book (see link at the bottom of this post). Apparently we have four main negative emotions: sadness, fear, guilt, and anger. It is important not to dwell on any of these negative emotions, but to rest and be refreshed and take your mind off your problems. Dwelling on the negative will not help you rise above your circumstances and have peace and joy in your life.

Self-Care Tip #8: Create a regular schedule for yourself.

You can accomplish so much more in your day with much less effort if you have a consistent schedule. If your mind is used to focusing on a specific task at a certain time of day, your body adjusts to that rhythm. You get on a roll: by accomplishing tasks, you are empowered and get adrenaline to accomplish more tasks. Don’t forget to schedule down-time into your day as well.

Self-Care Tip #9: Focus on one task at a time.

When your mind is scattered on different tasks at the same time, you don’t do as well as if you give your full attention to the task at hand. For a more full explanation with examples from my life, read Multitasking Burns Your Dinner.

Self-Care Tip #10: You cannot avoid all stress, but do not add unnecessary stress to your life. Limit your commitments to what is manageable.

Don’t add anything to your schedule without praying about it. Many times we crowd our schedules with so much that we have stress and can’t enjoy life.

Parrooom…Ch… (That’s a drum roll, if you didn’t hear it.) Those are the top 10 self-care tips that we chose to include in this post. There are 21 self-care tips altogether in the health book (affiliate link) Exploring Creation with Health and Nutrition by Apologia. We hope you enjoyed my daughter’s crazy antics in the goofy video depicting how to overcome stress and live a more healthy life.

Nostalgia from a 1950’s Diner

February 18th, 2019

1950s-diner

Recently my dad has been in and out of the emergency room as he is getting blood clots, has difficulty breathing, and is fighting cancer. He’s at home now, although weak. When I was sitting in the hospital room, watching him sleep, I had plenty of time to think back over all the years I’ve known him, special memories of growing up. One of those memories was my dad getting out his 1950’s records, blasting the tunes while my sisters and I danced all silly and slid across the floor in our woolen slippers. It still makes me smile.

So when I came across these pictures of my husband and I with our children in a 1950’s malt shop in Spokane, I stopped and thought about why the 1950’s meant so much to me, even though it was long before I was born. It meant a lot to me because it meant a lot to my dad.

diner-from-the-1950s

I remember back when I lived in California, I took my dad to a fun 1950’s malt shop where we were able to experience the ambiance of my dad’s favorite decade, from 1950’s music to the decor to the flavors of the food. His face lit up with joy because he was transported back in time.

strawberry-malt

My dad looked so happy, sitting in the booth with me, eating his burger and fries with a malt. He was quite emotional. It was like going back to your grandma’s house after many decades, breathing in the familiar environment where so many happy memories were made. The aroma of my own grandma’s house would always transport me back to childhood, and I felt young and free again, with the whole world opening up before me, full of endless possibilities.

flipping-burgers

Now I sit looking at these photographs of my own husband and kids, enjoying a modern history field trip where we were able to experience the 1950’s as if we had lived through that time period for real.

Some day my own kids will look back on their own memories of their parents blasting through the house our favorite decade music–the 1980’s. My own kids have a love for 1980’s music because it was played the same way my dad played his music, with joy and nostalgia.

To see the 1950’s birthday party I threw my dad several years ago (including pictures of my jukebox cake and poodle skirt), click here.

New Look, New Life

February 4th, 2019

new-look-new-life

A huge change happened in my life at the end of September 2018, and my main ministry friend thought I should change my outer look to match the change that had happened inwardly. She said that highlights in my hair would lighten my look to give it youthfulness, and she found a picture of just what she was talking about. I loved it!

Normally I don’t cut my hair for years (except for trimming my own bangs) because of the monetary cost of hair cuts. But now my ministry friend was telling me that God wouldn’t let her accept the money from cleaning the pirate’s house (the man in the wheelchair) because she said the money was supposed to be for me. So I suddenly had the money to get my hair cut and highlighted.

We prayed about it, and God prompted us to go to a specific Walmart about ten minutes from my house, and God also chose the day. It would be Friday morning. I didn’t even know that Walmart cut hair, but there is a Regis salon in many Walmart stores. I drove to Walmart and asked for an appointment for the specific time God had indicated during our prayer time.

Come to find out, God was making an appointment with a hairdresser. I love how He does that. The woman who cut and highlighted my hair prayed to receive Christ that day, after talking with her about the Lord for several hours. She was ready. Only God knew that. It’s so funny, because I never get my hair cut, much less highlighted, but we needed the time. My ministry partner came with me, of course, because this morning had nothing to do with me. It had everything to do with the hairdresser.

The three hours that we were there, the first two hours were spent leading up to her stopping to pray to receive Christ. And the last hour was spent equipping her for what her life would be like now that she was filled with the Holy Spirit. My ministry friend had said things about the hairdresser’s life that she couldn’t have possibly known—about her heart and her circumstances. She was stunned like all the people are when my ministry friend speaks to people. I’m so glad that we each have different gifts in the Spirit, and they all work together in the body of Christ. We are all valued.

I was surprised at how young and flirty I looked after going to the salon! I loved the curls, too. My ministry partner told me to start wearing lighter colors. That’s hard for me to do because my entire wardrobe is dark.

It’s interesting that even though my situation has not changed (and yours may not either), God supernaturally brought a breath of fresh air by showing me a new perspective on life. Instead of life’s impossible challenges and deep suffering causing us to despair, we can ask God to give us new eyes. Our own suffering doesn’t matter any more compared to the glory that is to be revealed in the people that we are able to reach for Christ, who will be in heaven with us forever just because we didn’t give up in the middle of our suffering.

Friends, if you love Jesus and are in despair, it’s because the enemy wants you incapacitated. The enemy tailor-made your circumstances to be your worst nightmare. And if you suffer deeply for many years, you eventually feel that you can’t go on.

At this point in my life, I cried out to God in my bed, almost a primordial scream. I just said, “Jesus! Help!!!”

Shortly thereafter God sent me my ministry friend. God changed my perspective through this woman who has a completely different background than I do. And we began our ministry, leading people to Christ, praying for people, and ministering to hurting Christians. My life is more worth living now than ever.

You can choose to cry all day and give up (and Satan wins). Or you can rebuke the enemy, rise up, put on some praise music, and dance before the Lord (even if you’re a klutz like me!) Then ask Jesus what you should be doing, and obey Him. You will gain energy as you do His work, and you will once again be glad to be alive.



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