March 24, 2009

Less Ingredients = Healthier For You!

Here's a tip from grocery store experts: when reading the ingredients list on food products at the grocery store, less usually equals better for you! Choosing foods with few ingredients prevents you from eating overly-processed foods that may have man-made fats, sugars, and/or preservatives in them.
Trust the ingredients even over those "all-natural" labels. There are no FDA regulations regarding food producers using the word "natural" on their labels, which means it can mean anything other than the truth! So don't trust those labels! Read the ingredients and use that to make your choice. You will most likely be getting the healthier product.

"The Shack" Book Challenges How We View God

The book called "The Shack" was written a couple years ago by William Paul Young. I read this book and have many good things to say about it. This book challenged my viewpoint of God and helped me see Him in new, incredible, and holy ways! What a wonderful reminder of God's amazingly good character, His great love and mercy! The main character was restored into an intimate, loving, knowledgeable relationship with his Savior Jesus Christ, and I felt like it had that same effect on me as well!

The story begins quickly and thrusts you into the life of a very common man, Mackenzie ("Mack"). Mack is a middle-aged, hard-working man who lives with what the book calls "The Great Sadness". This Great Sadness occurred a few years back, when Mack's youngest daughter, Missy, was abducted & murdered at a family camping trip (taken practically from right under Mack's nose).

The book describes the intense police search for the missing daughter, and details how Mack's life essentially fell apart because of the tragedy. He is a man who blames God for letting Missy get taken & killed, and does not trust Him to be capable of providing for or loving any human beings. This great sadness, plus Mack's fear, confusion, and hatred of the Lord causes him to live in a numb, dejected state of mind. Life has lost its meaning for Mack, and he simply goes through the motions of living.

Then, something miraculous and terrifying happens. Mack receives a letter from someone who calls himself "Papa," and asks to meet up with Mack at the Shack, the very place where his daughter's remains were found, in a remote part of the wilderness. Despite the possibility that it could be some horrible, cruel joke, or could be the killer's way of luring Mack himself out into the wilderness, Mack decides that the note may, in fact, be from God Himself, and decides to take a weekend trip to the Shack.

The rest of the story takes place at this "shack", and is where God Himself meets, talks, discusses, cries, and laughs with Mack (throughout the course of one weekend).

The way the author presents the Trinity (God the Father, Son, & Holy Spirit) is extremely unique and unlike anything I have ever encountered in Christian literature before. I really appreciated the author's views of God's physical image, personality, sense of humor, intelligence, and character. The author uses intelligent and simple conversations to teach Mack (and us) the Truth about God's character, thoughts, and purposes for our lives.

I hope that this book will appeal to skeptics, believers, people who are questioning, unbelieving, or doubting. Please pick up this book and read it for yourself, no matter what you believe or think about God and Christianity. It will be very eye-opening!

I thought that some parts of the book were sort of slow, but I also think that it gets better as you go. The conversations with God get more & more complex and deep as you go, which I really enjoyed. You won't be disappointed!

Check out the book's main website at to find out for yourself! I pray that it touches & enlightens you as it did me!

March 14, 2009

Nuts about Calcium

Calcium is needed for your bones to be strong and to prevent osteoporosis. Elderly people who are at the highest risk for osteoporosis are strongly encouraged to take calcium supplements, but it may be too late for some. The damage could already be done.
The safest bet is to take calcium supplements and begin building strong bones when you're younger (if you can).
Also, high-impact exercise (especially running, walking, & jumping rope) are great physical activities, because they cause your bone density to increase, resulting in stronger bones.
And the newest results are in.........apparently almonds are very high in calcium! So eat lots of milk products (the most prevalent calcium provider), almonds, and get your DV of Vitamin D, which aids in the body's absorption of calcium.
Your bones will thank you!

March 12, 2009

Beware of Plastic Containers!

For those of you who have not heard about the "plastic container" fears circulating the country, here is a brief overview to get you up-t0-speed.
Reusable plastic containers are everything from plastic baby bottles, water bottles (both throw-away kinds like AquaFina & reusable ones like Nalgene), and storage containers.
Look on the bottoms of these containers. Most likely, they will have a triangle "recycling" symbol, with a number in the center. This number tells you how to recycle the plastic product, but also what kind of plastic the container is made of.
Polycarbonate is a fairly newer, heavy-duty plastic that has been around for awhile now. From what I understand, it is a man-made concoction of different materials, resulting in a sturdier plastic. However, research has been done on the effects of eating & drinking out of a polycarbonate container, with mixed results.
The issue: some polycarbonate containers & bottles contain bisphenol A (called "BPA"), which is a chemical found to stimulate the growth of prostate cancer cells. The effects of BPA on the body has been the subject of numerous research studies, and the verdict is still out. Some studies say that BPA has no ill-effects on our bodies whatsoever, while others claim that BPA causes all sorts of cancers & has many negative effects on our bodies.
While results are mixed, however, the hype about BPA has caused baby bottle & Nalgene bottle makers to start making some BPA-free versions of their products, which have been met with a grateful market.
Check to see what number is inside the recycling symbol on the bottom of your plastic product. Number 3, #6, and #7 all contain BPA. Numbers 1,2, 4, & 5 are safer.
If you're concerned about the effects of BPA, I would advise you to do some research into this matter, and check your plastic containers.

Steer Clear of Tropical Oils!

Coconut, palm, and palm kernel oils are FULL of saturated fats. These oils are being added to more & more food products to enhance & preserve flavors, but they are usually full of saturated fat. Even some cookies have one or more of these tropical oils in them!
If you don't already, begin reading not only the nutritional facts on the labels of the foods you buy, but also begin reading the ingredients list, checking for these oils, trans fats (man-made fats), and other unhealthy, man-made preservatives.
It pays to be educated about what you eat!

March 8, 2009

Adult Acne

Acne is usually thought of as a plight of the hormonal teenager. But unfortunately, many adults suffer from acne on their faces & bodies as well. Busy & active people, who sweat often and sometimes do not have access to a shower right away, are the most likely to develop adult acne.
Acne develops when grease on the skin mixes with bacteria and forms pimples.
Adult acne may be prevented or decreased in several ways.
First, do not eat highly processed foods. (High in fat with unhealthy preservatives.)
Second, do not stress. (Stress is known to cause acne.)
Thirdly, take an oral contraceptive. (The hormones in oral contraceptives help keep acne away, but acne can return when you stop taking the contraceptive.)
Fourth, do not smoke. (Smoking is also known to cause acne, among many other negatives.)

March 5, 2009

My Progress!

I had been running 5 or 6 miles several times a week, with new "supportive" running shoes, when I began developing dull pain in both of my lower legs, a few inches above my ankles. After doing some research on the pain, and learning that it was an "overuse" injury, that caused hairline (stress) fractures, I took about 2 1/2 weeks off from running for my bones to heal.
During this time of recovery, I kept my legs elevated, iced my shins when they hurt, and wrapped them whenever I walked a lot. I also performed calf-strengthening exercises, and began a daily ab exercise routine, to strengthen my core to prevent further injuries.
At this time, my legs were feeling perfect, back to 100% again. So I decided that I would start running a couple miles again, to see if the pain would return or if I was truly healed. I wanted to start off slow, however, in order to not injure myself again.
So I have been running 2 miles, then 2 1/2 miles, then 2 3/4 miles.
This causes me to keep my cardio-vascular fitness up while not straining myself too much, in case I am not fully healed.
I am SO thankful to be running again, and I pray that I am healed and that I am stronger now, so I won't injure myself again in this way. And I'm starting to feel & see results from all my ab & leg strengthening
workouts, which is a great motivator to keep them up!

Compact Fluorescent LightBulbs

Compact fluorescent bulbs (CFB) are eco-friendly lightbulbs where the tube is 'twisted' and are not the conventional incandescent bulbs. CFBs use less energy but can be found in normal wattage ranges. They can be used indoor & outdoors.
CFBs have an expected lifespan of about 7 years. That's right: they are expected to not burn out for 7 years! Because they last SO LONG, and because they use LESS ENERGY, they are a great choice for someone who would like to make small changes to their dwelling to make it more eco-friendly & save on the cost of energy bills.
CFBs also contain Mercury, a toxic element if it enters the blood stream. As long as the Mercury is contained within the glass bulb, it poses no threat to your safety. Because CFBs contain Mercury, they are considered "hazardous waste" and cannot be simply thrown away in the garbage (unlike conventional lightbulbs).
Stores like Home Depot and IKEA have special centers in the stores where you can dispose of your CFBs safely. Also, you can log onto and find other recycling & disposal places for your CFB bulbs.
CFBs can be found at Home Depot, Lowe's (and most hardware stores), Target, Bed, Bath, & Beyond, and most major big-chain stores.
Consider CFBs for your home or apartment today; save money, and do a small part to help the earth!

Do All Things Better

"I'm convinced that if I can learn to do one thing at a time well, I will eventually be able to do all things better. So now when I work, I work. When I play, I play. When my soul needs attention, I give it my full attention, not just what I can spare. I give each part of me the full measure. If it works, I'll become not just a better runner but a better person."
--John Bingham, running coach (italics mine)

I appreciate this quote because I agree that we should give ourselves & our tasks our full attention, because then it will be our best effort and will produce our best work. I also like how he speaks of giving his full attention to himself when he needs it.
This is the way I see it: if you spend lots of time on yourself, you'll know yourself better, and thus be able to relate to others better. If you take care of yourself and are thus in good condition physically, mentally, & spiritually, then you will be easily motivated to take care of others.
Understandably, you can't spend all your time on yourself, and that's where work comes into the picture.
I think there is something honorable about not simply "giving something your best shot," but spending time on it, working with it, getting to know it, until you learn to do it perfectly. I think that this is how the Lord is with us. He doesn't just give us His best try; He knows us intimately and takes His time to do His work in us correctly, with loving commitment & passion. What an awesomely amazing God He is! And what a great example He is to us!


Did you know that 1 medium artichoke satisfies 41% of your daily value for vitamins & nutrients? Did you know that artichokes are said to be healthy for your liver? Artichokes have no fat & no cholesterol. And 1 medium artichoke only has about 64 calories! So add artichokes to your diet!