Taking Responsibility

I have had the privilege to observe some negatives in the lives of others, and in doing so, I had to examine myself to see if I might be doing the same things. Sometimes we learn more from watching negative behavior than we do from watching positive behavior, however, both can invite good learning experiences.

From my observations, I have determined that many of the negatives in my life and the lives of others, come from not taking responsibility for things that we are definitely responsible for.

For example:

I am responsible for my own health. I recently went to the library and found books on how to prevent memory loss, and how to strengthen my bones. When my doctor wanted to add another medication for osteoporosis, that had the side effects of having your femur bone become brittle and break, or you jawbone deteoriate….eeeewwwwhhhh…(Now what would that look like???), I decided… NO Mamm, thank you very much, but NO!

The memory loss thing is just a minor forgetfulness right now, but I don’t want it to become worse. I am learning to make lists on paper, but many times I practice just keeping the lists in my head and making myself remember them.

From the library books, I have learned that whether it is osteoporosis, mental decline, or any other health disorder, it all boils down to the foods we eat, reducing stress, and getting enough sleep to let our bodies mend themselves overnight. All the books tend to recommend a Mediterranean diet which consist of lots of fruit, vegetables, and limited animal proteins. For osteoporosis too much animal protein can rob the bones of calcium.

I found a bone building website that said apples have a phytonutrient that builds strong bones. No other food has this certain nutrient except apples, with most of it being in the peeling. Wow! They also sold a weighted vest that studies showed improved bone density as much as medication did.

Weighted vests are good, but constant added weight in the form of excessive eating is not. If my knees are hurting because I carry too much weight on them, then I need to lose the ten pounds that would reduce the pressure on my knees by thirty pounds. (I read that on a chart in the orthopedic doctor’s office while waiting for my mom to get back from x-ray. For every pound you lose, it takes three pounds of pressure off your joints.) Overeating is one of the worst things you can do for your health.

I get stressed when things break and don’t get fixed for ages and ages. To prevent this stress, which by-the-way causes memory loss, bone loss, heart disease, etcetera, I need to be responsible and either fix them or get someone who can. I need to do it as soon as possible, and not wait until whatever is broken causes even greater issues further down the road.

I am convinced that God has placed a medicine cabinet in our backyards and grocery stores. Many of the diseases we acquire come from not eating what God has placed before us and desiring to overeat foods that are too rich in manmade substances. Soda anyone?

Healthy foods from the garden.

Healthy foods from the garden.

An herb pot used to enhance meal preparation.

An herb pot used to enhance meal preparation.

Flowers grown in the garden to add beauty and reduce stress.

Flowers, grown in the garden to add beauty and reduce stress.

Until recently, I had always been a proponent of a book that said… God has put cravings in us, and if we eat what we crave, we will be getting a balanced diet. If I ate what I craved, it would be powdered sugar donuts and not an apple. My new thought on this is… as we lead our hearts to do what is right, we should also lead our heads to desire healthier foods that can heal our diseases.

On the last Carolina Camera episode that was aired on WBTV from Charlotte, N.C., there was a 103 year old lady that still went bowling, took a dance class, lived by herself, drove until she was 98, was thin, mentally alert, not on any medications, and she was a joy to watch her face light up as she talked about how she lived her healthy, sweet life. When asked what her secret to long living was… she replied, “The Lord has helped me all my life.”

God has provided all we need for a healthy life. We have to be responsible and guide our hearts and heads to see what He has prepared for us.

Life started in a garden. Life is maintained by a garden.

God provided sleep for restoration and rebuilding of cells in our bodies.

God provided water to wash away toxins.

God gave us a brain to help us figure out what causes us to be stressed and the ingenuity to figure out what we need to take that stress away. He created us with stress relieving endorphins that are released when we exercise.

It is all pretty amazing!

Taking responsiblity for these things will make a better life for us and those around us, and instead of living out our lives in a torturous slow death, we can actually live a life of joy and happiness and maybe end up bowling when we are 103.




Weighing In

Last week I went to the Doctor for my annual checkup, and I had gained a few pounds since the last visit. My doctor gave me all the usual warnings, of what this does to joints, cholesterol, health, etc.

As planting time approaches, I am dreaming of all the fresh veggies that I will be harvesting soon. After the doctor’s visit, I thought, that is exactly what I need, a lot of fresh veggies to eat so I can lose this weight. Then I got out my copy of Rise Above, by Gwen Shamblin. Periodically, I have to re-read her books (Weigh Down Diet is her first book) to keep myself on track. It is not what I am eating, but the greed in my heart, and the love of food (an idol), that causes me to eat too much and gain the weight.

Gwen explains that God has put internal controls in all of us, and if we pay attention and eat when we are hungry, stop when we are full, and do not touch one morsel of food until we are hungry again, we will lose our excess weight and maintain a normal weight for our body. She also explains in her books… that God has made our bodies so wonderfully, if we obey our cravings, and eat what our bodies are calling for we will get the correct nutrition. God has made so many wonderful foods for us to grow and eat. He made fresh clean water that is so good for our bodies and easy to get in this country. We can eat the man-made junk food, and that is okay, as long as we eat it between the bounds of hunger and fullness, and it is what we crave, but I have found that when I eat the fresh garden foods, and drink more water, that is what I begin to crave the most.

Last week, I did a blog post on our inheritance, and what we pass on to our kids. As I was reading Gwen’s book once again, I stumbled upon a truth about another kind of inheritance we pass to our children.

“The truth we are trying to establish is that you were born to love, and you have an opportunity on earth to choose what you love. It is no wonder so many of us have selected food as the object of our affection. We come by it naturally–in fact it’s been handed down. Many of our great-grandparents, grandparents, and parents have passed down this reverence for food. For example, early in life, mothers with their babies have force-fed the bottle, even if the baby is rejecting the last few ounces of milk. We have felt obligated to serve the bottle, not the baby. It seems so innocent, but to do this action, we have to have more faith in the food than we do in God. There’s hope that the milk will give that baby health, so the mother is desperate to get it down the baby. There are hope in and dependence on the food, instead of confidence in God’s incredibly well-designed natural system.

By the time our babies are toddlers, we resort to making airplane games out of the food to coax them into finishing it. Once again, we cater more to what the food industry considers a serving size than to the child’s God-given internal control. That is a lack of faith.” (From Rise Above, pp. 14-15)

As I was keeping Finn last week, I observed him doing it right. He doesn’t think of food for a long time because he is so busy exploring his world. Usually we bring up the subject of food to him. Occasionally, he will say “eat eat?,” meaning I am hungry, or “milk?,” meaning I am thirsty.

I was feeding him after he woke up from a long nap. On his plate were baked beans, mashed potatoes, and a biscuit… all foods that he loves. He was really hungry and he ate several baked beans, between bites of potatoes. He refused the bread, because he wanted the beans and potatoes more. As he begin to get full, he refused the beans, and wanted only the potatoes. He stopped after a 2nd helping of potatoes, but while there were still potatoes on his plate. When he is full, you cannot get one more bite into his mouth, he turns his head, says a forceful “NO!” and starts throwing any food you place on his high-chair tray into the floor.

Instead of forcing our rules on our babies, we need to learn from them. We need to eat what God provides for us, choose from God’s resources what we are craving most, and stop when we are full, leaving some on our plate. And when someone tries to make us eat more than we need, we should throw it on the floor. Just kidding!:)

Then we would be at our healthy weight, and able to explore our world, and enjoy life, just like Finn.

Just before this picture was snapped, he said, "How Cute!" He hears that a lot from all of us.

Just before this picture was snapped, he said, “How Cute!” He hears that a lot from all of us.

A very good Bible scripture to help us forget about diets, punishing exercise (exercise is great when used correctly), and counting fat grams, calories, etcetera… to just relax and eat what God provides for us, in moderation without greed… is…

“Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink… Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules: ‘Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!’? These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings. Such regulations indeed have an appearance of  wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence. Colossians 2:16a, 20-23 (NIV)