Feeding For Fuel

Feeding For Fuel

So whether you eat or drink, whatever you do, do it for the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31

I don’t often think of glorifying God with the way I consume food. However, what we are shown in Scripture time and again, is that He is before all things and in Him all things hold together. Colossians 1:17, this includes how we care for and fuel our God given bodies.

There are few things more confusing than nutrition; the standards seems to be shifting, drifting and swinging back and forth at a mind dizzying rate; so difficult to keep up.

Not only are we confused about what to eat and why but we are also a nation of stress eaters, emotional eaters, binging when happy, sad and all feelings and situations in between.

These behaviors have rocked our health as a nation with nearly 35% of adults now clinically obese. Food is America’s drug of choice.

The United States also ranks number 1 in the world for depression, anxiety, sleep disorders, ADHD diagnoses and ours is the fattest population in the world.

These medical issues are directly related to the ways in which we feed and medicate ourselves.

For years fat was enemy, so we consumed low fat everything, which meant consuming products high in sugar. Then we bought into the zero calorie sweeteners, did the Atkins diet, joined Weight Watchers, and switched to Special K cereal, only to learn later that all of these foods are actually the culprits to high cholesterol, weight gain and insulin resistance.

The average American consumes 156 pounds of sugar a year.

If that doesn’t make you stop and ponder what you have been eating lately, I pray that your eyes are opened to the ways in which sugar is poisoning you.

Have you ever read a food label?

If not, I suggest you start to familiarize yourself with the lingo on the labels. Sugar is in everything.

EVERYTHING.

And we, my fellow Americans, are completely addicted to this socially acceptable drug-food.

This is not how God intends for His people to live: enslaved to food, physically addicted, our temptations, weaknesses and impulses driving the decisions behind every single thing that passes through our lips. In 1 Corinthians 10:23, Paul writes about all things being permissible but not all things are beneficial. Just because we can, doesn’t mean we should. This wholly applies to our relationship with food and the way we abuse our bodies with our choices.

I wish there were an easy button.

Unlike a drug addict, or an alcoholic, food addiction is much harder to surrender, as we cannot swear off food as an addict can swear off drugs and booze. Nope, we have to mitigate and find a way to live with food for the rest of our lives.

And just like exercise, without a plan, an accountability system and discipline, any kind of nutritional change is sure to fail.

Likely you have been on all the diets and tired all the gimmicks, bought all the supplements, wraps and other snake oil garbage out there in hopeful ignorance that this might work this time, only to find yourself a few weeks later a bit poorer, defeated and no closer to a healthy lifestyle than before.

What is to be done?

Which is the best way?

I encourage people to try and elimination diet. We do a 21 Day Detox through my gym several times a year, the sole purpose of which is to cut out refined carbohydrates, dairy, legumes, sugar in all of its forms, and most grains in order to determine which foods cause the most problems for the individual. There is a relatively significant weight loss that goes along with this but that is a bonus, as weight loss isn’t the goal: reduced inflammation is.

The focus is on healthy, unprocessed proteins (meats/fish), lots of dark, leafy greens, relatively low starch veggies, ample amounts of healthy fats and small amounts of low glycemic fruits.  We work in a few grains: gluten free oats, quinoa and the occasional serving of rice.

Basically we eat foods as close to God’s creation as possible. God didn’t make Reese’s Puffs Cereal, but He did give us plants and animals to enjoy.

During detox, I educate people on supplementation, gut health, insulin sensitivity and introduce habit changing ideas in hopes of rewiring the brain for success. My ultimate goal in approaching nutrition is to teach people to be cognizant of how sugar affects the body and increases production and release of insulin (an important hormone but ultimately the cause of fat storage), which can lead to resistance. This resistance leads to metabolic syndrome and eventually Type II Diabetes and an entire host of other health problems.

But Sunny What can I do?

Though I could literally write and talk this out for hours and pages, I will give you my 3 main tips for people seeking to change habits.

  1. Stop drinking calories. Aside from black coffee, with maybe a wee bit of actual half and half (none of that creamer), the occasional glass of red wine and perhaps a protein shake, there is literally NO reason one should drink calories. That means you give up the juice, the sports drinks, the coconut water, the soda, the milk, both regular and diet (calorie free but chemical laden), the daily kombucha and sweetened iced tea. If your morning coffee has the word frappe somewhere in the name, tastes like caramel, or is topped with whipped cream, it’s not coffee, its candy.
  2. Do not eat carbohydrates by themselves. Maybe you aren’t sure what a carbohydrate is? All grains, beans, sugars and fruits are carbs. When you eat a carb on it’s own, it will cause a relatively high spike in blood sugar, which results in a flood of insulin into the body. This quick hit of sugar will lead to a crash and consequently, you will be starving, shaky, irritable and likely have a headache. You will find yourself tearing through your co-workers or family to get the next dose of carbs into the body. When we eat a carb with a protein or a healthy fat, we slow down the digestion process and the body will avoid the blood sugar roller coaster chaos and keep that insulin bomb at bay.
  3. Adhere to a 12 hour fast between the last food you eat at night and the first foods you eat in the morning. This can deter from late night snacking, as it is much more pleasant to finish eating for the day at 7:00 pm in order to have breakfast at 7:00 am. The reason I suggest a 12 hour fast has everything to do with insulin sensitivity. I cannot stress this enough, we want our bodies to run on as little insulin as absolutely possible.

There are few things I geek out on more than insulin and metabolism, and am always happy to indoctrinate people into the ways of science and eating well to feel well. If you would like further resources, please do not hesitate to reach out to me for guidance.

Join me next round for my 4th installment on health and wellness, where I will bind all of these things up with love. Love covers a multitude of sins and in order to overhaul a body, heart and mind, one needs supersized doses of Jesus’ grace and strength to help us surrender.

Though it is easy to feel hopeless when thinking about our health, there is so much hope to be harnessed, as Jesus can change us.