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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Trees Teach Health


12 Shvat, 5773

The lovely imagery of what we can learn from trees (and other plants) fills the holiday of Tu B'Shvat. It's a very pro-health message.

Trees are teachers. 

Trees affect daily life; the health of the planet and even our spiritual realities. Think back to Sunday school. Who goofed by eating the wrong food, then made things worse by pointing fingers of blame? Worse, why DID those two people WANT to eat that food?

There's an interesting answer to the question. Here it comes: Tu B'Shvat and the First Couple.

Here's a excerpt from my forthcoming Comfort Foods Cookbook, which teaches readers how to tame their inner over-eater:


Chomp a carrot or some unsalted hot-air machine
popcorn while you read these opening lines.
That’ll take care of some of your stress and
Keep you safe from too many calories.
The book will be safe from popcorn oil stains, too.

You’re done with diets and it’s time to celebrate; you’re grounded in reality! So many diets don’t help humanity. They don’t address our rushed lives, the overwhelming advertising messages messing with our minds nor the peer pressure we must finesse as we eat differently from everyone around us.  Who the heck wants to listen to anybody telling us not to eat things that taste good - as if distasteful do-nothing diets haven’t made you feel finished with future weight loss efforts already?!

Whew, take a breath. If one diet plan worked for everybody, bookstores wouldn’t be selling so many types of diet books. The key to weight control is to find what works for you and to keep doing that. You do not have to make a sudden overwhelming change to the way you live, eat and think. You only make little changes, one at a time, to the way you deal with food.

The news gets better: this book is not about things you cannot or may not eat; it’s about making a menu that works for you! The Comfort Foods Cookbook is designed to help you past several problems, which is clear in the confidence-building Table of Contents. There are proven strategies for dining well while losing or maintaining weight. Here are a few to take you through the day:

1.   Don’t Drastically Destroy Your Meals
You still need carbohydrates. Not in excess, but in moderation. Enjoy some wholegrain breads that can help to curb your appetite. Indulge in high-nutrition wild rice, brown rice and basmati rice. They make sold underpinnings for delicious sauces and a bouquet of body-building vegetables.

2.   Love what you do in life.
If you don’t yet love your life, make it lovable. Don’t let your weight-control efforts dominate your thoughts. You risk losing the enthusiasm for minding your table manners. Indulge in hobbies you enjoy, relationships you cherish and simple pleasures. Let raindrops fall on your tongue, do happy dances and smile as much as you can. Take on each day sunshine or rain. Rest when you need to. And do something nice for yourself – including the people important to you.

Less stress will lower your snack reaction; nobody shoves food in their face when they’re content. Reduce the stress in your life in as many directions as possible. Delegate tasks, lower your demands (not everything in life needs to be perfect), and shut off the noise. That includes turning off anything digital. The toll on your heart and brain will lighten up, as will your perspective on life. You know the story of the character who fished for a living. He prayed to be this or that, and then achieved those goals. Each venture cost him dearly in terms of peace of mind and financial security. So he prayed to have a stress-free livelihood and VOILA! He became a fisherman again and never lost his perpetual smile of relief.

Need a different motivational thought to keep your control? I hear you. Some of us mortals use food as an escape, a safe haven from some sort of pressure (Deadlines, in-laws, outlaws, bills, budgets, name it). Let’s look at life philosophically, and a bit spiritually too, a moment. We are descendants of the first man and woman. Want to correct the mistake of how and why the first couple ate the forbidden fruit? Adam and Chava (Eve) used food to escape GOD's sovereignty. Food is not an escape. Food is for nourishment so we can live with optimal health, happiness and to serve GOD with decency. Food brings us pleasure and health. That leads to happiness. Clarity about what food is for equals a measure of emotional freedom.

Decide what sort of person you want to be and make yourself behave that way (Do-overs are allowed. Some days you can simply chalk up mistakes to dress rehearsals). Run your own life, you slimming and trimming CEO! Eating is supposed to make you feel happy. This book does its best to get you grinning again, looking slimmer and trimmer. Seeing yourself smiling back from the mirror can make your day. Give yourself a thumbs-up with a meaningful wink each time you head out the door.

When you’re indoors, and even outside, nourish your soul. Listen to soothing music, wear and decorate in colors that make you feel well. Feel that smile coming into your face? Make the most of it. Dab some lavender oil under your nose or on your pillows. It’s a calming scent. Guys, use some peppermint if you can, or your fave aftershave lotions and potions. Feeling calm makes the munchies seem like distant memories.

Walks can do wonders for calming shattered nerves. Watch the world go by as you take interesting detours and refreshing hikes. Use the bicycle instead of the car to run errands. Your improving muscle tone will speed up weight control efforts. Admiring glances or compliments will do wonders for you. So will boosts in your sagging self-esteem.

If you can, invest in an indoor water fountain or easily maintained aquarium. Watery images and sounds soothe savage minds. Tea lites in every corner of the tub make for one very soothing soak. Draw the curtain and bask in the warmth as your cares ooze out of your pores.

3) Put some spirituality into your mealtimes. Make this a new mantra: We don’t live to eat, we eat to live!  Keep your priorities straight, not muddled in your mind. Focus on feeling grateful for having body-building foods before you. Say a prayer of thanks to The One Above that you have such food, and that you are wise enough to make smart choices. Consider how much happier you’ll be for strengthening your health, not actively ruining it with poor choices.  Consider how excited you’ll be to watch the pounds melt away and never return.

And when those really awful, messed up days come your way (ALL of us have them), remember to care compassionately for yourself. You’re going to be tempted to shove food down your throat and punish yourself with the consequences all around your too-tight clothes. Is self-discipline important to you? Is better health a priority? Is a slimmer you important? Remember this saying that applies to much of our stressful lives: “Decide that you want it more than you are afraid of it.”

Fill the comments box with your thoughts  about that. 

Pretty please? 

Buy E-book or print edition EMPOWER Yourself to Cope with a Medical Challenge to put your medical and emotional health priorities in order, today. 

The Comfort Foods Cookbook will go on sale at a future date, GOD willing.

Face Your Medical Problems with Dignity. Face Your Future with Optimism.

Feed your soul and body nutritiously.


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