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VACANT HEART

January 13, 2011Read: 1 Corinthians 3

"...the spirit of God lives in you." --1 Corinthians 3:16

Image is everything, right? Just ask those who worked at the Ritz-Carlton during the depression. After the crash of 1929, when neighboring store fronts were closed and out-of-business signs were in full view, it was business as usual at the Ritz (or so it seemed). Management asked the few remaining staff to turn on all the guest room and ballroom lights, so it would appear from the streets that the hotel was unaffected by the economic tragedy when, in truth, the heart of the hotel was empty.

Can you relate? I know I can. If you're like me, you sometimes turn on your smile and muster up that charm in order to hide what's really going on inside...or what's not. We don't want anyone to know when we're low on energy, short on answers and slow to joy. No matter what, we're open for business!

But God knows our hearts and loves us despite them. He understands when we feel empty, and filling that vacancy is His specialty.

--J.P.

5-STEP FRIDGE MAKEOVER

Body makeovers start in the kitchen. So for 2011, it’s out with the old and in with the new for your fridge and freezer. We’ve got five things to scratch off your shopping list and five fresher, healthier, and more affordable things to put in their place.

OUT 1. Sugar-sweetened soda 2. Yogurt with artificial sweeteners 3. Imported, out-of-season produce 4. Mayo, soy sauce and ketchup 5. Frozen entrees

IN 1. Sparkling water 2. Nonfat plain Greek yogurt 3. Domestic (or local), seasonal fruits and veggies 4. Hummus, lite soy sauce, salsa 5. Homemade frozen chili, soup or casseroles

Soda You can save 100 calories per serving by swapping out soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages for sparkling water or seltzer. If you typically drink one can per day, the switch can lead to 10 pounds lost in 2011!

Yogurt You’d be shocked how many low-calorie yogurts use artificial sweeteners to keep the calories down. Plain Greek yogurt doesn’t have any added sweeteners (artificial or otherwise) and it’s higher in protein. Sweeten it up yourself with fresh fruit or a drizzle of honey.

Produce Just because you can buy things like blueberries, asparagus and tomatoes in the dead of winter doesn’t mean you should. Buying produce in season and as locally as possible ensures that it’s fresh and nutritious. Eating with the seasons also helps you get in a wide variety of fruits and veggies throughout the year.

Condiments Folks tend to forget that condiments count! They can add gobs of fat and sodium to your day. There’s nothing wrong with a little mayo, regular soy and ketchup on occasion but for daily use get more nutrients. Spread hummus on sandwiches, make stir-fry with 40 percent less sodium, and kick up the flavor of chicken, eggs, or rice dishes for only a few calories with salsa.

Frozen Entrees Take a look at the sodium content on a typical frozen meal – even the lowest-sodium varieties contain over 25 percent of your daily needs. How about real home cooking instead of preservatives? Sure, it takes some extra time to prepare, but the health benefits are a huge reward. It’s undeniably time well spent!

Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition.