HE VOTED: GRACE

August 2, 2011 Read: Isaiah 53

"...by his wounds we are healed." --Isaiah 53:5

I can't say I know all there is to know about politics, but the debt ceiling debate has been tough to escape. Turn the channel, pick up a newspaper or surf the web and there it is. And regardless of what side you're on, yesterday's vote was an emotional one; not so much for the outcome that saves the country from default, but because of who showed up for the vote. Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords appeared on the house floor for the first time since being critically wounded in January. Her appearance brought the house down. Fellow lawmakers described the scene as she raised her hand to vote "stunning" and "heroic." Giffords said she just had to be there for the vote. In her words, "I could not take the chance that my absence could crash our economy."

Please forgive the comparison, but you and I have a debt problem too. A debt no amount of good deeds, good thoughts, health, money, or otherwise could ever pay. Tally up the votes of every person of Adam's race, every voice that has ever spoken, and we wouldn't have enough yays for a victory.

But Jesus showed up to cast the only vote that counted; wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities. He showed up, raised both hands and voted...grace.

--J.P.

WHAT'S IN A GRAIN?

One of the best and easiest things you can do to start cleaning up your diet is to make an easy switch. Whenever there's an option, elect to eat whole grain products. These healthier choices slow digestion, helping you to avoid the types of spikes in blood sugar and insulin that can leave your body drained and in a fat-storing mode.  But according to PrayFit contributing nutritionist Emily Ann Miller, MPH, RD, there's much more to know about this wonder food.

"When selecting grain-based foods such as bread, cereal, pasta, and rice dishes, choose items that are made from whole grains," says Miller. "Whole grains are a source of B vitamins, vitamin E, magnesium, iron, and fiber, as well as other plant substances that can help fight disease. Foods made from refined or enriched grains often lack some of these nutrients. To ensure that the food you are choosing is 100% whole grain, make sure you do not see the words 'enriched' or 'refined' anywhere on the package or in the ingredient list. Some examples of healthy whole-grain foods include 100% whole wheat bread or pasta, brown rice, popcorn, and oatmeal."

Emily Ann Miller, MPH, RD is a registered dietitian and works at a Washington, D.C.-based independent, nonprofit science organization, where her work is currently focused on environmental and policy solutions to obesity prevention. She also speaks to groups about health and nutrition and provides nutrition education to patients at a free medical clinic that serves low-income, uninsured adults in the D.C. area. You can view more of Emily’s nutrition tips and updates by following her on Twitter, @EmilyAMillerRD.