Emily Ann Miller

Kiss The Walls

"Then I heard the Lord asking, 'Whom should I send as a messenger to this people? Who will go for us?' I said, 'Here I am. Send me.'" --Isaiah 6:8

Read: Isaiah 6

We often pray for God to send us where He wants us to go. You've probably said, "Here I am Lord...send me."  Well, when Paul was put in prison, he kissed the walls. He figured he had a captive audience, and if this is where God wanted him, he was gonna rattle some chains.

So take a look around you. Survey your surroundings. Do you have a captive audience? You may not be in prison, but perhaps God has cleverly placed you right where He wants you. Any family members come to mind? What about your next door neighbor, or the person in the next cubicle, or that handful of people you see each day at the gym. Would Paul consider them captive? Perhaps it's time to kiss the walls and rattle some chains. If you've prayed, "Here I am Lord, send me", maybe He already has.

--Jimmy Peña

For Discussion: It's not easy is it? Yesterday at rehab I found myself trying to find joy in what I can't do anymore. Being bound to my area, you might as well put prison bars around me. But the therapists and doctors who have been assigned to me just might need the Lord. Captive audience. Kissing walls...not easy. Can anyone relate?

FALL RECIPE: Banana-Pear Bread

Need a little something to compliment that cup of hot cocoa in front of the fire? Try this healthy loaf recipe from PrayFit contributing nutritionist Emily Ann Miller.

>> Click here for the recipe!

BONUS SEASONAL RECIPE: Apple-Raisin Salad

>> Got a fall recipe you want to share? Post it to the comments below!

Strengthen Your Message

"But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength." --2 Timothy 4:17

Read: 2 Timothy 4

Yesterday we touched on what's most important: our daily time with the good Lord. (How is everyone doing on their 5-minute commitment?) But you may already have that part down pat. While yesterday's entry was extremely well-written and uncommonly clever (this is where you just nod in agreement), it wasn't for you. Let's face it, you can set clocks by your prayer and reading rituals. You wrote the book on quiet times. And if so, we're glad you're back, because today we're talking about what fewer and fewer believers are doing once they get up off their knees.

Dr. Charles Stanley recently said that adversity can either be a burden or a bridge. When I look back at my year, I know beyond a doubt that when adversity weakened my muscle, God strengthened my message. What about you? Do you see health as a burden or a bridge? Perhaps you have self-inflicted infirmities or maybe you were blindsided. Distinguishing between the two isn't always easy, is it? But let me be as much of an encourager as I am a tough reminder that our bodies have so much to accomplish for the kingdom. Many of the things God calls us to do as believers require a stewardship-type outlook of the body. Not in vain, but practically speaking. If you're a believer who finds himself or herself unknowingly hiding behind the truth that God only sees the heart -- with all due respect -- a "willful" neglect of the body is a heart issue.

But trust me, I know the battle is tough. I know it's daily. And I know how despair feels. But ask the Lord for wisdom and strength on how to be a better steward in this area. Determine today that only the limits God sets for your life will slow you down. Not anything man-made or self-made. When you close that bible and rise to your feet, tell the Lord your body is at His service now. And if that means adversity, or healthier food choices and fitness-type activities, see it all as an opportunity to strengthen your message.

--Jimmy Peña

PRAYFIT IN PREVENTION, ON MSN: After you've polished off that basket of fries, praying for skinniness may be futile. But across the country, weight loss programs are combining the typical tools of diet, exercise and community support with one more: The power of belief. "The Bible is full of stories of men and women who have conquered obstacles in their life through faith," says Jimmy Peña, who founded the Bible-based program PrayFit. [click here for more]

SODIUM: NOT TOO MUCH, NOT TOO LITTLE

Think you're consuming too much salt? A review published in the American Journal of Medicine found that people who consumed less than the recommended 2,300 mg of sodium per day actually had a 37% increased risk of dying of cardiovascular disease than those who ingested more. So trying to go cold turkey, or letting your spouse take that salt shaker away from you every night at dinner time may not be the best approach.

Still, there are some who need to be careful not to overdo the salt because they have high blood pressure or a history of heart disease. To reduce your levels of sodium, try these simple tips from PrayFit contributing nutritionist Emily Ann Miller, MPH, RD.

• Instead of a lot of salt, use herbs, spices, flavored vinegars, citrus juices, or wine to flavor food • Taste your food before salting it • Buy fresh, frozen, or canned "no salt added" veggies, and add a little salt at the table • Rinse canned beans and other canned veggies to remove sodium • Cook rice, pasta, and hot cereal without salt • Read labels: look for "low-sodium," "reduced-sodium," "no salt added," and foods that have less than 200 mg per serving

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.

#nofilter

"By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." --John 13:35

Read: John 13

Have you ever taken a picture that was so good, so clear, so perfect that when you shared it, you needed everyone to know that you didn't use a filter? Why? Because you wanted others to know that you had nothing to do with it. It was that good. You were just happy to pull back the curtain. Speaking of pictures, I'm rather a novice at Instagram (@prayfit), but you'd be surprised at how good of a photographer I think I am after a few nifty filters. A shade here, a little darker there. Oh yeah. Now it's ready to be shared.

Curious, but have you ever wondered to yourself, "What kind of a filter am I for Christ?" The bible says in John 13, "By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." I guess you could say that love is the bible's version of a filter. But we use our own, don't we? We gloss ourselves up. "Surely people will know that I'm a believer based on my physical and mental strength. I'm absolutely positive that the world needs to experience God through my charisma. And since I'm supposed to be strong and courageous -- in case you want to get run over -- I'm coming through in Jesus' name!" But really, the filter we should be using is a filter of love. Otherwise, we're just blocking the view.

Boy, aren't we so thankful that we wear Jesus on our hearts? Like we said last week, when God looks at us, we're seen filtered through the blood of Jesus Himself. And we had nothing to do with it. That's love. And it's all ready to be shared.

--Jimmy Peña

For Discussion: Are you delivering your message at work, school, social media, or in your community with love? Do this today: Before you press send, post, call or offer any advice to anyone, whisper, "Lord, is this your will? And am I showing your love with my words and deeds?"

RECIPE: Chicken or Tuna Salad Pockets

Selecting the proper protein to build a dinner around can be fun — unless you’re crunched for time. If you need a speedy solution that’s healthy and palate-pleasing, try this recipe from PrayFit contributing nutritionist Emily Ann Miller, MPH, RD.

>> Click here for the recipe.

Feels Like Redemption

"We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance and endurance produces character, and character produces hope and hope does not disappoint." --Romans 5:3-5

Read: Romans 5

Exercise is not good for you. Yes, you read that right. Strictly speaking, it's downright harmful. Take running, for instance. It's traumatic, and the breakdown puts the body at an extremely vulnerable state. But what? It's only how the body comes back from a beating that proves its worth.

Speaking of tough exercises, try and name one biblical character that didn't run into problems. Do you notice that each person that comes to mind was likely restored to become a more effective God follower?

Healing, repair, growth, strength: descendants of diligence and progenies of prudence. The next time you're sore from a workout or when your soul hurts from tribulation, whisper to yourself, "Feels like redemption".

--Jimmy Peña

PrayFit Poll: Thank you so much to everyone for participating in our informal poll yesterday. If you missed it, here is the link Monday's entry so you can provide your feedback. We very much appreciate your input.

RECIPE OF THE WEEK: Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Apples and Onions

Most people don’t eat as many vegetables as they should and an easy, more enjoyable way to get enough at a meal is to roast them. Broccoli, cauliflower, bell peppers, onions, carrots, collards, kale, sweet potatoes, squash –- there are so many options! Starchier veggies (carrots, sweet potatoes, squash) tend to take longer to cook, but the smaller you cut any vegetable, the quicker it will cook. One of my favorite combos for roasting is brussels sprouts with apples and onions. The sweetness of the apples balances the sprouts, which some people find mildly bitter.

Ingredients: • 2 cups fresh brussels sprouts • 1 large apple • 1 medium onion • 1½ tablespoons canola or olive oil • salt and pepper to taste

Directions: Preheat oven to 350ºF and line a jelly roll pan with aluminum foil, then spray the foil with cooking spray. Cut the stem ends off of the sprouts and cut them in half (or quarters if they are large). Core the apple and cut into ½-inch chunks (no need to remove the peel, there are a lot of nutrients in there!). Chop the onion into ½-inch chunks. Put the sprouts, apples, and onions on the aluminum foil in the pan, then drizzle everything with oil and lightly season with salt and pepper, stirring everything together. Roast for approximately 20 minutes, and continue to cook at 5-minute intervals as needed until sprouts are beginning to brown and the apples and vegetables are fork-tender. You may need to cover with foil partway through if they are getting too brown. Serves 4.

Approximate nutrition information per serving: 105 calories, 5.5g fat (0.5g of which is saturated), 15mg sodium, 14g carbohydrate, 3g fiber, 2g protein. (Adding ½ tsp. salt adds 290mg sodium/serving, adding ¼ tsp. salt adds 145mg sodium/serving.)

Emily Ann Miller, MPH, RD is a registered dietitian and works at a Washington, DC-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 Washington, DC area. You can view more of Emily’s nutrition tips and updates by following her on Twitter, @EmilyAMillerRD.

Strengthen Your Message

"But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength." --2 Timothy 4:17

Read: 2 Timothy 4

Yesterday we touched on what's most important: our daily time with the good Lord. But you may already have that part down pat. While yesterday's entry was extremely well-written and uncommonly clever (this is where you just nod in agreement), it wasn't for you. Let's face it, you can set clocks by your prayer and reading rituals. You wrote the book on quiet times. And if so, we're glad you're back, because today we're talking about what fewer and fewer believers are doing once they get up off their knees.

Dr. Charles Stanley recently said that adversity can either be a burden or a bridge. When I look back at my year, I know beyond a doubt that when adversity weakened my muscle, God strengthened my message. What about you? Do you see health as a burden or a bridge? Perhaps you have self-inflicted infirmities or maybe you were blindsided. Distinguishing between the two isn't always easy, is it? But let me be as much of an encourager as I am a tough reminder that our bodies have so much to accomplish for the kingdom. Many of the things God calls us to do as believers require a stewardship-type outlook of the body. Not in vain, but practically speaking. If you're a believer who finds himself or herself unknowingly hiding behind the truth that God only sees the heart -- with all due respect -- a "willful" neglect of the body is a heart issue.

But trust me, I know the battle is tough. I know it's daily. And I know how despair feels. But ask the Lord for wisdom and strength on how to be a better steward in this area. Determine today that only the limits God sets for your life will slow you down. Not anything man-made or self-made. When you close that bible and rise to your feet, tell the Lord your body is at His service now. And if that means adversity, or healthier food choices and fitness-type activities, see it all as an opportunity to strengthen your message.

--Jimmy Peña

SODIUM: NOT TOO MUCH, NOT TOO LITTLE

Think you're consuming too much salt? A review published in the American Journal of Medicine found that people who consumed less than the recommended 2,300 mg of sodium per day actually had a 37% increased risk of dying of cardiovascular disease than those who ingested more. So trying to go cold turkey, or letting your spouse take that salt shaker away from you every night at dinner time may not be the best approach.

Still, there are some who need to be careful not to overdo the salt because they have high blood pressure or a history of heart disease. To reduce your levels of sodium, try these simple tips from PrayFit contributing nutritionist Emily Ann Miller, MPH, RD.

• Instead of a lot of salt, use herbs, spices, flavored vinegars, citrus juices, or wine to flavor food • Taste your food before salting it • Buy fresh, frozen, or canned "no salt added" veggies, and add a little salt at the table • Rinse canned beans and other canned veggies to remove sodium • Cook rice, pasta, and hot cereal without salt • Read labels: look for "low-sodium," "reduced-sodium," "no salt added," and foods that have less than 200 mg per serving

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.

A Thankful List

"In everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." --1 Thessalonians 5:18

Read: 1 Thessalonians 5

Do you like lists? I love lists. My wife and I can be driving, and all I have to say to her is, "Give me your top three for dinner" and she knows I'm asking her to name me the three people she would love to have over for a meal. Without hesitation, Kate Winslet, Dr. Charles Stanley and Derek Jeter are scooting their chairs under our table. We've done things like that for years. And don't get me started about New Year's resolutions. We've saved every list of resolutions for 18 years. Not only that, we witness, sign and ratify them. (I wish I were kidding). What can I say? I love lists.

Do you have one? A list of things for which you're the most thankful this year? What better week than this to consider it. Could be a friend, or new job or maybe your health has improved. (That last one would make mine, FYI.) Take a minute to think of, or better yet, jot some things down. Use our comment section if you'd be so bold. What are you the most thankful for as you look back on this year? Give me your top three. And if you say Derek Jeter, I just might have you over for dinner.

--Jimmy Peña

P.S. God has a list, and we're on it. You and I will be sitting at His table someday if we say yes. The invitation is open. It's up to us to accept it.

ASK THE NUTRITIONIST with Emily Ann Miller, MPH, RD

[Q] I am looking to save calories where I can and I know that switching to lower-fat milk is an easy way to do that but I love whole milk! What's the best way to switch without going crazy?

[A] That's a great question. Milk is a great source of healthy protein and should be part of any healthy lifestyle but a lot of people do love the whole and find it hard to switch to lower-fat and therefore lower-calorie milk. If you have a hard time switching from higher-fat milk, try combining half of the higher-fat with half of the lower-fat, and gradually change the ratio so that the amount of lower-fat is increasing. This will help your taste buds to adjust and eventually, you will probably prefer the lower-fat! The same concept works for switching from regular to diet soda.

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.

Move With Your Life

"For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead." --James 2:26

Read: James 2

How many times have we asked God to move in our lives? I wonder if it even comes close to the number of times He's asked us to move "with" our lives. Follow me through the day: The homeless beggar outside the supermarket. The lonely neighbor who will be alone again on Thanksgiving. The teacher everybody gossips about. How many times a day does God ask us to move with our lives?

Same goes with our bodies. You may find yourself asking the Lord for the strength to stick with better food choices or for motivation to begin an exercise plan. But friends, if you know Him, He's made His move. The real question is whether the miracle He's done in your heart has reached your feet.

--Jimmy Peña

RECIPE OF THE WEEK: Mango-Almond Muesli

Protein for muscle repair and upkeep. Slow-digesting carbs for fuel. Cinnamon to regulate blood sugar levels. Calcium for bone health. Add a potent dose of Vitamin C and this shapes up to be pretty close to perfection when it comes to snack foods. This eight-serving recipe stores well and is ideal for a grab-and-go breakfast or a high-protein snack.

Ingredients: 1/3 cup old-fashioned oats 1 cup plain non-fat yogurt ½ cup chopped mango 12 almonds, chopped ½ teaspoon cinnamon

Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl or food storage container. Refrigerate overnight. Cut into 8 equal squares.

Nutrition Facts: 374 calories, 55g carbohydrate, 21g protein, 9g fat (1g saturated), 192mg sodium, 5mg cholesterol, 6g fiber. Also an excellent source of calcium and Vitamin C.

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.

Rattle Some Chains

"Then I heard the Lord asking, 'Whom should I send as a messenger to this people? Who will go for us?' I said, 'Here I am. Send me.'" --Isaiah 6:8

We often pray for God to send us where He wants us to go. You've probably said, "Here I am Lord...send me."  Well, when Paul was put in prison, he kissed the walls. He figured he had a captive audience, and if this is where God wanted him, he was gonna rattle some chains.

So take a look around you. Survey your surroundings. Do you have a captive audience? Oh, you may not be in prison, but perhaps God has cleverly placed you right where He wants you. Any family members come to mind? What about your next door neighbor, or that handful of people you see each day at the gym. Would Paul consider them captive? Well, whoever it may be, perhaps it's time to kiss the walls and rattle some chains. Besides, you and I keep praying, "Here I am Lord, send me", but maybe He already has.

--Jimmy Peña

PRAYFIT NUTRITION TIP: Fruits & Veggies by Emily Ann Miller, MPH, RD

Let’s be honest...most Americans do not eat enough fruits and vegetables. The federal government’s new Dietary Guidelines say that we should fill half of our plate with fruits and vegetables. Not only does this add a lot of nutrients and not a lot of calories, but it makes our meals colorful and more appealing. Here are some easy, thoughtful ways to bump up your fruit and veggie intake without simply picking up a cucumber and crunching away.

>> Add vegetables to omelets or scrambled eggs, pasta sauce, macaroni and cheese (try broccoli and tomatoes), soups, and sandwiches

>> Add fruit to smoothies, pancake and muffin mix, cereal and milk, yogurt, oatmeal, and salads

Emily Ann Miller, MPH, RD is a registered dietitian and works at a Washington, DC-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 Washington, DC area. You can view more of Emily’s nutrition tips and updates by following her on Twitter, @EmilyAMillerRD.

There Goes My Hero

"Lift up your eyes on high and see: who created these?" --Isaiah 40:26

Read: Isaiah 40

With the recent Avengers craze, I have to ask: What would your super power be? I know, it's kid's stuff, but somehow that question still makes it to the grown-up table. So let's pretend. Would you travel through time? Gain super strength? Or maybe my favorite -- you'd fly. C'mon, how many of us have ever wanted to swoop down and save the day?

But we can't. We can't find the car keys let alone leap tall buildings. Saving the day will just have to wait. But we should remember that while we're not caped, we are crusaders -- crusaders flanked by angels, sent to protect the only thing that will eventually fight gravity and win: our souls.

So if you're feeling grounded and restless, that's okay. This isn't home. You and I were meant for a land far, far away. All we need to do is wait for our Hero to save the day. And guess what? We'll rise up with renewed strength and fly.

--Jimmy Peña

Question: Who is your hero of the faith? Share your testimony in the comments section below.

NUTRITION TIP: A Little White Lie? By Emily Ann Miller, MPH, RD

A number of people I have counseled in nutrition are confused about the differences between brown sugar and white sugar. Some believe that brown sugar is healthier, using the logic that brown (whole grain) bread, rice, and pasta is better than the white (refined) versions of those products.

Actually, brown sugar is virtually equal to white sugar in calories and nutrient content. The only difference is that molasses has been added to brown sugar, which gives it its color and distinct taste. They key to maintaining a healthy weight is to use both types of sugar in moderation.

Emily Ann Miller, MPH, RD is a registered dietitian and works at a Washington, DC-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 Washington, DC area. You can view more of Emily’s nutrition tips and updates by following her on Twitter, @EmilyAMillerRD.

PRAYFIT 33: Have you committed to take the PrayFit 33-Day Total Body Challenge? Order your DVD today to start this home-based, body-and-soul makeover, led by PrayFit founder Jimmy Peña. Then, keep up with the rest of the community, or just share your daily progress, at the PrayFit forums. "In just 33 minutes a day for 33 days, we can honor the one who gave us 33 years," Jimmy says.

Feels Like Redemption

"We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance and endurance produces character, and character produces hope and hope does not disappoint." --Romans 5:3-5

Read: Romans 5

Exercise is not good for you. Yes, you read that right. Strictly speaking, it's downright harmful. Take running, for instance. It's traumatic, and the breakdown puts the body at an extremely vulnerable state. But what? It's only how the body comes back from a beating that proves its worth.

Speaking of tough exercises, try and name one biblical character that didn't run into problems. Do you notice that each person that comes to mind was likely restored to become a more effective God follower?

Healing, repair, growth, strength: descendants of diligence and progenies of prudence. The next time you're sore from a workout or when your soul hurts from tribulation, whisper to yourself, "Feels like redemption".

--Jimmy Peña

RECIPE OF THE WEEK: Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Apples and Onions

Most people don’t eat as many vegetables as they should and an easy way to add a side of veggies at a meal is to roast them. Broccoli, cauliflower, bell peppers, onions, carrots, collards, kale, sweet potatoes, squash –- there are so many options! Starchier veggies (carrots, sweet potatoes, squash) tend to take longer to cook, but the smaller you cut any vegetable, the quicker it will cook. One of my favorite combos for roasting is brussels sprouts with apples and onions. The sweetness of the apples balances the sprouts, which some people find mildly bitter.

Ingredients: • 2 cups fresh brussels sprouts • 1 large apple • 1 medium onion • 1½ tablespoons canola or olive oil • salt and pepper to taste

Directions: Preheat oven to 350ºF and line a jelly roll pan with aluminum foil, then spray the foil with cooking spray. Cut the stem ends off of the sprouts and cut them in half (or quarters if they are large). Core the apple and cut into ½-inch chunks (no need to remove the peel, there are a lot of nutrients in there!). Chop the onion into ½-inch chunks. Put the sprouts, apples, and onions on the aluminum foil in the pan, then drizzle everything with oil and lightly season with salt and pepper, stirring everything together. Roast for approximately 20 minutes, and continue to cook at 5-minute intervals as needed until sprouts are beginning to brown and the apples and vegetables are fork-tender. You may need to cover with foil partway through if they are getting too brown. Serves 4.

Approximate nutrition information per serving: 105 calories, 5.5g fat (0.5g of which is saturated), 15mg sodium, 14g carbohydrate, 3g fiber, 2g protein. (Adding ½ tsp. salt adds 290mg sodium/serving, adding ¼ tsp. salt adds 145mg sodium/serving.)

Emily Ann Miller, MPH, RD is a registered dietitian and works at a Washington, DC-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 Washington, DC area. You can view more of Emily’s nutrition tips and updates by following her on Twitter, @EmilyAMillerRD.

Health Doesn't Come Naturally

"You were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies." –1 Corinthians 6:20

Read: 1 Corinthians 6

Running up the first steep hill of her half-marathon recently, my wife Loretta came up behind a man going maybe half her speed. But since hills are hills, they struggled up together, each at their own pace -- two warriors needing the same air to answer the call of the hill. Halfway up, Loretta passed him, but not before they gave each other verbal encouragement.

You know, we've received a number of heartfelt e-mails and messages lately from many of you in dire need of encouragement to exercise. You've expressed that, for whatever reason, you just don't feel motivated. Well friends, we're praying for you. But at the same time, truthfully, not feeling motivated to honor the body is like saying you're not motivated to be honest. Remember, just because something doesn't come naturally to you doesn't mean you're not called to do it.

So please be encouraged. And do what God has mandated by respecting your body as one of His valuable tools. And oh, yes, the man Loretta was running with on the hill? He had no legs. Using his arms alone, he slowly turned the wheels of his chair over and over and over. Why did he climb? Well, he probably had a few good reasons, but the fact that it came naturally probably wasn't one of them. But no matter what (or why), like you and me, He was simply in the race and the hill was in the way. Answering the call of the hill isn't easy, but because Jesus said yes to His, you can say yes to yours.

--Jimmy Peña

HEALTHY WEIGHT LOSS Reality-show rapid may not be realistic, or sustainable

A generation of crash diets and miracle fitness programs have fed into our collective and undeniable need for instant gratification. The good news and bad news is that some of these gimmicks work -- if only for a time -- keeping our eyes fixed attentively on the scale. No decrease in weight today? Take heart. The small print says it all: "Results not typical." Healthy, sustained weight loss may not be as rapid as you'd like, despite whatever conceptions NBC's "The Biggest Loser" may have created.

"Usually when people lose a lot of weight quickly, it’s mostly water weight," says PrayFit contributing nutritionist Emily Ann Miller, MPH, RD. And once the water weight is gone, the frustration tends to set in, she says. "The early weight loss creates false expectations about the rate of subsequent future weight loss. A weight loss rate of 0.5-2.0 pounds per week is more likely to mean that your weight loss is from fat tissue. It also usually means that the weight loss is more likely to be maintained over time.

If you're striving to lose a few pounds, commit to making solid, sustainable lifestyle changes that can help you be a better steward of the body you have been given.

>> 8 WAYS TO EAT BETTER...FOREVER: What changes should you make if you're struggling to lose weight? Here are eight simple strategies anyone can start using today to start melting away inches and pounds.

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.

Don't Miss This Boat

“We worked hard all night and caught nothing.”  --Luke 5:5

Read: Luke 5

Tired, worn, done. In that order. All that work and nothing to show for it. Peter's hands were as raw as they were empty, and the last thing he wanted to do was try again. But Jesus wouldn't let him quit -- not on his watch. In fact, Jesus said, "Now go out to where it's deeper and let down your nets to catch some fish." (v.4)

You know how Peter feels. You're struggling with your health. You've been fishing all night for the right plan or diet but you can't catch a break; not even a nibble of hope. But Peter didn't catch boat loads because of fancy nets and the newest bait. He caught his catch because he trusted, tried again and went deeper. I say we draw a line in the sand. As a matter of fact, Peter's pushing away from the shore. They're calling for you. If you hurry, you can make it.

--Jimmy Peña

Question: Peter's catch isn't point of the story; neither is your physique. So what is? And since Peter's successful catch wasn't required for heaven, why was it important to Jesus?

RECIPE OF THE WEEK: Tangy Carrot Slaw

This makes for a quick, nutritious dish that is a combination of crunchy, soft, sweet, and tangy, and it’s easy to vary the ingredients based on personal preference. Shredded carrots are sold near the bagged salads. This recipe is also good with chopped apple.

Ingredients: 1 (10-oz.) bag shredded carrots 1 (14-oz.) can chickpeas ½ cup raisins or dried cranberries ¼ cup roasted, unsalted sunflower seeds 2 tablespoons olive oil 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice salt and pepper to taste

Directions: Drain and thoroughly rinse the chickpeas, then add to carrots, dried fruit, and sunflower seeds. Whisk together the olive oil and lemon juice and add salt and pepper, then toss with the other ingredients. Serves 6. Best if eaten within 1-2 days.

Approximate nutrition information per serving (not counting salt and pepper to taste): 210 calories, 8g fat (1g saturated), 120mg sodium*, 32g carbohydrate, 5g fiber, 5g protein.

FOOD TIP: A recent study showed that thoroughly draining and rinsing canned beans in a colander can remove up to 40% of the sodium. This tactic should also work for many canned vegetables. Or, you can buy no-salt-added canned veggies and beans, which are becoming increasingly more available.

Emily Ann Miller, MPH, RD is a registered dietitian and works at a Washington, DC-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 Washington, DC area. You can view more of Emily’s nutrition tips and updates by following her on Twitter, @EmilyAMillerRD.

Crusaders

"Lift up your eyes on high and see: who created these?" --Isaiah 40:26

Read: Isaiah 40

What would your super power be? I know, it's kid's stuff, but somehow that question still makes it to the grown-up table. So let's pretend. Would you travel through time? Gain super strength? Or maybe my favorite -- you'd fly. C'mon, how many of us have ever wanted to swoop down and save the day?

But we can't. We can't find the car keys let alone leap tall buildings. Saving the day will just have to wait. But we should remember that while we're not caped, we are crusaders -- crusaders flanked by angels, sent to protect the only thing that will eventually fight gravity and win: our souls.

So if you're feeling grounded and restless, that's okay. This isn't home. You and I were meant for a land far, far away. All we need to do is wait for our Hero to say the day. And guess what? We'll rise up with renewed strength and fly.

--Jimmy Peña

P.S. Speaking of heroes, I'd like to share with you that my dad, Jerry Peña, has lost 40 lbs over the last 5 months. He's done it simply by eating less and walking a little more. And if he strolls by you, just know, there goes my hero on earth. Way to go Pop. I love you.

NUTRITION TIP: A Little White Lie? By Emily Ann Miller, MPH, RD

A number of people I have counseled in nutrition are confused about the differences between brown sugar and white sugar. Some believe that brown sugar is healthier, using the logic that brown (whole grain) bread, rice, and pasta is better than the white (refined) versions of those products.

Actually, brown sugar is virtually equal to white sugar in calories and nutrient content. The only difference is that molasses has been added to brown sugar, which gives it its color and distinct taste. They key to maintaining a healthy weight is to use both types of sugar in moderation.

Emily Ann Miller, MPH, RD is a registered dietitian and works at a Washington, DC-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 Washington, DC area. You can view more of Emily’s nutrition tips and updates by following her on Twitter, @EmilyAMillerRD.

PRAYFIT 33: Have you committed to take the PrayFit 33-Day Total Body Challenge? Order your DVD today to start this home-based, body-and-soul makeover, led by PrayFit founder Jimmy Peña. Then, keep up with the rest of the community, or just share your daily progress, at the PrayFit forums. "In just 33 minutes a day for 33 days, we can honor the one who gave us 33 years," Jimmy says.

Feels Like Redemption

"We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance and endurance produces character, and character produces hope and hope does not disappoint." --Romans 5:3-5

Read: Romans 5

Exercise is not good for you. Yes, you read that right. Strictly speaking, it's downright harmful. Take running, for instance. It's traumatic, and the breakdown puts the body at an extremely vulnerable state. But what? It's only how the body comes back from a beating that proves its worth.

Speaking of tough exercises, try and name one biblical character that didn't run into problems. (Go ahead and save your breath). But did you notice that each person that came to mind was likely restored to become a more effective God follower?

Healing, repair, growth, strength: descendants of diligence and progenies of prudence. The next time you're sore from a workout or when your soul hurts from tribulation, whisper to yourself, "Feels like redemption".

--Jimmy Peña

RECIPE OF THE WEEK: Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Apples and Onions

Most people don’t eat as many vegetables as they should and an easy way to add a side of veggies at a meal is to roast them. Broccoli, cauliflower, bell peppers, onions, carrots, collards, kale, sweet potatoes, squash –- there are so many options! Starchier veggies (carrots, sweet potatoes, squash) tend to take longer to cook, but the smaller you cut any vegetable, the quicker it will cook. One of my favorite combos for roasting is brussels sprouts with apples and onions. The sweetness of the apples balances the sprouts, which some people find mildly bitter.

Ingredients: • 2 cups fresh brussels sprouts • 1 large apple • 1 medium onion • 1½ tablespoons canola or olive oil • salt and pepper to taste

Directions: Preheat oven to 350ºF and line a jelly roll pan with aluminum foil, then spray the foil with cooking spray. Cut the stem ends off of the sprouts and cut them in half (or quarters if they are large). Core the apple and cut into ½-inch chunks (no need to remove the peel, there are a lot of nutrients in there!). Chop the onion into ½-inch chunks. Put the sprouts, apples, and onions on the aluminum foil in the pan, then drizzle everything with oil and lightly season with salt and pepper, stirring everything together. Roast for approximately 20 minutes, and continue to cook at 5-minute intervals as needed until sprouts are beginning to brown and the apples and vegetables are fork-tender. You may need to cover with foil partway through if they are getting too brown. Serves 4.

Approximate nutrition information per serving: 105 calories, 5.5g fat (0.5g of which is saturated), 15mg sodium, 14g carbohydrate, 3g fiber, 2g protein. (Adding ½ tsp. salt adds 290mg sodium/serving, adding ¼ tsp. salt adds 145mg sodium/serving.)

Emily Ann Miller, MPH, RD is a registered dietitian and works at a Washington, DC-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 Washington, DC area. You can view more of Emily’s nutrition tips and updates by following her on Twitter, @EmilyAMillerRD.

What Can I Bring?

"They all ate and were satisfied." -Mark 6:42

When the crowds grew hungry, can't you just see the disciples on their tip-toes counting heads? I wonder what number they reached before they realized they were outnumbered? But just to be sure, they decided to count inventory of the basket. "Two, three, four...nope, we're sure of it. Five loaves, two fish."

If you're like me, depending on the day, you've been both the worried disciple and the hungry crowd. In either case, the only one we can ever count on is the only one not counting. But somedays, I feel like the young boy don't you? Imagine him for a second. Little did he know that when his mom packed his bag that morning, he would literally hand it to God.

And while we don't hear the disciples say, "Thanks kid!" or "Glad you didn't come empty-handed, son," I like to imagine that after he got squeezed between the disciples and pushed to the back of the crowd, he found a nice spot on the hill with a good view. Grinning, he put his chin in his hands and watched God make a miracle out of his lunch.

We never know what the day has in store, but we do know what we bring to the day, spiritually and physically. (Let's remember to bring it.) And while we may not get applause, make sure to stick around to watch God do what only He can do with your life, and save me a seat. And oh, did you notice the verse? "They all ate." You never know, maybe the boy grinned with his mouth full, and maybe Jesus Himself brought the little guy his meal. But what we do know for certain is that our work never goes unnoticed (at least not by the one who doesn't count.)

Jimmy Peña

PRAYFIT NUTRITION TIP: Fruits & Veggies by Emily Ann Miller, MPH, RD

Let’s be honest...most Americans do not eat enough fruits and vegetables. The federal government’s new Dietary Guidelines say that we should fill half of our plate with fruits and vegetables. Not only does this add a lot of nutrients and not a lot of calories, but it makes our meals colorful and more appealing. Here are some easy, thoughtful ways to bump up your fruit and veggie intake without simply picking up a cucumber and crunching away.

>> Add vegetables to omelets or scrambled eggs, pasta sauce, macaroni and cheese (try broccoli and tomatoes), soups, and sandwiches

>> Add fruit to smoothies, pancake and muffin mix, cereal and milk, yogurt, oatmeal, and salads

Emily Ann Miller, MPH, RD is a registered dietitian and works at a Washington, DC-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 Washington, DC area. You can view more of Emily’s nutrition tips and updates by following her on Twitter, @EmilyAMillerRD.

OUR DAD ROCKS

October 19, 2011Read: Revelation 21

God will take away all their tears. There will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All the old things have passed away.”  --Revelation 21:4

Recent business took my husband half way around the world to Hong Kong and Singapore, and after two weeks, my three young children missed their daddy. While he was gone, it was business as usual -- homework, projects, bath times and bedtimes -- but there was a huge part that felt empty. Though we were doing our best, I knew the kids missed those special moments that only a father can provide and I missed the comfort and security I feel when I lay in bed with him at my side. We had a few incidents including, but not limited to, rain storms, tornado warnings, power outages, falling from a tree and crashing a bicycle. Part of our well-oiled machine was missing, and we felt it.

The day finally came to pick up dad at the airport. Two full weeks of stumbles and bumbles and he was finally home to put us back together. The kids made signs saying, “Our Dad Rocks” to make sure anyone and everyone knew that our dad, in fact, rocks.  My daughter even had her favorite stuffed animals to help greet him as he arrived. I told them before we left, “Now, when you see your father, don’t drop everything and run. Give him a minute to get through the doors.”  But as we looked down the corridor and finally spied his blonde hair walking swiftly toward us, all three kids dropped everything and took off at lightening speed to tackle him. Home at last. Hugs, kisses and tears of celebration. In a moment, all was right again.

I wonder if that's how we'll be when we finally get to meet our Heavenly Father.  I'm not sure, but I have a feeling that we will drop all of the things we carry -- all the stuff that seemed so important -- in a millisecond and run with wild abandon to embrace Him. In that moment, all will be right (for good). After all, He not only keeps us from falling apart, but He's the only one who can put us back together. So, while we await His return, may our lives be a sign that says to anyone and everyone, "Our Dad (our Abba) Rocks."

--Allison King Earnst

PrayFit's newest executive team member is a fitness expert, motivator, competitor and mother of three. She's been featured in numerous magazines including FitParent, Natural Muscle and Oxygen magazine. She has shared her fitness story on Good Morning America, Extra TV and Lifetime's "The Balancing Act."

PRAYFIT NUTRITION TIP by Emily Ann Miller, MPH, RD

A salad before dinner is a great way to fit one or more servings of vegetables into your day. Try using bagged coleslaw mix (it usually contains shredded green and red cabbage and carrots) or broccoli slaw as an alternative to bagged lettuces. Cabbage and broccoli are packed with nutrients, provide a satisfying crunchy texture and are almost always cheaper than the bagged lettuce mixes -- you can often get the same amount of coleslaw mix or broccoli slaw for half the price of the bagged lettuces! Some of my favorite add-ins are chopped tomatoes, a sprinkle of sunflower seeds, and 1-2 tablespoons of balsamic vinaigrette, which contains plenty of healthy fats.

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.

NATURALLY

September 7, 2011Read: 1 Corinthians 6

"You were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies." –1 Corinthians 6:20

Running up the first steep hill of her half-marathon this weekend, Loretta came up behind a man going maybe half her speed. But since hills are hills, they struggled up together, each at their own pace -- two warriors needing the same air to answer the call of the hill. Halfway up, Loretta passed him, but not before they gave each other verbal encouragement.

You know, we've received a number of heartfelt emails and messages lately from many of you in dire need of encouragement to exercise. You've expressed that, for whatever reason, you just don't feel motivated. Well friends, we're praying for you. But at the same time, truthfully, not feeling motivated to honor the body is like saying you're not motivated to be honest. Remember, just because something doesn't come naturally to you doesn't mean you're not called to do it.

So please be encouraged. And do what God has mandated by respecting your body as one of His valuable tools. And oh, yes, the man Loretta was running with on the hill? He had no legs. Using his arms alone, he slowly turned the wheels of his chair over and over and over. Why did he climb? Well he probably had a few good reasons, but the fact that it came naturally, probably wasn't one of them. But no matter what (or why), like you and me, He was simply in the race and the hill was in the way. Answering the call of the hill isn't easy, but because Jesus said yes to His, you can say yes to yours.

--J.P.

HEALTHY WEIGHT LOSS Reality-show rapid may not be realistic, or sustainable

A generation of crash diets and miracle fitness programs have fed into our collective and undeniable need for instant gratification. The good news and bad news is that some of these gimmicks work -- if only for a time -- keeping our eyes fixed attentively on the scale. No decrease in weight today? Take heart. The small print says it all: "Results not typical." Healthy, sustained weight loss may not be as rapid as you'd like, despite whatever conceptions NBC's "The Biggest Loser" may have created.

"Usually when people lose a lot of weight quickly, it’s mostly water weight," says PrayFit contributing nutritionist Emily Ann Miller, MPH, RD. And once the water weight is gone, the frustration tends to set in, she says. "The early weight loss creates false expectations about the rate of subsequent future weight loss. A weight loss rate of 0.5-2.0 pounds per week is more likely to mean that your weight loss is from fat tissue. It also usually means that the weight loss is more likely to be maintained over time.

If you're striving to lose a few pounds, commit to making solid, sustainable lifestyle changes that can help you be a better steward of the body you have been given.

>> 8 WAYS TO EAT BETTER...FOREVER: What changes should you make if you're struggling to lose weight? Here are eight simple strategies anyone can start using today to start melting away inches and pounds.

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.

I'LL DRIVE

August 25, 2011Read: Psalm 139

"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made." --Psalm 139:14

"Jimmy, you drive." Those three innocent words used to cause me serious panic. Well, it wasn't so much what was said, but who said it. Growing up, whenever the family went anywhere, Dad drove. In fact, I can probably count on one hand the number of times he didn't. But on the other hand, when I got old enough to drive, he'd surprise me and want to take my truck.

Don't get me wrong, it wasn't so much the driving that worried me, but it was the condition of my truck. See, I wasn't a neat freak. Alright, that's putting it mildly. I was kinda messy. (My mom and Loretta are both nodding and shaking their heads right about now.) And whenever Dad caught me off guard, his disappointment in how I was taking care of the truck he gave me was like a dagger.

See, to Dad, that truck was more than something to get me from here to there. It was a gift that he practically built with his own hands. And my negligence might as well have been a blow to the gut. Speaking of, at PrayFit, we believe that our effort to be healthy, whether it be to lose weight or lower our blood pressure, is a way to show God just how thankful we are for the body He made to get us through life. Hypothetically speaking, if God asked us to take Him from here to there, in what condition would He find us? On second thought, since He lives inside our hearts, that's not all that hypothetical after all.

--J.P.

Q&A: FRUIT'S FINAL DESTINATION A healthy solution for overripe produce

Q: I often end up with a lot of fruit going bad around my house. It's not because I don't eat it -- it's because I don't eat it fast enough. Should I just buy less?

A: "A blender or food processor is a great destination for surplus fruit or fruit that is overripe but not yet spoiled," says PrayFit contributing nutritionist Emily Ann Miller, MPH, RD. "Many people tell me that they hesitate to buy too much fresh produce because they cannot use it quickly enough before it goes bad, but you can make a delicious, healthy smoothie out of those surplus berries or those bananas that are getting soft."

Here's Miller's fix: "Combine one cup of plain, non-fat yogurt or Greek yogurt with 1-2 cups of fruit, a few ice cubes, and blend to the consistency you desire. You may freeze the fruit first and choose to omit the ice. Boost the nutrients in your drink by adding 1-2 tablespoons of toasted wheat germ or flaxseeds, or 1 tablespoon of nut butter. Spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves lend flavor as well."

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.

>> "PRAYER" FIT: Stop by the prayer requests forum to share issues that are heavy on your heart, or simply to read up and pray for others.

 

 

FREE TO GO

August 16, 2011Read: John 8

"Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." --John 8:32

This last weekend, a Sacramento man was arrested for breaking into prison. (Yes, I had to read it twice as well). But indeed, a man for reasons yet to be revealed, was found trying to sneak back into a prison from which he had already been paroled.

Oh we scoff, but if you're like me, you've broken back into your share. Old habits, old routines, old worries. And though they don't have locks and iron bars, they do hold us captive.

Well, when it comes to your health, you're free. Free from guilt of the past, and free from any fear of tomorrow. Our prisons are no match for the one whose cross stamped pardoned on our hearts. So today, let freedom echo down the halls of your day in how you eat, train and live. After all, we're prisoners of hope -- bound only by grace -- and we're free to go.

--J.P.

RECIPE OF THE WEEK: Chicken or Tuna Salad Pockets

Selecting the proper protein to build a dinner around can be fun -- unless you're crunched for time. If you need a speedy solution that's healthy and palate-pleasing, try this recipe from PrayFit contributing nutritionist Emily Ann Miller, MPH, RD.

"It’s also easy to vary the ingredients based on personal preference," she says. "The yogurt is a healthier, lower-calorie filler than mayonnaise and provides a creamy consistency, although a small amount of mayonnaise is used. Add a piece of fruit to round out the meal."

Ingredients:

One (6-ounce) can tuna or chicken, packed in water, without salt

3 ribs celery, diced

½ cup cut-up fruit, such as sliced grapes, diced apples, or mandarin oranges

2 tablespoons reduced-fat canola-oil based mayonnaise

½ cup nonfat plain yogurt (may use more or less in order to get the desired consistency)

Optional add-ins: 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 tablespoon sunflower seeds, or ½ teaspoon curry powder

2 whole-grain pita pockets, cut in half

Directions:

Drain the tuna/chicken and mix with the rest of the ingredients. Add optional ingredients, if desired. Spoon into pita pocket halves. Serves 2.

NUTRITION FACTS (per serving): 367 calories, 9g fat (2g saturated fat), 555mg sodium, 43g carbohydrate, 5g fiber, 29g protein.

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.

HE KNOWS YOU BEST

August 3, 2011Read: Mark 9

"I tell you the truth, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to Christ, will certainly not lose his reward." --Mark 9:41

All week long, I've had this familiar thought running through my mind: He who knows us best, loves us most. I'd like to break it down, if I may.

"He who knows us." Have you ever considered that God actually knows you? If someone famous knew you, how would that make you feel? You'd likely want to do a little name-dropping now and then, huh? You know, over the course of my career, I've met some pretty big stars, but I bet not one of them can actually look up and count them.

"He who knows us best." We all have close friends, spouses, parents, and siblings. Some of us even have twins! But nobody, and I mean nobody under the sun knows you better than the Son Himself. From thoughts we haven't thought, to the ones we wish to forget, He knows us best.

"He who knows us best, loves us most." Here's the kicker. He actually loves us. He doesn't like us or tolerate us. He doesn't excuse us or simply endure us.  He loves us. More than you love your kids, your husband or grandmother. Imagine?

You know,  it's really not a matter of how far we'll go in this life, but more about where we'd be without Him.

I feel like name-dropping today. How 'bout you?

--J.P.

RECIPE OF THE WEEK: Protein-Packed Crustless Spinach Quiche

Getting enough protein is critical for building or maintaining muscle and burning more bodyfat. But in your quest to get enough of the stuff -- avid exercisers can aim for 0.75-1.0 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight per day -- do you find yourself running out of good, high-protein ideas? Try adding this one in.

"This is a crowd-pleaser every time I serve it, and it even satisfies meat lovers even though it’s vegetarian!" says PrayFit contributing nutritionist Emily Ann Miller, MPH, RD. "It’s great for breakfast, lunch, or dinner."

Ingredients:

4 eggs

16 ounces low-fat cottage cheese, no salt/sodium added

1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

1/3 cup parmesan cheese

1 teaspoon dried oregano

10 ounces frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed of all excess water

Choose as many add-ins as you’d like, adding up to two cups of them: chopped bell peppers, chopped tomatoes, roasted peppers, artichokes, mushrooms

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350ºF and spray a standard pie plate with cooking spray. Lightly beat eggs in a large mixing bowl. Stir in remaining ingredients. Make sure that you squeeze as much water as possible out of the spinach before adding it to the mixing bowl. Pour mixture into pie plate and bake for approximately 45-60 minutes. The quiche is done when the top is golden brown and the middle is set. Let sit approximately 10 minutes before serving. Serves 6-8.

NUTRITION FACTS:  (based on 6 servings and addition of 1 cup tomatoes) 200 calories, 10 g fat (5g saturated), 276 mg sodium, 6g carbohydrate, 2g fiber, 22g protein

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.