breakfast

Great Pretenders

"His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness.'" --Matthew 25:21

Read: Matthew 25

This last week marked the end of "awards season" here in Los Angeles, including the Golden Globes, the SAGs, People's Choice and of course the Oscars. Many of these special shows have their own version of a Lifetime Achievement Award, where a peer is recognized and celebrated for just what the title suggests -- a lifelong body of work and the ultimate achievement in show business. What's interesting is that this person is someone who has dedicated their lives to either pretending to be someone he or she isn't or helping others do the same. Great pretenders. 

And when they make their way to the stage, they're greeted with a long embrace from a worthy peer and a standing ovation which seems to last forever. And while there are usually dozens of roles they've played, there's usually one for which they're most remembered.

As believers, we don't earn our reward, we follow Him. Fact is, if someone were to roll tape of our greatest hits and most celebrated performances, they'd all have one main character: Jesus. There's nothing good in us, but Him. And if we act as if there is, we're not only pretending for others but we're fooling ourselves. And make no mistake, when our life is through and He welcomes us home with a lifetime achievement embrace, there will be applause that lasts forever...from us.

--Jimmy Peña

TRUTH: When it comes to our lives as believers, we don't want to pretend. Authentic Christianity is one of our utmost objectives, amen? Sharing Christ, living abundantly, modestly and humbly, working to spread the Gospel each day. Let's have a good week. Be blessed.

READ + LISTEN

If you're looking for additional inspiration, you can listen to PrayFit founder Jimmy Peña reading through an exclusive selection of devotionals right here on the site. So if you have a few additional moments, click here, open your ears and your heart and give a listen. Or, click below for one of our faves.

[audio:https://s3.amazonaws.com/PrayfitAudio/Marching+Orders.mp3]

Marching Orders

Happy Birthday, PrayFit.com

"And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns." --Philippians 1:6

Read: Philippians 1

IMG_0020For those who may not know the story, after graduate school I held some wonderful positions of leadership as well as some remarkable writing roles. Over the course of a few short years I was honored to contribute to some well-known celebrity books, with one of my co-author titles blessing me with a New York Times Bestseller credit. But as a Christian in the fitness industry, I knew then what I know now -- that life was not about the body.

And I knew that no matter how smart or how polished a fitness expert I was becoming, God was calling me to teach health as a means of praise -- to help people seek greater health with modesty and obedience. And so naturally I felt a strange hollowness and emptiness about my career. I think it was likely an appropriate response for someone doing one thing when he was clearly meant to be doing something else. Over the years, I'd pray for the Lord to show me the right doors, and well, He answered my prayer when He included me in a massive layoff at a popular magazine. He closed that door six years ago yesterday.

Six years ago today, we started PrayFit.com and never looked back. The message? Still the same. Money will burn and muscle will atrophy but the soul? The soul will last forever. Why do we ground this fitness ministry in grace and not measurements? Because Jesus in the life of a Christian consumes every aspect of our lives, including and most practically our bodies.

Was being healthy and fit a prerequisite of the disciples He chose? I'm not sure, but I know it was a byproduct. A byproduct they didn't earn and never boasted about. It was a byproduct they just simply used; role models. Wrap your heart around that phrase for a moment.

So, faithful reader, this one's for you. You're the reason we're here. It's your health and love for the Lord that drives us each and every day. It's our genuine hope that you're drawn closer to God and to better health by the devotions you read. All we ask is that you keep praying for us.

So with that...Happy Birthday, PrayFit. Thank you for the meaning that you've brought to my life and for becoming my life's work. May God bless you and help you rise in 2014. You've got a lot of people to serve.

–Jimmy Peña

 

Agreement Isn't Enough

"But Moses said to God, 'Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?'"  --Exodus 3:11

Read: Exodus 3

I wonder if Moses ever went back to the place of the burning bush. Oh, I know it's doubtful, but for one of the pillars of our faith, that spot was a pivotal point in his life (not to mention for yours and mine). But Moses didn't just agree there. He didn't concur with some sophisticated nod like he was looking at some priceless work of art. "Hmm, yes indeed." No, his body had to get him where his soul had to go. A simple agreement wasn't enough. And so with ash still on his sandals, he marched through Pharaoh's front door to prove it.

What about you? Do you remember when you were called to your task? For me, my soul was called in the eighth grade, then again in 2007 to create PrayFit. For you, maybe it was 10 years ago, or maybe even 10 minutes. But regardless, agreement isn't enough, especially when it comes to our health. Like it was for Moses, agreement is just the opportunity to prove it. So go back with him. Get close to the flame. Hear it crackle. Rub your hands together and get warm. You have your own Pharaohs to face. Obesity? Heart disease? A better example for your kids? Perhaps for your congregation? Pharaohs all. And as you march through those doors, let the ash on your sandals be a reminder that agreement isn't enough.

--Jimmy Peña

NUTRITION: The Perfect Breakfast

There are a lot of strong options for your breakfast table in the morning. But when it comes to starting your day, you don’t want to tinker with anything that is less-than-effective at fueling you up right.

>> Click here for the perfect morning combo!

It's The Stuff

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." --Hebrews 11:1

Read: Hebrews 11

You know the feeling. I do too. Bottom of the ninth, two outs, and your favorite batter hits one deep. You stand, your eyes widen, your mouth opens! It's going, GOING...caught. That's the ball game, your team loses. But for a few short seconds, the thrill of what could have been did a tap dance on your heart. And it felt great while it lasted. Really great.

I had that feeling yesterday. Opening an email that had been forwarded to me from my team, I lived the whole "home run" scene. In my mind, I was rounding third base in slow motion as the sound of trumpets and the crashing of cymbals rang in my ears. That is, until I realized I didn't read page two. Thud. The tap dance was over, the music had stopped. And I was out. But boy, when you get a glimmer, it's like...there's hope. You have a pulse! Boom, boom. Just typing the memory of the moment brings it back to the surface.

You know, I wonder how many times Noah peeked out the window? While he hoped for land, he was in the boat because of faith. Fast forward a few thousand years and there's the centurion. While desperately hoping his servant would live, Jesus healed him because of what? His faith. I think that's why I love the first part of our day's verse. "Faith is the substance." The substance! Folks, it's the stuff. It's the matter. It's the stuff that matters.

--Jimmy Peña

Question: What are you waiting for in faith? Just like the olive branch meant land for Noah, you too may be waiting for God's divine intervention. What can we be praying for in faith for you? Let us know. If you'd like, as always, simply say "unspoken" and we promise to lift you up. You know friends, someday, that eye-popping, jaw-dropping thrill will never end, and the music will never stop. That's what faith is for. Let's pray together.

Banana Blueberry Pancakes1RECIPE OF THE WEEK: Banana Blueberry Pancakes

Breakfast recipes two weeks in a row? You betcha. This first meal is critical for success the rest of the day. It breaks your overnight fast, provides much-needed fuel to your brain and muscles and, if you do it right, sets the dietary "tone" for the rest of the day -- eat healthy, and you're bound to do so for the rest of the day. Kimberly Fuller's fruity pancake recipe will provide a welcome addition to your breakfast menu.

>> Click here for the recipe!

God's Will and Good Health

I have a long list of goals. Wanna hear a few of them? Ok, here goes. In no particular order -- and before I turn 50 -- my goals are 1) to become fluent in Spanish 2) memorize the New Testament 3) learn to play the piano 4) visit Bethlehem and 5) be able to do a handstand. Do you like my odds? Please, no bets on the handstand. Give me a hand for just standing!

But when you read some of my life's objectives, what do they all require? Any common denominators? I can think of two: God's will and my health. I am nothing without either. But I love to imagine what all I could do with God's blessing of a plan and His blessing of good health to see it through. Wow. The idea literally makes my heart pound. Friends, I'm convinced that the only two solitary and pivotal elements any believer needs when it comes to their goals are God's will and health.

What do you need your health to help you see and do? (Don't hold back, I want to know.) Be around for your daughter's wedding? Someone with special needs who needs you the most? Hand bibles out in uncharted territories? Goals. Of course, we celebrate the byproducts of obedience like healthier weight, blood pressure, clear lungs, but if God allows those things, don't dare stop there. What are your goals? Let's get together and pray for God's will and wisdom. And then plan. Let's plan away. Get on your knees, and with God's help, deliver an unwavering commitment to put your health on that mission.

–Jimmy Peña

For Discussion: What swing-for-the-fence dreams do you have? If it were God's will, what makes your heart pound? Please give us your short list. Etched on your heart is part of your purpose. What is it?

Banana Pumpkin Pie PancakesRECIPE OF THE WEEK: Banana-Pumpkin Pie Pancakes Breakfast time, PrayFit Nation. This tasty recipe from contributor Kimberly Fuller evokes the cooling-weather comfort of fall without contributing to your winter coat. Get the vitamin-and-fiber rich recipe by clicking the link below.

>> CLICK HERE FOR THE RECIPE!

The Three Rs

"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord." --Colossians 3:23-24

Read: Colossians 3

A few years back, I read a great story from Max Lucado about 'giving God our boat'. He talked about how Peter and the others caught nothing until they surrendered the boat to Jesus. They turned over their jobs to the Lord and great things happened.

But we need to see all aspects of life as a boat to surrender, our health being one of them. For that to happen, we need to agree that being  healthy is a matter of obedience and an opportunity to praise God. To accomplish this, we need to renew, recalibrate, respond.

Renew: See health and fitness differently each day. See it as a way to show thankfulness and praise. Recalibrate: Measure the day's events, working to make room for your responsibility of greater fitness. Respond: Commit. Get up and move, utilizing your God-given abilities and gifts to better serve him.

Do you see your health as merely a state of being? Or is your view out of balance -- more self-centered than God-centered? Maybe you're not training right now at all, and you easily excuse lack of activity against your busy schedule and responsibilities. And finally, perhaps you're simply ready to say, "Jesus, takeover my health. Renew my mind and help me respond each day with a commitment worthy of the gift of life you've given me."

Wherever you are in your health walk, remember, God formed us, gave us our bodies--how we take of them is our response.

--Jimmy Peña

FOOD TIP: Great Starts

People always talk about how breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It puts a halt to muscle-wasting, sets your blood sugar right, crushes food cravings and provides you energy for whatever the day holds in store for you. But what does a perfect breakfast look like?

>> Click here to find out!

Sown Up With Love

"He is before all things, and in him all things hold together." --Colossians 1:17

Read: Colossians 1

To imagine God carefully knitting our souls together is, well, tough to imagine. It's easier to picture Him forming mountains than it is to see him fashioning hearts. But nothing in all creation was created with more care. Compared to you, Everest is a mole hill and the Sahara is a single grain of sand. Are the heavens amazing? Absolutely. Does the earth pronounce His splendor? Without a doubt. But only you and I were sown up with one distinguishing trait and something no star above can claim: choice.

And much like an artist puts a signature on his work, God signed us. That's right. In our very cells, God made His mark. Pictured here is the actual structure of the protein molecule that binds all of our cells together: Scientists call it laminin, but let's just call it love.

--Jimmy Peña

Question: I first learned about Laminin from my Louie Giglio. Folks, isn't it amazing how we're held together? From Heaven down to earth, it's all about the Cross. What will you do today to protect what protects you?

To hear Louie Giglio talk about Laminin, watch his Indescribable series. Be blessed! (I had the blessing of listening to Louie for 4 years at Baylor University.) While I was at Muscle & Fitness, Louie was the one who first told me that we need to "embrace our smallness". A theme that I would never forget.

 

THE DAILY, DELIVERED

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A Line In the Sand

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” --Colossians 3:23-24

Read: Colossians 3 My recent trip to the water reminded me just how much my wife and I love turtles, especially those sea turtles. My dad used to say to me, “Jimmy, turtles are great because to get anywhere they gotta stick their necks out.” Well, in case you don’t share our enthusiasm, let me share some turtle trivia.

First, they’re born on the beach, even though they were never meant for the sand. And once they hatch, they don’t stick around to watch the grass grow. No sir! No sightseeing for these guys. In order to avoid the predators like birds and crabs, they run to the water as fast as they can. They might be young, but they know enough to know they’re neither safe nor at home.

And neither are we. We’re born on foreign soil and all we need to do is make our way to safety. The good news? Jesus has already defeated our predator, and He drew a line in the sand for us to follow. All we have to do is stick our necks out and run.

–Jimmy Peña

Question: What lines in the sand have you drawn for yourself, physically and spiritually? Are you committed to being obedient in quiet times as well as honoring the body through better choices of food and activity? If you want to share, please do so in the comment section. Let us celebrate and pray with you.

Bonus Trivia Question for Runners: What burns a greater percentage of fat calories? High-intensity intervals or low-intensity/long runs? Think you know? Give us your answer and justification and we may send you some PrayFit gear!

RECIPE OF THE WEEK: Cinnamon Roll Oatmeal Cinnamon rolls. Oatmeal. Two breakfast faves that sit on opposite ends of the healthy-living spectrum -- unless you combine the best of both worlds. This recipe gives you the rich flavor of a cinnamon roll with the craving-killing fiber of oatmeal, all in one perfect breakfast bowl.

>> Click here for the recipe!

Can't Be Silent

“‘I tell you,’” he replied, “‘if they keep quiet, the rocks will cry out.’” –Luke 19:40

Read: Luke 19:28-40

The song of creation. Can you hear it? You and I are God’s special guests in a masterpiece performed in His honor that He conducts. Not only that, He’s given us “first chair.” In orchestra speak, first chair is reserved for the one who is both most capable and responsible, regardless of the instrument they play. You and I are active participants in a grand arrangement entitled, 'Creation.'

When the Pharisees demanded Jesus to quiet the praise of His disciples, He assured them that if the disciples hush, they would literally hear rock music. But the idea of God’s people being quiet is probably as sad a commentary as I’ve ever read…like a father who comes home to a silent family oblivious to his presence, or a mom who has never heard her children say, "I love you." Friends, the God of wonder, who has a beyond-conceivable love and unbelievable future for us is worthy to be praised with everything we have — our minds, our money, our time, and yes, our bodies.

The song of creation. Are you playing it? It’s your life. Your cue! You can’t be silent. He gave you the music. You are the music. Just read the notes and watch the Master. You’re in the first chair. Be amazed…and play.

--Jimmy Peña

THE PERFECT BREAKFAST?

Does such a thing exist? Well, there's certainly breakfasts that are better for you than most and this is one of them. Click the link below for a high-protein, energy-packed morning meal that will work to rebuild muscle and provide long-lasting fuel for your day.

>> Is this the perfect breakfast?

>> GET STARTED: If you're looking for a launching off point for your get-fit endeavors in 2013, try one of our two at-home, 33-day fitness programs or our book, which includes two 28-day bodyweight-only programs and a full meal plan. You can grab these resources in our online store.

>> READ: For quick-hit, healthy living resources, visit our dedicated fitness and nutrition pages, which are updated with new content each week.

>> COMMUNITY & FELLOWSHIP: Our family has grown by leaps and bounds in five years. Interact with fellow faith-and-fitness devotees by joining our forums today. Here, you can share successes and struggles, swap recipes, pray for one another or just catch up with like-minded friends. Already a member? Sign in here.

>> SOCIAL NETWORKS: Now you can "like," "join," "tweet" and "watch" PrayFit. Click the links below to get plugged in with the rest of the PrayFit community. Facebook HeavenUp Twitter YouTube

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.

Think or Swim

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding." --Proverbs 3:5

Read: Proverbs 3

Armed with new floaties, towels and toys, we made our way to the condo pool for the second time this summer. My preschoolers clamored for the water, wiggling with impatience as I slathered them with sunscreen. Excited to join the pool-step floaty gang, they splashed and played with toys while their feet remained planted on the ground. My four-year-old rejected my requests for her to swim in my arms afraid that, despite massive bundles of air around her arms, chest and back and my ability to carry her, she would sink.

When she finally worked up the courage to trust me, or was just sick of being confined to the steps, she jumped from the deck into my arms. I was so happy to have her with me that I poured kisses on her face and exclaimed, "I love you so much!" She grinned with pride and I slowly toured her around the pool. Gradually, I released my grip on her until she was floating in the pool on her own, something she hadn't thought possible. She spent the next joyful hour in the pool exploring the depths, the sides and the ladder, and never stopped smiling.

What is it that keeps you and me on the "steps?" The Lord wants to gather us up in his arms, rain love on us and show us the amazing feats we're capable of –- if only we would trust him.

--Kristi Valentini

When not kissing boo-boos or playing dolls with her two little beauties, Kristi Valentini can be found writing parenting and lifestyle articles for the Huffington Post, Milkshake Kids and Momtastic, and sharing her mothering shortcuts at her own site, MommyCribNotes.com. RECIPE OF THE WEEK: Angelo Family French Toast

French toast -- we'll say it -- is a breakfast delicacy. There may be a special place in heaven where thick, egg-battered slices of perfectly prepared French toast are served at every meal. Unfortunately, here on Earth, it is an indulgence best had occasionally...until now. This recipe, prepared by PrayFit contributing nutritionist Dana Angelo White, is a healthier alternative to this breakfast favorite.

Serves 4

Ingredients: 3 large eggs ¾ cup lowfat (1%) milk 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus more to taste 8 slices multi-grain bread 4 teaspoon unsalted butter Canola oil cooking spray 100% maple syrup 2 cups fresh seasonal fruit

Directions: In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, vanilla and cinnamon; set aside. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, spray with nonstick spray. Melt 1 tsp butter in skillet. Dip 2 slices of bread into milk mixture, making sure both sides are well coated. Place bread in skillet and cook for 2-3 minutes per side or until golden brown (sprinkle with additional cinnamon, if desired). Repeat with remaining slices of bread. Transfer to a warm oven until ready to serve. Top with maple syrup -- sugar-free if carbs are a concern -- and fruit.

Nutrition info per serving: Calories: 414 Total Fat: 11 grams Saturated Fat: 4 grams Total Carbohydrate: 64 grams Protein: 15 grams Sodium:  473 milligrams Cholesterol: 171 milligrams Fiber: 5 grams

Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer, and nutrition and fitness consultant for international food companies, restaurants and marketing firm. Dana is also the nutrition advisor to The Food Network.

>> NEW! Now, you can easily view past installments of the PrayFit Daily by visiting our new archives. Using this new feature, you can now categorically access years' worth of faith and fitness information and inspiration.

Falls and Fathers

"Was my arm too short to deliver you? Do I lack the strength to rescue you? By a mere rebuke I dry up the sea, I turn rivers into a desert." --Isaiah 50:2

Read: Isaiah 50

Nastia Liukin, the champion in the women's all-around of the 2008 Olympic Games, fell out of contention -- literally -- for a spot on this summer's gymnastics team on Sunday night. Her face plant from the uneven bars provided an unceremonious end to an otherwise brilliant career at this weekend's U.S. Olympic Trials. But the unsettling thud of her body hitting the canvas was perhaps most disconcerting to the one closest to her. Her father.

Valeri Liukin has trained and spotted his daughter for years and during her routine on the bars, he was uniquely positioned on the mat to come to her aid. When she missed the bar and landed on her chest, Valeri's fatherly inclination was surely to scoop his daughter up in his arms, hold her tight and let her cry as another shot at Olympic glory dissipated in a cloud of chalk. Instead, he did the unexpected -- he did nothing. After a brief pause, Nastia stood on her own and with her body battered and fighting back tears, she continued her routine to a dazzling finish.

Our Father spots us through every event of our lives. And when we fall, He is always right there, one divine arm's length away, ready to gather us up in His embrace. But He doesn't get so close because He fears He might miss us. He gets so close so that we won't miss Him. Even when we hit the canvas, He's caught us.

--Eric Velazquez

BREAKING NEWS: PrayFit founder Jimmy Peña has been named as the first member of the advisory board for The Daniel Plan, Pastor Rick Warren’s worldwide faith-and-fitness initiative that helped 15,000 members in 190 countries lose over 260,000 pounds in 2011 alone. For more on Jimmy's exciting partnership with Saddleback Church, click here. CEREAL SOLUTIONS What to look for in your breakfast bowl

We all love a good bowl of cereal, whether it's for breakfast or a late-night comfort snack. But not all cereals are created equal. PrayFit VP Eric Velazquez grew up with what he calls an "undiagnosed addiction to Cap'n Crunch," but is now wise to what makes a good, healthy cereal (hint: it's not a prize at the bottom of the box).

PrayFit contributing nutritionist Christie Menna, MS, RD, offers these following label readings to look for when selecting your next box of cereal to augment your healthy lifestyle.

>> 150-200 calories per serving (usually a serving is 1 cup) >> Less than 6 grams of sugar per serving >> At least 5 grams of fiber per serving >> Look for cereals made with whole grains and that contain less than 1.5g saturated fat

Christie's Top Picks: Kashi Go Lean®, Multi-Grain Cheerios®, Kashi Sunshine®, Shredded Wheat®, Honey Bunches of Oats®, Bran Flakes®, Wheaties®

Christie Menna, MS, RD, is a consumer safety officer with the Food and Drug Administration and personal nutrition coach based in Long Island, New York. For more on Christie, visit her at www.activeeatingnutrition.com.

Shepherds In Suits: Part I

"And even the very hairs on your head are numbered." --Matthew 10:30

Read: Matthew 10

Back in 2009, I wrote about a small group of soldiers-turned-bodyguards. Once brave on the battlefield for our country, these men now stand in the gap between danger and their client, with no regard for self. On watch and on guard, for the sake of their call.

As it so happens, I was asked to advise their client with training and nutrition as he prepared for a movie, so I had a rare, bird's eye view of their excellence.  And what I witnessed was nothing short of perfection. Selfless, stealthy. Shepherds in suits. I say shepherds because shepherds are fierce protectors; they can handle themselves, no problem. And yet shepherds are as caring for their sheep as nurses with newborns. And because I stayed close to the client, I shared his shield. I was safe, not because of who I was, but because of who he was. One call from the client, and you got the calvary.

So I suppose it's no wonder the bible refers to Jesus as the Great Shepherd. He watches over us night and day, and would go through hell to keep us safe. As a matter of fact, He did.

One call to Him? Calvary.

--Jimmy Peña

Question: How does knowing Jesus watches us so closely help you strive for better health or achieve modesty in how your portray yourself? Does it make a difference?

EGGS & CHOLESTEROL Are eggs bad for you? Hardly. Researchers have found that subjects who ate three whole eggs per day gained twice as much muscle in 12 weeks as those who only had one egg per day and that those who ate eggs at breakfast stayed fuller longer. And despite long-held beliefs, eggs really pose no danger to your heart when part of a balanced diet.

>> To read about how eggs affect cholesterol, click here. EGG FACTS: One whole egg contains 72 calories, 6 grams of protein, 0 grams of carbohydrate and 5 grams of fat. But don’t worry — about 80% of that fat is monounsaturated and saturated fat, which actually aids in the muscle-building process.

You Have Some Body

"God saw all that he had made, and it was very good." --Genesis 1:31

Read: Genesis 1

When we think of creation, it's easy to think of the depths of the ocean floor. Mention God creating the world and our minds gravitate toward the peaks of Everest. Trees, birds, deserts, the sun. Some of God's best work, wouldn't you agree? But folks, He didn't rest until He made us. He didn't stamp "It was very good" until He gave us freckles, elbows and our little toes. His glorious face wouldn't show a Father's pride until He saw a smile on ours.

Make no mistake, you're not one. When you think of creation, look in the mirror. When you consider the breadth of His work, take a deep breath yourself. Because when He said it was good, He was looking at you. What did He see? His image. Rediscover His handiwork. You have some body.

--Jimmy Peña

Question: How often do you stop to ponder the amazing craftsmanship of the Maker? How many times during the day do you stop to marvel at the function of your limbs, the cadence of your heartbeat or the countless other functions that God breathed into you? How often do you take these things for granted? Why or why not? Give your honest responses in the comments section below.

RECIPE: HEALTHY FRENCH TOAST What's for breakfast? After reading this recipe, the only acceptable answer may be French toast. But not just any French toast -- Angelo Family French Toast. PrayFit contributing nutritionist Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, walks us through her guilt-reduced recipe for this breakfast favorite.

>> Click here to get started.

WHAT CAN I BRING?

September 21, 2011Read: Mark 6

"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 that meant 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.

-J.P.

P.S. Did you notice the verse? "They all ate." You never know, maybe the boy grinned with his mouth full, and maybe Jesus Himself brought him 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.

GREAT STARTS These two breakfast plans can help you fuel up right for the day ahead

People always talk about how breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It puts a halt to muscle-wasting, sets your blood sugar right, crushes food cravings and provides you energy for whatever the day holds in store for you. But what does a perfect breakfast look like? Ideally, as we published in yesterday's PrayFit Daily, your entire diet should be a three-way balance between protein, carbs and fat. Jim Stoppani, PhD, nutritional expert and co-author of "PrayFit: Your Guide to a Healthy Body and a Stronger Faith in 28 Days," offers two energy-packed options for your morning repast.

Option 1: 1 cup cooked oatmeal 1/2 cup fresh berries 1 Tbsp chopped walnuts 2 slices cooked turkey bacon

Calories: 296 |  Protein: 20 grams | Carbs: 37 grams | Fat: 8 grams

Option 2: 1 egg + 3 egg whites, scrambled 3 slices tomato 1 Ezekiel 4:9 tortilla 6 oz. grapefruit juice

Calories: 358 | Protein: 25 grams | Carbs: 45 grams | Fat: 9 grams

>> For a full lineup of meal plans and snack options that offer balanced nutrition for your healthy lifestyle, pick up a copy of "PrayFit: Your Guide to a Healthy Body and a Stronger Faith in 28 Days" from Barnes & Noble or Amazon today!

HE KNEW

September 14, 2011 Read: John 14

Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.” --John 14:9

When God the creator put the finishing touches on our unique souls, He knew. He knew we'd scrape our shins, disobey parents and upset friends. He knew our kids would reject us, enemies would haunt us and our memory would fail us; and all before losing life's final war with pain. He knew, but that didn't stop Him.

He proceeded to count hairs on heads then fingers and toes. He added color to eyes, dimples on chins and swivels to hips. Why didn't He stop? He knew that what life rejects, Christ accepts. Someday, you and I will see what became of us the day we believed...what the Maker knew.

--J.P.

CEREAL SOLUTIONS What to look for in your breakfast bowl
We all love a good bowl of cereal, whether it's for breakfast or a late-night comfort snack. But not all cereals are created equal. PrayFit VP Eric Velazquez grew up with what he calls an "undiagnosed addiction to Cap'n Crunch," but is now wise to what makes a good, healthy cereal (hint: it's not a prize at the bottom of the box).
PrayFit contributing nutritionist Christie Menna, MS, RD, offers these following label readings to look for when selecting your next box of cereal to augment your healthy lifestyle.
>> 150-200 calories per serving (usually a serving is 1 cup)
>> Less than 6 grams of sugar per serving
>> At least 5 grams of fiber per serving
>> Look for cereals made with whole grains and that contain less than 1.5g saturated fat
Christie's Top Picks: Kashi Go Lean®, Multi-Grain Cheerios®, Kashi Sunshine®, Shredded Wheat®, Honey Bunches of Oats®, Bran Flakes®, Wheaties®
Christie Menna, MS, RD, is a consumer safety officer with the Food and Drug Administration and personal nutrition coach based in Long Island, New York. For more on Christie, visit her at www.activeeatingnutrition.com.

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.

RUNNING ON EMPTY

February 17, 2011Read: John 2

"But the temple he had spoken of was his body." --John 2:21

Panic. I was driving over a 10-mile canyon heading to an appointment today when I suddenly remembered my truck had less than 10 miles of gas left in the tank. After some quick math, sheer panic. Bumper-to-bumper traffic on both sides of a two-lane highway with less than enough fuel for the trip.

Do you ever start your day like that? I know I do. But running low on fuel is no way to travel, amen? The good news: when we put Him first, we'll never be empty. Today, let's make sure He runs through our thoughts before we run out the door.

--J.P.

EGGS: NO LAUGHING MATTER

A couple years ago, I was made fun of on the cable clip show The Soup because of something I said about starting your day off with eggs. Well, regardless of the laugh, the benefit of starting your day off with eggs is no joke.

Research shows that this jolt of perfect protein not only helps promote healthy muscle tone, but it also helps curb cravings for unhealthy food choices throughout the day. It seems that eggs, like another familiar breakfast staple, do a body good.

RELATED STORIES:

>> Eggs for Muscle

>> The Truth About Eggs & Cholesterol

HOMEOWNERS MEETING: PART II

November 17, 2010Read: Romans 12

"Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind." --Romans 12:2

Now, where was I? Ah, yes...in the back of the room, cleverly disguised as a concerned homeowner. And though at first I remained rather stoic, I slowly began to think, "This ain't so bad." I actually nodded a couple times, gave my two cents here and there (after all, we could use a new parking lot), and even told a good joke. I had 'em eating out of my hand. Shucks, I even think I heard, "Boy, I sure am glad the new guy showed up! Is there room on the board for one more?" (Okay, maybe not, but that's not the point.) See, all was great. Until...

The next thing I knew the room had turned on me, and I was rolling up my sleeves, getting knee-deep in the thick of where dogs are allowed to be walked and whether or not new keys should be issued to homeowners. Besides, these old keys don't open anything! (Sigh) Yep...I'm not so sure if it was Loretta slowly shaking her head in my general direction, or if it was when she said to me, "I'm sorry sir, what was your name again?" but somewhere along the way I became part of the problem. The issues had become my issue. I lost focus on my focus. I was there to keep an eye on Loretta, but opted to have all eyes on me.

Hours later, sitting in my chair (which is where I should have stayed in the first place), I wondered if that's how the Lord sees us at times, taking our eyes off of Him and onto the crowd. I wonder if He shakes His head at how worked up we "homeowners" get about this temporary home.

--J.P.

RECIPE OF THE WEEK: Angelo Family French Toast

French toast -- we'll say it -- is a breakfast delicacy. There may be a special place in heaven where thick, egg-battered slices of perfectly prepared French toast are served at every meal. Unfortunately, here on Earth, it is an indulgence best had occasionally...until now. This recipe, prepared by PrayFit contributing nutritionist Dana Angelo White, is a healthier alternative to this breakfast favorite.

Serves 4

Ingredients: 3 large eggs ¾ cup lowfat (1%) milk 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus more to taste 8 slices multi-grain bread 4 teaspoon unsalted butter Canola oil cooking spray 100% maple syrup 2 cups fresh seasonal fruit

Directions: In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, vanilla and cinnamon; set aside. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, spray with nonstick spray. Melt 1 tsp butter in skillet. Dip 2 slices of bread into milk mixture, making sure both sides are well coated. Place bread in skillet and cook for 2-3 minutes per side or until golden brown (sprinkle with additional cinnamon, if desired). Repeat with remaining slices of bread. Transfer to a warm oven until ready to serve. Top with maple syrup -- sugar-free if carbs are a concern -- and fruit.

Nutrition info per serving: Calories: 414 Total Fat: 11 grams Saturated Fat: 4 grams Total Carbohydrate: 64 grams Protein: 15 grams Sodium:  473 milligrams Cholesterol: 171 milligrams Fiber: 5 grams

Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer, and nutrition and fitness consultant for international food companies, restaurants and marketing firm. Dana is also the nutrition advisor to The Food Network.

>> NEW! Now, you can easily view past installments of the PrayFit Daily by visiting our new archives. Using this new feature, you can now categorically access over a year's worth of faith and fitness information and inspiration.