prison

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!

THE MOMENT AT HAND

October 26, 2011Read: Philippians 1

“Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel.” –Philippians 1:12

You’ve no doubt seen the cartoon depicting a frog in the rain being swallowed by a pelican. Upon closer inspection, you may notice the frog choking the bird on the way down. I love it. The caption reads: “Never Give Up.” From the frog’s perspective, he had the pelican right where he wanted him.

Rain or shine, Paul kept a tight grip on the higher purpose of spreading the good news. Though deep in the belly of prison, Paul figured, “Good, a captive audience.” Can't you just picture him cracking his knuckles and clearing his throat? “Ahem, fellas…glad you’re here.

Turning circumstances into platforms, Paul saw the storms of life as mere downpours of holy water. Let’s find courage in his example today, physically and spiritually. Oh, you may not be in prison, but are you being tested in some way? Perhaps you're behind bars of doubt and discouragement. If so, let's remember Paul and never quit. I say we crack our knuckles, clear our throats and make the most of the moment at hand.

--J.P.

NUTRITION TIP: Smarter Soup

Soup is good comfort food. But it is also a terrific way to get more veggies, so load up your chowder with aromatics like celery, carrots, onions and leeks. To help thicken the soup, sprinkle the veggies with flour and cook for 1 to 2 minutes before adding liquid. Starchy add-ins like potatoes, corn and beans will add texture, while their natural starches will also help thicken the soup.

If your favorite recipe calls for butter, swap half of it for canola or olive oil – you’ll still get the buttery flavor and a boost of the more heart-healthy kinds of fats. Shrink down the portion of bacon or make the switch to turkey bacon and you’ll shave off more calories from saturated fats.

Broth-based chowders have considerably less calories than ones made with cream. But if your moto is like mine -- “go creamy or go home” -- using half-and-half  instead of heavy cream will save 500 calories and 60 grams of fat per cup. Since lighter dairy products (like milk and half and half) don’t stand up to high heat as well as cream, it’s best to add them towards the end of cooking to prevent them from separating and making the soup grainy.

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

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.

YOU'RE FREE TO GO

January 7, 2011Read: Hebrews 9

"Without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sin." --Hebrews 9:22

If you blinked, you missed this story. Earlier this week, a man was released from a Texas prison after spending 30 years behind bars for something he didn't do. Thirty years! I was eight when he began his sentence. This week, based on the evidence, a judge admitted the mistake, and set him free. Unbelievable.

He said he didn't quite know how to respond when the judge said, "You're free to go." I suppose if you've lived trapped your whole life, the reality of living free would be foreign.

But what the judge said to the prisoner, God says to us each day. We may not be in jail, per se, but we often feel imprisoned -- shackled by burdens and trapped by mistakes. Thankfully, God sees all the evidence -- Jesus -- and sets us free. Unbelievable.

--J.P.

SOUP FOR YOU Keep out the winter chill with this healthy broth From Dana Angelo White

Ingredients

1 quart low-sodium chicken broth

1 cup whole-wheat pasta recommended (rotelle or other small shaped pasta recommended)

1 cup frozen green peas

2 cups baby spinach

3/4 cup mushrooms, quartered

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

4 tablespoons shredded Parmesean

Directions

Bring chicken broth to a boil in a medium saucepan. Once boiling add pasta and cook for 5 to 6 minutes Add peas, spinach and mushrooms, season with salt and pepper and continue to cook for an additional 2 to 3 minutes. Serve topped with Parmesan cheese.

Nutrition analysis per serving: Calories: 120; Total fat: 2g; Saturated fat: 1g; Carbohydrate: 18g; Protein: 9g; Sodium: 360mg

>> NUTRITION: For more healthy recipes and nutrition tips, visit our nutrition page.

>> WIN!: For a chance to win one of 25 free PrayFit books courtesy of NBC's EXTRA, click here.

>> ORDER: Pick up a copy of "PrayFit: Your Guide to a Healthy Body and a Stronger Faith in 28 Days" from Amazon or Barnes & Noble today!

RIGHT WHERE HE WANTS US

November 3, 2010Read: Philippians 1 “Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel.” Philippians 1:12

You’ve probably seen the cartoon depicting a frog in the rain being swallowed by a pelican. Upon closer inspection, you notice the frog choking the bird on the way down. The caption reads: “Never Give Up.” From the frog’s perspective, he had the pelican right where he wanted him.

Rain or shine, Paul kept a tight grip on the higher purpose of spreading the good news. Though deep in the belly of prison, Paul figured, “Good, a captive audience.” Can't you just picture him cracking his knuckles and clearing his throat?: “Fellas…glad you’re here.”

Turning circumstances into platforms, Paul saw the storms of life as downpours of holy water. Let’s find courage in his example today. When God puts us right where He wants us, let’s make the most of the moment at hand.

–J.P.

NUTRITION TIP: Smarter Soup

Soup is a terrific way to get more veggies, so load up your chowder with aromatics like celery, carrots, onions and leeks. To help thicken the soup, sprinkle the veggies with flour and cook for 1 to 2 minutes before adding liquid. Starchy add-ins like potatoes, corn and beans will add texture, while their natural starches will also help thicken the soup.

If your favorite recipe calls for butter, swap half of it for canola or olive oil – you’ll still get the buttery flavor and a boost of the more heart-healthy kinds of fats. Shrink down the portion of bacon or make the switch to turkey bacon and you’ll shave off more calories from saturated fats.

Broth-based chowders have considerably less calories than ones made with cream. But if your moto is like mine “go creamy or go home” using half-and-half  instead of heavy cream will save 500 calories and 60 grams of fat per cup. Since lighter dairy products (like milk and half and half) don’t stand up to high heat as well as cream, it’s best to add them towards the end of cooking to prevent them from separating and making the soup grainy.

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