sodium

Lead Us To Victory

With my head bowed and eyes closed, I heard an honest and sincere prayer for victory last week in Waco. With a strong, southern accent and pure heart, a Baylor executive led a small group of us over lunch praying, "Lord, you know our hearts and you know what's on our minds. Forgive us if it's selfish, but I just pray for a victory tonight against Oklahoma." I grinned with a nod as I opened my eyes to join the amen.

Praying for victory. Isn't it neat that we can go to the Lord with our desires, needs and dreams? As he addressed us following his prayer, in so many words, he reasoned, "God knows my heart and He knows we'll give Him the glory, as well as, do what's right with whatever blessings arise from a win like this. I figure I'd just come out and ask Him." Powerful stuff. Can you sense the smile on my face as you read this sentence?

Are you praying for a victory today? Victories come in all shapes and sizes, you know. Do you need one over physical pain? What about over a habit? Maybe your child is struggling in a subject at school and there's a big test today. Perhaps the competition at work is pretty fierce and you need that new account, the new client, the new chance.

Much like they do on college game days, if we were all in the same room right now, I'd ask everyone to grab someone's hand. After all, the only level playing field is at the foot of the cross and this game of life is best played when we take a knee together. No matter what, Christ died and rose again so that we'd have an abundant life. A victorious life through Him. So Lord, you know our hearts and what we're facing. If it be your will, please lead us to victory today. For thine is the kingdom, the power, the glory, now and forever. Amen.

--Jimmy Peña

P.S. I like to think the Lord would enjoy a good game, eat my food and fall asleep on my couch. Isn't it good to know He's our personal Savior?

Secret Shopper Poll: I wanted to thank everyone for your answers and input to yesterday's secret shopper poll. Turns out your heart and desires meet our hearts and desires. That's a win-win.

NUTRITION NEWS: Low Sodium Isn't Always Best

If you struggle with high blood pressure, or are just a little more health conscious than most, you probably try to shake conservatively when it comes to your salt. But the scare over salt may have had some unintended consequences, as this report from CNN Health reveals.

>> Click here to read about the dangers of low-sodium diets.

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.

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.

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.

ANSWERING THE CALL

May 5, 2011 Read: Luke 22

"Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done." --Luke 22:42

Though my tiny legs hate me for it, I still head outdoors for a run 2-3 times a week, usually along a two-mile path that takes me around a nearby park. Last week, as temperatures hit the low-to-mid 90s, I found my run labored. Sweat poured from my brow and my legs felt heavy. For a moment, I considered skipping my next sprint and settling into a nice walk for the rest of the way. Then, I noticed the fatigues.

Camped out under a tree to catch what little shade there was to be found, an Army recruiter was coaching a prospective soldier though a set of sit-ups. A hundred yards up the trail, I notice a small group of high school-age guys running my way -- each of them appeared to be waging his own personal battle against the heat, fighting every natural instinct to quit. Each young man in the group was wearing an Army t-shirt. A newer, fitter Army requires soldiers to be in better shape and for these teens, it was training day.

At a time of day when most of their peers were heading to the community pool, these young men were preparing for the privilege to serve. Knowing the dangers inherent to the jobs that they were committing their lives to, not to mention the derision they'd face from their lesser-motivated classmates, these brave young men still chose to defend 307 million people they'd never meet as their trade. Though none of them hoped it would ever come to it, each of them was prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice, and in doing so they unwittingly mirror the life (and death) of another soldier.

Though he feared his demise (Luke 22:42), Jesus voluntarily endured mockery, ridicule and ultimately the pain and suffering of the cross for you and me.  Bravery isn't necessarily the act of charging into the breach, but rather a willingness to answer the call.

--E.V.

SWEET NEWS ON SALT New research is rewriting the recommendations on sodium consumption

There are so many things out there that can harm us. Why does salt have to be one of them? For years, we've learned that this tasty seasoning should be consumed only in moderation -- that high sodium consumption could lead to heart disease and high blood pressure -- leaving us to lead cautious and bland nutritional existences.  But newer research is laying rest to these guidelines.

A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association followed over 3,000 healthy European men and women and found that higher-than-normal sodium consumption did not appear to increase the risk of developing hypertension (high blood pressure) or having a heart attack. What's more startling was that they found those who consumed the least salt had a 56 percent higher risk of death from a heart attack or stroke compared with those who had the highest consumption, even after controlling for obesity, cholesterol, smoking, diabetes, and other risk factors.

While we're not going to encourage you to schedule a Salt Party, researchers concluded that some individuals simply appear to be more sensitive to the mineral than others and that sweeping guidelines for its consumption may be ill-advised.

For the full story, head to CNN Health.

>> WHAT'S YOUR SUCCESS STORY? Have you lost a ton of weight? Fought off diabetes? Have you been able to drastically change your lifestyle through regular diet and exercise? We want to hear from you. Take a moment to submit your story in our Success Stories forum, or just stop in to encourage others.

 

 

 

BE HEALTHY, QUIETLY

March 8, 2011Read: Matthew 6

Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven." --Matthew 6:1

We've been talking a lot lately about the importance of our physical health as a means of praise, and if that has reached your heart, we're so blessed. If the mere prospect of a new day is reason enough to praise God with smarter choices at the dinner table, then great. Because you're right...it's not about the body.

With that said, perhaps the challenge is to be healthy, quietly. In truth, if our health is praise, there's no need for a declaration of independence from a sedentary lifestyle, and no need to sound the alarm against a less-than-stellar diet. No speeches, no"look at what I'm doing for God" announcements. We're called to take care of the body that carries the soul, period. So let's allow the byproducts of our obedience do the talking.

Push away from the table sooner, quietly. Turn the TV off earlier to go outside, quietly. Praise God with your health, quietly.

--J.P.

STUDY: A SWEET RISK

One of the most common obstacles that people cite in their quest for healthier living is an inability to shake their soda habit. While it's pretty widely known that having these sugar-laden drinks on a regular basis can lead to excess calorie consumption, huge swings in energy and cavities, new research is suggesting that such beverages can also be a danger to your heart health.

Professor Paul Elliott, senior author of the study, from the School of Public Health at Imperial College London, said: "It's widely known that if you have too much salt in your diet, you're more likely to develop high blood pressure. The results of this study suggest that people should be careful about how much sugar they consume as well."

His study, published in the journal Hypertension, did not examine the mechanism that might link sugary drinks with blood pressure. However, the researchers suggest that raised uric acid, which has been linked to sugar-sweetened beverage consumption, might raise blood pressure by reducing the levels of nitric oxide, a chemical that relaxes the lining of the blood vessels.

Want an easier way to reduce your risk of hypertension and to keep your waistline in check? Drink more water and limit your soda consumption to special occasions.

Source: Imperial College London

Related Story: High blood pressure linked to high-sugar diets

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IN A FOOD FIGHT

January 19, 2011Read: 1 Corinthians 9 "And everyone who is striving, has self-control in all things." --1 Corinthians 9:25

At PrayFit, we place a great deal of emphasis on healthy eating habits in order that you might live more abundant lives. Now of course, we believe that this life is vapor-quick and that no matter how many good foods we eat or bad foods we avoid, our days are numbered. Let's face it, food can't save us.

And many say, "Since life is so quick, why not eat up?" We say "Since life is so brief, why not stay the course?" Think about it: Where does God live? He lives inside of us. Our bodies are his dwelling place, right? How much respect are we showing if we have a willful disregard for what certain foods, not to mention what certain amounts of foods, can do to our bodies? Again, this won't translate into long-lasting change unless you see healthy eating as an act of obedience.

Now, we're not saying we can't enjoy food -- even the cheat kind -- but too many of our friends and siblings, parents and kids are struggling in a battle against food-related illness. And we'll lose the fight unless we...

--push away from the table sooner --shop smarter --teach our kids portion control --put up a fight

Besides, God didn't design us to be at the mercy of food. Of everything He created, we're his top priority. Let's learn to eat in such a way that pleases Him.

--J.P.

DANA'S HEALTH FOOD QUIZ

PrayFit nutritional consultant Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, is the best in the business when it comes to helping people develop healthy eating habits. A stickler for education, Dana came up with this simple quiz to gauge just how much you know about the difference between processed foods and fresh foods.

1. Which typically contains the most additives and preservatives?

A. Frozen dinners B. Sugary cereals C. Canned tuna

2. Which is lowest in sodium?

A. Frozen pizza B. Frozenvegetables C. Canned soup

3. Which preservative is typically used to add color to hot dogs and lunch meats?

A. Xanthan Gum B. Sodium Nitrite C. Citric Acid

4. On food packaging, "natural" means...

A. Nothing B. The ingredients meet federal requirements C. The ingredients come from nature

RESULTS

Add up your score based on the following points system: 1. A: 5 points; B: 3 points; C: 1 point 2: A: 3 points; B: 5 points; C: 1 point 3: A: 1 point; B: 5 points: C: 3 points 4: A: 5 points; B: 3 points; C: 1 point

Your Score:

15-20 Points: All About Fresh You know better than to mess with frozen pizzas and breakfast sandwiches and instead opt for mostly fresh ingredients and the healthiest of processed foods like frozen veggies, canned tomatoes, dried fruit and whole grain crackers.

10-14 Points: On the Fresh Track While you may not always be making it to farmers’ market or produce aisle, your diet has a healthy balance of fresh and packaged foods.

4-9 Points: Packing in the Preservatives A quick lesson in fresh foods 101 would do you some good. Pay closer attention to those labels and tally up the sodium count, are you getting way more than you need?

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.