Tag Archives: health

Interesting Articles and Tips for College-Age Students

It’s back to school and the blogosphere is flooded with tons of helpful tips, advice, and info about heading back to college…or jumping in for the first time.

First, I read two articles specifically addressing “20-somethings.” The first was “The 20 Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me at 20” by Dr. Karin L. Smithson on HuffingtonPost.com. It has some good reminders worth reading as so many head back to school…about picking friends, staying healthy, the importance of family and faith, etc.

The second was “20 Things 20 Year Olds Don’t Get” by Jason Nazar on Forbes.com. For all my friends heading back to college…or just out of college…or just trying to build traction in your careers, this article contains some fairly sound advice. It’s not necessarily that young people “don’t get it” but rather some good career tips that they “should get,” or maybe “don’t get yet,” or “what to strive for.” From productivity to professionalism, online etiquette to face to face communication, reputation and fiscal responsibility, this article hits the key topics that are crucial for young people to grasp early on if they desire to be successful.

Also, I’m noticing lots of college-age or recent post-college grads struggling with “discerning God’s will for their lives.” One book I recently read that I wish I had read when I started college is Kevin DeYoung’s Just Do Something. See my recent book review here. Also, remember that you don’t have to read every spiritual self-help book known to man; if you have a Bible and read it regularly, seek godly counsel, and prayer, those three things are more valuable than any “how to” book or article out there.

In regards to what to major in, I read “The Decline and Fall of the English Major” by Verlyn Klinkenborg on NYTimes.com. It is sad to hear that the number of students majoring in English is declining. I could have majored in a great number of things, but I am continually thankful that I majored in English. It has been invaluable in every aspect of my life–personally, professionally, socially, even spiritually. The most beneficial classes I took were probably Critical Writing with Dr. Horton and Philosophy of Education with Dr. Salter (both should be required by every major, in my humble opinion). To think clearly and logically and to be able to write concisely and coherently are two of the most precious yet neglected treasures in this culture. Klinkenborg writes: “Writing well used to be a fundamental principle of the humanities, as essential as the knowledge of mathematics and statistics in the sciences. But writing well isn’t merely a utilitarian skill. It is about developing a rational grace and energy in your conversation with the world around you.” and “No one has found a way to put a dollar sign on this kind of literacy, and I doubt anyone ever will. But everyone who possesses it — no matter how or when it was acquired — knows that it is a rare and precious inheritance.” Well said, Verlyn.

Finally, it’s important in your college years to stay healthy in this fast-paced, stress-filled season of life. Here’s a fun “Cheat Sheet for Healthy School Lunches” from The Honest Co.:

Journey Journal: Day 24

Day 24: Thursday, January 24, 2013

Thursday was an interesting day, to say the least. I had a good day of work, followed by a first: an iridology appointment with a nutritionist. Before you think I’ve jumped off an all-natural cliff into the looney bin, I received a gift certificate from a friend for a free consult, and thought it would be worth it to see if there was any  relevancy to the science. I filled out some basic information, then had a large magnifying lens held up to my eyes, as the nutritionist studied the blood vessels and patterns of my irises with some light, looking for inflammation and other marks. Below is a typical chart that iridologists and nutritionists use:

iris chartThe nutritionist that looked at my irises told me that I had a strong constitution, but that I had a severe intolerance, if not an allergy, to dairy products. I knew I was somewhat sensitive to dairy, but she told me that if the lymphatic system was overly taxed by fighting the dairy, it could adversely affect my thyroid and/or heart. (I will have to do some research on this, of course. So far, I do not have any problems with either, but it did make me want to get off the dairy, at least for a trial period.) So, I am cutting out dairy from my diet for at least a month, maybe two, to see if I can see any change. She also said (because of my blood type and eye color) that “Cardio exercise is like eating for you–don’t go a day without it.” So, meanwhile, I’ll be increasing my workouts and water intake and replacing the cream in my coffee with almond milk and coconut milk.

After the nutritionist appointment, I had coffee with a new friend downtown. We had a good time laughing and sharing what God had been doing in our lives. It was a good night.


23 and 1/2 Hours: What is the Single Best Thing We Can Do For Our Health?

This presentation is less than 10 minutes long and worth the watch by Dr. Mike Evans (@docmikeevans). Will you join me and take this challenge?!

Health: A Biblical Perspective

The American Heritage Stedman’s Medical Dictionary defines “health” as “soundness, especially of body or mind; freedom from disease or abnormality.” Etymologically speaking, “health” means “wholeness, a being whole, sound or well.”

There’s a big push in our country for health & wellness. Health no longer encompasses the physical sphere alone. It also includes mental and emotional health. Millions of dollars are spent every year in this country on medicine, supplements, fitness memberships and equipment, doctor visits, and the list goes on. As a Christian, I believe God is in complete control of all realms of life. And everything that He allows in our lives is for a reason, usually to draw us into a deeper relationship with Him.

Bad things happen. People get diseases, cancers, have mental breakdowns. We lose things or people we love and our lives have the potential of falling into a state of emotional turmoil and despair. This is part of life. And how we cope with these things says a lot about us. Some (note: not all) of these problems are a result of sin. Sin is anything that goes against the character of God – whether it’s a sin of commission (doing something we shouldn’t do) or a sin of omission (not doing something we should do). As a result of sin, mankind’s relationship with God was broken.

Fortunately, God sacrificed His only Son Jesus as the perfect payment for the sin of the world so that through faith our relationship with Him can be restored. Confessing and repenting of sin is necessary for a restored relationship with God. However, it does not guarantee a life of ease and health. Bad things still happen. But when we know Christ, we know that “all things work together for good to those who love God” (Romans 8:28). See Life is Like a Box of Chocolate Chip Cookies post here.

Still, we have no guarantee of health. Just because I’m healthy today doesn’t guarantee I’ll be healthy tomorrow, and it certainly does not guarantee good health for the rest of my life. Just because I have a high IQ does not mean that I will never suffer a mental breakdown. Also, though physical and mental exercise is valuable, it is not a 100% guarantee of health either. As we age, we wear down physically as well as mentally. Even young people contract horrible diseases, including cancers. None of this means that God has somehow lost control or overlooked something. He knows our frame, that we are dust. He cares for us and loves us, to the point of dying a horrible death in payment of our sins.

While we are stewards of our bodies and impact our health by our choices, we are not ultimately in control of our own health. We do our best to stay healthy, but ultimately, God is in control and often uses health or the lack thereof to draw us to himself. To read more on Christians Living a Healthy Life, I’d recommend this site.

So, why do I workout?! 

  1. My body is the temple of the living God and I should take care of it. My body is not my own; it belongs to God.
  2. I am a steward of the body God gave me on this earth and want to be physically ready to do whatever I can for His service.
  3. I enjoy it! Exercise is a great way to clear and correct my thoughts and emotions. Sometimes, I just need to run, and afterwards I feel better because it’s given me a chance to preach the truth to myself and get some good endorphins flowing!
  4. Exercise is a way to be all things to all people. I get to meet new people and build relationships I otherwise wouldn’t have, as well as be involved in more discussions and forums, and hopefully be able to share my relationship with Christ as a result of my taking care of my body.
  5. I want to understand Scripture better. There are so many good runner illustrations in Scripture. The physical life often mirrors the spiritual life of faith. We are to run the race with patience; though it is sometimes difficult, we must keep on keeping on.

One lie that I often battle is that the BMI (Body Mass Index) is the standard of what is healthy. Though the BMI is a good starting point if someone is underweight or obese, it definitely leaves room for error. Someone who appears skinny may fall into the “healthy” or “normal” category, but he/she may not be healthy. On the other hand, someone who works out on a regular basis and has a low body fat % and solid, lean muscle may have a higher BMI; many athletes are deemed “overweight” by the BMI chart just because they have dense bones or more muscle (lean body muscle) than the average person. Personally, I prefer measuring body fat percentage to using the BMI.

Here are some other questions you can ask yourself to determine if you’re healthy:

  • Are you taking care of your body by eating healthful meals and snacks? (see the Food Pyramid or the Mediterranean diet)
  • Are you getting enough rest? (Doctors recommend at least 7 hours each night for adults, more for children. Sleep deprivation can cause serious damage to our bodies and even affect our mental capacities.)
  • Are you drinking plenty of water? (Dietitians recommend 9 cups per day for women and 11 cups per day for men!)
  • Are you physically active? (Doctors recommend a minimum of 30 minutes of activity each day; if you’re trying to lose weight, you may need to increase to 1.5 hours per day.)
  • Are you avoiding habits that could harm your body? (Alcohol and tobacco products, drugs – even the over-the-counter variety – can have negative impacts. Other negative habits include worry, excess stress, poor sleep habits, negative relationships, etc.)
  • Are you spending time in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ every day? (Even secular studies show that spiritual meditation positively affects our health, and emotions like worry and anger can negatively affect our physical beings.)

Always remember, “we are fearfully and wonderfully made” by our Great Savior Jesus Christ! We are stewards of our bodies and minds. Eat right, exercise, get your rest, and, ultimately, trust God.

Here’s a picture I thought was helpful. Consider drawing a “health map” that’s personalized for you. For me, I would add lean meats, beans and nuts, and dairy to the diet category, Bible reading and prayer to Relaxation category, and pastor, spiritual counselor, and good friends and reading to the Help category.

Celebrating 4,000 Blog Hits with a Special Post by Guest Author, Carissa Sipe Davis

Carissa is a dear friend, wife of a pastor (Todd Davis) in Brighton, Colorado, mother of 2, dental hygienist, and currently launching two business ventures! She’s an inspiration and a joy to be around, so I wanted her to share a little of what she’s been learning.

Meet the Author: Carissa Davis and her family (photo by Kelly Penwell)

“I have really appreciated Melissa’s blog a ton! The posts are so helpful and inspiring. Even the name rings true to so many of us because the journey to lean is truly that—a journey! It is a never-ending battle of self-denial! I might add to the title though. Just for the sake of argument, I’m not sure that Melissa’s journey is primarily a journey to leanness, but more, it’s a journey to health! It seems to me that although being skinny is definitely our motivation much of the time, the things that Melissa has posted on this blog are doing so much more than making her skinny; they are affecting her whole body. Her muscles are becoming stronger through the workout routines; her blood is flowing more easily throughout her body because her organs are working much more efficiently; she is able to think more clearly; she has more energy; and along with all that, she is getting skinny! Eating right and exercising is truly affecting her whole body for the better.

“The idea of total body health has been on my mind for a while now. If you look around, it is not hard to find people who have been diagnosed with things like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, cancer, or heart disease. Neither is it hard to find people who are ALWAYS sick, or even more commonly, whose kids are always sick. I often hear, “I have no energy.” Does this sound like you? It sounds like me. High cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, and heart disease all run in my family! Who’s next: me or my kids or both????? Now please don’t get me wrong; I believe in a Sovereign God who ultimately is in charge of everything. I get that! But while the Bible is very clear on that point, it is also very clear that we need to live responsibly. 

“Experts agree: fruits and vegetables form a very important part of a healthy diet and lifestyle. Almost every day, another piece of research or another news story heralds the risk-reducing power of our dietary choices, especially the health benefits of eating more fruits and vegetables. The recommended amount of fruits and vegetables per day is 7-13 servings. Does anyone really do that? If you do, I applaud you!!! That’s awesome! Being totally honest though, on a good day I have only gotten four, maybe five servings. For those of us with kids, our responsibility is even greater because we need to be teaching our kids how to eat healthily and to love the things that are good for them instead of the fattening sugary stuff that is so easy to feed them. 

 “Since this job has proved very difficult for me I was elated to find out about Juice Plus (http://www.juiceplus.com/)!!!! Juice Plus is the convenient and inexpensive way to add more nutrition from fruits and vegetables to your diet every day. Just taking two Juice Plus Orchard Blend capsules and two Juice Plus Garden Blend capsules every day is all it takes! The Orchard Blend is made from seven different fruits (apple, orange, pineapple, cranberry, papaya, peach, and acerola cherry), and the Garden Blend is made from ten different vegetables and grains (carrot, parsley, beet, kale, broccoli, cabbage, spinach, tomato, oat bran, and brown rice bran). If you have kids, there are also chewable gummies that taste fabulous! My son Brode asks for his gummies because he loves them so much!

 “I know you may be skeptical. There are so many supplements being marketed out there. What proved the value of Juice Plus to me was the extensive clinical research that has been done on the product. Juice Plus is the most thoroughly researched brand name nutritional product on the market. Leading research Universities and hospitals have done the studies and even more research findings are about to come out in the next few months on things like the effect of Juice Plus on gum disease (an important one to me as a dental hygienist 🙂 ) and the effects of Juice Plus on pregnancy (Did you know that it has been proved that synthetic prenatal vitamins can actually make women sick? That’s so helpful during that first trimester right girls ;-). I do have a great article on that if anyone would like for me to send it to them, but that’s another whole discussion). Anyway, to see more of the research, go to http://www.juiceplus.com/.

 “It really is simple; we need to eat more fruits and vegetables. Period!!!! The personal testimonies are compelling: fruits and vegetables make you feel great, they make you and your family less sick, and they reduce the risk of disease for you and your family. If you need help getting your fruits and vegetables, try out an all natural, whole food based nutritional product like Juice Plus. If you have any questions, please visit their website, or if there are any questions that I can answer or articles I can send you, please feel free to contact me at carissalin1@gmail.com.

“Thanks Melissa for asking me to do this article. It is so easy to become passionate about something that is so simple but helps so much!!!!”

Eat to Beat: Foods That Heal

I recently found ABC Good Morning America Health on Hulu.com! Check it out here! There are nearly 100 clips with wonderful health tips. Here’s one:

This clip of Erin Hobday, Self Magazine’s Nutrition Editor, talks with Good Morning America about some foods that help you feel better and target certain health concerns. More info on Self.com.

Feeling Down? Pasta and Dark Chocolate boost level of serotonin, which makes you feel happy.

Headaches? Pumpkin seeds (2 oz. per day for daily recommended amount of Magnesium) and WATER!

Want to boost your memory? Try a Mediterranean Diet: high in antioxidants and heart healthy. May reduce risk of Alzheimer’s.

PMS? combo of calcium and Vitamin D (3 servings of soy milk, skim milk, or vitamin D rich dairy products daily)

Want to keep wrinkles at bay? Beta Carotene and Lycopene (1 c. Cantaloupe, a few chunks watermelon) and Vitamin C rich foods to produce collagen in skin (1/2 red pepper)

Want a healthy heart? Peanut Butter (1 Tbsp./5x per week) and whole grains (2 servings per day)

For a full list, check out http://www.self.com/fooddiet/2010/04/foods-that-make-you-feel-good. Very cool!

Book Review: Health & Weight-Loss Breakthroughs 2009, Maximum Immunity

From the editors of Prevention. 278 pages.

Though produced in 2009, this book is in old-school textbook style. Very scientific approach, but very helpful, especially the diet/exercise plan in Part III. I’d give this one four stars: not a must have, but definitely a great resource.

Part I: Meet Your Immune System

This first section is highly educational, and speaks of the “Keys” to “Unlock Immune Power: nutrition, exercise, sleep, stress management, mood management, sunlight, and environment. It also examines certain factors that may increase your health risks: smoking, stress, sleep-deprivation, lack of movement or excessive movement, crash dieting. It ends with an immunity quiz to help you know where you are and what needs to be adjusted.

Part II: 7 Keys to Maximum Immunity

  1. Nutrition: An Apple a Day Can Keep the Doctor Away (takes a closer look at food groups, etc.)
  2. Exercise: Keep It Moderate and Consistent (recommends 30-60 minutes of moderate aerobic activity each day plus at least 10 minutes of strength training most days; also gives some tips on staying motivated: a whiff of peppermint, an exercise “contract,” an exercise buddy, visualization of results, active frame of mind, creativity in exercise time, eating a big breakfast, sacking only if you need to, and rewarding yourself.)
  3. Sleep: Quality Matters as Much as Quantity (some tips: Set a regular sleep schedule, de-clutter your bedroom, buy the best bed you can afford, keep it cool, keep it quiet, keep it dark, keep it animal free, establish a regular, relaxing bedtime routine, avoid late-night distractions, consider your bedclothes, time your exercise, time your meals, time your alcohol consumption, time caffeine consumption, get the right amount of sun exposure.)
  4. Stress: Don’t Let It Get the Best of You (Know the difference between good stress and bad stress. Tips: Focus on deep breathing, tune into your body, meditate, pray, exercise, get a massage.)
  5. Mood: Happiness Is Good Medicine (Tips: Remind yourself to have fun, Learn to laugh at yourself, Schedule a regular silliness check. If nothing else helps, smile.)
  6. Sunlight: A Small Amount Is a Great Source of Vitamin D
  7. Environment: How You Can Outsmart Germs (Tips: wash your hands, watch your pets, keep your kitchen clean, and change air filters regularly.)

Part III: Immune Essentials: The 4-Week Plan (gives a 4-week day-by-day meal and exercise plan with blank spots for diary entries about your sleep, stress level, mood, and environment; seems really good!)

Part IV: Immune Extras: Smart Strategies to Boost Immunity


Book Review: The Healthy Diet Calorie Counter by Kirsten Hartvig

I’d give this book a 3 star rating. The informational aspects are very good. However, the charts leave out some important information, like fat grams and carbohydrate grams. Though you can do the calculations yourself, it’d be a better resource if you didn’t have to do the math. I would recommend reading the text of this book while you’re enjoying a cup of tea at Barnes & Noble, then stick it back on the shelf. If you’re only interested in counting calories, it’s a good pocket guide, small enough to fit in your handbag.

Part I: Calories

Part II: Carbohydrates, Fats & Proteins

Part III: Vitamins, Minerals, & Trace Elements

Part IV: Diets


240 pages. $10 at Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble.

New Study: Vaccinated vs. Un-Vaccinated in relation to Autism

Check this out: http://imcv-wi.org/compare.aspx. Very interesting!

Quick Compare
Posted by: Nick Haas, Media Editor

“A quick comparison of the health of vaccinated vs. unvaccinated children may pique your further interest on the topic of vaccination. We’ll use autism rates as our measure.”

Song of Ascents

Quote by E. Stanley Jones from p. 182 of MacDonald’s book, Organizing Your Private World:
“I know that there are certain mental and emotional and moral and spiritual attitudes that are anti-health: anger, resentments, fear, worry, desire to dominate, self-preoccupation, guilts, sexual impurity, jealousy, a lack of creative activity, inferiorities, a lack of love. These are the twelve apostles of ill-health. So in prayer I’ve learned to surrender these things to Jesus Christ as they appear. I once asked Dr. Kagawa: ‘What is prayer?’ And he answered: ‘Prayer is self-surrender.’ I agree. It is primarily self-surrender, blanket surrender, day by day. It is all we know and all we don’t know. ‘All we don’t know’ covers the unfolding future and involves problems as they arise. So in prayer if any of these twelve things arise, and they do arise, for no one is free from the suggestion of any one of them, I’ve learned how to deal with them: not to fight them, but to surrender them to Jesus Christ, and say, ‘Now, Lord, you have this.'”
(Song of Ascents, Nashville: Abingdon, 1968, p. 337)