Thursday, November 17, 2011

Alton Brown on Food and Thanksgiving

This morning I read an interview of Alton Brown in the November 2011 issue of InTouch. He has a terrific perspective of food and its purpose. To whet your appretite, here are a few quotes. To read the entire interview, click here.

"To me, cooking and faith and my relationship with God are all intertwined. I could not do what I do in food, around food, if I did not have the relationship that I have with God."

"Unfortunately, the food media, of which I’m a part, have turned chefs into rock stars. But the best chefs always remember that cooking for people is an act of service. That’s an important piece of symbolism, and you see it throughout the Bible. Many of the great miracles we see performed by Jesus are food-related—the feeding of the masses, for example. I always think about those loaves and fishes and the fact that every time I prepare a meal for people, I am, in a way, replicating that act of service."

"There’s no perfect meal, other than one that brings a lot of people together. Thanksgiving is important as an icon. Americans don’t have much in common with each other anymore. But at Thanksgiving, we see the real power of food—the connectivity that helps us draw together around these cultural “sacraments.” We need it because it unifies us."

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Let's Face It

I saw this cartoon and thought, Isn’t that true?

Sometimes we need someone to sum up the long and short of it in one slap-you-the-face statement.

You aren’t retaining water.

You don’t have more muscle mass this week than last.

It isn’t just the day before your period. (Yes, we women use this one too.)

There is a bigger problem that needs looked at.

My readers who struggle with bulimia or anorexia may not relate to the above. For you I’d say:

You don’t look fat.

Skipping another meal will hurt you.

Purging is not normal.

If I haven’t hit on something you tell yourself, ask God if there is one for you. What slap-you-in-the-face statement do you need to hear today? What truth do you need to face head on?

Decide TODAY to face it.

Blogger changed something in May that caused a glitch in the comment section. It has to do with third-party cookies, which means nothing to me, but may to you. Anyway, I changed the comment section to help with the problem. Do not be dissuaded by the new format. Additionally, if you have been told by blogger that you are “not allowed” to comment on a page (I was getting this on several blogs), one way you can get around this is by unchecking the “remember me” box when you sign onto google. Again, I don’t know why this works, but it seems to have solved my problem. Well, at least the problem I have trying to comment on blogs. ;-)

My husband and I are on the board of a new ministry, Christian Adoption Resources & Education for Hancock Co, IL (CARE). I'd love for you to check out our website and facebook page. Click on the ministry logo to the right of this post to go to the website.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Repentance or Sorrow?

Do you find yourself repenting repeatedly for poor eating choices?

Do you declare to eat better in the morning only to repent again that evening?

Maybe your prayer goes something like this: Lord, please forgive me for the poor choices I made today. Help me to eat better tomorrow.

If you find yourself in this cycle of sin, repent, sin, repent, it is possible the prayer is not sincere. When I recognize this cycle in my life and truly analyze my heart, I realize what I meant was something more like this: Lord, tell me what I can get away with eating today with no short-term or long-term ramifications (like heart burn, weight gain, or cancer).

2 Cor. 7:10 states, “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death."

Let’s examine worldly sorrow versus true repentance.

Sorrow                                           True Repentance

Self-centered                                            God-centered

Focus is on ramifications of choices         Focus is on relationship
                                                                    with God

Desire to look/feel/do better                      Desire to be pure

Motivated by love for self                         Motivated by love for God

Short-lived                                               Long-lasting

Leads to living death                                 Leads to abundant life

Residual regret                                         No regret

No intention of walking away from sin       Includes turning away
                                                                   from sin

Where are you? If you see yourself in the “Sorrow” column, choose today to repent and turn away from your wrong choices. Instead turn to God.

Monday, August 29, 2011

What You Don't Know May Kill You

Those allergic to specific foods, such as peanuts or strawberries, avoid them. But sometimes the body’s reaction is not as obvious as red blotches or difficult breathing. For example, I know my joints swell and my sinuses clog during allergy season. I also know if I eat an excessive amount of sugary foods or dairy during allergy season, I am inclined to get a sinus infection. I obtained this knowledge by trial and error over a lengthy period of time. Do you know how foods affect your body?

Do you want to know how foods affect your body?

Sometimes I choose to stay ignorant so I can eat without guilt. I don’t want to know how a particular food affects my body because then I can’t use the excuse, “I didn’t know.” Have you ever said, “Don’t tell me how many calories are in this,” as you bit into a food item?

Newsflash: Whether you know the number of calories or not does not change how many calories you are eating. Whether you know a food clogs your arteries or not does not change whether the food will clog your arteries. “I didn’t know,” does not prevent a headache, heart burn, diabetes, or cancer.

Ignorance is not bliss. Ignorance may kill you.

But, the truth will set you free.

Do you eat improperly simply because you are uninformed? Choose to know what you are eating as well as why you are eating it. Read the ingredients listed on packaged foods. Research. Know the benefits and detriments. Know how your body responds and reacts to different food groups.

Maybe you wonder where to start. Do a search for an item you eat frequently. Or research an ingredient found in an item in your cupboard. Look at what health food experts say about it—not just what is listed on government or weight loss sites. Read books. Ask others. Go to your local Farmer’s Market and ask the vendors about their produce.

What do you do to stay informed?

Book Recommendation: What the Bible Says About Healthy Living: 3 Principles that Will Change Your Diet and Improve Your Health by Rex Russell, M.D.

Rex explores Old Testament laws and why God wrote them. He spends most of the book examining and expanding on the following three principles of healthy living:
  • Principle 1: Eat only substances God created for food. Avoid what is not designed for food.
  • Principle 2: As much as possible, eat foods as they were created—before they are changed or converted into something humans think might be better.
  • Principle 3: Avoid food addictions. Don’t let any food or drink become your god.

Friday, August 5, 2011

The God of Food by Mary DeMuth

I am honored to feature a blog post written by Mary DeMuth, well-known author and speaker. I admire Mary’s spirit, love for Jesus and gift of using words to tell stories. She summarizes a perfect viewpoint of food in her “closing thoughts.” Please, please take the time to read her entire post (you will need to follow the link), explore her website and consider reading one of her books.

I struggle with food, but not in a huge way. I’m not the type to raid the kitchen at night or run around like a crazy person to lose weight. But I’ve read a lot about nutrition, and I’m here to tell you, it’s tyranny.
Of course we should eat right. Absolutely. I garden for this purpose. And I typically don’t eat packaged, plastic food because I believe the state that God created food is probably the best state to eat it.
So I read another book about nutrition that tells me a certain food is a no-no (Does it even matter what it is?), and I practically threw my hands heavenward. “I give up,” I told the empty room.
Because one day a food is deemed a miracle, and the next day it’s diabolical.
In that moment, I heard a still voice, “I am the God of food,” He said. “Trust Me.”
To continue reading click here.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Confessions of a Junk Food Junkie

I searched for this picture when I first wrote this post a year ago. It surfaced yesterday. I decided to scan the picture and re-run the post. Shout out if you can relate to any of the following.

“Hello, my name is Barb and I am a reformed (almost) junk food junkie.” Truly. I was the child my parents took a picture of under the sign “Won’t Eat Vegetables” at the amusement park. Of course, at that time I didn’t eat anything. But, I changed. I evolved. I grew. To love potato chips, Diet Pepsi, pizza, and . . . ice cream! When I was in college, I thought the food groups were Pizza Hut, Monical’s Pizza and Domino’s. And since I lived alone, I could make one pizza last all three meals. Pretty cheap living, too.
As long as I am confessing, I will divulge that I am the only person I know who has had an apple go bad in my refrigerator. (Hint: just because you keep fruit in your refrigerator, does not mean that you are eating healthy.) For years I maintained that one day experts would disclose that potato chips and ice cream are the best foods for you. And then I would stand tall and proud because I had one-upped everyone.

But, I digress. I promised you this wouldn’t be about the right “diet.” Don’t get me wrong. They work. But, do they change us? Do they change our perspective and help us in the long run? Do they help us see food and its purpose differently? We want a healthy attitude as well as a healthy body.

Let’s review our definition for food: fuel for our bodies (God’s temple). Click here for post on defining food.

Now let’s go back to listing lies we believe.This list is not new to our generation or gender or race. These lies have been around as long as Satan has been around whispering in ears. Keep in mind that some of these lies could apply to any eating issue as well as other issues in our lives (addictions, bad habits . . .).

First, we will identify the lies. Then, we will look at how these lies affect us and if they contribute to sinful behavior. Then, we will replace the lies with truth.

  • Since I have been successful, I can have a special treat.
  • It’s good for me, so I can eat as much as I want. 
  • If I don’t eat this, it will go bad.
  • My eating habits have nothing to do with God.
  • I’ll miss out on something good.
  • Just one won’t hurt.
  • It’s a time of celebration/special occasion./It’s a party./I’m on vacation.
  • It’s too hard/too time-consuming/too expensive to eat properly.
  • I’m starting my diet tomorrow.
  • Eating this will relieve my stress.
  • This food will make me happy/give me comfort.
  • It tastes too good to waste.
  • There are people starving in Ethiopia.
  • It’s hard to restrain from eating what I really like.
  • This food will fill that “hole” that needs filled.
  • I need to eat this.
  • I’ll feel better after I’ve eaten this.
  • It’s not that bad for me.
  • If I turn it over to God, I’ll never enjoy food again/I’ll never be able to eat this again.
  • I’ve got it under control.
  • I’m in PMS.
  • I’ll eat better if I get sick.
  • I deserve it.
  • I will hurt the hosts'/hostess’ feelings if I don’t eat what he/she is serving.
  • I’m depressed.
  • It’s on sale.
  • If I eat it all now, it won’t be there to tempt me.
  • I’ll exercise it off.
  • If I don’t eat it, someone else will first.
  • Who cares what I eat?
  • Someone else is paying.
  • I need to get my money’s worth (at a buffet).
  • I’ve already ruined my diet today.
  • I was born in the wrong time period (a fuller body was in during the Renaissance Era)
(Thanks to all who contributed to this list.)

Have you ever said any of these to yourself? If so, you are not alone. And if you are wondering what is wrong with saying these to yourself read this post.

I would love to hear any thoughts related to this list of lies as well as anything else you tell yourself related to eating improperly.


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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The One Day Way Book Review

The following is a review of The One Day Way by Chantel Hobbs. I read and reviewed the book to keep my readers informed on available choices. I received the book free and would appreciate ratings on the review. (See the ratings box after the review.) If you received this post by email, click on the title of the post to go to the website. 

As with many self-help books, I found some practical tidbits in The One Day Way. For example, the sixth commandment in “The One Day Way Food Rules” is to “Be aware of portion size” (p. 116). Good reminder. But overall, I found the book flat.

The author admonishes us to “change the way we measure success” (p. 16). The title and foundation of the book are summed up on page 17. “You will achieve success only by doing it today . . . one good decision at a time, one pound at a time, one day at a time as you meet one bite size goal at a time.” Basically, we should concentrate on today only, finding one positive triumph to celebrate at the end of each day. Her theory breaks down when she talks about having a plan and preparing for the start of your diet. It’s no longer about today. Additionally, she does not mention how to handle a day in which you have setbacks (no successes to celebrate).

My biggest disappointment lies in the section on faith. Ms. Hobbs believes our faith should be in ourselves—an “I can do it” mentality. In the list of ten “One-Day Ways to challenge you in the area of faith,” on page 72 she never mentions God or His word. I believe relying solely on yourself is a detriment to a rich, spiritual life. Therefore, other areas of your life, including eating and exercising, will suffer. For this reason, I do not recommend The One Day Way. I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Justification or Glorification

“Just one won’t hurt.” I have been told this by good-willed people offering my children a sugar-filled snack. I’ve heard it expressed in line at a potluck by an adult standing over the dessert table. It’s uttered by teenagers to justify an adverse behavior, such as drinking a beer, smoking a cigarette or kissing someone. I hear it whispered in my mind. One scoop of ice cream, one small cookie, one slice of cake, one piece of bread. One won’t hurt.

You may be thinking, “What’s wrong with one piece of cake?” I’m not trying to be nitpicky; but, typically we don’t say it once. We repeat it later in the day or the next day. It becomes a pattern, a recurring thought. And for some, it’s a springboard to the next thought, “One more won’t hurt.”

Let’s renew our minds--think differently—approach food from a different perspective.

If you listen carefully to the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptian, for I am the Lord, who heals you” (Ex. 15:26).

What enters our mouths affects our well-being. God gave us guidelines to protect us physically, mentally, and spiritually.

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31).

Maybe one won’t hurt. But maybe that’s not the direction from which we should approach food. I’d rather be able to say, “Eating this will glorify God,” or “Eating this will help sustain and fuel my body.” Our actions, be they eating, speaking, or working, either help us or hurt us. They either bring us closer to God or draw us farther away from Him.

How do you approach food?

Sunday, June 12, 2011

On Celebrating Mediocrity

Most diet plans encourage us to celebrate small successes.

I am not entirely against this. It’s just . . . I’m not entirely FOR it either.

Do you remember this scene from The Incredibles (2004)?
     Helen: I can't believe you don't want to go to your own son's graduation.
     Bob: It's not a graduation. He is moving from the 4th grade to the 5th grade.
     Helen: It's a ceremony!
     Bob: It's psychotic! They keep creating new ways to celebrate mediocrity, but if someone is genuinely exceptional...

While it may be progress to eat less junk food today than yesterday, it may or may not be something to applaud. If, at the end of the day, I evaluate my success or failure solely on the quanity/quality of food I ate, I miss something. My focus is off! I celebrate the wrong incident.

Worse . . . I sell myself short. I miss out on something better – a relationship with my Creator. I’m celebrating mediocrity.

It’s not the physical act of eating better today than yesterday that is worth rejoicing over.

Eating better than Joe next door isn’t cause for merriment. That’s not the plumb line.

Instead, let’s jump up and down
  • when we walk after the Spirit
  • when our wills line up with God’s will
  • when we are surrendered to the Holy Spirit
The results are better eating habits and a genuinely exceptional relationship with Christ.

Now THAT'S worth celebrating!


Thursday, June 2, 2011

Yes It Counts

I think it’s gross to finish my daughter’s half-eaten hamburger.

And I wouldn’t steal a sip of my son’s pop—he might have cooties.

But I have been known to lick a spoon covered with cookie batter.

Or snag a tortilla chip from the open bag on the counter.

I justify these actions by telling myself it doesn’t count.

But it does. even if it’s healthy

And those nibbles and drinks add up.

What about you?
  • Do you finish your spouse’s/child’s meal?
  • Do you grab a handful of popcorn and eat it on the go?
  • Do you justify your actions by pretending it doesn’t count?
Well . . . stop it.


Tuesday, May 24, 2011


“Friends, acquaintances, even family often think warriors are obsessed or compulsive, but that isn’t true. Obsessive and compulsive behaviors are, by definition, traits of individuals unable to control themselves. The warrior is just the opposite; he is the model of control. The warrior doesn’t seek pain, fear, fatigue, and the other unpleasant byproducts of constant training because he likes them. But he knows they are obstacles between him and his objectives. His goal is to overcome them, and he knows that to defeat an enemy, he must attack. It isn’t that the warrior is driven. He is the driver.” Living the Martial Way by Forrest Morgan as quoted by Nate Self in Two Wars

I read the above Sunday after hearing a sermon on Ephesians 6:10-18. In this passage, Paul admonishes us to put on the full armor of God because we are in a battle. And in this battle, we are to take a proactive position. We are to stand firm and fight, not cower and hide.

In 2002, Nate Self, Team Leader of Army Rangers, led his platoon into Afghanistan to rescue a missing soldier. Their helicopter was shot down while trying to land and Nate led a skirmish against Al-Qaeda in which several of his platoon members were killed in action. Nate quotes the above toward the beginning of his book while describing his training. Those who fight for the United States of America endure rigorous physical and mental exercises to prepare for war. They zip down ropes, memorize creeds, battle scenarios and tactics, run for hours with heavy equipment on their backs, and go without sleep and food. They are cut off from the rest of the world, immersed in various live-fire mission drills.

Right now soldiers are half-way around the world fighting for our right to sit on our butts and eat bon-bons while watching reality TV shows that are anything but reality. They take up their sword (weapon) every day to fight for my freedom to live a complacent life. And I’m complaining about how hard it is to say “No” to an extra piece of pie or one more serving of pasta. Wow. . . . Shame on me!

My perspective is off. I am a warrior in a battle like Nate and his buddies. I am called to prepare for battle—hide his word in my heart, pray, and put on the armor of God. Then I can “stand against the devil’s schemes” (Eph. 6:11). God equips me as the U.S. Government equips our armed forces.

The next time I am tempted to go for a second serving (even though I’m full) I may think of Nate and what he suffered to protect me and my family. Maybe my conflict won’t appear so difficult and I will easily say “No.”


The winner of Pure Emotion by Susan Lawrence is Diana DePriest! Please contact me with your snail mail so I can send it to Susan. THANKS!

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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Guest Blogger: Susan Lawrence, Pure Emotion Book Giveaway

I am so excited to introduce Susan Lawrence as a guest this week. Susan encourages women through writing and speaking and is blessing one of you with her hot-off-the-presses new Bible Study Pure Emotion. Here is a partial description of the study from her website: "If your emotions aren’t reflecting the character of God…well, you’re probably distorting something and need to get back on track. That’s what this journey is about. Growing closer to God, getting to know him better, and committing to reflecting him more and more on a daily basis." Keep reading for entry details.

Too Full for Dessert?

“If you’re too full to finish your supper, you’re too full for dessert.”

Don’t you know we have separate stomachs for different food groups? Oh, wait. Cows have separate stomachs. People have one. Well, it seems like we have different stomachs. We’re not hungry for one type of food but craving another.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

I Eat When I'm Bored

I had surgery in early March. Since then my movements and capabilities have been restricted. I’ve been forced to clear my calendar and wait out the healing process. The end result: boredom.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Hope, Help & Healing for Eating Disorders Book Review

The following is a book review of Hope, Help & Healing for Eating Disorders by Gregory L. Jantz, PhD with Ann McMurray. I received this book for free from Blogging for Books.

As a person who writes about food issues and how they relate to spiritual issues, I found the methods referred to in this book more useful and biblically accurate than many other methods. Using a whole-person approach which includes a spiritual element, the authors tackle difficult eating disorders and what they have coined as “disordered eating.” It was especially refreshing to hear them tie a person’s present day eating issues to past problems and spiritual issues. For instance, on page 26, they state, “The more you turn to a physical comfort like food, the less likely you are to turn to God for spiritual comfort.” Dr. Jantz and Ms. McMurray do not shy away from the tough stuff. For example, on page 42 they say, “By controlling what you eat, you are really trying to control that terrible pain.”

The authors use stories to relate to the reader on a physical, emotional, and spiritual level. Once the authors have established credibility, they guide the reader through the healing process using a multi-level approach. They write about anger, fear, guilt, and shame followed by forgiveness, the perfect Father, and learning to live. They unapologetically explain, “Blame only fuels the pain. Forgiveness dilutes its power.” (p. 54) and “. . . truth has the ability to heal. . . . Your truth is safe in God’s love.” (p. 62) “Self-hate argues against the truth of God’s love for you and the great value you have. . . . You can decide to stop listening to your self-hate and decide to hear the truth of God’s love for you.” (p. 138)

I recommend this book for anyone suffering through an eating disorder or disordered eating patterns. This book may also be beneficial for those related to someone with an eating disorder or a disordered eating pattern. I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Please take a moment to rate this review.

I would love to give this book away. If you struggle with an eating disorder (anorexia, bulimia, or habitually overeating) or disordered eating and believe you would benefit from reading this book, please send me a private message or email.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Guest Blogger: Lisa Cowman

I met Lisa at a writer's conference and was elated to find out she is a pastor's wife and only lives 45 minutes away. I am especially excited to introduce Lisa on this site because she co-wrote a bible study entitled "Esther" and graciously accepted an invitation to teach a ladies study this summer. If you live within driving distance of Carthage, consider joining us on Saturday mornings beginning June 11th to hear from Lisa and the Lord. Yes, there will be coffee!  

LIE: The only way to celebrate is with food.

"It's payday girls. Let's celebrate!"

"Ooh...let's do TCBY's Yogwichs."

"No, I want McDonald's French Fries!"

"How about Starbucks, guys?"

We finally settle on Starbucks and sink down into the cozy corner chairs with our favorites.

"Yum, I love these," Meredith says, licking the whipped cream off the top of her Caramel Frappaccino."

"Oh no, these chocolate chunk cookies are the best!" Michaela says between mouthfuls.

"You're both wrong. The only way to go is Passionfruit Lemonade Tea," Madison said.

Why is it that it seems the only way to celebrate in the Cowman Household is with food? We love food! We love ice cream. We love pizza. We love coffees. Is there any other way to celebrate?

Hm...Logically speaking, there are lots of ways a family can celebrate. Even as I write this thoughts of Thanksgiving spreads flash before me, thoughts of our "Morning Christmas Casserole" and Christmas Eve Subs after our Christmas Eve service. Boy, it all involves FOOD!

Bu.u.t, but there really are lots of ways a family can celebrate - other ways. We love going to movies....BUTTERED POPCORN. We love taking walks on crisp fall or spring days...HOT CHOCOLATE with WHIPPED CREAM. We love lighting cinnamin candles, turning down the lights, playing quiet music and reading our favorite books...YES! NO FOOD!

Celebrations DON'T have to involve food!

The only way to celebrate is with food? That's a lie!

Lisa has spoken at numerous ladies' retreats and conferences and has co-authored a Bible study on Esther. She lives in Quincy, Illinois along with her pastor husband and four children. Her passion is to share with other ladies all of the joy and contentment that come from "real live faith". To read more about Lisa or to order her study, visit her website at and her blog at

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Does God Care?

Traditionally, I spend the week from Palm Sunday to Easter contemplating Jesus’ last days on earth. My emotions waver as I consider His triumphal entry through His crucifixion and culminating in His resurrection. Today, I wonder if I have allowed these truths to penetrate every area of my life—specifically the area of eating. Typically, I focus on Jesus and His suffering and sacrifice. I think about how He felt and the agony He endured. I wonder what type of love He possessed that would drive Him forward knowing His fate. Certainly, I must think of Him and His life to understand who He is and to nurture a relationship with Him. But I don’t want to stop there. I want to let these truths wash over me and permeate to my core.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

God Loves You. Period.

Kathy gazes at herself in the mirror. Her eyes drop slowly to her thick neck.

Susan pulls on a red tank top. One look at her upper arms and she reaches for the blue short-sleeved top instead.

Mary refuses an invitation to a swimming party, too self-conscious to don a suit.

Self-image—what we believe about ourselves—plays an important role in our overall health.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

What Motivates You?

A hearty "welcome" to those visiting from a guest post I had the privilege of writing this week. If you are new, be sure to comment and tell me how you found my blog.

The following is an encore presentation of a post ran last year.

What motivates you? Why do you get out of bed in the morning? Why do you send your children to school each day? Seriously, wouldn’t it be easier to yield to their whining and let them stay home? (Or, for us home schoolers, to say “Okay,” when they request to skip Math for the sixth day in a row?) Do you send them because you have to, or because you want something great for them?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Guest Blogger Marie Notcheva (Part 3 of 3)

I want to thank Marie, again, for contributing this excellent post. This final installment really brings it home.

Beyond Freedom from Food Addiction – Living for the Glory of God (Part 3 of 3)

This is Part 3 in a series by guest blogger Marie Notcheva. To read Part 1 click here. To read Part 2 click here.

What is the Antidote?

Overcoming food-related struggles and obsessive thinking about food, weight and appearance is notoriously difficult. Nevertheless, full and permanent victory is possible, and it all begins by being “brainwashed.” Surprised? No, Scripture doesn’t send us to a hypnotist to deal with sin; rather, we are instructed to“be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2). This is an ongoing, life-long process which all begins with saturating ourselves in the Word of God. As we study and meditate on what God’s thoughts, desires and priorities are, gradually we internalize them and they become our own. If your mind is “set on the things above” (Col. 3:2), it will be preoccupied less and less with food. When we learn to live with an eternal perspective, the “drugs” and other means we use to gain pleasure fade in importance. Addictions are broken only when we begin to truly see the all-surpassing beauty and magnificence of the Lord Jesus Christ. Simply put, Jesus must become more beautiful, more satisfying, more desirable and more fulfilling than our addiction. As C.S. Lewis put it, we are too easily satisfied – making mud pies in a slum when a “holiday” at the seaside awaits.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Guest Blogger Marie Notcheva (Part 2 of 3)

Beyond Freedom from Food Addiction – Living for the Glory of God (Part 2 of 3)

This is Part 2 in a series by guest blogger Marie Notcheva. To read Part 1 click here.

What Hinders You?
If you struggle with over-eating, preoccupation with your weight and/or food, or a tendency to use food for emotional reasons, you probably realize very well that this is outside of God’s will for your life. You may even recognize that you are engaged in a spiritual battle (Eph. 6:12). You’ve read passages warning believers not to be “mastered by anything” but rather to “be self-controlled and alert” (1 Cor. 6:12; 1 Peter 5:8). And yet, as common as “food abuse” is, in the day-to-day we tend to think of it as a “common vice.”

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Guest Blogger Marie Notcheva

I met Marie through a blogging community and was instantly drawn to her writing because of her tell-it-like-it-is approach. She uses her personal story and the Word to edify and encourage others struggling with food issues. There is a wealth of information packed into these next three blog posts. Thank you, Marie!

Beyond Freedom from Food Addiction – Living for the Glory of God (Part 1 of 3)
In December 2003, God impressed the words “Live up to what you’ve already attained!” (Philippians 3:16) very strongly on my heart. At the time, He was granting me repentance from a long-standing eating disorder, and, as any Christian stuck in life-dominating sin would be, I was thoroughly miserable. That misery began to change to hope as I pondered the implication of that verse: what have I already attained? In context, Paul is talking about the believer’s secure position by knowing Christ. Since we are free from the Law, he reasons, we have now only to “press on to take hold of” what Christ has already attained for us: the “righteousness that comes from God” (v. 9). Although I had been a Christian for 13 years, I now began pondering what my position in Christ actually meant, practically speaking. Although I was not acting “righteous”, slowly I began to see that because of my union with Him, I was not, in reality, a slave to sin. My salvation already secured, God had declared me a member of His family and a co-heir with Christ (Romans 8:17). Now, He was encouraging me to act like it. Live up to what you already are, I told myself, because of Christ. He made it possible.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

10 Worst Ways to Lose Weight

There are times when life circumstances are so off kilter our physical bodies react involuntarily (hopefully briefly). These are the moments we wish we had a fast forward button.

While some of these can be dark times, I’ve tried to lighten the list with a bit of humor.

10 Worst Ways to Lose Weight

10 – Hectic Schedule – Did I eat lunch?

9 – Snowbound – We didn’t stock up!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Guest Blogger Julia Denton: Fellowship without food? Really?

I would like to introduce my great friend, Julia. We met at a writing conference last summer. Since then, she has been a terrific friend and mentor. She lovingly took me under her wing--editing my work, encouraging me to persevere, and praying for me. Her writing sings, and her ability to make people laugh is incredible!

OK, cards on the table first: Despite coming from an earlier generation, I am not a really great wifey-poo to begin with. I don’t cook all that well, am not especially enamored of housekeeping, and haven’t the slightest interest in any sport but baseball, which I follow about once a decade. But one thing I’ve always been adamant about is preserving the family dinner time, where we all sit and eat our main meal of the day together at approximately the same time every day.

This worked well for about the first 20 years of our marriage. Then it got a bit dicey when the kids became teenagers who began every meal with “Are we having THIS again?” But we weathered that era with a healthy dose of tolerance and a lot of take-home fast food.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

100 Calorie-Sized Debate and "Reshaping It All" Review

In a world that hammers the message “Go Green” into our heads, why must food be packaged in 100 calorie-sized sacks? This question crossed my mind last night as I saw yet another commercial for a snack pre-packaged to fit our caloric intake. It’s ironic that we go through the drive-thru and “super-size” our meals only to open our cupboards and find chips, cookies, etc. in smaller containers than they were years ago. Doesn’t that defeat the purpose of “going green?”

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Who Do You Trust?

God gave me a visual this morning.

Do you remember playing this trust game when you were younger? One person stands in front of another, both facing the same direction. The person in front spreads her arms and free-falls backward. The idea is to let the person standing in back catch her.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Made to Crave GIVEAWAY!


I’ve often thought it would be easier to deal with a drug issue or alcohol issue than an eating issue. Before you shake your finger, let me explain. I used to smoke. I quit when I was pregnant with my first child seventeen years ago because I didn’t want to harm him. Other than a few times here and there when I first quit, I haven’t craved cigarettes since. The mere smell of smoke now clogs my throat and makes me feel as if I am being smothered. I easily abstain from cigarettes—because I don’t hang around smokers, don’t visit places where there is smoking (thanks, in part, to Illinois’ no smoking laws), and never have “just one” drag. So . . . I have often thought it would be easier to abstain from a substance that I am addicted to than have to pick and choose wisely. Hence, my thoughts that I’d rather have a drug or alcohol issue than an eating issue.

I know this is wrong thinking. I’ve seen people who battle with drugs, alcohol, and even cigarettes, try and try again to abstain. So I’ve concluded that wrestling with the flesh is wrestling with the flesh no matter what it looks like. Still . . . what if I could just walk away from food altogether?


Toward the end of Lysa TerKeurst’s book Made to Crave, she ponders the question, “Is discipline really sustainable?” One pastor’s simple response was, “God tells us to be holy. So, be holy. He wouldn’t have said it if it weren’t possible.” (p.169) I smiled at this reply. I felt a lift in my spirit and hope spring up. I give this pastor a hearty, “Amen!” After all, self-control is a fruit of the spirit (Gal. 5:22). All I need to do is tap into that fruit and God’s strength. How? Lysa says, “The answer lies within the very next choice you make.” (p.175)

If “we crave what we eat” (p.20), we must be disciplined long enough to crave the proper portions of what our body needs (as opposed to the unhealthy choices we typically feed it). That means choosing to make the right choice over and over and over (possibly against our desires) until it’s no longer a choice, but a lifestyle.

I manned the concession stand at my daughter’s basketball game last weekend. I sat behind the row of candy bars, suckers, and sugar-filled drinks for an hour with my ten-year old son. After 45 minutes, he asked, “Mom, don’t you want to eat a bunch of that candy?” I said, “No, I don’t.” I was not tempted in the least. But his question impelled me to analyze my situation. Why wasn’t I tempted? I love chocolate. Certainly, I have eaten my share of Reese’s peanut butter cups and Butterfingers (my favorite candy bar in college). Here is the answer: I don’t buy candy bars! As a practice, I do not purchase candy bars. At some point in the past ten years I made a decision to stop purchasing candy bars at the grocery store or gas station or at games. I don’t remember making this choice or how I managed to follow through on it; but, that discipline stuck—so much so that I no longer consciously make a choice. I walk past candy without pausing, without being tempted, without even seeing it. Praise God! I believe this is an example of sustained discipline. (Side note: I still eat chocolate, but bite-sized pieces and only occasionally.)


As promised, I will draw next Tuesday, Feb. 22. The winner receives my Made to Crave book.
Your name will be entered each time you do one of the following:

1. Post this blog to your facebook.
2. Tweet this post.
3. Email this post to your friends.
4. Become a follower. (If you are already a follower, let me know.)
5. Grab my button and put it on your blog or website. (If my button is already on your site, let me know.)
6. Sign up to receive posts by email. (If you already receive posts by email, let me know.)
7. Answer the following question in the comment section: Can you point to an example of sustained discipline in your life?

IMPORTANT: Please let me know through facebook, email or the comment section which of the above you did. Yes, your name could be entered into the drawing seven times!

Check back next Wednesday to see if you have won!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Made to Crave Book Review

Lysa TerKeurst wrote the book I set out to write six years ago. Seriously. I am amazed at how many topics she includes that I have covered in this blog and articles I’ve written. So I can’t help but endorse the book with two thumbs up and five gold stars.

Made to Crave follows Lysa on her journey of discovering why she ate improperly, what she chose to do about it, and how she maintains her goal weight. I especially like this book because the author is real, authentic. There are no quick fixes and she does not pretend as if it’s easy. Her goal is a lifestyle change only obtainable through a deep-rooted spiritual change. She gives practical steps balanced with cautions not to be legalistic. Lysa also draws the reader in by using humor (one of the chapters is entitled “Friends Don’t Let Friends Eat Before Thinking”), stories of her own failures and successes, and relating to the reader. (She told a tortilla chip story that reminded me of my “Stretch” blog post.)

Throughout the book Lysa refers to scripts she recites to herself. She states we need to replace our rationalizing scripts with Healthy Eating Go-To Scripts. For example, when we are tempted to compromise, think past the moment and ask, How will I feel about this choice tomorrow morning? A list of scripts is found in the back of the book. A list of Personal Reflection questions follows each chapter. The questions engage the reader and help apply the newfound knowledge.

My favorite quote of the book is, “You crave what you eat” (more on that in another post). My favorite story is told in the chapter “But Exercise Makes Me Want to Cry.” Lysa heard God speak to her. As she obeyed, she experienced God in a new way. “As I ran that day, I connected with God on a different level. I experienced what it meant to absolutely require God’s faith to see something through. How many times have I claimed to be a woman of faith but rarely lived a life requiring faith?” (p.90)

This book is full of truths worth pursuing and is an excellent read. God may use it to change your life.

Due to some time constraints I am facing this week, I am waiting until next week to conduct the drawing for this book. Thank you for your patience.

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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Getting a Plan with Lysa TerKeurst

I heard so much about Lysa TerKeurst’s new book Made to Crave, I picked up a copy. I plan on reviewing the book in its entirety when I finish; however, I can’t help but interact with the book while I am reading. (She makes this easy by including reflection questions at the end of each chapter.)

In the third chapter, Lysa builds an excellent case for “getting a plan” to lose weight. Although she includes her plan, she is quick to say that her plan does not necessarily need to be your plan. The real point is to have a plan.

Are plans important? Yes. But they should be an extension of living a righteous life. They should blossom from an intimate relationship with the Lord. We should first delve into the root cause of improper eating. If we do not understand what caused our nasty habits, we will revert back to them.

One reason I have avoided writing about specific plans is because of past experiences with “plans.” Diets work. It’s what happens after I’ve met my goal. When I achieve my desired weight, after being hungry for four months or so, I want to eat until I’m full. So I do. There are various endings to this story, which at least tells you that I’ve lived it many times over in the past twenty-seven years; but, none of them end happily. Therefore, I associate plans (dieting) with failing (i.e. gaining the weight back or reverting to an unhealthy eating pattern). I am fearful of another plan.

However, Lysa has a valid point. Without a plan, we don’t have direction or goals.

God’s nature is to be organized and have goals. Jesus had a plan. He knew where He was going and His ultimate objective. Imagine if Jesus had lost his way to Jerusalem, or chosen to stay in Galilee, or allowed Himself to be sidetracked. He could have missed his own crucifixion!

But He didn’t. Jesus met his goals because He, first, knew who He was and Whose He was . . . and, second, had a God-directed plan. Shouldn’t we? Yes, in all areas of life—including, but not limited to, the physical area of life.

My Plan
My most recent plan is “eat healthy.” Before you laugh, it is a bit more complex than it appears. My healthy choices are based on research (see “My Picks” widget for some books I have read). Unfortunately, the farther I get from these truths, the easier it is to slip back into old patterns. For example, I buy organic lettuce for my family . . . until I am at Sam’s Club and see that a huge bag of romaine lettuce is half the cost. Then, I temporarily lose myself in the thought of saving money and snatch it up. (Does anyone hear a rationalization in there?) Maybe some of you are thinking, “Well, at least you eat lettuce!” True enough. However, these are my goals. Yours may be different.

I believe a bigger issue for me right now is portion control. This is an area I’ve let up on in the past couple of years. I stopped counting calories or measuring my food. It seemed too rigid. But maybe I can find harmony somewhere in between. The knowledge is there. So I am committing this area to prayer.

My conclusion? “Eat healthy” is not specific enough. Goals (and the plans to reach them) need to be measureable and attainable.

So, while I do not want to be a slave to rules and checklists and the goals themselves, it is difficult to reach a goal if I never set one and get a plan to reach it. So as I deal with the issues that have contributed to my poor eating habits, I will ask God to give me a plan—one that is measureable and attainable. I think the first step is dealing with the fear issue I mentioned earlier.

What do you think about plans?

Do you have a plan? Is it God-directed?

Side Note: As I mentioned at the beginning, I will be posting a full review of Made to Crave after I finish the book. Additionally, I will be giving the book away in a drawing. Directions for the drawing will be in a later post.

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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

How Do You Escape Life's Problems?

Yesterday, I threw my arms up in defeat. I surrendered. I caved. I gave up. I did the unthinkable – called a medical specialist. The connotation surrounding this call is “I’m a failure.” I could not rid my body of pain. I could not figure out the problem and fix it. Add this mindset to escalating PMS (yes, it’s real) and my emotions launched into a tailspin – and landed on “depressed.”

Every ounce of me wanted to go face-down in a bag of tortilla chips and eat my way out of the pit of failure I had fallen in. (It didn’t help that we recently purchased the tastiest tortilla chips I’ve eaten in a long time, and they were staring at me from the counter.)

Have you experienced days like this? Maybe you’ve trudged through weeks or months or possibly years like this. Hopelessness and despair creep into our lives. If we don’t recognize them quickly, they grab hold and rapidly pull us down. To escape, we’re liable to turn to outside sources. Shopping, drugs, and sleeping are all options. But some of us use . . . food. We think food will mask the pain and hurt. We think food will distract us from the real issues. And it may. Temporarily. But when we lift our head out of the proverbial sand (or in my case, bag of tortilla chips), our problems still exist.

I’m sure cleansing my body of impurities last week was Holy Spirit led. But God never promised a positive outcome. He never said, “Cleanse your body, walk an hour each day, ice every four hours, and I’ll wave my magic wand and heal you.” I desired it. I sought it. I hoped and prayed for a happy ending. But the pain still plagues me. No amount of tortilla chips (or lack thereof) will change that fact.

But my perspective can change. So, today, I am again throwing my hands up and surrendering. But not in defeat. I am surrendering to God and His will. “I lift up my eyes to the hills – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” (Psalm 121:1-2) “Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer. I long to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings.” (Psalm 61:1,4)

The truth is God never promised Christians would live a pain-free life. What he did say is, “I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. In the world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:20,33) God promises, “He (or She) will call upon me and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation.” (Psalm 91:15,16)

Today, instead of wallowing in self-pity, I raise my glass of water in a toast with the Apostle Paul who wrote, “. . . if we are [God’s] children, then we are heirs – heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” (Romans 8:17-18) To God’s glory! Cheers!

How do you escape from life’s troubles?

What Scripture verse lifts your spirits?

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Tuesday, January 18, 2011


I almost ate a tortilla chip from my daughter’s plate today. So what? Well, today is my second day of a five-day cleanse. The cleanse does not include tortilla chips – not even one.

Before I go any further, let me define cleanse and explain why I am doing one. Toxins fill our bodies. They come from food as well as other places – pollutants in the air, shampoos, deodorants, cleaning products, etc. Basically, you cannot avoid them. So, it is a good practice to periodically rid our body of built-up toxins (hence, the cleanse). Physical issues I’ve been dealing with for eight weeks prompted this particular cleanse. My right leg (from my buttocks to my toes) has been hurting and falling asleep. Before I see a specialist, I want to see if toxin build-up or inflammation is the cause.

What about the tortilla chip? The act of reaching for the chip tells me that I make decisions without much, if any, thought. My routine is second nature. In many ways, I walk through my day like a robot on auto-pilot. And that’s the way I like it! I love my comfort zone. I could curl up in it and live peacefully for the rest of my life (if everyone else would cooperate).

If I think of my comfort zone as an area, a section would include physical comfort. When I am in pain, too hot, too cold, in the rain, or hungry (I could go on), I am not nice. I become irritable and want to flee right back to that area of comfort. I am not referring to physical well-being. I am talking about allowing my physical comfort to override God’s directive.

I want to chew on something crunchy (not drink). I want to enjoy the taste of my food (not endure it). I want a bite of my husband’s steak because it smells good. I want what I want!

Can physical comfort become an idol? At the very least, the above attitude is self-centered.

I read a magazine recently in which “Stretch” was the theme. It is easy to lay idle in our regular routine. But how will we reach others for Christ? How will God mold us into His image?

The stretch theme reminds me of a skit Nicole Johnson performs. In Matthew 12, Jesus enters a synagogue. A man with a shriveled hand is there. To the dismay of the Pharisees, Jesus heals the man’s hand. But before he heals it, he tells the man, “Stretch out your hand.” It must have been painful, and possibly embarrassing, for the man to stretch his hand. But he was willing because he knew that to be healed he must stretch. He also knew the source of the healing and in which direction to stretch his hand – toward Jesus.

So this week I am stretching. Physically, I am outside of my comfort zone cleansing my body. Spiritually, I am stretching toward Jesus asking Him to heal me and to direct my steps.

Do you walk through your day on auto-pilot?

In the area of eating, what would be a stretch for you?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Potluck Dilemma

Leslie Leyland Fields stands in line at the church potluck and wonders what, if any, of the food presented Jesus would add to His plate. Thus begins her article entitled “A Feast Fit for the King” in the November 2010 issue of Christianity Today (see link under “Article Links”).

I’ve often wondered the same thing - not just at church potlucks. Sometimes I look at the offering on my own dining room table and wonder if God really can “bless this food to the nourishment of our bodies.”

Fields explains, among other things, her thoughts on recently published books about how food is processed and what we should or should not be eating. In the past several months I have read The Omnivore’s Dilemma, Animal, Vegetable, and Miracle, and Women Food and God. While I think each has a nugget of truth, I am reluctant to recommend any of them because of their secular world view. It has been difficult for me to reconcile these “cultish” approaches with my biblical world view. That is why I was thrilled to read this article. I believe her piece will help Christians understand that what we do and say in all areas of life, including eating, reflects who we are in Christ.

Although the article is long, I would highly recommend reading it (click on Christianity Today - "A Feast Fit for the King" under “Article Links” in the side bar). With that, I will leave you with this quote from her article:

As Protestants, our food practices have relied far too heavily on a single New Testament passage, I believe: Peter's vision of a sheet full of formerly unclean animals let down from heaven. God's command to "rise, kill and eat" (the supreme-meat-lover's favorite biblical scene), in my opinion, has been used to justify a kind of gustatory free-for-all.

How shall we use our freedom in Christ? Freedom is never given for license or for self-indulgence. If our freedom ends in mindless consumption, abuse of the earth, exploitation of God's gifts, and mistreatment of our bodies, then we have allowed our appetites to enslave us again.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Guest Blogger Laura Danner: When Food Deceives Us

Deception often involves taking an unpleasant fact and wrapping it in such a shiny, enticing new package that the ugly reality is ignored until it is too late – for example, the “all sales final” vehicle that looks like new on the used car lot, but then breaks down on the drive home. In one form or another, we’ve all had experience falling for something that ultimately proved to be “too good to be true.”
Food is an area where I can be easily deceived. Unhealthy food choices are presented in such enticing packages: “convenience food,” “fast food,” “super-sized value meals,” and even “drive-thru.” With the hectic pace of today’s world, who wouldn’t be drawn to the promise of a lot of cheap, fast and convenient food that doesn’t even require you to get out of your car?

Years of giving in to these temptations resulted in my being an overweight, lethargic and unhappy adult. The ugly reality behind the kinds of food I was choosing is that they often provide a high amount of calories with relatively little nutrition. The very process of making food fast and convenient requires stripping many of their naturally occurring nutrients and replacing them with fats, sweeteners, chemicals and preservatives that can be harmful to our bodies.

It wasn’t until I made a conscious decision to change my eating habits that I was able to achieve and maintain a healthy weight. The weight did not come off as the result of a quick and easy fad diet … it had taken years of poor food choices to gain the weight, and it has taken years of healthy eating and exercise to lose it and keep it off.

From the beginning, God gave us the food we need to sustain us. Genesis 1:29 states:

Then God said, "I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food." (New International Version)

Notice that the foods God originally gave us to eat are not necessarily “fast” or “convenient” … they take full seasons to grow, and require labor to be harvested.

Daniel understood the importance of eating the foods provided by God. The first chapter of the Book of Daniel describes how King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon wanted Daniel and his men to eat the rich food and drink from the king’s table. Not wanting to defile themselves, they instead consumed only vegetables and water for 10 days and, after that time, proved to be stronger than those who had been eating the royal food.

At the end of the ten days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food. So the guard took away their choice food and the wine they were to drink and gave them vegetables instead. To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds. (Daniel 1:15-17, New International Version)
Does all this mean that it’s a sin to eat fast food? Of course not! As with anything, the key is in balance and moderation. Making convenience food an occasional treat, rather than the mainstay of our diets, is one way we can honor God with our bodies.

Laura Danner works as a technical writer/editor, and lives in the suburbs of Chicago. Her interests include writing, camping and hiking. As part of her ongoing process of maintaining a healthy weight, she has completed three walkers’ marathons (26.2 miles), and climbed the Willis (formerly Sears) Tower twice. Laura’s new goal for 2011 is to take up running, and be ready to complete a 5K event during the summer.