Wednesday, May 20, 2015

How Artificial Sweetener is just like Worldly Temptation

Three days ago, I decided to embark upon a portion control and exercise program to get back in shape, have more energy and eat healthier. The program is pretty popular and is more about lifestyle change rather than functioning as a fad diet. We all know that if you eat good, nutritious foods and exercise, you can maybe lose a little weight and maintain a healthier you, RIGHT? Of course, those things are easier said than done. Over these three days I have actually enjoyed the nutrition part, felt fuller and even though the workouts have been kicking my out-of-shape butt, I feel so much stronger. Having said all struggle with diet soda is FOR REAL.

This program, like so many others, requires that you cut out food and beverages that are filled with chemicals and preservatives and return to more clean eating. Of course that means no artificial sweeteners and NO DIET SODA for me. I thought this was a no brainer and it would be no problem. I was wrong.

While I was out shopping the other day, I realized my water bottle was empty and that I was going to have to refill it (especially since it was such a hot day here in sunny Florida). Wanting to get the beverage situation over with and get to the healthy lunch I had packed, I went through a drive through to get a bottle of water. The images of those refreshing fountain sodas with ice, that had been strategically placed to sell sodas, were absolutely calling my name. I'd like to say that I held my ground, remained strong enough to resist the temptation, but guess what? I bought the soda.

I didn't drink it at first. The soda sat in my cup holder, taunting me. I even pulled out my phone as I sat in the parking lot to search internet message boards for some type of justification that I could still get the weight loss results I wanted if I didn't cut out the soda. It was a DIET soda, right? It may not be totally healthy but no one would know, right? The justifications got louder and louder in my head. After I ate my perfectly balanced lunch of a spinach salad with grilled chicken, I went in to take that first drink of the soda that I was craving so badly. The straw met my lips and...YUCK! The soda was way too sweet and I didn't even want to drink it! It tasted so bad, I ended up pouring it out and getting the bottle of water I should have gotten in the first place.

So what had happened to me? Where was the delicious, refreshing soda that I had wished for and wanted so badly? I took to the internet to find out. Turns out that artificial sweeteners (like the sucralose that is found in diet sodas) actually make things taste sweeter. This I already knew (that's why you usually use less sweet-n-low, equal or splenda than real sugar). The amazing thing was that because I had cut out all the bad stuff and been eating clean for just 3 days, my "neutral level" or "baseline" taste for sweetness had reset and I was satisfied with the things that were healthy and not what I had previously perceived to be as sweet. Making a habit of eating healthy had actually made not eating healthy distasteful! This experience and new information was totally what I needed. I realized that I didn't need soda. Water or tea flavored with lemon or other fruits could be even more satisfying and good for me too.

Another thing that dawned on me after this little scenario played out was this:

Artificial sweeteners, full of their chemicals and man-made materials are similar to worldly temptations and distractions. The more you drink, the worse it is for you. Your baseline for "sweetness" can quickly stray from what you know to be healthy. Your relationship with God and spirituality, your discernment between what is right and what is wrong can quickly be compromised by those temptations that seem so sweet by the world's standards. The more we nourish our minds and hearts with the word of God, the happier and healthier we become. We find the temptations and questionable behaviors distasteful when we are focused on all that is true and right.

The bible gives us guidance on how to be in the world but not of it. We should feed ourselves with His truth, rather than things that are unhealthy in the spiritual sense:

1 John 2:15-17 ESV
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

Matthew 4:4 ESV
But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

Galatians 5:16 ESV
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.

Philippians 4:8 ESV
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

So don't mess with your baseline for "sweetness" - get out there and eat right, both physically and spiritually. Your overall health will be better for it.

I'd love to hear your stories or thoughts on how this may apply to your life. Feel free to comment and share.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Fort Hood Soldiers Prayer/Thoughts Thread

Let your voice be heard! Add your thoughts below on each slide of the voicethread in remembrance, support, and prayer for those affected by the Fort Hood Tragedy. Just click the play button, click "comment" (at the bottom of the voicethread window) and choose your method of participation (web cam, microphone or text). No additional software or downloads are needed. For further instructions or info on using a voicethread, see the links below the voicethread window. Thanks for participating and God Bless you.

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Note: Pictures are linked to their photo credits.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

My Kids Amaze Me!

This post is one that I wrote over at the Everyday Christian Moms Network to go with our weekly blog theme, "My kid's Amaze Me."

We would love to have you come on over to the network to participate. We welcome, previously published posts from your personal blog, as well as links your blog.

My kids continue to amaze me by teaching me something new almost daily. I firmly believe that children are God's way of revealing Himself to us. The joy of parenthood lets us experience a piece the love that God feels for us as His children.

To illustrate how my kids "teach" me, I will share a story that actually happened this Sunday.

We were on our way home from church (I had my 9 year old daughter and four year old daughter in the car with me) and the road that I usually go home on (a highway) was blocked off. They did not do a very good job of providing detour signs. Now, anybody who knows me understands that I can get lost in a paper bag! Turn me around once and I am helpless! With us being new to the New Orleans area, I had no idea how to get home. So of course I did what any sane person would do, I went around and around in circles (each time ending in a spot that was back BEFORE the road blockage, even though I thought I had passed it). Every time we came back to the blockage I would exclaim, "What? how did we get back here? Dagblasted, dogone it!" (Like most moms, I used made up curses to avoid using bad language in front of my kids)

Finally after coming back to the road block 3 times, my nine year old looked at me and said, "Mom why don't you just pray about it and we will get home. Your way of handling it doesn't seem to be working."

I just looked at her and wondered two things. Why was she being so cheeky? and Why I hadn't thought of that before? Then my emotion turned to being amazed that she had said something so profound. So there we were in the car, saying a prayer together for God to get us home. Sooooo... I think you can guess what happened next. Almost immediately, I recognized a landmark and we made our way past the roadblock and back onto the highway. As we got onto the highway we all yelled. "Yay!" (you have to remember we had been driving around for an hour so this was a big deal)

A little bit down the road, I hear a little voice from the back of the car say, "Thank you, God!" It was my four year-old Lilly. Deborah and I joined in the thanksgiving for the miracle that God had performed on our behalf (again, if you know me, you know that it was a miracle that we found our way!)

So, that is my story about "how my kids amaze me". They amaze me by loving God with an innocence that seems to get all mixed up for us as adults. I thank the Lord for sending these precious ones into my life! He reveals His love to me through them on a daily basis!

Matthew 18:2-4 (New International Version)

2He called a little child and had him stand among them. 3And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

God Speaks to Us Where We Are-Even Through the Phone

I was just sitting here doing my daily bible reading and realized that it is truly a sign of the times that I am reading the bible on my iphone! With the application I am using, it is so easy to change the translation, search, bookmark, read, follow a bible reading plan and have it all at my finger tips. Since I take my phone everywhere, I always have the WORD at my side. It has actually encouraged me to refer to it more, what a blessing! I can pull it out while I am waiting somewhere or when I am a passenger in the car. While many say that technology takes us away from what is important, I have to say that when used correctly, it can be a tool to help us grow in our walk. Never before has the good news been so available and accessible to so many. God is using it to speak love into the lives of those that will listen.

I shared this poem before on the ECM blog awhile ago and will share it again in the context of this post:

Cell Phone vs. the Bible

I wonder what would happen if we treated the bible like we treat our cell phones?
What if we carried it around in our purses or pockets?
What if we turned back when we forgot it?
What if we flipped through it several times a day?
What if we used it to receive messages from the text?
What if we treated it like we couldn't live without it?
What if we gave it to kids as gifts?
What if we used it when we traveled?
What if we used it in case of an emergency?
What if we upgraded it to get the latest version?
This is something to make you go...hmmmm...where is my bible?
Oh, and one more thing, we don't ever have to worry about our bible being disconnected because Jesus already paid the bill!

So I have found a way not to have my cell phone at odds with the bible, but working together with the word as a tool to help me grow my spiritual walk. God is so good, He will speak to us in so many ways (even through my cell phone!) How great is it that He meets us right where we are?

Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God.
Luke 11:28 NIV

I love this Mercy Me Song. It talks about letting the Word of God speak. Whether it is through your phone, the counsel of another person, a fleeting thought, an act of kindness, traditional bible reading or in deep prayer; take the time to listen to Him, reflecting on His word. He will meet you and speak to you right where you are.

*Please Note*
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