Worry vs. Prayer

Big Point:  Worry is focused negative thinking, while prayer is focused spiritual thinking.

About 19 million Americans suffer from anxiety disorders, but far more suffer from mild anxiety or worry that has not yet developed into a disorder.  For many people today, worry has simply become a mental habit. Automatically thinking the worse case scenario for the events that happen in their lives.  It’s also playing the “what if” possibilities over & over in their minds.

This has become the normal for many people, however there is a better way and a better normal.  This way leads to less stress, more peace and better health. Philippians 4:6-7 gives us the better way “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.  His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”

So, prayer is the better way.  Pray should be our normal response to anything that comes our way.  Pausing to talk to God, ask for his help, for wisdom, for courage, for patience.  Expressing our frustrations, fears and doubts to him instead of having a negative conversation with ourselves leads to peace.  It also leads to better health both physically and emotionally.

Read and Reflect:  Read these passages of Scripture several times.  Each time you read it emphasize a different word.  Then reflect and think about what you noticed.

  • Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” 1 Peter 5:7
  • “So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7
  • “But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.” 1 John 4:4
  • “And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find.  Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.” Luke 11:9
  • “But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles.  They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31

Questions to Consider:

  • What do you tend to worry about the most?
  • What benefits would you gain by praying more instead of worrying?
  • What is one thing you could do to remind yourself to pray more throughout your day?
  • When was the last time you memorized a passage of Scripture?  If it’s been awhile consider memorizing one of the verses in this devotional.

What’s Next?

  • Memorize one or more passages of Scripture this week.
  • Focus on Jesus by reading the story found in Luke 10:38-42
  • Make a list of all the things that you are grateful for
  • Build prayer into your daily schedule, with reminders until it becomes normal.

Dear Lord,
I need you now because I am full of stress and anxiety. Reading your Word brings comfort, as I ask you to come and take my heavy burdens. I take each burden, one by one, and lay them at your feet. Please carry them for me so that I don’t have to. Replace them with your humble and gentle spirit so that I will find rest for my soul today. I receive your gift of peace of mind and heart. Thank you that I can lie down tonight in peace and sleep. I know that you, Lord, will keep me safe. I am not afraid because you are always with me. Please keep me daily, Lord, in your perfect peace.

A Key to Success

norway-travelnews-amundsenI’d like to share a story with you about two explorers:

Explorers Roald Amundsen and Robert Falcon Scott competed to be the first to lead their teamon an expedition to the South Pole in October 1911. The 1400 mile trip was challenging, and temperatures often reached 20 degrees below zero even during the summer. The terrain was uncertain and unforgiving. The modern communication we rely upon was non-existent. If things went badly, rescue was very unlikely. Amundsen led his explorers to safety and victory, but Scott’s expedition led to defeat. The difference in the leaders’ expeditions was wisdom.

Amundsen spent years rigorously preparing for the journey. He learned how to handle polar conditions, and he lived with Eskimos to learn how they survived, what they wore, and how they moved. He studied every possible scenario. Amundsen designed the entire journey to reduce the likelihood of chance events. He carried enough extra supplies to be able to miss every single supply depot and still go another 100 miles, but Scott risked running low on supplies. Amundsen stored three tons of supplies for five men; Scott had only one ton for 17 men. Amundsen brought four thermometers, but Scott brought only one. Amundsen used sled dogs, based on the wisdom of the Eskimos. Scott used unproven motor sledges and ponies. The sleds failed, and the ponies died. Amundsen was famous for his “20 Mile March” wisdom, having a set distance the team had to travel daily no matter the circumstances. Scott let the weather determine when his team moved. Amundsen trained his body and mind with rigorous discipline, but Scott’s preparation was limited. He made plans based on his own intuition and opinions, not on direct research of the environment he was entering.

On December 15, 1911, Amundsen and his team reached the South Pole. They planted the flag and went right back to work. They reached home base on January 25th, the exact day he planned. Eight months later, a British reconnaissance party found the frozen bodies of Scott and his last two teammates in a snow covered tent just eleven miles short of his supply station. The entire team had perished. Scott’s lack of wisdom led to defeat.

There was a pretty big difference between the two explorers right.  Amundsen was much better prepared for the journey than Scott.  Why was he more prepared?

  1. He spent years preparing himself and his team – Always remember that to take on something important, something big we have to prepare for it. We have to practice and work on our skills.  So whatever we want to do in life start preparing now.  We are always preparing for something, when we stop growing and preparing we often miss opportunities or make critical mistakes and failures.
  2. He also learned as much as he could about the South Pole – This is a reminder for all of us to always keep learning and growing. The most successful people in life are the ones that are life-long learners.  So just because you are out of school doesn’t mean you stop learning.  Keep reading books, keep studying things you are interested in.  Keep stretching yourself.  There is always something new to learn.
  3. He planned for chance events – He knew that there were lots of things out of his control, like the weather. He had to be flexible when things went wrong.  No matter how much you plan there are always things that can go wrong.  Life has lots of ups and downs, so we need to prepare for those things by making wise decisions and having some backup plans.  Amundson packed extra supplies and took more than he needed in case things did not go as planned.  In life things often do not go as planned, so prepare to be flexible.
  4. He talked to people that knew more than he did, the Eskimos – We can also learn a lot from other people that have gone before us that are older or more experienced than us. Ask questions and learn from people that have been doing the things we want to do.  Where I work at a church we go to other churches that are bigger than us, more experienced than us and ask them questions and try to learn what is working for them.
  5. He had a system and was disciplined – he planned to go 20 miles every day no matter what. He learned what worked then he stuck with it and followed the plan.  Self-discipline is important because we often have to do things we don’t enjoy.  To accomplish good things in life we need to work hard, stay focused and stick with it.
  6. Amundson used wisdom to succeed – Wisdom is accurately applying knowledge and clear judgement to life situations

The Bible has a lot to say about wisdom.  King Solomon – wrote most of the book of Proverbs.  That’s a great place to start in seeking wisdom.  If you haven’t read Proverbs start today.  Make is a practice to read through the 31 chapters of Proverbs a couple of times a year.


Good Enough


One of the questions that runs through our minds is; am I good enough? Am I good enough feeds our need to perform, please and pretend.  Am I good enough pushes us to prove ourselves and show people that we matter. This can be very dangerous to our emotional and mental health.  It also damages our spiritual lives.

We all grow up with dysfunction.  There are certain values that you grew up observing and statements that were made to you that have affected your life. If you only got attention or approval if you did something good or achieved something then you will continue to think your only worthy if you perform and are productive.

When we experience conditional love it feeds this question of am I good enough?

The truth is in God’s eyes we are good enough.  There is nothing we can do to make God love us more and there is nothing we can do to make God love us less.  His love for us in truly unconditional. We are good enough. When we can step away from this question and say yes I am good enough our focus can be on the right things.  We know we can improve, but that does not make us more worthy or valuable as human beings.  Our worth is not found in our achievements, its found in our character.

Being good enough is the wrong question because it causes us to question our value and worth. We all have stories that are undesirable, painful and shameful or embarrassing. When we can walk into those stories and accept them as part of us, we can experience the power of our worthiness.  Those stories don’t define us but we can use them for good.  That’s what God does every day, brings good out of the bad.  When we can love ourselves despite those stories and see our worth as a human being then we can love others and encourage others along the way.

God says that we are good enough just as we are, dysfunction and all. He loves us unconditionally and desires for us to grow and connect with Him every day.  So stop asking yourself if your good enough, God created you and planned for you to be a part of this world at this particular time in history.  You are enough simply because you are you.

Summer Time

summer reading


Summer is a great time of the year.  For many families it’s when you take vacation and spend a bit more time together.  It’s easier to have social functions with friends, cooking outs, camp fires, camping, outdoor sports and more.  I’m on a softball team and love to get away and have fun with some other people.

I remember summer as a kid, not having to go to school and spending long days out exploring my grandpa’s farm.  I spent hours looking for arrow heads and flint after the fields where plowed and was even known to go skinny dipping in the creek from time to time.

Summer for me has become a time of building.  I try to approach each summer as a time to sharpen myself as a follower of Christ, a husband, a leader and a friend.  It’s a time to work on relationships, read good books, plan for the rest of the year and relax and have a little fun.

I try to read a lot, because that is one of the ways I learn and keep my mind sharp.  Each summer I try to put together a reading list that I try to knock out over the months of June, July and August.  Here is my list for this year:

  1. The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks & Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield – book about creativity and self-discipline
  2. Sticky Church by Larry Osborn – This book is all about how to help people stay at church and get connected and growing.
  3. Strengths Finder 2.0 by Tom Rath – I am reading this one with my staff, it’s a good self awareness book
  4. On My Worst Day: Cheesecake, Evil, Sandy Koufax, and Jesus by John Lynch – Spiritual growth type book, I heard him speak live and immediately bought the book.
  5. Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman – This book is all about how we thing and why
  6. What the Dog Saw by Malcolm Gladwell – Fun read about odd stories and why we do some of the things we do and some of the extraordinary things that happen in our world
  7. The Catalyst Leader: 8 Essentials For Becoming A Change Maker by Brad Lomenick – leadership development for me.
  8. Great By Choice – Uncertainty, Chaos, And Luck – Why some Thrive Despite Them All by Jim Collins – Another leadership development book from one of my favorite authors.  I’ve had the book two years and finally am going to read it.
  9. The Bible – I’m reading through the New Testament as well – Spiritual Growth and Connecting with God.
  10. TBD – I usually find a book or someone recommends a book that I just have to read.

Have a great summer but remember to include some reading.  Even if you are not a reader, try to read one book this summer.  Reading helps you to focus, use your brain and relieve stress.  Reading also feeds you spiritually, emotionally and intellectually.  If you want to change, grow or just get better as a person, then start reading.  If your into sports you read all the article about your favorite teams, so you can do this – Give it a try this summer.

Love in Action

liove is action


I’ve been thinking and studying this idea of love.  I have to say that I need to work on this area of my life.  I think most people would say they can do a better job of loving others.  But for most of us we don’t know what that looks like.  I work at a church so what I look to in order to learn and grow is God’s Word.  I was reading this today and it really struck me and challenged me.  I hope it does the same for you.  This is found in Romans 12:9-21 in the New Century Version of the Bible:

9 Your love must be real. Hate what is evil, and hold on to what is good. 10 Love each other like brothers and sisters. Give each other more honor than you want for yourselves. 11 Do not be lazy but work hard, serving the Lord with all your heart. 12 Be joyful because you have hope. Be patient when trouble comes, and pray at all times. 13 Share with God’s people who need help. Bring strangers in need into your homes.

14 Wish good for those who harm you; wish them well and do not curse them. 15 Be happy with those who are happy, and be sad with those who are sad. 16 Live in peace with each other. Do not be proud, but make friends with those who seem unimportant. Do not think how smart you are.

17 If someone does wrong to you, do not pay him back by doing wrong to him. Try to do what everyone thinks is right. 18 Do your best to live in peace with everyone. 19 My friends, do not try to punish others when they wrong you, but wait for God to punish them with his anger. It is written: “I will punish those who do wrong; I will repay them,”[a] says the Lord. 20 But you should do this:

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him a drink.
Doing this will be like pouring burning coals on his head.” Proverbs 25:21–22

21 Do not let evil defeat you, but defeat evil by doing good.

Just that first sentence, your love must be real is enough for me today.  You can’t fake love.

Love is all about doing and taking action.  It’s about how we think about ourselves, others and God.  The best way we can worship God is by loving others well.


Problem Solving Do’s & Don’ts

Problem solving is a key skill to develop if you want to be a good leader.  Solving problems will get you noticed and give you influence.  Of course solving problems can be both positive and negative.

In the book of Genesis the story of Abraham and Sarah gives us a good example of trying to solve a problem on your own.  Sarah could not have children and was getting older.  God had promised them they would have many offspring and a nation would grow from them.  Sarah was impatient, and who can blame her as she waited for over a decade and no child.  Sarah decided to solve the problem on her own and convinced her husband to sleep with her servant Hagar in order to have a child.  It worked and Hagar got pregnant and had a son.  However this caused a lot of conflict in the household between Sarah and Hagar and Sarah ended up kicking Hagar and her son out.

This story illustrates what happens when you try to work independently of God.  Here are some mistakes that Sarah and many others make in solving problems:

    • Believing that God is inattentive, absent or even against you.
    • Allowing your circumstance to determine your understanding of God’s character
    • Having a scarcity mindset instead of an abundance mindset
    • Becoming self-seeking or self-focused which leads to manipulation to get your way
    • Feeling inadequate and insecure, fears that cause you to react in unhealthy ways
    • Resent the success of others and angrily turn on them
    • Blame others for the situation or problem
    • Conclude that you need to control the situation or fix the situation instead of waiting on God

So what are some characteristics of a good problem solver?

  1. They anticipate problems – When you can see a problem coming and prevent it before it happens that is great leadership
  2. They accept the truth – You face reality and are honest with yourself and others
  3. They see the bigger picture – You must understand where you are trying to go and what the vision is before solving problems.  This is about perspective
  4. They handle one thing at a time – This is all about focus and not getting distracted from dealing with the issue at hand
  5. They don’t give up when they are down – Things will not always go according to plans and that is when persistence and patience come into play.

So when you face a problem, how do you react?  Do you ignore it and hope it goes away?  Do you feel paralyzed or powerless?  Solving problems well comes from evaluated experience, learning from failures and overcoming mistakes.  It also comes from wise counsel with other people and staying connected with God who gives wisdom when we ask.  Here are a few things you can do to improve your problem-solving skills:

  • Look for trouble – Don’t avoid problems, but pursue them.  This takes both persistence and patience and a willingness to face messy things and speak the truth in love.  It means talking openly about the issues no one else wants to face.  This takes courage and confidence, but must be done with humility.
  • Develop a method – Systems are the best way to solve problems.  Take time to discover the real issues.  Usually the things we notice are just surface issues or emotions.  You need to dig in order to find the root issues.  Find out what other people have done in similar situations.  Study the options that come out of your research and then prioritize solutions and try one.
  • Surround yourself with problem solvers – This means finding people that are good at areas you are weak.  Diverse thinking usually leads to more creative solutions.  Seeking wise counsel is always a good idea when trying to solve problems.  You should have people in your life that you can go to when you need help solving certain types of problems.  For example when you are having problems in your marriage you need to find someone that can mentor you in that area.  When you are having problem financially you find someone that can give you wise counsel in that area.

Take the initiative to solve problems.  Ask God to give you wisdom, patience, discernment and the right people to help you solve the problems you face.

Summer Reading List 2012


Leader’s are readers, I don’t remember who I first heard that from, probably John Maxwell.  Over the years I have made it a point to read as much as I can.  I try to read a variety of books and even include some fiction from time to time.  I like to read because I like to grow, learn, and stretch my thinking and perspectives.  One of the ways I like to read books is by meeting with a group of other people and read it together.  I do that with my staff and different groups of men.  I love the interaction and discussions and it also helps me to actually read more books and finish them.

I have an active list of books I am reading, have read and want to read, to check them out click here.

Several of these books are on my Kindle the rest I have in old fashion books.  If you haven’t read  a book in a while plan to start this summer

I hope you will put a list together of the books you want to read in the coming months.  If you want to be a better leader at home, at work or in your community then start reading.

New Year New Thinking


Most people start the new year by thinking about things they want to change or do differently in the coming year.  It is a time when we can hope for a better future and many people will make resolutions or set goals for the coming year.  I firmly believe in goal setting and have done that for years.  It helps me think about what I want to accomplish and the kind of person I want to be.

Most people never follow through on the resolutions they set or goals they come up with.  The main reason for that is we don’t change the way we think and therefore our actions never follow.  Only when we change our mindset and what we care about can we change our lives.  We all have things that we believe to be true about ourselves, the world, God and others.  Those core beliefs drive our thinking which in turn drives our behavior.  So, to really make a change in 2012, the way we think and what we believe  needs to change.

To do that it is important to identify what lies might be a part of our belief system.  Here are a few that many of us struggle with:

    • Believing that acquiring money and things will bring lasting happiness
    • Believing that excessive food and alcohol can relieve my stress and make me happy
    • Believing that an attractive body and personality will get me what I need
    • Believing that gratifying sexual lust will bring lasting satisfaction
    • Believing that I can associate with bad company and not be corrupted
    • Believing that I can read, see or listen to anything and not be corrupted
    • Believing that I  must gain approval of certain people in order to be happy
    • Believing that I must measure up to certain standards in order to feel good about myself

Here are some lines of thinking that lead us into deception:

  • Thinking I am something I am really not
  • Thinking I was just born this way and can’t change
  • Thinking I can be truly religious but not bridle my tongue
  • Thinking that God is the source of my problems
  • Thinking I can live my life without the help of anyone else
  • Thinking that it’s my life and I can live however I want to
  • Thinking that I need to control the people and situations around me
  • Thinking that I can change other people

Before we can identify lies we believe we need to know what is true.  That starts by looking to the ultimate source of truth and that is God and the Bible.  If you only do one thing this year, let it be to read the Bible more than you did last year.  Maybe it’s reading a devotional daily or maybe it’s reading the New Testament or the whole Bible.  If you have never gotten into the Bible, let this year be the year.  Get a translation that is easy to understand like “The Message” or the “Amplified” or the New Living Translation”.

Here is a summary of some of the most important truths from the Bible.  A goal might be to read this daily for 3 weeks and see what happens.

Truth Statements

 I recognize that there is only one true and living God (Ex. 20:2-3) who exists as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and that He is worthy of all honor, praise and glory as the Creator, Sustainer and Beginning and End of all things (Rev. 4:11; 5:9-10; Is. 43:1, 7, 21).

I recognize Jesus Christ as the Messiah, the Word who became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:1, 14). I believe that He came to destroy the works of Satan (1 John 3:8), that He disarmed the rulers and authorities and made a public display of them, having triumphed over them (Col. 2:15).

I believe that God has proven His love for me because when I was still a sinner, Christ died for me (Rom. 5:8). I believe that He delivered me from the domain of darkness and transferred me to His kingdom, and in Him I have redemption, the forgiveness of sins (Col. 1:13-14).

I believe that I am now a child of God (1 John 3:1-3) and that I am seated with Christ in the heavenlies (Eph. 2:6). I believe that I was saved by the grace of God through faith, that it was a gift, and not the result of any works on my part (Eph. 2:8-9).

I choose to be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might (Eph. 6:10). I put no confidence in the flesh (Phil. 3:3) for the weapons of warfare are not of the flesh (2 Cor. 10:4). I put on the whole armor of God (Eph. 6:10-20), and I resolve to stand firm in my faith and resist the evil one.

I believe that apart from Christ I can do nothing (John 15:5), so I declare myself dependent on Him. I choose to abide in Christ in order to bear much fruit and glorify the Lord (John 15:8). I announce to Satan that Jesus is my Lord (1 Cor. 12:3), and I reject any counterfeit gifts or works of Satan in my life.

I believe that the truth will set me free (John 8:32) and that walking in the light is the only path of fellowship (1 John 1:7).

Therefore, I stand against Satan’s deception by taking every thought captive in obedience to Christ (2 Cor. 10:5). I declare that the Bible is the only authoritative standard (2 Tim. 3:15-16). I choose to speak the truth in love (Eph. 4:15).

I choose to present my body as an instrument of righteousness, a living and holy sacrifice, and I renew my mind by the living Word of God in order that I may prove that the will of God is good, acceptable and perfect (Rom. 6:13; 12:1-2). I put off the old self with its evil practices and put on the new self (Col. 3:9-10), and I declare myself to be a new creature in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17).

I trust my heavenly Father to fill me with His Holy Spirit (Eph. 5:18), to lead me into all truth (John 16:13) and to empower my life that I may live above sin and not carry out the desires of the flesh (Gal. 5:16). I crucify the flesh (Gal. 5:24) and choose to walk by the Spirit.

I renounce all selfish goals and choose the ultimate goal of love (1 Tim. 1:5). I choose to obey the two greatest commandments; to love the Lord my God with all my heart, soul and mind, and to love my neighbor as myself (Matt. 22:37-39).

I believe that Jesus has all authority in heaven and on earth (Matt. 28:18) and that He is the head over all rule and authority (Col. 2:10). I believe that Satan and his demons are subject to me in Christ since I am a member of Christ’s body (Eph. 1:19-23). Therefore, I obey the command to submit to God and to resist the Devil (Jas. 4:7), and I command Satan in the name of Christ to leave my presence.

Happy New Year!

Are You A Worry Wart?


For most people worry is something that comes naturally.  We worry about deadlines, how to pay the bills, what other people think about us, our job security, our marriage, our children and their future.  Sometimes we worry about little things and sometimes we worry about big things, but the point is we all tend to worry.  A good definition of worry is negative focused thinking.  When we worry we are thinking in a negative way.  We go into the worse case scenario and often begin to spiral downward in our thinking.  The result of negative focused thinking is that our emotional and physical state is impacted in a negative way as well.

Jesus actually cautioned us against worrying about anything – even the food we eat or the clothes we wear.  In Matthew 6:25-34, Jesus gives us six reasons for trusting in God rather than  worrying.

  1. God Created Us – The same God who gives us the gift of life and created us as a unique human being will certainly supply the lesser things in life like food and clothing.
  2. God Cares For Us – If God cares for the birds and provides for their needs, why wouldn’t He care for and meet our needs as well.  God loves us more than we love our own children or grandchildren.  He loves us more than we love our parents or siblings.  He loves us more than we love our spouse or boyfriend or girlfriend.  Because of that deep love for us He cares about every detail of our lives.
  3. Worry Doesn’t Change Anything – Worry expends energy pointlessly.  It doesn’t change the reality of the situation one bit.  Worry tends to make the situation worse because it robs us of our peace.  It causes us to lose sleep and brings up negative damaging emotions like fear, bitterness, anxiety and depression.
  4. Worry Ignores God’s Faithfulness in Our Lives – God faithfully provides for all the things He has created.  He pays attention to even the flowers in a field, why wouldn’t He pay even closer attention to us, His masterpiece.  When we worry we quickly forget all the times God has provided in the past.  We forget the way He has moved in previous situations and helped us through difficulties before.
  5. We Are God’s Children – God will never treat us as orphans who need to fend for ourselves.  He treats us as His very own children.  His desire is to give us good gifts and to bless us.  Many times we stray away from Him and walk down the worry path instead of the trust path.    When we do that, God patiently waits for us to return to Him.  When we see God as a loving ever present Father instead of a distant or absent father, we don’t have to worry.
  6. When We Worry About Tomorrow We Miss Out On Today – Any problem we face can be handled, with God’s help, one day at a time.  When we rely on God for help, He freely gives us what we need.  When we rely on ourselves and our own strength we will fall short.  When we worry we miss the blessings that God has for us today.  We miss the things that are right in front of us and we don’t see clearly.  When we worry, we tend to make decisions that often make things worse.

The next time that worry starts to creep into your life or you feel the pressure of life, pray for the grace you need to depend on God.  He is faithful and trustworthy and will provide what is needed to endure and overcome whatever comes your way.  Psalm 118:6, 8-9 says “The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid.  What can man do to me?… It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man.  It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes.”

This is only possible if you have a personal relationship with God.  It is your decision whether you have that relationship or not.  In order to be a child of God you need to accept the free gift God gives to you through His son Jesus Christ.  By asking Jesus to forgive your sins and be the leader of your life you instantly become a child of God and can have the close personal relationship I described above.  Once that decision is made, you begin the journey with God in becoming the person He originally designed you to be.  God begins to chip away the rough edges and begins to shape you and mold you, so that you can fulfill the calling He has for your life.  He begins to heal the hurts and hang ups from your past that keep you from living life to the fullest.

God wants to carry our burdens for us, but we need to hand them over and not take them back.  So take some advice from Jesus and stop worrying.

Eleven Rules For a Healthy Brain and Body


I have been reading a book on brain health, by Daniel Amen.  If ind it very interesting.  His overall theme is that most people’s brains are not very healthy because of the poor nutrition, lack of exercise & lack of sleep.  I just finished reading the chapter on nutrition and thought I would share the Eleven rules the author shares for our best nutrition.  By following these rules, we can lose weight, lower blood pressure, bad cholesterol, increase focus and energy and enjoy life much more.  So here they are:

      1. Drink plenty of water, some green tea (2-3 times a day), and limit drinks with calories.
      2. Watch your calories – The bottom-line message about calories is that the fewer you eat, the longer you live. Calorie restriction with optimal nutrition should be our motto.
      3. Increase good fats and decrease bad fats – Bad fat (saturated fats), really bad fat (trans fat), and good fat (unsaturated fats).  Good fat foods:  Anchovies, Avocados, Lean Meats (Chicken/Turkey), low-fat cheeses, Nuts (walnuts are the best), Olive oil, Canola oil, Flaxseed oil, Salmon, Soybeans, Tuna.
      4. Reduce your Sugar intake – Sugar spikes your blood sugar level then sends it crashing down about 30 minutes later, leaving you feeling lackluster and dim-witted.  If you want to cut down on your sugar intake, start by cutting out the soda and limiting the cookies, candy and ice cream.  Hold the bread before meals, bread makes you hungrier and encourages you to eat more.
      5. Dump artificial sweeteners and replace them with small amounts of natural sweeteners – Artificial sweeteners can cause joint pain, headaches, increase sugar cravings.  Natural sweeteners like stevia, Xylitol can be used on a limited basis.
      6. Limit caffeine intake – caffeine restricts blood flow to the brain, dehydrates the brain, interferes with sleep, can be addictive in high amounts, can accelerate the heart rate and raise blood pressure, can give you the jitters, increase muscle tension, upset your stomach, elevate inflammatory markers and interfere with fertility.  Caffeine is in a lot of things besides coffee.  Coffee in moderation has some health benefits.
      7. Eat great brain foods – The author lists the top 50 best brain foods.  Lots of fruits, veggies, fish, beans & lentils, whole wheat, chicken/turkey.  One of the big keys is to eat a balanced diet.  Knowing how many servings of each food group you need each day is vital to being healthy.
      8. Reduce salt intake and increase potassium intake – Most foods already have plenty of salt in them, try to avoid adding any on your own.  Foods high in potassium include:  bananas, spinach, honeydew melon, kiwi, lima beans, oranges, tomatoes and all meats.
      9. Plan snacks – Eating every 3-4 hours throughout the day helps to stabilize your blood sugar.  Here are some good options:  Low-fat yogurt & nuts, 1 ounce string cheese & half a cup of grapes, Turkey with an apple, dried fruit with no sugar added.
      10. Take a daily multivitamin/mineral supplement and fish oil – Ninety-one percent of Americans do not eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day, the minimum required to get good nutrition.  Therefore most of us need to take a supplement.
      11. Recognize when you or someone you care about has hidden food allergies – Certain foods may cause physical, emotional, behavioral, or learning problems.  The most common culprits are peanuts, milk, eggs, soy, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, and wheat.  Others include corn, chocolate, tea, coffee, sugar, yeast, citrus fruits, pork, rye, beef, tomatoes and barley.  Many people with ADD can improve dramatically if they find the foods that they are allergic to and eliminate them from their diet.

The more I study nutrition, the more I am convinced that many of our physical and emotional problems come from poor nutrition.  Most of us would prefer to first medicate instead of dramatically changing the way in which we eat.  God designed our bodies in an amazing way and if we put the right things into our bodies they function better and last longer.  I still have a lot to learn and implement into my life, but I am trying I hope you will as well.