Sunday, March 23, 2014

Gluttony

Over the next couple of weeks Tina and I are writing about the seven deadly sins.

What we write about is from our life perspective and our examples may not be right for you and your life. Please take this under consideration before making any changes for your life.
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My gluttony involves sweets and electronics.

Electronic devices that give me, FaceBook, TV series on Netflix and emails use up time that I could be spending consulting with God about my life. They distract my mind from thinking of His goodness and love. They feed me thoughts, ideas and images that are unhealthy for my heart, mind and soul. I think some of the stuff electronics provide as junk food for the soul!

My siblings and I were caring for our mom as we tried to figure out why she was not feeling well, understand her diagnosis, treatments and eventual death from ovarian cancer. During this time I developed a pattern of suppressing my emotions and stress related to my mom’s illness and death by eating sweets. The ‘go to’ sweet was Ben and Jerry’s New York Super Fudge chunk ice cream which added 30 pounds to my weight over a 3 year period.

I now know that I could have avoided this if I trusted God and consulted him instead of the bowl of ice cream and the latest updates from my electronic devices.

Sin, in this case gluttony, is disconnection with God and when we are disconnected from God we will suffer because we do things that are in contradiction to what is healthy for us.

1 Corinthians 3:16-17 16 Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you? 17 If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him. For God's temple is holy, and you are that temple.

Awareness is the first step toward healing and changing the pattern of sin.  For me, I worked with a holistic nutritionist and was involved with a Cornerstone retreat preparation. These two resources helped me become aware of my gluttony and provided tools to overcome it. I also established a daily time for meditation and reading scripture when I reduce the amount of time spent with electronics.

I found out that my body needs to have a diet that contains lean protein, vegetables, fruit and low to no carbohydrates. It also needs cardio exercise EVERYDAY!

The fat melts off my body, my mind is clear and I feel energized when I follow this plan.

A colleague introduced me to a book entitled “Eat right 4 your type by Dr. Peter J D’ Adamo which explains the reasons why this plan works for my body.
The book discusses the four blood types, O, A, B and AB and what kinds of food and exercise works best for each type.
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Tina shares her journey with gluttony and the interesting way she has overcome it.

The Life and Agony of a Junk-Food Glutton

Those Extra Pounds!  (or, Winter Weight Gain Take-Over)
The usual 10-to-15-pounds of winter weight gain always began falling off by itself around the end of winter/beginning of spring, and by mid-April my weight returned to the middle range for my height. The same with pregnancy weight: by three-to-four months after each of my six deliveries, I returned to my pre-pregnancy, middle-range weight for my height without the least bit of effort on my part. But starting five years ago, only about five to seven of the 10-to-15 pounds of winter weight dropped off all by itself; and I hadn't decreased my activity; so I knew less activity wasn't the cause. But I had to admit that if I didn't take charge, winter weight gain would continue to creep in every year and make itself at home. 

I took charge in the early spring of the first year of those five years. I put myself on a strict diet. But three to six of those extra pounds wouldn't budge. So I added an exercise routine, but those extra pounds returned by the end of fall before the next annual winter weight gain, and the Standard Body Mass Index (BMI) calculator indicated I was overweight at that point. And as if that weren't enough, the last year of those five years, while on the strict diet and an exercise routine, the BMI showed I was in the obese range by three pounds. In other words, I found out the hard way that the usual solution of cutting back on eating and increasing activity didn't work in long run. I was stunned, and didn't know what more I could do. 

It didn't help matters any that I had been experiencing a steady creep of system-wide digestion problems for close to a decade by then, and during the last five-year period I had constant heartburn, frequent and sudden hiccup attacks the second I started eating, and a sour stomach after eating that, at times, upset me to the point of 'losing my lunch' for no apparent reason. And if a sour stomach didn't manifest, I had aches around my upper torso, or, in my small intestines. What's more, I had severe and sudden lower abdominal cramping that caused me to double over; wild swings from constipation to the complete opposite; rare but scary heart palpitations with dizziness; more and more frequent finger joint pain with swelling; and I got tired more easily. I felt like someone getting very old, very fast. I was so down about it all.

I did Internet searches on the symptoms. All sorts of horrific scenarios came up: acid reflex disease, Type II diabetes, high blood pressure, hypoglycemia (or low blood sugar), bad cholesterol, every type of arthritis, on and on. But I didn't have high blood pressure, and the heart palpitations and dizziness weren't present when I wasn't on the strict diet. So, those two symptoms were the result of not eating enough. 

Most of the other symptoms associated with each of the other medical problems weren't present. No matches left me very concerned; and I knew that if I complained to a doctor, I'd be told that a little and an expensive pill would make the whole thing 'better', and I'd be sent from specialist to specialist, or through the usual extremely expensive medical merry-go-round, with several expensive prescription drugs and with nothing to show for the outrageous expensive except one pill countering the next, and wicked side effects. In other words, it was better to put up with the problems than take 'the cure'. And after the fifth, agonizing year, I just wanted the whole ugly scene to go away. 

Time for a Treat
At times like these, I treat myself by borrowing more library books than usual. And knowing that there wouldn't be a problem if there weren't a solution, each day I deliberately and frequently kept thinking, "I want to know what's wrong", knowing that, sooner or later, my subconscious mind would present 'suggestions' to my conscious mind. I also wisely added the matter to my daily prayers. 

During the third weekly library trip, instead of considering only my favorite genres, I felt I should expand my browsing parameters, something I rarely did. After a while, I came upon a category that I realized just might help me with what was wrong. I gabbed six books that I felt would be the most help. 

At home, I examined the books, and one was a perfect match. My subconscious came through again, along with daily prayer backing.  The book (*) was on the subject of metabolism, and written by a medical doctor in plain language. I knew my metabolism wasn't what it used to be but, until I started reading the book, I had no idea that it could be a cause of the problems. 

In the book, the doctor explained that when the cells of the body don't get exactly what they need (and nothing else), when they need it (not too soon and not too late), and in more-or-less the amounts they need, the cells literally die of starvation no matter how much junk is eaten, no matter how overweight, no matter how severe the obesity; and dying cells are lost cells: lost brain cells, lost muscle cells, etc., and their loss causes overall energy loss, indicated by increasing fatigue. In turn, energy loss causes a low, or a weak metabolism. It's similar to anorexia starvation, or straight starvation. No wonder I felt like someone getting very old, very fast.

After decades of maltreatment of the cells, the body naturally ends up dead tired, with premature wrinkles and premature aging, with disorders (like Type II diabetes), and with all-too-premature bodily death. The book went into some of the disorders I looked up on the Internet, but it also went into thyroid and liver problems. Each of the chapters in that particular segment of the book highlighted a disorder and included a check list for each. At a quick glance, I could see I was allowing myself to risk any number of the disorders, and each chapter pointed out that the creeping weight gain, the increasing fatigue, and the severe digestion problems had the same cause: not eating what my cells needed. 

A Modern-Day Junk-Food Hunter-Gatherer 
I was guilty as charged. It was all my own fault. I knew better and yet, for a good decade I had allowed a lifestyle that was unhealthy, mean to my cells and totally off-track. For a decade, I hadn't been eating right. What else could I expect?!  I had become a modern-day junk-food hunter-gatherer, foraging around the kitchen during the day and into the evening, indulging in junk food.  

The book also reminded me of a life-long neglect of mine: I never drank water. So, all around, I had allowed my cells to suffer terribly, to dry up, to starve to death, by allowing myself to become addicted to what was wickedly bad for them. In a nutshell, I had to face the fact that I had lost the Way on this, and face the fact that I had to exercise temperance with myself because I was a junk-food glutton. 

The Way it Was
During that decade, I tried fad diets; but the low-carbohydrate fad diet and the low-fat fad diet left me very hungry and very tired and together, they were doubly bad on me. And as much as the frozen-food diet plan programs are temptingly convenient, I just couldn't see myself eating frozen meals all the time for the rest of my life; and besides, I like my own cooking and I would miss it.

The strict diet, although consisting of way better food on the whole, was along the low-carbohydrate, low-fat, low and artificial sugar route and didn't give my cells enough of what they needed, causing me to remain tired and hungry all the time. It also kept me from being able to dump the extra weight. Paradoxical as that sounds, it's true, because low-carbohydrate weakened my cells, and the low-fat, low and artificial sugar hit my cells with toxins, which cause inflammation of the cells, and inflammation keeps weight on and increases it. 

No wonder I felt 'puffy' all the time! No wonder my finger joints swelled up and were painful. However, when I went off the strict diet, I would eat whatever was convenient: cookies, crackers, chips and ice cream, soda and other corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup drinks; boxed 'food', frozen meals, on and on and, of course, they contained the toxins that cause inflammation. I stopped at fast-food joints every time I turned around, which was more of the same. This convenience diet ('die' in the true sense of the word), made me even more hungry and tired all the time, and increased inflammation. 

The New Way, the Only Way for me
(or, A Junk-Food Glutton Convert Creates a Garden of Eden Kitchen)

I put the first two chapters of the book into action right away. Whereas I never used lard, I cleared my kitchen of vegetable shortening, which is, basically, a lard substitute. I cleared the kitchen of all oils except the olive oils, and kept canola oil as a distant second to be used as an olive oil alternative in salads and to be used in boiling water for pasta and the like, because I learned from the book that when heated too high, as in frying or roasting, canola oil can turn into trans-fat, a deadly poison. 

I read every label in the kitchen and pantry, and tossed out everything that contained hydrogenated oils of any kind (like crackers), or corn syrup and all products that had corn syrup in them, especially high fructose corn syrup. I threw out all the low-fat, low and artificial sugar items, as well. 

I continued with 2% milk, as the book recommended, and I kept honey and all the refined sugars because the book pointed out that they're better for the cells than corn syrups and items containing corn syrups that rush the cells faster than the speed of light and throw them off. 

Likewise, I kept butter because it's better than shortening for baking, and way better than margarine, which isn't fit for human consumption. Besides, the cells, especially the brain cells, need a little saturated fat found in butter, whole dairy and lean meat; it's just that the cells don't need it in the amounts I was eating. And as the book said, I knew I had to cut back on sugar and honey for the same reason as butter; and because the suggested way was much easier to do than the constant torture I had been putting myself through for five years, I vowed to change my evil ways. And so, the junk-food glutton became a convert to the creation and the maintenance of a garden of Eden kitchen.

A Real-Food Hunting-Gathering Expedition
(or, Applied Temperance)
After cleaning out the kitchen, I had lots of room. So I went grocery shopping on a real-food hunting-and-gathering expedition. I applied temperance to myself by staying in the perimeter isles of the store, mostly, except for getting brown rice, instead of the usual white kind, because brown rice is superior in nutrients and fiber, which the book pointed out I badly needed, and white rice rushes the cells, like corn syrups, and it contains little or no real nutrients. I stopped using instant rice decades ago because it's nothing but a filler. I also picked up dry beans in an interior isle to use as a bi-weekly protein substitute for meat (or for a percentage of meat in a given recipe) and because meat contains saturated fat and it has less fiber than beans. The book said sources with plenty fiber were crucially needed in order to eliminate the pain and cramping, and the wild lower intestinal swings from being 'stuck' to the complete and sudden opposite, and I knew how to prepare dry beans in a way that eliminates their unwanted side effects. 

Among the fresh fruit I chose, I included lemons because I knew I didn't like plain water, and a tablespoon of the juice in two cups of filtered water with a couple of ice cubes, also made with filtered water, helps me drink water. From that day forward, I drank the generally-recommended, daily number of glasses of water, and the lemon juice boosted my vitamin C intake.        

As the book suggested, I added tasty herbs and spices that help lower and prevent inflammation, and I picked up only whole grain bread and whole grain flour for the fiber and nutrients. I stopped using white wheat flour, except a tablespoon or so once in a while as an alternate gravy thickener. The book also said that a couple of small squares of dark chocolate, in the 70% or higher range of cocoa content, each day or so, also helps lower and prevent inflammation. So, being a total chocolate lover, I bought a couple of bars. 

I piled my shopping cart with fresh vegetables and fresh fruit in all colors, and which are loaded with natural fiber and all the nutrients (plant nutrients) that help the cells live and take in more oxygen. I now eat an apple a day, and doing so has eliminated all the lower intestinal problems I used to have.

I also added nuts and seeds of a couple of types each since the book rightfully said they contain everything cells need: quality protein, high fiber, healthy fats and healthy carbohydrates; and every other day I substitute a quarter cup of nuts and seeds, all total, in place of one of my two daily fruit snacks. I incorporate plain yogurt, but not the low-fat kind, and eat a little everyday, mixed with blended fresh fruit and a little honey; and, every other day I throw in a handful of ground nuts and seeds. 

I avoided cans and, needless to say, I didn't buy items that had labels, like boxes. As the saying rightfully warns: 'If it has a label and a shelf life of several years or more, it's not food'. I bought a little fresh salmon and a little fresh haddock, and in the meat department I chose only lean cuts, lean chopped beef, and free-range poultry. However, I didn't buy deli meats, sausage meats or hot dogs because of the high salt content and the nitrates.

The book suggested taking vitamin and minerals supplements, some of which I have and use. I considered the other suggestions and put some of them in my shopping cart. Within a month or so, I started benefiting from the added supplements, and I also started benefiting from a lower grocery bill. 

Adding and Reversing Activity
I implemented the book's suggestion to walk more, simply walk more; and as it suggested, I didn't join a fitness center. Instead, I went with 'boots-on-the-ground' by adding a 30-minute walk after the evening meal. After the third week, I switched the lunch meal with the more substantial evening meal, without hunger during the night and with weight-dumping results.

Although I didn't care for some of the recipes in the book like, those made with tofu and such items, I adapted the recipes to my style. As the book says about potatoes (for example), I usually roast or bake them now, and I rarely fry them, and also rarely make mash potatoes, because frying destroys nearly every vegetable, including potatoes, and boiling them and then mashing them releases unwanted starch. As a result, by strictly following the proper preparation of real food, meals taste much better than ever, which makes cooking so much more enjoyable. 

I went with the book's suggestion of three adequate but not over-the-limit meals and two fruit snack every day (or a nut/seed snack every other day, in place of one fruit snack), and I never feel hungry or tired because, again, I'm eating real food, which is totally satisfying, and for hours longer than tons of junk, low-carbohydrates, low-fat, and low and artificial sugars. 

Temperance Reigns
Once in a while, like once in four-to-six weeks, I'll enjoy a little "no-no" item, like a little deli meat, or sausage meat, or an ice cream treat, or a nice shrimp scampi lunch meal (which is made with lots more butter than I now normally eat); and I'll enjoy a little 'no-no' item during a dinner invite (to be polite); or I'll indulge myself with a 'no-no' barbecue item, like a hot dog or two. This is reasonable, it helps mitigate feelings of being deprived; but again, only about once in four-to-six weeks when it comes to the 'no-no' items, because temperance reigns!

Total Results
In 3 weeks from the start of this healthy journey, I lost 10 pounds and I could feel all my cells breathing, which I hadn't remembered experiencing before. In the next 2-to-3 weeks, after making lunch the substantial meal, 15 more pounds disappeared, and I felt better than I had even in my 20s. In the following few weeks, more weight vanished and I was once again in the middle range for my height. I was no longer overweight, let alone obese. And with this sane way of eating and living, with a gentle but effective activity routine, the weight remained in the middle range for my height with no annual winter weight gain, despite enjoying a few 'no-no' items during Thanksgiving and Christmas.  

Asking my subconscious mind for 'suggestions', praying daily for the wisdom to recognized the best 'suggestion', and applying temperance all worked to get rid of my junk-food glutton road to slow, agonizing death, and I now call the kitchen 'my garden of Eden kitchen', not the least of reasons being: I find it appropriate that the 'fruit' of the 'tree of the knowledge of good and of evil' in the Genesis account was the only 'fruit' that caused 'death', just as junk diets and fad diets cause cell death. So, Genesis rightfully says, in so many words: eat only from the 'Tree of Life", a.k.a., eat only real food.

Aftermath
A few months after the start of my garden of Eden lifestyle, I went to my favorite fast-food joint, figuring I could have a little every three months or so. But when I opened the door, the smell hit me and turned me completely off. My sense of smell had changed in favor of real food, but I didn't realize this until later that day. So at the moment I was standing at the fast-food door, I couldn't believe that awful smell wasn't noticed before. I turned around, and walked out the door. I haven't been in a fast-food place again, and I don't miss them. 

(*) "Ultra Metabolism", by Mark Hyman, MD

Tina Irene Williams
From ©WilliamsScript, the author's private collection of writings
Copyright © Tina Irene Williams 2014 All Rights Reserved. 
No part of this document may be reproduced without Tina Irene Williams' written consent.