Back to School Healthy Breakfasts and Lunches for Kids!

It is that time of year when we send the kiddies back to school and that also means in most cases, sadly, back to sugar and junk.  The school lunch system in this country is so broken and so filled with cheap processed and sugar and carb laden “foods” that my suggestion is to just send lunch with your child from home if possible.  Why the lunch system is so broken is another blog for another day.  SO with that being said, lets talk about some ideas to pack lunches that are not going to make your child sick and hinder their learning abilities.

Before we look at lunch, lets chat about breakfast.  Most parents are busy and working and on a budget and need fast inexpensive ideas for breakfast.  That usually leads to a breakfast filled with sugar.  Or just as bad, CARBS which turn to sugar once eaten.  It is critical to remember that when you start your day with a carb laden breakfast, you are setting yourself up for a day of blood sugar spikes and falls, hunger, fatigue, crankiness, and more.  Oh and the same goes for your kids.  78321160_XS

To give them the best shot at good grades and good health, you have to start with breakfast.  If you are giving your kids cereal, oatmeal, cream of wheat, toast, breakfast bars, or even worse, pop tarts or toaster pastries of any kind, JUST PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF ALL STOP! And here is where you say “oh I am doing super healthy cereal like Cheerios or Granola.”  SO here is a reality check for you.  Every four grams of carbs not offset by fiber converts to a tsp of sugar in the body. You can eat a bowl of white table sugar, or you can eat a bagel, cereal, toast, oats, grits, or any other supposedly healthy starch.

Think back to those commercials from childhood with Tony the tiger and the idea of a great breakfast.  It was pretty much all sugar, except the milk.  4936060-Morning-breakfast-with-cereal-toast-and-a-glass-of-orange-juice-Stock-Photo

Orange juice- pure sugar.  Toast- pure sugar.  Cereal- pure sugar.  This entire meal, once consumed will convert to sugar. This is not going to give your child a chance for a healthy day or a happy day or a day of learning.  The only thing that gets healthy with a meal like this is the wallets of the very powerful sugar and corn and grain growers and manufacturers.  Try a breakfast packed with protein and fiber and vitamins instead.

Some great options for breakfast are omelets with meat and cheese and veggies and maybe some fruit on the side.  menu-omelettes-vegetableNot fruit juice but a piece of fruit or some berries.  In a hurry? try a couple of boiled eggs and a banana.  Bacon or sausage and scrambled eggs is actually a pretty quick breakfast.  Another option I love is egg cups.  Check out a million different recipes on Pinterest.  Basically you take a cupcake tin and spray it and put a meat/protein on bottom, then throw a few chopped veggies and some cheese in and then crack an egg in each tin and season the top and bake.  These also keep well for a few days in the fridge so you can make a dozen on Sunday and have breakfast for the kids and yourself for a few days.  I cannot tell you how often we will pop two of these in the microwave on the way out the door on a busy day. Breakfast burritos and breakfast pizzas made with low carb tortillas and breads are also delish.  Options are out there that are made with REAL food and not processed boxed junk.  We just have to make finding these a priority.  Google low carb breakfast for kids and look at the options.  If you are really in a time pinch, buy a protein powder that is low carb and low sugar and give your kids a healthy protein shake.  Some of the best brands out there for taste and numbers are Quest or the one we carry with Plexus. Stay away from high sugar drinks masking as healthy like Ovaltine or the other breakfast drink mixes out there.  They are just chemical laden sugar and carb filled junk.

So now that we have some good options for breakfast, let’s move on to what you can pack in your child’s lunch to keep them healthy and alert and feeling good all day.  636098157941051519-1927003317_lunchablesThere are two things to avoid at all costs, and they are in almost 60% of school lunches brought from home for kids aged 5-12.  Lunchables and juice boxes.  Lets look first at the kid friendly and kid-approved Lunchable. This is literally a box of chemicals and fat and sugar and salt.  Grab one and read the label.  Read the total sugar and total carb counts and it will likely be more than a days worth of sugar and remember that those grams of carbs convert to sugar also.  What makes these little packages even more offensive is the idea that this is just not real food.  Yes it is cheap and quick, but it is not suitable for your child to consume.  In fact it is so bad that if you read the book Salt, Sugar, Fat by Michael Moss, you can hear from the man who invented this fake food and how his own kids don’t even eat them.

There is just no way to find a way to call this hot mess food.  And of you wonder why your kids love these little things so much, again I will refer you to the book Salt, Sugar, Fat by Michael Moss.

Processed food creators know that any food that has the magic combo of salt, sugar, and fat is irresistible to our brains.  This combo and especially sugar lights up the same places in the brain that are lit up by herion and cocaine. Would you give your kids either of those?  I didn’t think so, and this is a whole different blog in and of itself also.    Just say no to these processed boxed foods for your kids’ sake.

The second one that you should really avoid is the ever popular juice box.  I don’t care if it is organic, no sugar added, all natural, or 100% artificial, it is all pure sugar and your kids don’t need it, nor do the poor underpaid teachers who have to deal with your cranky sugared-up kids all day. 20110929juiceboxprimaryuSend them with water, naturally flavored water.  Teas sweetened with Stevia and things like that.  Plain milk is always good and not the chocolate sugary kind.  Try and send something that is not loaded with sugar.  Use the water enhancement drops with water and create fruit punch that has no sugar.  There are so many options that will not be harmful to your child’s health out there these days.  Plain bottled water is always the best, or a thermos of plain water.  Remember these kids are not born craving this junk from birth, we make them this way via social engineering and exposure to media and our not so great choices.  But I am not blaming parents for the bad choices. There are so many advertisements and ads calling their products all-natural and organic and gluten free that many parents THINK they are doing a great job.  But I am here to educate you and once you know better, you do better.

There are some better choices for the lunch-boxes. Let’s first look at some awesome bread options. If ever Joseph’s Bakery goes out of business, I think I will cry! flax_lavash_02They have a line of low carb pitas, flatbreads and lavash breads that we literally use every day in our home.  They are very inexpensive and can be purchased at most major grocers.  If yours does not carry them, ask them to start! You can also order them online here.  They are so incredibly versatile.  Kids love pinwheels and pitas.  ‘Turkey-Shoot-with-Cheesy-Twists_-LavashSo use these to make healthy lunches that are not loaded with sugar and carbs hat will leave them sluggish in the afternoon.  Fiber and protein will keep them full longer and also keep their blood sugar levels more balanced which means better concentration and more energy.  Oh and these lavash breads make amazing thin crust pizzas!  The options are literally endless and you can get 2-3 wraps per slice of lavash bread.

Instead of a lunchable, try one of these Lavash wraps.  Let your child choose fresh fruit at the supermarket and add that.  Raw veggies like cherry tomatoes and carrots and broccoli served with hummus or ranch dip are always fun as are slices of cheese and fruit. Remember to use real fruit, not the fruit cups that are packaged and processed. Use real cheese and not the processed American slices or the Velveeta type cheese foods.  It is quick and easy to make your own versions of the Lunchable type meal with real food.

Snack Time

Throw in a handful of mixed nuts like almonds and cashews and walnuts and you have an amazing lunch that is packed with nutrients and not packed with chemicals and added sugars.  Kids love textures and finger foods which is part of the draw to the Lunchables.  Creating the same thing in a healthy way at home does not take much time at all.  Boiled eggs are always a great go to as are pickles and olives and chickpeas.   Take the time to introduce your kids to real food and find out what their favorites are and then making healthy lunches will not seem like such an overwhelming task!

Just remember to keep it real and keep it low in sugar and low in processing and you will be fine!  I am always happy to answer any questions about kids and nutrition!  Have a great year!

In Health!


You just THINK you hate exercise…

If I had a dime for every time one of my clients told me “I hate exercise”, I would be a millionaire! It makes me so sad because I know the importance of exercise.  You see, our bodies were made to move.  God did not create us to be sedentary.  But somewhere along the way over the last 50 years, we transitioned from doing jobs that required a lot of physical activity to desk jobs.  Kids went from playing outside to playing video games, and our health has taken a serious toll.

MadeToMove-1We are at very scary rates in America for both obesity and also heart disease.  Both are part of what we call metabolic syndrome.  Metabolic syndrome is a combination of diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, and high cholesterol that we see in so many Americans. The number of cancer diagnosis is also at an all time high.  Have you ever looked at the number of  adults in this country that are on medication for anxiety and depression? When I start a new person on a Plexus regimen, this is one of the things I always find out.  What health issues do they have and what prescriptions do they take?  It is shocking to me how many meds people are on at one time.

I tell you all of this because I want you to see what being inactive is doing to us as a society. And I also want you to have a better understanding of the term exercise.

Getting exercise and being active doesn’t have to mean you run a marathon or hit the gym five times per week.  I truly think that when people say they hate exercise, what they really mean is that the traditional concept of exercise is not appealing to them. Guess what?  That is totally AOK!  Don’t get me wrong, I cannot describe the feeling it gave me to complete me first half-marathon, or the second one with a broken back, but what I can tell you is that I get that running and cross-fit and being a gym rat are just not for all of us.

So let’s get rid of some negative ideas about exercise.  I have clients who have numerous health issues and physical issues that make traditional exercise regimens not possible.  There are lots of things we can do!  If you even just take a nice 30 minute walk three times a week, you are improving your health in a big way over zero exercise.  Don’t have a safe place to walk?  Pick your favorite 30 minute TV show or the nightly local news and walk in place while you watch. Your body is moving the same way it would be moving if you were walking outside or on a walking track.  walkingtv.jpg

Some days, I just put on my favorite tunes and dance around the house looking like a complete fool, BUT, singing and moving my body and getting my exercise in while doing it and not caring how silly I look!  It is all about moving and getting the heart pumping and the blood flowing.  Start slowly and do what you are able to do and build up from there.  If you love to swim, SWIM, if you love to bike, BIKE!  We have to choose an activity we enjoy or else we will not stick with a regular routine.  If the idea of working out in a gym with other people makes you nauseated, don’t do it! I actually have people who do everything in their living rooms and use water bottles and canned goods for weights.  It doesn’t matter what movement you choose as long as YOU MOVE!

You will be AMAZED at the difference in your moods, appetite, stamina, and so much more after just a few weeks of getting 30 minutes of movement 3 times per week!  Remember, your heart is your biggest muscle so take care of it and get it pumping and get that blood flowing!  Your body will thank you!  Note- if you are not on a regular exercise regimen, please see your doctor and get cleared for exercise before starting any new regimen.



Crack Cookies!

Sometimes we just want a little treat. I have to admit that using my Plexus supplements and eating a low carb high plant based diet, I rarely crave sweets. When I was a kid, I loved the Tollhouse cookies even know not a huge sweet eater. I have a fun recipe for a low carb sugar free version (well maybe a tenth of a gram of sugar per cookie) that is AMAZING! I am calling them CRACK COOKIES!!!
The ingredients are simple:
2 cups Carbquik low carb baking mix (available on Amazon)
1/2 bag of Hersheys sugar free chocolate chips
1 Atkins Triple Chocolate bar
1 bag Atkins peanut M and M’s
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 tbsp Vanilla extract

1 egg
1tbsp Canola oil
5 tbsp Stevia powder
3/4 cup water

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.

Take these ingredients- the Atkins bar and candy and the pecans and put into a Ziploc bag and crush up together,

The finished product will look like this:


Then in a mixing bowl combine all ingredients except the chocolate chips and contents of baggy and mix well until it is a thick batter.  Some may need a little less water so add it a little at a time and just kind of judge consistency.

Than mix in chips and baggy contents.  It will look like this:


Next take two cookie sheets and spray with cooking spray and place teaspoon sized spoonfuls about 1/2″ apart.  You should get 15 cookies per sheet.  Bake for 10-15 minutes until top golden brown!  Let cool and enjoy!


For a batch of 30 cookies- here is the nutrition info!

Each cookie has 60 calories, 1 gram of carbs, 3 grams of fat, 4 grams of protein, and 4 grams of fiber!  I have a hard time limiting my husband and son to 4 at a time!!!




Low carb tortilla chips 

Just because you are headed to Taco Tuesday with friends at the local Mexican restaurant does not mean you have to put corn chips and flour tortilla chips into your body. We all know that corn turns to sugar and is mainly used to fatten animals for slaughter. And wheat and flour can cause lots of issues also! 

I love salsa and so I decided to make my own low-carb tortilla chips out of low-carb lavage bread made by Joseph’s bakery!

It’s so easy! Preheat the oven to 350 and then spray a cookie sheet with non stick spray. Cut the piece of Lavash into chip size pieces as desired. Place them on the cookie sheet like this. 

Then lightly spray the chips so that your seasonings will stick. For use with salsa I just sprinkled a little bit of garlic powder and salt on mine. Bake them until golden brown and be sure and keep a close eye on them as they can burn pretty fast! 

Enjoy!!!! A whole sheet of Lavash is 8 net carbs and 8 grams of fiber and 12 grams of protein! 



Why every weight loss surgery patient should look into Plexus supplements…

I have been getting asked a LOT lately how Plexus fits into my life as someone who had gastric bypass back in January of 2009.  First- a little background.  At the time of my surgery I was an almost 350 lb food addict who thought that the surgery was the quick and magical fix I had been searching for.  I really thought that once I had the surgery, I would never again be able to eat more than a few bites at a time and my obesity issues would be solved forever.  BIG MYTH.  BIG LIE.

This was all before any of my nutritional training and education and before I went back to school to become a dietitian.  This was when I thought sugar-free Oreos were healthy. Basically I just didn’t get it and didn’t fully understand the long term effects this surgery would have on my life. I also didn’t understand at that time that I was a bonafide food addict.  Since then, I have been to therapy for food addiction (which is really carbohydrate addiction, but that is another blog in and of itself) and had years of education on nutrition and health and have come to realize something that will make some weight loss surgery patients nod their heads in agreement and some shake their heads in disbelief and denial.  If you have had to resort to weight loss surgery, then you have an addiction.  It really is okay to admit.  There are many factors leading up to this realization that include genetics, personal choice, environment, and the food industry itself and what they do to our food supply to make us crave the boxed and packaged and processed junk out there.  I tell you this with zero judgement and only a desire to help.  I think therapy should be mandatory for anyone who has weight loss surgery because the surgery fixes the belly temporarily but does not fix the head.

So with that being said, lets chat about why Plexus is such a great tool for bariatric patients.  Bariatric patients really need the Tri Plex, Block, and X factor vitamin at the bare minimum.  I am about to show you why. But first, here is a little video all about the Tri Plex combo.

  1. The honeymoon is over. We all know that there is that magical year or so after weight loss surgery, not so much with LapBand, where no matter what we do we will lose weight.  After this period is over, the tummy is stretched a bit and things change a lot. This is why it is so critical to make permanent habit changes during the honeymoon phase or else many end up regaining much if not all of what was lost.  Introducing the Tri Plex during this phase is a BIG HELP in breaking bad habits.  The Tri Plex and Block will keep that appetite under control and help cut the cravings for carbs and sugar and help you stick to the low carb lifestyle that is required to keep the weight off for good.
  2.  Blood sugar.  Many post-op bariatric patients can have terrible sugar crashes that can be not only bothersome but also dangerous.  Our Slim drink helps support healthy glucose metabolism and is a must for me daily.
  3. Deficiencies in things like B-12. For most bariatric patients there is a lifelong issue with the absorption of nutrients.  Two of the most common deficiencies are iron and B12 and everyone is told when they have surgery to expect to take vitamins for the rest of their lives.  I used to have B12 shots every two weeks and my levels never really got to where they needed to be.  The X Factor Vitamin from Plexus has aloe blend and New Zealand Black Currant which may improve absorption and assimilation for optimal nutrition for wellness protection. *   I have not needed a B12 shot in three years. Several of our products contain B12 and finally my levels are perfect as of my last labs.
  4. Tummy issues. Many people who have had bariatric surgery can find themselves feeling a little “backed up” or the opposite and finding themselves going a little too often.  This is where Bio Cleanse comes in handy.  Bio Cleanse helps naturally speed up the removal of unhealthy microbes and substances and helps support your body’s natural detoxification process.* It also has Vitamin C which we all need.  It helps keep the digestive tract clean and helps relieve gas and bloating and occasional constipation.* It has magnesium which is also a very important mineral for our bodies.
  5. Gut bacteria. Keeping the bacteria in the gut healthy is a big piece of the puzzle with weight loss surgery.  Pro Bio 5 is an amazing 5 in 1 probiotic with enzyme support.  We eat a lot of protein and fiber as part of a low carb lifestyle.   Pro Bio 5 contains an enzyme that aids in the breakdown of proteins and fibrous foods. * Pro Bio 5 also promotes Colon health and reduces bloating and discomfort.*
  6. Appetite control. Tri Plex and Block make for some amazing appetite control.*  Block also has fiber and prevents up to 48% of the carbs you eat from being converted to glucose and stored as fat.*  This is wonderful for people with blood sugar issues also.*  This is how Block works.


*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.  These products are not intended to treat or cure any disease.

The bottom line is that we ALL need to keep our gut healthy and create an optimal environment for weight loss, but for someone who has had weight loss surgery, the need is even greater.  This is why we have so many bariatric nurses and doctors who use Plexus.  It is one tool I cannot imagine living without!  Feel free to email me if you have any questions.



Are we “once a year’ing” ourselves into metabolic destruction?

I hear so many times a week “Oh Erin you and Ben are just so fanatical about sugar and eating right and obesity and exercise and Plexus.”

Yes, we are.  We surely are.  Why?  Well it is no secret we both used to live extremely unhealthy lives.  I was always obese and then morbidly obese before my gastric bypass about 7  years ago.

Ben had high cholesterol DANGEROUSLY high- and ate the typical unhealthy southern diet of fried everything and biscuits and gravy and hit the drive thru pretty often with his line of work which included travel. He ate lots of processed boxed frozen garbage for most of his adult life as well- until he finally followed his love of cooking and turned it into a side business catering in the medical field. Even then, when he began cooking more often, it was typical unhealthy, but tasty fare.

I fed my kids frozen fish sticks and we frequented fast food joints and I cooked things like boxed mac and cheese and hamburger helper when I was a single mom.  I bought the snack cakes and Little Debbies and all of the typical junk we are feeding our kids.  They were chubby.  All three of them.  Cute and chubby. And sugared up most of the time. From added sugar in boxed foods, to juices and cookies and cakes and ice cream, they had it all.  And mom looked like this:   And was totally unhealthy.  I was a heart attack or stroke just waiting to happen.  It was bad.  REALLY bad.

Then my dad who was in pretty good shape, had a massive heart attack and quadruple bypass.  It was enough for me to say NO MORE and my new healthier life was born which also brought a love for fitness and nutrition.  Life changed FOREVER.  It was little by little and not overnight.  It came from educating myself and deciding NOT to be a statistic anymore but to truly change my life for good.

So a lot changed in my house over the years.  We do not buy cookies and snack cakes and soda and junk.  For us moderation really is moderation in that I can count on one hand the times sugar, specifically added sugar, not sugar from nature in fruits and veggies and dairy- enters my house in a year.

Think about the way we fill our kids with sugar like this:  Do we give our kids alcohol or cigarettes?  Sugar kills more people through metabolic disease than both of those but we still have commercials for sugar filled food and drinks BLASTED at our kids.  Fast food restaurants give toys with meals and have playgrounds inside.  The food industry is smart although I truly do not know how they sleep at night.

To me, feeding our kids loads of sugar is child abuse.   PERIOD.  And yes I used to abuse my kids with sugar.  Morbidly obese kids who are eating garbage daily and have no other rare medical issue causing obesity are being abused.  Can kids drive themselves to the grocery store or the fast food joint?  Does a child have the ability to buy the ice cream and candy and cakes and trash we feed them?  NOPE. Why is it okay to poison or kids from birth with the most addictive and abused drug on the market?  We think it is okay and are brainwashed into thinking there is nothing wrong with “just a little bit”- or “it is just once a year.”

The bottom line is we are excusing ourselves into the destruction of our  health. You can literally walk into any grocery store at ANY time of year and find a bakery and candy aisle stocked with sugary junk for some event that we excuse away by saying it is “just once a year.”

BUT- is it REALLY?

January- the Valentine’s Day stuff is out and in certain areas you will start to see King Cakes and Mardi Gras candy and junk.

February- Valentine’s Day junk and usually Easter junk already out for the taking.

March- Easter junk everywhere.  Then comes all of the green junk for St. Patrick’s Day.

April- usually more Easter junk still there depending on when Easter falls.  Mother’s Day junk is starting to show up also.

May- Mother’s Day junk because special candy and cookies and cake are just what we need to tell mom we love her!! Oh and now we have the end of the year parties and festivals and fairs.  But its just once a year right?

June- Father’s Day junk and fun summer junk!!!  TONS of summer sweets and treats and many are frozen. And they fool us by calling these sugar bombs organic and all natural.  Yep sugar is natural, but its still refined and processed unless you are eating a whole piece of fruit or a veggie.

July- July Fourth Holiday and now comes the patriotic junk.  HOW could we possibly celebrate all we love about America without candy and cakes and pies and cookies???

August- BACK TO SCHOOL JUNK!!!  Our kids cannot return without mini bags of every type of junk known to man!  Goldfish, cheese-its, fruit roll ups, granola bars, fruit snacks, juice pouches, cookies and EVERYTHING MINI.  Just what we need for a successful year of school- SUGAR AND EMPTY CARBS!

September- Halloween junk is here!!!!  No explanation needed!!!

October- This is where it gets almost “frenzy-like” because we have Halloween junk, fall/Thanksgiving junk, and already Christmas junk all together!!!

November- Thanksgiving and Christmas junk

December- Christmas junk and usually Valentine’s Day junk and in the south Mardi Gras junk.


Now throw into the mix the trips for ice cream as a reward for something, the once in a while donut or candy store visit, the birthday cake, and if you have kids the endless birthday parties with said cake that they attend, the post sporting event treats from the team mom, the school parties with treats, and more.

So is the sugar frenzy REALLY “just once a year?”

And now the food industry has fooled most parents and well-meaning people again with LOW fat cookies and 100 calorie packs of cookies and BAKED chips.  Oh and please do not get me started on the organic fruit juices and juice boxes and applesauces etc.  Or the whole grain and gluten free breads which turn to pure sugar.  Most people do not know better.  Guess what?  Low fat means double sugar.  The calorie difference and sugar difference in baked/regular chips is almost NONE.

Look at my drug of choice- Doritos- yes I could have eaten a whole bag.

When the low fat and fat free craze began of course the food industry had a plan.  They just replaced the fat with sugar.  Why do you think obesity has grown and grown just as hard and strong while we have more gyms and more fitness equipment etc than we had 30 years ago? Because we as a society fell for the flawed theory- now disproven thanks to the hidden documents being uncovered, that fat was the enemy.  If you have not seen the documentary Sugar Coated- You need to watch now!!!  Here is their Facebook page.

If fat were really the issue we would not have the heart disease, diabetes and obesity we have now.  We see BAKED and think it is great for us!  The baked Doritos above are actually even worse and higher in carbs which is same as sugar than the regular.  The food industry is NOT our friend.

When we speak to groups about the dangers of sugar and how incredibly harmful it is to us and to our health, we get a wonderful reply and reaction.  When you are in person and have an hour to explain it all, people GET IT. However online, reading posts here-sometimes I swear I can see the eye-rolls through Facebook.  I used to let it bother me, but now I just keep on preaching, with Ben, because for every person we touch, the one or two who roll their eyes or who un-friend us on Facebook really do NOT matter.

Here is a FACT- WE ARE KILLING OURSELVES with sugar in this country.  And now all over the world.  This means sugar- added sugar- in ALL FORMS.  I do not care if you call it high fructose corn syrup, sugar in the raw, brown sugar, whatever, SUGAR IS SUGAR.  It is added to over 80% of the processed grocery store items we buy.

Here is another fact- empty carbohydrates like bread and rice and pasta and cereals (with the exception of a FEW high fiber ones) ALL TURN TO SUGAR in our bodies.  Newsflash- this “whole grain” craze may as well be called the “another name for sugar” craze.  We eat far too much of this stuff.  I am not talking to the elite athletes who run 30 miles a week and need extra carbs.

This is about the average American.  This is for anyone overweight and or struggling to lose weight.  Empty carbs are the same thing as sugar metabolically.  I love a line from the movie Fed Up and is you have not seen it you really need to watch it ASAP.  One doctor says “You can eat a bowl of cornflakes with no sugar or a bowl of sugar with no cornflakes and it is the exact same thing from the neck down.”


I AM ESPECIALLY TALKING TO PEOPLE WITH KIDS.  We start our kids on sugar almost from day one.  Many baby formulas- especially those for kids with a lactose intolerance- have added sugar.  Seriously???

We have got to start looking at sugar as the poison it is and THINK about what we are doing to ourselves and our kids.  The number of people on medication for diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease is insane and through the roof.  NOT ONE PERSON who reads this will be able to say to me they do not know someone on a med for either high blood pressure or diabetes.

Have you seen a photo of the way sugar lights up the brain?  It is just like cocaine. And in lab tests, rats prefer sugar water to heroin.  Pretty scary huh? It is highly addictive and destructive and is the root of all of our obesity issues.

God gave us one body and we are instructed to treat the body as a temple, but many of us treat ours like a garbage dump. Today is the perfect ay to make a change!

.  1-corinthians-10-31-web




The Elephant in the Sanctuary

Those who know me know that I am passionate about a few things. First off is that I am passionate about God and my faith. I am passionate about my family. Those come first. After God and family, there is my passion for health and wellness and for fighting the disease of obesity that likely would have killed me had I not made a decision to take control of my health back in the fall of 2008. Trust me I was the poster child of unhealthy living. I was always consuming fast food, huge portions, processed boxed meals, and pretty much everything I did not need to be eating.  The change was not overnight and not easy.  It is still a daily struggle for me, but my health is my priority and more important than the momentary pleasure offered by the taste of an Oreo or Dorito.

I have been thinking a lot over the past year about my faith and about strengthening my relationship with God. In March and April of 2016, I had two surgeries which resulted in me picking up an infection in the operating room called pseudomanas and being treated with Levaquin, which we now know is one of the most dangerous antibiotics out there.  Levaquin and Cipro have left me with lupus, a destroyed rotator cuff, lupus, and right achilles issues.  I had my share of a pity party and then realized I actually have a lot to be thankful for and am a lot healthier than most who suffer with these issues thanks to my strong immune system boosted by Plexus supplements.  I am also staying faithful to a healthy eating plan that is low in sugar and carbs and high in plants and lean proteins.  I am a work in progress for sure and definitely not perfect in my food choices!  But I am trying always to do my best.

The elephant in the sanctuary- especially in the south, is obesity.  The larger elephant is the metabolic syndrome caused by obesity.

Let me be the first to say that obesity has so many different causes.  There are factors that range from genetics to environment to lifestyle choices. While we cannot control our genetics and sometimes cannot control out environment, we can control our personal choices.  There are also a host of medical conditions that are made worse or caused by obesity.  Hypertension, type 2 diabetes, arthritis and many joint issues, back pain, and so much more are all directly related to obesity and obesity can make all of these things worse in patients who are suffering.

Knowing all of this, I made a conscious choice to truly treat my body as a temple.  A ew years ago my martini bar became a coffee bar. Oh, and before anyone tries to lecture me about caffeine and coffee consumption, let me just say that for every study you can show my that says coffee is bad I can show you two more that show the health benefits, so let us put that aside.  I love coffee.  It has almost no calories and the antioxidant properties and studies showing its role in preventing dementia are amazing.  Most people have no idea the calories they are drinking in some form.  Sodas, lattes, and sweet tea- a staple here in the south- are the biggest culprits. Many of those drinks people like to buy at Starbucks are both over-priced and loaded with sugar and calories.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 tells us:

“do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body[a] and in your spirit, which are God’s.”

We often hear this verse when the preacher is speaking about drinking or drug use or sexual immorality but how often do we hear them speak of the sin of gluttony?

Proverbs 23:21

For the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, And drowsiness will clothe a man with rags.

It sounds to me like God is telling us there is no difference in being drunk with alcohol and drunk with food.  I am a recovering food addict.  I know this and only by the grace of God and daily work do I  overcome this addiction.  For many food is their drug of choice when they are sad, lonely, or feel alone.  This is no different than the user of other “drugs” like alcohol, pills, sex, pornography, or gambling, to name a few.

We have become such a sedentary society.  God designed our bodies in such a way as to be made to MOVE.  Our ancestors did a lot of manual labor and worked hard and burned off what they ate and often did not have enough to keep full.  Now we have become a society of more is better and quantity over quality and faster faster.  Most families rarely even sit down to a meal together during the week because of our busy lives.  I hear people say they have no time to cook, but in all truth you can throw together a healthy meal just as fast as you can drive to a fast food joint and get dinner.  And if you have time for TV and Facebook, you have time to cook a healthy meal for your family.  Is it easy?  No, of course not, but it has to be a priority.  We have to decide that the health of our family is just as important as catching the next episode of whatever TV show you like to watch.

Unhealthy food is cheaper yes.  And yes we can buy more empty processed junk for $25 than we can healthy food.  However we CAN buy a good healthy meal that is enough to feed our family on a budget.  This is part of what Ben and I show people how to do every day in our programs.

The problem also lies in the food industry.  Processed food and fast food are literally made to cause us to become addicted.  This book by Michael Moss explains a LOT.  It is a great read.  Salt, Sugar, Fat  is one of the best books I have read in a long time.

So why do we avoid the topic of obesity in church?  Now I happen to attend a church where my pastor runs marathons and we have a running club for kids and tons of sports and physical activities we can participate in if we so choose.  We have an amazing gym and fitness center that if free to use.  This is a good and proactive thing.  This is not the case in many churches though for various reasons and also how many people actually use these facilities in churches that DO have them?

We owe it to God to treat our body as a temple and not a garbage dump.  There is no difference in putting unhealthy, empty carbs and food with no real nutritional value in or bodies on a regular basis than there is filling our bodies with drugs.  Both have very damaging long term effects.  The problem seems to be more prevalent here in the south where we center all gatherings around FOOD.  When we are happy we celebrate with food.  When we mourn or are sick, FOOD- how many times have you been asked to bring a dish to someone’s house after a loved one passed away?

So much of our social life surrounds food.  Now I love parties and potlucks and gathering with friends over a good meal.  This is a wonderful tradition.  We southerners especially have a sense of hospitality and togetherness and that is something to be proud of for sure.  But it is time to start looking at what we are eating and how what we eat plays into our health. Almost all of the top 20 states with the highest obesity rates are here in the south.  Our culture plays into this in a big way.  Okay maybe I am biased but come on now, where is the BEST food in America found?  IN THE SOUTH!!  (I grew up in New Orleans- I know good food). People come from all over the country to try the delicacies and wonderful traditional foods of the south.  WE ARE FAMOUS FOR SWEET TEA??  This is about as unhealthy as you can get as far as a drink goes.  A 24oz glass of Red Diamond  Sweet tea is 210 calories, 51 grams of sugar. Pretty crazy.  And we all know we use way more sugar when we make it at home right?

It is time to start a wave of change in our community of believers.

I would love to see a potluck or gathering where everyone brings their favorite healthy dish.  We do this at our home when we have a Plexus meeting and I can assure you nobody leaves hungry or feeling like the food was not good.  It is possible to eat well and still enjoy food.

Ben and I love showing groups and families and churches how to change their habits and improve their health.  It can actually be fun to do as a family or group of friends.  We would love to see this topic be discussed in church just as much as financial fitness, and over indulgence in other things that are not so good for us.  I challenge any pastor or church goer who reads this to start looking at being a whole balanced person for God as a balance between not just emotional and spiritual, but also physical health. And what we eat is a very large part of physical health.

Understand this does not mean everyone in your church needs to run marathons and wear a size 8.  This is about healthy and active, not skinny. All it takes to start is 15 minutes 3 times a week of some type of physical activity to get your heart rate up.  We need to create a movement of healthy living among our church peers.  IT can be done and it can grow and spread and we can make a difference one person and one meal and one good choice at a time.

We owe it to God, our children and grandchildren and friends and family who want us healthy and able to live life to the fullest and serve God with the body He gave us.  If you need help getting started, email me-  and I am HAPPY to help.  Ben and I are happy to come to ANY church in America that wants to learn how to live a balanced healthy life and show you how to get started.  When you start living healthy and changing habits one at a time it becomes a lifestyle.  No matter your age, it is never too early or late to start living a healthy life!