As I watched a video this morning, I heard a man speaking about everything has a purpose.  The thought about purpose leads me to think about what is the purpose of my own health.  What we choose to do each day is related to what we eat, how we move, and how we manage our day-to-day situations has an impact on our well-being.  Therefore, it is important to understand the purpose of nutrition, physical activity, and what I call “peace management” in order to make better choices.  How has nutrition, physical activity, and management of daily stress changed over the years?  Understanding the reason for our choices and where the habits we have developed over the years can enlighten us and maybe we learn to make better choices because it has been said, when we know better, we can do better.

Food provides our body nutrition so we can grow, have energy, be restored, and heal.  It nourishes us even down to our cellular level where it affects how well we age, how well our immune system responds, and our mental and physical health.  The main purpose of food is to give us life, therefore; it is important to eat foods that are life-giving.  Much of the American diet does just the opposite and is now the main cause of the obesity epidemic. 

The CDC website notes, “Obesity-related medical care costs in the United States, in 2008 dollars, were an estimated $147 billion. Annual nationwide productivity costs of obesity-related absenteeism range between $3.38 billion ($79 per obese individual) and $6.38 billion ($132 per individual with obesity).” (Adult Obesity Causes & Consequences | Overweight & Obesity | CDC).  And it is also noted that one in three American adults and one in six American children are obese. ((20) The Obesity Epidemic – YouTube).  And with this comes the increase in chronic diseases which impact our quality of life and impedes us from living out our God-given purpose for our lives.  It robs us of time spent on caring for conditions rather than on doing the things God has called us to do.

 As someone born in the Generation X category, I have personal knowledge and understanding of the cultural changes which have changed and resulted in this.  Fast food was around before I was born, however; it has expanded to such a degree that it has become a major part of the culture.  We can see life in the U.S. has changed over these past several decades and note that we now live in a microwave culture, where everything is fast-paced and immediate.  We see this in many areas within the American culture but it is especially noted within the food industry. 

Fast food has become a billion-dollar industry that has affected the health of many. ((20) Where Did Fast Food Come From, and Who Invented It? | History 101 – YouTube) When I was younger, going to McDonald’s was a treat after spending a day out with the family.  It was not a go-to meal when Mom or Dad did not have time to cook.  Both my mom and dad worked full-time but still created a strategy so we were not always eating fast food.  Our family was not unique but the norm during this time.  Over the years, the food industry has become a big business that is controlled by ten major corporations that have bought and merged with smaller companies. (10 Companies Control the Food Industry (  It is hard to see this control because it is hidden very well under the rules of business. 

There are also government regulations that have incentivized farmers to grow more corn, soybeans, and wheat. Besides the issue of increased prices for fruits and vegetables because of the overabundance of these products, there is another prevalent issue.  This is the presence of high fructose corn syrup in just about everything.  This type of sugar is now hidden in much of our processed food, even foods like spaghetti sauce and bread which naturally would not have added sugar. An article on “Think Tank” states, “Dr. Serge H. Ahmed asked the question, “Is Sugar as Addictive as Cocaine?” He published his findings in the Journal of Food and Addiction in 2009. What he found was that sugar was eight times as addictive as cocaine. EIGHT TIMES!!” (Sugar Addiction: Is it Really as Addictive as Cocaine? – Think Tank Home)  It triggers the same neuro-receptors in the brain which bring about “good feelings” and in this, we see the rise of food used as emotional comfort and food addiction. 

There are other changes noted in our nutritional habits such as an increase in food portions and the increase in how often we eat fast food or sugar and fat-laden foods.  Increased additives have also caused chemical (hormonal) reactions in our bodies which impacts how our bodies digest and metabolize food. (Obesity, Diabetes and Food Additives (  All this leads to increased rates of diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. 

As a health coach, one of the first things I ask my clients to do is just drink only water and do not eat out for a week, and evaluate how they feel.  Then I transition them to a whole food/plant-based diet.  It is interesting to see the change in their mood and their decrease in appetite as they transition.  The goal is to eat food closer to the way God made it and to stay on the outside of the grocery store.  The middle of the store is where everything is a can, a bag, or a box. It is filled with processed foods with all of the added salt, sugar, and fat which has led to poor nutrition.  It is not about removing all meat, it is about eating less and choosing minimally processed, organic meat.

In order to change our nutritional choices, it takes time to transition to a better habit.  Making little choices in succession will lead to big results when we stay consistent.  It is building upon each step that can bring about lasting change as we change what we think and take different actions. 

Zechariah 4:10 NLT: Do not despise these small beginnings, for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin, to see the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand.”

Have you ever thought about why you eat what you eat?  When we take our time and really think about why we are eating what we eat, it can truly open our eyes so we can learn about ourselves.  In my own journey, I learned I am an emotional eater.  I gravitate to ice cream and other sugars when I am sad, frustrated, or just plain tired.  I had to ask myself, “Was I eating the food in front of me because it was providing my body what it needed, or was it to satisfy an inner craving?”. The answer to that question helps me to stop and make a clear decision than just responding to what tastes good.

There is a myth that all good nutrition is tastes bad.  This is not true because I know God gave us taste buds for a reason.  He is a good God and does not want to punish us by making us intake food that tastes bad.  What has happened is many of us have become used to the way overly processed food tastes and have not stretched to try something different.  When I was in Europe, I had some local pastry and noted it did not have nearly the amount of sugar that was in American pastries.  Added sugar is not as big of an issue in their culture and they eat differently.  It is all a matter of perception and training our senses better.  As I went through the process of eating more whole foods, my tastebuds changed.  Now when I eat some of the foods I used to eat, they do not taste the same.  I can tell that there is too much salt or sugar in them.

Whole food eating is not just rabbit food.  You can take the challenge to cook your favorite foods and find nutritional ways to cook them.  Air frying has become trendy during this time for just that reason.  I am not a big proponent of the many diets that are out there.  I believe we need to eat how God told us to eat and listen to our bodies which were fearfully and wonderfully made.  I have a brother who does not like tomatoes, so he does not eat tomatoes.  It is not good or bad, it just is what it is.  A plant-based or whole food diet does not mean “no meat”, it just means you eat it sparingly and not at every meal.

Before refrigerators were created, people ate meat but it was minimally processed and it was not at every meal.  I go by the 80/20 rule to make things balanced.  Eighty percent of the time eat plant-based and twenty percent of the time have some lean meat. And be careful not to replace meat products with some of the processed soy replacements.  Even though the products are not meat, do realize they are still “processed” and we are trying to eat food with minimal processing and minimal to no additives.  Taking the journey to better nutrition is a journey and making changes do not have to be made all at once. As I noted before, the little changes added together will bring big results in restoring and improving our health.  You can do this because, in God’s word, it says “I can do all things though Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)

Try some of the following strategies this week to begin to make healthy lifestyle changes:

  1. Drink only water, tea, or 1-2 cups of coffee without sugar.  Eliminate sodas, fruit juices and drinks with sugar substitutes or high levels of sugar. Our bodies are water based and need to keep good hydration for our physical and mental health.  One tip is to drink 2 glasses before each meal and at night several hours before bed time to get at least 8 hours in a day.  Water helps the kidneys detox and flush out your system.
  2. Eat a plant-based meal one day this week.  Some options are for breakfast (oatmeal with fruit /nuts) for lunch (a large salad with multi-colored vegetables, nuts, and fruit) and for dinner (stir-fried vegetables with mushrooms/brown rice or quinoa or vegetarian chili).
  3. Pick out one of your favorite recipes and do a google search to find an option which can make it healthier.
  4. Eat regularly during the day and try to not eat 3 hours before bed.  This is the time your body is rejuvenating and does not need to spend time digesting food.  This is my personal suggestion is to eat about 4-5 hours between each meal (with no snacks).  Each time we eat, we release insulin and this is one of the hormones which may work against us and produce weight gain.  Unless you have an issue with low blood sugar, try this.  If you are hungry between meals then you need to add fiber rich foods at your meal to reduce hunger.
  5. Ask yourself before each meal, “Is this meal giving my body energy and nutrition or is it to fill a craving?”  Then purposely make the best choice possible with the resources you have available.  Ask God to help you with your resources so you can take better care of your body. (1 John 5:15)
  6. View the video noted below and see how you can impact your community in improving the obesity epidemic.


(20) The Obesity Epidemic – YouTube

Next Blog: What is the Purpose-Part 2

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