Food & Fitness

Laurie GeiszAsk anyone who knows me…food and fitness are passions of mine! Although I won’t deny my love for making chocolate chip cookies and giving them away, I honestly enjoy and CHOOSE to eat healthy foods the vast majority of the time because of the difference I’ve seen them make in my life. It’s the same with physical fitness—I ENJOY working out six days a week because of the undeniably positive effects the strength training and cardio have on my heart, mind, body, and soul.

The Bible has much to say about food and fitness, and often both subjects intertwine with faith. Because I believe God created you and me to be physical and spiritual beings, I LOVE finding practical and symbolic meanings of food and fitness in Scripture. The information and insight impacts us today and for eternity.

Please browse what I’ve already written, and let me know your questions, comments, and ideas for further topics. Talking food and fitness is nothing but fun for me, so I look forward to dialoguing and learning more from you!

First Love FITNESS, Week Five – His Grace is Enough

Posted by on Oct 20, 2014 in Faith, Food and Fitness | 4 comments

IMG_2021As I’ve listened to my class members share their physical and spiritual struggles, I’ve noticed a common thread. Personal challenges may look different, i.e. getting out of bed in the morning to have quiet time with God, or setting foot in a gym to work out, or not giving in to the temptation to eat a cookie, but at the root of all these trials really seems to be the same issue: self-discipline. We can know in our mind and desire in our heart what we want to do, but we still have trouble implementing our good intentions in our flesh.

I don’t think our difficulty with self-discipline surprises Jesus. In the Garden of Gethsemane, when Jesus was “overwhelmed with sorrow,” He asked three of His closest friends to stay awake and keep watch for Him but they repeatedly fell asleep (Mark 14:34). Peter, James and John couldn’t do the one thing Jesus asked of them, when He needed them most. To His sleeping friends Jesus said, “The spirit is willing, but the body is weak” (Mark 14:38).

Centuries later, His words still define our struggle with self-discipline.

And God knows our weaknesses go beyond what we’re willing to admit. He knows we sometimes keep our issues in a deep, dark place called shame. Someone reading this may be struggling with pornography or alcohol or anger, or not having an affair; for this person, self-discipline can seem more than difficult. It can seem impossible.

But do you believe that “nothing is impossible with God” (Luke 1:37)? (more…)

First Love FITNESS, Week Four – “Just Rest!”

Posted by on Oct 10, 2014 in Faith, Food and Fitness | 0 comments

IMG_1951A benefit of writing your own study is that you get to decide what to say and when to say it. Even though I’ve led “First Love FITNESS” before, I continually ask God what He would have me teach for the upcoming lesson. I trust He hears me and will answer according to HIS plan.

At the start of this week–which was really just a blurry continuation from the end of last week–I was feeling overwhelmed, exhausted and discouraged. Probably what Jesus calls “weary and burdened” (Matthew 11:28). There were so many things I felt I “had” to do, that I didn’t think I even had time to write to my prayer team, asking for prayers to help me do them.

Does life get crazy-busy for you sometimes, too? Even when we’re filling up with good things (as we discussed in Week Three), it can feel we’re going, going, going. Jesus understands: “Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he (Jesus) said to them, ‘Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest’ (Mark 6:31).

In the midst of my own personal chaos, God had just given me the topic for Week Four. I’m a major proponent of Nike’s slogan, “Just do it!” but I also desperately need to remember my First Love desires I “Just Rest!”

First Love FITNESS – Week Three

Posted by on Oct 3, 2014 in Faith, Food and Fitness | 2 comments

IMG_1845First of all, God is awesome. Yesterday morning, as I was about to leave home and head to church for First Love FITNESS, I felt an urgency to pray for any of the ladies in my class who might, for whatever reason, be considering not going to class that day. I dropped to my knees on the stairs I was ascending and asked God to please touch the ladies HE wanted in class–to in His own way direct them to come. You can imagine my delight when, about an hour later–after class had started–one woman shared in front of everyone that she’d been considering not coming to class that morning. She’d wanted to have her own quiet time with the Lord, but then sensed He wanted her to come to First Love FITNESS, so she did.

I smiled and felt chills all over my body. God works in mysterious ways, and although they are higher than I can understand, it gives me such joy when I sense I’ve been even a teensy-tiny part of His “work” in this world.

Week Three’s Lesson was on “Filling Up with Good Things.” My “Coach’s Tip” was that it’s much healthier to eat five or six small “meals” a day–every two to three hours–than to consume two or three larger ones. And please make absolutely, positively sure you eat breakfast! Ideally, every “meal” should contain protein and good, complex carbohydrates: protein keeps you feeling full longer, and the healthy carbohydrates regulate your blood sugar and give you energy. The greater frequency of eating keeps your metabolism going, not slowing! (more…)

First Love FITNESS, Week Two ~ “No Pain, No Gain”

Posted by on Sep 22, 2014 in Faith, Food and Fitness | 0 comments

IMG_1786First, I want to apologize for not getting this recap of “First Love FITNESS ~ Week Two” written and posted sooner.  Suffice it to say I’ve been busy as a mom.  I imagine other mothers out there understand, but still I’m sorry I didn’t at least get our daily gospel reading schedule posted for you.  I will try to do better in the future, and I thank you for your grace!

As you can see, I had a helper at “First Love FITNESS” this past week: a precious little princess named Candice, the daughter of one of the ladies in my class. Our workout went longer than expected, so Candice joined in at the end. Copying her mommy’s every exercise move, excitedly lifting a pink 6-lb. medicine ball, and proudly showing me how fast she can run, I observed a little girl passionate about fitness! I think God may have planted a new seed within me… maybe “First Love FITNESS–for Kids!” will be next….

But back to our class, I was so blessed to meet again with ladies desiring to become physically and spiritually fit. After opening with prayer, I loved hearing the difference that some of last week’s scriptures had made in their lives, especially 2 Timothy 1:7… “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.” Because self-discipline can be an area of such great struggle, our group as a whole found it extremely encouraging that God GIVES us the spirit we need to overcome our weaknesses and temptations. (more…)

First Love FITNESS ~ Week One

Posted by on Sep 12, 2014 in Faith, Food and Fitness | 3 comments

IMG_1733Yesterday was an exciting day–the first for “First Love FITNESS,” a 10-week class I’m leading at my church to help women become physically and spiritually fit. It was last winter that God asked me “to share with others” this particular passion of mine (Hebrews 13:16). For months I’ve been praying God would bring whomever He wanted to the class. It was a joy to tell the ladies sitting around me that they are the answers to my prayers.

Every week I’ll recap here some highlights of what we discussed and did in class so that those who aren’t able to physically attend may still partake and benefit. Yesterday was a BEAUTIFUL day in Colorado Springs (today it’s snowing!), so I let our entire workout be outside.

After opening with prayer, I shared a key verse for First Love FITNESS: “Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come” (1 Timothy 4:7-8).

Getting to the heart of First Love FITNESS, I shared a quote by Richard Chenevix Trench: “No man can be without his god. If he have not the true God to bless and sustain him, he will have some false god to delude and betray him….For every man has something in which he hopes, on which he leans, to which he retreats and retires, with which he fills up his thoughts in empty spaces of time, when he is alone, when he lies sleepless on his bed, when he is not pressed with other thoughts; to which he betakes himself in sorrow or trouble, as that from which he shall draw comfort and strength — his fortress, his citadel, his defense; and has not this a good right to be called his god?” (more…)

Fall’s Foods-of-the-Month: Dinner with Martha and Mary!

Posted by on Nov 28, 2012 in Faith, Food and Fitness | 2 comments

Do you ever feel time is flying by–uncontrollably fast?  That it was just August, and you blinked, and now it’s November?  That’s how I feel!  I think, as a mom, the Fall months are especially susceptible to disappearing before our eyes.  With two kids in high school, one in junior high, and one in elementary school, “normal” life is already full; add on all the extra, unforeseen events–happy or difficult–and somehow the end of summer has become the beginning of winter.  During these months my blog has had to take backseat to other priorities.  But there’s always a silver lining….

Back in September, while contemplating my “Food-of-the-Month,” I happened to read the story of Martha and Mary in Luke 10:38-42.  I’m guessing I had been praying for HELP in juggling the many activities, needs and concerns in my family’s life with my own when Jesus‘ words became personal to me.  Instead of “Martha, Martha…” I heard “Laurie, Laurie, you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed.  Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” (more…)

August’s Food-of-the-Month: Avocados at Emmanuel’s!

Posted by on Aug 28, 2012 in Food and Fitness | 0 comments

Today I’m especially thankful for friendship and love… and migraines and Mary.  Migraines, you might ask?  Yes, I would answer… those oppressive, nauseating headaches that make me want to sleep so I can’t feel them–or at least be in a dark room with no sound.  I’m thankful because the last two times I’ve had a migraine, my physical suffering has resulted in blessing.

This morning I awoke with a headache.  I still enjoyed my quiet time with God and went to the gym, but several hours later my headache was only worse.  I thought, “I don’t have time for a migraine.”  Plugging away at my computer, trying to get caught up from time away in Africa, it was the nausea that finally forced me to stop.  I’m grateful I did; it was only then I remembered the wonderful, wise words of a friend the last time I’d had a migraine…. (more…)

July’s Food-of-the-Month: To the Land of Milk and Honey, Part Two

Posted by on Jul 31, 2012 in Food and Fitness | 0 comments

Last month, after the wildfires here in Colorado Springs, we escaped to “a land flowing with milk and honey,” focusing on the comfort and strength of milk and other dairy products (Exodus 3:8).  This month, after another tragedy in Colorado–the senseless shootings at a movie theater–we shall again find solace in the Promised Land, this time focusing on the goodness and sweetness of honey… and on one of the most meaningful revelations I’ve ever received from God.

When I visited the Holy Land in 2010, I was surprised to see palm trees with something different from coconuts hanging on them.  Pointing my finger at the masses of little brown “balls” high above me, I asked our guide, “What are THOSE?”  “Dates,” she said.  It was a DATE palm tree.  Soon after, I learned honey in Israel is made from dates… also called date syrup.  And let me tell you date honey is DELICIOUS–tasting a bit like molasses.  I bought a jar in Bethlehem and still enjoy it from time to time as a special treat. (more…)

June’s Food-of-the-Month: To the Land of Milk and Honey!

Posted by on Jun 30, 2012 in Food and Fitness | 0 comments

After the week we’ve had here in Colorado Springs, I’m tired!  In the aftermath of the wildfires that burned down almost 350 homes and 17,000 acres, I think it’s time for some “comfort food” for our heart, mind, body and soul.  The following Scripture seems especially appropriate:  “The Lord said, ‘I have indeed seen the misery of my people…. I have heard them crying out… and I am concerned about their suffering.  So I have come down to rescue them… and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey….’” (Exodus 3:7-8).  Mmm… sounds wonderful!

To the evacuees temporarily living in cramped quarters I imagine “good and spacious” sounds sublime.  But to all of us–even those who haven’t spent much time in the Bible–“a land flowing with milk and honey” conjures up something utterly delightful in every way.  Pleasing to all of our senses, the land is fertile, abundantly alive and overflowing with blessings… a reward of complete comfort and satisfaction after an arduous journey.  For those who have suffered this week, I pray peace and joy will be found in this land in a personal relationship with God.  And on a much smaller scale, I hope that as we look at some of the foods in “the land of milk and honey,” we will find not only comfort but strength. (more…)

May’s Food-of-the-Month: NUTS!

Posted by on May 30, 2012 in Food and Fitness | 0 comments

At the beginning of May I mentally placed nuts on our monthly food pedestal.  But I’m so glad I didn’t get around to writing this post until after Mother’s Day–when my eyes were opened to the world of nuts in a brand new beautiful way.  I LOVE when God does stuff like this….

It was a cool, overcast day–perfect for a temporary escape into another world of MY choice!  How excited I was to look in the newspaper and learn of a movie called “Chimpanzee.”  Based on the short description about a baby chimp named Oscar, I knew this would be my kind of flick… I LOVE animal movies!  What I didn’t know is that I’d soon be entering the lush, “Biblical” world of fig trees and nut groves deep in the rainforest of Africa, a land to which I’ve desired going since childhood.  But this is where Oscar and his family so blessedly live, thriving largely on the protein and healthy fats of the NUTS God gave them!  Jillian Michaels would highly approve… of the chimpanzees’ skillful nut-cracking, I should say. (more…)