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!

A Secret to Fitness Success: Tell Someone!

Posted by on May 17, 2012 in Faith, Food and Fitness | 0 comments

If you only knew how often I think of you when I’m at the gym!  Yes, “you,” the fellow soul who cares about your physical fitness.  More than anything, I want to ENCOURAGE you on your individual journey, knowing each of ours is different.  We all have unique abilities and goals, injuries or surgeries from which we’re recovering, or conditions we’re currently experiencing.  Our workout regimes are very personal… custom-tailored to our likes, dislikes, strengths and weaknesses.  This makes it difficult, I sometimes think, for me to write to such a diverse audience.  But lately a message has been on my mind which I believe applies to everyone–no matter our age or stage in fitness–because it can benefit us all.  It has to do with using our Orbicularis oris muscle:  the muscle around our mouth!

We can tell ourselves before going to bed at night we’ll wake up early and go to the gym, but once that alarm sounds, it’s easy to turn it off and go back to sleep.  We can tell ourselves we’ll go for a run after work or swim laps on Saturday, but once those times come and we’d rather do something else (like relax), it’s simple to forego our original intention.  But when we tell SOMEONE ELSE our plans and ask this person to hold us accountable, we’ve most likely taken a giant leap in accomplishing our personal goals. (more…)

April’s Food-of-the-Month: EGGS

Posted by on Apr 13, 2012 in Food and Fitness | 0 comments

Several weeks ago my sophomore in high school was sick and home from school, watching me fix my lunch.  “Mom, do you seriously still eat that every day?” he asked as I was cracking open and separating my eggs.  “Pretty much…yeah, I do…I love it!” I replied.  We were referring to my “Daily Scramble,” an equally delicious and nutritious meal featured in the Oxygen Magazine article on my website AND in last month’s post about spinach.  Many times I modify the recipe, but the main ingredients stay the same.  (To me, eggs and spinach go together like peanut butter and jelly…or more precisely, two of my other loves:  almond butter and agave nectar.)

Although the humble egg is not always considered a “Super Food” or “Power Food” by others (possibly because of its cholesterol–which we’ll cover in a minute), this staple in my diet absolutely makes my Top 12 list because of the protein in the egg white.  “Eggs have long been considered the best source of complete protein…”–a term defined as a food which contains all of the essential amino acids (Chris Carmichael’s Food for Fitness).  The Editor-in-Chief of Men’s Health, David Zinczenko agrees:  “The protein found in eggs has the highest ‘biological value‘ of protein–a measure of how well it supports your body’s protein need–of any food.  In other words, the protein in eggs is more effective at building muscle than protein from other sources…” (The Abs Diet for Women). (more…)

March’s Food-of-the-Month: Spinach!

Posted by on Mar 15, 2012 in Food and Fitness | 0 comments

In the spirit of celebrating all things GREEN this coming Saturday, it is my pleasure to place on our monthly food pedestal one of my absolute favorite “addictions:”  spinach!  Hopefully you already know and love this gorgeous green which “has more demonstrated health benefits than almost any other food” (SuperFoods Rx, Steven Pratt, M.D., and Kathy Matthews).  But if spinach is anything less than a DAILY part of your diet, please stick around and let me try to convince you to increase your affection and consumption.

Remember Popeye?  It was supposedly the iron which made the Sailor Man become a powerhouse after eating a can of spinach.  Back then, “nutritionists were working with an 8-pack of crayons; today we’re looking at the 250-pack.  Based on what we know and are learning daily about micronutrients, we understand it’s the synergy of the wide range of all the nutrients and phytonutrients in green leafies that make them superstars” (Pratt/Matthews).  Along with two other of my personal favorites–salmon and blueberries–spinach is right up at the pinnacle of all-star foods. (more…)

February’s Food-of-the-Month: Chocolate!

Posted by on Feb 29, 2012 in Food and Fitness | 0 comments

Yes, I realize it’s the last day of February, and I’m just now posting my “Food-of-the-Month!”  How very thankful I am for this Leap Day… that God in His sovereign knowledge and grace would provide me an “extra day” to complete what I told you I would.  I’ve been so excited to research and write about CHOCOLATE–I’ve just needed more of that precious commodity called “time!”  So, finally, here I am… and while the chocolate of Valentine’s Day is but a distant memory, the delectable treats of Easter already fill store shelves.  Indeed the appeal of chocolate cannot be contained to one month; its pleasure is timeless and “powers” are rich.  I eat some form of chocolate most every day of my life.  Let’s look at its worthiness in making my “Top 12” list of favorite foods.

To begin, I’d like to “take you” to a bumpy, dirt road in a very poor, rural farming community two hours outside of Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic.  My family and I were there last year with an organization near and dear to my heart called Plant with Purpose (www.plantwithpurpose.org).  While our friend Carlos diverted our attention to what looked like thousands of almonds basking in the sun on the side of the road, he asked, “Have you seen how chocolate is made?”  Clearly, we hadn’t.  Our driver stopped the van, and we got out to take a closer look at the cacao (pronounced “Ka-Kow”) beans in front of a family’s home.  A gentleman came out to greet us, and our incredible tutorial on the making of chocolate began! (more…)

January’s Food-of-the-Month: OATS!

Posted by on Jan 24, 2012 in Food and Fitness | 0 comments

In my quest to delve into the glory of God this year, I am reminded that according to Scripture, we are no less than God’s sacred temple!  “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?  You are not your own; you were bought at a price.  Therefore honor God with your body” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).  We may have a long way to go in the myriad of spiritual and physical ways we honor God with our body, but we can be encouraged in our desire to treat it with the utmost respect and care.  For me, and I know for many of you, part of that equation is a lifestyle of consistent exercise and healthy eating.

In that light, every month this year I’d like to introduce a “Food-of-the-Month” to help nourish our body–and probably our heart, mind, and soul, too.  You may have heard of “Super Foods” or “Power Foods” which nutrition experts encourage us to eat because of their extremely healthful benefits.  I, too, think it wise to focus on foods we should eat and how to creatively weave them into our diet instead of obsessing about those we should not.  We will explore why, how, and even when we should eat my Foods-of-the-Month, and I will always provide some of my favorite ways of preparing them.  (FYI, all 12 foods are staples in my diet… most I eat every single day!)  If there is biblical meaning or I’m inspired with spiritual application, you can be sure I’ll share the tasty tidbits.  More than anything, I am excited to research, learn, and be nourished with you! (more…)

2012 Workout Tips for Gals & Guys…STARTING NOW!

Posted by on Dec 1, 2011 in Food and Fitness | 2 comments

I owe a big apology to the men out there! My last post on FOOD was directed toward women, yet three MEN commented and/or inquired how to alter their diet to achieve their fitness goals. Please forgive me! From now on be assured I will write to both sexes.

With the “season of eating” upon us and New Year’s Resolutions right around the corner, I see no reason not to focus on working out NOW…whenever you are reading this, “now” means TODAY! Similar to my recent “Top Ten Jewels (not Rules) for Healthy Eating,” I pray you find these workout tips practical and meaningful, no matter your age or stage in fitness. Having intensively trained for events ranging from figure competitions to an Ironman 70.3, and having worked out typically six days a week for the last five years, I will do my best to give you twelve workout tips that challenge and strengthen your entire being…heart, mind, body, and soul. Let’s go… (more…)

My Top 10 Jewels (not Rules) for Healthy Eating

Posted by on Oct 20, 2011 in Food and Fitness | 0 comments

Since launching my website, the number one question I receive is about FOOD. Women want to know what I eat and what they should eat in their quest for a healthy, fit, and toned body. We females care deeply about food. We spend a great deal of time buying it, preparing it, talking about it, growing it, socializing around it, reading about it, gazing lovingly at it, denying ourselves of it, and, alas, indulging in it. Oh, how we enjoy the sensuous qualities and comfort of food!

But we also get mad at it because it can make our stomach, head, or heart feel bad, and we sometimes hate ourselves for eating it. So we say “tomorrow will be a new day”…this will be our LAST bad day of eating (after just a couple more bites), and we’ll start a new diet tomorrow! And so we continue to ride the roller coaster of emotional eating. Up and down, around and ‘round it goes…but that can stop, girls! If you’d like to get off the out-of-control ride and onto some level ground, you’re in the right place. And I’m glad you’re here.

There is much more to say than can be contained in one blog post, but at least we’ll get the ball rolling with “My Top 10 Jewels (not Rules) for Healthy Eating.” They are jewels because I wholeheartedly believe there is a crown which awaits those of us who love God and persevere the tests and trials of this life (see James 1:12). Until we receive this crown of beauty, splendor, and glory, may we live our lives in such a way that we sparkle for the One who made us.  Taking care of the body God gave us by feeding it wholesome spiritual and physical food is a way we honor Him (see 1 Corinthians 6:20).  (more…)

Pride, Potato Chips, and Procrastination ~ Turning Struggle into Striving

Posted by on Sep 22, 2011 in Faith, Food and Fitness | 0 comments

Since posting my entry on “Woman’s Struggle with Food,” I heard a sermon which provides excellent follow-up advice. Although Pastor Al Pittman was speaking in spiritual terms, about struggles in our everyday journeys of faith, I believe the principle applies practically and meaningfully to our relationships with food and fitness too. I have been VERY excited to share this with you because I experienced “deliverance” from a struggle in my own life soon after hearing the message. I believe this same freedom from however you currently struggle is waiting for you too! Being freed from the power of a “cookie”—literally or figuratively—feels SO good…Let me explain.

When Jesus said, “Strive to enter through the narrow door” (Luke 13:24) He was describing the effort we must make to enter the kingdom of God. The original Greek meaning for the word “strive” is “to contest; to compete for a prize; to contend with an adversary.” In other parts of the Bible, it is the same word used to describe the strict training an athlete endures before competing in a race (1 Corinthians 9:25), struggling with all of one’s energy (Colossians 1:29), wrestling in prayer (Colossians 4:12), and fighting the good fight of the faith (1Timothy 6:12 and 2 Timothy 4:7). Clearly there is nothing casual, accidental, or nonchalant about the way Jesus wants us to approach that narrow door…but why? Why must we make such a determined effort?   (more…)

Woman’s Struggle with Food… from Eve to You and Me

Posted by on Sep 1, 2011 in Food and Fitness | 0 comments

My heart is heavy as I write. Yesterday I received a call from a friend in tears. At various points in the conversation I thought my cell coverage was gone because I could no longer hear her voice. But every time connection was remade, I learned it had been her emotions choking her voice box, not allowing her to speak. As I was in my car, picking up two of my boys from school, I pressed my phone tightly to my ear and tried to listen very carefully to the words she was able to produce. I learned her feelings of such overwhelming sadness were about feeling 15-20 pounds overweight. “Laurie, I need your help. Do you think you can help me?” she cried.

This conversation comes only days after a lady I’ve never met read the article about me in the current issue of SHAPE magazine, googled my name, found my website (which is brand new and hasn’t even been formally announced to family and friends!), and e-mailed me a question. She said she’s been working out for twenty years but is “struggling with food.” She wanted to know how I ate to prepare my body to be photographed for the magazine. (more…)

My Heart for Building Muscle…of Our Whole Being

Posted by on Aug 27, 2011 in Food and Fitness | 0 comments

Under the umbrella of lavishing love is my passion to help us build muscle. Not just physical muscle, of course, but muscles of our heart, mind and spirit too. Let me first say I am grateful we have a God who is all-sufficient; who provides strength in our weakness, guidance in our confusion, peace and joy in our troubled times. I am thankful because I have been the recipient countless times of the words Jesus spoke to Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in your weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9). But just because I know God will always be there to help me doesn’t mean I don’t want to become stronger…emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and physically. This is why I am passionate about “strength training” our whole being.

At the gym, strength training is also called resistance training. That‘s because dealing with resistance—such as lifting, pushing, or pulling weight—is precisely what builds strength. I still remember my shock when I learned that resistance training was tearing my muscles! I asked my trainer why this could possibly be a good thing! He graciously explained that the tearing is necessary because it is actually the torn parts coming back together which makes the muscle become bigger and stronger. The new and greater strength comes from the mending, and the mending only occurs because of the tear. I truly had no idea, and I imagine he had no idea of the profound impact that statement would have on the rest of me. (more…)