On Sunday in our morning services, Ricky Wright (Compassion Director) unpacked what it looked like for us to be a city of health. There are so many ways we can journey towards health for ourselves and our city, however, we want to point out some practical ways today that we can improve and make a difference to our physical health, with an emphasis on nutrition and wellbeing.
"Don't copy the behaviour and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect." - Romans 12:2 (NLT)
We're a church that champions being outward focused and serving the needs of the city. We have witnessed amazing stories of transformation and lives changed when we bring Jesus into our everyday, everywhere and to everyone as scattered servants in our city.
There is no area that our Father does not want to speak into to bring about His redemption in our lives. As a nutritionist, I see the food we eat and the way we steward our health as one of these areas that the Father wants to renew our minds in, to bring healing and transformation to our city person by person.
There is often guilt and shame associated with food, especially if you have struggled with weight or have dieted on and off for years. Inviting the Father into this area can seem scary, however His intent for us is ALWAYS good.
As a church we believe God is able to bring about miraculous and instantaneous healing emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually, but are we willing to listen if He speaks a process of healing, which may take more time, where He teaches us to live lives that steward our bodies and our health well?
The Lord started to speak to me about this in my final year at University where I was studying to become a doctor. I always wanted to be involved in healthcare, however, it wasn’t until I witnessed an amazing story of healing in my own mother’s life through a nutrition and wellness programme, that I knew more clearly where the Lord was leading me.
My mom had struggled with depression, having days where she would spend hours in bed, unable to face the daily struggle that was life. I thank God that one of her friends invited her to take a nutrition and wellness programme. This was not only a significant moment in her life but in mine too.
During this time I witnessed a transformation in my mom that was remarkable! She started having so much energy and vitality from changing the way she ate, replacing the previous sugar-laden foods with wholesome vegetables. The increased energy from nourishing food gave her the energy to start getting into exercise. She ended up doing a triathlon with me after only a few months of training!
My mom would say that the nutrition and wellness programme was a major factor in her coming out of depression. Witnessing the transformation of simple lifestyle choices to bring about healing has led me to where I am now, leading people in nutrition and wellness programmes myself. The Father cares so deeply for us and there are so many simple, yet practical things that we can embrace to find freedom and healing in our lives.
Here are 6 tips that you can start with, which create good foundations for your health:
1. Drink More Water - We cannot survive without water. We are made up of approximately 60% water and it is vital for our bodies to function well! Aim for 8 glasses of water every day to keep your body hydrated and happy!
2. Eat 5 Different Vegetables Every Day - There are numerous health conditions today that can be helped tremendously if we simply increase our intake of vegetables. Vegetables of different colours provide us with a variety of nutrients as well as fibre, which plays a major role in keeping our gut healthy! By simply adding an extra vegetable to your plate at meals, you can be doing yourself a world of good!
3. Get Enough Sleep - Even the God of the Universe saw the need for rest. Sleeping is something that we spend one-third of our lives doing and it serves as a vital function to our health. Most healthy adults need between 7-9 hours of sleep per night to function at their best, with more sleep required for children and adolescents.
4. Manage Stress - Stress has a major influence upon mood, our sense of well-being, behaviour, and health. Stress can be caused from external factors such as relational issues, financial hardship, work difficulties, or from internal factors such as illness, emotional/mental strain or physical pain. It’s important to recognise the stressors that you can actively change. There are other stressors that you cannot control however you can find coping mechanisms to help you deal with the stress better, i.e. seek counselling for stress caused from a bereavement.
5. Move More - This isn’t about joining a gym or running a marathon, but rather finding simple ways to increase movement in your day and get blood flow going to help your body function best. Try walking to get your morning newspaper instead of driving, or getting off the bus or train a few stops early to walk a bit further into town or to work. We have become too sedentary for our own good with TVs and tablets keeping us from getting out in the fresh air so let’s start to change this and be intentional about moving more every day!
6. Be in Community - Being healthy should be a team sport. Every BODY needs a BUDDY! Research has shown that those who live in community and relationship with others fare better in their health than those that are isolated! Let’s encourage each other in this health journey with food choices and overall wellness!
Invite the Father into your health and ask Him for the grace to make lifestyle choices that will help bring healing and restoration into your life! Be blessed as the Father guides you in your health journey!
MSc Human Nutrition / cohunutrition.com