By Jimmy Page, Fellowship of Christian Athletes –
““…But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these…since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.”
– Colossians 3:8-10 (NIV)
I recently downloaded an app for my iPhone called “Eat This, Not That!” It’s the official app for the bestselling weight loss book series by the same title, which offers simple food and drink swaps we can make when eating out, grocery shopping and cooking. While not all of their swaps are necessarily “healthy,” they are always better options than the popular choices listed.
Life is Full of Choices!
Life is full of choices—far too many, if you ask me—especially when it comes to food. Don’t believe me? Just take a walk down the cereal aisle at your local supermarket.
STOP AND SWAP
Want to start making food and drink swaps that will lead you to a healthier life and increase your ability to bring glory to God? Take a few minutes to answer the following questions. Then list three swaps you can make that will lead you down the path to health.
- What are your three favorite drinks?
- Would you consider them to be healthy choices?
Why or why not?
- What do you typically order at your favorite restaurant?
- Is there a healthier alternative?
- Do you regularly consult nutrition labels when shopping for food?
- How can reading labels help you make wise choices?
My Three Swaps
Based on what I know, I will make the following healthy swaps regarding my food and beverage consumption:
Make Wise Decisions
It is highly important that we make wise decisions regarding what we consume. God trusts us to make choices that benefit the bodies He’s given us, and the truth is that many foods today have virtually no nutritional value and are actually harmful to us. They might taste good, but they rob us of health and decrease our ability to serve Him.
That’s why the concept of making food and drink swaps is fantastic—and critical. But the key is the word “swap.” Every time we stop eating something we crave that’s bad for us, we need to find a healthy alternative or we’ll be less likely to maintain the change. But with hundreds of food choices in every category, making swaps can be complicated. We face dozens of menu items at restaurants and countless health claims at the store. Determining the best options can be confusing!
Six Nutritional Components
Based on general knowledge, we all find some wise swaps to be intuitive. For example, almost anyone can discern that a baked potato is healthier than an oily French fry. But many other swaps are tricky. In order to start making better decisions, we should examine the following six nutritional components of our foods and beverages:
- Total calories – Based on the average recommended 2,000-calorie diet (which varies for everyone), a person should consume 500 calories or less at each meal, which is tougher than we think! The average American eats more than 1.5 times the food they need, so we need to check the calories per serving on each item we choose. It is always a good idea to read labels and to avoid drinking calories when possible!
- Grams of sugar – Refined sugar is a health killer. It not only causes spikes in blood-sugar levels, it also sparks inflammation and facilitates weight gain. When possible, we should swap high-sugar items with lower-sugar alternatives.
- Grams of fiber – Fiber helps prevent fat storage while also controlling cholesterol. We should aim for 30 grams or more per day.
- Grams of saturated fat – While certain fats are good for us, saturated fat increases stroke-inducing cholesterol levels and makes a huge caloric impact with little nutritional benefit.
- Milligrams of sodium – While salt isn’t entirely bad for us, too much of it is. Regularly consuming more than 1,000 mg per day can increase our blood pressure and our risk of heart disease, stroke and kidney failure.
- Artificial chemicals and sweeteners – We often think diet options are better, but research has shown that people who drink diet or sugar-free beverages actually risk gaining more weight than those who don’t. Beyond the scale, many artificial sweeteners have been linked to a variety of health risks, including cancer.
The Ultimate Swap
Spiritually speaking, Scripture shows us that our God Himself is actually a God of swaps. Throughout the Bible we are encouraged to make swaps regarding our way of thinking, our perspectives, our emotions and even our very nature. (See Matthew 23, Colossians 3 and Philippians 4 for examples.) And let us never forget the ultimate swap God made by trading our death for eternal life through Jesus Christ. He always swaps out the worthless for the absolute best.
Life a Fit Life
This month, let’s allow God to help us make positive, life-giving swaps—specifically regarding our diets—that will ultimately lead us closer to the full and abundant life He promises. Who knows? The changes we make might just be our tickets to health and healing in more ways than one! Live a fit life. C’mon—you can do this!
About the Author
For nearly 20 years, Jimmy Page was involved in various leadership roles in the medical fitness industry. As the former national director of FCA’s Health and Fitness Ministry, Page now serves as one of FCA’s 11 vice presidents of field ministry and is the co-author of the book WisdomWalks. He and his wife, Ivelisse, reside in Reisterstown, Md., with their four children. Contact Jimmy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
FCA in Kansas City
Interested in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes? For local ministry opportunities and events, visit Metro Kansas City FCA at kcfca.org or call (816) 892-1137 or contact the National Support Center at (816) 289-0909 or (800) 289-0909.