For two weeks, Stephanie Bernstein walked around with only 40% lung capacity. Soon she would discover that 100s of tiny blood clots had invaded her lungs, resulting in a massive pulmonary embolism. Five years ago when Stephanie got the news, she made a deathbed pact to God vowing to make some “serious changes to get healthy.”
Now, 80 pounds lighter, she’s the healthiest she’s ever been in her life, and at 51, she’s having fun picking out trendy clothes and even turning a few heads in the process.
Like many of our true weight loss rock stars, Stephanie said her weight is something she has struggled with her whole life. “I was intimidated by exercise, and I loved sweets and comfort food.”
The extra pounds even affected her self esteem. “It was always the thing that held me back from being truly happy,” she admitted. “I never felt attractive, and always felt like the ugly duckling.”
The promise she made to God
Stephanie was determined to get healthy for her daughters. After losing their first mothers in China, she prayed that her life would be saved so the girls wouldn’t have to go through another devastating loss. Following the embolism, she spent a year enduring constant blood draws and Lovenox shots to reduce the risk of further clotting. Once her body was healthy enough for exercise, Stephanie got busy making good on her promise. (more…)
Republican party candidate E.W. Jackson is not only running for a position as Virginia’s Lieutenant Governor, he’s running his mouth as a highly conservative Christian who firmly believes yoga is a straight path to hell, not health.
Jackson is not afraid to tell the world what he thinks. As a Christian minister, Jackson wants to save our souls by warning the 15 million Americans who practice that “Doing yoga may leave unsuspecting people vulnerable to satanic possession.”
I don’t remember ever coming across any information while researching the benefits of yoga that along with better health, practitioners will start to grow horns and breathe hostility out into the world. In fact, last time I checked, those who practice yoga on a regular basis are happier, less anxious, and more willing to make a positive difference in their community.
Atlantic Wire’s Elspeth Reeve’s comment in response to Jackson’s assertions is the best one thus far. Reeve joked, “Behind the ice-cold eyes of Lululemon princesses burn the demonic flames of eternal hell.” Next time you are in your yoga class you better run and hide, because everyone knows the devil wears Prana. (more…)
The leader of the Catholic church changed hands yesterday. Amongst great fanfare, Jorge Mario Bergoglio exited the Vatican after a plume of white smoke rose from the chimney and was announced as Pope Francis I. He’s the first pope of modern times to come from Latin America; specifically he hails from Buenos Aires, Argentina.
He’s described as a humble man and a pope of the people, already declining to stand atop a podium when he first greeted his loyal Catholic followers. So then, can we assume the papal diet will also be a modest one? It appears so. According to Lanancion.com, Pope Francis enjoys a healthy diet, eating things like fresh fruit, skinless chicken, salads, and a glass of wine on occasion.
It may be a leaner and more frugal diet than many of his predecessors. (more…)
In case you were wondering why the ads for fast-food fish increase this time of year – here’s your answer. Catholics started Lent on Wednesday, a 40-day observance wherein an individual fasts or abstains from something worldly, including abstinence from meat on Fridays. Catholics are permitted fish, and the restaurant industry takes full advantage. While grabbing a fish sandwich from a drive-thru seems innocent enough considering how healthful fish can be, those combos are often no better than the cheeseburgers.
Once you batter, fry, slather with mayo, and stuff fish inside a big white, starchy bun, you’re left with alarmingly high sodium and diet-crushing calorie counts.
We scanned restaurant menus to organize a list of the healthiest fish sandwiches, but our direction had to change when we couldn’t find any. That’s right – the fast food industry fails when it comes to serving a sandwich that meets our nutritional criteria, which is 500 calories and 500 milligrams of sodium or less for a meal. A couple come close with modifications, but they often don’t leave room for any sides.
McDonald’s Filet O’Fish Sandwich “wins” for the “healthier” fast food fish sandwich, as long as you ditch the cheese and maybe even the tartar sauce. The Long John Silver’s grilled salmon option is the best meal we found, and you even get to order corn with it! And for cold sandwiches, Panera barely wins with its tuna sandwich (barely because the sodium is still too high).
Take a look at the break down of eight of the most popular fast food restaurants and why you should avoid their fish menu. If you’ve got to go meatless on Friday, consider their vegetarian options – or just pack a lunch! (more…)
Some parents in California are really disrupting the Om with their protest of yoga in school.
Today The Associated Press reported that parents in the Encinitas, California school system were upset about the free yoga classes being offered in the schools. They cited a fear of indoctrinating children into eastern religion as the reason for their protest.
The children in the San Diego County schools have been offered the opportunity to attend Asthanga yoga classes as a result of a grant given to the school. The $533,000, three-year grant was gifted to the school by the Jois Foundation, a non-profit that promotes and teaches Asthanga yoga.
The superintendent of the schools is Tim Baird. He has stated that the district has removed any religious aspects from the classes and that he simply wants children to gain the physical benefit from yoga. They are being taught traditional breathing techniques and poses. He also has stated that he thinks students need an opportunity to relax and relieve stress and he feels yoga is a good fit for that.
The parents who have protested have retorted that they believe the religious content is still being pushed and that their taxes are going to pay for children to be taught Hinduism. (more…)
Wellness is defined as the state of health that is free from disease. Many people suffer from a lack of health and wellness and as a result they experience a plethora of symptoms that can manifest physically, mentally, and emotionally. Living a well-balanced life with a central source of inspiration is key in maintaining health.
Mary Jo Ricketson, the founder of the Center for Mind-Body Training in the Boston area, believes each and every one of us are equipped with the potential to experience optimal well-being of mind and body. Referring to this state of wellness as the ‘good within,’ Ricketson has compiled a new book of yoga and exercise titled Moving Meditation, complete with quotes, fitness and yoga instruction, and intentions for living an inspired life on and off the yoga mat.
In an effort to aid in the reduction of stress through faith, the pages in Moving Meditation are graced by a God-centered approach to wellness. With the majority of quotes from the Bible, and several references to Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, the book carries a weighty Christian tone, however the author does include inspiration from other religions and spiritual teachers such as the Buddha, Kahlil Gibran, and Lao Tzu. (more…)
For many, Lent is a time to give up something for the purpose of honoring the 40 days Jesus was said to walk through the desert, lured by the devil on many occasions. Christian or otherwise, Lent can be observed by anyone wanting to experience discipline, inner strength and conviction. Whether it is a vice we’ve been battling with, an addiction we need to curb, or simply the wish to deny ourselves our favorite luxury, the essence is in finding the devotion and dedication to let go of the inner demon of temptation.
Forty days is a long time to live without something you’ve been used to doing or having. Some of us make it easy on ourselves, while others will go all out in an effort to really challenge themselves. I have heard vegetarians say they are going to give up meat for Lent, and just recently my father told me he was going to give up listening to his Wayne Newton albums. Both are absurd, the prior for obvious reasons, and for those of you who don’t know my dad, he is definitely not a fan of Wayne Newton.
But for those of you who are actually going to give up something that will make you squirm, cringe, and want to renounce your devotion, the following meditation will help you stay the course.
Replacing the gym for church might be the key to health and weight loss success. In the last year, a movement started by famed pastor Rick Warren has lead to the loss of 250,000 pounds.
Warren, considered one of the most influential pastors in the U.S., is best known for his best-selling book The Purpose Driven Life. Recently Warren was struck by how overweight his congregation was, including himself. Warren admitted to gaining 90 pounds over the last 30 years and failing at various diets along the way.
This realization lead to the creation of the Daniel Plan. The Daniel Plan is a diet and lifestyle program that was devised at Warren’s church, Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California and gets its vision and name from the story found in the book of Daniel in the Bible. In the story, Daniel and his friends refuse to eat royal food and wine. They only eat vegetables and water. In Daniel 1:15 it says, “they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food.”
The plan was also devised with the aid of three medical professionals: Daniel Amen, a psychiatrist; Mark Hyman, a family doctor; and Mehmet Oz, a TV host and cardiac surgeon. Essentially, the plan advises healthy food choices, promotes workout routines, and urges participants to join a small group for support.
By Dani M. Stone
Mark Cornelison signed up to be on Biggest Loser 13 with his son Isaac so they could make a “life change.” At 291 pounds, suffering from high blood pressure, high cholesterol and acid reflux, this 43-year-old youth pastor from Magnolia, Texas knows it’s time to take charge of his future and that begins on the Biggest Loser ranch.
Like many people who struggle with their weight, Mark has been yo-yo dieting since high school, trying to lose weight for a specific occasion or event, only to gain it all back. In the past, Mark has seen “glimpses” of success so he knows he can do it. He just needs a team to show him how to put all the healthy lifestyle pieces in to place and how to adapt healthy living to his daily routine. “This is for life. I need to make the change because I’m getting older, feeling weaker and I want to be healthier.”
In addition to being married with three teenage children, Mark has a busy but rewarding job as a youth pastor for a local church. He frequently does volunteer work and goes on missionary trips but admits his weight gain is making it increasingly uncomfortable to help in the way he used to.
Mark’s faith is ingrained in his life and he takes his position as pastor very seriously. He’s worked with teenagers in the church for 15 years and it’s important for him to be a role model to the kids he mentors, as well as, his own impressionable teenagers at home.
Mark wants to get fit for his family and his personal health but he also wants to be stronger for God. He knows God put him in his current position to use him and he wants to “be the best that I can be for the service he has called me to.” This season Mark and his son Isaac “Chism” Cornelison compete as the grey team on Biggest Loser 13.
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Yoga in America is now a six billion dollar industry. It is a highly influential practice that has captured the attention of millions, and continues to do so at an insurmountable rate. It is estimated that 15 to 20 million Americans practice yoga on a regular basis as it has become a celebrated form of exercise, stress relief and an effective method to enhance overall wellbeing. It is not uncommon to find a yoga studio on almost every street corner in the city, see them occupying strip malls in the suburbs and discover them inhabiting old buildings in many small towns.
While most people view modern yoga as a non-denominational practice for the mind and body, Father Gabriele Amorth, the former chief exorcist for the Vatican, does not. Esteemed as someone who exhumed evil spirits for the Vatican, Amorth believes that by practicing yoga, one will be led to practice Hinduism, and that “brings evil” because it supports the non-Christian notion of reincarnation.
The Hindu religion is considered to be one of the oldest religions in the world. Yoga was born in a region where Hinduism was practiced, long before Christianity was conceived. Yoga then manifested as a way to live life for the purpose of selfless service, greater good for humanity and faith in the divine. By definition, the word yoga means to join or to unite. This union is about connecting the human spirit to a higher power and that power can be referred to as God, regardless of how one chooses to define God.
If you haven’t tried yoga because the thought of chanting praises to an unfamiliar deity after Sunday morning mass makes you cringe, fear not. Christian Yoga is making its way across the country and throughout the world as an alternative yoga practice for those who would rather say Amen than Namaste.
Even though yoga is not a religion, many Americans may still be reluctant to try yoga for the first time due to their strong devotion to the Christian faith. DeAnna Smothers and Courtney Chalfant, a mother and daughter team from Chandler, Arizona founded Yahweh Yoga in 2005 for that very reason.
Yahweh Yoga is a Christ-centered practice and is designed to give people the opportunity to feel comfortable deepening their relationship with God, while gaining all of the other health benefits of yoga.