Devotional, God's word

I Testify

IMG-20180714-WA0005.jpegGrowing up as a first-generation “Yankee” in a West-Indian family in the 1980’s was not always nice.  There were some customs that still endure in Caribbean culture that we really need to do away with.  The elders still do it a lot.  I think these days, those of us still living in America have assimilated into the cultural shift that happened sometime in the 1990’s.

I’m referring to the one where we are so careful not to body shame our girls.

But that didn’t happen until I was in my teens.  As a tween, body shaming was very normal.

The perpetrators: mothers, aunties and grannies who thought they were being helpful by blatantly pointing out what was wrong with your body and making sure you felt bad enough about it to want to change it.

The victim in question: 8-year-old Rashida, a cute, chubby third grader who’s kinky hair wouldn’t grow long, with a complexion a shade too dark to be “pretty”.  (Light skinned girls with “good hair” were in style at the time.)

Mom and my aunt, both of whom were overweight and obese themselves respectively (with all due respect) would pinch an inch of my side fat and say “if you would just lose a little weight you would be so pretty!” and other such uplifting statements.  There I was, having a secret crush on Kirk Cameron, knowing I was too fat and ugly for him to ever feel the same about me.

“if you would just lose a little weight you would be so pretty!” and other such uplifting statements.

Fast forward 10 years.  Cocoa skin was finally in, and fat became PHAT.  I was still a size 14 in my jeans, but that was no longer chubby – it was thick, curvaceous, sexy!  During that time frame, I got my first tastes of favorable attention from boys and men. It was just the medication I needed.  By age 18, I was hooked and always looking for that fix.

I was an addict for another 17 years. Like a crack head, I did things that I’m not at all proud of for my drug.  If a man didn’t seem to notice me, I made certain he did.  That validation was all I had to convince myself of my own value.

Sadly, my stock was declining in the process…

Then I met Nicholas.  One day, we were talking, and he was giving me a kind ear while I explained a problem I was having.  He put me on hold to check his church notes – I was astonished and intrigued by the very idea of taking notes in church – because what I was saying triggered a memory of the message he had gotten that morning.  I don’t remember the details of that conversation at all, but I do remember that his notes, God’s word, helped me in some way that evening.

It would be a few more months before I went to church again for the first time in many years, but on a chilly Wednesday night in November, I met Nicholas and we went together to his church in Brooklyn.  The messages, not just that night but also in the few weeks prior, that God was sending me were about the validation He wants to give me.

Rashida is the apple of God’s eye.

Rashida is wonderfully made. (I didn’t understand the “fearfully” part until later)

Rashida is His workmanship, His handiwork, His masterpiece!

Me?

At that moment, I suddenly stopped feeling that need for validation from men of this world.  All I needed was Jesus Christ.

I answered altar call, that is, the pastor invited anyone who did not have Jesus in their life to the altar and I stepped up.  I was raised Catholic, with all the childhood sacraments under my belt, but I had never appropriated the gift of eternal life before that night.

The messages, not just that night but also in the few weeks prior, that God was sending me were about the validation He wants to give me.

Since that night, my life has changed dramatically.  Not only do I no longer seek validation from men, but I encourage other women around me also.  My heart is moved by girls and young women who remind me of how I was.  God draws them near to me and I do all I can to fill them up so they never feel as empty as I once did.

God is using me in so many wonderful ways as I get deeper in my relationship with Him and give my life over to Him more and more.  I’m honored that He entrusts me with this ministry and the many lives that it touches. I’m humbled by the trust He puts in me!

The best part is knowing that I have eternal life.  With that kind of certainty, even the prospect of possibly dying during an organ donation surgery couldn’t phase me.  I was able to bless someone I love dearly without fear or hesitation because my trust is in Jesus Christ!

Now let me ask you these two questions:

  1. Have you come to a place in your spiritual life that, if you were to die today, you would go to heaven?  Or is that something you’d say you’re still working on?
  2. If you were to die today, and God was to ask you “Why should I let you into My heaven?”, how would you answer?

Please allow me to share my faith with you now:

If you have accepted The Gift, please connect with me so we can fellowship.  Whatsapp me at 868-792-5408 right now.

Welcome to the family of God!

 

8 Day Really Nourish Yourself Devo Day 8: Bless Others
Devotional, eating, food, Giving, God's word, health, Healthy, Weight Loss

8 Day Really Nourish Yourself Devo Day 8: Bless Others

Making it to 8 Day Really Nourish Yourself Devo Day 8: Bless Others is a milestone!  Obviously you are on a kingdom agenda.  Many would not go this route to improving themselves, but you did.  Why did you choose this road?  Because it wasn’t just about how you look.  It was about your mandate as a Christian.  It is much harder and a lot less convincing to go and tell the nations about the free gift of salvation if you are visibly and internally unhealthy.

8 Day Really Nourish Yourself Devo Day 8: Bless Others – The Best News Ever! 

After the first 4-6 weeks of applying your fresh, new biblical perspective to your life, you will have results to strengthen

8 Day Really Nourish Yourself Devo Day 8: Bless Others
The Best News EVER!

your testimony.  Now you can share the great news with others.  You can testify to people in your ministry, but also, you can connect your good news with the gospel of salvation outside the church.

Many people are waking up every day and grateful to be in the land of the living, but as we talked about on Day 4, their lives may not be how God intended.  More than 75% of Americans take at least one prescription medication every single day.  Hospitals everywhere in the world are over-populated and under-staffed.  Can you imagine that even Christians are walking around with diseases that they have been told are incurable?  Isn’t that what the doctors told the woman with the issue of blood?

Luke 8:43 (KJV) And a woman having an issue of blood twelve years, which had spent all her living upon physicians, neither could be healed of any,

She would not take no for an answer.  She pressed through throngs of people, unhindered by the sickness she had endured for 12 years that made her stink.  Her goal was to only touch the hem of His garment.

Luke 8:48 (KJV) And he said unto her, Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace.

She was healed by her faith.  This woman chased Jesus down because she trusted Him.  The doctors she spent all her money on failed, but God prevailed.  The best news ever is that Jesus died so we could have life and have it more abundantly.  The promise is not just life, existence, seeing another day.  The promise is an abundant life.

8 Day Really Nourish Yourself Devo Day 8: Bless Others – Own Your Testimony

What makes your testimony so important is that you got your answers to your physical and medical problems from scripture.  Your message is vital now, for not only does it show people how to overcome, it also shows them that God has the answers they need.  In fact, much like that woman from Luke 8, many have been dealing for years, even decades, with weight problems, heart, liver or kidney problems, diabetes, depression and other mental illnesses, and autoimmune diseases.  The answers revealed in this devotional address all of these issues.

One thing you can do at this stage is get a check up and blood work, then do it again 6 weeks from now to see what has changed.  Not only will you wow your doctor, but you will also have some science-based evidence to strengthen your testimony.

You are on the hard road now, but owning your testimony will help you continue on your new path.  The more you tell your story, the more you will stay on the road you have embarked upon, because now that you are telling others, they will look to you as an example.  Just as you sought a support system on Day 5, you will be a source of support and encouragement for others now.

8 Day Really Nourish Yourself Devo Day 8: Bless Others – Give

Here are some more great things YOU can do to bless others:

  • Be someone’s war counsel.  God is so sweet, He has a perfectly harmonious way of connecting people.  You will start coming into contact with more people who want to do what you are doing.  Be ready to offer support and advice.  Share scriptures and recipes, or bible case studies and shopping advice.  Take someone to lunch at a restaurant with a Really Nourish-friendly menu or invite them over.
  • Offer help in your church.  Car pool members of your church to health food stores and supermarkets they could not normally get to easily.  Run a healthy food drive, or offer to help out with some new, healthier recipes in the soup kitchen.
  • Give.  Give away clean, healthy food of the quality you yourself now adhere to.  Here’s a short article about that.
    8 Day Really Nourish Yourself Devo Day 8: Bless Others
    My dad and I, one month after our transplant at a Living Donor Meet and Greet event.

    Give money to and/or volunteer time with a food activist organization.

  • Donate. Consider becoming an organ donor.  Now that you have a clean, healthy body, help someone who needs a kidney or liver by being a living donor.  Here’s an article about my experience donating.  Also, check that box on your driver’s license.
  • Get your children involved.  Teach them these principles now, so they never have to go through what you may have gone through in their lives.

In Matthew 25, Jesus told a parable involving a king.  The king says that people saw him in so much need  and  they fed him, took him in, clothed him and took care of him.  The righteous people were puzzled by this.  They asked him something like “when did all this happen?” His reply in verse 40 is “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ (NIV).

Be generous with your good fruit.  Bless as many other people as you can with it.

8 Day Really Nourish Yourself Devo Day 8: Bless Others – Scriptures 

In the book of Matthew 25:31-40, 28:16-20

Luke 8:43-48

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blood pressure, Devotional, eating, food, Fruit, God's word, Healthy, vegan

8 Day Really Nourish Yourself Devo Day 7: Use Your Ruler 📏📐

You’ve made it to 8 Day Really Nourish Yourself Devo Day 7: Use Your Ruler.  Keep up the great work!

Today, let’s start with a piece of practical advice from the book of Proverbs that you can start using today. It’s the first verse of the 23rd chapter.

📌“When you sit down to eat with a ruler, Consider carefully what is before you;”

Proverbs 23:1 NKJV

When I first read this I shifted the comma in my mind.

“When you sit down to eat, with a ruler Consider carefully what is before you;”.

With the comma placed where the translators of the bible put it, the scripture warns us that when we are dining with someone of great power and influence 👑 (as the Message Bible has it), we must mind our manners. As my daughter says “we need to eat dainty” – like pinkies up and small bites and all that.

But that comma, I’m saying though, it moved in my brain. So I read it as an instruction to measure. Like with a ruler. Measure everything you’re about to eat. Consider carefully what you are putting in your mouth.  I wasn’t wrong, that is just the way Holy Spirit ministered to me. 

So I was determined to measure.  But that’s not new advice in and of itself.

The key was zeroing in on exactly HOW to measure my food. Around the time God inspired me to start this ministry by taking action in my own food life, I watched the documentary FedUp. It was through that film that the Holy Spirit enlightened me of the deception and showed me the right path to take, which is echoed in Proverbs 23:3:

Do not crave his delicacies, for that food is deceptive. (NIV)

8 Day Really Nourish Yourself Devo Day 7: Use Your Ruler – Tip #1 It’s Not the Calories You Need to Measure!

Through persistent indoctrination by the media and the diet industry, people have been

8 Day Really Nourish Yourself Devo Day 7: Use Your Ruler Before Pic
My “Before Pic”, April 2015, over 200lbs, size 12 jeans, blood pressure on the borderline

lead to measure their food by counting calories. This is NOT going to help you over the long run, because (to use an example from the documentary): 100 calories in a handful of almonds will not affect your body the same way as 100 calories in a 12 oz glass of coke.  

The “calories in calories out” mentality may work for a few people for a short time who have the time to ALSO measure and manage how many calories they are burning in exchange, but for most of us that is a ludicrous undertaking.  In addition, remember that your body is the beautiful design of the Creator of the Universe.  It is far too complex for just one thing, just calorie counting, to fix what’s broken.

Start Measuring Sugar

So where should you start to measure?  Sugar (cue rolling eyes).  This is that sneaky cherished sin everybody knows they need to check but nobody really wants to cut off.  

You don’t want to do it.  But you need to do it. 

To quickly define, the sugar we are targeting is that sweet tasting simple carbohydrate. Usually, it comes from sugar cane or sugar beets that is added to the lion’s share of processed foods.  It even lurks in some artificial sweeteners. It naturally occurs in many foods including fruits and vegetables, honey, agave and maple syrup. This is where you start to apply your ruler. 

God’s Sugar Packs are Good

Mercifully, sugars in whole, fresh fruit doesn’t count, as they are in God’s perfect packaging.  Each of those naturally occurring sugar molecules is shackled to a fiber molecule so it will move through your system at the pace God intended it to.  🍒🍌🍉🍇🍓🍊🍐🍎🍅😍

Your target is the “free sugars”. 

It’s those free sugars we must take control of in our food lives!

The 8 Day Really Nourish Yourself Devo Day 7: Use Your Ruler is going to be a bit of a numbers game, so get ready to take notes! 

Sugar content per serving is noted in grams on the nutrition panels of packaged foods. While the USDA recommends up to 75g of free sugars a day, this is far too much. That level was decided by the USDA most likely to protect the profits of the food industry and the sugar barons, whom the Department of Agriculture both regulates and markets for. Conflict of interest much?

8 Day Really Nourish Yourself Devo Day 7: Use Your Ruler Nutrition Label
This beverage contains more than double the WHO recommendation for daily sugar intake. Imagine drinking one or two of these a day every day. Or drinking just one and then having sugar from various other sources also that day. You can’t win like this!

On the other hand, the World Health Organization (WHO)  recommends that you consume no more than about 25 grams a day. That’s the standard I set for myself back in May 2015 and still continue to adhere to for myself and my family.

8 Day Really Nourish Yourself Devo Day 7: Use Your Ruler Tip #2 Refined Starch is the Other White Sugar!

In addition to this, realize that refined starches are no different from sugar once they enter your body. This is another place to apply your ruler. These include anything made from white flour (breads and pastas🍞🍝), and white rice.  These are simple carbohydrates that can cause obesity, diabetes, heart disease, kidney and liver damage and many other of the so called lifestyle diseases that prevail today.

So I embarked on this Daniel 1 way of life.  No more of the kings delicacies for me! 

It was much rougher than I had imagined it would be!

What A Difference 50 Grams Makes!

I found that 25 grams is so very little compared  what I was accustomed to eating in a diet I had considered to be relatively healthy!  At the beginning, I was moody for a few days. I got headaches. I was cranky. Withdrawing from that sweet, sweet legal narcotic was awful!  For you, this is 8 Day Really Nourish Yourself Devo Day 7: Use Your Ruler, but for me it was a lonely first step on the hard road to life.  

The worst part in this unfair battle is that the enemy is coming at you from all sides. Just try to walk down a New York City commercial block and see how much temptation your senses are exposed to – pictures of pizza🍕, sandwiches and doughnuts🍩, smells pumping out of restaurant exhaust vents ♨️.  It’s an onslaught of delicacies from all sides!

But I knew my vision. My slim bitmoji was on deck. 💃🏿I was determined to use my body to glorify God. So I used my “ruler”. I learned that a tablespoon of honey contains 16g of free sugars.  A teaspoon of table sugar is worth 4g so my morning cup of tea had to count☕️. I read every nutrition panel on every item I had in the cupboards and the fridge, as well as in the supermarket while making my choices. Little by litttle, I

8 Day Really Nourish Yourself Devo Day 7: Use Your Ruler
My “after pic” on Emancipation Day August 1, 2016, under 170 lbs, size 8 skinny jeans

systematically replaced and in some cases eliminated the things I was eating and drinking and giving my family. Yes indeed, some of it ended up in the garbage and down the drain. 

8 Day Really Nourish Yourself Devo Day 7: Use Your Ruler Tip #2.5 Bring in The Replacements

OUT

  • White Pasta
  • White Bread
  • Sugar-sweetened tea
  • Table Sugar

IN

  • Whole Wheat  – CAVEAT: Watch the ingredient list.  Whole wheat bread is usually a blend of whole wheat and refined wheat, because it is difficult to get the kind of texture we like in this day and age with 100% whole wheat.  Therefore, the USDA allows bakers to blend and still call it Whole Wheat.  Look at the ingredient panel.  Ingredients are listed from greatest to least amounts.  If the first ingredient is “Enriched Flour” or the like (Refined, White Flour, etc) that is not a good go to.  The other caveat is to still keep this to a minimum.  In addition to the flour, packaged bread usually contains sugar.  Those grams definitely count in your measurement.  
  • Wheat Pasta, Pastas made from grains other than wheat (chick pea, quinoa, brown rice)
  • Sprouted grain breads🌱 (Thank you, Food for Life), true multi-grain breads (where the other grains are actually used in the dough and not just sprinkled on the top crust of a whole wheat loaf) or just Whole Wheat (organic when possible)
  • Unsweetened tea
  • Stevia – I use SweetLeaf, it tastes delicious, but beware of brands that contain dextrose – words ending in “ose” indicate the kind of sugar we are looking to reduce. 
  • Root Vegetables aka Ground Provisions – we’ve been told, and I had believed for a time, that these are to be avoided, but the reality is they are made by God also and, while they are starchy indeed, they are also nutrient rich and should be kept in the diet.

I even replaced our toothpaste, which can be another sneaky source of sugar!

8 Day Really Nourish Yourself Devo Day 7: Use Your Ruler – Tip #3: Make Your Change Holistic!

Eventually, I began to strive for veganism as I learned the unnecessary harm we cause our bodies by over-consuming animal flesh and dairy.  This helped me continue to reduce my intake of simple starches, as meat and cheese often are accompanied by them in our most deliciously harmful comfort foods – burgers, eggs, cheese and cold cuts on white breads, french fries and chips that accompany them, pizza with doughy crusts, fried chicken with flour batter, macaroni pie – the list of deceptive delicacies is so long!  But I found that the list of what I SHOULD eat instead is actually longer, because it’s God’s rich bounty and it is abundant indeed!🙏🏿

My proverbial ruler became my best weapon on this crusade.  I had lost 20 pounds in the first month after just cutting out sugars.  I started reading scriptures and books about the harm eating animal protein daily does, and made my final decision.  After maintaining for another couple of months, I soon continued to see steady decreases in weight.  Two years after I started my journey, I was still more than 50lbs lighter than when I started and have gone from a size 12 to size 8 skinny jeans. More importantly, I was blessed to donate a pristine kidney to my father in early 2016.  My blood work results and blood pressure are perfect every time.   

8 Day Really Nourish Yourself Devo Day 7: Use Your Ruler – Tip #4 Your Body Responds More to Your Diet than Exercise

You’re wondering if I also exercised more, aren’t you?  The answer is no! I live an active life in general with two small children in the countryside now, but I don’t exercise any more than I have in the past. In fact, I do less of my “on purpose” working out (running, yoga and Pilates are my favorites) at this point than I have in the past 10 years of my life. Do exercise, but just know that your diet will weigh more heavily in your results than the exercise.  Nonetheless, after a 30+ year struggle with my weight, my body is finally a living sacrifice.   It’s a visual and physical testimony that glorifies God inside and out.  🙋🏾

Meditate on These Scriptures Today:

  1. Proverbs 23:1-3
  2. Proverbs 23:20-21
  3. Proverbs 25:16

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Go to Day 8.

Devotional, eating, food, God's word, Healthy, scripture

8 Day Really Nourish Yourself Devo Day 3: Recognize the Enemy

Hello my Friend! You are three days in to your new food life!

You have arrived 8 Day Really Nourish Yourself Devo Day 3: Recognize the Enemy! On day one, you took a page from Daniel to purpose in your heart to no longer defile yourself with delicacies. Next, you took steps to renew your mind as God instructs us to do in Romans 12.

Today it’s time to start to take a good look at food. Proverbs 23:3 in the NKJV says “Do not desire his delicacies, For they are deceptive food.” A delicacy in terms of edibles, as defined in Websters 1828 Dictionary, is that which delights the senses. Please notice that since we have renewed our minds we are much less liberal with the use of the word food, and this version of Websters appears to also indicate that there are edibles which possibly are not to be called food since they don’t nourish the body.

That’s a good start to defining and identifying these delicacies that we are warned not to desire (or crave). In today’s world, we are even encouraged to crave them! You know what they are, the most recognizable enemies include cakes, candies, cookies, fast food and soft drinks.

These have actually become easy and even trendy to avoid, altogether eliminate. 🍪🍩🍰🚫 If that’s all it took, then you wouldn’t need 8 Day Really Nourish Yourself Devo Day 3: Recognize the Enemy, now would you?

8 Day Really Nourish Yourself Devo Day 3: Recognize the Enemy
Ad on the back of an NYC MTA city bus.

The Not-So-Recognizable Enemy

The truth is that it isn’t in these where the most insidious deception lies. When I think about deceptive foods I think about %100 fruit juice, where the free sugar (that is unencumbered by fiber) is just as abundant and damaging to the body as the sugar in soft drinks. I think about granola bars, which contain whole grains but also contain half a day’s worth of free sugar in the one small snack. Fruit snacks for children. My daughter was noticing in a corner store the other day that a particular brand is now saying that fruit is their first ingredient, but we turned the package around to the back and notice that the fruit is juice concentrate, followed immediately by sugar AND corn syrup. Talk about deception!

8 Day Really Nourish Yourself Devo Day 3: Recognize the Enemy More Deception Brought to Light

🍥 Yogurt, framed in our consciousness as a health food, is a dairy product. Cow’s milk has been linked to numerous cancers and diseases in children and adults.  Although goat milk is a biblical super food, again, it is NOT for daily consumption.

🍨 Items labeled Low Fat still sell so well because we still haven’t awakened to the fact that that fat alone doesn’t make you fat. What you’re really buying is something in which the processors have replaced the fat with sugar and so the boom in Low Fat processed foods on the market has been consistent with dramatic increases in obesity rates and related diseases.

🍞 Refined starch sounds like something that should be good (as in “fine”) but the refining process is designed to strip the wheat of its nutrient-rich germ because it is the germ that shortens its shelf life. Enriched flour and bread is so called because after the germ is taken out of the grain and processing is underway, the producer adds synthetic vitamins to it to try to replace what God already built in and, as you can imagine, the result pales in comparison to the original composition. I could go on and on!

Purpose, Renew, Recognize

“But Daniel purposed in his heart that he3 would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank; therefore he requested of the chief of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.”

‭‭Daniel‬ ‭1:8‬ ‭NKJV‬

If you notice, Daniel used this same word to identify that which he would refuse to defile his body with: delicacies. In the King James, both Daniel and Proverbs 23 call them dainties. Even in those descriptions they are deceptive. The damage they cause over years of consumption is neither delicate nor dainty. Rather, it is usually devastating.

8 Day Really Nourish Yourself Devo Day 3: Recognize the Enemy
Living Your New Food Life!

So my dear loved one, you’ve purposed in your heart.  You’ve renewed your mind.  Now it’s time to recognize and eschew the stuff that isn’t God’s will for your body. If it isn’t straight from the earth and it comes in a package, read every label!  If you can’t pronounce it, denounce it. Through your purposeful heart and renewed mind’s eye, you will indeed start to recognize the enemy easily.  You will see him all up and down the middle aisles of the supermarket and in many other places. This is your victory.

You are now done with 8 Day Really Nourish Yourself Devo Day 3: Recognize the Enemy! Nice Job!

Meditate on your scripture for the day:

Proverbs 23:3

Watch A Prophecy of Delicacies 

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