Monthly Archives: May 2012

Zombie Commuters

Recently, I moved to the windy city, Chicago, Illinois.  And as quickly as the weather changes, I realize how people are zombies.  I don’t say this because of the latest infatuation with zombies, but honestly, people are easily programmed.

A zombie is a person who acts automatically, an automation, a drudge, mechanical, robot.  You’re probably wondering, where is he taking this???

The next time you find yourself in a crowded area, whether that’s walking downtown, commuting, or at a local mall, watch how people act.

From my already numerous CTA (public transit) trips, this fact is evident, there are zombies living among us.

The unemotional, humanly contact between people is superficial, irresponsible social behavior.  Giving up your seat to a woman on the bus should be a given,  but to not do anything or speak up when someone cannot get the door open because people are simply “plugged in,” is simply insensitive behavior.  When people care more about playing games on their phones and contaminating their characters with unGodly music, this lifestyle is the perfect storm to a ‘zombie apocalypse.’  Sad to say, but it’s already happened.  People are stuck in their daily routines; wake up, get dressed, eat breakfast, etc, etc, etc, repeat, all systematically formulated over days, months, years of automated rituals.  Granted, there are so many exceptions, but as a conglomerate, we’ve lost the touch of intimiate social interaction.  We’ve lost sight of holding doors open, we’ve forgot to thank people for a nice gesture.  So why has this happened?

We’ve become comfortable and satisfied.  We don’t like change.  We like consistency.  We like regularity.  Any alteration, any detour, or stepping out of our comfort zones, we become disoriented because it’s not our norm.

Maybe it’s our employer, maybe it’s the bus schedule, maybe it’s the culture we live in.  Yes, those could be explinations, but they shouldn’t define our lives.  We shouldn’t be products of our daily conformity we’ve established.  In other words, we have gotten so caught up with pleasing our bosses, pleasing ourselves, or pleasing others, we’ve forgotten to please the one and only who needs our attention.

For am I now seeking the approval of man or of God?  Or am I trying to please man?  If I were still trying to please man, I would not  be a servant of Christ.-Galatians 1:10

Don’t be distracted by others.  Don’t find yourself trying to please others when you should only be focused on Him.

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward.  You are serving the Lord Christ.

Wake up, don’t be a zombie!


The Meaning of Life

Have you ever experienced a moment of clarity, a moment of life transparency, a moment where you realize your life is exceptionally worthy?

Today, I responded to such question, thankfully not being apart of a mournful incident.  Earlier, a gunman held up a real estate agency here in town, holding hostages for over 6 hours, only to end the holdup by heartbrokenly shooting himself.

Can you imagine being one of the several hostages?  One inevitable thought I guarantee going through all of their minds was, “am I going to get out of this alive?”  And respectfully so.  Wouldn’t we all think this?

The worth, the importance, the price we have on our lives is my daily embrace proposition.  Yes, we may all highly value our lives, but do we truly understand the meaningfulness of why we’ve been put on this Earth?  Why we live each and every day?

Not to burst your bubbles, but it wasn’t to be the Mark Zuckerbergs or Oprah Winfreys with all the riches in the world. Fame and fortune isn’t our ultimate goal.  Obtaining your dream job isn’t the pinnacle of your life.  Money cannot be what you’re always seeking out.  Money doesn’t satisfy.  Things we can buy only holds temporary atonement value.  Because what happens when we buy something new?  We ‘play’ with it, show it off for a while, then store it away until a newer ‘toy’ comes along.  We continually seek out the next and newest item.  Why?  Because we’re always trying to fill a void.  We’re always trying to seek out contentment in things.  But do we want to be known by the things we own?  When someone mentions your name, do you want to be known as the “guy with the car collection” or the “woman with the most beautiful jewelry?”  How superficial is this when you take a step back?  Do we really want this status?  Don’t you want to be more meaningful to others?

Think back real quick on the person who’s had the most influence in your life….

Did they have those expensive items; did they flaunt them?  Or were they caring, motivating, giving, or simply friendly?

You’re answer is probably the latter.  So what does this all mean?

It means we’ve been created for a purpose.  Created by Him.  Created by Jesus Christ, the Creator of your life and this world.  The meaningfulness of your life can be found in His Word and through Him alone; not through the media, the popular crowds, or the celebrities of Hollywood.  God made each and every one of us for a purpose.  We were designed and formulated not to buy the latest and greatest gadgets, but to worship Him and give Him our attention.  If you can put Him first in your life, you will be fulfilled and begin to see how exceptionally unique and meaningful our lives truly are.

“Do you not know that your bodies are temples 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 bodies.”-1 Corinthians 6:19-20

So what is the meaning of YOUR life?

9 Fruits of the Holy Spirit

Today, my dad challenged me to research/find out about the 9 Fruits of the Holy Spirit.  And to be honest, I wasn’t familiar with them.  I vaguely remember him talking about it a while back, but nothing significant comes to mind.

After some website skimming, I realize how important this topic is.

If you aren’t familiar with the 9 fruits, it’s essentially character qualities God wants to instill in us.  Whether we have a few of them already or need to rid ourselves of bad traits, these qualities or fruits are as follows: love, joy, peace, longsuffering(patience), kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

Essentially, bearing these fruits or qualities tells you how much you’re being led by the Holy Spirit.  The closer you are to the Holy Spirit, the more spiritual fruit you will bear.

By showing or mainifesting these fruits throughout each and every day, whether when we’re at work or at a neighborhood barbecue, we bear testimony to the God we serve.  It’s not about what we say because (no offense), but anyone can say they’re a Christian, but we’re judged on what we do!  It’s similar to how we communicate with others.  The majority of communication isn’t even about what we say, or how we even say it, but through expressive, nonverbal means.  And it’s unbelievable to the percentage of actions over words that take place, 55% and 7% respectfully.  Meaning, our actions truly do speak louder than words!

So if you are led by God, the Holy Spirit will brightly shine through your behavior and actions, more so than what you say.  By bearing these fruits, Jesus can move through you, being the vessel of His word, ultimately living and fulfilling His calling for you.

The key is to open yourself up to bear these fruits and to do this, one must give your life to God, seek Him out, and put Him first in your life.  By focusing on Him and not just his blessings and gifts, we can begin to see why He has gifted us with such talents and abilities to fulfill his will for us.

“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”-Matthew 6:33

The Power of Addiction

This was an inevitable post.

The topic for the daily embrace is addiction, specifically cigarette smoking.  Beyond the subjective or biased nature, one needs to surpass the simple act of smoking and identify the deeper issue, addiction.

Moving from the state of Ohio, where smoking bans are everywhere, basically no one smoked; to an area of Indiana where it seems as though every other person does, and it’s socially acceptable.  From bars to restaurants, the popularity is beyond disgust and annoyance.

Two concepts we need to realize:

For one, people know of the harmful effects smoking has on the body.  We no longer live in the times of Mad Men during the 1960s where even doctors condoned smoking.  We gratefully live in a research-filled society where almost every single harmful substance or behavior has been research thoroughly by scholars and educators alike.

Two, since people aren’t ignorant to the harmful effects, they are simply weak to a powerful force called addiction.  And I’m not pointing fingers because it’s a compulsion we’ve all given into at one point in our lives.  From watching too much television to giving in to that piece of dessert, addiction can be the demise to one’s character. 

So what is addiction?  “It’s the state of being enslaved to a habit or practice that is psychologically or physically habit forming.”  This is a powerful definition, particularly ‘enslaved.’

Being enslaved to something is giving in to its pleasures and benefits.  What may seem enjoyable and relieving today may be detrimental tomorrow.  In our society today, we’ve been taught to inattentively enjoy the ever-appealing products ingeniously marketed directly to our “pleasure centers.”  Once we become hooked, the power of addiction will take over.  Smoking companies play off of this.  Once the biochemical effects of nicotine take over, lifelong customers ensue.

So how can people overcome such addictions?  

First, they must have a “slap in the face moment.”  Whether that’s medical advice or family/friends telling them they need to quit to realize the detrimental aspects to their overall health.  Two, they must be willing to change.  They must be willing to let go and be willing to give up to gain.  It’s so easy for people to talk the talk about changing, but it’s so much more difficult and honorable to walk the walk.  And finally, there must be a healing source, where they will always have support and encouragement throughout the addiction elimination.  The ultimate healing source is Jesus Christ.  It doesn’t matter how strong the addiction, God will always see you through!

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.  Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one.  But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.  Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.-James 1:12-15

Dangerous to Darkness

Are you lost?

Do you find yourself asking questions about your worth; why you’re here, what you’ve been doing with your life, is this career right for me?

If you’ve asked yourself these questions, you’re not in the wrong, these doubts and questions sneak in all the time.

These thoughts are created by the enemy.  Don’t let these doubts and questions deter you.  You are worth so much! It doesn’t matter who you are, each and every one of you has a purpose.  We’re all good at something.  We all excel at a specific skill.  Whether that simply means being friendly, happy, motivating, having good social skills, public speaking, etc.

Bring back your childhood skills and simply connect the dots!  Use your skill/s you possess and go with it!  Shine your light.  Don’t think you aren’t worth the time and space because you are!  You must be willing to use what you’ve been given and shine amongst a world of darkness.  This is your advantage; this is your best way to connect with others; this is your funnel.

It seems as though teen suicide has increased.  I haven’t checked the statistics or anything, but back home, it seems as though it’s an annual occurrence, happening more than ever before.  And this saddens me tremendously to think that one is so far beyond their ‘wits end’ to realize life isn’t worth living anymore.  “No one notices me.  No one cares.  They won’t miss me.”

Yes they do.  Yes people do care.  People will miss you.  You DO have an affect on all people around you, whether you know it or not.  You’re life is too precious from the light we were meant to give off, a light to shine bright, a light to encourage and motivate others, a light we can be proud of, a light that’s worth everything and more.  (Even though I may not know you, I love you!)

Our society has gotten away from God, plain and simple.  Because it is He who gives us purpose.  Who gives us this light to shine upon the world.  It’s not to be extinguished by anyone else.  But it’s in those hard times that we may be pressured and pushed to our limits to extinguish our light.  And it’s in these times we need to turn to Him, even as hard as it may be to blame Him, everything happens for a reason, for His purpose.  Whether you’ve been called to relocate or to travel to another country or possibly to change career paths or educate young children, doors open and close for His reasons for you to fulfill your purpose.

Our light and our purpose is dangerous to darkness, always trying to creep in our lives each and every moment to ruin His plans for YOU.  You can keep your flame strong through the power of Jesus Christ and it’s in Him alone we can shine bright forever.

@JTHealthyfit Salsa!

For my first iPhone inspired/nutrition post, I am going to share with you one of my favorite healthy homemade recipes!

JTHealthyfit Salsa

All you need for a great meal or snack!

Ingredients include:

1 Whole Avocado

1 Tablespoon Minced Garlic

1/3 Cup Greek Yogurt

1/3 Cup Cottage Cheese

Dash of Parsley

Dash of Ginger

Any amount of your favorite salsa.

Plus, salsa chips.

Carefully cut the avocado in half.

Put halves into medium size, cereal bowl.

Mash up/stir with spoon.

Add minced garlic.

Add greek yogurt.

Add cottage cheese.

Add any amount of salsa (this one is from Aldi, fantastic and cheap!)

Add Ginger and Parsley.

Stir! (I know it looks nasty, but it’s not, I promise!)

Reasons for ingredients:

An avocado is a fantastic fat burning treat!  Avocados have about 54% of your recommended daily value of fiber, which gives it the fat burning qualities.  Avocados also help fuel you body with Vitamins A, C, E, K, and B6, plus riboflavin, niacin, folate, and pantothenic acid.  Also, one avocado has 975 mg of potassium, which is critical to overall cellular and electrolyte function. Greek yogurt can have twice as much protein as regular yogurt.  Regular yogurt usually has about 5-10 grams of protein, whereas Greek yogurt contains about 13-20 grams.  This extra protein will help you feel full and leave you feeling more satisfied.

Greek yogurt is higher in protein, lower in carbohydrates, thicker and creamier and lower in sodium than regular yogurt.  But what’s critical to Greek yogurt is it’s probiotics.  Greek yogurt is more concentrated and has a higher percentage of probiotics than regular yogurt.  Essentially, probiotics are live microorganisms, which aid in gastrointestinal health, which will help to alleviate diarrhea, constipation, bowel disease, and so on.  Probiotics may also protect against colon and bladder cancer as well.

Along with Greek yogurt, cottage cheese will supply your body with more protein, but with cottage cheese, a different protein is found in cottage cheese called casein, is actually absorbed over a longer period of time, roughly 7 hours, giving your body a consistent pump of protein.  On top of the protein fueled by Greek yogurt and cottage cheese, 1/2 cup serving of cottage cheese alone provides about 10% of the Recommended Daily Allowance for Americans for calcium.  This mineral is needed in your body to build strong bones and initiate muscle contractions and nerve impluses.

Salsa is for the taste!

Garlic is rich in numerous antioxidants from potential cancer prevention to preventing colds, it’s a very valuable ingredient to use in all dishes.

The last two ingredients of Ginger and Parsley also have innumerous benefits, which are readily available for a quick Google search.

Finally, even though the chips are the least healthy part, try to find ones that weren’t made with trans fats and with low sodium content.  Remember, to check the Nutritional Facts with all products you buy.  I found these chips for very cheap, over the more expensive, “healthy,” wheat chips, plus having lower fat, sodium, and caloric content as well!

Hope you can try it out and let me know what you think!!

Coffee and Nutrition!

If you haven’t heard recently, coffee can now help you live longer!  Yes, that cup of joe you once thought it was a near obsession is now something that can combat conditions like: heart disease, respiratory disease, stroke, injuries and accidents, diabetes, and infections.

Neal Freedman, Ph.D., Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, NCI, and his colleagues examined the association between coffee drinking and risk of death in 400,000 U.S. men and women ages 50 to 71 who participated in the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study. Information about coffee intake was collected once by questionnaire at study entry in 1995-1996. The participants were followed until the date they died or Dec. 31, 2008, whichever came first.

The researchers found that the association between coffee and reduction in risk of death increased with the amount of coffee consumed. Relative to men and women who did not drink coffee, those who consumed three or more cups of coffee per day had approximately a 10 percent lower risk of death.

What one must take away from this study is not about the amazing taste of coffee, but the importance of nutrition in your life.  Specifically, getting back to the old lifestyles of our ancestors of staying at home and keeping the kitchen active.  A new study found that people who cook up to five times a week were 47% more likely to still be alive after 10 years, from a study of 1,888 men and women published in Public Health Nutrition.

Cooking is a healthy behavior not only one can be apart of, but a significant other and family members.  This is a great way to educate others around you about the benefits of nutrition.  Whether you’re trying to lose weight, gain muscle, or simply live longer, the importance of a healthy diet goes beyond just the taste of your Dunkin Donuts coffee every morning.