Gluten Games

Until a year or so ago I don’t think I’d heard much of this protein called gluten. Since then I’ve learned quite a bit. This glue-like protein is found primarily in wheat and wheat hybrids (barley, rye, etc.) but is also found to varying degrees in other grains like corn. One of its functions is to act like glue – it binds things together, providing the elasticity that makes bread, cinnamon rolls and pizza so endearing to us. In fact pizza – which I love – is make with extra amounts of gluten in the dough to make it more elastic.

As one of the first three things to go in many health restoration plans there was a bit of a learning curve and even more so an eating curve. However, this has become (maybe always was) a controversial topic – as is most “natural” type treatments in the over-medicated world in which we live.

As the researcher in the house, when my wife was advised to start avoiding gluten I began researching and buying books on the topic. And here’s what I found.

Gluten and gluten containing products should be a concern to more people than just celiac disease. With the hybridization of wheat in the 1970s or before an alteration seems to have occurred that makes it more difficult for the body to utilize the protein found in some grains. Although this hybridization may have saved many people in other countries it seems to be having a negative effect on those of us in the west who indulge in diets high in grains.The gluten in the grains causes irritation and inflammation in the digestive system which leads to what is often called “leaky gut” which in turn causes additional complications in the symbiotic state of the body. This has been linked to all types of autoimmune diseases including allergies, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus, MS, and many others.

Many (some would say most or all) health problems are related to inflammation in the body. If you can reduce/eliminate inflammation you can get rid of most health problems.

Because there is so much conflicting information on pretty much every health related issue in our age of information overload, I want to provide you with some links so that you can research this for yourself. You can google and get plenty of info on why gluten/grains are no big deal so I’m not going to provide that info for you – besides I no longer believe it is accurate. Instead let me point you to some of the people I’ve learned from and their research  – many of which have medical practices. Because I know that our society shows preference to earned MD’s I’m going to start with those; however, it is an illogical position to hold that an earned MD is the only way to be credible or legitimate. This is an argument for another day but whether it’s business, social networks, or health – there are many “self-made” experts who did not pursue the traditional path of “classroom learning” in their pursuit of excellence and expertise. But, I’ll start with those who did anyway.

Dr. Amy Myers: An MD who is a practicing heath care provider, founder of Austin UltraHealth functional medicine clinic, author, speaker, etc. Dr. Myers focuses a great deal on thyroid disorders as well as Dr. Wentz below.

Dr. Isabella Wentz: A PharmD who is a practicing specialist in thyroid disorders as well as author and speaker.

Dr. Mark Hyman: An MD who is a practicing family doctor and medical director at Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Functional Medicine, author, blogger speaker. Dr. Hyman was formerly the editor-in-chief of the peer reviewed journal Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine.

Dr. Peter Osborne: A Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist, director of Origins Health Care in Sugar Land, TX and Doctor of Pastoral Science. He is also the author of No Grain, No Pain, and founder of Gluten Free Society.

Dr. Kharrazian: Doctor of Health Science with post-doctorate research training as a global conical scholar at Harvard Medical School. Recently appointed as research fellow at Harvard Medical School and the Department of Neurology at Massachusetts General Hospital. Dr. K is a Professor, researcher, author, and practitioner. See further here. His research/writings are heavily focused on thyroid function as well.

What you’ll find as a common denominator with most of the people in this field is that they have personal journey’s in illness that led them to becoming functional medicine practitioners. They tried the traditional approach and it did not work so they began further investigations into the body and proper nutrition. They then pursued proper certifications in the field of nutrition/functional medicine, in addition to their already earned degrees. Most of their writing and book publishing has occurred in the past few years (with a few exceptions). This is also normal – most people write books after several years of research and practice.

On a personal note, despite no attempt or desire to lose weight both my wife and I lost weight after removing gluten from our diets. Reduce inflammation and weight by reducing your gluten. There are other ways to make bread, albeit through much trial and error.

To your Health!

Posted in Health | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Books N More (Jan 16)

FREE today in honor of MLK in your choice of reading formats is John Piper’s book Bloodlines from Crossway (you do have to complete a survey about smart phone usage).

Christian Fiction has a couple books for FREE today.

Tim Challies’ list of sale books are here.

Thrifty Christian Reader’s list is here.

If you’re a Logos user and haven’t browsed the list of FREE items you might want to double check to see what you’re missing. This link lists the books from lowest price – the first 1-2 pages has FREE books.If you’re just getting started with Logos you can create a free account and download the FREE software engine here.

For Logos’ sister, Vyrso (more popular books, not as many academic, not as thoroughly tagged for research) check out their FREE list here.

For WORDsearch you can browse the list of 200 or so FREE books here. You can pickup the FREE WORDsearch Basic software engine here.

For some of the best books on studying Greek check out the blog from Exegetical Tools. There’s also an offer for a FREE Greek Primer on the page.

Here’s two great blogs with great visual perspectives on Biblical themes and ideas.

Posted in Books, Challies, Equipping | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Books N More (Jan. 12)

Today’s book deals include the following:

Kindle

  • Check out Tim Challies list from the past week (some may no longer be on sale).
  • Check out the list from Christian Thrifty Reader (updated daily)
  • NIV Cultural Study Bible is still just 3.99 in Kindle – admittedly not the preferred way to view a study bible but you still get the study notes at a great price. Here’s an article from Over Bible on its benefits and an interview with John Walton (editor) on the topic of covenant.

David C. Cook

  • Check here for their twice weekly (Tuesday and Thursday/Friday I think) FREE books.

Logos

  • FREE Lexham Intro Collection (5 vols) includes a One-Year Devotional, Study Bible, Bible Dictionary, English Bible with Audio New Testament and Greek New Testament.
  • FREE Book of the Month here
  • January sale items here

WORDsearch Bible Software

  • Current sale is here and remember if you call or email a salesperson you will generally get up to an additional 30% off most items (including sale items).
  • For regular users of the software, the current home screen special (from within the Bible software program) expires today.

WTS

Exegetical Tools

City On A Hill

  • FREE book on ministering to LGBT loved ones here.

Tim Challies

Overview Bible has some great visuals and articles. Here are Bible book icons and here are Bible Book Verse art – one for each book of the Bible.

Blogging Theologically has a couple FREE books on writing and on Nehemiah here.

Check out this video take on the Gospel. It just might get you moving to do something.

Have a blessed day an let God use these authors, pastors, etc. to grow you in the faith!

Posted in Books, Challies, Equipping, Theology, Uncategorized, Videos | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Rats and the Righteous

This week has been another whirlwind of activity for the police and those of us in the Pine Hills area as two law enforcement officers died – one by fugitive Markeith Loyd, who was already wanted in the December murder of his pregnant ex-girlfriend.

With the reward at $100,000 and 300 tips called in during the first 24 hours of the manhunt one wonders how long before a family member or friend breaks and chooses the money over Markeith. After all, someone knows where he’s at (or been recently).

And thus we get to the heart of the matter. Even society understands the greed that lies in the hearts of humanity. If enough money is offered, eventually someone will cave. True loyalty reveals itself despite our deceptive hearts.

The question then becomes; should it be about the money?

Our culture has been raising young people for years with the notion that ratting someone out is downright wrong. In grade school tattle-tailing is frowned on and as students age so is ratting someone out. So where does this idea come from and what are we to make of it.

I’m going to boil it down to two things; there are some things that should simply be covered in love (Proverbs 10:12) and there are other things that should be exposed. This is an issue of justice and righteousness. We are aware of the saying “one bad apple spoils the whole bunch” but we hypocritically bury the truth (Romans 1), often out of either fear of man (rather than fear of God) or friendship with the world (rather than friendship with God).

Entire neighborhoods claim they want crime reduced but when crime occurs mouths are sealed as police and investigators look for answers. This sealing of the mouth when it comes to violent crime and malicious attacks on other people is actually sin!

Sin (violent crime for example) is to be removed from us; both personally and as a society. Unlike a personal wrong like disrespect, saying unfavorable things or the like, which are to be covered in love (forgive and move on), certain actions are specifically not to be treated this way (they can and should be forgiven but there are serious consequences to be had as well).

Hence in the Bible crimes against humanity (murder, kidnapping, rape, etc.) were deemed very serious and capital punishment was the prescribed consequence (Genesis 9:6; Exodus 21:14-17; 21:12; Numbers 35:16-17; Deuteronomy 19:11-12; 27:24; etc.). If you turned the other way, closed your eyes so to speak to these attacks on God’s image bearer you were guilty of contributing to the offense.

Whether or not it was ever done I don’t know but even wayward family members were to be killed -as a community – to keep malicious behavior to a minimum.

Until we are more concerned about righteousness than ratting we will continue, as a society to reap what we sow – murderous activity by murderous hearts.

Proverbs 6:16-19 says;

There are six things which the LORD hates, Yes, seven which are an abomination to Him: Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, And hands that shed innocent blood, A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that run rapidly to evil, A false witness who utters lies, And one who spreads strife among brothers.

Read the Prophets of the Old Testament starting with Isaiah chapter 1.

We need to learn to fear God (respect, obey, follow, love) and allow His righteousness to change us if we want a better society.

**We pray for the capture and ultimately the salvation of Markeith.*

*We pray for the families that lost loved ones.*

*We pray for our cities that God’s people would rule in righteousness*

 

PS – This post is not an argument for or against the death penalty. The verses referred to about capital punishment are to denote the seriousness of the offense and how wrong it is to look the other way in these situations.

Posted in Culture, Discipleship, Justice, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Purity is not just for singles!

What is the first thing that comes to mind when I say the word purity? For most people it’s probably something related to sexual purity or lust – which is fine since the word definitely includes that; however, we have severely limited ourselves and misunderstood the word if we only think of it in terms of sexuality.

Words like pure/clean/cleanse occur hundreds of times throughout the pages of Scripture and these words are not just written to wayward youth or singles -they are written to all of us.

Let me focus on just a couple passages that will demonstrate. In Matthew 5:8 during his teaching known as the Sermon on the Mount (and specifically here, the Beatitudes), Jesus says

The pure in heart are blessed, for they will see God. (HCSB)

So the first thing we notice is that Jesus connects being pure (in heart!) with being part of His Kingdom (think Heaven if you must). This involves much more than sexual purity/chastity/faithfulness.

In fact that last word – faithfulness – might be a good way of helping us relate to the word “pure”. Jesus is calling us to a way of life that is consistent with WHO He is as the incarnate Word of God. Now certainly this includes sexual wholeness but it is so much more – and it is to all people, not just singles and youth.

Similarly the Psalmist says in Psalm 24:3–4 (HCSB)

3Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in His holy place? 4The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not set his mind on what is false, and who has not sworn deceitfully.

Now regarding youth, the Apostle Paul does write to Timothy saying, 12Let no one despise your youth; instead, you should be an example to the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. (1 Timothy 4:12, HCSB)

This verse (see also 1 Timothy 5:2) probably does include aspects of sexual purity, but this is just one aspect of purity – purity is a matter of the heart and the manner in which one lives.

Thus, purity is a full orbed matter that affects all people and God expects all his followers to demonstrate a life of purity in every aspect. Even in the area of sexuality, purity is not synonymous with abstinence but would include adults living in sexual purity as well. Married couples break this when they lust and cheat on their spouses, Single adults break it when they simply lust, cheat or treat others with impure motives (sexually or otherwise).

 

Confess any desires and directions in life you have pursued that are not wholesome and God honoring and pursue purity in all you do today!

 

Posted in Devotionals, Discipleship, Equipping, Ethics, Parenting, Relationships, Sin, Theology | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Books N More (Jan 5)

Welcome to 2017! Be wise and take advantage of the numerous offers each week (and day) to expand your library. You don’t have to read them all at once, in fact some books are specifically for reference (when you need them).

FREE Books of the Month

Bible Study Resources

  • Crossway has redesigned their ESV Bible online study site and is offering FREE access to their content through April 4th. This includes commentaries like Preach the Word
  • Logos January sale can be found here.
  • WORDsearch continues to offer great sale prices and special deals (and usually an additional 30% discount if you call or email them to place your order). Currently their sale is focused on Sermon Outlines and Illustrations with four FREE items. All WORDsearch books work in the WORDsearch Bible Software which can be picked up for FREE or if you prefer a more robust work environment you can pick up WORDsearch 11 for PC or MAC for $40. WORDsearch also has a couple hundred books for FREE so you can get a pretty good library going at no cost and start digging into the Word! The advantage of WORDsearch over programs like E-Sword or The Word (both of which I heartily recommend, especially for public domain works) is that there are many more commentaries and reference works from the 21st century available. My contact for an additional discount (evn on sale items) is Ryan. His email is ryan.roberts@lifeway.com and his phone is 800-825-2648 x7145. I don’t receive anything for this recommendation, he’s just trated me well.

FREE and Sale Kindle Books

  • Christian Fiction has FREE books listed daily. Many are romance books which I have no interest in (and don’t necessarily recommend) but usually there is one or more good reads each day. Check daily and build your Kindle library.
  • Thrifty Christian lists many sale items and FREE books. I didn’t see any FREE ones today.
  • Tim Challies, author and blogger updates his list of Kindle deals Monday through Friday and is always worth checking out – he doesn’t focus as much on the FREE ones as I do but lists many items that he thinks are of benefit to Christians (and on sale).
  • Cross-Points offers alerts for FREE and sale Christian books as well, though not as frequently as some of the others. Today I saw nothing additional but earlier in the week there were a couple good FREEbies.
  • Monergism has compiled a list of 124 ePubl and 236 PDF ebooks that are FREE.
  • Cross-Points has compild a list fo 125+ FREE Christian Kindle Books.

Print Book Sale

  • Christian Book Distributors (CBD) has been the go-to place for Christian books and clearance items for years – and still is. Currently, in addition to their regular sales, bargain and clearance pages they have a sale on academic type books so if you teach, preach or like to read in the areas of theology, apologetics, commentaries, reference books, etc. you may want to check it out.
  • WTS Books often have limited time sales at very good discounts. Currently I only see a few ebooks (Kindle) on sale. You can usually find a few good deals on their Imperfect Book or Clearance (and Ultra Clearance) pages as well.

FREE Seminary Classes

  • There are many Seminaries now offering some of their courses for FREE online. For most of them you can register (online, not for school admission) and simply watch at your leisure. Monergism has compiled a list of several that have been doing this for some time, including Westminster, TES, Covenant, Biblical Training (one of my favorites) and The North American Reformed Seminary.
Posted in Books | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The First Thing To Go…

In my journey to healthier living I had personally eliminated most soda, junk food, corn syrup and the like by the time I married in 2013. Shortly thereafter several unexpected events occurred; including multiple miscarriages and my wife being diagnosed with an MTHFR gene mutation. This mutation, though you may never have heard of it is much more common than you might think and contributes to many health issues. Dr. Ben Lynch, one of the leading experts in the field notes,

Methylation is required for many processes in the body, from breaking down histamine, seratonin and dopamine to turning DNA on and off. Consequently, having a defective methylation capability is associated with psychiatric illnesses, such as schizophrenia, depression and bipolar, as well as autoimmunity disorders, ADD, autism, spina bifida, Down’s syndrome, miscarriages, and cancer.

Basically this means that the gene mutation inhibits the proper breakdown, absorption and utilization of the many nutrients needed from the food you eat.

The second major thing we found out was that my wife also had thyroid complications (hypothyroidism) and has Hashimoto’s disease (an autoimmune disease). Dr. Lynch and a host of others quickly joined our reading list. I’ll reference more of them later but for today, in addition to Dr. Lynch I’ll mention Dr. Wentz, a trained Pharmacist. Through additional research we were confronted with the fact that there was pretty much unanimous agreement by those working with autoimmune diseases that the first thing to go needed to be gluten.

Gluten is the gluey, gummy, binding agent that makes our breads so yummy, our pizza dough so delicious, our pastries so fun to eat. Yeah, we weren’t too happy about this as both my wife and I love our breads.

Being the researcher that I am; however, once I reach a conclusion I’m pretty much convinced of, I move forward and so began our journey without gluten (the almost cuss word of the autoimmune community).

For more information on gluten and its sneaky ways see Dr. Osborne’s site and his Gluten Free Society.

Disclaimer: I do not work for nor receive any benefit from the references or endorsements I may make. All information is based on my researched experience. Books, articles, websites and the like are recommended for you to advance your own understanding of how your body functions and how to best manage your own health.

Posted in Health | Tagged , , | Leave a comment