Friday, August 21, 2015

10 Foods You Would Think Are Healthy, and the True Bread of Life

10 Foods You Would Think Are Healthy...

I'm sure you're familiar with the adage, "you are what you eat", but I'm willing to bet you don't know what I'm about to tell you.. and if you do, you're probably living a much healthier and perhaps happier life!

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Caveat Emptor - Buyer Beware! Just because something seems to be healthy, it doesn't necessarily mean it really is. I have learned this over the past few years. For some time now, I have been trying to eat healthier and trying to eat food that is really good for me.

Recently, I came across an article in Forbes magazine that talks about foods we think are healthy that really are not. So I asked a friend who is a nutritionist at the Cleveland Clinic about dieting and how we frequently hear about foods that are good for you, then later hear that they are not good for you. I said, "Do we really know what we are talking about with all of this?" She thought for a minute, and she said to me, "No, we don't." She continued, "We know more about space than we do about our own bodies and about how we process food.

So here's what I found to be the most surprising items on the list, which according to Forbes, are the top things people think are healthy for them, but are really not....

Wheat Bread & Whole Grains: Wheat bread! We think it is really healthy for us. However, you can literally add wheat to just about anything and call it whole wheat. This is the same for all grains. For instance, they have whole grain Lucky Charms. You can eat whole grain Lucky Charms! Do you think they are healthy for you? No, they are not, right? One of my favorite things growing up was Raisin Bran Cereal. I always thought I was eating so healthy eating bran cereal. Raisin Bran Cereal has as much, or more, sugar as Lucky Charms or Fruity Pebbles. Whole grains are not healthy for you!

Dried Fruit & Fruit Cocktail: Fruit is good for us, right? Of course, fruit is good for us! However, fruit cocktail is terrible for us because it is filled with sugar and preservatives, same with dried fruit. We think because it is fruit that it has to be good for us, right? Well, no. Both contain a lot of added sugar and preservatives. Dried fruit in particular, has three times more calories per volume than fresh fruit. So do not eat processed fruit, it is not good for you -eat it fresh!

Trail mix: Let me preface this one by saying that I love trail mix!  Of course, if it were just unsalted nuts, uncooked, and raw, they would be wonderful for us. But everything in the trail mix is cooked, salted, and sweetened. It turns out that it is not a very healthy snack for us.

Yogurt - Frozen & Fat Free: It has to be good for us if it is yogurt, right? Frozen yogurt! Again, there is absolutely no nutritional value to frozen yogurt. None. We are doing a disservice by eating FroYo instead of ice cream. It is actually filled with sugar. Then, of course, you put all of the toppings on it. We might as well go to Dairy Queen for a Blizzard. 

What about the fat-free flavored yogurts?. It has to be good for us if it is fat free, right?  "Fat-free flavored yogurt..." -say it with me- "fat-free foods are not health foods!" Just because the label says 'Fat Free', does not mean it is healthy for us. It is probably actually worse because it lacks all the good fat, and marketing it as 'fat free' makes it sound as if it were healthier than it really is. 

Reduced-Fat Peanut Butter: Labeling something as 'Reduced Fat' is not any better than calling it 'Fat Free'.  By reducing the good fat content, we are left with empty carbs.

Protein Bars: I eat protein bars, but you have to read the label because there are some that are not good for you -and by 'not good', I mean that most protein bars are the equivalent of candy bars. If you are going to eat a protein bar, do not bother eating a disgusting one -just grab yourself a Snickers candy bar. and you will feel a lot better!

And finally...

Organic Snack Foods: Again, just because the label says 'organic', doesn't mean it really the connotation of 'organic' that you and I think it is -nor is it really good for us. We all know Pop Tarts aren't really the best source of nutrition, so just because it is an organic Pop Tart, does not mean it is going to be healthy for us.

The reality, and the truth, is that advertising agencies do whatever they can to try and sell their products, and it has worked amazingly well on us. If a company slaps the words 'whole grain', 'whole wheat', or 'nonfat', on a product, all of a sudden we think it is healthy for us. I have to say, it is just down right confusing! If you read the back of the label to find what is actually in the food, it is really absurd and impossible to try to eat healthy and naturally when we are being mislead by such misconstrued buzzwords.

Jesus says to us, "I am the true food that came down from Heaven. I am the true bread."

He is telling us that He is the true bread. Now, the question is, can we really believe Him? Do we really believe that, or is this just kind of like a marketing ploy coming from Heaven?

When Jesus says, "I am the true bread that came down from Heaven",  He is making a promise to us. He is telling us the reality of who He is. For thousands of years we, as Catholics, have believed in the real presence. We believe that when the bread and wine are transformed at the consecration, they become the Body and Blood of Christ; that we are really eating the Body and Blood of Jesus. That in sacrament, He is present to us. This is one of the main distinctions between the Christian religions.

Some people say, "Well, Father, aren't all Christian faiths the same? Don’t we all believe in the same God?" The difference is that the Eucharist is the source and summit of our Catholic Faith. You are what you eat. We are what we eat here within the Sacrament. The Eucharist is the true food come down from Heaven. Eastern Orthodox have always maintained from the very beginning in the ancient faith that this is the real presence. The earliest teachers of our church, the doctors of our church, scripture, all reveal the reality of the true presence. It was not until about the 1500 or 1600s, with the Protestant Reformation, that different groups, as they separated from the Catholic Church, also stopped believing in the real presence.

When Martin Luther, John Knox, John Calvin, and others began to break away and form their own churches, they stopped believing in the Eucharist. They stopped believing in the real presence. Now we have this condition that we live in where there is a questioning and a doubting, even among Catholics.

It is said that only 50 percent of Catholics really believe in the true presence of the Eucharist, that this really is the Body and Blood of Christ. Yet for 2,000 years, it was never questioned. We always believed it. I think some of it has to do with this confusion where we are taught and told all of these different things. Some say it is a sign. Some say it is just a symbol. Some say it is not even that, it is just bread and wine. We are crazy for thinking this. But the truth is, and the reality is, we firmly believe in the real presence.

Jesus could not have been more clear to us when He said, "I am the true bread that came down from Heaven." When He said this, the Jews began to quarrel. They began to get upset and say, "Who is this guy?" "What does He mean, we have to eat His flesh and drink His blood?" "He’s crazy." and they began to quarrel.

It is interesting, because Jesus says it seven times -and anytime we hear the number seven, it is supposed to remind us of the Divine. We have seven days in the week; Sunday being the seventh day. We have the seven Sacraments. He says it seven times. Why would He have made such an effort to say, "My flesh is true food, my blood is true drink," over and over again? 

Because, "Unless you eat this flesh and drink this blood, you have no life within you."

Now, the Jews began to become confused by this concept. They did not understand. The first two times when Jesus says, "Unless you eat My Body and Drink My Blood," He uses the Greek word phago. And phago means 'to consume a meal'. It means what we would consider eating. When they are not getting it, Jesus finally says to them, "No. I tell you, unless you eat My flesh and drink My blood, you have no life within you." But the interesting thing is that time He says a different word, and it is a Greek word, which is trógó, which means 'to gnaw, crunch, and chew'.

Jesus is literally saying, "Unless you really eat this body and blood, you have no life within you." He is making it clear. He is not talking in analogies. He means real devouring; that we must consume the Body of Christ or we will have no life within us. Jesus meant exactly what He said. Anytime He was questioned, He response became clearer, stronger, and more graphic; that His flesh and blood is true food and drink.

In our world we can really get mixed up on what is healthy for us, what is good for us, and what is not good for us. What is wonderful about Jesus and the Sacraments, is that He made it very clear: This is the true food; this is the real presence. If we receive the Body and Blood of Christ, we will have life within us. The wonderful thing is that Jesus says not only will we have life within us, but if we receive Him, “I will remain in you and you will remain in Me”.  His flesh and blood comes into you, and your flesh and blood becomes one with Him. You remain in Him and He remains in you.

This is not just a marketing ploy. This is not just a gimmick. This is the real and true presence of God. Jesus says with great strength, "Unless you eat My flesh and drink My blood, you have no life within you."

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