Health & Wellness



3 John 2: “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.”


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Ten Best Practices for Health and Wellness

  1. Love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.
  2. Love your neighbor as you love yourself—be an example of self-care as well as caring for others.
  3. Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy—be intentional about time for rest and renewal within your week, church year, and life in ministry.
  4. Honor your body as a gift from God and a temple of the Holy Spirit. Feed it healthy foods and build your physical and emotional endurance with regular physical activity.
  5. Honor your mother, father, siblings, spouse, and/or children with your love, respect, and time.
  6. Reflect on your faith and use your gifts in your vocation.
  7. Develop healthy habits to keep your wholeness wheel in balance, while staying fit for a ministry of service.
  8. Equip yourself to use your gifts effectively so you can proclaim and live out the Gospel in the world.
  9. Practice and seek forgiveness.
  10. Pray daily.

Balancing Eating and Exercise

A healthy weight is a worthy goal. You will feel your best as well as reduce your risks for a variety of diseases. The key to effective weight management is balancing the calories you take in with those your body burns off.

  • To create an eating and physical activity guide customized for your needs, go online to and click on the “SuperTracker” link, or go directly to SuperTracker at
  • Track what you eat so you know how many calories you are taking in. For calorie amounts, check the Nutrition Facts panel on foods or consult a calorie counter.
  • Keep a log of your physical activity to see exactly how much exercise you are getting.

Food Smarts:

Watch out for sugar, which adds calories but no valuable nutrients. Check ingredient lists for sugar, malt syrup, maple syrup, fructose, honey, molasses, or dextrose.

Healthcare Consumer Smarts:

Shop the perimeter of the grocery store, where you can find fresh produce, meats, and dairy. Try to steer clear from the middle of the store, where costly and less healthy processed foods are displayed.

Being Kind to Your Heart

Smart lifestyle choices can make a big difference in the health of your heart. Your decisions about food, exercise, and other habits can play an important role in keeping your heart beating strong.

  • If you are overweight, take steps to trim down.
  • To strengthen your heart, engage in at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity for five or more days a week.
  • Choose foods with heart health in mind and limit foods with cholesterol, saturated fats, trans fats, and sodium (salt).
  • Do not smoke or use tobacco in any form. Avoid secondhand smoke as well.

Food Smarts:

Plan your meals for the week, and then make a shopping list and stick to it so you can avoid purchases made on a whim that can affect both your body and budget in unhealthy ways.

Healthcare Consumer Smarts:

Halt the salt. For seasoning, you can use Mrs. Dash. Enjoy more fresh foods and eat fewer processed foods. Processed foods often contain lots of sodium. Sodium contributes to high blood pressure, which can lead to heart conditions and stroke.

Improving Your Nutrition

  • Enjoy your food, but eat less. Eat slowly so your body has a chance to tell you when it’s full.
  • Avoid oversized portions. Use smaller plates, bowls, and glasses.
  • Make half of your plate fruits and vegetables.
  • Switch to fat-free or low fat (1%) milk.
  • Switch to spelt grain and quinoa instead of modified wheats (90% of the wheat we eat is chemically modified).
  • Drink water with lemon instead of sugary drinks.
  • Compare sodium in foods like soup, bread, and frozen meals and choose the foods with lower numbers.

Food Smarts:

Boost your fruits and vegetables. Add more nutrient-rich produce to your meals and snacks. Eat fruits and vegetables in a variety of colors to get a full range of vitamins and minerals.

Getting More Active

The benefits of physical activity are many: weight management, increased energy, heart health, stress reduction, and more. Find activities that you enjoy and make them part of your weekly routine.

  • Set aside specific days and times for exercise so it becomes part of your regular schedule.
  • If you don’t currently exercise, start with 10 minutes a day. Add activity each week and work up to a goal of 30 minutes or more at least five days a week.
  • Find a buddy to join you for mutual support and motivation.
  • Remember that brisk walking is a simple, inexpensive, and effective way to get exercise.

Healthcare Consumer Smarts:

Instead of buying brand-new exercise equipment, shop at secondhand sporting goods stores. For more savings, use filled water bottles, stairs, and other household resources for your workout.

Safety Smarts:

Ease into and out of every exercise session so you can avoid injury. Warm up with a few minutes of slow or easy movement and add intensity slowly. Wind down by reducing intensity and cooling off with a few minutes of slower movement.

Eating Out With Health in Mind

Dining at a restaurant provides plenty of temptations to step outside the bounds of good nutrition. Keep your health in mind and make wise menu selections.

  • Avoid items that include the words creamy, fried, breaded, battered, or buttered.
  • Ask for sauces, syrups, gravies, and salad dressings on the side.
  • Split a large entrée with someone or box up half for take-home before you dig in.
  • Skip the buffet option, which makes overeating all too likely.
  • Have sandwiches and burgers without avocado, mayonnaise, creamy dressings, and cream cheese or other high-fat cheese.
  • At fast food outlets, opt for the smallest portion size for each item.

Food Smarts:

Choose to dine in more often. Cooking your own meals is the best strategy for healthy eating. It gives you direct control over food choices, how they’re prepared, and portion sizes.

Healthcare Consumer Smarts:

If you’re planning to dine out, go at lunchtime instead of dinner. Midday restaurant meals are less costly. Also, check publications and restaurant websites for money-saving coupons.

Enjoying Outdoor Activities the Safe Way

Warm days are a great time to be outside—as long as you take precautions to stay well hydrated and protect your skin.

  • Make water your beverage of choice and drink it regularly to avoid dehydration.
  • Wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses.
  • If you’re going to be outside for an extended time, put on long sleeves and long pants.
  • Apply sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or more to all exposed skin, even on cloudy days.
  • Re-apply sunscreen every two hours or after swimming or sweating heavily.
  • Stay inside or in the shade from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., when the sun’s rays are at their strongest.

Food Smarts:

Think before you drink. The added sugar in sodas, sports drinks, energy drinks, and fruit drinks increases your calories in a big way. Choose water or unsweetened tea instead.

Healthcare Consumer Smarts:

When going out, take beverages and snacks along. This will keep you from dropping into a convenience store, where you’ll pay a lot more than grocery store prices.

Safety Smarts:

Protect yourself by wearing the proper safety gear for all physical activities, whether it’s going for a bike ride, playing sports, doing yard work, or tackling a home-improvement project.

Guarding Against Food Poisoning

Food safety is important from the farm all the way to your dining room table. Simple steps at home can safeguard your family from preventable illnesses.

  • Wash your hands as well as knives, utensils, and cutting boards after contact with raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs.
  • Keep raw meat and poultry apart from any foods that won’t be cooked before they’re eaten.
  • Cook eggs and meat thoroughly. A food thermometer can ensure the right temperature has been reached.
  • Rinse fresh fruits and vegetables before eating them.
  • Put leftover or takeout foods in a refrigerator or cooler within two hours.
  • Set your refrigerator to 400 F or lower.

Celebrating in Health

The holiday season can be extra enjoyable if you celebrate while keeping vitality in mind. Making the right choices can help you stay energized, fit, and protected from seasonal ills.

  • Maintain your exercise routine as much as possible. Keep it a priority!
  • Reach for the most nutritious foods at festival gatherings.
  • Be selective about social commitments. Turn down any that will add more stress or fatigue than fun.
  • Spread the health by giving gifts such as exercise equipment, subscriptions to health magazines, and baskets of fresh fruits.
  • As you greet the New Year, resolve to continue your healthy ways.

Healthcare Consumer Smarts:

Pre-prepared foods cost extra. Save money by grating your own cheese, chopping up vegetables and fruits, shredding lettuce, and assembling your own hors d’oeuvres.

Keeping Bones Strong

Proper diet and exercise are the cornerstones of building and maintaining healthy bones. It’s never too early—or too late—for women as well as men to take care of their bones.

  • Have enough bone-strengthening minerals and vitamins: 1,000 mg of calcium and 400-800 IU of vitamin D each day if you are age 19-49; 1-200 mg of calcium and 800-1,000 IU of vitamin D if you are age 50 and older.
  • Enjoy calcium-rich foods such as dairy products, calcium-fortified juices, sardines, and spinach.
  • Take in vitamin D from sunlight, fatty fish, and vitamin D-fortified milk, juice, and cereals.
  • Use calcium and vitamin D supplements if needed.
  • Get regular weight-bearing physical activity, such as walking, golfing, and tennis.
  • Do resistance or weight-training exercises two to three times a week.

Food Smarts:

Opt for low-fat or fat-free dairy products, which have fewer calories and are kinder to your heart. If you’re used to whole-milk products, switch gradually by trying those with 2% fat, then 1% and then fat-free.

Safety Smarts:

Most people suffer back pain at some point in life. Reduce your chances for back injury when lifting objects by keeping your back straight, squatting down, and using your leg muscles.

Make the Most of Screen Time

Because every bit of physical activity is beneficial, take advantage of all opportunities to keep moving. This includes time in front of the television.

  • Lift hand weights or filled water bottles while watching TV.
  • Do some stretching while you watch.
  • March in place during commercials or use the time for jumping jacks, push-ups, crunches, or other exercises.
  • Tap your toes or stretch your arms—just stay in motion. Studies show that fidgeting can burn up to 350 or more calories a day.
  • The best strategy is to limit the time you spend watching TV, playing video games, or using the computer at home. Set a maximum time of two hours each day.

Managing Stress

Controlling stress is more than a matter of mental well-being. Too much stress can contribute to physical problems such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and even weight gain.

  • Avoid overscheduling yourself. Make a realistic list of what you can achieve each day and prioritize it.
  • Plan for regular exercise—it’s a proven stress-reducer.
  • Make time every day for activities that you find relaxing.
  • To relieve tension quickly, take a few slow, deep breaths or go for a short walk.
  • Relax tight muscles by stretching or massaging them.
  • Reject turning to alcohol, tobacco, or drugs for stress relief. They harm your health in other ways.

Food Smarts:

Using food as a way to deal with stress is an unhealthy strategy. However, certain vitamins can make a positive difference. Take vitamins B and C, which help your body cope with the physical effects of stress.

Have Health Screenings on Time

Tests and screenings are valuable tools for preventing and treating dangerous health conditions. The earlier a problem is detected, the better. Meanwhile, a clean bill of health can give you peace of mind.

  • Check with your health insurance provider—many tests require only a small co-pay or could even be free to you.
  • Make sure you know what to do in preparation for an upcoming test or screening. Some require fasting or other changes to your routine.
  • Keep a record of your test results to track changes over the long term, and so you know when to schedule the next appointment.

Healthcare Consumer Smarts:

Stay alert for community health fairs, where you can often obtain free or reduced-rate screenings. Health agencies, hospitals, and pharmacies sometimes offer similar services.