Taking leadership in the area of food may be one of the most difficult ways for a man to be courageous at home. It is easy to pop in a pizza, grab a snack, go out for fast food or kick back and eat nothing unless someone prepares it for you. The problem with that is (at the very least) you are setting a bad example (and perhaps worse) you may be a main cause for obesity in your household.
COURAGEOUS Men’s Fitness happens when you choose to have an active lifestyle with your spouse, child or the one you love. I’m Jason Rhymer, the Training Department editor for Faith & Fitness Magazine. I’m here to help you with fitness ideas and inspiration so you can have the courage to be the totally fit man that God wants you to be.

With some initiative you can make a healthy diet a way of life in your home. If you feel eating should be enjoyable, food should be tasty and mealtime should be a celebration then you’ll want to keep reading--- we do too! That is why we’ve developed these easy-to-use ideas. What you won’t get here are recipes, calorie counting charts, nutrition facts or a list of foods to avoid. We think you’re pretty smart and already have a good idea of what is healthy and when you and your family are overeating. If you need that kind of support, we have a Nutrition department that is loaded with great articles and information. Instead, with this we want to help you transform the way you eat. Ready?
You’re no caveman but deep down guys are wired to hunt, gather and provide the food that will sustain their family and assure their survival. How you do this is up to you. BUT- don’t be passive. Find ways to elevate your role in the supply chain.
- Go hunt. That’s right, even if you’ve never held a gun you can do it. We’re talking about adding some adventure (and exercise) to putting that food on the table. There are plenty of Christian hunting clubs and resources. If you live in a city, then you have all the more reason to go for it. Kids? Sure, go for it. They love to watch Man vs. Wild on television. Let them see you in action.
- Farmer John. Most guys don’t have room in their back yard to graze a cow or grain-feed some chickens. If you do, then you should seriously consider it as it is one of the best ways to provide steroid and antibiotic free food for your family. If that isn’t a possibility, do some research and identify a nearby farm where you can have space to raise some of your own food as a family. Community gardens are even easier to find. Producing food for your family is hard work sure but it is also a great form of family recreation. You’ll build memories and character.
- NOT in your grocer’s freezer section. Load the family in the car and head out to a grocery store. Do a little research and find one that is different from where you currently shop. Have fun and sample foods whenever possible. Some stores have full organic offerings, exotic foods, whole grain options, exotic spices, fresh produce and meats and much more. Visit an international grocery store and try some things you didn’t even know existed. Some stores may have chefs on site or offer a cooking class. Many cities have farmer’s markets. The idea is to EXPLORE new and different and find foods closer to the original supply source.
- What to eat? Tell your child, your wife, your co-workers and your friends. Your new birthday gift is a cookbook. Before you totally laugh at the idea think about all the cool things that come along with it – a grill, cool utensils and cooking gear, apparel, and food supplies. More importantly it is not so much about what you’ll be getting but who you’ll become --- Chef Dad!
With at least three meals each day you have many opportunities to fix food and positively impact your child. Breakfast, commonly reported as the most important meal of the day, can be a time to get the day started with good nutrition and make that important first impression with your family. If you are like most dads you’ll likely not be with your child for lunch. However, you can still be a player in that meal by discussing lunch choices or preparing a lunch or occasional lunch for your child. Plan to make dinnertime of an evening the big meal event in your home.
You’re going to build a reputation that will be known far and wide. You won’t be an overnight sensation. Instead, take it one meal at a time. Don’t worry when you get a flop. You’ll learn from your cooking mistakes and ultimately build a repertoire of entrees and meals that will be the talk of the town. Make it a family activity where you lead and everyone helps. Have fun and enjoy the leftovers.
The sampler platter . Set the example for everyone and try new foods. If it is different then let them see you try it. Once you get doing that then you can get the rest of the family to join you. You’ll see that your palette and everyone else’s expands to enjoy many diverse flavors and styles.
Packaging is pricy . Lose the wrapper. Today’s high-tech bags and boxes don’t just cost a lot they usually mean that the food in them is more processed and refined. That mean’s it isn’t as healthy and you don’t get as much. Get your foods raw and rough whenever possible. The flavor is better, to food is fresher and the nutritional value usually goes through the roof.
Turn down the heat . Cook meats to a safe temperature (you gotta add a food thermometer to your tool box)but work to not cook food longer than necessary. Too often we overcook food. The result: not as much nutrition, less flavor and it just takes way longer than it should.
Do desert . Some deserts can be really healthy. Be honest though and know that some won’t be. Make an incredible desert, do it well and then enjoy it. An occasional well-executed desert makes the meal. If you are practicing discipline and not doing deserts at every meal then you should be just fine.
Get full then stop. In other words --- use your head. Pay attention to your body. At the first sign of being full, you’re full. Time to stop. Smaller meals more often is better than fewer big ones. Most of us don’t move as much as we should. Good rigorous exercise it your ticket to good meals.
What’s God got to do with this? So you say “grace” before each meal. Good. Time to kick it up a notch dude. Find ways to make every aspect of the meal connected to faith. Food, something that is most basic to our daily life is in fact quite a miracle. The more you learn about it the more you’ll appreciate it. Don’t just pray before you eat. Pray when you get the food and while you prepare it. Focus on the fellowship. Let meal time become a time for conversation – a time to grow closer.
ELMO PUSHUPS – Training With Infants And Toddlers (5 years old and younger) LEGO LUNGES – Training With Children (Ages 6 to 11) CELL PHONES AND CAR KEYS – Training With Older Kids And Teenagers.

Mark Dugdale, Bodybuilder, Washington - Mark, isn’t your average gym guy. He is a professional bodybuilder and owns a whole foods company. He also is a Christian. All that together means people keep an eye on him. Mark knows it is important to live as an example of Christ in front of the public but he knows the example he lives in front of his wife and children takes even more courage. He talks about how he lives his life in LEGACY his new dvd.

What Mark says: In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church – Ephesians 5:28-29. As a professional bodybuilder this statement by the Apostle Paul is convicting. Compared to the average person I’m uber-disciplined at caring for my body via my rest, training program and meticulous attention to nutrition. Thus, attending to the needs of my wife, and one could argue the inclusion of the needs of my three daughters by 1 Timothy 5:8, should be held to an equally high standard. I strive to exercise physically through outdoor activities such as bike riding, and exercise spiritually through the daily reading of scripture before bed at night.

Eric Velazquez, Vice President of PrayFit, California (picture courtesy David Paterson) As important as it is to me to bring my two daughters – Mya and Ella up in the ways of the Lord, I also see it as my responsibility to teach them the virtue and value of healthy eating. First, a confession: I am an extremely picky eater. So while I only repeatedly suggest that my daughters eat a wide variety of foods, I try to never do so too insistently. Having said that, when my wife and I shop with them, I discuss the items we put into our cart. At their age, I also use it as an opportunity to teach numbers and colors, but my girls also know that apples have lots of vitamins that give them energy and that milk gives them strong muscles and bones. The more I remember to enforce these things, the more fun it is for them and that’s really the best way to encourage retention for toddlers and preschoolers. As someone who places high value on taking care of the body that carries the soul, I pray that my daughters grow up with the same perspective.

John Quinlan, Massachusetts - I can't think of a better way for a man to use his understanding of nutrition than to help others around him become more healthy and educated. This starts at home with his family and children. But, that can be a challenge. There are seven things I do to encourage good nutrition in my home: 1. Begin good nutrition at an early age. 2. Control what food is in the house. 3. Show children the natural food. 4. Grow food at home. 5. Don’t sneak healthy food into food they already like. 6. If your child doesn't want to eat healthy food then have patience. 7. Be an example. Practice what you preach, if you want them to eat healthy you should also. You are your own child's biggest role model so chances are if they see you practicing healthy nutrition over time they will want to do the same.
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