Caring for Natural Oils and Natural Prayers

After one year, most oil should be thrown out.

After one year or less most oil, nuts, and seeds should be thrown out.

“What’s that fishy smell?” My friend wrinkled her nose at a whiff from the sunflower seeds. “They look yellow, but they still taste great.” The smell and color of these nuts reveal that they had spoiled but roasting and salting nuts can disguise the sharp rancid flavor.

Natural oils found in nuts, seeds, and whole grains are beneficial antioxidants. However, if left out too long in the air, heat, and sun they can become rancid. These spoiled oils have become oxidized themselves, losing their powerful health benefits. They are pro-inflammatory and carcinogenic even though we do not feel sick after eating them. To prevent foods from becoming rancid, store them in an airtight container and place in a cool and dark place like the refrigerator.

The health benefits of nuts, seeds, and whole grains is well-known but has caused a kitchen full of rancid foods. Because we are accustomed to the long-storage benefits of trans fats and refined foods in the past, these new monounsaturated and polyunsaturated foods are assumed to have the same long storage benefits. They do not.

Rancid oils have a stale, paint-like smell. Buy small containers of oil and store them in the refrigerator. Whole grains and flours also need to be stored in airtight containers in a cool, dark place like the refrigerator. Breads, crackers, and other whole grain baked foods will not last as long as their refined flour counterparts. Protection from air, light, and heat will slow down the oxidation of all oils. Throw out rancid food. You may lose a few pennies now but you will gain dollars later in good health.

Refined prayers that have been written down and edited can help us in times of need and stress when we are without words. I say the Our Father every day at school, once on Sunday, and sometimes throughout the week in my Holy Yoga exercise. It is the prayer Jesus Christ taught his disciples and one that is highly regarded as a structure for other prayers. Praying the Psalms can be a great comfort because they are filled with emotions that we find hard to express. One of my favorites is Psalm 51 and Psalm 23 is also a popular one, especially at funerals.

Praying a steady stream of heartfelt words can empower the Holy Spirit and bring comfort to us. Being honest in our prayers about our motives and expressing our true feelings can bring discernment and wisdom to our lives. It gives us a chance to give sober judgement to who we are and how much we need our Lord and Savior. We do not need to worry about condemning ourselves with honest prayers as God already knows our hearts and minds. He will lead us into the truth and light. Honest prayers spoken to God in secret are powerful and intimate.

Praying songs can be a way of rejoicing. Even if we are not feeling particularly joyful, songs can comfort us and bring us out of sadness. It is good to have the melody and words of songs in our thoughts throughout the day so that we are continually in prayer.

Prayers said aloud for others is a common practice. Listening to or publicly reciting memorized prayers requires concentration to prevent background thinking. Jesus admonishes long, wordy prayers that have little sincerity and are said aloud for others to think well of us. Singing contemporary music together without a worshipful attitude can seem brash and irreverent. Using King James version words like thee and thou can appear showy to young people and make them think God is some great-grandfather in the sky who has no real interest in their young, complicated lives. Changes in attitude to public prayers and songs come about when the listeners realize that it is not the beat or the old-fashioned word that counts but the sincerity of heart that matters. There are many ways to pray with sincerity and all of them are good.

Pray without ceasing. 1 Thessalonians 5:17

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