January 2002


Happy New Year! January brings “new beginnings,” a fresh start for many First Place members. It is also a time to reflect. You may not have met all your goals for the year 2001, but I pray you made progress on your First Place journey. Even the lapses in our First Place journey can be beneficial.

I have learned facts about myself during times of lapse that can help me get back on track in a shorter length of time. I have gone through periods when I am exercising faithfully and even enjoying it, slightly. Then, something out of my control happens and I find myself not exercising. In the beginning I would wait, falsely thinking that someday I would want to exercise; that I would suddenly “feel like exercising” again. What I learned about myself was that I better put the tennis shoes on and get started when I still don’t “feel like it” because the “slightly enjoying exercise feeling” does not return for me until after I get back into a consistent routine.

For you, the lapse might have been in the area of quiet time, Bible study or healthy food choices, but take time to evaluate and learn from it. Learn from your lapses, and even your relapses, but at all cost, avoid a col-lapse! Take advantage of this time of “new beginnings” with your First Place challenge and get started!

You have made the right “health choice” when you choose First Place to help you lose weight. As we review the nutritional “hot topics” in the news this past year,we see the major news stories support exactly what you are doing in First Place. This only affirms that as you lose weight, you are developing a healthy lifestyle that benefits your overall health.

This past year’s focus was on phytonutrients; plant substances scientists are finding have powerful benefits in combating chronic diseases and perhaps, boosting immunity, as well. Health officials have worked very hard to get the word out that what you eat does make a difference! The twist in the year 2001 has been – look for color!

The news about antioxidants has been very important and intriguing. Reports have stated that foods contain literally thousands of antioxidant compounds that combat cancer, heart disease, eye disease and even diabetes. To get plenty, strive for five to nine fruits and vegetables a day. Tops in total antioxidants power (in descending order): prunes, blueberries, blackberries,kale, strawberries, raisins, raspberries, oranges, plums, red grapes, and beets. Nuts, and whole grains contain antioxidants too.

Maybe if you would like to add one superstar vegetable, kale would be your top contender. It’s bursting with carotenoids like beta-carotene, zeaxanthin and lutein,which may help prevent colon cancer and eye diseases. It’s also rich in vitamin C, vitamin K and folate-a nutrient often in short supply-and it provides calcium and fiber to boot. It’s even a source of essential alpha-linolenic acid (a member of the “omega-6” family of fats) and is in the cancer fighting cruciferous family.

The sad truth is, if the above paragraph had been describing a new “pill” just out on the market that had all the same health benefits,we would all rush out to buy it, at a cost many times more than what kale costs. It is a convenience issue, and maybe some of us aren’t familiar with how to cook kale and other greens. Check out Scott Wilson’s article this month. He has given us some great help with kale and other greens.


Kay Smith
First Place Associate Director

Kay is the associate national director of First Place and has been on the First Place staff since 1987.

Kay is a popular speaker at retreats, seminars, Conferences, FOCUS Weeks and Workshops across the country. Kay is the First Place food exchange expert and writes a monthly article in the First Place E-Newsletter on nutrition. She also was a contributing writer to the Today Is the First Day devotional book. Her delightful personality and love for people endears her to everyone she meets, and they quickly become her new best friend.

Kay and her husband, Joe, live in Roscoe, TX. They have two children and five grandchildren. Two of the young grandchildren are making a name for themselves on the golf circuit. Two of the young grandchildren are making a name for themselves on the golf circuit, and the three oldest grandsons are all involved in numerous sporting events, which Kay and Joe attend as often as possible.