Monday, April 01, 2013

Why I eat what I eat

For several years, I've embraced Lent... finding ways to challenge myself to recognize God's generosity toward me by sacrificing something significant...

I've let go of Facebook and chocolate... gone vegan...

This year - I decided to do a Daniel Fast. No processed food, no animal products, no leavened bread, no sugar. Basically, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, legumes.

It was the hardest dietary choice I've ever made... but I've learned over the years that preparation and planning has a significant impact on how hard or easy something like this can be... so I made a lot of soups and things I could eat ahead of time... I ate enough veggie soup to feed an army over the last 40 days. And oatmeal. Oatmeal EVERY day for breakfast. With a sliced banana and two dates cut up and sprinkled on for sweetness... 

The bread thing was the hardest part... I love a good hunk o' bread - especially with my soup...

So - yesterday was Easter. I started off the morning with my favorite treat... a chocolate croissant (thank you, Trader Joe's!).

Yum.
Flakey.
Buttery.
Warm.

After lunch I had some Robin's Eggs... my favorite Easter candy... I didn't think I was eating that many, but both Asia and Savannah said "Um, you're sort of going crazy with the candy there..." And then I felt pretty yucky... after 40 days of no processed sugars, going straight to the malted milk eggs with the candy coating probably wasn't the best plan...

So here's what I'm learning...

The healthier I eat, the more unhealthy foods impact the way I feel.
The healthier I eat, the better I feel.
The healthier I eat, the more content I am with my food choices and the less I struggle with the lure of nasty, unhealthy food.

I have had a difficult relationship with food for as long as I remember... but it improves as I strive to see food as nourishment instead of entertainment... striving to really feed my body instead of tantalize my palate...

I devour books about food/diet/health... educating myself about nutrition... learning everything I can about how my body processes different foods...

And so now that Lent is over, this morning when I walked out to the kitchen and saw the leftover croissants... I chose to put the pot on the stove and pull the oatmeal out of the cupboard instead. The temporary pleasure of the croissant doesn't compare to the satisfaction of choosing the best food for my body...

When I focus on my health and well-being and remember the dirty business of the food industry it is much easier...

So I continue to strive for healthy, whole food choices, spending my calories on nutrients instead wasting them on empty garbage that actually damages my body...

Fruit. Veggies. Whole grains. Natural sweeteners. Beans. Lots of green food. A little bread. A little teeny bit of cheese, every once in a while...

The truth is, for the first time in my life, I feel like food doesn't control me. I have found a way to eat that nourishes me instead of ruling me.

My library grows... from books like Food Matters, In Defense of Food, The China Study, Real Moms Love to Eat, and others... every one I read strengthens my resolve to go against the grain of our current food culture and eat for me...

I don't expect anyone to join me... I recognize that my choices seem radical to some... But I also know it's worth the ostracism and weird looks I get from people.

It's also a tricky thing for me at work... since my food choices are extreme and would seem REALLY radical to someone who is just beginning their journey toward better health. I choose in most cases to keep my food philosophies to myself... even my vegetarianism is quite over the top for people who are just beginning the process of changing their lifestyle/eating habits and could potentially push people into running the other way if they felt that sort of massive change was required of them in order to enjoy success... most people are never going to make the choices I have made - so they're better left unsaid.

But I know this - food has the potential to rule over my thoughts and dominate my being in a way that is quite unhealthy - and I have finally found a balance that feels right for me.

It's a spiritual journey I have taken - recognizing a way to choose food that doesn't dominate or control me and instead, choosing to make decisions about what I eat an act of worship - acknowledging God's provision in the form of nourishing, delicious, healthy, whole food.

I now enjoy a freedom I have never experienced from food. Cravings have been replaced with satisfaction. Sneaking and shame have given way to confidence, empowering resolve and a surety and faith in my choices that continues to build...

I've traded a struggle for a resoluteness I wouldn't exchange for anything.

And that's why I eat the way I eat.

3 comments:

  1. Love this Cathy! I am on the same little path right there with you. xo

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  2. I am not there...I wish I was...you inspire me to take the first steps~!

    xo

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  3. I need this! However, I didn't know you every struggled with food. I've never known you to be anything but trim, fit, and beautiful! That gives me hope.

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