Easing back into blogging in the most July-ish way. We move and talk slow down here in Texas when July blesses us with triple digit readings on the thermometer and high humidity. When I “rebranded” as they call it in the blogging world, I chose “Sweet is the Light” as the name of my new blog because of a verse in Ecclesiastes which says that “light is sweet.” I want my blog to have a central theme of living in the light of Jesus and really eating it up. However, it will always be a collage of many things under that one theme. Sometimes the theme will be hard to detect, but that’s art for you!
I want to keep writing about serious things such as adoption, feminism and poverty. But I take food very seriously, so today I’m going to write about food. Food is actually a really serious topic, maybe more today than in many centuries. In my part of the world, hunger is not a huge issue. We have food pantries and free breakfast and lunch at the elementary schools, plus snack bags to take home. So we’ve moved onto obsessing about what we eat, which is clearly prohibited in scripture! I am a firm believer in eating well and being a good steward of our own bodies. After all, our bodies are temples of God and there are probably things God wants us to do with our bodies other than lounge about in them.
So where do we draw the line? It’s a personal choice, of course, and one that we have to keep making every day, almost with every meal. To be wise, but not legalist…it’s the carrot dangling in front of every believer. I want to tell you how I eat, not because I’m famous and people want to know what brand of salt I buy and who does my hair (hahahahahahaha) but because I really appreciate my family’s food culture, it works well for us and I think it might inspire or encourage others. This is not a recipe for success and it’s not a diet. As a matter of fact, it’s kind of an “anti-diet.” I have good health, but I don’t owe it to any secret I could reveal to the world. I have good health because I have good genes and I pray. That’s no secret!
But when it comes to eating (and I always love when it does,) this is my basic philosophy:
Do not worry too much about what I eat.
As I said, scripture is adamant that food not become a point of dissension or obsession. There is more than one verse about this, but Matthew 6 sums them up pretty well:
“Here is the bottom line: do not worry about your life. Don’t worry about what you will eat or what you will drink. Don’t worry about how you clothe your body. Living is about more than merely eating, and the body is about more than dressing up. Look at the birds in the sky. They do not store food for winter. They don’t plant gardens. They do not sow or reap—and yet, they are always fed because your heavenly Father feeds them. And you are even more precious to Him than a beautiful bird. If He looks after them, of course He will look after you.”
I try not to read too many articles about what is going to kill me first. I try not to judge other people by their food choices. I try not to lose sleep over what I ate that day. You get the idea. It’s not the end of the world, it’s not the point of my life. Food is for me, I am not for food. Food is a blessing from God and an opportunity to use discretion, but it’s not my idol.
2. Eat whatever I want
I try to just eat what sounds good, but I don’t just talk to my tongue about it. Am I craving something because my body needs it? How did I feel after I ate that last time? Is it too late in the day to eat that? Should I have some protein first? Is my blood sugar low? Again, not obsessively, but with good sense. Then I just eat whatever I want. The key is, having good food in the house in the first place, and almost never eating anywhere else. Eating out is expensive and few places serve good, nutritious food. I’m not talking about low-fat food. I’m talking good food.
I eat a little of everything almost every day. I eat meat, but not processed meat. I eat wheat bread and organic peanut butter. I eat lots of fruit and vegetables, especially cooked. I eat some sugar, mostly coconut sugar and honey. I try to eat good fats such as avocado, nuts and full-fat dairy. In general, I eat all kinds of real food in moderation. Sometimes I go all day without meat, and that’s okay too. Eggs are another great source of protein, as well as a good old fashioned PB&H. I don’t believe in low-fat, sugar-free, carb-free diets. I believe healthy people should be able to eat a large variety of real foods and maintain their good health.
“I think one of the terrible things today is that people have this deathly fear of food: fear of eggs, say, or fear of butter. Most doctors feel that you can have a little bit of everything.” -Julia Child
I draw the line in just a few places. No soda, except on special occasions or something. It is just all-around awful for your body and super addictive. I try to say “no” to high fructose corn syrup in general. No chocolate that isn’t fair trade, period. Consequently, we end up with only high quality, organic chocolate in our house and definitely not every day. (I like to say fair trade is “true price,” and chocolate at it’s true price is pretty expensive.) I drink two small cups of coffee a day with heavy cream and small spoonful of coconut sugar. The cream appears in glorious, swirling clouds. More caffeine than that and I’m a jittery mess. We don’t keep candy in our house. Dessert is way better! Tea is unsweetened. No microwaved popcorn (but lots of popcorn with just a little salt and peanut oil) and no processed meat, unless you count bacon! I don’t see any reason to “indulge” in things that aren’t amazing. Indulge in a little glass of wine, a big bowl of popcorn or a slice of homemade chocolate cake.
“A nice creamy chocolate cake does a lot for a lot of people. I know it does for me.” -Audrey Hepburn
Good food is delicious. I used to be a very picky eater, but I am a perfect example of learning to love new foods. You don’t have to be picky forever. You can learn to love foods that are good for you and live without junk food, and when you stock your pantry with good foods, you can eat whatever you want!
My favorite book about real food is Your Real Food Journey by Trina Holden!
3. Don’t eat when I’m not hungry
I know this is sort of common sense, but a big part of my food philosophy is not eating when I’m not hungry. Sure, sometimes I have dessert right after dinner. I’m obviously not starved at that point. But when I’m not hungry, I don’t go and get another serving. And when I’m stuffed, I don’t eat another bite. Listen to your body. Think about what you really need. Better to eat a few small meals a day (or three with snacks between) than to overeat and regret it. I cannot stand to feel like a hot air balloon at the end of the day. Something interesting to do if you’re trying to make this a habit would be to take this quiz to find out of you’re an abstainer or a moderator. (I’m definitely a moderator!)
“Life itself is the proper binge.” Julia Child
4. Never feel guilty about food
I know it’s tempting, but I’ve decided to try to never feel guilty about food. Sometimes I regret what I eat or I think, “I haven’t been eating the way I want to. I’m going to change that.” But guilt should never be associated with food! Gluttony is wrong, but making one bad food choice is just a mistake. A good article about how we feel about food is What’s Your Foodview?
5. Savor everything
“It has been my experience that you can nearly always enjoy things if you make up your mind firmly that you will.” –Anne of Green Gables
Enjoy everything you possibly can. Whether you have prepared a beautiful feast of organic delicacies, are splurging on a Poptart that just sounded so good today or trying to figure out the best way to eat a hotdog while you’re at a baseball game, try to enjoy everything. And when you finally sit down after a couple of hours of meal prep, take a deep breath before your first bite. Close your eyes and savor it. Chew slowly and think about how good it tastes. That’s what “being present” really means: learning to enjoy things that don’t last forever.
Not everything has to be perfect, but some things can be really lovely. We make a celebration of almost everything at Eyrie Park. We have “parties” on what seems like a weekly basis. Parties consist of a menu, a cleared schedule and maybe some decor. We’ve had parties for paying off debts, for writing books, for building a house, pet’s birthdays and of course every holiday known to man. We make good food and pick wildflowers and turn on music and hang up buntings and have a grand old time. If you’re not sure if your next meal qualifies as a party, just add punch. A frothy beverage in a bowl never fails.
Remember, you only live once. No one, on their death beds, wishes they had saved time by eating fast food or chewing quicker. Bon appétit!
“Go, eat your bread with joy, and drink your wine with a merry heart, for God has already approved what you do.” Ecclesiastes 9:7
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