Saturday, November 9, 2013

Our Food Journey

This may seem like a mixed message blog but I am just writing what I believe and what has been on my heart lately.

It all started on our honeymoon. My husband and I went into a bookstore and we found a book called ‘7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess’ by Jen Hatmaker. She is a Christian author who I had never heard of before but I am always trying new ways to live more simply because I truly believe that my relationship with God will flourish when I am living simply. Anyways, we found the book, bought it on my kindle, and read most of it. It started a crazy journey that we are now on, a journey that I love and kind of hate at the same time.

I like food. I love sweets. Doughnuts, candy, brownies, cake, cookies, ice cream. I could eat sweets all day and not get sick. I have a very high sweet tolerance J This has made the journey very hard. Eating makes me very happy!

I am also frugal with my finances. Extremely. I used to buy the great value version of almost anything. I wear clothes until they have holes in them. I haven’t had cable in 2 years, because it’s too much money. I am very cheap. Healthy food did not equal cheap in my head before this journey. Healthy food equaled lots of time, money and patience that I just didn’t have. I live a busy life and I needed my food to be easy and cheap.
I thought I was doing good health wise before reading this book and doing some other research. I rarely ate fast food, never bought chips (except for tortilla chips), hardly ever drank soda, and did not often buy extra unnecessary foods like the doughnuts and cakes I loved so much. I didn’t eat out of a vending machine much and I ate fruit and veggies often. Now, if there was free cake or potato chips or pizza somewhere, I would eat that. You don’t turn down free food! So other than these occasions, I felt I was pretty healthy.

Then I started looking at ingredient lists. I realized how some ‘healthy’ foods are filled with processed sugars and dextrins and all sorts of other ingredients that I could not pronounce and did not know what they were. I am not a scientist and I am not trying to judge others and the way they eat. But, from reading Jenn’s book and from doing a minimal amount of research, Tripp & I decided that we didn’t want to eat this way anymore.

We are not trying to eat in the American health food way. We are trying to eat natural food. No processed food! This does not mean no fat and no sugary substances. If it’s natural, we’re ok with eating it! This includes honey, olive oil, butter (certain types), eggs, etc. We have found some great recipes and ideas from other health conscience friends. We have not bought store made bread since July. We have eaten things like pizza and brownies but we have found recipes where we can make these things from scratch and using natural ingredients, and they still taste pretty good!

We are still struggling on weekends when we are out with others. We allow lots of splurges because we don’t want to be food snobs. I like what our parents cook, even it it’s not always all natural. And every once in awhile, I want a milkshake from Dairy Queen!

Another awesome thing we’ve learned is that eating this way (at least the way we’re doing it) is MUCH CHEAPER! Farmers markets have been awesome! Buying local and it’s cheaper. We have eaten less meat because we are trying to keep our meals veggie based (greens are best). We are NOT becoming vegetarians! I like meat! But, we are buying less meat at our meals, making salads or veggies the main course, and this has saved us a ton of money!

This is the part that might seem strange. The core of this natural eating journey is our yearning to be closer to God. I don’t think God wanted us to destroy the natural foods He blessed us with (He is the creator of all things that grow on this Earth after all). I don’t think He wanted us to manipulate and twist and process all of this great food that He gave us. I think He wants us to live simply so that we can focus on Him and live our lives benefiting what He has given us. I want to eat naturally not to be a hippie—I want to be closer to God and to show Him how much I love all that He has given us naturally. This may seem strange, that I put eating healthy as a step to growing closer to God. But I really do think my appreciation for the beautiful and delicious nature He has given us has grown since we’ve started this journey. This is for His glory, not for Tripp & I. I want to praise Him every day for giving me the food that I am eating, knowing that the food came from the ground and that God put it there.

Spending less money on food means I can spend more on giving. Spending more time making food means that I spend more time with my husband, I spend a little less time running around, ‘being busy’. I can take time while I cook to talk to God.

I am thrilled with the healthier feeling that I have. I am beginning to love some of our new natural dishes. And I LOVE buying local and saving money! Overall, I am happy with the journey. It is taking more time and, like I said, we still need a little work. But, I know what we’ve done is making a difference in our health and I am happy with our personal progress. Most of all, I am happy to be growing closer to my creator. I am happy to find a way to praise and glorify Him in eating, one of my favorite activities! 

--Nothing Without Him--
Jenny Lewis