Friday, June 30, 2017

Food & Health are not gods

I don't blog much - mostly I'm just not a huge fan of handfuls of advice and rants. Especially from me. I watch the selfies and self promotion disguised as whatever makes the person posting feel  justified and it is a big turn off. A character trait I do not wish to embrace.

So why today's post ? Honestly, because I feel like I'm at a fork in the road - these things happen from time to time and are really just a necessary part of going on. And if I were to be honest,  every now and then I just need a little time and space to feel like I've been heard.

I have so much to look forward to , some of which I am already looking back on. 
Recently we took a big family trip to Halifax, Nova Scotia.  We've done so much as a family already all across Ontario and we even went to Disney a few years ago. But this was special because it was our family's first airplane trip. Time just keeps on going - which for my weary being delights me.  But as happy as I truthfully am to have time clip along I would not want it to pass in vain. So when I was able to work a big catering job in the spring I knew right away that this was how I would want to enjoy those profits.

Now I sit surrounded by boxes. In five days we will be packing up the only home two of my kids have known and heading to a nearby , smaller town to a new to us house. We've been here for almost nine years. In the spirit of honesty a major motivation for wanting to move was the feeling of all my walls closing in from the amount of history this place was packing.  I cherish all the memories I've made here but on a selfish level I crave a piece of anonymity. Opportunities to embrace a dose of solitude. The space my boys need to redefine their own identities. A chance to grow in new directions.

But the biggest thing that weighs heavy on me is what may to others seems like the smallest. Food.
It started 16 years ago while pregnant with an allergy to apples - frustrated by the reaction my mouth was having I stubbornly continued to try to eat them. Then pineapples ... then pears.... then by my fourth pregnancy cherries.
Then came the fifth, sixth and seventh pregnancies adding peaches, almonds, hazelnuts, nectarines -
eventually even my scalp would bleed using products that contained extracts.  An allergy test revealed it was a birch pollen allergy.
At this point I also can't eat tomatoes, carrots, potatoes and I'm noticing that bananas and melons are becoming an increasing irritation so I'll have them at most once a week. 

Adding to this was the passing of my 40th birthday. Which ushered in a new metabolism and loss of muscle mass.  What was a girl to do ? I thought if I was motivated enough and followed people who had success I could figure this out. But to my dismay I'm finding that the current style of motivation is #noexcuses  followed by their list of things they've overcome and endless streams of selfies and food pictures. And it frustrates me to a level that brings me to blog. 

I cook. That is my passion. Do not tell me food isn't love because I will write another blog on how it is. Don't  tell me to eat what I can because what I can eat is expensive protein - which I won't eat all of while six boys/men fill their own plates with starches to adjust to our budget. I can eat citrus - which I quickly discovered that making my main fresh food attacked my mouth with far too much acid. I can eat berries (some) - which again are more expensive and I have another member of the family who cannot eat tiny seeds.  I can eat many tropical fruits - which again are costly , imported and out of season. Each bite is a dollar that takes food off my growing boys plates.  I can have  meal replacement shakes.

Which are moderately  costly but do provide me with essential vitamins and keep my diet balanced. And although it goes against all my personal views of family meals and what real food should be I drink it while I contemplate the death of my food philosophy.  And it all brings me sadness that perhaps others can't understand.

I recently read a #noexcuses style post from a mom who said "don't tell me you don't have time because what I hear is 'it's not a priority'."  And she couldn't have been more right ... and wrong.
It's so much a priority - but at the expense of so many more important things. So many. Things that represent who I am, what I believe, how I serve and love and minister.
And I try to make peace with it all - to eat oatmeal and eggs and water. Right now I'm really broken writing this because it matters to me.  And if I fail and I'm fat and you are disappointed or don't believe me that I am trying then I'll have to be okay with that. I won't spend my days taking pictures of  super foods I've come up with for myself. I won't spend my money  or my time on personal trainers or even diet fads , containers or equipment. I won't give praise  to a company for any success I may achieve.

I will continue to do that which I believe God has called me to do - to use my gifts to extend His love to others.  To embrace the family meal and believe that it is God who continues to provide the increase of any deficiencies my personal body may face. To fill my home with guests and nourish them in a variety of ways.  To bless my neighbours with sweet gifts - do you realize that God's manna was like wafers sweetened with honey? (Ex.16:31)

Food is a gift from God. It is not meant to be idolized through diets as a means to sculpt ourselves into the envy of others or a living advertisement for a company. Or a constant thought even. If we were to be honest we sometimes look at heavy people as thought they have poor self control , make poor choices or are gluttons. But what about the super fit ? Who think about food all the time, spend their efforts on the physical rather than the spiritual and are consumed with things that are not lasting? 

Perhaps this will make me unpopular. My intention is not to offend. I believe in good nutrition and of being good stewards of our bodies while we are here but don't be self deceived. When our first thought and our best efforts are not on God's service , it doesn't matter which side of the scale we are on.