In light of yesterday’s post about eating a specific diet to overcome candida, I thought now was a good time to repost my thoughts about healthy eating in general. I originally wrote this in 2011, so it will only be familiar to you long time readers. Can’t wait to read your comments – and don’t forget to check out the Wellness Wednesday link-up at the bottom.
Recently, a man speaking to our congregation during Sunday School made a comment that while he loves eating at buffets, his metabolism isn’t what it used to be, so he can’t do them anymore. This might sound to you to be simply a typically self-depreciating comment thrown out to get a laugh and to playfully point out the speakers age or weight.
Thing is, this guy was skinny. And he’s not yet old enough to be my father (or least, all of his children are younger than me). He really, literally meant that he doesn’t do buffets because it would be detrimental to his personal health. He wasn’t offering advice to the rest of us; not declaring buffets inherently evil or unhealthy. He was just stating a fact about his personal reality.
And it’s been driving me crazy.
Over and over again recently, I have read the advice to choose the diet (as in what you regularly eat) that works best for YOU. The theory goes that all of us have different nutritional needs for various reasons (gender, age, occupation, genetics, circumstances, poor maternal or childhood health, etc). I always reply internally with, “but surely there’s a *right* way to eat…” I think I am finally coming around to answering that question for myself.
I’ve progressed through the years from the SAD (standard American diet), to low-fat food, calorie counting, organic produce, cooking from scratch, and cutting out processed foods. At some point I started looking into specific diet philosophies – I say philosophies because they are all informed by world view to some extent. I can’t tell you how many books I’ve read on the topic of food. I have a cloud of keywords in my head…
…and I *still* feel like I’m missing something! I feel like there has to be some magic answer that I just haven’t discovered yet. And if I figure out what it is, I’ll be able to instantly transform my self, and all of you, into a model of perfect health.
The hard reality is, that even if I did figure out the absolute truth behind healthy eating, my body would still eventually succumb to decline and decay. I would still have to endure some measure of pain and suffering, as would my children and other loved ones, because my body is not – LIFE is not – ever going to be free of hardship this side of eternity.
Furthermore, my mind – and every other person’s on this planet – is fallible and imperfect. Even if all of the secrets of the universe were laid out before my eyes, I would not be able to completely comprehend them. I will never, in this life, be able to confidently say that I KNOW exactly how you or I should eat.
This is frustrating for me, and I am beginning to realize that this is, in part, because I feel entitled to good health. I feel like if I make the “right” choices regarding food, I should be slender, have strong teeth and bones, and pop kids out without complication.
This is simply not logical or theologically correct. It is hard for me to wrap my mind around, but I am faced with the reality that God brings rain down upon whom He chooses. I think of my father, who had scarlet fever as an adolescent that damaged his pancreas and caused him to become an insulin dependent diabetic. Or my cousin who has cystic fibrosis and as a result has a hard time absorbing the nutrients in food regardless of what she eats. Am I more “deserving” of good health than they are? Of course not. And really, I have no more power to attain it either.
My goal here is not to discourage you from eating well. I am in no way advocating giving up on making good food choices, or researching and taking responsibility for your health. I’ve just come to reluctantly admit that those food relativists that bother me so much might have a point or two to make.
- Even if there is an “ideal” way to eat, your individual body and time of life may need more to thrive.
- Some people may be able to handle and process more than others even if it is not “ideal.”
A few of the things I’ve learned about my own needs, for instance, are that I don’t do well with sugar or too many carbs. However, I am also coming to realize that meals high in protein without fruits and veggies to balance are hard for me to digest. Aidan gets bloated when he eats wheat or nuts, and Cora still can’t digest anything raw (2013 update, she’s good now!). Rob has little problem with anything and his strength and health seem to be *improving* as he ages!
I still absolutely believe that we should be eating FOOD, rather than processed junk. But I’m not convinced that which type of food we should eat is something anyone else can decide for us.
What do you think?
Each week I co-host this Wellness Wednesday link-up with my bloggy friends, Trisha, Lea, and Elsie. Have you been encouraged in your journey to wellness by a link you found here? I’d love for you to let me know in the comments or on my Facebook page! And if you blog, please link up!
- Your post should relate to health or wellness in some way.
- Your post does not have to be new. It can be from your archives as long as it’s new our blog.
- Entries should be direct links to applicable posts. Please do not link to your homepage.
- I encourage you to place my Wellness Wednesday button (found to the right) or a text link-back to this post on your post so others can learn about this link-up (example: “linking up with Wellness Wednesday” with the proper link included). Only posts that have this button or text link-back will be considered for the being chosen as featured (favorite) posts.
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