To be honest, I have not historically thought much about food. It's not a vice of mine, nor is it a passion of mine. It's simply food. We need it, I like it fine, and it helps us thrive. Sometimes I like cooking, sometimes I don't. Sometimes we eat healthy, sometimes we don't.
I've seen the ways in which some people idolize food, whether excess becomes a god, or self-denial. Eating a whole package of Oreos is the same as obsessing over NOT EVER EATING A SINGLE OREO because you think they're of the devil. Both of those perspectives move God off of His throne in a person's life.
So I'm sure you can guess that I've never subscribed to a fad diet, or read any of the bandwagon food books. I'm not saying I'm against either of those things. I'm saying I have simply never cared that much. But a few years ago, one of my wisest friends told me about two books she read on food that were based on what God's Word had to say. Now there was a perspective on food in which I was interested and about which I knew I could learn more.
So I bought them. I first read Holy Cow: Does God Care About What We Eat, written by a Messianic Jewish woman and a Rabbi. Totally fascinating (and convicting: in her testimony, one reason the author says she hesitates to believe in the God of the New Testament is because the Christians she knows seem to dismiss the God of the Old Testament). It made me consider caring more about what we ate; if God cared, then shouldn't I? Then, I read What the Bible Says About Healthy Living which covers overall health, not just food).
Again, since I am not one to buy into a whole new program, I picked and chose from these two books what I felt were simple, healthy adaptations to mine and my kids' current diets based on some very convincing arguments in terms of what the Bible says is best for us. (On a side note, I was shocked at the number of relevant, instructive passages of Scripture that deal with food that I'd never really valued in the past. Is it just poetry that God describes the "promised land" as rich with milk and honey? Or are milk and honey perhaps so beneficial that they were a prized part of His blessings for the Israelites when they got there? In retrospect, I guess I'd never used the Bible as a tool for understanding my physical needs, only my spiritual and emotional ones. Interesting, isn't it?)
Here's an example of a change we made. Technically, we don't eat pork. I don't buy it, and I don't choose to order it. But if my son's breakfast sandwich has a piece of bacon on it, I don't make him throw it away. And if we are guests in a friend's home who makes a delicious pork stew, we all give thanks for it and dig in (love you, Erin :). And if my husband thinks the pork stew is the greatest meal ever, because I love him more than I love a guideline, I cook it for Father's Day. That way, God is still on His throne in my heart because I believe He'd place relationship, love, and friendship above a guideline. In Matthew chapter 23, Jesus comes down hard on the religious leaders for focusing so much on rules and regulations that they missed the basic matters of the heart. That chapter contains some of the harshest language we ever see Jesus use in the Bible.
I read these two books about five years ago, and since then, I've maintained our adaptations, but stopped continuing to think about food.
Well, I'm thinking about it now. A lot. This time, I'm ruminating on my family's over dependence on protein, specifically animal protein. I'm not going to buy into a whole new program (mainly because my interpretation of Scripture includes allowance for meat in our diets, and perhaps because I have an undying love for cheese). But the fact is that my family could eat more veggies. We could try new grains. I'm saying a proactive "yes" just to those two simple statements right now, because I could become more educated and practiced at preparing these foods.
Yesterday I bought a bag of pearled barley. I have zero idea what to do with it, but I like a good creative challenge. Also in my cart was our second carton of almond milk. What a shocker, it's actually really good. So I'm experimenting, and trying really hard to expand my horizons in the area of healthier food, for myself and my family.
If you have any ideas for me, I'm open, but go easy on me.
That special place in my heart for a Sonic Cherry Limeade is not getting taken over by quinoa anytime soon.