Health, like life, is a journey. I grew up eating healthier than the average American, I suppose. We had fresh vegetables from the garden, occasionally we had beef and chicken and eggs we had raised on the farm, and venison hunted on my dads property. Mom canned vegetables from the garden. Green beans, tomato juice for drinking and soup, homade salsas, freezer corn and strawberry jam, and a few other things, but those are the one I have memories of in early childhood. After moving to a third world country when I was eleven, and returning when, I was thirteen, I made my own choices about food. And due to a mild depression, and a little slothfulness, and a whole lot of Doritos, two years later I had put on about 10-15 pounds. I was also taking Tylenol pretty regular for headaches.
At sixteen, we returned to that same country for another year. My weight returned to normal due to walking pretty much every where we went and fewer snacks and a round of salmonella. Those were probably my thinnest, moments, not necessarily my healthiest. After returning to the states, I purposed in my heart not to gain that weight back. I refused to eat chips and sour cream, and that decision alone probably saved me some problems. But I was getting headaches again and I gained weight slowly. I struggled with fatigue, possibly a result of late night habits. (Ya think? Snicker)
My boyfriend’s mom introduced me to vitamins. I did test and got a list of foods not to eat and vitamins to take. I took alot of pills. I felt better when I took the pills, but one only wants to take 20 pills a day for so long. After that fizzled out, I started going to chiropracters (btw I have been to medical doctors, too.) I think I went to four different ones. Now I have two that I see, depending on what I want. They expressed the importance of healthy food. They explained to me how the body reacts to certain foods. There are healing foods, gut healthy foods, super foods, empty foods and harmful foods. There is also alot of false information being used.
At first it is overwhelming. You read something and react. You do away with that item completely and scramble to find other healthy foods, only to find out, well thats not good for you either. And repeat. Soon you are left with empty cupboards, shriveling up by your garden, munching on a celery stick while you wait for the rest of your organically home grown salad to pop up. While I didn’t do that exactly, somtimes thats how it feels. You’re hungry, but scared to eat any thing for fear of all the processing and chemicals used to get a particular food to the product it becomes. The first thing I learned was not to overreact. Its so easy to do, but makes ‘going healthy’ so much more difficult. Start out slow.
Here is more or less how I did it. First on the list- margarine vs butter. If you will care to read about margarine, how it was first made, what it was intended for, you will ask yourself, if its not fit for turkeys, why is it fit for people? Also when you understand the different types of fats and how they affect your body and brain, that helps you find healthy fats and oils. Butter, coconut oil, olive oil are what I use most with the occasional grapeseed oil for cooking at high temperatures, and once in a blue moon, I use peanut oil for deep fat frying things like chicken or platanos. I bake my sweet potato fries and generally don’t eat deep fried foods. Now if you get online you will find negative things about each of these oils mentioned above. Don’t overreact. Don’t read just one personal opinion on the matter. I usually read any where from 3 to 6 articles about the food I’m researching before I form an opinion and do away with it or keep it. I also sometimes choose an ‘organ’ to read up on, more about that later. After all my own studying on fats, the oils and fats mentioned above are what I choose to use in the long run of being healthy. I reallize others are cheaper, but I no longer even look at them or thier prices when I shop.
Then there is bread. I love a good bread. Especially pulled fresh from the oven. Bread is a wonderful thing. It is talked about alot in the Bible. So it must be good for you, right? It even says ‘daily bread’ in the Lord’s prayer, as though it was customary to eat it every day. But today’s bread is no longer in my life. The only time I eat traditional white bread is when we are away from home and I can’t resist, or when we have visitors and serve it for them. The rest of the time I use Ezekial bread from my health food store or kroger. At first I did not like it as it is not really a soft bread. I really enjoy it now and I find that I enjoy the nutty, earthy flavors. Not that you have to do away with all breads to be healthy, thats my personal decision. When my child is older, I will probably make bread using spelt flour, or teff flour, or rye, sprouted or fermented (before you say nasty, that simply means sour dough). But for now, we like our Ezekial bread. I didn’t know until just recently how different today’s wheat is from that in bible times. I remember as a child, looking at the pictures from bible stories and seeing big shocks of wheat as high as a mans head. I still don’t understand all about hybrids and gmo’s and changing things up when it comes to plants, but some how, they got wheat that is supposed to be as high as your head down to 12 inch stalks. That alone seems unscriptural to me, but the main reason I did away with traditional bread is the amount of carbs and also gluten. And what you buy in the store is made with either sugar or high fructose corn syrup. Also, if you eat a lot of bread, don’t expect much weightloss. If you smother it with butter, you may see a new number on the scales soon. Things to study when it comes to wheat and other grains- glycemic index, effect on insulin levels, gluten intolerance, gut health and why sprouted. Also look in Ezekial, how God intructed to make bread. My approved grains for my personal healthy lifestyle are brown rice, quinoa, teff flour, spelt, strouted grains, oats(oatmeal) and a few other ancient grains that I can’t think of right now. Bulgar and barley and rye.
Those were the main changes that took place in the first year of marriage. So in my first year, I only changed my fats and grains. I was still using sugar, although we ate very little pre-prepared foods. Once you start swapping out your healthy foods, the longer you go, the easier it gets. I find for myself, if I do my own research, pros and cons, I can figure out how often I can use it without doing away with it completely. I also develop convictions about why and how I want to use it. I can also tell by reading the ingredient list on the back of a product, what effect it will have on my body. Pork sends me into a gallblader attack, sugar acually makes me dizzy now. Bread makes me feel large and in charge (as in bloated and grouchy). Not enough vegetables makes me constipated and very grouchy. cumin for some reason gives me headaches. I know this cuz once when smelling it while working at a bulk food store, I almost passed out. Postive effects are- my home made sugarfree, coconut oil chocolate makes me happy. It just puts me in a great mood. To me, my chocolate equals sanity. Flax meal makes ‘going’ easier. Cayenne pepper on my food makes me more energetic. Cinnamon with something sweet, reduces my dizziness.These are unique reaction to foods that my body has. This is why I encourage you to do your own research. Through my research, I discovered that cayenne raises your metabolism, cinnamon lowers your blood sugar, mct’s in coconut oil coat your brain cells for better fuction and that just makes your brain happy! Pork was not approved by God to be digestable in the Old Testament, even though we eat it today. After my round with gallbladder pain, and understanding the why, your gallblader has to work harder to digest pork, I sat up and took a closer look at what God says to eat or not to eat in the old testament for my own personal health. I reallized, He wasn’t making rules just to be obnoxious, he made them because he loves us and wants us to experience ultimate health and enjoy life to the max! (Same way with his rules about sin.)
Onto the organ studies… sometimes you have a problem, like I did. I went to the doctor and he told me it was my gall bladder. So there are all kinds of pills you can take for gall bladder issues. That’s when I started studying organs. If something is not right in my body, there is something causing that problem. Too often it is so much easier to take a pill, cover the symptoms, and never deal with the problem. I was encouraged to find out what was causing it, and abstain from using whatever it was that was causing the problem. Cheese and pork were suggested to try first. For two weeks I ate niether pork nor cheese and did not suffer. When I ate sausage for breakfast, within 30 minutes I had my pain back. I stopped using pork and slowed down my cheese intake. This has made a huge difference for me. I could be on a pill to lessen the effects, but with a little care on my part, that is not necessary.
So you see, with google, and so many resources available, you too can take more responsiblity for your own health and not just take a huge food company’s word for it. They want to sell you their ‘food’ as quickly and efficiently as possible. This has come to mean stabilizers, nitrates, food colorings, cheaper ingredients, large crops cared for with chemicals, hormone injected meat, shelf life extenders and many other extraordinary ingredients not found in regular homecooked dishes. You don’t have to take my word for it, but please be aware of what you are putting in your body. It may make you sick, permanantly or temporarily.
I try not to offend others by not eating food they prepare. When I am home, I try not to offend others by cooking with cheap ingredients. I still have so much that I want to learn about healthy food and healthy living. When I put it together with my personal relationship with my Savior, I find joy in learning self control, fleeing temptation, and wholesome attitude and being at peace with God, myself and others. There are so many wonderful dicoveries to be made about eating healthy and living purely. One aspect draws the other to a whole new level. Just as I try to avoid toxic food, I try to avoid toxic influence to my soul, whether it is negativity or immoral books, movies or music.
God bless your day- lisa