Wednesday, September 3, 2008

My Nutritional Journey so Far

This is really quite long and possibly more information then anyone cares to read about me. But, I find it hard to 'give a defense' for what I believe without explaining how I came to believe it.

So, for better or worse, here is my story.

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I was born and raised in a Christian home. We went to church faithfully every time the doors were opened (and I loved it-truly). I went to a Christian school. I said and did the right things (until I was 13, then I turned into a brat-but that's a whole other story and too embarrassing to post) and I knew God really was who He said He was. But... I still had to prove it to myself.

In His graciousness to me, He sent me to NJ to an amazing church with a very Godly pastor. He also introduced me to my husband and his family. I was in a 'safe' environment where I could question and search and find my answers-but on my own terms. And I did. It took me awhile. I'd say I started 'searching' when I was 18 and while the search goes on to some extent. I finally knew I was comfortable and sure of my faith when I was about 25. I have continued to grow since and hopefully will do so until I die. But, I needed to find the 'foundational truth' in my own way before I could start growing in it.

God graciously and lovingly showed me how I was utterly helpless, sinful and selfish. He showed me how Satan had deceived the world regarding spiritual and eternal things. And He got me into the Word.

Like I said, I had always been a ‘good’ girl, and pride was huge with me. Most things I did, including keeping my weight in check, was done out of pride. I wanted everyone to think I had it all together. Over time, and esp with the birth of my firstborn, I came to lose much of that pride, and at the same time, lost any self-control I ever had. My motivation was gone and I was helpless. Or so it felt. But, I have found that when we are at our worst, when there seems to be no hope, that is when God is finally able to really get a hold of us and to change our hearts from stone to flesh (Ezekiel 36:26). But then it’s no longer about us, but about Him. Which is incredibly freeing. Albeit incredibly painful!
Rather then reading Scripture, or serving in a ministry, or loving a spouse or child unconditionally because it was expected of me, I found myself doing those things out of love for my amazing God!

I began to rethink my motivation for most things. And it has actually affected the way I parent (still have to decided if that’s good or bad), eat, study Scripture, help a friend, teach Sunday School. And, it’s changed the way I look at the world. For example: my husband smokes, he has since I married him (I swore to myself I would never marry a man from a big city or one who smokes-he’s from the Bronx and smokes-go figure!). He has tried to quit, oh, about 10 times a year, and failed. I used to get so frustrated and I was sure if he would just ‘pull up his boot straps’, he could do it. I was convinced he was too lazy. However, I have come to see it as something he simply can not do on his own. It’s a spiritual battle and I truly believe that when the Lord provides the right motivation-he will be able to stop. Nagging from a well meaning (?) wife is not the answer.

FYI-I’m not laying down spiritual truth here, just writing what I believe God has lead me to see in my own life and reality. It takes the pressure off of us sinful human beings to do everything right. But it puts major pressure on us to be in the Word daily and in prayer, and staying sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading. That is the only way true change can take place.

My motivation had to go from pleasing people to pleasing God. And that meant getting to know Him personally. Reading John MacArthur is really good, but it’s not an acceptable replacement for studying Scripture. Listening to Pastor Minema on a Sunday morning is definitely good spiritual sense-but it’s not a substitute for allowing the Holy Spirit to take Scripture and apply it to our lives personally.

I fail, I fail often. I go months without being in Scripture-and it shows in every area of my life-which is the way it ought to be. But, I no longer kick myself for not doing some daily devotional. I truly yearn to get back into fellowship with my God and Creator. That is what I want my motivation to be for doing my study. Not guilt or shame or pride. A simple, passionate love for God. Of course, that is in a perfect world. But, it’s something to strive for while on this earth.

All of that to say…I had to do my own research and study and thinking and believing. I could not just believe what everyone else around me said. I had to prove it for myself. It had to be REAL. I had to find the foundation that I could then build upon the rest of my life. God used my spiritual journey to sharpen my skills and passion and then worked on other areas of my life

Recently, He turned me toward nutrition. That happened early last year. I had always tried to follow what I was told was healthy-but it started getting more ridiculous and complicated and I stopped believing what everyone else said. I was fed up with all of the conflicting 'nutrition science' and I wanted to know the truth. Every time a study would come out, it would contradict another one. So, again, I prayed for God to clear my mind and to show me from the ground up, what was the truth in nutrition. First I saw all the discrepancies and what a mess I was (a quart of ice cream or a bag of chips in a sitting without blinking, incredible food cravings, inability to function without sugar, moods and energy swings, out of control weight gain, and my kids' diets were beyond atrocious and I had no idea how to change them or what to change them to). And then I decided rather then try to not eat all these things that I was told were bad, I wanted to figure out what TO eat and what would truly nourish our bodies. Even if I thought it was too late for Drew and I, I wanted it for the kids. I looked into the vegetarian, vegan, raw foods, weight watchers, Atkins, South Beach. I read up on them and prayed that God would help me to pick out the truths and ignore the rest.

And then somehow I realized that industrialization had to be bad for food and I became interested in finding out what non-industrialized cultures ate. And God brought me to the WAPF website, and then to the NT book. Which I just ate up (haa haa). It took me a week to read it and I was constantly in awe and reading parts of it to Drew. And honestly in tears over some of it. Because it made sense. I knew it was what I was looking for. I had read a lot of the various studies and ideas in other places. But this put it all together. I have since read a number of other books that believe in similar nutritional practices. And I've come to understand the whys and hows of it more. I'm trying to make not only our food healthier, but more sustainable and better quality. And to make the preparation and eating of it truly relaxing and a fun part of the day. I am praying for God to entirely change my attitude toward food so that I can then pass that onto my own children. It’s so counter-culture, although a sub-culture is emerging and growing. Slow-Food, Native Nutrition, locavore, green living. It's catching on in the main stream as well.

So, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it! Now if I can just apply what I’m learning…

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