Processed free update…..

Questionmark-in-food-bowlYou may not remember one of my older posts but back in April I mentioned that I was only eating what can be picked, slaughtered, or caught.

For more than a month that’s exactly what I’ve tried to do. There were some slip-ups and I did have two or three cheat meals during the last month. Two or three cheat meals isn’t so bad, is it?

I discovered that the slip-ups and cheat meals taught me more than I expected. One night Hank and I had pizza for dinner. The gluten in the pizza left me with a  stomach ache for several days. It hurt so bad that I have absolutely no interest in re-incorporating wheat products back into my diet. And then we had home-cooked beans and rice one night. Uh! Needless to say the stomach ache came with a little bit of rumbling and noise that could not be hidden from Hank. Not only was I hurting, I was embarrassed! Don’t think I’ll return to those old comfort foods either.

I feel best when I eat the best that God has for me! Fruits, veggies, fish, chicken, and lean meats give me the nutrition I need, don’t leave me with a stomach ache, and make me feel good about the decisions I make. What’s not to love about that!

I’ve done this, and so have most of you — I’ve eaten something that I thought I really, really wanted only to feel horrible about it for the next several days. Maybe I feel horrible because I’m thinking about the wasted calories, the way my pants fit, or I’m physically hurting with a stomach ache.

So this is my challenge for you: Before eating anything for the next 24 hours, ask yourself how you’ll feel AFTER you’ve eaten it! And then if you’re willing to feel that way for 24 hours go ahead and eat it!

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I live in the high desert of New Mexico surrounded by the original Americans and their homeland known as the Navajo Nation. History, the railroad, and I40 have brought men and women from Mexico, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.  In fact Gallup has become  such a diverse community that our church has a banner on our building that reads “Strength in Diversity.”

I am a pastor who truly believes that Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life. When others come to accept Jesus as their personal savior they often wonder about  how their cultural beliefs will merge with their newfound faith.   I have taught many men and women that they should respect their culture and the lessons that have been passed down from generation to generation. I encourage others to embrace the  wisdom of their ancestors while honoring scripture.  Yet  there are those times when culture blatantly opposes God’s Word. When asked what to do during one of these situations I usually respond with one simple sentence.  Scripture trumps culture. 

And that’s as true for me as it is for anyone else. I am an American. Let me be more specific. I am a Southern White American. And my culture is known for some of the most delicious food in this country. From fried chicken, fried okra, beans and cornbread,  to shrimp and grits, we have amazing food! Oh! And don’t forget that sweet tea ruins through our veins!

Not only am I a Southern White American who was raised on delicious food that isn’t  good for you,  I’m also a 50 year old woman who grew up with the convenience of McDonalds, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut,  and a bunch of other fast food restaurants serving me food that seemed to taste great but, once again, has proven not to be so good for me.

And I have grown up eating the  Standard American Diet. From childhood into adulthood my grocery buggy looked just like everyone else’s.  It was filled with five pound bags of sugar and flour, sodas, boxes of cereal, chips, frozen pizzas, and so much more…..

You may be wondering where I’m going with this. How does scripture trump culture when it comes to eating?

1 Corinthians 6:12 You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is good for you. And even though “I am allowed to do anything,” I must not become a slave to anything.

19 Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, 20 for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.

I can choose to eat the Standard American Diet and suffer the consequences of my choices.  I can continue to embrace my the diet of my people and deal with the diseases they have tried to pass down to me.  Or I can choose to confront the culture of eating with scripture. Not everything on the grocery shelves is good for me so I choose not to put those items in my cart. For me sweet tea is addictive so that means that I cannot  allow myself to cave in to that addiction.

But ultimately I choose to honor God with my body by feeding it good food that is nutritious and delicious, daily exercise, and a good night’s sleep.

Today I want you think about this question:  Have you allowed the convenience of fast food along with processed foods, the lack of exercise, and burning the candle at both ends to make you a slave to the Standard American Diet, disease, or obesity?


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One of the things that I have found most frustrating is that I can’t eat what everyone else eats. Not only am I a fifty year old menopausal woman, I’ve also dealt with hypothyroidism since I was about 27 years old.  This means I’ve had to deal with weight gains and the difficulty that comes with losing weight, fatigue, depression,  and a host of other minor issues associated with the disease.

In the past I tried to use the disease as an excuse which may have worked for others but I was never able to actually convince myself to give in to it.

Then I spent years (and I do mean years) complaining that I couldn’t eat what everyone else was eating. And by everyone else I really mean Hank. Seriously, Hank would eat a Jethro-sized bowl of ice cream and not gain an ounce but when I carefully measured and ate one cup of that very same ice cream I’d gain weight. And I won’t even go into bread, chips, candy, sweet tea, cookies……..

And then I realized what the problem was for me. I had conformed to the Standard American Diet and was dealing with the results which settled around my waist and hips. I had to return to eating the way God created ME to eat. That’s lots of fresh fruits and veggies along with fish and lean meats.

So often we read Romans 12:2 and only think about the spiritual aspects of conforming to the patterns of this world. But there’s so much more to it than that! We need to apply this verse to every aspect of our lives including our eating habits!

During the next week, I challenge you to look at your eating habits. Are you trying to eat like the world but wanting to look and feel like the beautiful woman God created you to be? Maybe it’s time for a renewal of your mind……

Romans 12:2 Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you].

 

ChangeI recently ran across a sermon series from March 2004 titled “Change.” During that time,  I must have found an acronym for the word change that goes like this:

  • Consistent Choices
  • Heartfelt
  • Action
  • Non-negotiable
  • Genuine
  • Educate/Exposure

Truly if we want to change our lives, we must embrace each and every word from this acronym. We must begin to make consistent choices that reflect our purpose. If the change that we want to make is not heartfelt then it will not last. We must take action! We need to become people who are described with verbs not adverbs or adjectives.
We must make the change in our lives non-negotiable. If we are consistently choosing to exercise then we must make sure that everyone knows that that one hour a day is ours! We need to genuinely believe that the choices we are making will take us in the direction we want to go. And we need to educate ourselves! Maybe we need to read nutrition books, attend exercise classes, or sign up for a cooking class to learn how to prepare nutritious meals.

We often see change as being super hard. Honestly- it’s quite easy in that it begins with a simple decision.

What do you want to change?

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Please take a moment and read this entire article….

5 Pounds: A Deeper Story
5 Pounds
Posted: 05 May 2014 02:15 PM PDT
“Sarah Jane, I need you to take me into town for a few hours this afternoon,” my grandmother says, standing in front of the ottoman where my feet are propped up. Jane is not my middle name, and she knows this, but that does nothing to change that it’s what she’s called me for 23 years.

That afternoon I help her into my car, shutting the heavy door behind her while she wrestles to buckle her seat belt with trembling hands. When we make it to the store, she grabs my arm for balance, a little more unsteady on her feet then she was this time last year. I’m a fast walker by nature, and must work extra hard to slow my steps to match hers. We’re browsing racks of clothes in the only department store in town, looking for a new outfit for some function or another in her busy social calendar.

“What about this?” I inquire, holding up a short sleeve blouse with delicate pearl buttons, a shade of coral I know she loves.

“Old broads can’t wear short sleeves, Sarah Jane,” she explains to me. “Our arms are too saggy. And I can’t wear a shirt like that until I lose these last five pounds.”

I put the blouse back on the rack.

My Grandpa loves to talk about when he and Grandma lived at the “old house”, the little red house he built to raise their family in so many years ago. He especially loves to tell stories of her doing cartwheels in the front yard.

“Round and round and round and round she’d go,” he says, making circles in the air with his pointer finger, a glimmer in his eye.

Age has not taken an ounce of his love for her.

I think about this on days like today, where she talks about the last few pounds she wants to lose. I think of her young, strong body doing cartwheel after cartwheel while her babies looked on and laughed in delight. I think of her carrying those babies into the world, all five of them, getting so big with the twins that the only thing that fit her were a pair of Grandpa’s Levi’s with the seams let out.

I think of how scarlet fever almost took her as a child, and the damage it did to her heart. I think of the surgeries she had as a young woman to give her a new valve, and how to this day, if you sit close enough to her, you can hear the plastic ticking with every heartbeat.

I think of how the doctor told her she wouldn’t survive carrying my Mama to term, but she did.

I think about how her body has carried her through the great depression, a world war, and 65 years of marriage. I think of how strong and beautiful and battle scarred her frame is, but how, at the age of 84, when she looks in the mirror, the first thing she sees is five extra pounds.

That night I called my sister.

“Kate, promise me something.”

“Uh, ok,” she replied. “Promise you what?”

“Promise me that when we’re old, we won’t be worried about losing weight.”

“What?”

“When we’re old, promise me that we won’t still be talking about how nice it would be if we lost a few pounds. Promise me that we’ll be drinking wine and laughing and telling ourselves we’re beautiful and brave and strong and promise me we’ll wear whatever the hell we want.”

“Ok…” she said, a little confused.

“And I don’t want to spend the next 60 years worrying about it either. Promise me we won’t let those voices into our heads. It’s not worth it. We’ve got too much life to live.”

“Ok,” she agreed, sensing the urgency in my voice. “I promise.”

While getting ready for bed, I take a few moments to look at myself in the mirror. I think of the good spoken at creation, the mysterious dignity brought by the incarnation, and the future hope of resurrection. I examine my 5’ 4” frame, and marvel at how it’s this flesh and bone that carries us through the telling of all of our stories.

There is too much wonder to be had for worries of five extra pounds.

 

l_0e230a00-746c-11e1-b72b-6b60f9c00001Wowie has this painted on our gym wall.  In case you can’t read it – I’ll type it out for you.

You Earn Your Body. I want to get healthy. I want to look better. I will eat right. I will exercise. I will earn my body.

There are days, like today, I when I go into the gym and think I’m just going to do the bare minimum. But the bare minimum will not give me the strength, endurance, and flexibility that I want. And if I spend an hour in the gym doing the bare minimum then all I’ve done is cheated myself and wasted an hour that I could have spent with Hank.

If I do the bare minimum then I’ll always have the bare minimum.  And  I don’t want the bare minimum in any area of my life. I don’t want to barely know God. I don’t want to be barely loved, barely wanted, or barely healthy. I don’t want my granddaughter to barely know who I am. And I don’t want to be barely fit. Because barely is not good enough for me.

I want the abundance that Jesus promised me. I want to be abundantly known by God, abundantly loved by my family, and very fit. I want to be strong enough for any task that comes my way. I want to be able to endure all things. And I want the absolute best for my spirit, soul, and body.

I want it all and to have it all I can’t do the bare minimum.

What about you?