So, a few weeks back, I was in the shower thinking about my food addiction issues and trying to decide exactly what I was going to do about it (yes, weird I know) when a thought occurred to me,“What if I just eat the things God created for me to eat?” … Hmmm, novel idea (not really, but it was to me in the moment). I find it fascinating how often broken humanity (myself included) chooses man-made synthetic versions of stuff rather than the real thing. It seems this is true of most everything … our churches, our personal spiritual walk, our life, our love, our relationships, … and yes, of course, our food. But in the beginning, God created … He created food for me to eat. He created it to be good, nourishing, and thoroughly enjoyable. (Genesis 1:11-13; 1:29; 2:8-9; 3:1-20)
We tend to think of diet as something we are either on or off. The word ‘diet’ is simply a word that describes what we eat. We are always on a diet. Our diet may consist of pizza, cookies and ‘diet’ coke today, but it is still our diet. I prefer to use the term ‘eating plan’ which can also have its own level of entrapment, especially if the term becomes defined more as a system of law and rules rather than freedom to plan what I want to eat. But if you think of an eating plan as just being an intentional and conscious decision about what you want to put in your mouth for whatever your personal goals are, it is different.
The reality is that I am either planning what I put into my mouth, or I am not. It is true that I can plan to eat pizza, cookies and diet coke out of freedom if I truly want to. There’s nothing wrong with that as long as it is my plan to do so, and it meets my purpose for that moment, and, most importantly, that it is done out of freedom to eat, rather than a fleshly responsive reaction to some arbitrary law of “Thou shalt not eat pizza, cookies and diet coke.” Admittedly though, most of my eating has been much more unplanned than planned and is more often driven by my physiological and psychological need for a ‘feel good’ quick fix to satisfy my boredom, sadness, stress or whatever other perceived emotional need is present in the moment.
Planning honestly overwhelms me sometimes. I am a ‘fly by the seat of my pants’ kind of gal on a regular day so the idea of planning doesn’t sound very fun or spontaneous to me. For those type A’ers out there, the idea of intentional planning is like a bowl of delicious candy all by itself – you know who you are … you label-making, joyful, organizers. Not so with me, but I think I can loosely plan what I am going to put in my mouth regardless – I don’t have to know in advance exactly every single bite, but I know I’ll do better with my choices if I have some kind of plan in place.
For me, my plan begins with the question, “Did God create this for me to eat?” Now, I can be stuck in the law of “thou shalt” or “thou shalt not” even in proceeding with this particular plan. I can even take this plan so far to a legal extreme that I might find a way to bind it on someone else. But this should not be the case; and, as a matter of fact, to do so would lead me down a very dangerous path toward unleashing the raging, craving, beastly nature of my still broken flesh. On the other hand, just because I have a plan, does not necessarily mean I am giving up my spiritual freedom. I can joyfully and enthusiastically proceed with my plan in the absolute total freedom for which I have been created by my maker. I can even mess up and I don’t have to let that decision become a cycle of guilt, condemnation and my ‘undoing’ in the matter.
There are lots of plans (a/k/a diets) out there that match my new ideal eating plan in various degrees, some of which I have tried in the past. Honestly, if you read any of them, you’ll find lots of arguments why this way is better than that and visa versa. But it is important to know what I want to get out of this new relationship. So, as a SWF (actually, I’m happily married) seeking a new relationship with food, I am looking for a plan that basically works with the premise I feel God has already put on my heart …
What if I just eat the things God created for me to eat?
So now comes the dating phase. How many of you know that dating can be fun; but, it can also be stressful or even disastrous? It depends on what/who you are dating. There are different purposes for dating too. Some date to have a short term relationship or casual companionship. Others date to find a life-long mate. Even when I was young and single, I always looked for the later. If I went out with someone and could tell he wasn’t the One for me, I didn’t waste my time too long before moving on.
Principally, my new relationship must work for me and for my body. Again, all things are lawful, but not all are profitable (1 Corinthians 6:12-13). Therefore, it is good that I first learn what is profitable for me, for my body chemistry, and I need to find something that I can not only date, but eventually something with which I can form a life-long relationship. The relationship I am seeking however, may be very different than yours. That’s perfectly ok. Your body and mine are different and we have different goals for our relationships. The point of my blogging on this subject is not to promote any specific eating plan (a/k/a diet) over another, but to talk about the spiritual aspects of dealing with fleshly cravings and food addiction. With that said, I will openly share what I am doing as far as specific eating plans are concerned.
The day after my “ahh ha” moment in the shower, I ran into a friend who tried to set me up on a blind-date with her newly discovered eating plan called The Whole30 (#whole30). At first, I was skeptical because I didn’t want anything that sounded like an infomercial message fad diet (e.g., “eat X for 30 days and lose 10 lbs.”) I’m not looking for a quickie relationship, I want a life-long partner. But I decided to check it out. I was really excited when I discovered it appears to be exactly what I was looking for and I believe this was no coincidence. Yes, it starts with 30 days; but, the whole premise of the plan is about changing my relationship with food forever and to help me intentionally discover what works best for me and my body over a lifetime. Most importantly, it starts with all the great foods God has created for me to eat – Fruits, Vegetables, Protein, and Healthy Fats. So I’ve decided to date this plan for a while to see if I can form a healthy relationship with its ingredients. I like what I see so far ;).
TODAY – Day 1:
- Step 1 – Shopped for yummy food made by God to fill my empty fridge: vegetables (e.g. kale, spinach, mushrooms, onions, squash, sweet potatoes, red potatoes, carrots, celery, cabbage, broccoli, fresh garlic and herbs for flavor, etc.), yummy fruit (e.g. strawberries, blueberries, pineapple, apples, oranges, pears), delicious protein (steak, ground beef, fish, farm-raised chicken, eggs), and healthy fats (avocado, coconut oil, olive oil, clarified butter, walnuts, almonds & cashews). – No processed dairy, wheat, MSG containing, synthetic man-made trash that can’t compare to anything that God has made for my body.
- Step 2 – I stored my new BFF up front and center in my fridge instead of hiding it in the bins below, so that when I open my fridge I get excited by what God has made for me to eat. It’s so pretty 😉
- Step 3 – Gave Thanks! – I normally thank God for my food as a practice, but this was different. God really did make this food for me to eat; and for that I am most genuinely thankful.
Check out my other posts on this topic at: FREE2EAT.
RESOURCES: For those who are interested in learning more about the Whole30, click here. If you are seeking a new relationship with food too, this might be worth checking out. But The Whole30 and I just started dating, so I can’t fully endorse it just yet. I will say however to anyone, regardless of whether you like this eating plan or not, you might consider getting their first book called It Starts With Food by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig. I am in the process of reading it now and it is an excellent teaching tool on how different foods affect your hormones, craving cycles, and ultimately lead to systemic chaos that I believe has much more to do with our food addiction issues than we do. I highly recommend the book no matter what program you are on.
So who out there is on an ‘eating plan’ right now? We would love to hear your thoughts about it as well as your pros and cons in the comment section below.