Sunday, February 7, 2010

Food for Thought

I need to start this post by saying something you probably (or hopefully) already know. Don't believe everything you read. I've said before and I'll say again that I am no expert(and even the ones who are get it wrong sometimes). I have been doing research and reading books on diets and fitness and nutrition for years. As much as Skinny Bitch motivated me change some of my eating habits and the way I think about food, my knowledge it is a culmination of things learned over time. Many things they recommended were things I already knew and did to some extent. I don't smoke or drink coffee (not that an occasional cup of coffee is severely detrimental to your health, but depending on it daily for energy should be a sign in itself that it's not a healthy habit - more about that later I hope). I exercise regularly, or at least try to amidst the business of raising three children 4 and under which is a form of exercise in itself. When cooking at home and sometimes when eating out I try to maintain a balance of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, monounsaturated fats and, until recently, lean meats. Most of this is common knowledge I think, if you ever turn on the news there are segments almost daily about ways you can take better care of your body. And of course the Biggest Looser has brought to light for millions of Americans the problems a sedentary lifestyle and poor eating habits can cause for you health at the most extreme. There are also the recently popular "doctor" shows filling in spaces along side Oprah, Ellen, and Dr. Phil. Dr. Oz and The Doctors seem to be trying to make taking better care of our bodies more accessible to the average American without a MD.
That said, if you're a stay at home mom, a working mom, or just a working woman trying to get in better shape and take better care of your body it can be so overwhelming and time consuming to try to find out what's good for you and what fads won't work in the long term. How can you get back into your skinny jeans or yes, even a bikini, after 3 c-sections? How can you counteract the seeming aging effects of caring for you children and balancing a career or managing a home? Don't get me wrong, there is no perfect diet that will keep you from aging forever, but why not take the best care of yourself in the process and maybe slow it down a little? So rather than bore myself writing blogs so few and far between about the monotonous but never boring day in and day out of raising my 3 children who I adore far more than I could ever expect you to, what if I share with you some of the things I've learned along my battle with weight loss and baby weight and trying to take better care of my body for the sake of teaching my children to do the same? Then maybe I can feel like my brain has more purpose than just memorizing songs and nursery rhymes and who's turn is it to push the button on the elevator or pick out the story, who needs to go to the doctor and which child needs what medicine when. Even if no one ever reads it, it will be a good outlet for my mental energy I think.

One quick thing to consider today, as I read SB I found myself comparing it to prior knowledge about nutrition and weight loss. The diet they recommend for optimal health and maintaining a healthy weight is a vegan diet. For those of you who don't know, this basically means you only consume things that grow out of the earth and not animal products (no meat fish, eggs, or dairy). They eat fruits, vegetables, all kinds of whole grains(bread, pasta, rice, etc) beans, lentils, nuts, and the like. The first thing that came to my mind was not a diet or nutrition book at all, but the book of Daniel. A couple years ago I did Beth Moore's Daniel bible study at my church, it's probably one of my favorites. Near the beginning of the study we spent some time on Daniel 1:5-16. Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine and devised a 10 day experiment with the official in charge and some of his friends to see if eating vegetables and water would be healthier for them than the royal food and wine. Short story shorter, Daniel was right, at the end of only 10 days they looked healthier and better nourished than the others. Beth Moore explained that the word translated vegetables in this passage actually meant anything that grew from the earth. Daniel was a vegan. Please be clear, I AM NOT SAYING THE BIBLE SAYS WE SHOULD ALL BE VEGANS. God provided quail in the dessert for Moses and the Israelites, vegans and vegetarians don't eat quail. All I'm saying is that it worked out well for Daniel, he was "healthy and well nourished", and that's an example I'm more than willing to follow. Just food for thought.
I'll leave you with one last thing before I end this very long post...If you're anything like me it's your attitude about food and eating that decides how healthy or unhealthy(or how skinny or fat) you are. We look at the word diet all wrong, we think we're being deprived or that we "can't" eat the foods we love. Yes, I love food too, eating is, and should be, a pleasurable experience, but that is not it's primary function. Primarily food is fuel for your body to do the things you need it to do to make it through the day, fight off illnesses, grow, and heal. I think the most powerful thing I learned from reading SB is this basic truth that seems so obvious I can't believe I didn't figure it out on my own. You are (most likely) an adult and, most importantly, created with free will. You CAN eat or drink whatever you want. Nobody is telling you you can never again eat a greasy slice of cheesy pizza, or some rich delicious chocolate dessert. You can also choose not to. Think about what you're eating before you put it in your mouth and weather you really want it or if grabbing a piece of chocolate out of the candy dish at work is something you do out of habit or because you really want to sit down and enjoy a good piece of chocolate.

1 comment:

  1. I just started the Daniel Bible study two weeks ago and we just learned about that verse. Such a great study!