The (Wheat) Bread of Life

I've gone and become a weirdo. I'm turning into one of "those people." You know, the ones that you and none of your friends are, and so you all refer to them as "those people." For me, one group of "those people" in my life have been the ones who just go too extreme with the healthy eating thing. You know the ones. The ones who won't feed their kids goldfish crackers or frozen pizza. The ones who talk about all the garbage that's in your food that is going to give you cancer. The ones who rail against Red Dye #4 and partially hydrogenated oil.

Yep, that's me.

Okay, I'm trying not to rail against food with everybody who crosses my path, so don't fear seeing me out in public or anything. But get me with one of my other friends who are seeking to make the same changes I am, and we can talk food for quite a while.

This isn't actually something I like to talk about with most people, because I figure they're just going to label me as one of "those people."(I doubt that will actually happen, seeing as I think my friends are pretty nice people, but I'm a little afraid of it just the same.) Why? Because I know that hearing someone else talk about this type of stuff, in the past, just made me feel guilty or inferior or judgmental or some weird mixture of all those things, so I figure it's just better not to bring it up.

So I'm bringing it up.

As I was putting my items on the Wal-mart conveyor belt the other day (I'm not that far gone...I still shop at Wa-lmart) and mentally preparing myself for the grand total my cashier was about to utter, I realized how different my Wal-mart stash looked now than it would have a couple of years ago.


There wasn't one single cracker or cookie, nor any boxes of Hamburger Helper or Kraft mac n cheese. Instead, I had weird things like spaghetti squash, quinoa, flax seed and coconut oil, as well as dried beans, which used to totally stress me out.


Slowly, things have changed at our house. But I guess the reason I'm here is to try and explain why. I like to think I'm more than a "health nut" or a "granola girl." I don't want to be that person who rains on everyone's processed food parade or thinks everyone has to do what I'm doing. And I definitely don't want to be that person who walks around thinking everyone who claims to love Jesus has to eat raw almonds and broccoli every stinking day.



So here's what happened...


About a year ago, I started coming across blog posts and articles written by people with kids who struggled with things like hyperactivity, ADD, allergies, and food sensitivities. Since I have a kid who happens to fall into some of those categories, my ears perked up and before I knew it, I'd been sucked into the "all the food we eat is fake and is killing us" hole. At first, I felt stressed out, then worried, then guilty, then overwhelmed.

You know the saying "ignorance is bliss"? Yeah, it's true sometimes.

Don't get me wrong. I knew all this information was out there and that a lot of it was true, but I preferred to be the girl with her head in the sand. I figured what I didn't know wouldn't hurt me or my kids, or at least I hoped it wouldn't. I lived by the philosophy that this is just the society in which we live and changing how we eat would be too time consuming and expensive. You all have to die from something, right? Might as well do it a happy woman, with a box of Cheez-Its in my hand.

But I couldn't escape the truth of what I was putting into my kids' bodies. It nagged at me until I finally gave in and started trying to make little changes. Now, a year later, I'm buying quinoa, which I didn't even know how to pronounce for the longest time (it's keen-wah, by the way), and making my own bread, which used to rank right up there with haunted houses on my Scary Meter.

(We haven't actually eaten any quinoa yet. I'll let you know how it goes, because I know you're all enthralled with my weekly menu and whether or not four American kids would actually stoop so low as to put a food that starts with "Q" in their little mouths.)

The funny thing, which shouldn't be all that surprising, is that this has turned into as much of a spiritual journey as a physical one. If you asked me today why I'm trying to change the way we eat as a family, I'd give you a different answer that I would have when I started last January.

What's that? You want to know the answer?

Glad you asked. It all goes back to the Lord, as does everything in this life if we'll take the time to follow the path to its source.

I am a product of Modern America. I live in a culture that is self-seeking and, above all, wants everything fast and easy. We are driven by greed...we are greedy for money and time and the ability to pursue the things we want in life. The whole "pursuit of happiness" thing took a wrong turn somewhere along the line, and we began to think that happiness was found through self-indulgence.

We all remind me a little too much of Esau: He traded the blessings of his father and of God for a bowl of already-made soup on an empty stomach. He went for instant gratification rather than waiting for and valuing what would truly satisfy.

Since this world was formed by a Creator who mirrors spiritual truth in his physical creations, it should come as no surprise that the spiritual problems in our society are evident in physical ways all around us. Divorce rates are through the roof, political partisanship is at its height, children are being gunned down in the middle of math lessons, and the sex trafficking industry is booming. Another side-effect...we put artificial garbage and chemicals and tampered-with food (which also happens to be tasty and quick and easy and great money-makers for the food industry) into our bodies everyday and it's turning those of us who should be the healthiest people in the world into some of the sickest.

The Lord, in his sovereignty and creativity and goodness, made our bodies so incredibly complex, with such intricate needs that we can't even comprehend them all, and then he gave us the things we need to meet those very needs he hard-wired into us. He didn't create us to need nutrients and then give us garbage to try and fill that hole. We're the ones who try to put junk that won't do the job in the place of the perfectly satisfying things that will.

But isn't that what we do? We're sinners, and that means that we try to put anything and everything in the place of God....except God. We try to satisfy our own needs and desires with things that God never intended us to use, and we reap the consequences of that day after day.

"Oh, that my people would listen to me!
    Oh, that Israel would follow me, walking in my paths!

...But I would feed you with the finest wheat.
    I would satisfy you with wild honey from the rock.”

Clearly, I'm not just talking about broccoli and spinach. The problem goes to the very depth of our beings, and the way we view our food is just one tiny physical example of a much more important spiritual truth. The only way to live the abundant life Jesus offers is to fulfill our needs and desires in him and in ways that he planned for us to. For me, he has extended that truth all the way down into my menu for the week. 

If I'm to do everything to the glory of God, why would I think the way I fuel my body and feed my family would not be included in that? I want to put the perfect things in and leave the harmful things out so that I can reflect the spiritual truths I believe in many different aspects of my life and so that we can be able to serve the Lord to the best of our ability, with as few physical limitations as possible.

I find it so fitting that Jesus calls himself the Bread of Life. Our physical and spiritual selves are very closely related and to think that one is unaffected by the other seems a bit na├»ve. We all love to eat processed, fluffy white bread because it just tastes too good to our altered palates.  But, as my friend Christy put it, Jesus didn't say he was the White Bread of Life. First century Jews didn't eat white bread, because it didn't exist. They ate the wholesome bread made from the fresh wheat they grew and labored over, and it fed and nourished their bodies the way Jesus feeds and nourishes our soul.

In this day and age, though, I fear that many of us would rather have the white bread version of Jesus. We want a Savior who tastes good and is easy to chew and slides right down our throats. We want the fluffy version who makes us happy but doesn't really fill the deepest needs of our souls. We want the version we quickly pick up off the grocery store shelf on our way to do more important things, but that's not the Jesus that leads to spiritual life and health. That's a Jesus we've made up to make life easy, but one who really leads to disease and death.

So at our house, we're seeking to live life a little more the way God planned it and a little less like our world wants it (though our attempts are far from perfect), in hopes of not only gaining physical health but some spiritual lessons as well.

I want to be perfectly clear...the only way to salvation is through faith in Jesus Christ, not through eating your fruits and veggies and avoiding high fructose corn syrup. I have had to be very careful in guarding my heart in all this. "Eating clean" and seeking physical health can easily become idolatry, as can many seemingly good things, but I have no desire to replace the One True God in my life with bananas and apples. They may be healthy, but they make very poor gods. And I have no expectation that any other believers must share my views in this.

I'm just seeking to share my heart and part of the journey I'm on. My desire is to honor the One True God, to do everything for His glory, and to know him more. Right now, for me, that means feeding both body and soul with the food my Wise Creator has provided.

26 Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, you want to be with me because I fed you, not because you understood the miraculous signs. 27 But don’t be so concerned about perishable things like food. Spend your energy seeking the eternal life that the Son of Man can give you. For God the Father has given me the seal of his approval.”

32 Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, Moses didn’t give you bread from heaven. My Father did. And now he offers you the true bread from heaven. 33 The true bread of God is the one who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” 34 “Sir,” they said, “give us that bread every day.” 35 Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again." John 6  

Comments

  1. Great changes that you are making to protect your own body as well as your families. I also have a child that falls into the bracket you speak about, and am very interested in these changes. I will be googling more about it as soon as I send this.
    Good luck in the futurex

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  2. Post your weekly menus for us that are overwhelmed or intimidated ;) Thanks for the encouragement!

    ReplyDelete

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