Day 471: An Inconvenient Truth

Hate to break it to ya. But this is not a commentary on Al Gore or his favorite topic.

Although most of you are probably relieved… I think it’s had its fair share of opinion-slinging!

But I am gonna talk about something almost equally “crunchy”.

Processed food.

Oh. I hear you. You’re thinking “I can just ignore this post. There have been, what, 8 billion posts about it.”

And there have been, well, maybe not 8 billion, but quite a lot of them. Like I mentioned on Day 466: Hungry, Hungry Hippie, cutting our processed food is just so trendy right now. But with good reasons (if you would like a decent and quick to read list of why to cut it then read here).

Honestly, I don’t know what’s good and bad for me. And anymore, I don’t know who to “trust” about it.

But I do know WHO to TRUST for WISDOM about everything. And that would be God.

And well, my common sense “wisdom” tells me that processed food is too far from the original source to be AS good for me as REAL food.

So, that’s why I’m switching.

Well, that and because they call Velveeta a loaf of cheese.

Seriously?!?! A LOAF?!?!

That’s just… ewww.

But, well, it IS like a loaf. Or maybe even better put… a brick.

So, part of my goal with eating right is to eat things that are as close to the original state God put them in as often as possible. {And just writing that was a good reminder for me!} For example, if I can have an apple or a granola bar… then the apple is closer to the state that God made it, so I should choose to eat that. {And I say “should” because, like I said, this whole paragraph is a good reminder for me!} So, the way I see it is this:

fruits and veggies grown in my backyard = ideal, Garden of Eden type life
fruits and veggies = per dern close to original
homemade granola bars and meals = pretty close, I’ve just mixed them up with all “original” ingredients
processed food = farthest… uses some original ingredients and some stuff that is just entirely man-made

But here’s the deal. Pretty much every option up there except for the processed food is… inconvenient!

Having a garden? SUPER inconvenient… especially when you’re like me and kill plants simply by looking at them!
Eating raw fruits and veggies… you always have to be going to the store to replenish because you can’t stock them up in the pantry. Mildly inconvenient.
Making homemade/from scratch meals… oh my. This involves a lot of cooking which means a lot of time. And a LOT of thinking ahead… you know, like planning. And ya gotta be on the ball with shopping. Yep… inconvenient.
Using processed stuff from the pantry… sooooooooooooo easssssssssssssy. Can you say con.ven.ient.?!?!?!?

So, I’ve got the truth of God’s wisdom, but it is inconvenient (hence, An Inconvenient Truth… eh? eh? I know, I’m so terribly clever!)

But just yesterday I came across a meme with a quote by CS Lewis about Christianity and I think that it kind of sums up what I’m going through…

CS Lewis religion happy bottle of port don't recommend christianity

Cause this is not about being comfortable. This is about glorifying God, a verse that I also came across on Day 469: Inspirational Instagram while going back through my YouVersion bookmarks:

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31

So, even though I might try to make homemade mac and cheese and it turns out to be essentially cheesy gravy (NAS.TAY.), I’m going to try again and again and again (or just abandon the entire idea of mac and cheese completely if necessary) because this is about honoring and glorifying God through my body.

And well, it may be cumbersome and time-consuming, but ya know… I’m pretty sure that Jesus dying on the cross wasn’t exactly “convenient” for him. So, maybe, I can step a little out of my convenience zone here and there for Him.

It’s not like eating natural foods is the same thing as taking a cross up on my shoulders and walking to calgary to die. But, well, I think it is sorta what He means when he says…

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Day 466: Hungry Hungry Hippie

So, lately I’ve been really wanting to pull myself and my family further away from processed foods… I know, I know. That is just so trendy right now. I mean, who doesn’t want to pull their family away from processed foods?

But gosh- soooooo much easier said than done. Especially for someone who is not much of an accomplished cook in the first place, and then double that for someone whose minimal cooking skills revolve around a bunch of “Cream of _______” dishes. Plus, I’m not much of a hippie type… I mean, I like roughing it out in the country, but only if there is a Walmart within driving distance to get the stuff I need. So, this whole “do it all yourself” thing is gonna be a big switch for me.

In an effort to make this endeavor something I don’t burn myself out on too quickly, I have decided to start very small and thought I’d begin with homemade granola bars. I found a recipe on Pinterest that sounded doable and so I modified it a bit and then tried it a few weeks ago. Delish. My processed-addicted 5 year old son loved them. So, I made them again a couple of days ago and bam… nailed it again.

{Look… aren’t they pretty? And this is pre-baked!}

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I packed those beautiful granola bars all nicely in my best piece of tupperware and stored them in the fridge and smiled at myself each time my son requested one and I could far more easily say “Yes, you may have one of these pretty-good-for-you homemade granola bars!”

Until… yesterday.

I got so hungry at lunch time. Weird, right? What a concept. But it was the kind of hunger that caught me a bit off guard; it sorta came out of nowhere. And I didn’t really have a plan for what to eat nor a lot of easy options… so, I ate… a granola bar.

And I sorta sigh and shake my head at myself as I write that.

But… what’s wrong with a granola bar, January?

Nothing.

Unless… you’re doing a Daniel Fast that restricts several of the ingredients in the granola bar.
Unless… you’ve made a covenant with God not to eat sugar for five years and there are m&ms and mini chocolate chips in them.
Unless… you’re not eating A granola bar but MANY granola bars.

Yep, that’s right… I didn’t just eat one granola bar to ward off my hunger. I ate five granola bars to ward off my hunger.

And then at dinner I had the nerve to feel so proud of myself for not eating the BBQ pulled pork I cooked for my visiting brother. And proud again as I just ate enough and felt so satisfied. Well, YEAH, I felt just so satisfied with my little meal… I’d eaten enough oats and peanut butter in those bars to last me a week!

{Sigh.}

This morning, however, I sit here and cross my arms (cause despite it being late April it’s a little chilly) and think… Well, what lesson did I learn from it? A couple, actually.

Reminder One: This is a journey, January. By now you should have learned that this whole process of healing and renewal is not going to happen on your timeframe. Calm down. Learn lessons. Keep your eyes on Jesus.

Reminder Two: Have pre-prepared, easy to make/warm up lunches for days like these. Like, yesterday was a “I need to nuke it” kind of lunch day. Not even my avocado and tomato salad would have been right for me (despite it’s deliciousness) because it took a whopping five minutes of “work” to make it. So, this week, I’m going to prepare five freezer meals for myself along with a list of Daniel Fast-friendly lunches to glance at when my brain is kaput.

Reminder Three: It’s not about WHAT food you’re eating if you eat TOO MUCH. (One of these days that’s actually going to sink in!)

Reminder Four: God’s love never ends. His mercies never stop. They are new EVERY MORNING. (Lamentations 3:22-23) And He will give me wisdom to come out of this. He has healing in his wings that all I have to do is reach out and touch. He knocks down strongholds. He reaches down with his strong arm to save. God. is. good. Even my granola bar gorging can be worked out for His Good Plan.

Yep. I feel better now!

Day Forty-Six: Processed Ponderings

I have been amazed at how quickly being on a hard-core Daniel Fast has shown me that I was a bit more dependent upon processed foods than I realized. Yesterday I was a little shocked at how little I had to eat in the house. None of it was “horrible” for me per se, but there is just a sea of pretzel chips, pastas, rice, breads, cheese, eggs, etc that I kept trying to revert to at my meal and snack times.

Granted, I really need to go to the store to get some more fruit options. I find myself not wanting grapes (which will work out fine because my youngest lovvvvvvves them), but I tend to really enjoy cantaloupe, pineapple, apples, clementines, raisins, peanuts, avocados, and carrots as my “easy-to-eat” options. My favorite “cooked” thing is certainly potatoes! Yummmmmm! And I just ran out of La Madeline’s Tomato Basil soup which is deeeeelish.

I bring up all of those foods to remind myself that even though I might have felt like this was an incredible sacrifice, it’s actually quite yummy. I think I’ll even purposefully do a “Hard-Core Daniel Day” each week for the duration of my covenant just to refocus my mind off of processed “easy” foods.

But also… you know, the point of “Lenting” is to focus my mind entirely on Christ, and my mind often goes to Him fasting in the desert for 40 days.

Let me break that down for ya.

NO. FOOD. FOR. FORTY. DAYS.

I cannot even imagine that. I can’t even remember the last time I went one day without food much less FORTY. And in the hot, dry desert.

And ya know, now that I think about it. I can’t remember why He did that.

Time to read…

Okay, I’m back.

So, the Bible says in Matthew, Mark, and Luke that Jesus was led into the wilderness by the spirit.

And then I read about Elijah and Moses’s 40 Day Fasts as well (thanks to seeing it on a Wikipedia page when I was looking for a scripture reference). Elijah was sorta “forced” into it by the spirit because he was running away from Jezebel and had to walk for 40 days through the desert going to Mount Sinai. But again, he was led by the spirit.

Moses was also sorta “trapped” up on the mountain with God for 40 days while God tapped out the Ten Commandments for the covenant. Annnnnd again, led by the spirit or in his case he was told directly by God himself to stick around!

But here is what I think is cool about each of these… being led by the spirit to fast may come with 40 days of trial, but it always ends up TOTALLY RAD. Check this:

Moses – doesn’t eat for 40 days but he is chillin with God Almighty – COMES DOWN FROM THE MOUNTAIN GLOWING WITH GOD’S GLORY!!!

Elijah – doesn’t eat for 40 days while he has to walk across the desert – AND THEN GOD TALKS TO HIM DIRECTLY AND TELLS HIM JUST WHAT TO DO!!!

Jesus – doesn’t eat for 40 days in the desert – GIVES SATAN THE SMACK DOWN AND HAS ANGELS BRING HIM FOOD!

So, all of that to say, a fast might be difficult, but at the end of 40 days… God’s Power, God’s Voice And Direction, and God’s Strength To Resist Temptation… is there.

That’s about the coolest thing that I have ever had to look forward to!

(If you are confused thinking, “Wait, I thought you were already doing a Daniel Fast?” I’m doing what I call a “flexible Daniel Fast” for the year, but for the Lenten season I will do a regular ol’ Daniel Fast… which I call a “Hard-Core Daniel Fast” because only fruits, veggies, and nuts… that is hard core! You can read a little about the differences here. And you can also read my post where I realized I should do a “Hard-Core Daniel Fast” for Lent.)