Monday, November 14, 2011

Thoughts on food

Hello, and welcome to a post that I have thought about for a long time. I've even taken pictures for this post and stockpiled them up. Today I read something that finally motivated me to write about


The blog post I read was about the paleo/primal diet. I had never heard of that diet, and from what I can gather, it sticks to strictly fruit and veggies, nuts, eggs, and meat. The big no-no is refined sugar.

I don't think we'll ever eat that reduced of a diet, but we do try to eat in a healthy way. If you remember this post, I came into our marriage with more of a bent to eat well, and Aaron has been a slow convert. It took at least a year, but now his palette appreciates whole grains and fresh foods in a way that he never did before marriage. I am glad that I was able to save him from that food captor of most single American males: ramen noodles.

(Aaron inserts: "I still like ramen noodles.")


I want to share a few things about how we eat, but before that, a disclaimer...

I struggled with the beginnings of an eating disorder in college. During that dark time of my life, I cut out almost all food but fresh fruits and veggies. I also ran five or six miles a day, rarely taking a day off. Now, six years later, I have found much freedom from the bondage of food and exercise, but I also recognize that it is an area I am weak in. The tendency to retreat back into that bondage is still there. So when I talk or think about food, I have to remember that while it a healthy diet is important, it should never ever be an idol or stronghold in my heart.

As my dad once told me, "I'm fifty-five years old, and I've eaten margarine all my life, and God will take me when he wants to." Haha. Daddy, I don't fully agree with your philosophy, but you do provide a good point: we should do the best that we can with eating, and we shouldn't let food become the most important issue of our lives. The big issue is GOD-- living lives that glorify Him and finish faithfully at His feet whenever He calls us home.

On the other side of the pendulum, the way we eat can bring glory to God. I think He is honored when we eat food that He created, food that naturally gives us energy and contains oodles of vitamins.

Here are some things we do:

1) Eat as little processed food as possible. The closer you can stay to the food's original form, the better. As I type this, there is a box of vanilla wafers, a bag of chocolate covered pretzels, and a bag of blue-corn tortilla chips in our pantry. Nope, we don't do this perfectly. But, in general, I don't buy a lot of snacky, processed foods. We'll eat them if I do, so it's better if I don't.

2) Eat a lot of fruit and vegetables. Aldi is a great place to buy cheap produce. I drug out all the produce that I bought today for a picture.

Ready for this? 3 lb. of apples, 2 lb. of grapes, 1 cucumber, 1 bag of spinach, four zucchini, four pears, three avocados, and a bag of celery for $11.49. That's not bad! Their produce prices are consistently much cheaper than our Wal-mart Supercenter.

Grilling some veggies on the George Foreman, Aaron's favorite kitchen appliance

Smoothies are a great way to get four to five servings of fruit/veggies into one meal. We always throw in a cup or two of spinach to our smoothies. You can't taste it and it adds a lot of vitamins. I make up a new combination every time. My basic ratio is 1/3 frozen fruit, 1/3 fresh fruit, 1/3 liquid (juice, milk, or water), and a little kefir or greek yogurt if I have it on hand.

A smoothie in the making

3) Eat whole grains in place of white. We eat brown rice. We eat whole wheat pastas. I make my own bread. Those are things we've done for a long time, so they don't seem abnormal anymore. I buy a lot of my whole grains at an Amish bulk foods store. It's a 20 minute drive, so I go every other month and get whole wheat flour, oat bran, wheat bran, wheat germ, and cracked wheat. The bread recipe I use is super adaptable, and each week, I add any combination of the above ingredients.

4) We don't eat margarine. I had to mention this one for you, Dad! We use butter 'round here, and it is tasty! I don't keep track of how much fat we eat. This is something I've intentionally let go of since my extreme eating days in college. My basic philosophy on fat is as long as it's natural and in moderation, go for it! We eat butter, and I cook with heavy whipping cream.

The butter's always on the ready

5) Eat ethnic. Not only is it exciting to try new recipes from different countries, they are often healthier than typical American fare. Google search coconut milk, quinoa, or couscous, and try a new recipe!

I love the spices that are in ethnic dishes!

There you go. We're definitely not health-food nuts by any stretch, but I think the things we do are good starting points, and they are pretty simple to incorporate into any diet.

A great resource for eating a more natural diet is the book, In Defense of Food, by Michael Pollan. I checked it out from our library last winter, and it definitely changed the way I think about food.

The last thing I will say about food: we believe in celebration. In the Jewish culture, God established times of feasting and celebration. Aaron and I think those times are still important for us today, times to commemorate what God has done and rejoice in the good things we've been given. Do we eat in celebratory fashion everyday? No. But, we'll likely never stop eating cake altogether, because the value of celebration means a lot to us!

1 comment:

  1. Great blog, I love ready about food and the way other people prepare and cook.