What do you think about your health? Does healthy living feel like a duty?
Over the past couple of months I've worked through the series 13 of my most influential decisions of the last 13 years and it's time to jump into the health discussion. When I think of healthy, my friend Lane immediately comes to mind. She lives an easily reproducible life and I've loved learning from her about this and other issues in life. Because of an autoimmune issue that manifested itself primarily in her eyes and in labor/delivery, she began a process that led her to simple changes and eventually to healing. So instead of tackling #10 - Eating, on my own, I decided to include some wisdom from Lane Winters as I trace back through how our family changed our minds about food. But first, I'll tell you where I stood on the spectrum of health and then connect the dots to her influence in my life.
I honestly thought my family ate as healthy as we could. We didn't go out all the time. McDonald's wasn't in my vocabulary and I tried to shop for mostly fresh, rather than frozen or canned produce. We ate together around the table and meals were mostly balanced with vegetables, grains, protein and fat and I didn't allow a ton of sugar in the home.
So how could I get more healthy than that? And... why would I want to?
Good Moms Do/Don't
Well, I used to think "good mothers" don't let their kids do x,y,z. So I implemented the lists of do's and don'ts and felt pretty good about it. The list looked good on paper so we implemented it at home.
But I learned that healthy eating wasn't about being good. It's an opportunity for me to seize. Health is a treasure I've found; it's not a duty I must fulfill. Learning how to treat my body well and give us all the best chance to avoid sickness has given me freedom, not a list of rules.
During my fourth pregnancy, I developed scary symptoms which kept me from gaining weight, even at 24 weeks. In fact, I was losing weight.
When I cut out the top two allergens, as Lane suggested, I felt healthy within 24 hours. Adding milk back into my diet didn't change anything (thank the LORD!) but when bread was reintroduced I was sick for 2 days. Those two days I wasn't a very "good" mom. We're talking movies almost all day.
I didn't need a test to tell me what I needed to do.
Right then I decided to dig into how to help my body work toward health instead of filling it with foods that worked against its natural ways.
Lane explained to me how to add simple, cheap, tasty, easy to make foods into my diet that fit into my new eating plan. She encouraged and empowered me. She called out the healthy me, the one hiding behind the guilt of not doing "good enough."
She also challenged me. For the first time I had to consider what the kinds of foods I'd been feeding my family cost in terms of health instead of dollars. In time, my husband and I decided to spend more money on food and less on sickness.
Influential Moms and Loving Wives I let go of intense control of the food budget. Now, I was ready for Lane to teach me to let go of control over my husband's diet.
For years I'd been getting onto him for sneaking treats, spending all his blow money on fast food. I wanted to support his health goals by controlling him. Bad move. Aiming to be a godly woman, I have no business to control him. I'm called to help him. Lane says, "we can have great influence for our children's and grandchildren's good. We don't have to be militant health-food crusaders to teach our children the values of nutrition and physical activity...As far as a spouse's health, we are partners in each other's health, and not responsible for it. "Ultimately our spouses have to choose healthy choices for themselves, but we can shape what we put on the table and what we have in the cupboards in a gentle, loving way."
We have a mindset that's contagious! We have influence, but influence is not the same as control.
A huge testimony: Recently my husband has given me the space to speak into his food choices. He's humbled himself and given me his ear. His courage has encouraged me to think twice about my own choices, and to take seriously what I offer him. Be Smarter Than Your Food
Sometimes I feel like a slave to my food. But Lane reminded me to teach my children "how to honor their bodies as the temple of God is an important area." Ultimately we want to teach ourselves and our kids "to see right through temptations [of] the enemy." I had to learn to outsmart my desire for food. Her advice on how to get started with eating healthy is:
One Item to Lose Change the oil - Throw out your vegetable oils and replace them with healthy fats: olive, coconut and avocado oils.
One Item to Add
Pastured Butter is a great replacement for oils.
3 Foods Lane Wishes You'd Try: 1. Bone Broth - "it makes everything taste gourmet."
2. Brussel Sprouts - "People tell me they don't like brussel sprouts, but I think they just haven't had them prepared well. Cut in half, roast with a bit of olive oil and sea salt. That's all they need!"
3. Hot Water - "I started drinking this when we were in China, and now I'm hooked! It tastes so good with a meal, or right after; its so satisfying."
For More Advice/Ideas: Nourishing Traditions
Over a six month period, we had several paradigm shifts. We tried new foods, tested out unfamiliar methods and laughed more. After 3 years my body healed itself! Now we enjoy our food instead of being enslaved by the lists of do's and don'ts. I choose because I want to, and I allow others around me to choose without judgement.
Lane helped us realize the difference between "healthy" and healthy.
What's your health journey been like so far? Which food are you willing to try from her list this month?