Wholesome Food

Lime salmon, kiwi wine, sauteed sugar snap peas, and carrot fries
Lime salmon, kiwi wine, sauteed sugar snap peas, and carrot fries

 

If you know me, you know something very important about me: I love to cook.

I dream all the time about food. I love searching for recipes, and I love scouring through cookbooks. It is no coincidence that my top pinned board on Pinterest is about food. I would eat for days on end if I could, but my waistline would never forgive me. I have fat genes.

I am a healthy eater. I believe in eating wholesome food because that’s what our body craves and that’s what our body needs. I don’t do fast food, and I don’t do restaurants unless it’s for a social event. I am not a snob in life, but I am a food snob. If you read some of the things about food that I have and seen some of the documentaries on food that I’ve watched then maybe you would be a food snob too.

Several years ago, I was having several minor health issues. Nothing life threatening. Nothing that I couldn’t live with, but ailments that I didn’t want to live with. I went to a holistic doctor, and they explained to me that all of my problems revolved around my diet. What I was consuming was affecting everything about my life. I was suffering from chronic fatigue, depression, sinus infections, and severe acne. I couldn’t wrap my brain around how all of these things could be related to food, but the doctors assured me that it all was. They gave me a list of things I needed to eat, and a list of things I shouldn’t touch. I decided to give it a try because I figured it couldn’t hurt. I could give up my five cups of coffee a day, my bags of salt and vinegar potato chips, my Chick-fil-A waffle fries, my cheeseburgers, my white bread, my chocolate chip cookies, and my coffee ice cream. I mean how hard could that be?

It was a nightmare. I had severe cravings to the point that I thought I was going to go insane. I suffered from caffeine withdrawal, from sugar withdrawal, from carb withdrawal. And what was I supposed to eat in their places? Vegetables.

Ok you’ve got to understand something about me. I did not eat vegetables as a kid. Ever. Period. I never, ever touched any of them until maybe I was 16. My mom did try. I promise. She cooked vegetables, but all I would eat as a kid was McDonald happy meals and oreos because that’s all I wanted. I have no judgement toward her. Have you ever seen a mom with two young kids? There comes a point when you can’t fight with them any more about eating their broccoli. I was never a fat kid. I never struggled with obesity. I never over ate. I just didn’t eat healthy foods when I did eat. The older I got, the better I ate. In other words, I would eat a Caesar salad which is just lettuce caked in cheese, croutons, and fatty dressing, or I would eat chicken breasts “baked” potato fries. By my early twenties though, this had caught up with me. The doctor told me that if I wanted to feel better, I had to change my diet, and the diet needed to be focused on vegetables, lean meats, whole grains, and fruit.  I was at a loss.

At this point in my life, I already loved to cook, but I was cooking cream-ladened clam chowder soup, fatty beef bourguignon, cheese and calorie-ladened lasagna, and every chocolate and butter rich dessert I could get my hands on. Again, I was never fat, so this isn’t a weight loss message, but I was super unhealthy because I wasn’t taking in anything that was remotely good for me. I was just consuming sugar, fat, sugar, fat, protein from the red meat, and some calcium from all the cheese I ate.

My struggle was to start cooking healthy foods. Foods that would enrich my life and enrich my health. Foods that would give me energy and not send me into a spiral of fatigue and depression. So I started. Slowly. Plugging away at the vegetables.

I found that I actually enjoyed broccoli, so that was an easy one to eat up. I found that I really liked sun-dried tomatoes, and I really enjoyed peppers, squash, and zucchini. But come on, none of these compare to fresh out-of-the-deep-fryer french fries! Right? Wrong.

The more I begrudgingly incorporated healthy food into my diet, the better I felt, the more energized I was, and the healthier my body became. Instead of surviving in a cloud, I actually started feeling great. I felt alive during the day instead of surviving from one cup of coffee to the next. And believe it or not I started actually LOVING healthy food.

I stopped craving french fries, cheeseburgers, pizza, and ice cream. Instead I started craving roasted broccoli, grilled chicken, and salads. Every once in a while, I would get the urge for one of the “bad” foods, and I would allow myself to indulge, but what I found was that I didn’t really enjoy it like I used to. And I particularly didn’t like the way I felt after I ate them. I didn’t feel as awake, and I didn’t feel as light. It came to the point that I rarely even wanted to indulge in things that weren’t all natural, organic, or fresh. I didn’t want sugar-ladened cakes anymore. I didn’t want greasy food. I wanted all-natural food. That’s where I am today, and that’s where I pray I’ll stay.

God gave us food to be our energy source, and it’s up to us how we prepare and consume it. God gave us food for our enjoyment, and yet many of us abuse it. Think about this, when God created us, He could have made it so that we didn’t need food to fuel our bodies, instead we could just fuel up on sleep, but instead He entrusted us with this task, this ability.

Where did God place the first man and woman? In a garden where He placed every green plant for food.

This is what I believe:

As Christians, we are meant to honor the Lord in all of our actions. All of actions. Including how we eat. Now, I’m not saying it’s a sin to eat a cheeseburger, nor is it a sin to eat a massive piece of chocolate cake, but I do believe we should eat in way that is healthy to the body. Indulging in sugar-ladened, fat-ladened, and sodium-ladened food is unhealthy. One of the fruits of the Spirit is self-control. Meaning we practice self-control in what we eat. God made the body to work as a whole. What we choose to fuel it with, affects how the body works. Several times in scripture, our bodies are referred to as a temple of God. If we are then God’s temple, then should we not treat our bodies respectfully so?

Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple. – 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 (ESV)

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. – 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (ESV)

I believe in moderation. Your body needs a little bit of everything. Too much food or too little food results in problems. We are meant to search for balance in our diet.  I’ve discovered this with my own health. Now over two years after completely overhauling my diet, I feel healthier and am healthier than I’ve ever been. Majority of my diet consists of organic vegetables, organic chicken, wild-caught fish, nuts, and whole grains (I’m failing with the fruit part, but one day, my taste buds will be redeemed). Yes, I do still eat desserts occasionally. Yes, I still have a cheeseburger maybe once a month, but it’s all about balance and moderation with the healthier choices overhauling the unhealthy choices.

On this blog, I am going to start sharing how I prepare our food. Many of you have already been asking me for recipes, so I’m going to start posting them on here. Most of them will be toward the healthier side. I’m thankful to God that my husband is just as determined to eat and live healthy as I am. Unlike many men, he believes in an all-natural, organic approach to eating. The only thing we differ on is the amount of meat (chicken, turkey, beef, fish, etc.) to consume in a week. If it wasn’t for him, I would probably eat vegetarian 75% of the time.

Of course, naturally, there will be “unhealthier” foods on here too. I’m not going to try to paint the picture that we eat perfect at every meal. I’m human and I don’t always eat as wholesome as I should. And let’s be honest, ladies, sometimes we women need our chocolate, and sometimes a homemade chocolate truffle is the only answer.

Food is one of my greatest joys in life, so I’m thrilled to start sharing more of my food journey with you. I’m thrilled to share how easy and simple it can be to eat healthy and wholesome. Eating healthy is not rocket science, it just takes a little more thought and a little more effort, but it’s worth every extra minute and every extra penny. It’s not found at a drive through window for $.99.  A healthy lifestyle is vital to living “full” life.

~RL

a southern lady and a wholesome foodie.

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