by Mare Ball @ ADVENTURES IN THE BALLPARK
I like to think I honor God in all aspects of my life. I'm pretty clear about how He wants to me live, and I have been for most of my adult life. Lately, however, I've discovered I've made some choices mindlessly - choices I didn't think God cared much about. And I'm paying for them now.
I'm talking about food choices. I never thought much about my diet, only that I probably ate too much. Like every woman on the planet, I've had moments of "that's it, I'm getting rid of this extra weight. I'm joining the gym, blah, blah, blah." And I've lost 10 or 15 pounds. Then I get lazy, and it all comes back.
In December, I had blood work done that showed I have very high blood markers for rheumatoid arthritis (in addition to fibromyalgia, which I was diagnosed with in May.) This was shocking, as I have no swollen or painful joints - just bad blood work. After getting conflicting reports from rheumatologists in my area, I ended up at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, FL. The doc there suggested I start meds right away, because it looks as though RA is coming.
I did tons of research on RA and read a book called The Inflammation Nation, which was completely eye-opening, and changed my thinking on what I've been eating all my life. RA (and fibro) is an inflammatory disease where the immune system is on overdrive. It's constantly on the attack, which eventually destroys joint tissue. Untreated, or uncorrected, people with RA can end up in wheel chairs.
I'm also reading The Daniel Plan by Rick Warren, a book about honoring God and our bodies by getting back on track with food - eating whole foods, real food, and getting the junk and processed food out of our lives. I well up as I read parts of it because I'm realizing how misguided my eating pattens have been. I've not been fueling my body, but poisoning it with things like sugar and too many carbs and "white trash" like white rice, white bread and white potatoes. I've simply been a mindless eater. Not a conscious one.
I'm praying God will change my thinking on this, because RA is caused by inflammation, which is caused by sugar, the wrong kinds of carbs and "white trash." I didn't know. I'd heard some of these things before, but I didn't have any health issues - until now - so I just figured I was doing OK.
My Mayo doctor told me I have three months to change my diet and see if we can get my blood work back to normal. By the grace of God, I don't have any joint issues yet, and I'm hoping I can turn things around before I do.
So, I gave away the boxed, processed items in my pantry. The bulk of my grocery bill is now produce. I have leaves and sprouts popping out of my 'fridge the moment you open its door. I've discovered I like rutabagas, pea shoots, parsnips, bok choy and Japanese sweet potatoes, things I never tried before. I've learned I don't like turnips and will not be buying those again. I try to have some form of kale every day.
In overhauling my diet, I've realized this is a spiritual journey for me. Eating was an area of my life I never asked God about. Rick Warren sums up the problem in one sentence: Dedicate your body to God. Period.
If I do that - daily - I will eat properly. I will feed my body with what it needs to stay strong and healthy. The Daniel Plan reminds me that my body does not belong to me. It was purchased at a price, and God gave it to me to use in the service of others. This never hit me so hard as it has recently. God has given me a wake up call, and I pray I correct my course. My family is supportive, for which I'm so grateful.
I found a great cook book called Clean Start (you can read about that HERE) that I'm working my way through, and I've found many recipes we are enjoying. There are even a couple treats included that are pretty good.
I have not had a life-changing event such as this in many years, and I regret I did not pay attention to my diet 20 years ago. Thankfully, we have a God who gives us second chances.