Nourishing Beginnings: Part 1

I was talking with Craig yesterday about food and it got me thinking. The reason I first started doing "undercover hippie" things was because of nutrition. I found blogs because of their nutritional information and recipes but when I was there, I stumbled across lots of other hippie things to try out. So it struck me as odd that I've never really talked about my food philosophy. Maybe I've mentioned things here and there about how we don't do "low fat" or or how I like to soak grains and eat lots of beans, but I've never really summarized it. Perhaps that is because it has been changing so much but I still think I should try and put it down in words as much for my own sake as for anyone else's.

First off, I have to talk about Craig's involvement in all this. Craig is the best. He came into our marriage a better cook than many men but his dinners usually involved some sort of Campbell's soup. Soon I had completely taken over the kitchen and was trying to replace his cheesy casseroles with odd things like quinoa and lentils. Despite his eager willingness to try new things, I try to watch myself from kicking his opinions out. I want to cook things he enjoys eating even if that means compromising what I may want. After all, this is his home too. But between the two of us, we have found a good balance. If it wasn't for him reigning in some of my wilder ideas, who knows where we would be or what fad we would be following. And if wasn't for me, who knows what his average daily sodium intake would be.

I guess if I had to give my food philosophy a name, it would be following the real food movement with some nourishing traditions ideas thrown in there.

I wish I could explain better what I mean by real, but I can't. Some people would define it as sustainable, local, and organic food, or say it is traditional food prepared in a traditional way like your grandmother would make. Others would define it by what it is not - it's not industrialized and processed food. But what I like about the concept of real food is that it doesn't need a fancy definition. If I take something and really think about it, I can normally decide fairly easily if I think it is a real food or not. Fruit, vegetables, milk, eggs, and meat are real food. But stop and think of Cheerios or Clif Bars - as much as I can theorize about whether they are healthy or not, they aren't real food. So I try and buy real food, or real ingredients, that I can use to make other real things.

My belief is that God knew what he was doing when he made both our bodies and food. He didn't have to make us depending on food for nutrition, and He didn't have to give us taste buds. He gave us food as a gift. He made food to be enjoyed. It seems like so much of what we hear about food is about trying to avoid the "bad" parts of food - the calories or the fat. And I don't just mean women's magazines or diet aid commercials. The American Heart Association says a healthy adult can safely have up to one egg a day. That makes it sound like eggs are something to be feared when in reality, they are an amazingly nutritious, and cheap, source of protein. (Here is where I might say something more about the AHA but I routinely spend their money so I won't.)

I try to avoid that "food is bad" mentality. I tend to think more about how I can get enough off all the nutrients, all the proteins and fiber and vitamins and minerals my body needs, in the amount of food I can eat. At that point it becomes obvious that I have to eat nutrient-dense food to do that. I can't get what I need if I fill myself up with empty food like white flours, sugars, and processed food. That wouldn't be being a good steward. I'll stick with the stuff God made, it works pretty well at nourishing my body.

But on the other side of that, I can't let healthy eating become an idol either. Whole grains, no matter how much you soak them, will not make me a better Christian. And I can't get so engrossed in nutrition that I begin to spend my time fretting over every little thing I come into contact with. That is where Craig comes in again. He encourages me to do the best I can with the resources I have, and to let the other stuff go. And I know I can trust his judgment so if he says stop worrying, I usually can. That about wraps up my food philosophy, later I'll talk more about what that actually means in our day to day life.

1 comment :

  1. I like the way you think!

    And I don't think there are any good substitutes for real butter, cream and sugar. But that doesn't mean you guzzle those things down; do it like the French; use the best quality ingredients and enjoy them sparingly.