Monday, February 28, 2011
Sunday, February 27, 2011
This young man makes such a realization. He says God began to expose him to himself. I remember when God began to show me just who Mandy really was. I had always believed I was a "good person". I knew I wasn't perfect, but I definitely didn't understand how completely flawed I was.
I believed I was a person who "made mistakes sometimes". Then God revealed I was a sinner. I was not a sinner because I sinned. I SINNED because I was a sinner. My sins were just a reflection of who I really was inside. My sinful thoughts and deeds came from my flesh. My flesh did not know how not to sin. Even my best came from a sinful place.
It is amazing when God lifts the veil from our eyes and we clearly see ourselves in the mirror. I believe it is that vision that leads us to the feet of Christ. It is then we understand our desperate need of a Savior.
Saturday, February 26, 2011
He Saved Me from I'll Be Honest on Vimeo.
Friday, February 25, 2011
I'm convinced someone has figured out how to speed up time. Really.
Some days slip away so quickly. As I climb into bed I realize I wasted too many hours worrying and griping (usually in my head, not out loud) instead of living a life of passionate worship and thankfulness.
God has given me such a wonderful ministry in my family. He has blessed me with such an amazing family. Yes, I have been blessed far beyond what I deserve even on my best day.
I have birthed four babies. I have snuggled, nursed, and nurtured four little infants. I have been able to watch them grow and learned so much from such little beings. I have often seen glimpses of myself in them. They are but a taste of God's love.
What a privilege! What a gift! What a blessing!
Thursday, February 24, 2011
Is the Gospel real to you? from I'll Be Honest on Vimeo.
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Months ago, I purchased about 10 v-neck shirts. Half of them are white, and the others are a range of colors. (They are all plain- no graphics. I purchased them from Target's Men's department because I could not find any in the women's department that were 1, long enough and 2, not form fitting.) They are very comfortable, long (so that if I lift up my arms, my stomach does not show), and do not stick to my body. They are loose fitting, but in a way that compliments. The fit is perfect for nursing my baby, as well. (Any woman who has nursed long term can tell you that you begin to cater your wardrobe to breastfeeding your baby. I need clothing that I can easily pull up to nurse my baby without revealing my whole upper body! Therefore most dresses and tight fitting clothing is out. Most nursing shirts are not very comfortable, or have too many layers for our "warm" Texas weather, so I look for loose fitting regular shirts instead.)
I usually wear them with a pair of jean pants or jean skirt. Super simple. No fuss. No stress. Some days I may wear something else from my closet, but I usually stick to this uniform. It helps me not to become obsessed with my clothing and to keep my day moving.
This has really helped me nip the clothes issue in the bud for me, and since I have four children... I really cannot afford to spend too much time trying on different outfits. (You know how girls are- we can try on things that look perfectly fine, yet we feel we look horrible!)
So, a "uniform" of sorts may not work for everyone, but it is the secret to keeping my sanity in the morning (along with a good dose of prayer!), and making sure that my clothing and appearance is not a stumbling block to others. (However, some days, when I'm cleaning, I throw on a tank top and get to scrubbing!)
I admit, I sometimes fail in this (and most definitely, my past choices in clothing have not always been God-honoring), but I'm working on it. I really enjoy nice, trendy clothes, but my simple clothing is much more affordable!
On the subject of modesty, I really enjoyed this article from Robert Jennings.
I, for one, will be glad when the first freeze comes - not just to eliminate the bugs and the pollen, but to see the public put their clothes back on. Admittedly, if I weren't a Christian it wouldn't bother me, I'd go ahead and feed my eyes like others; but now I want to side off with God and condemn this personified pornography in a day when jogging shorts reveal more than pajamas, nakedness is justified as art, products are promoted by sex appeal, and swimming pools have become even more bold as altars of body worship.
Why do people dress scantily in public? First, it is a matter of REBELLION AND LAWLESSNESS – "I'm free". It is an attempt to deny the fallen condition of man.
Originally, man was naked and unashamed, but now sin has entered and the normal thing is to feel shame at nakedness. Also PRIDE is involved– "Look at me." It is a desire to wield the power of beauty. Third, I mention LUST, that is, a spirit of fornication and adultery. I know that most might maintain their innocence on this, but to dress so as to stir up unclean thoughts in others is to assist in immorality. It is no accident that the
prostitute dresses the way she does – she is trying to say something. And so we see cut off tee-shirts, partially unbuttoned shirts, and form-fitting clothes – it all speaks volumes.
Rape has increased 700% in the last 50 years. Can we put all the blame on the men? The devil is a tempter and he does not need help doing his work. Last, behind the scene, UNCLEAN SPIRITS are at work pouring gas on the fires of our lusts. Nakedness is inspired by demonic activity (Lk. 8:27).
No, I'm not advocating that we wear uniforms or return to the 1800's, but I am pointing out that modesty is a Biblical absolute (I Tim. 2:9). The Bible does say that the immoral will not inherit the kingdom of God. And we are in a day when 80% admit to fornication, 50% of the marriages fail, and 25% of the babies are born out of wedlock. Society is collapsing and only a return to God and His standards will stop the corruption. Let's keep our bodies for our spouse. Let's forget the short-lived tan.
The Lord Jesus died for sinners to break the penalty of sin and lives in believers to break the power of sin. God is looking for the inward beauty of humility and holiness (Prov. 31:30) – the product of a new heart created by Christ.
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Monday, February 21, 2011
I'm the sort that underlines, "exclamates", and writes all over my bible. In fact, I bought a bible that has regular "book paper" instead of that thin tissue sort so I could write all over it and it not show through on the other side.
This is one of those passages I want to highlight, circle, and really emphasize. I read them over and over to my children, praying God will lead them to understand the enormous, profound meaning behind the words.
Teaching the Scriptures to my children is a bit frustrating. Am I the only one who feels this way? I have been reading the bible ever since I learned to read... and yet it is only in the last six years that the scales have fallen from my eyes and the Scripture has taken on true meaning- more than just "a good story" and "good advice". I want these Words to have meaning to my children. I want them to see the wretchedness of their sin so they can truly see the glory of Christ. I am frustrated because my own explanations fall so short. Words cannot describe, cannot explain, cannot define how amazing a God we serve.
I have to constantly remind myself- I am to fill them with the Word, as those who filled the vessels with water at the wedding, and Christ will perform the miracle- He will turn it into wine. Only Christ can convert. Only God can bring true understanding.
In one of his posts he explains:
Man needs salvation, not modification, nor motivation, nor consultation, nor redirection. Education without salvation is still damnation. Humanity is wrecked in sin and needs salvaging. Who can save us from a bad heart and a bad record? [...]
Christ, as God’s Lamb, was slain. He died in the place of sinners. His shed blood …
- makes propitiation, saving us from divine indignation
- makes reconciliation, saving us from separation
- makes justification, saving us from condemnation
- makes for regeneration, saving us from degradation.
I find myself evermore amazed by the Love of Christ. I feel like, every year... week... every day, I realize He loves me even more than I previously believed. The closer I draw to my Lord, the more I see of His unwavering love for me. When I see that love, I want to proclaim it. I want to wrap my arms around every soul I see and know and tell them about the Good News of Christ. I want them to know the love of Christ. I want them to know what it is like to live without the misery and the regret and the pain of the Christ-less life. I want them to understand that Christ died for them- for YOU. Stop carrying those heavy chains. Stop lugging around your death sentence. Christ has freed you.
Believers- we have been entrusted with the gospel. It is our duty to spread the name of Jesus Christ! It should be our joy to tell others. (Oh, how I wish this was my heart's daily desire!) As Jennings says,
We are entrusted with the glorious gospel – the very message, the truths that reveal what God is like and what He requires, that reveal how sin can be forgiven, that explain the workings of man’s heart, that hold the keys to mental renewal and demonic deliverance. One time I shared the gospel with an elderly woman. I left solemnly with the realization that her response to my words would determine her eternal destiny in heaven or hell. We have good news (gospel). The evening news is mostly bad news. Ultimately we have the only good news in the whole world. For all other good news is only temporal and fades. The Christian has a message of solid joys and lasting pleasures.
Sunday, February 20, 2011
Saturday, February 19, 2011
When you get a chance, listen to this sermon (John MacArthur):
He encourages Christ's followers to avoid magic and the occult, avoid horoscopes, avoid fortune tellers, and explains why.
As he states: "Jesus is the only mediator between God and man. Demons are the mediator between hell and man."
Monday, February 14, 2011
Once upon a time, the family nourished the land and the land nourished the family. Now people live disconnected lives- not just disconnected from the land, but disconnected from each other.
Chip and I welcome you to follow our blog, The Organic Family. It is our desire to chronicle our journey "back home" and to share important information and tools that will help others be better stewards of the land God has placed in our care.
It's not just about food and dirt. It's about the family, about our beliefs, about simplifying our lives, about glorifying God. The blog is still under construction (fairly basic at this point), but don't let that stop you from giving it a look!
Check out The Organic Family Blog and The Organic Family Facebook page.
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
Saturday, February 5, 2011
I laugh and shrug. What can I say? I mean, I know it's true. I know the more I look into things, the more I see how defiled our food, bodies, and earth has become.
We've eaten up the lie that food is all about calories. Folks, it's hardly about calories. It's about consuming what we were meant and made to consume. It's about treating God's creation with love and care because it is a gift, and one we have been given stewardship over. We don't want to see how big of an impact our choices have on the earth- how chemical pesticides, genetically modified foods, and modern farming practices ruin our soil, the very foundation of life.
We choose not to look at how industrialization has polluted every living thing on earth- from our seas to our newborn babies.
When I was a child, I remember someone telling me, "Well, the world is going to hell in a hand basket anyway. God's going to destroy this earth. It really doesn't matter what people do to it."
That's absolutely absurd. It matters how we care for the things God has placed under our authority. What sort of message does that send to the Almighty Lord when we treat the earth as our dumping grounds, when we defile our plants by over processing and genetically (and chemically) modifying them, when we sicken our animals by feeding them foods that their stomachs were not made to digest (and force them to live under unfavorable, inhumane conditions)?
What does it say about our character when we do not care whether we (or others) poison all of creation, including our very own children?
I've been accused of "worshiping the creation instead of the creator", as if caring about God's creation means I'm worshiping it. On the contrary! I worship God, the One who created all things. Because I love Him, it is my desire to take proper care of those things that He has blessed me with.
I didn't always understand this. I am struggling to live by it. And more and more I realize how man's depravity goes far beyond the spiritual. We have forgotten that God cares about our whole being- everything we do. There should be no part of our life that is "secular", no part of our life that God should not have control over. There is no part of our life that we should hold back from Christ. Every bit of how we live, who we are, and what we do should glorify God, shouldn't it?
Do we not care about the earth our children and our children's children will inhabit once we are dead and gone? Do we not care that our grandchildren and their children will have to deal with the consequences of our poor choices?
Must we wait until the very last second, when it's almost too late, to make a change?
The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof. [Psalm 24:1]
If all of creation speaks of God's glory, then shouldn't we take better care of it?
Links you might enjoy:
Christian for Environmental Stewardship
Creation Care Study Program
I am currently reading this article: Christian Stewardship of the Environment
[Btw, I am not coming at this from any denominational point of view. I do want to make that clear.]
Thursday, February 3, 2011
I have so loved listening to this serious from Paul Washer. In the first part of this video, he is discussing reading with your children, and then he begins the sermon series on Biblical Marriage.
Washer encourages a return to simplicity, a return to the family, in addition to many other things. Very edifying!
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
I always get a little excited when I see Christians interested in natural, wholesome food. I get even more excited when they blog about it.
One of my favorite bloggers and authors, Stacy, has a great little post, Simple Steps to Healthier Living, over at her blog, Your Sacred Calling.
I love this quote she included from the book, Health for Godly Generations.
“Health is synonymous with wholeness, or, the completeness that God created in us; it relates to holiness, because the state of our body and spirit do and should influence one another.”
I come across so many people who believe that God doesn't care about what we do with our bodies. We've been duped into thinking that we can divide out our lives into secular and spiritual. I, too, am struggling to overcome that sort of thinking.
I have so enjoyed reading the testimony and journey of Hope Egan, a Messianic Jewish author, over at Kyria.com.
As a new believer, Hope was encouraged to read the whole Bible and to take it literally. She did, starting with Genesis. She quickly came upon some things that disturbed her new beliefs. "It seemed a lot of Jewish things that were in the Christian Bible weren't in Christianity." She was used to things adding up, and this one didn't. "I was shaken because the Bible didn't reconcile with the way I saw Christians practicing their faith."
For most of us, the connection between God and food is a loose one; maybe we pray before eating or meditate during Communion. But ordinarily, the God we serve has little to do with the food we serve.
That's what confused Hope. Most Christians ignored Old Testament food laws. This became a stumbling block as she tried to grow in her new faith.
"I took in the Christian beliefs about eating pork and shellfish through osmosis. Even when I got in and read the Bible, I continued to ignore the Scriptures because it was easy to go with the flow. People smarter than me were eating these things."
Interestingly enough, I had come across the same things, felt the same way. There are many times when I have looked at the bible and wondered, "Why do Christians ignore these verses? Should I ignore them? Am I misunderstanding God's point here?"
I have a Christian friend who abides by the Old Testament diet. There are times when it is most inconvenient, and I know it might even be a bit embarrassing at times, but she endures for the sake of her family. She knows their health is important. I can't help but have the utmost respect for her as I watch her family bring every thought and deed before Christ. It is not tradition to them, even though she was raised on this diet and is now carrying it on in her own family. It is respect for the bodies God has given them stewardship over. I know she has spent much time in prayer, asking God if they should tweak or reform their diets. I know it is not something she takes lightly. On the other hand, she doesn't condemn others if they don't eat similarly.
Later, however, a chronic illness forced Hope to revisit the food issue. The only cure was a strict diet that eliminated common foods and ingredients such as sugar and wheat. She could no longer eat out; she learned to cook healthy and tasty meals from scratch.
"It was a huge blessing," she says. "My body healed, I lost a few pounds, and I began feeling better."
But a big question remained: How should she eat for the rest of her life?
Again, Hope turned to the Bible to see what God had to say. She sought the counsel of Christian doctors, scholars, and others who had done similar research. She was surprised to find an entire Christian subculture that followed biblical food laws, believing that the Hebrew Scriptures are still relevant. This gave her the confidence to study the food-related scriptures herself.
Do I really believe the Bible holds all the answers? Do I truly believe it holds the key to holy living? Why do Christians ignore the Old Testament? Why do we believe that "freedom in Christ" means our bodies are our own, and we can do whatever we want with them?
While it is true that we can "do all things", it is also true that "all things are not profitable".
"Everything is permissible"--but not everything is beneficial. "Everything is permissible"--but not everything is constructive. I Corinthians 10:23 (NIV)
The New Living Translation words this well, "You say, 'I am allowed to do anything'--but not everything is good for you. You say, 'I am allowed to do anything'--but not everything is beneficial." (Emphasis, mine.)
Surely God has a reason for the Levitical Laws of eating, right? Did He randomly choose clean and unclean, or is there something more behind it? This is where the technology of today catches up with infinite wisdom and insight of our Almighty God.
Seeds of Restoration goes even deeper into the subject, clearly explaining verses that so many believe dismisses God's desire for us to eat clean, healthy foods. Give it a look, I am sure you'll find much "food for thought" there! (Also, read into the comments, as the writer answers many questions there as well!)
Further investigation showed that the classification of clean and unclean animals was part of an intelligent plan. Clean mammals have a "split hoof" and "chew the cud." These animals are herbivores; in other words they eat plants. Herbivores avoid many of the diseases, parasites, and worms that meat-eating animals acquire, so they are a healthier food choice for humans. Herbivores, like the cow, process their food differently than other animals. As the food works its way through their multi-stomach digestive system, the food is purified before toxins are absorbed into the animals' bodies.
Compare the cow to an unclean animal such as a pig (which has a split hoof but doesn't chew the cud); a pig's food goes to the stomach where it is directly absorbed during the digestive process. When you consider that pigs are omnivores—they eat everything: plants, dead animals, small rodents, garbage, and even feces—this is an important difference. Animals like the cow, chicken, or tuna were designed as safe food sources, and God designated these animals as clean. Others, like pigs, catfish, and vultures, were created to be scavengers to clean the environment and were designated as unclean. Hope learned that God's commands regarding clean and unclean animals weren't arbitrary but rather an indication of His love for us. (Emphasis, mine.)
I have so very much enjoyed researching this topic. As I grow in my walk with God, He often brings to light things I have long ignored. So often, I am finding that things I once believed to be "gray area" are actually very black and white. God continues to point out huge chunks of my life I have clung to and been unwilling to turn over to Him.
I do not write or post any of this to stir debate. I am not one who cares for debate, really. Friendly, open, calm informed discussions? Definitely! Polite questions? Why, sure! I am so thankful for friends who have approached me with love to discuss marriage, parenting, children, education, health, fellowship, finances and many other topics and situations with an open bible and a prayerful heart. I have learned so much from friends and fellow bloggers who were willing to go to the Word of God with me and help me gain understanding into things I either completely misunderstood or may have never considered.
If you have some links you think I might enjoy looking into, please share them! It has been so great to hear from those of you who are on a similar journey! (And so many of you have been thinking along the same lines!)
Check out Hope's book here.
I am currently reading through the Natural Christian Directory.
Did you know the average American consumes about 156 pounds of sugar each year? That's 3 pounds of sugar each week. That's an amazing amount, especially when you consider that 200 years ago, three pounds of sugar would have lasted a small family about a year.
We do not have to consume white, refined sugar to be consuming sugar. Sugar includes glucose, fructose (as in fruit sugar), lactose (as in milk), sucrose (as in table sugar), maltose or malts (as in rice malt and honey), jam (contains concentrated juice, which is high in fruit sugar), maple syrup, corn syrup, palm sugar (traditionally used in macrobiotic cooking), and the very deceiving organic brown sugar, which is not all that different from white sugar. Even alcohol is a sugar. All of these sugars are problematic in many different ways.[Excerpt from The Harmful Effects of Sugar and Choosing Healthy Alternatives]
The sugar industry is not in decline and obesity is on the increase. Sugar is a major culprit in the case against obesity. For obese individuals, consuming even a teaspoon of sugar a day would cause metabolic imbalances that contribute to obesity. Sugar is to be avoided, not only by the obese but by healthy individuals.
All in all, we are accustomed to adding sugar to everything from pasta sauces to crackers. We pour sugary marinades on our meats and slather our American favorites into sugary ketchup. We're addicted, and the sugar industry knows it.
The major corn companies want us to feel like high fructose corn syrup is healthy because it comes from corn (nevermind it's GMO corn- a whole 'nother subject!), and we eat it up because we want to believe it.
Fact is, we don't want to change our lifestyle. Just look at all the major fad diets out there. Most of them proclaim you can eat what you want. You don't need to give up a thing! Instead of telling us to change what we eat, we're told to eat less of it. But poison is still poisonous to our bodies even if we consume it in smaller amounts. We can't expect to continue eating sugar-laden, chemically altered foods and have healthy bodies. It simply isn't possible. Chances are, you're feeling the effects of your diet now (maybe you don't realize it), but the real effects won't kick in until much later... and it might be too late to change a thing.
I'm not trying to be a party pooper. Believe me, I love sugar. I love candy. I love cake. I wish buttercream icing was one of the main food groups! While it's great to search out and use natural and healthier sweeteners, we also need to learn to enjoy the natural sweetness of our foods. Cutting back is not something Americans do well. Some of our favorite foods and snacks can be made with less sugar (or a better, natural substitute). Food companies are listening- that's why many products now are now reduced sugar, reduced fat, baked instead of fried, whole grain, organic, etc. Every time we purchase a product, we are voting. So, use your buck wisely and vote for healthier foods in our markets!
Links you might enjoy:
Natural Substitutes for Sugar
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
"Pesticides, herbicides, and other toxic chemicals are present in the food supply (even in the leading brands of baby food). From childhood through the adult years, people have abandoned their basic instincts to eat nutritious food and have succumbed to television commercials that promote fake foods. For example, the Journal of the American Dietetic Association reported on a study of preschool children, in which researchers found that the most commonly eaten foods were fruit drinks, carbonated beverages, 2% milk, and French fries. Vegetables dominated the lists of children's least favorite foods." Avoiding the SAD Diet
I remember when my mom announced she was going to overhaul our eating habits. As a little kid, I was not to happy about it, especially when fruit leather replaced Fruit by the Foot roll-ups. Mom was (is) a smart woman, and she saw we needed to completely change our diets. With allergies and issues popping up, she realized something had to change, and I'm glad she took action. I believe I have her to thank for setting a healthy and nutritious foundation. I am sure I was able to avoid many of the health issues my friends are dealing with now in their 20's and 30's because my mom took control of my health when I was a little girl.
Making the lifestyle change away from the Standard American Diet (appropriately referred to as "SAD") is difficult, especially with little children. Thankfully, children can easily be redirected to healthy foods.. but it takes some effort.
It is important to get your children involved. Americans are very disconnected from our food. Most people have no idea how their food gets from farm to market. I decided to allow the children to see some very eye-opening videos of how most commercialized American meat is treated. Unfortunately, most big meat companies treat their cattle and chickens like meat from the very beginning. They have no regard for the life of the animal- they are only interesting in producing bigger (not better!) and quicker so they can make more money faster.
I can't wait to plant our garden (in a week or two!) so our children can get involved in growing their own food. My daughter, Merikalyn, loved the little container garden we had in Louisiana. Merika and Nolyn loved helping me water the plants, pick the weeds, and watch the progress. Seeing our first eggplant appear was quite thrilling!
Children need to understand the importance of filling their bodies with healthy foods- not just foods that are "kind of healthy", but foods that are whole and completely healthy.
I explained that some foods nourish and build the body while other foods break down and poison the body. We began looking at the foods in our pantry, and they helped me take out things that were not good for our bodies.
Now they often ask, "Is this healthy? Can I eat this?" and we'll stop to explain why it is or isn't good for us. Sometimes this means slightly embarrassing conversations in the middle of a crowded grocery store, but I feel it is important for them to understand why we eat and don't eat certain things.
I want healthy eating to be enjoyable for each member of the family. I want them to find healthy foods they love so eating good doesn't taste so bad!
Here are some of their favorites:
- Organic Greek Yogurt with granola and fresh berries (This makes a great breakfast, snack, or even dessert!)
- Cherry tomatoes (we buy them in bulk)
- Bananas (also buy in bulk)
- Frozen grapes
- Apple slices dipped in yogurt
- Fruit smoothies (like Bolthouse Farms or Odwalla's dairy-free blends)
- Lamb burgers
- Kosher hotdogs with bean chili
- Pirate's Booty
- Homemade bread (especially with jam)
Since it is winter and our favorite sweet fruits are not in season, I try to satisfy the family sweet tooth with yogurt and homemade muffins (sweetened with honey). In the summer, our fridge will be loaded with juicy watermelons, cantaloupes, and strawberries. Frozen grapes are a great cold treat. (Just wash, allow them to sit out and dry for an hour or so, and then throw them in the freezer!)
I also like to make a raw vegan dessert here and there (like raw "cheese"cake or "brawnies"- the kids LOVE these). They are very healthy and very tasty.
Getting the children involved in cooking and baking has most definitely helped them love and understand healthy eating. Together we tweak recipes to make them fit our healthy standards- and sometimes the outcome isn't so great, but, usually, we find we love our healthier version even more than the original!
There are times when I give in and let them have a piece of frosting-loaded chocolate birthday cake, but we try not to wander from our "health code" to often. (I can definitely tell a huge difference in the their attitude and functioning after they've had a soda or a sugary cookie.)
There are foods we've told the kids are "no limits"- they can eat as many carrots, "baby" tomatoes, and grapes as they desire. (In fact, right now, at 10:30am, they are munching away on carrots!) Having healthy, fresh produce available to them is important to me, and I want to make sure.. when they are in a snacking mood, they are "grazing" on food that strengthens and nourishes their body. I know candy bars are exciting, so we opt for Clif bars or Larabars instead. (Both Clif bars and Larabars come in a variety of delicious flavors.)
Our journey for healthy living goes beyond our diet. The children have enjoyed picking out fabric to make cloth napkins. They love finding unique ways to reuse, renew, and recycle. We've used this journey to bond us as a family as we set out to live a more sustainable lifestyle and care for the bodies, the animals, and the earth God placed in our stewardship.
I am thankful I can look back to my childhood and clearly see healthy foundation my mom set for us. I learned so much about healthy choices, healthy birthing, and healthy babies from my mother.. and I hope my children learn the same from us.
As Leah from OMomma writes, "I am on this same journey as well, and feeling like I'm dragging my husband and daughter with me because they don't understand the importance yet."
Let me tell you, this is not my first rodeo. It's hard to get everyone on board- especially husbands. The first time I tried to restructure our eating habits, we owned a barbecue restaurant. My husband would stop in to scarf down a couple chopped beef sandwiches and maybe a small fry before coming home for dinner!
When he finally did agree to get on board (a couple years later), it was with the understanding that I would have to prepare every single meal for him in addition to the usual dinner (an early-morning breakfast and a lunch to go). If I didn't make his breakfast and lunch, he would usually consume something from the McDonald's menu instead. Sometimes I'd find his lunches spoiling in his car because someone had taken him out to eat. It was frustrating- I felt like I had wasted my time and our food ($).
We finally sat down and talked about everything. I knew he wanted to lose weight and feel better, but that wasn't going to happen unless he took action as well. I don't like to micro manage, and so I decided I wasn't going to micro manage what he ate away from the house. If he really wanted to eat better and feel better, he would have to put forth some effort instead of totally relying on me to hand-feed him.
We pretty much went back to our old ways of eating after that discussion (mainly because I gave birth, so we went with whatever was quick and simple), but then, months later, I noticed he was attempting to choose healthier meals and smaller portions. I about fainted when he started craving salads (as he's always regarded them as "rabbit food").
We decided to purchase an exercise video (we picked 30 Day Shred) so we could work out together at home. (We did it for one week, and haven't really done it together since, but I feel it really helped us get a strong start.) We took our measurements, and we keep track of how much we've lost (or gained) and try to encourage each other.
We also decided to explore other foods and flavors and found Greek cuisine fit perfectly with our desire for healthier, fresher foods. We actually eat Greek food most of the time! (I think trying new flavors and foods has really helped us eat healthier. It's enabled us to look at all these other food possibilities instead of sulking over what we're "not allowed" to eat anymore.)
I decided to best way to get us on track was to rid our pantry of everything that wasn't healthy. When I started looking at the ingredients on the packaging, I was appalled by the food we were fueling our bodies with. No wonder we felt so sluggish, achy, and gross!
My husband and I sat down and watched several documentaries on food together, and I feel like that really helped us. I began to realize that my diet is another area I can use to honor God. I had the attitude that what I ate was "my deal", but I realized that what I eat has a domino effect on how I feel, my attitude, whether I get sick or not, etc.
Brandon and I came to the conclusion that we could not eat meat that wasn't properly cared for. (I want to point out here that this is OUR conclusion for OUR family- this is not a "salvation" issue.) We felt like we should no longer meat that has been mistreated, abused, malnourished, and pumped full of hormones, antibiotics, etc. I feel that, in order for me to be healthy, I need to eat foods that are healthy- that means the cow from which my beef comes from should have been cared for, properly fed (with grass, not corn), and properly slaughtered.
While this means spending a bit more for good quality meat, it has been totally worth it. I do not want my children to be fed hormones and antibiotics. I do not want them to grow up struggling with fertility problems and illnesses due to the food they ate as a child. I also want to make sure that my body continues to be strong and healthy enough to carry and birth more children and nurse each and every baby that comes into our family.
We spent a lot of time researching our foods. We spend a lot of time reading the ingredient labels. Grocery shopping can be quite frustrating when you're trying to avoid processed foods.
However, I know the changes we've made in our diets have been more than worth it. The proof comes quickly. Headaches disappearing, body aches dissolving, shedding inches and pounds, and depression lifting. So many people complain about the cost of healthy eating, but in reality, eating all that junk we were previously consuming was costing us a lot more (especially in the long run with medical issues adding up!).
Of course, children don't understand all of this- they just know you've banned Pop Tarts and candy from the house... and they aren't to happy about it! I'll address that in a separate post!
I want to make it clear- you cannot force your spouse to understand and stick to something he isn't really passionate about. I believe we can't really be passionate about healthy eating until we understand exactly how unhealthy choices devastate our bodies. While I am concerned over what my husband eats away from the home, I also know it's his choice. I'm not going to nag him about it. I can, however, make sure that he gets a good dose of proper nutrition at home.
My husband and I have enjoyed bonding over healthier choices. We enjoy cooking together (and we have been putting our grill to work a lot lately!), and we now grocery shop together. We'll be planting a garden in a week or two (once the frost passes). Working together keeps us both on track.