I am currently writing this with no voice. I mean that...NO VOICE. Nada...I can barely whisper. It's been an interesting past few days to say the least, and past few weeks for me as well. There has been so much going on for me, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. It's been a lot to process, but I am loving the many things God has been teaching and showing me through this journey here on earth! This past weekend, I got very very sick. I basically came down with a fever on Valentine's day (so so sad!) and was in bed with a cold/flu for most of the weekend. Then, when I finally started feeling better yesterday, a horrid cough came over me and my voice decided to go on a little vacation and leave me behind. So here I am, voiceless, hacking a lung, and kind of frustrated that I can't talk. I'm hoping that some tea, rest, and silence will get this out of my system! I haven't been able to work out since Friday which is KIND OF irritating me, but I know I have to stick it out and rest up for this sickness to leave and hopefully never come back.
A number of weeks ago, I wrote a post entitled "Labeling Life," which is a very honest look at how our brains deal with the "diet labels" we put on ourselves. Ever since writing that post, I feel like God has been doing SUCH a work in my heart in regards to what I eat and why I eat the way that I do. I have felt such freedom in choosing foods that are healthy and work for me, even if they don't fit into a particular "diet philosophy" or mold. I've also come to realize that I can agree with a certain diet mentality, but not have to follow it 100% of the time. As one of my very close friends Michelle over at www.littlekarim.com says at the end of each of her posts, "what works for me, works for me." I think this is SO true!
Let me back up a bit. There are SO many diet books out there, right? I mean just go to any bookstore (or Amazon) and you will be overwhelmed at the amount of nutrition literature there is available to the general public. Which can tend to be confusing! There are books ranging from vegan, paleo, vegetarian, low-carb, high fat, and so on, and each of them have great attributes. However, following any one of those diets religiously, for the sake of following a set of rules, is not the healthiest thing to do for your body or mind. Your body needs a variety of foods, and so does your brain for that matter. Food is here to fuel us, but also to bring us enjoyment. When we over restrict foods, our brains tend to want those foods so much more.
When I first started my journey with gluten-free and paleo eating, I was seeking a diet philosophy that I could get sold on, 100%. I wanted a clear cut set of rules that could guide me and dictate my food choices. I wanted justification for why I ate the way that I ate. However, throughout this whole journey, which has been almost 2 years now, I've realized that diet is not about following rules, labels, or philosophies. It is about finding what works for you. Which is why I have decided to not follow any one diet mentality, making this a "Labeling Life part 2" type of post I guess! :)
As a dietitian, people think that I have it all together in regards to my food ideas and philosophies. However, I am here to tell you that I do NOT have it together. In fact, it's even harder for us dietitians sometimes! We have all this knowledge bouncing around in our heads: contradictory research, objective and subjective findings, and personal experience that all get confused in our brains. It is hard not to be conscious of the foods you are eating when you know so much about them. It is almost as if you "know too much," which can be overwhelming! I've realized that life has to be SO much more than just minimalistic views on food. Fruit is not just sugar. Grains are not just fiber. Protein is not just fat. Food is beautiful and made up of so many intricate components. There are good sides and bad sides to each food group. There are healthy proteins, and not so healthy proteins, healthy grains, not so healthy grains, healthy fats, and not so healthy fats, etc etc. We can choose the healthy foods we want to eat instead of restricting almost every food group while trying to have the "purest" and "cleanest" diet ever. This is just not possible...and life is about so much more! One verse that God keeps bringing to my mind is Romans 14:17, which states:
"For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit."
I want to be healthy for the Lord. I want to glorify Him and honor the body He has given me. I want to be healthy so I can be effective to do the SO MUCH MORE that God has in store for me! I want to eat nutritious foods, but I want to be filled with righteousness, peace, and joy in the LORD, not in the rules that I follow. Being healthy should never be the end result, because our bodies are so temporary. We should strive to be healthy to glorify God, to learn the art of self-discipline in this very overindulgent world we live in, and be well equipped, energetic, and healthy to bear much fruit for the Lord.
I am so excited for this freedom in health that God has been showing me, and I know I still have so much to learn. We should make healthy choices to glorify God, not to follow some set of rules or ideology that start taking a life of their own, turning into over-restriction! I hope this post resonates with some of you out there, and I hope that my honesty and openness helps you reflect on why you have your health goals and where your priorities are in regards to why you want to be healthy! Having goals and making plans and health-conscious food choices are important, but let us never lose sight of what matters in life and WHY we want to be healthy!