Remember when I said I wasn’t going to do anything crazy, like going paleo, because I didn’t have any real reason to? That I wasn’t going to second-guess myself? Well, um, I just finished a Whole30 last night which was a strict paleo diet: no dairy, soy, grains, alcohol, sweetener of any kind, or legumes. I chose to do it for a variety of reasons, and I will say that those mid-day slumps have disappeared. So is this my new state of being? No. Or at least not entirely. Because during this time I’ve thought about food, about its purpose, about my goals with food.
On one hand, I agree with the folks who say that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, so we should treat them well. I get that. So let’s not fill them with Monsanto-GMO-HFCS-processed-beyond-recognition crud. Just like in other areas of my life, I want to be intentional about what I eat. Sounds like I’m all in for the paleo diet, right? But…I don’t think food is just about me, about what it can do for my body. I think food is about sharing it with others, about creating a space where relationships and community form. I don’t want my eating or not eating something to be a stumbling block in those friendships. If people invite me over to their home, I never want them to hesitate about what they serve me; I don’t want that to be their focus. Let’s chat about lives, about what makes us smile, about Egypt or wildfires or things that feel bleak and hard. And we can talk about food and health, too.
What am I hoping for by eating a certain way? To feel better? (I didn’t feel bad before.) To lengthen my life? (As much as I like to pretend I am in control, I know that I am not, that it is God who numbers my days.) To do eating “right”? (The ugly face of shame when I am imperfect rears its head–again.)
Ironically, one of the sermons at church this past month was about hunger. The pastor stated that we are given a God-given hunger and that we aren’t meant to quell it, but to find its satisfaction in Jesus. It got me to thinking about hungering for God. Craving God. Longing for more of Him, for more of His compassion, love, grace, joy, and adventure. And I realized that I have found it easier to be disciplined about food than about spending time with God.
This isn’t an either-or decision, of course. I can totally be a paleo-eating-faithful-Jesus-follower. And I might be (at least when I’m at home). But at the end of the day, I’d rather people remember me as someone obsessed about loving people like God does rather than someone who obsessed about every bit of food in my mouth.
Oh, and lest you think I’ve decided to shun my new eating habits entirely, I’ll pick up 35 pounds of grass-fed and finished beef in six weeks.