Back when I first started dieting in an attempt to lose weight, I ate all kinds of bars and shakes and cereals, thinking I was being “healthy”. As my knowledge of food and food science has grown over the last several years, I’ve come to be a bit horrified by what I used to put in my body. I’ve come to learn that most of those “healthy” foods are nothing but a bunch of over processed junk foods that are better put in the trash than in my body.
I’ve started looking at food through a new lens – what happens in my body when I eat this food? Is it providing nourishment? Food that strengthens my body and provides it with the building blocks it needs to carry out all the amazing tasks God has designed it to do, or is it putting a strain on my body, draining it of life, and depleting it of an already low supply of nutrients?
For most of us, the latter is true. We’re eating “low-fat”, “low-carb”, “low-sodium”, “low-calorie”, processed foods that have little to no true nutritional value. They’ve been processed and stripped of the majority of the life giving nutrients in them in order to extend their shelf life and reshape them into “fun” and “convenient” shapes, colors, and sizes.
Are we surviving? Mostly. Or not. If you’re like me, it seems like more and more people around me are struggling with cancer, disease, fatigue, auto-immune disorders, etc.
Plus, I don’t want to just survive, I want to thrive! I want my children to thrive! I want my family to be filled with energy, vitality, and mental clarity so that we are fully equipped to serve the Lord in whatever He asks of us.
The more I learn about food and food science, the more I’ve come to understand that the majority of health issues can be traced back to our Standard American Diet (SAD), a diet built on convenient, packaged food that can be thrown in the microwave and ready in 3-5 minutes. The hopeful side of that, though, is that so, so many of these health issues can also be healed by switching to a nutrient dense diet! I read almost everyday about people who struggled with chronic disease for years, taking all kinds of medications, the doctors giving them no hope, who found their symptoms eased, relieved, and reversed by drastically changing their diet. Such a simple thing, but so powerful!
In trying to explain this to my kids, I use the example of building blocks. We have several varieties of building blocks in our house full of boys. Two of the main ones are Legos and Mega Bloks.
The Legos are built with insane precision and fit so perfectly together that I think you could build an apartment building out of them and it would last 100 years no problem. If you’ve ever worked with Legos, you know you can have full confidence that your creation isn’t going to come apart unless you purposely take it apart.
This is how I want their little bodies (and mine and yours) to be built – with foods that provide their bodies with nutrients that are built so well that their bodies can use them to build a body that will last them 100 years and not fall apart.
The Mega Bloks brand, on the other hand, is not built with nearly the precision that the Legos are. They look similar, they have the same mechanism that locks them together, but often the pieces just don’t quite snap together. My oldest son has quite a few Mega Bloks sets that he used to build some pretty amazing ships based on the Halo video game. He spent A LOT of time putting them together. But you know what? While they look pretty cool on the outside, they can’t be played with or hardly moved because they start falling apart if you touch them. It’s frustrating.
This is how the majority of us are living. We’re building our bodies with foods that look good on the outside, some even looking similar to nutrient dense foods, but on the inside our bodies are struggling to do their job, to build our various parts and pieces and keep them together, because we’re providing them with sub-standard parts. Eventually, though, things start falling apart and issues like fatigue, weight gain, hormone problems, cancer, and disease start happening. It’s frustrating.
So, what are we going to do about it?! The upcoming weeks are going to be what I’m calling the “Friend or Foe” series. We’re going start looking at specific foods and various food groups, deciding if they’re a “Friend” or a “Foe”. I’m going to break them down into categories – Awful (Nutrient-less and/or nutrient draining), Compromise, Good, and Nourishing, to help you make the best choices possible as you buy food for your family. We’re going to start reading labels, learn about various ingredients, and what happens in our bodies when we consume them. We’re going to learn how to provide food for our families that nourishes them, how to unlock more nutrients in our food, and how to do all this while maintaining our sanity. (I ain’t gonna lie – the sanity part can be tricky!) Are you ready?!
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