Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Did I Mention We Are Tweaking our Diet?

Exhibit A
It went over about how you'd expect.

We're changing some things about the way we eat this year.  Here's a hunch I've had for quite some time:  The Creator of this universe went to an awful lot of trouble to provide us with a rich and diverse landscape filled with highly complex forms of nourishment.  A lot has changed in our world since He first grew the first garden, but I still believe that what has been created is good.  Deep down I believe that food has the power to prevent most diseases, halt disease, and in a lot of cases even cure disease.

Thanks to the Industrial Revolution, financial greed, and corruption in our government, it seems we're awfully confused as a nation about what food is and what it isn't.  As a family we've notice this confusion when we stand in our own pantry and read the odd ingredients in the products on our shelf.

What are we eating?  We have no idea.

I recently read that our generation is the first generation predicted to not outlive our parents.  By the time my children are grown, doctors and scientists are predicting that one out of every THREE people will have diabetes.  Right now cancer is expected to claim the lives of 1 out of every 4 people. "Due to population growth and aging, the number of new cancer patients is expected to double" by the year 2050 (our children's lifetime.)

I've spent the Christmas break watching documentaries, reading books, and listening to podcasts from prestigious universities in our country.  The science behind the complex benefits offered from a diet that is either entirely plant based or mostly plant based (quality meat eaten in moderation) is astounding and yet so simple.

We believe that a good and loving God created this earth.  We believe that science is simply confirming this truth.  We believe in a just Creator who has infused our earth with complex, complete nutrition.  As a general rule (obviously there are exceptions) we believe most diseases are preventable (and perhaps even curable) with the proper nutrition and stewardship of our bodies.  Certainly most of the more common diseases that are claiming the lives of a vast number of people in our country are avoidable.  We believe that having a high view of God and a low view of man means acknowledging that what God has created is good.  When man gets involved (especially when money and financial gain enter the picture) what is good has a tendency to become distorted.  We believe that this earth is a gift.  We believe that farmers are valuable and their contribution to the cultivation of our food supply are important.  We believe that all life should be treated with dignity and respect.  We believe farmers and their families have worth.  We believe the laborers in the fields are worthy of their wages and their well-being matters.  We believe that even the animals we consume should be treated with care. We're not vegetarians or vegan, but we believe there is a difference between raising animals in an environment where they are allowed to live out their days in comfort and treating animals in a way that suggests they are a lifeless commodity instead of a gift.  We believe that eating as close to the earth as possible is one way to honor the one who created this dear planet.  Three times a day (and several snacks a day) we are given the opportunity to put our faith in a loving, wise Creator or put our faith in man-made shadows of real food or worse - chemicals and contaminates.  We believe there's no separating our eating habits from our faith (or lack of it). Ultimately we believe we may be missing out on a lot of good and provision by not taking advantage of food's full potential.

We believe each of those ideas and yet our diets have not always lined up with our ideals.  We're eager to continue reconciling our belief system with the tangible practice of nourishing our bodies.  We're also kind of nervous.  We've eaten fake food for so long, real food kind of freaks us out.

If you follow this blog or follow me on Pinterest you'll notice that our diet is changing.  If you are on a similar journey, I'm excited to honestly share with you what's working and what isn't as we try to retrain ourselves and our children about what food is and what it isn't.  If you're already "into" nutrition, here's the best, simplest way I can describe our current eating habits.

High in plant based foods.  Lots of fruits and vegetables, beans, and lentils.  Minimal processed sugar.  Animal-based foods in moderation.  When we are eating meat, we're eating fresh salmon, fresh tuna, and quality meats (grassfed).  We're attempting to completely remove breads and processed flour from our diet (gluten-free), but we're not afraid of brown rice in this house, quinoa (sometimes) or the occasional non-GMO corn tortillas.  Dairy is still welcome in our diet but in moderation as well.  We're exploring foods, recipes, and spices from other countries where people are living longer and healthier lives.

The most thrilling aspect so far from changing our diet?  Learning to appreciate food and what a miracle it is.  Realizing the love and care that went into creating these foods and tangibly feeling that truth each time we sit down to eat.  The most frustrating part of adjusting our diet?  We're learning that changing our diet is really about changing our heart.

We're on a journey to make every bite count - a slow, challenging journey filled with children who are threatening to run away from home and moments of discovery that surprise us with joy.


Margie said...

Loved reading this post. You have discovered a truth that is often overlooked in this busy world and you have proclaimed it so eloquently. I am a fourth generation vegetarian from both my dad's and mom's side since I come from a strong Adventist background and a large part of the Adventist faith is exactly what you have written. A few years ago, National Geographic wrote up an article on aging and mentioned Adventism in it as a group that has routinely outlived others - mainly because of our strong belief in a healthy, plant based diet, abstinence from harmful substances, exercise, and a weekly Sabbath rest from the rigors of life. If you have questions, would like recipes, or need encouragement with getting your kids on board, I'd be happy to assist. My email is: margieseely@yahoodotcom

Hendrick Family said...

Wow, Margie! I will definitely be in contact. Grateful for your words...


The Lourceys said...

Just curious, do you have info on beans? We eat mostly paleo (right now, all paleo) and they obviously don't do beans. We've been watching documentaries and reading more info lately and I do want to do less meat, especially because we don't always have access to good, local, grass-fed meat.

Hendrick Family said...

I know. The beans. I have just started adding them in because they weren't allowed on paleo. I would eat them in moderation in certain soups or stews my kids love, but not as a normal part of our diet.

To be honest - I'm not sure I ever fully bought the "no beans" bit from the paleo stuff. Lentils especially have so much fiber in them, and for preventing certain cancers, for example - fiber is key.

Since we're reducing the amount of meat we eat, I've added in beans and lentils. I'm digging them, especially during these winter months.

If someone has better research and science about why beans/legumes are not allowed on paleo diet, I'm interested in reading it. I haven't found anything that was truly convincing that was also heavy on science.

I have found a lot of information about how beans/legumes/lentils are high in fiber and help to reduce cholesterol.

So - for now - since they don't bother my digestive system - we've been eating them (mostly lentils).


Catherine T. said...

My husband is vegan, so beans and lentils make up a large percentage of our diet. The most basic & significant tip I have is to cook your beans from scratch. It makes them taste silky and yummy and so much better than canned. It’s made a huge difference to my cooking.

(And lest you find me too virtuous with all my vegan cooking, you should know my kids ate at McDonald’s tonight.)

You win some, you lose some.

Good luck!

Allisunny S. said...

I have definitely found that making whole foods a priority has changed the way I feel every day: I am so grateful to see more and more people (hearts included) embracing an awareness about what we consume.

You may find food is just the beginning of a great shift - I cannot wait to read more!


kristen [rage against the minivan] said...

We are making some similar changes so I'm excited to read along, especially in regards to getting buy-in from the kids.

Kodi said...

I NEED to know how you're doing this- especially with kids. I honestly think my three year old will go on a complete hunger strike. Also, what about situations like spending the night with a friend or family dinners?

Jessica Stock said...

Looking forward to following along and learning. Thanks!

Sandy said...

Love this post! Btw, what IS that bowl up there at the top?

mandi said...

I think the enemy has done a fantastic job at deceiving Christians that what we eat is not important. But if we allow ourselves to think for one minute that God doesn't care about what we eat, then what else does He not care about? I wrote about this back in 2009 over here
The reminder for me is that every thing is spiritual.
Best wishes to you! The best book I've ever read on the matter (that doesn't follow this diet trend or that) is Eat Real Food by Nina Planck. I recommend that to everyone who asks me how to get eating on track. I should be getting a percentage of royalties by this point ; ).

bbirkenfeld said...

This is still pretty much the norm where we live now... although there are a few Burger King joints here & there and I think the food trend here is moving more towards that of America. But for now, I am thoroughly enjoying the healthy, home-grown foods that are still the mass consumption here, and even though it can be a lack of convenience- I am thankful that they don't sell all of the processed crap found in Kroger. So I guess you could say we have been happily forced into this, and I'm loving it! And we've had many conversations with S about how we eat food for health and sustenance- not every meal will be our favorite. We tell her to consider it a gift when she loves it and it tastes delicious, and all the other meals to look at it as "medicine" that's making our body's healthy and strong. I'm sure this works better with a 3 year old than a 13 year old. :)

Rebecca said...

i look forward to hearing more about this. clean eating or "God's Diet" as i call it has been on my heart for sometime now...though my follow through has been terrible.

thanks for the food for thought. :)

The Lourceys said...

This is all of the info I have read on beans. I'm sure you've probably read it too.

Do you eat eggs?

Katie said...

I'm excited to read about what works for you and how this is going for your family! I'm really wanting to dive into this with my family as well, but am still in the research/planning stages. Getting there though :)

meagan said...

Where does one FIND non-GMO corn tortillas?? We are trying to make the switch to gluten-free in my household for various reasons, and one of the hardest things has been giving up whole wheat tortillas which we previous ate a LOT of. I've thus far been unsuccessful finding corn tortillas I'm not scared of, though.

Bob & Judy said...

Years ago, I heard Joyce Meyer say that Christians make terrible food choices and then ask God to bless those bad choices and nourish our bodies with them. She was of the opinion that He probably doesn't.

mandi said...

Back for comment #2! This is for Megan up there looking for non-GMO corn tortillas. My favorite are from the Food for Life company. They are non-GMO and sprouted corn. The other option is to make your own! Bob's Red Mill makes a non-GMO corn masa. It's way easier to make your own than you may think!

Jennifer said...

We've been on the same journey for a few years. I've been hesitant to share most of our thoughts since so many people around us are either Nourishing Traditions fans (good stuff, just animal-heavy) or Paleo (which I origianlly found to be a diet of the wealthy since carbs are what most of the planet eats...). I've loved No Meat Athlete for resources, and found an ebook from FIMBY that was cheap and looks good... I have found that many recipes for vegetarian/vegan eating are time-consuming and call for weird things. Thankfully, my kids LOVE beans and rice (black beans in the crockpot and brown rice) and happily eat that every day for lunch with fresh veggies and fruit. I already love you and your blog, but this is exciting (I feel like you are a friend, and I love walking the same paths as friends)!

Lisa Mitchell-Bennett said...

This post inspires me to make healthy changes! Thank you.

kristen said...

What you are doing is great! I'm a registered dietitian. My family and I try to follow a Biblical based diet. Lentils and beans are mentioned in the bible and a great source of nutrition. IMO, you do not need to be gluten free unless there is a medical necessity for it (i.e. celiac disease). Wheat and barley were consumed (unprocessed and unrefined, of course) in the Bible and allowed by God. Just an FYI if you are interested in adding in more healthy grains. Ezekial 4:9 mentions several grains, beans, lentils. I completely agree that we need to return to eating the way God designed for our bodies! Happy eating!

kristen said...

Oh, also, you mentioned dairy is limited in your family. The Bible also mentions milk - from cows and goats - and cheese from cow's milk. I've also read that they ate yogurt back then, though, I have not yet found a Biblical reference for that. So, we do dairy products. Butter is mentioned in the Bible, too, though I try to limit that in our diet. Just an FYI on some of the things I've found in the Bible diet :)

Tove said...

Yes, yes, yes! You have put into words what has been on my heart for a long time. Our God is good, He's a genius, in fact; so why do we think we can do it better? But it's so tough to make that change sometimes. Like you said, it comes down to being a matter of the heart. We recently moved to England from North Carolina and it's been so incredibly refreshing to walk through the grocery store where free-range chicken is the norm rather than the exception to the rule (just to give one example). Our fridge is smaller and we go shopping more frequently but it's because we're eating REAL foods.
I can barely boil a pot of water without burning the house down but I know this is important so I'm willing to give it a go. I love that you're sharing the highs and lows and I'm looking forward to trying some of your recipes!
Feeling a bit convicted, too, as I just wrote a blog post about making homemade pizza. And shame, most of the ingredients were premade. Ch-ch-changes... time to make some!