My grandma was famous for her angel food cakes. Also her coconut cream pies. And her chocolate chip cookies. She wasn’t allowed to show up to community or church potlucks without one of her signature desserts. You want to see the preacher get mad? Let Grandma come to a potluck without the angel food cake. She may as well have worn a pantsuit. Scandalous.
(Hey. There’s nothing wrong with wearing a pantsuit to church. Yeah, tell that to Grandma.)
Food during the time I was growing up was just…food. Sure, much of it was made with white flour and Crisco. Maybe my favorite song was the Oscar Mayer B-O-L-O-G-N-A song. Kool-aid was most certainly a regular part of our meals. But food wasn’t a thing like it is now. Now everywhere we turn we can find a person with severe, even life threatening, food allergies.
I am so mad and sad about this.
Food is such a great big issue now. I believe that through the past few decades we’ve destroyed what were once stable sources for food, added too many pesticides, tried too much genetic modification, gotten too used to opening boxes at dinnertime, and bought into lies that margarine and vegetable shortening are better than real butter and real lard. We were told to make bread the biggest part of our food pyramid and urged to drink skim instead of whole. Making money became more important than nourishment, so we began creating ingredients in factories (high fructose corn syrup, anyone?) as a way to cut costs.
Not only that, antibiotics have been given out like candy. Many of us have mercury fillings. The list goes on.
And now? Our guts are a great big mess.
Most of our digestive systems are so wacky, we can’t begin to digest food the way we were designed to, and it’s causing major problems for many of us. Maybe the problem for you and your family isn’t showing up in food allergies. Maybe instead it looks like ADD or other learning struggles. Maybe it looks like eczema. Maybe it looks like arthritis. Maybe it’s migraines. Maybe it’s depression. Maybe your hormones are out of whack. Maybe it’s an autoimmune disease.
Maybe so many things.
Now, before I get too mad and sad and verbal about it, I should resign myself to recognizing that yep, we live in a fallen world. Nothing will be perfect this side of heaven and that’s the truth.
But maybe I’m just sad that we can’t all go to a potluck and eat whatever yummy things we want off the potluck table.
I’ve been feeling all these feelings for years, but going grain free this summer really pushed me over to the sad and mad side of the mess we’ve made of our food. That’s the first I really had to experience depriving myself of some of the basics of life – like bread – and it suddenly made me want my grandma’s angel food cake. (This only makes sense if you can eat neither bread nor cake.)
Never before have I wanted to go back to when food was just food and we all ate and enjoyed and didn’t have to look up recipes on Pinterest that would tell us how to make a muffin without eggs, wheat, milk, bowl, spoon, air, or muffin tin.
So what do we do?
Well, being sad and mad sure hasn’t been helpful. Neither has feeling sorry for myself for not getting to eat a hot biscuit dripping with butter.
Is there anything we can even do? Does it even matter? Is this just life this side of heaven?
Hope for Wellness and Healing
I actually think there are some things we can do to help ourselves heal. I not only think so, I’ve experienced it. Healing can happen! No, it isn’t a fast fix. How can it be when it took us several decades to get here? But there really is hope for healing. After all, we don’t want to simply feel well. We want to be well.
1. Stop feeling guilty.
There are so many things I would like to go back and do differently in how I took care of myself during my younger years. I can’t tell you the emotional strife I’ve felt over my inability to take away my kids’ ailments, particularly when our youngest was suffering from chronic eczema for 7 very long years. During that time, I felt horrendous guilt over the fact that surely his sickness was my fault because of how I’d eaten poorly and taken antibiotics when I’d been pregnant with him. (Those alone are not the reason he had a chronic condition, by the way, but it sure was easy to blame myself while I watched my child suffer.)
I still sometimes feel the guilt when I see my oldest deal with environmental allergies. I feel it when I watch any of my kids struggle with lack of focus. When any of their weak spots rear their ugly heads. The guilt. It can overpower.
You guys, guilt helps nothing and only makes us sicker (more sick, whatever). Lay down any guilt you might feel over your imperfections, let God be God, and choose peace. I believe that’s one of the first steps toward both physical and emotional healing.
2. Stop being mad and sad.
Like guilt, anger and sadness over what can’t be changed helps nothing. Sure, we feel what we feel and we certainly don’t want to stuff our feelings. But taking a nice long soak in a bath of sadness certainly doesn’t find us in a place of being cleansed and whole. Choose to move forward with a positive attitude. Do all of this with prayer.
3. Drink water.
Prayer, water – they are practically on the same level of amazingness.
Just kidding, but not. Every time I’m struggling physically or emotionally my tangible go-to is to drink water. It’s amazing the help it offers, and I believe it’s because our bodies need water so much for good health. So…are ya struggling? Drink some sips of water – all day long. Breathe a prayer for healing while you drink. This simple practice can make a huge difference in our overall health.
4. Eat well.
If we don’t put nourishing foods in our bodies we can not even begin to help ourselves find healing. Don’t eat just to satisfy your hunger. Eat food that will offer your body something to work with – food filled with the nutrients you need so you can thrive. (Bologna doesn’t fit the nourishing criteria. Sorry, Oscar.)
5. Seek answers for overall healing.
I think steps 1-4 come first, because we need to focus on positive emotional health, hydrate ourselves, and give our bodies nourishment. But there’s so much more, beyond the surface, that we absolutely can do to achieve better health.
I’ve been learning so much during the past four years as I’ve been visiting my natural doctor and letting her help me detox my entire body, and as I’ve been researching all I can about wellness. Some of this detox journey hasn’t been fun. I’ve shared with you that I feel crummy sometimes as my body pulls out and flushes heavy metals and bad bacteria.
But do you know what I think? I think these temporary months of discomfort are a small price to pay (along with the kinda steep, albeit reasonable, monetary price) compared to the other more severe or life threatening health issues I might have faced down the road. I shouldn’t be amazed (seeing as God has created everything we need for wellness), but I truly am floored at the healing I’ve encountered through these years. My gut health is much, much better now. My lungs, my nervous system – everything has been showing huge strides of improvement.
So back to my feelings about food…
Well, the truth is that food is just more complicated than it used to be. This is where we are now. Thankfully, we know more than we used to about the dangers of Crisco and sugar. We know to make real food a priority instead. But beyond that, if we really want to be healthy and help our families to be healthy, we’re going to have to make some changes and get to work.
I’ve been living this for the past few years and truly, the work is worth it. I just heard this truth while listening to the Healing Your Gut summit and I love it: “We’re not trying to tell people to refrain from eating good foods. We’re trying to help people heal so that they can eat good food.”
Yes, yes, and so much yes!
We can all find healing and become healthy again so that we can all just eat. Food won’t have to be a thing. Food can just be…food.
Not that we should over-indulge in Grandma’s bread or angel food cake. This is a given.