Friday, November 27, 2009

Food Journey Friday... delayed till next week!

Hey all,

I am sorry (especially to Natalie, the amazing Hippie!) for the delay. Food journey Friday will start next Friday, when I will take on TWO missions in one week!!

The reason for the delay is because I've had amazing company this week, and they don't leave until tomorrow. We are trying to enjoy every last moment (including a big early Christmas celebration today), and in so doing, my blog has to wait!

Again, sorry especially to Natalie who is working hard to help me transform my eating habits. I hope you'll stay tuned for Tuesday and Friday of next week!


Monday, November 23, 2009

Welcome to Table Tuesday!

Welcome to our first official Table Tuesday! I'm Natalie, the host of Table Tuesdays and the weekly natural-living, healthy-eating mission giver! From now on I will be known as "The Happy Hippie." You can call me Hippie for short, if you like.

If you missed Sarah's previous post, in which she explains what Table Tuesdays are, catch up here! I'm really honored that Sarah asked me to be a part of this project with her! I shall now pick up where the last post left off! (Drum roll, please!)

Wow, Hippie, you seem a little nuts about this healthy living thing. I'm a little confused about your definition of "healthy living." I get that it's not junk food, but what is it?


If it grows fresh from the earth, if it comes directly from an animal and can nourish you, it is good.

There is so much bounty available to us! And yeah, you guessed it, all of that bounty is a gift to us.

The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. Gen 1:12

I've noticed that so many people turn their noses up at so many vegetables and fruits. There are a number of reasons for this: one is a fear of change from their normal food routine. Another is having tried that food before, but in a bad recipe.

If you pair one or two natural foods a person loves with something they think they hate, they end up loving it. Research that food, and go on a hunt for the most mouth-watering recipe you can find! You may surprise yourself.

Please, I beg of you: unleash your creative side! Don't choose something that's been hydrogenated, freeze-dried and boxed over something God has given you in its purest form!

Now, to address my beloved friend, Sarah and any of our readers who are up for a good challenge: behold, your weekly mission! (Did you read that last part in a booming, echoing, Wizard-of-Oz voice? If not, go back and do it again. Nice effect, huh?)

Dear Agent Homestuff,

Your Mission, if you choose to accept it, is to make one meal this week with all-natural ingredients. Your guidelines are as follows:
1. None of the ingredients may contain high fructose corn syrup.
2. If you must buy an off-the-shelf food product to construct your meal with, read the ingredients list: do not use any products with ingredients that you cannot pronounce, or would not recognize as food that you could cook with yourself. We want to keep chemicals and processed toxins out of our bodies!
3. If a recipe calls for oil or butter, olive oil, or an equal alternative, is preferred over butter. No processed or hydrogenated oils allowed.
4. Find your inspiration for your meal from something that you already have in your kitchen. Budget-friendly meals always start with what you already have. (Thanksgiving leftovers, perhaps? I'm a sly dog, I know).

Extra Bonus: See if you can limit any off-the-shelf "food products" to only those with five ingredients or less.

A word of encouragement: This is slowly how my own home cooking has evolved. I promise to never ask you to do anything I am not willing to do myself!

P.S. It doesn't have to be dinner, it can be any meal you choose!

Friday, November 20, 2009

The beginning of our Food Journey

Today begins a new era in home stuff here blog history. We are going to tackle the issue of healthy eating head on. I don't mean eating a granola bar. I mean a radical change in my eating habits.

You may be thinking that I've lost my mind, gone a little crazy, or started something I can't really finish. But here's the thing: I have come to a place where healthy eating actually matters to me. I've tried to find medical answers for my pain issue (mentioned in Worship Wednesday), but there are none. I left the doctor the other day frustrated and determined to see if the food that I eat might be able to change the pain that I've been experiencing for three years. Three years, people. You can imagine that I'm ready and willing to try anything (even "crazy, health nut eating") if it has a chance of helping my pain.

So allow me to introduce my sweet friend, Natalie Giguere, who will be helping us along this food journey. I invite you to join us as we seek to make small, doable changes which will honor our Lord with the bodies he has given us. Each Tuesday, Natalie will inspire, challenge, and encourage us with different facets of healthy eating. She will also give us a mission each week. We will call that "Table Tuesday." And each Friday, I will respond with my thoughts, challenges, and personal experiences, as well as my success or failure in that week's mission. We will call that "Food Journey Friday."

Let me share with you a few preliminary thoughts from Natalie on the issue of healthy eating:

Why cant "godly" and "green" by synonymous? (from Natalie):

Ok, so that is the question that got me started on a healthier lifestyle. Several years ago, I was wondering why fellow Christians referred to anyone with a passion for the environment and healthy, natural living as a "dirty liberal hippie."

Doesn't it seem that if we truly believe that the earth was created by an all-loving God, we should... well, love it back? Stick with me for a minute. Why is it that those who don't even believe that thoughtfulness and love were put into the earth from the get-go have more respect than we do for what they believe is an accident? Whereas, so many of our fellow believers, for political-sidedness sake, seem to think that attitude is something to poke fun at?

So that's where I stand: being environmentally conscious is, at least the very least, a way to show our respect to God and appreciation for this beautiful place He has given us (and past and future generations) to live on.

What does being environmentally conscious have to do with healthy eating?

The more I thought about it, the more I realized for God's creation doesn't just stop at being tidy, respectful, and aware of my surroundings. It goes further than that! I was created, too. He gave me this body! I mean, this body isn't really mine, but a gift given to me for a life span. Whoa. Whoa. Excuse me for a minute while my head explodes. Why would I want to trash this very personal gift with the creations of man? Let me be more specific:

Junk food, fast food, processed, hydrogenated, saturated, artificially flavored "treats" are not good for me. There's no argument there. They don't "sooth the soul" and, if you ask me, are just one more way Satan uses the creativity (another gift!) of man for bad. I know that might sound a little extreme, but again, stick with me:

"Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to Me and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare." Isaiah 55:2

All of our "food products" which are made of extremely processed ingredients, artificial flavors, packed with sugar and sodium for more flavor, do not in any way compare with the bounty God has given me to nourish my body. It seems that having too much junk food in your life is a good way to set yourself up for bad health, bad shape, and insecurity, which distract you from the fact that your body is a gift, not an enemy.

Let me tell you something: if God doesn't satisfy you, nothing else will. And I've discovered healthy, natural living (that yes, does include some labor in the kitchen) is quite literally one way God makes Himself present in our lives for soul-filling satisfaction.

Amen, especially to that last statement! Are you intrigued? I hope so. Join us on this journey. It may seem daunting, but we must be willing to seek the Lord in this area if we really want Him to be Lord over everything in our lives! Let's let Him take us on this journey. Let's see what bounty He has in store for us.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Worship Wednesday

Today I was having a hard time in prayer. I've been praying about a specific area for quite some time, and I'm not getting the results I would like. It's a physical pain thing. In fact, I go back to the doctor today. The details aren't really important. It's just something that God has ordained in my life for His glorious purposes, and my flesh is having a hard time being okay with that. It's not like my pain is much of anything, compared to what others experience. It's really not. It's just my pain. It's what He is using to teach me.

I haven't felt very worshipful this week. I've felt sulky. I've felt frustrated. I've felt tired.

It's one of those times when I have to choose faith over feelings. Today during my prayer time, I just had to stop and think about God's nature. His beauty, His compassion, His love, His wisdom. These are my comfort right now.

He is beautiful. Nothing in this life, even the alleviation of physical pain, is more desirable than Him. Oh that I would live the reality of this!

He is compassionate. I think of Aslan's shining tears in C.S. Lewis's The Magician's Nephew when he looked upon the protagonist's grief. I imagine how beautiful the tears of Jesus are as He looks with compassion on my pain.

He is Love. He LOVES me. This pain is ordained by Him in love, and it is meant as a messenger of His love. There is no malice in His choosing this pain for me; only love- a love that is jealous for my heart. He wants me to love Him more and more in and through and even because of this pain.

And He is wise. I have to tell myself this truth often, because I am tempted to think that perhaps I have a better idea of how things should go. How ridiculous am I? Seeking to counsel the Lord on the best plans for my life... it probably makes Him giggle. If it is okay to speak of God Most High giggling. I realize it is crazy for me to think, even for a second, that my plans are better than His. I trust Him, and I do not want to be in charge! If I trust Him with my eternal salvation, can I not trust Him with my temporal situation? I want the Eternal One, the One who knows the plans He has for me, to continue His sovereign reign in my life without me trying to interfere. (Oh how grateful I am for so many of the prayers that He has said NO to over the years...)

"Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! For WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD, OR WHO BECAME HIS COUNSELOR? Or WHO HAS FIRST GIVEN TO HIM THAT IT MIGHT BE PAID BACK TO HIM AGAIN? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things To Him be the glory forever. Amen." Romans 11:33-36