My journey to health began during the summer between my junior and senior year of college. I was going through a very difficult time as my parents had recently separated. I realized that I had gained a lot of weight during my years away at school. And, especially since my parent’s separation, I was seeking comfort in food. I wanted to become healthier. I wanted to be a better steward of my body. So, I started to do something about it.
At first, my efforts were a haphazard attempt to exercise more with the thought to lose weight. I really didn’t know what I was doing, and I wasn’t consciously trying to embark on a journey to health. After the summer, I went out to Colorado for a semester during my senior year. During that time I really began making attempts to eat healthier foods in addition to exercise. I was focusing more on being a good steward. With a more healthy diet and regular exercise, I did lose weight and became more confident over the course of the semester. (I also began a wonderful journey to health in an emotional sense also, but that is another story for another time.)
The Spring semester of my senior year, I began seeking the Lord and reading about nutrition. My desire to be a good steward of my body for the glory of God only increased. I truly began pursuing my journey to health. It was a wonderful time in which I experienced a lot of growth and saw big changes in my spiritual life. I began to recognize the degree to which food had become a source of comfort and “healing,” only to find that it didn’t really heal anything.
I met my soon-to-be husband during this semester and we began courting. I learned that we had similar perspectives in wanting to bring glory to God through how we care for our bodies. We both exercised and ate relatively healthfully. In fact, before meeting each other, we both stopped eating refined sugar around the same time! When we met and learned more about each other, it was neat to discover how similarly we viewed this area of life.
We were married 16 months later. Interestingly enough, after we were married, I began losing perspective and became obsessed with my weight and appearance instead of focusing on glorifying God with my body. I wanted my husband (and everyone else) to find me attractive. So, I became very controlling and fearful.
I counted calories, exercised a lot, and had disordered eating habits. I probably weighed less than 100 pounds (which, for some women, is healthy, but not for my frame). I ate healthy things, or so I thought, but not in a healthy manner. My journey to health had taken a detour.
A little over a year into our marriage during a routine OB/GYN exam, my doctor discovered an abnormal lump on my uterus. To make a long story short, I had a myomectomy to remove a large, benign uterine fibroid. During this time I believe the Lord was getting my attention and giving me an opportunity to repent of making an idol out of myself and food and walk in freedom. I knew that taking care of my body’s physical needs would be glorifying to him by nourishing my body. Plus, I wanted to be seeking to cultivate a “friendly” environment for a baby to grow in the future. (I really wanted to have children!)
I was not as healthy as I thought I was.
So, my husband and I began evaluating our lifestyle anew and tried to get back on a good path in our journey to health. Our desire was (and is) to glorify God by being good stewards of our bodies. It is at this point when we began to develop more refined convictions regarding health and nutrition.
We began learning about different topics regarding nutrition. Some we even learned about accidentally. Certainly, however, none were learned beyond the reach of God’s sovereign hand! We started with monosodium glutamate (MSG). We listened to an informational message about it and understood how dangerous this food additive may be to our bodies. We also learned about the biological and neurological implications of consuming MSG and the artificial sweetener, Aspartame. We had some food which contained artificial sweeteners but stopped consuming them after learning about these substances.
This knowledge helped speed up our journey to health. MSG in particular is in a tremendous amount of packaged or processed foods. As we tried to eliminate if from our diet, we cleaned out our cabinets.
We also learned more about sweeteners in general as we sought to stop eating Aspartame. We learned about artificial sweeteners and natural sweeteners. We learned about what to avoid and what is ok, even beneficial and nourshing, to consume.
The next major step on our journey to health was when we learned about milling our own wheat to make bread. We incorporated this knowledge and practice into our lives. We learned about other people who started with this very thing on their own journey to health.
We began eating more vegetables, learned about grass-fed beef, the dangers of nitrates in meats, and then learned about the differences between raw milk and the pasteurized, homogenized milk we were used to consuming. At the same time, we ditched our microwave, preferring to heat with an oven or flame instead of the molecular water heating that occurs with microwaves.
Our journey also included learning about the risk of using certain types of plastics and plastic products with food.
Another step in our journey came when I was nursing Tara and having severe skin issues. At that time, I learned a lot about coconut oil and the health benefits of fat in general. We switched from the unhealthy, unnatural, processed butter substitutes to real butter.
Most recently, we have learned about genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and the possible long-term deleterious effects they can have on our bodies. We switched over to mostly organic produce to avoid them.
So as you can see, we have been on a journey to health and are still on it as we seek to be good stewards of our bodies. We did not make one big sweeping change. Our journey to health is one in which we did not eliminate and replace all the bad things at once. Instead, we incrementally changed. We have made changes as our budget, conscience, and season of life would allow. We are still in process.
Our journey to health has involved letting go of some favorite foods that we learned are not good for us and could possibly cause health problems in the future. It has meant learning to like new, nourishing foods. It has meant learning to be more frugal with our food budget. It has meant saving money to buy certain foods or kitchen utensils to help prepare nourishing foods. Most importantly, it has involved constant evaluation as to whether or not food (or our bodies) is being held in higher regard than Christ is in our hearts.
We don’t have it all figured out, we don’t eat perfectly (we love ice cream and pizza occasionally!), and we probably never will. We expect that our journey to health will last our entire lives. We simply seek to evaluate this area of life, as well as all others, through the lens of Scripture.
Our journey to health has been guided by our convictions regarding health and nutrition. If you are interested in learning about our convictions regarding our nutritional choices, you can read my post where I talk about why I do what I do.
So what about you? Do you have your own story of how you got started on a journey to health or are you just getting started? Leave a comment! I would love to hear about it! If you’d like, I may even publish it here!