I don’t know what it is, but I feel like writing a post about food is kind of superficial– Why is that? Is it a Catholic thing? A mom thing?– I don’t know. But just because some people might focus too much on their bodies, it doesn’t mean that we have to go to the other extreme and shun anything to do with our bodies, right?
After all, our bodies are the way that we give and receive love, they help us to serve God, and they are intimately linked to our souls. Our bodies are temples, they are holy, they are sacred to God, and they deserve our respect. Based on all of that, I thought I’d share my Whole 30 experience.
I have to begin by saying, I really like food–I like eating it, and I like cooking it for other people. Hey, God was the one who made food taste so good, so clearly there’s nothing wrong or sinful about enjoying it! But recently, I found myself making a lot of poor food choices and I was no longer enjoying food or its effects on me.
And I felt hungry –all the time–no matter how much I ate during the day. And then there were my “hangry” episodes–you know those “hell hath no fury like a hungry mother” moments? –yeah, those were happening too.
So I dusted off this book and decided to begin Whole 30 the very next day. The program in brief: for 30 days, no alcohol, no grains, no legumes, no soy, no dairy, no unhealthy oils, no added sugar or sweeteners, no preservatives, no msg, and a few other “no’s”.
How does this translate into eating? Well, you eat lots of vegetables, fruit, meat, and seafood, and you drink lots of water, and limited coffee, tea, or kombucha.
So for example, take this breakfast:
What I’m trying to illustrate with the picture above is that there are sacrifices involved in this program. That first morning, I ran downstairs to have my coffee–black–for the first time in my life. That was painful because I really, really love my cappuccino in the morning! So, day one, minute one: a little piece of me had to die…that part of me that likes to drink what I want, when I want it.
And the dying continued that first weekend! After a long week, I was looking forward to an ice cold beer with my husband, but — nope! Then there was Dairy Queen with the kids– because it’s summer, and I wasn’t going to ruin my kids’ summer with no ice cream! — I stared at the ice cream dripping from my three year old’s cone, knowing that she wouldn’t notice if I took a lick–but somehow I managed to say no to that bite. It was strangely freeing.
I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I started the Whole 30 hoping to lose a few pounds. Would I trade any of my kiddos for abs of steel? Heck no! –but it would be awful nice to have both at the same time. So far, I have lost 10 pounds. Really, that’s huge for me because I had been working out for months before the Whole 30 without managing to losing any weight…not one little ounce…so I consider that a success.
I also rediscovered why God made food taste so good: it’s to gather people around a table so that they can share their lives with each other and grow in greater communion with each other. I can now sit around a table as my family eats ice cream or big plates of pasta and not eat those things that have a negative effect on me. I can still immerse myself in the moment and just enjoy being with the people I love without being preoccupied by the food!
I actually enjoy food more now because I feel like I am not a slave to my cravings. Now, I plan out a really good treat for the weekend, and I choose something homemade or just plain delicious because I know I only get it once a week. I honestly don’t miss it during the week because I feel good about my healthier choices and its affect upon me.
So let’s bring this full circle to being Catholic. We believe in the value of self-denial because saying no to small things, like food, can help us to say no to the big things that pull us away from loving God and neighbor. Traditionally, we call saying no “acts of mortification” which can be translated “acts of dying to oneself”… and that’s what the Whole 30 was for me and why I see its value in my spiritual life as well. And, hey, I’m Catholic, so I also offered up my Whole 30 for an intention, so that alone gave it redeeming value!
Believe me, I’m looking forward to my glorified body as much as the next girl, but we only get one body in this lifetime. We’re in a race to the finish line, so we need to take care of our bodies so we can run in such a way that we may win! (1 Cor.9:24) Let’s keep running and finish hard!
Happy weekend! I might be taking next week off because my pregnant sister and 7 kids will be descending upon our house tomorrow. It’s going to be awesome and exhausting, all at the same time! Lord, have mercy!