Yesterday, I shared about the strict healing diet that has been a part of our life now for almost 2 years. If you missed that post, you can check it out here, and see the list of foods that we don’t eat. It is quite an extensive list. It hasn’t been easy to make this diet work, but in spite of that, we have found it to be completely do-able and it has literally become our “normal.” Not only that, but it has been a blessing for us as far as the healing we have seen throughout the whole process, and that makes it totally worth it. Pretty much anything worth doing is going to be hard at some point. But that makes the rewards all the more sweet.
So how do you get started when you’re talking about altering lifelong habits and changing something that affects your life approximately 3 times a day? I think, really, you just have to dive in. You know, as Nike says, Just Do It. But, there are definitely some obstacles that you have to acknowledge and overcome in order to come up out of the water, swimming instead of sinking.
I think the hardest thing to overcome when considering a healing diet is simply mindset. You can do absolutely anything you set your mind to, and this is no exception. But people are really funny about food, and they get really defensive when presented with the idea of giving up what they like to eat. For some, it’s completely a deal-breaker. However, I think that when you assign something enough importance and decide to make it a priority in your life, you will do anything for it, even if it means sacrifice (and the opposite is true—if you aren’t willing to sacrifice for it, you obviously don’t really want it). I remember the day I found out I had Gestational Diabetes while I was pregnant with Nathan. I cried a river partly because I knew it meant a change in my diet, but I was also very concerned about the health of my baby. After I spent some time grieving over it, I dried my tears and set my mind to doing what I knew was best for me and especially for my baby. I was determined that nothing was going to get in the way of making sure he turned out as healthy as possible, and so I committed to do whatever it took to help that happen.
It was much the same a few years ago, when I decided to reclaim my health and my life. I got to the point where it was more important for me to actually live and enjoy life than to eat whatever I wanted. Some people say that if they can’t eat what they want, then life isn’t worth living anyway. But when you get to the point that you really aren’t living, you see things differently. Eating what you want doesn’t replace being able to get out of bed and play with your child or spend time with your family. And if giving up certain foods can help with the pain and the misery of health issues that plague you day after day, it just makes sense. In fact, doing the opposite doesn’t make sense. So that’s where my mindset comes from.
After overcoming your own mindset, I think the second hardest thing to overcome with a healing diet is everyone else’s mindset. This world we live in is full of junk food and people that live on it. It’s absolutely everywhere, and it’s being offered to us ALL. THE. TIME. Part of the challenge lies in being able to say no when temptation is constantly in your face. It’s not necessarily about will-power as much as it is about resolve. Cheating on a diet is something most people just take for granted is going to happen, and they absolutely expect you to do it. But this is not just some kind of fad diet to lose a few pounds so you can look better in a swimsuit. This is for your health and life. That makes this kind of diet so very different, and most people don’t get that. There are other things that you have to deal with as well. For example, when you take your child to church and the snacks offered in his class every week are things that are on his do-not-eat list, that creates challenges. You have to send him with his own snacks (which means you have to remember to send snacks every week!) and you have to sit down with your child and explain to him why he can’t have a doughnut or a cupcake every week to celebrate so-and-so’s birthday. You have to talk with the teachers and make sure they understand that he is not supposed to have certain foods, etc., etc., and you have to explain to everyone why he’s on this diet and why it’s important that he doesn’t eat what everyone else is having. Then there are the brunches, the dessert fellowships, the cookie bakes, the birthday parties and the holiday gatherings, all with more food than you can imagine that doesn’t fall within the parameters of the diet. Sometimes, we eat before or after we attend these, or we’ll take something we can eat so we can join in. But people are always wondering why you never eat anything, or only eat your food at these functions, or they try to help by suggesting everything under the sun, hoping that one thing they recommend is something you can eat. It’s even more difficult when you go somewhere where a meal is being provided and you have to take your own food every time because you know that what they are serving will not be on your diet. And you don’t want to offend anyone because you’re not eating the food that is being graciously given, but you also don’t want to compromise your health, so you just explain as best as you can and hope they understand.
Unfortunately, most people truly don’t understand, not unless they have been there themselves. They just shake their heads and say, “I could never do that,” or “I feel so sorry for you guys,” or “What do you eat??” It’s like people think we live this sad, deprived life, never getting to eat anything yummy, never enjoying a good, delicious meal. And that is simply NOT true! We eat quite well, and enjoy food that is absolutely amazing. I would say we eat better tasting foods than most anyone out there, which brings me to what is probably the third hardest thing about this diet:
I cook everything from scratch. When you don’t do boxed and packaged and pre-prepared, that’s what you have to do. And for someone who doesn’t even like to cook (yep, that’s me), that has been a huge hurdle. But again, it’s something I decided was worth the time and trouble, and I have committed to doing it. And let me tell you, the end product is way better than those convenience foods we used to think we had to have. I know people think that their processed foods have a taste they can’t live without, but I would pit my real food home cooking up against that stuff any day of the week! It tastes WAY better, and satisfies in a way that processed food can’t begin to. So to those who think we are deprived and feel sorry for us, don’t! We are not the ones to be pitied here. Now certainly, there are times when it’s harder than others, like when we’re crazy busy or don’t have a lot of options in the pantry, or when we’re going on a trip and I have to prepare and take all our meals with us for days at a time. Those days I may have a little hissy-fit and want to throw in the towel or just boycott eating altogether. But then I think about how far we have come and how good we are feeling, and how if we give up now, there is healing that won’t take place. And my back straightens, I get a new resolve, and with some help from my amazing husband, we always find a solution.
I fully believe that praying and asking the Lord for strength and determination is a MUST! You can do all things through Him, when He gives you strength. He has gotten me through some days I could never have stood on my own. Sometimes food can become an idol in your life and keep you from being the healthy, fully-functioning person that God wants you to be. Only He can help you tear that idol down and move beyond the place where it has held you back for so long. My advice: LET HIM. Yes, idol demolition can be rough, tough and even painful. But when it’s all said and done, you will have earned your wings. And then…well, then you can FLY!
So, I had more to say about this topic than I first thought (my family always chides me about my verbosity, haha), so I am going to have to talk about how we make the most of our diet and give recipe suggestions on tomorrow’s post. It’s already mostly written, so I won’t keep you hanging forever, I promise 😉 I hope this series is helpful, for those who are interested in a healing diet for themselves, and for those who might need help understanding folks who are in the midst of that journey in their lives. I always value your feedback, so please leave some! Have a blessed day!