The Diet Merry-Go-Round and Finding Inner Peace

Angel on my left shoulder: your diet says only one cup a day. Devil on my right shoulder: Make it a Venti

Angel on my left shoulder: your diet says only one cup a day. Devil on my right shoulder: Make it a Venti

There is something in our nature that can make us obsessive compulsive when we are given a set of rules. Anyone who has followed a strict diet knows the power of feeling in control when we follow a diet successfully. It is such a good feeling to be in control that we can even over-follow the rules by making up even more strict rules until we begin breaking them, slipping now and again until we feel so bad about it, we give up. Likewise, when we find ourselves unable to follow the dieting rules we feel hopeless and inadequate, lost in a sea of confusion about food and how we can eat pleasurably and still maintain a healthy body.

Food addictions to salt, sugar, fats and oils corrupt the body’s ability to enjoy good food. Much of the SAD (standard American diet) contains unhealthful amounts of addictive foods. Blame it on capitalism. Our industry standard is to make people keep coming back to buy our products, so of course processed foods contain large amounts of these addictive foods. “Hungry For A Change” on Netflix is a very interesting documentary on this, and there are several books out about it, google Food Industry. “Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us” is a recent book my husband found at Barnes and Nobel.

To beat these addictions, try adding sea vegetables for salt. They contain lots of minerals our bodies need. Replace refined sugar with dates and other dried fruits, as well as mangos and bananas. Stay away from fried foods, bakery items, and all white breads and rice which turn to sugar. Once we are free of these addictive foods, vegetables and fruits become so much more appetizing. We begin to crave salads, roasted vegetables, and fruits of all kinds. Lately I have been eating dandelion greens which are delightful in salads, and when I saw one sprouting up in a local parking lot, I was surprised to find it looked mouth-wateringly good to me.

Making greens and vegetables the main dish in every meal will put your body in an alkaline state. Stay away from alcohol (hard to do!), coffee (almost impossible!), and rich deserts (Aye!) and you will find yourself feeling energized and on top of your game. I often yo-yo through all of these traps. A glass of wine and a cup of coffee a day are fine but they are addictive and so one cup becomes two or one venti size  (Starbuck-speak for extra-large). A glass of wine turns up being two (who has any control after one?). So because we find ourselves unfaithful in these small ways we want to say forget it or make a new rule that forbids everything. Then we start slipping and we fall back into all of our food addictions. Pick your merry-go-round poison: caffeine, wine, sugar, salt. Is there any peace at all?

Thank goodness for Jesus Christ. It is for good reason that I relate my food struggles with my spiritual struggles. I know that my diet does not determine my spiritual connection to God, however it does affect how I feel about myself and my health. God wants me to be healthy and honor the body he has given me. Just as I can ask forgiveness for wrongs I have committed and know that God forgives me through Jesus Christ,  I can also ask for help to live a healthy life. One thing God has revealed to me is that I have spent a large portion of my life eating SAD food and so changing overnight into a healthful lifestyle of eating all the right foods will take time. If I stumble here and there, my Lord is  kind to me. He helps me to get back on track. God loves us just where we are.

In the Garden of Eden, Eve tells the serpent that she and Adam should not eat of the Tree of Life, nor should they touch it. A perfect example of adding a rule to a rule because God did not say not to touch it. They could touch it all they wanted, just not eat it. When they do end up eating the fruit, God tells them the consequences and then clothes them because they realized they were naked. The consequences of eating SAD food is disease but God helps us through the consequences. He clothes us with Christ so we can always go to Him, no matter what. Thanks to Him or I would have gotten off this crazy merry-go-round a long time ago.

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