Today is close to the two-year mark of my nutritarian lifestyle, the turning away from processed foods and embracing a plant-based diet. I had been looking for a healthier diet for a long time, recognizing that the fatigue and general malaise I was feeling had something to do with my diet. I remember taking a walk with my son who was ten at the time, and fearing that I would not make it back home because my body was so tired. I was not overweight and was even jogging every day but my body was lagging, my thoughts hazy, and my energy level low. I could not seem to make the energy I felt in the morning last all day.
This is what I was eating: coffee with milk and sugar and a Pop Tart for breakfast, skipping lunch while drinking more coffee with sugar and milk and eating sugar candy lifesavers, and then eating pasta-based animal protein dinners at night. My kids were not eating any better either: Fruit Loops or Captain Crunch for breakfast, processed meats or Lunchables for lunch, and the same pasta-based animal protein dinners. We ate a lot of fruit, but we were all running on sugar, starving our bodies of vitamins and nutrients. Is it any wonder I was feeling fatigue?
Trying to eat for health was mind-boggling. I prayed for wisdom and discernment every day. For ten years I floundered in a sea of diet advice. Some advocated high amounts of animal protein and some advocated whole grains with a heavy emphasis on brown rice. Then I ran into the Hallelujah diet that promotes raw foods, lots of juicing, and some religion. While riding this funny merry-go-round, I constantly fell off the wagon, continued to feel fatigued, and I knew that I hadn’t quite gotten it right. Finally, while flipping through the channels of my TV one night, I landed on Dr. Fuhrman’s PBS show and immediately bought his book, Eat for Health. Reading his book was like taking all the parts of these health diets and fitting them together. I knew right away that his was truly the answer to the health I was seeking. The book changed my life, my health, and my fatigue and other symptoms were clearly explained to me as symptoms of addiction to sugar, fat, and oil, that is, processed foods, and the consumption of too much animal protein. Those symptoms are gone now that I am eating better, and my prayers are less centered on myself and more on His Kingdom.
Jesus once said, ask and you shall receive, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened. The most powerful tool we have against the darkness of this world is our faithful prayers to the God of Abraham, knowing that Jesus Christ has made a clear path through the darkness of this world, straight to God’s Holy throne and his listening ear. St. John says that we have courage in God’s presence, because we are sure that he hears us if we ask him for anything that is according to his will. He hears us whenever we ask him and since we know this is true, we know also that he gives us what we ask from him.
It makes sense to me that our diets have become a source of ill-health that produces fatigue, hazy thinking, and disease, because a state of mind and body like this produces dulled prayers and a sense of hopelessness, and isn’t that what the dark powers of this world want? We should have courage then that when we start a diet of healthful foods, that the God of Light and Power is calling us and he will make us strong, for that is his will, and since we know that, we can ask him for help to eat well, and he will give it to us. We can pray for all our brothers and sisters that they might come to eat well too, because alertness of mind and spirit, overcoming the addiction to processed foods, and embracing God’s great harvest of healthful ones is, I believe, what he wants.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. Ephesians 6:10