Relationships with Food, and My Own

And wine that maketh glad the heart of man, and oil to make his face to shine, and bread which strengtheneth man's heart. Psalm 104:15

A friend recommended reading Carry On Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton of Momastery Blog, and it was a wonderful reminder people are hungry for personal journeys, not just the beautiful ones.

In 8th grade I started the process of developing my own personal sidekick, an eating disorder. It started with peer counseling other kids who had disorders. I took notes and was fascinated by this way to fit in with the culture around me and control my environment. Growing up in multiple places, schools, with real socioeconomic and cultural diversity a underlying truth was every women deals with food. 

Another piece of this puzzle for me is the reality of food sensitivities  If you have been with me when I have reacted and turn bright red or get hives, or get bizarrely sick, you know what I mean, it is embarrassing and confusing. Sensitivities to food have gotten worse with age (another joy of aging;) and after many blood tests and cutting things from my diet we figured out this year MSG and nitrates combined does crazy things to me. Picture me turning into an itchy red blob after a night out for Chinese and wine. The crazy thing was it took me so LONG to trust something was really wrong and get the right tests done.

These sensitivities fed into my disordered eating in college. MSG is often in Pizza so for a very long time, up until recently I thought bread was the culprit. I gave up most of the food I enjoyed (a serious love and for a long time, guilt about donuts) and figured this was somehow my burden to bare for having so many blessings in my life. Actually getting blood tests, going to HealthPartners and sitting in their clinic this last year was scary. So many head games with food, what I should and should not eat. Finding a black and white answer took the power away from food. I react to a few things but they are manageable.

After college I went through training to become certified as a personal trainer (Sheff and I did this together). We both passed our ACE test (American Counsel on Exercise Fitness) and got part time jobs in gyms or teaching classes. Sheff remains to this day highly knowledgable about fitness, coaching and wellness. This was the start of my journey to having a good relationship with food. I continue to find classes and books on everything from homeopathy  glycemic index, using real fat for the health of our children's brains and the carbohydrate myth. Next I am really interested in learning more about essential oils & making my own snack (like granola bars, fruit strips and so on).

Now, 15 years after that training I can honestly and openly say I have a fantastic relationship with food and loving this body God gave me. But man what a ride! And I have learned so much about the reality of food and fitness. I would love to study this more, because I think it is a real need out there. If I had been able to speak to someone all those years ago who was not obsessed with fad diets, had a strong faith base and was happy in her own skin it would have saved years of angst. 

I eat a donut or pastry for breakfast most days, I have one raw meal a day (think massive amounts of greens) I have figured out a great recipe for homemade protein bars as snacks. I cook with butter and flour. Red meat maybe once a week, lots of fish, chicken and beans as main meals for the family. I am really enjoying learning how to feed and nourish my family of ten, even on the days it gets old I am mindful of how important it is to allow food to be part of what brings us together. The smells of fresh cookies or homemade bread are woven into what makes home, feel like home. Food is something I enjoy but has very little power over my day,my self esteem, in the way it once did so dramatically.

I walk 3 miles every day, and enjoy any kind of social outing involving walks or hikes. A true joy is meeting a friend to do two laps around the lake, but when I can't I hop on the treadmill after the kids are in bed. 
Walking provides the gift of routine and rhythm and allows me as a mother, and wife to de-stress and re-center. If I run or get too into fitness classes the obsessive streak comes back with dark vengeance. Moderation in both food and fitness are the most holistic for me.

I am quite sure this will lead to more writing and blogs. If anyone is struggling with disordered eating, or has a daughter or son who needs to talk about food, health, wellness or finding balance with food I am happy to be a resource or provide an idea for getting help and advocacy.
As I look at my kids, especially my daughters  I hope to dive into teaching them about trusting God with their pain and loving their bodies as amazing gifts. 


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