Glorifying God doesn’t require a diet

I’m going to ask for forgiveness from the get-go. I have a feeling this post may cause an eyebrow or two to rise, if not some full-out protests. But I have a confession to make…I have a problem with diets. Especially those that claim to have a higher calling.

Stick with me a minute. I have a pretty sound reason. But it takes a second to explain.

Let me start with this: my son is limited in his diet. Genetically he cannot handle much protein. In fact, when we first started his “diet,” he was limited to 9 grams of protein per day. To put that into perspective, a glass of milk is about 8 grams of protein. There is protein in almost everything we eat…bread, noodles, potatoes, some veggies, dairy, and meat. The only “freebies” are sweets and fruits.

Let's eat intentionally, instead of judging food choices that are different. Some do not have the freedom of choice...such as those that must eat what is given.

Let’s eat intentionally, instead of judging food choices that are different. Some do not have the freedom of choice…such as those that must eat what is given.

So where is my problem? I’ve had a few acquaintances come out flashing their new diets as a badge of honor. They are deciding to give up certain foods and habits, as a hardship in honor of God. Which I’m completely OK with…but I question the message it sends.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m all for eating healthy and being aware of what we’re putting in our mouths and our bodies, but I question what we’re telling those that have no choice.

For example, I recently read an article where a young woman claimed to give up meat as a way to be closer to God. She stated that the hardship was worth it, because she knew what Jesus had given up for her soul.

So what does this mean for my son? Since he has no choice in his diet, does that mean that he’s destined for a life of being unable to show his gratitude? If he finds himself really wishing he could enjoy “forbidden” foods, does that make him less worthy than the others?

"Diet" means something different to him than to most people.

“Diet” means something different to him than to most people.

And then there’s the ridiculousness of it all. What happened to common sense? And someone profits from this? Really? Is that a sign of righteousness? Someone being able to sell a book?

Sorry…I did get a little snarky there. But I just question a lot of the “diets” going around.

Here’s my take on it all: Imagine, if you will, someone deciding no o use he leer “T” in heir communicaion. No maer wha, hey don’ use he leer “T.” I’s no ha hey can’ use he leer, nohing is sopping hem from doing so, hey jus feel called o no use i. Now, ruh be old, i doesn’ change much abou heir life, i jus makes communicaion wih ohers a lile more difficul.

Now, for someone who may actually have a speech impediment that prohibits them from using the letter “T,” they may actually be offended, hearing someone not use the letter, just because they feel God is calling them not to…when that person has been dreaming of being able to speak with the letter “T” for their whole life.

Does that make sense?

This is how I imagine my son feeling, if he knew that someone was mimicking his diet without a medical reason to…and I am pretty sure I would feel the same way.

I have no problem with eating healthy, exercising more and becoming more intentional in our eating as a society, but I do not believe that we’ve been given dominion over all of the gifts of this land, only to judge and chastise those that enjoy the fruits of our labors.

For those that have dietary needs that severely restrict their choices, it isn’t a decision that they take lightly…and I know that many would wish nothing more than to be able to enjoy a day of not thinking about what they are craving and to enjoy those foods that are otherwise forbidden.

And what about those that can’t afford to make such decisions? Are they less worthy?

Instead of giving up desired foods as some sort of “gift,” why don’t we just eat more intentionally…and treat each item produced as food as the gift it was meant to be.

Genesis 9:3 – “Everything that lives and moves about will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything.”

The health epidemic

Lately I’ve been doing a lot of reading and research regarding our health, diets and how our choices influence it all. It’s been fascinating to learn so much more about our society, but when I read claims that our agriculture methods are creating problems, I tend to raise my eyebrows a little bit.

Now, don’t get me wrong…I completely agree that cropping methods and systems have changed in the last few centuries. But shouldn’t we expect them to? I know of no other industry where people criticize innovation so blatantly. But again, that’s their right.

Here is my unofficial synopsis of all the reading I have done: Perhaps it’s not only the crops that have changed, but our expectations of health. Our quest in life is to “feel good.” If we don’t feel good, we try to figure out why we’re not feeling good…and in doing so, we keep hunting down causes until we find something to blame.

We are a culture of excess. We want to have our cake…and eat it to, even if it has to be gluten free.

medical food, cyclinex 2, formula

Will we reach a time in which all of our nutrition will come in compact form?

People clamor that these are new diseases, new allergies, new problems with digestion. But I wonder, are they really? And I’m not talking about true allergies, the kind that risk your life when in contact with triggers. Or true diseases, the kind that cause bleeding and excruciating pain and life-threatening consequences. I know all about those.

It's hard to believe how far he's come, but the long road was worth it!

It’s hard to believe how far he’s come, but the long road was worth it!

My grandmother would tell me stories about when she was growing up. She had her appendix removed when she was a little girl and it terrified her. She was afraid that what she ate would make her ill, so she was very selective for a little while. Food made her ill, so she cut back on what she ate. Simple as that. She didn’t go to a doctor, she didn’t expect a pill would make her better, she didn’t question her choices, she just limited them. And no one was the wiser.

Now we expect answers. We expect to “feel good” and when we don’t feel good, we expect that there’s a pill, a medicine, a cure, to make us feel better. In general, we do not suffer quietly and self-adjust our diets to make up for it, as our ancestors did. We enroll the help of medical professionals, we make it their job to find out what’s ailing us, and find some way to allow us to continue the same behaviors that made us ill to begin with…it’s mind-boggling truly.

No, I am not convinced that our food has changed so greatly that our bodies are now rejecting it. But I am convinced that our world has changed so greatly, that our expectations are creating problems that our ancestors would have just brushed off with “that didn’t agree with me.”

Looking back through our family history, I am pretty certain that George’s OTC is not new to our family. It just happens to be the first time that it could be diagnosed. And we were blessed when it was discovered…completely by chance. His diet changes are necessary, and life-saving, as is the case for many across the world.

I have no doubt that watching what you eat, being aware of how your body reacts and adjusting your habits as needed is a great tool for everyone to use. But are we taking it too far? Just last night I heard two young girls talking in a store. One was buying gluten-free items, the other replied, “I didn’t know you had celiac?” She quickly said, “Oh, I don’t, I just read that it’s better for you. You know, more natural.” I had my oldest child with me, so I didn’t interrupt, but…ugh.

What will be the next epidemic?

I vote for common sense. How about you?

The Land of Oz

For those that don’t know me in real life, or didn’t catch the news through social media, I almost had a moment last week. Well, not really almost. It was a moment, but it didn’t last much longer than that.

Let’s start at the beginning.

Early last week, I caught a tweet sent out by the Dr. Oz show. It asked for people to share their use of dairy products. I simply replied that dairy is an integral part of our day, and that we use it for every meal and snacks, consuming dairy sometimes as much as 7 times per day…a total of 5-7 gallons per week.

I didn’t think it was that out of the norm…and didn’t expect a reply. But I was wrong.

It started with a simple reply, followed by a request for more information and contact numbers. I was still under the assumption that they were just looking for quotes, survey information, etc. It wasn’t until our second conversation was underway before the woman at the other end of the line floored me. “Well, I know this is sudden, but would you be willing to fly to New York to tape a show on Tuesday?” WHAT?!

I spit, sputtered and tried to gather my thoughts. The show was going to feature dairy usage, but I didn’t know much more than that. I quickly found out that we would have to be willing to forgo dairy for a 28 days. They would do a before/after comparison to see how we felt, where our health was, etc. Although I wasn’t convinced there would be any change, I was willing to try it out.

Why? Well, there are two reasons.

1) George already follows a diet that is much stricter than what they were proposing. I wouldn’t mind being forced into a situation where I can get a feel for what he goes through (although I do know I could do it at any time, the incentive here is greater). Plus the opportunity to share HIS story and see if I could gather more information/insight would be spectacular.

2) The Dr. Oz show will go forward with the production of this show, whether or not my family participates. So is it better to have someone on that perhaps would have no agriculture background? The opportunity to participate in that conversation with that level of audience was one that I felt was too great to pass up.

So, what happened? Well, I’m not 100% sure. I know what they wrote in their email. And I know how the conversations leading up to it went, so I’ve put two and two together and think I have a pretty good idea as to what happened…but I’ll never know for sure.

Here’s the facts: Boss Man wasn’t comfortable going to NY to tape. We are in the middle of our third cutting of alfalfa and we have many people depending on our hay crop to feed their herds. We have been pretty blessed with timely rains, so the fact that we have a crop at all is nothing to take lightly. He was willing to go through with the 28-day challenge, the blood work, all of it, just not be in the studio for the first taping.

They said they were fine with that, had my flights booked, had a flight to ND booked to tape on Saturday, even called our local clinic to inquire about having the bloodwork completed for Mark.

And at 10:30 Friday morning I was on a conference call with a producer or two of the show, when I started asking some pretty specific questions. Mainly, what is it that they were hoping I would say. I had explained to them from the beginning that we were a farm family, that we worked closely with our friends and customers that are dairy families. And I specifically stated that at no point would I blame dairy products for any health issues I may have, and I would not throw dairy under the bus.

I was assured that I would not be portrayed in a negative light. That it would all be fine and work out. And then I was told that they would be in touch…and I waited…and waited.

Late Friday afternoon, less than 6 hours from the time that the production crew was supposed to land at the nearest airfield a mere hour away, I received an email that stated that the show had decided to go a different route.

Plans aborted.

Am I disappointed? A little, but more for the missed opportunity to reach out to others that may have information that would help with George’s care and the opportunity to connect the farm to a face than anything. Am I relieved? A little, having my medical flaws exposed on television didn’t exactly sound like a great way to spend a morning.

But I will take my lemons and make some lemonade…and I have learned SO much. And I have my own 28-day challenge that I will embark on…starting next week.

Stay tuned. Oh, and I have some more lessons that I learned, but I’ll have to wait to share those. I’m still trying to figure out how to word it all. Did I say something wrong? Did I ask the wrong questions? And I don’t just mean with the show.

Last week was one for the record books…and I’m still tired just thinking about it.