It’s been one of those perfectly enticing spring-is-almost-here days. The weather is mild, the sun is shining warmly and a cool breeze wafts through the trees.
The kids and I have been soaking in the Vitamin D and fresh air… and I’ve been thinking about health.
Joshua and I watched two food documentaries this week, I’m reading Food: Your Miracle Medicine, a dear friend emailed me a thought-provoking article on phytic acid’s health benefits, and Joshua and I have been on a let’s-talk-about-food-and-health streak.
The topic is practically endless, thanks to the countless contradictory theories of what defines “healthy” food.
Our family seeks to eat [mostly] healthily: home cooked meals, little processed food, homemade whole wheat bread, lots of fresh fruit and veggies, as much fish as we can afford and healthy fats like olive oil, coconut oil, and real butter.
Yet reading about the “new” health discoveries and the foods that we should avoid or the grass-fed, free-range organic meat we should exclusively eat, can leave well-intentioned moms discouraged and stressed.
What is the best food to serve our families? Does any food stand unchallenged? Can we really afford all the greatest organic products out there? What does “eating healthy” even mean? Will my kids spend their lives riddled with disease that I could have prevented by feeding them better?
The more I thought about these questions, the more frustrated and guilty I felt. But putting the questions in a global, historical perspective changed my outlook.
Flipping through the pages of history or glancing at the newspaper, there are countless stories of famines and food riots, of mothers unable to put even a crust of bread on the table for their children.
The fact that I am even faced with questions like “which of the 347,891 readily available options should I feed my family?” is a tremendous blessing many do not have.
On a less dramatic note, the “science of health foods” is, to put it mildly, not perfect.
- New studies often claim that yesterday’s health food craze should be completely avoided.
- Years ago it was the free range chickens that weren’t good–just think what those stupid chickens may have gotten into!
- Trying to follow the latest recommendations for feeding your infant is mind boggling. For example, “last year, we advised against feeding meat to your 9 month old, but new studies now find it helpful. Besides that’s what the nomadic tribes fed their children…”
Now of course, I’m not advocating tossing the salad and going on a diet of Doritos. A bad diet leads to countless health problems and nourishing foods help heal the body and keep it strong. We should wisely seek to feed our families. [I love Heavenly Homemaker's post on this!]
But the mere fact that we can put food on the table (and make an educated decision about what food it should be) is a blessing.
As the queen of my home, my goal is to make meals that both nourish and please my family, while sticking to our grocery budget. To balance taste, nutrition and budget.
As I’m able, I want to make the little, seemingly imperceptible, changes towards better health.
More importantly, I want keep in mind the principle from Proverbs: “Better is a dinner of herbs where love is than a fattened ox and hatred with it.” [For vegetarians I suppose it'd be switched, "better a fattened ox where love is..." ]
Food is important, but food cannot save us and the healthiest meal cannot take the place of a peaceful home, filled with love.
(Modified version of a post I originally published on my personal blog in 2008.)