Healthy eating: Becoming aware and present through prayer and meditation

So we all know that I am a little more than obsessed with healthy eating, and becoming more aware and present through prayer and meditation is something I've also been working on. Only until now, those two goals were like friends on the opposite sides of the room at a party — yeah, I see you over there; you look good. Looks like you're doing okay. Nice to see you. But it came to me today as these things often do — in a mundane, everyday, cutting-strawberries-for-the-kids moment: It's not what you eat, my dear...it's how you eat it. Healthy eating does not exist in a vacuum, nor does developing a greater sense of awareness and presence. The two go hand in hand.

I briefly touched on this subject before, but it's really hard for me to admit: I can't afford to eat 100% organic/grass-fed/all-natural/clean/green. So when the conventional Honeycrisp apples are on sale and not the organic ones, I buy them. And eat them. And feed them to my kids. And I have to feel okay with this — I should feel good about it, really — because if there's one thing I do know, it's that worry is a misuse of the imagination. Worrying is not having faith. Don't worry about anything; pray about everything. And although I've had questions about food and issues with food and I study health and nutrition to a fault, I only recently started praying for some guidance in the area of what I eat and what I feed my family.

I know. Took me long enough. I put it out there, and it came right back to me: This is OK. This is healthy. I am a mom, and I am feeding my kids healthy, nurturing foods that I enjoy as well. Would I love for them all to be organic? Of course. But is it more important for me to get my finances in order and start saving for emergencies and college? OF COURSE. So when we're at the local market that has a minimal selection of organic produce, I'm not going to just walk out of the store with nothing. I'm going to channel the Proverbs 31 woman, and I'm going to stock up on what's cheap and in season. And once it's home, I'm going to make sure we use it up. I'm NOT going to obsess about the pesticides that I can't even see or taste, because this is what I bought. This is where I am. With God's grace things might change in the future — and, honestly, with continued efforts we are constantly inching closer to where I want to be, making one change a week in food, faith or finance. So I'm not going to weep at the sight of a conventional avocado. I can't.

It's not WHAT you eat...it's how you eat it.

You see, as I've confessed to you before, if I keep junk food in the house (eg, M&Ms, chocolate bars, muffins, brownies), I tear into it like a wild animal. I can't have just one handful of M&Ms; I will keep shoveling them down my throat until I literally feel sick to my stomach. If the mini muffins are still in the mini muffin pan, there can't be one or three left in the row...it has to be an even number, so I have to eat one. One piece of chocolate? Well that's just not enough. Minimum two. Guaranteed. So let's call a spade a spade:

That's just not healthy. Mentally, physically; but as I've been asking for insight in this area, I've been receiving it. I'm starting to see these behaviors from more of an outside observer's stance, and I can now more easily recognize when I need to STOP picking at my son's waffle or toss the coffee I really don't want even though I made a second cup. These patterns I've created and used to repeat so, so often are neither healthy nor respectful. They don't show reverence for the food or my body. And they're certainly not Christ-like.

I know...does everything have to be a religious experience? To some extent, yes, it does. And I feel like I'm still at the very beginning of this journey, so pardon any gaps in logic or flawed thinking. I will always forget things and I will always make mistakes. But this outside awareness is new and freeing to me. Having just a hint more presence, watching myself, as it were, scarfing something down over the sink or sneaking a cookie...There's an old Chinese proverb that says "If you don't want anyone to find out, don't do it." That means you, Miranda, eating your chocolate cake out of the garbage.

It's been a perfect storm of awareness-generating behaviors, really; I've been praying about this specifically, meditating more and eating more fruits and vegetables (yes, that is a teaser for an upcoming post!). Just goes to show you that if you put in the work, you will enjoy the fruits of your labor. And I'm not saying that if you can eat a diet of crap and not go crazy on it it's OK to eat a diet of crap. Sugar isn't good for you; we know this. But if you can enjoy the occasional treat of homemade carrot cake or share a special giant cupcake with your family from the bakery every once in a while, I don't think it's wrong. It's not what you eat...it's how you eat it.

I have a long way to go and I'll never be perfect, but I still have that goal in the back of my mind from my last post to try to stay authentic, honor my true self and do things that take me closer to that person, not further away. Enjoying a plate of roasted vegetables — or one...single...delicious...brownie — fits that bill. Housing my dinner so fast I don't even have time to taste it, however healthy it may be, does not.

So remember this (and be smart about it; don't take it as permission to eat junk — that doesn't count as "slow food") — it's not what you eat; it's how you eat it.

Don't let it eat you.

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