Part 5: Food, Faith, and Fasting

Rita Madden’s book, Food, Faith, and Fasting, has been a guide and an indicator for me in using baby steps through the Orthodox Lenten journey. Our book blub covered chapter two of the book at our home, where we hosted eight lovely women who are on a very similar journey to my own (I am obviously a little behind on my blogging about this as our last discussion time was already two weeks ago!).

The author opens chapter two with a quote from St. Simeon the New Theologian “Fasting is the mother of health; the friend of chastity; the partner of humble-mindedness.” And another quote from St. Seraphim, “Every day one should partake of just enough food to permit the body, being fortified, to be a friend and helper to the soul in performing the virtues. Otherwise, with the body exhausted, the soul may also weaken.

I was challenged to self-reflect on how I can utilize more fortifying foods, which will provide more wholeness and wellness to my family and myself. These sections focus on returning to the Creator’s Creation during our season of Lent so that we may find more energy that sustains us to focus on God and not on our carnal passions and lust for processed crap foods (although I have to say, oh, this is so challenging some days):

  1. I was challenged here to scrutinize my pantry and the pre-packaged food products that were in my kitchen. Also I really tried to read more labels on stuff I wasn’t sure about at the grocery store before purchasing the item(s). Some of these items include: artificial flavorings (these seem to be in everything that is packaged), high-fructose corn syrup, partially hydrogenated oils, and artificial food dyes (anything that has a color and number listed next to it on the ingredients list).
    1. So I had been purchasing Gatorades for TBF’s lunches. That won’t happen anymore as I won’t be buying that crap.
    2. The margarine spreads are not coming in to this house anymore.
    3. Crappy candy like skittles and the like will end up in the garbage if someone gives it to us as I don’t want that lingering around after holidays and summer time parades.
  2. Section two focused on eliminating “fake” foods. These are products that are pretty much made from chemical laboratories and do not come from the ground. Examples of these things are: partially hydrogenated oils, artificial sweeteners, high-fructose corn syrup (seeing a pattern here?), food dyes, sodium nitrite, sodium nitrate, monosodium glutamate, BHT, BHA, potassium bromate, propyl gallate, BVO, TBHQ, etc.
  3. This next section dealt with sweeteners (natural vs. man-made/altered). If you are confused between these categories think natural: sugarcane, honey, maple syrup, stevia. Most people know where these sweeteners come from and how they are made. However, corporate America pushes high-fructose corn syrup, aspartame, artificial maple syrups, and sucralose because they are usually cheaper than the real deal.
    1. I was challenged here to identify the main source of sweetener that I am using on a day to day basis and see how I can transition to the real stuff. During Lent I have really tried to eliminate making coffee at home every day. If we go out to breakfast, someone comes over to the house or I go to my mom’s house and I may use International Delight or CoffeeMate. However, I need to just switch to cream and sugar (like Sugar in the Raw). Once the fake creamer is used up, I am not buying any more and I am just using real sugar and I will start buying cream to have on hand.
  4. This section talked about the brain-washing of our culture in to thinking that low-fat or half-fat products are better for us because there is less fat and therefore we will lose weight, etc. However, the author goes into great detail about why this is dumb thinking and she even admits that as a trained nutritionist, this is sometimes contrary to some of her past education. She breaks down her rationale for staying with whole milk and other whole fat products in lieu of the reduced fat options and further goes on to say that using whole fat products in more moderation is actually more beneficial in the long run.
    1. Once Lent is over and I buy my first gallon of milk, I will be buying whole milk and maybe just a half gallon and not the full gallon as we don’t really need to be drinking that much milk between just the two of us (the Honey Badger isn’t supposed to have milk until after twelve months, similar to all babies per the pediatrician).
  5. Brown vs. white carb products was the topic reviewed in section five. I do need to continue to eliminate the white carb products as well as maintain that we are not overindulging in bread products. There is this Weight-Watchers commercial that comes on every once in awhile and its so annoying but it is Oprah giving a plug for WW stating that she loves bread and with the WW plan, she can still eat bread everyday but in moderation and she is losing weight and maintaining her weight. Thanks Oprah.

I am enjoying this journey and I have already lost 8 pounds and a couple inches from my waist. I am feel better overall and food is having less and less of a pull for me (as far as temptation). This is a good feeling.


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