Thursday, March 10, 2011

Ever-Changing...You remain the same

I like to think of myself as a healthy person, especially in regards to what I eat. This is a really hot subject right now, and it seems like wherever you turn you can hear a different suggestion of something to eat, not to eat, to take, not to take, and so on and so on. I like to eat pretty naturally. Though I have not officially "switched-over" to organic, I try to be aware of what is in the foods I eat and consume as few "processed" or packaged foods as possible. And I love a balanced deal. All my roommates over the years have teased me about this, because I am the girl who wakes up early to make eggs with veggies in them, cut up fresh fruit and maybe even cook up some turkey bacon. It's just what I like to do.

I'm also passionate about missions, and I want to be able to eat whatever is put in front of me. Now, I do draw the line when strange animals or animal parts are offered to me as food (the "fish balls in Thailand - round hot dog like products made out of various fish...yuck!), or other incredibly weird things, but I do what I can. If there's a food that I don't like (especially if it's healthy) I try to train myself to like it, so if someone serves it to me I can enjoy eating it. I've done this for years now, and have successfully added zucchini, bell peppers, onions and mushrooms into my diet, among other things - many of those are my favorite veggies now!

So, recently I've been working on adding 2 more things into my diet: grapefruit, and almond milk. It's going great for both of them (although I took more naturally to the grapefruit over the almond milk)! I started reading about the health benefits of grapefruit in particular and there is a list about as long as my body of what these juicy fruits provide for us! They're packed with Vitamin C and their acidity helps to break down infection and even cancerous cells in our body...the list goes on and on. They also are lower in sugar than many other fruits and help with controlling blood sugar and weight loss. So, I've been having half a grapefruit with breakfast most mornings.

The almond milk thing isn't any great conviction against dairy milk, which, let me tell you, many people have. I've heard for years the argument of us being the only mammals that drink another mammal's milk, or even drink milk past infancy, and always thought that was a good point, but didn't do anything about it. Also, being a musician/singer and someone who deals with seasonal allergies, I've felt the effect that dairy has on my throat and congestion, and have since returning from Thailand significantly cut all the dairy that I consume. I lived with very little of it when I was there, and felt great, so just decided to keep it up upon returning to the US. So it's more of a personal decision than anything. I still eat some dairy and drink some milk. But I did decide to read some articles on dairy milk since I've heard some really negative things about it.

Now let me interject here that I have a Masters of Science in Counseling - a field where research and statistics are vital and required components of our course work. Because of this I am inherently skeptical of "statistics" or "research". An argument can be made for both sides of just about any subject you can think of, nutritionally or otherwise. The person trying to get to the bottom of which research finding are "true" or not could take years studying who funded each study, what their bias might have been in putting forth their answer as "truth", and which results are actually significant enough to prove their point. For example, one time in our graduate research methods class we were assigned to research if Vitamin C really is helpful in reducing the common cold. I won't get all nerdy and scientific on you, but suffice it to say by the end of our study it seemed that the results were not significant enough to prove it actually helped. What could be determined was that if you believed that Vitamin C would help you fight a cold, it probably would. If you did not believe that it would help, it probably wouldn't. Really. Enough about that though...

So back to the subject, I started reading and - surprise, surprise - I found so many different conflicting opinions about the effects of dairy and health. Of course this is what I expected. These things seem to shift back and forth. A new study comes out and everyone switches from dairy milk to almond milk, butter to margarine, then back to butter again, eat eggs, don't eat eggs, drink a glass of wine, don't drink a glass of wine, on and on. I'm sure we all can think of examples of this. It can be very frustrating to a health-concerned individual; and if you get too concerned with it, you can spend all your time researching and changing and re-changing your mind with every new study or fad diet that comes out. It's exhausting. It brings to mind a passage of Scripture:

"Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won't be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth." - Ephesians 4:14

Now, I'm clearly not talking about nutrition anymore, nor do I mean that those who research what they eat and try to implement the new findings on nutrition are "immature like children." I guess what I'm getting at is that at the end of the day the wisdom of the world is just that: wisdom of the world. Fads and teachings go back and forth like the waves in the ocean, and if we rely on that wisdom, we can get taken along for the ride. The good news is this:

"But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere." - James 4:17

While popular opinion changes daily, we have a heavenly Father who remains constant and unchanging. It's important to be healthy, but it's not THE most important thing. Personally, I would rather try to eat reasonably healthy but still affordably, and use the money I've saved from not buying organic or over-priced health food to feed a child in another country who has no food at all! We do our best, and we forget the rest. The good thing is, if there's something we're really unsure about, or really want to know, we can ask Him! His wisdom is available to us about every subject we can imagine - whether deciding to eat dairy or not, what car to buy, how to parent our children, or what to do with our lives. He has an interest and an opinion and it is the BEST one available. While we change and vacillate and develop over time, He just IS. "I am that I am." - Exodus 3:14. What assurance we can find in the wisdom of God when the wisdom of man leaves us grasping for answers!

We are ever-changing, Lord, yet You remain the same.

1 comment:

bJENS said...

Liz! I re-stumbled across your blog and this was wonderful!! Especially now that I'm in grad school for Health & Exercise Science and I've been around so many clients who get frustrated with trying to find the "right" thing to do/eat/etc as there is always a new study disproving this and that (we have already chatted about the inconsequential findings of vitamin c haha!) hope you guys are doing well. --brittni