Choosing Health

“NO, NO!! BAD DOG!! NO!!!” The words carried all the way through the walls of the kitchen into my shower this morning. The commotion had moved to outside my door when I heard another, softer, voice: “Ohhh, that was naughty. Outside with you now.”

Buddy’s at it again. Sure glad this pup is going to his new home today. He’s a nice dog, but he just cannot resist unattended food. My son lost only a small part of his bagel this time, but the other half had a mark where an attempt had been made on it, too. At five months old, Buddy is a big, sturdy mix of hound and who-knows-what, a heart full of love and a tummy that’s always empty.

I wish I had the same excuse – that I’m a growing pup with no self-control. That would be convenient. No, I definitely know better. I don’t need that bagel anymore than I need the extra dog, but when it called my name, all good intentions went out the window. I was focused on health today; colorful salads and smoothies were planned instead of breads. And yet one look at that abandoned half of a cinnamon raisin bagel, toasted with cream cheese on top, off center on its napkin where it’d been bumped during the heist – I was done for.

If the devil wore red tights and carried a pitchfork, we’d all recognize him. No, no…. he comes disguised in your favorite comfort food or those hot red pumps, luring you to drop your good convictions and sell your soul for a moment of indulgence.

And I do know better. I’ve been studying health and nutrition for 16 years now, and know far too much to allow something as silly as a white flour bagel to undermine me. You’d think. I’ve been learning more and more about how grains very quickly turn to sugars in the human body, useful as immediate energy but transforming quickly into those extra pounds on my hips if I don’t go running the minute I eat them. I’ve also been noticing how, if I eat bread, my belly almost instantly bloats. In two years of watching my weight, it’s gone up two pounds every weekend – when I eat out. A bagel for breakfast and a sandwich and soda for lunch on Sunday are all it takes for me to look like the Pillsbury Doughboy until Tuesday.

That bloat cannot be good for me. So, since soda’s not a huge issue for me – I can take it or leave it and I’m more prone to the latter – I’m focusing on breads. Should be easy enough. Yet the minute I dropped bread from the menu, my cravings for chocolate went completely out of control. I’ve never been able to give up chocolate, only switch to higher quality so the impact of fillers and sugar is lessened.

Now my reading took a scary turn. “In one study, when rats were allowed to choose either sweetened water or cocaine, an astonishing 94 percent of rats chose the sweet water. Even rats that were addicted to cocaine quickly switched their preference to sugar once it was offered as a choice.” (

I’m up against a powerful force here. I can drop sugar itself in a heartbeat, but not chocolate. And my handmade artisan breads? Please don’t tell me that what I’ve so lovingly crafted, grinding and fermenting fresh wheat berries, kneading until my arms ache and then filling the house with that oh-so-wonderful aroma isn’t good for me and my family. But the reality is that I only get to that maybe once a month now; it’s the everyday sandwich and a chocolate chip cookie (or three) that is actually a shortcut to disease. I’m starting to have more empathy for my fellow man, who doesn’t appear to be fully aware of the dangers inherent in his lunch.

Grains cause low-level inflammation in many people (me) which is easily overlooked and a sign of the body’s struggle to cope with a problem which, if left unaddressed, will eventually turn into something more serious. Diabetes and cancer were rare diseases in my grandmother’s day. Yet their growth rate corresponds very closely to that of fast food establishments and sugary boxed cereals. What I see on my belly is an outgrowth of the standard American diet, overly reliant on corn and wheat – it is not fat, it is a major illness’s first symptoms.

Sugar, and grains turning into sugar, are in everything we eat. It’s obvious that I have no more willpower than this pup and am sucked into warm breads and chocolate chip cookies more certainly than if Scotty himself were beaming me. But every attempt I make at dietetic self-control points out again how very weak I am. Making whole grain Ding-Dongs from scratch may impress the kids, but it won’t kick my sugar addiction.

Eve doesn’t look like such a doofus anymore, taking the forbidden fruit from the serpent. I seek it out and prepare it myself.

I’m brought back to the very feet of God.

And then I came across the simplest, most basic factor in all my research. As a homeschool teacher, I’ve taught science, botany, and biology. Essentially, the way each cell works is to give up waste products in exchange for nutrients. If the exchange rate or route is messed up, disease or death results.

Wait, wait – “exchange waste for nutrients”? “Now [we] are the body of Christ, and members individually.” (1 Corinthians 12:27) In my relationship with God, I am always trying to make myself acceptable to Him, somehow cleaner, nicer, and more worthy of His work in me. Stay with me here – I’m thinking out loud. If we are the body, we are doing work in the physical world, becoming dirtied and used up in the process. That is the design. It is only as we exchange our waste for His purity that we are nourished to continue and grow. We must accept His life into our very being with nothing but trash to give back. It seems a crappy exchange to our materialistic minds, but it’s just another fact of life. This is how stuff works.

<pGod has surrounded me with nutritious foods designed to perfectly nourish my body. I need to take them, not the counterfeit packages of more industrial waste that men pawn off on each other. I need to turn away from the cookie and soda and choose fresh, whole foods in order to make an impact and go the long haul. This is His temple, after all. /p>

Dr. Stanley S. Bass took it one step further. “

Nowhere is the principle of forgiveness of sins more manifest than here – in our own bodies – when we forsake our evil and destructive ways of eating (the defiling of the temple of the soul). God (or Nature, if you please) gives us a whole new chance for a new glorious life.

All repentance must begin here in the body, through pure diet and natural foods. Then, just have faith, sit back and watch what happens.

If I will merely turn my back squarely on the grains and sugars until I break their hold over me – asking for His strength to do so – and seek out His best in food both physical and spiritual, I will be remade new and healthful.


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