My husband lovingly reminded me this is quite a hefty topic to address. And he's right. But none-the-less, here I am writing it.
Luckily, I use small words and simple language. So brains as small as mine have the ability to comprehend.
I had to chuckle the other day when a reader commented about the photo of Stuart smoking a pipe (located in the right hand column). After all, if we're all about healthy living here on the homestead, how could my husband be doing such a thing?!
First off, it makes me laugh that we are so quick to put people into categories, perfectly labeled as we'd like them to be. I've faced this before – I remember being told that because I was ‘country' I couldn't listen to certain types of music. Or dress certain ways.
None of us fit perfectly into any category – we are individuals. And that's a good thing. It doesn't have to be either/or.
Secondly, and most importantly, the comment kept resonating a particular word in my head that many Americans can't seem to grasp the importance of:
I'll say it again. MODERATION, MODERATION, MODERATION.
A poor example of this word would be the 132 ounce sodas from 7-11.
Or the 64 ounce steaks served up at your local restaurant.
Or basically any Man vs. Food episode.
And yes, we do eat healthy here on the homestead. But we also eat the most incredible burgers from a local restaurant every once in a while. Complete with french fries and an old-fashioned root beer (or two).
We enjoy a big ‘ol glass of red wine too, on occasion (like, when we can afford it).
And home brew.
And, dare I say, creme brulee made with white sugar.
When we're at friends' homes, we eat whatever they serve – white flour, white sugar, hydrogenated oils, you name it. And we do it joyfully and with genuinely glad hearts!
I will even use a coupon at Sonic for a free chocolate milkshake if I've got one.
And I'm not ashamed of it! Who cares!
“For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” Romans 14:17 ESV
I love healthy, nutrient-dense food as much as the next girl and for the large majority of the time, this is what we eat – it's just a part of how we live. We like to feel good and we enjoy being healthy – eating the way we do allows us to enjoy those things. But we've also been given the liberty to enjoy certain other things as well – and in moderation, those are wonderful things. If we were drinking eighteen beers a day, well, not so much. But the one or two we get to enjoy on occasion is a blessing.
As a ‘real foodie', I know how tempting it can be to throw the stone of judgment at others. Easily judging them for what they are, or aren't, eating ‘correctly'. Now, one can easily make arguments for the bigger picture (ie: government subsides, organic vs. conventional farming, the long-term-effect of GMOs, white sugar's affect on the body, etc, etc) no doubt. And I believe there are valid arguments for such.
I'm not saying we can't have opinions about what we believe to be best. What I'm saying is that unless God has bound our conscience by telling us what we must and must not do, then we have the liberty to make that decision for ourselves. And without guilt.
Dare I say, us foodies are quick to become the Phood Pharisees (like that play on the spelling of ‘food' I just snuck in there?!). The Pharisees, you see, were legalistic. Quick to judge. So hell-bent on keeping the law perfectly that they even condemned Christ himself for breaking the their man-made laws of the Sabbath rest. I shutter to think of becoming so legalistic about food, or about ‘healthy living', that idols of them are built in the place of enjoyment of good things for God's glory.
As I said in this post, where God has not bound our conscience, others are not free to.
For example, let's talk about coffee. There are lots of differing opinions about coffee – not even foodies can agree on it. God hasn't bound our consciences with regards to drinking coffee and therefore, as a Christian, I am free to enjoy my morning brew as I wish.
Now, let's say that someone thinks drinking coffee is a horrible thing. And they yell at me and scream at me and throw chicken poo in my face and tell me I'm headed straight for h-e-double-hockey-stick for sipping the java.
To which I say: Person who throws chicken poo, I appeal to God for standards. You are now trying to impose YOUR standards onto me. And where God has set me free, let no one lock me down! I shan't allow it!
Now, if I'm drinking 6,384 cups of coffee per day, that may be a problem. Gluttony, as we all know, is a sin. Over-consumption is not a good thing, my friends. My excessive coffee drinking may be a result of a variety of imbalances or emotional problems I'm having. And for the most part, over-consumption of anything (be it food, drink, tobacco, etc.) is a reflection of those imbalances.
So we don't over consume. Instead, we enjoy the blessing of a cup of hot coffee in the morning.
We enjoy in moderation.
Stuart doesn't smoke his pipe all day. Oh no – it's reserved for long walks and reading Tolkien. And I love that about him.
We can learn to savor these blessings. We don't have to be overboard on anything. There is a balance.
And that's where I'd like to be.