I'm convinced that eating and exercising sensibly is part of living a healthy Catholic lifestyle. It gives you the energy and the stamina to be an active servant of the Lord. There may come a time when my service is all prayer and sacrifice, but I hope that's well into the future.
So as part of my "healthy living" resolution, I watched an interview today with a young woman, Melissa Joulwan, who has written several paleo cookbooks titled Well Fed. She made a great statement near the end of the interview about how to approach eating.
"Food is neither punishment nor reward.....Healthy food is a gift, not food jail....and be happy" Basically, she was pointing out that you don't have to look at food as either/or. You don't have to cut out grains or sugar forever. It's a choice and if you choose to eat a cookie or pasta you don't have to think of it as "cheating." Her attitude sounded a lot like the Christian principle of "moderation in all things." Very sensible.
I love her statement that "food is a gift." God gives us so many gifts. We could just eat to live like the animals. Somehow I can't imagine a cow chewing its cud thinking about enjoyment. "Moo....Let's see,.. I'll eat this sweet grass and then I'll go over and nibble on some buttercups for variety."
But God gave us all these wonderful gifts and the ability to enjoy them. We eat in fellowship breaking bread together. And, as Chesterton said, “In Catholicism, the pint, the pipe and the Cross can all fit together.” I still recall the wonderful smell of my dad's pipe tobacco.
Melissa's statement came near the end of the video after she described her struggle with yo-yoing weight issues, adrenal problems, sleeping difficulties, and just not feeling good.
I understand what she's talking about. Since my diagnosis with Myasthenia Gravis, I'm taking medications that affect my weight, my digestion, my sleeping.... So in addition to dealing with the effects of the autoimmune disease itself, I end up dealing with the issues related to side effects of the meds. After four months of taking heavy antacids every day to control side effects, I decided I don't want to do that any more. Long-term reduction of stomach acid which is necessary for proper digestion can cause an entire schema of other problems. So now I'm taking pro-biotics and eating yogurt in the morning and trying to make sensible food choices that control the digestive issues related to the meds. It's an interesting adventure, a constant experiment, and one that occasionally gives me something to offer up for the Poor Souls in Purgatory. And that's not such a bad thing either.
And this video just made me laugh.