I was the girl who ate whatever I wanted whenever I wanted.
The one who was always somewhere, doing something. I was a dual-enrollment high school student who went to school full time, was actively involved in my youth group, and worked part time. On top of it all, I was a dedicated pre-professional ballerina who spent 25 plus hours a week in the studio taking class, rehearsing and performing. I was the girl who got up and did my farm chores before daylight, went to school, went to the studio, came home after dark and did chores again, before going to bed to do it all over again. I was the one who volunteered weekly at church teaching in children’s ministry. That was me. For years.
Until it wasn’t.
Until my body said no more.
Until my body began hitting me with pain and fatigue and confusion for months.
Until something had to change.
Until I got really desperate, so desperate that I would try anything to feel well again.
That’s when I went paleo. Cold turkey. On a college campus where Chick-fil-a is seen as the bread of life☺Not a final ice cream, latte or cupcake. Completely, overwhelmingly, radically paleo.
I never foresaw my life turning into what it has become over the past months. It’s funny how we have our plan of how life is going to go. Usually we don’t stop to consider the small details of “will I find food that I can eat?” or consider the question of “will I be able to get through this day?”. These two things at times now consume my thought process. So much has changed for me. So many factors have been dramatically redirected, stopped and altered.
For those of you who have never heard of paleo, it is based on the idea that you only eat what our ‘prehistoric ancestors’ would’ve eaten. While I don’t necessarily believe in the caveman mindset, I have faithfully followed this meal plan for the past five months. I eat fruits (within limitation), veggies, meat (grass-fed, organic), nuts and eggs and indulge myself with a cup of coffee.
(Yes, it really has been over 5 months since I’ve had ice cream or cheesecake ☺ To those of you who may be struggling similarly, be encouraged. It gets easier!)
Food plays a huge role in our lives. Our ability to eat has an incredible social and emotional factor to it. One that makes us feel isolated when we cannot partake in food and community with others. One that influences what we do and where we go. It influences us physically, mentally and, as I have realized over the past few months, spiritually.
Who knew food was such a huge ordeal? I certainly didn’t.
My new (perhaps temporary, potentially lifelong) lifestyle of going paleo has been a journey in many regards. I am learning how to survive with it. Even to thrive amidst it. Finding joy in discovering recipes that taste good. Enjoying food as God made it. I am learning about nutrition. Health. Supplements. Diets. Lifestyles…..
But on a deeper level, I am learning about self-control. About what it means to view God as “my daily bread” when I cannot even eat bread. About finding satisfaction in where God has me and not allowing myself a pity party.
God is moving, pushing and pulling, redirecting and helping me grow. As I am back at college, making daily decisions about what to eat, and how to use my limited energy and resources, I hear the words of Paul echo in my head (as I make the choice between eating a kale salad instead of a chicken sandwich): “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31)
May I – may you! – live to the glory of God in all of our choices – – – even when they involve food!