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My Food is Not My Religion. I am an Orthodox Christian and my role as a such is a servant of God- not to food. But sometimes those of us that set food and other aspects of holistic health are looked at as a little ‘over the top’ and can be judged by others. Hopefully this post will help you understand that no, food is not my religion, but it is a priority to me and my family.
Introduction to My Food is Not My Religion
My posts here are usually to educate about food, about holistic health, and about making it all simple. Sometimes while there are probably thousands of posts I could write, it’s not always easy to pick the topic or decide what I want to spend the extra time researching to give you all the information I want to give you. Today I spent time looking through posts from my first blog, The Many Hats of an Orthodox Mom. I stumbled upon an old post titled, My Food is Not My Religion. I read over that old post and realized how much it applies to this blog. So I’ve taken time to “rewrite” parts of the original, update it and add a few more thoughts.
The Original Post
So back in 2014 when my article was written, I had been sitting amongst some friends at a homeschool conference. We were just chatting away about parenting, food, and several other topics. A lady (acquaintance) sitting at the table casually said, “I just don’t get how some people make their food choices like a religion.” Some nodded along and the conversation drifted to other topics while I just sat there. Ruminating.
I’m not big into confrontation. And to address what she said feeling like I did would have felt a lot like confrontation. So I sat in silence. But I wondered. “Who and what did she mean by that?” She had followed up her statement with a quick add-on about time (having little time as a mom if I recall correctly) and other things (possibly money), but I wondered if there was more behind her words.
My paranoid self (yeah, I can be like that)said to myself “Hey, are you talking about me? Is that what you think?” Looking back I almost wish I had said it aloud. But I’m not sure I would have been graceful about it. I believe in what we do but I don’t handle in person ‘confrontation’ well. I guess that’s why I write. It gives me time to ponder before a response. Glory to God for that!
I continued to ponder her words. I thought “Hmm, do you even know why I eat the way I do? Oh, and by the way- my faith, my actual religion, is definitely of higher importance to me. Do you know that? I mean- that’s why I was attending the Orthodox homeschool conference we were at (and went through a lot of hoops to make sure we could eat appropriately for our health needs while we were there).
So I continued thinking about what she said. And of course, I have no idea if she was referring to me or some other ‘health fanatic’ she knew. But I do know there are people that roll their eyes at me or have said things that are not exactly respectful or have made meeting our dietary/health needs all the more difficult. And there are articles out there and comments on Facebook group posts that imply that somehow people like me – who makes diet the big priority in our lives that it is – are somehow making food our ‘savior’ rather than Jesus. Um, no. That’s not what I’m doing. Good grief, no.
So I wrote that article back in 2014 and am writing this one to put into words my answer that I didn’t know how to verbally say that day.
My Food is My Medicine
Again, food is not my religion. It IS my medicine.
You see, without the food choices I (and my husband) make for our family, our family would be entirely different from what it is today. My cupboards would be overloaded with pharmaceutical drugs instead of organic nuts, herbs, and other whole foods. I’d be lucky if I had stamina to make a pre-made and laden with chemicals frozen dinner let alone make a well balanced meal from scratch. My children would not have the good health they experience today. I may not even still be married due to the toll that previous food substances (MSG and artificial ingredients) had on my mental health. My sons would have driven their public school teachers nuts with the additional attention and lack of impulsivity control experienced with a high processed food and sugar diet. And honestly, my youngest son may never have been conceived if my health hadn’t changed so dramatically.
It is the food that some may think is my ‘religion’ or as one blogger out there put about people that highly prioritize their food, ‘your God’, that has saved us from what could only have been otherwise lives full of anxiety, depression, chaos, upheaval and nightmares of many sorts. I will not go into details here. It’s not necessary. I know what my life was before our food changes. I know what it is now. My food is not my religion and most certainly not my God. It IS my medicine.
I know that straying off that path of whole foods will lead me to detrimental health. I know that even straying for a week, even a DAY, will lead me to allergic reactions of all sorts – hives, rash, nausea, headaches, and possibly a day in the bathroom. NOT my idea of fun or justification to accept what a friend or relative is preparing out of the kindness of their heart. I really do HAVE to say no. I really CAN’T attend the conference or my kids a camp that does not allow for accommodations. No, it’s not my religion. But it is my medicine and a real necessity.
We’re Not Perfect
In short, REAL FOOD has brought us health. We no longer carry labels of mood disorder not otherwise specified, bipolar-disorder, depression, ADHD, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, irritable bowel syndrome, or others added on and taken away here and there throughout several years of dysfunction and poor health.
That doesn’t mean we are perfect people. We still have stressful days, weeks, etc. However, we can deal with them with clear heads and make more rational decisions. We can think through the problems that arise and feel healthy while doing so. We can rise to the challenges of life without always feeling we will succumb to each one and get severely ill in the process. Sure, we may struggle with weight issues if we have underlying issues that still need addressed or don’t take time for exercise and other factors. Occasionally we do get colds and viruses (everyone does) but they occur MUCH less frequently and we suffer BY FAR much less than we use to. We’re not perfect. Food is not our religion or God. BUT – food IS our medicine.
Orthodox Christianity IS my Religion
Again, food is not my religion. Orthodox Christianity is.
Worshiping God as taught by the Church as taught by the apostles. THAT is my religion. God is Who I worship. Not my food. God is my way to salvation. Not my food.
However, the food or ‘diet’ choice is ONE of my biggest priorities (right after God, my husband and children). It is what has saved my family from sure health demise and destruction (not our souls). This food was created by my Eternal, Unchanging, Omnipotent, Omnipresent, Omniscient, All-good, All-righteous, All-sufficient God that I pray fervently to and worship with all of my being. It is GOD that makes our food choices and health possible through His creation.
I ask that my readers, my friends and acquaintances, and family all see that there is a difference. Do not judge me or anyone else out there with strong healthy food preferences and needs because it APPEARS to you we may take food more seriously than God Himself. This is simply not true.
I spend time in prayer as well as time in the kitchen. I spend time in prayer WHILE I’m in the kitchen. And I also know that eating the food we do will NOT extend our life beyond what God intends. But I do believe that God gives us choices. We have a choice to eat the food He has provided – giving us the nourishment we need or we have the choice to eat the food products full of chemicals and ingredients that man has tampered with which does indeed cause disease and poor health.
While food is not my religion, I am choosing the foods that I believe are closer to what God intended. That is a determination I have made for myself and my family.
No Judgement Please
I will not judge YOU. So please don’t judge me. I judge the food industry – true- but not YOU. I hope and pray that you find the truth about the food industry and products that line the grocery store shelves (see some resources below). It would be my hope and prayer that you can figure out a way to cook more from scratch for the betterment of your health and that of your family. But if you can’t yet? Will I judge you? No. Believe me, I’ve been there. I remember. It’s hard. There’s all kinds of reasons that make this type of lifestyle hard. It’s WORTH it, but it’s HARD. So, no, I will not judge you.
I will, however, encourage you. With God’s grace I will continue writing this blog. With His mercy, I will continue to answer questions to friends that ask. I will share what I have learned when I think it might help. I will give pointers or tips when I think it might be possible that you may listen and try. That’s not judging. That’s sharing. It’s me feeling awful that I might know something that could help you and others and feeling horribly guilty were I to keep that to myself. But it remains up to YOU to act on it or do something about it. It’s up to you whether you want to read more deeply into what I share with you here on the blog or in person. It’s up to you to ask more questions.
You my reader are my friend. My sister or brother in Christ. I will not judge. But I will try to educate. It’s what I feel led to do. But it’s not a religion. Okay?
My Wellness Basket
My Wellness Basket was created this past January out of my love to share with others. It is my hope to educate and coach you, my reader, on how to achieve optimal health in simple steps that are doable for YOU. There’s no judgement. There’s no push to do ‘it all’. It’s simply me providing information and encouraging you to start making a little ‘wellness basket’ of your own as you start a journey towards more optimal health. It is my hope that you will find information here and encouragement. I’m also hopeful that you will send others to the blog so that they too can find information and encouragement. I do this with love. All the glory goes to God.
Resources On Food and How It Affects Our Health:
The Unhealthy Truth One Mother’s Shocking Investigation into the Dangers of America’s Food Supply– and What Every Family Can Do to Protect Itself
Is This Your Child? Discovering and treating unrecognized allergies
32 Tips That Could Save Your Life by the same author of Is This Your Child
It Starts With Food Discover the Whole30 and change your life in unexpected ways
The Truth About MSG A blog post
Food, What the Heck do I Eat? Dr. Mark Hyman has a lot of great sources that are very helpful. This book in particular is a great one!
Resources on Orthodox Christianity (in case you’re curious)
Welcome To The Orthodox Church An Introduction to Eastern Christianity
The Orthodox Church An Introduction to Eastern Christianity
What is Orthodox Christianity ?- a source through the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese o America (but let me make note that not all Orthodox Christians are Greek – this is just ONE archdiocese that happens to have a really good source of information)
Disclaimer – Just a little reminder here that I am NOT a medical doctor or medical professional of any kind. I’m simply a Christian woman who loves exploring herbalism and other areas of achieving optimal health in a holistic approach. I also love writing and sharing with others all the things I am learning! Be sure to continue reading posts here and also explore a variety of other resources to further your education and knowledge! And always try to apply what you learn as you travel your own wellness journey! See my disclaimer page.