GAPS Diet & Nutrition,  Life,  Real Food,  Values

Food and Grace

I’m not talking about praying at the dinner table. πŸ™‚ Today we had our homeschool co-op, and I learned that two of my boys were “teaching” the other kids that their snacks were unhealthy, and that donuts are full of chemicals (I told them about the Krispy Kreme Deconstructed article that I had read), and that if everyone just ate like us, they’d be healthy….

I had a talk with my boys about GRACE when we got home, and about judgement. And about not telling people “you’re wrong for doing such and such” because people don’t usually learn or make life-changes that way, and it just simply isn’t polite. Farm Boy 1 said “I just want everyone to be healthy.” For him, I think it’s a matter of compassion–he wants to fix every problem in the world. He thinks by telling people the problem, they’ll automatically want to jump on board and fix it and everyone will have a good, healthy life. Farm Boy 2 wants to make sure everyone knows the RIGHT way to do things. He’s got a bold personality and he’s not afraid to tell people what he thinks is right and wrong. I’m thankful for his strong stance against the many wrong things in this world, but he needs to learn to temper his boldness with some grace.

I get to write all about our diet and health choices right here on this blog. I love that it’s a blog, because you’re here reading this post either because A. You’re my friend and you’re curious about what I’m saying or B. You Googled these topics, or a friend sent you here, and you really want to learn more about what I’m talking about. Either way, you’re here reading because you want to be. Because of that, I feel free to write what is on my mind, what I’ve been researching, and what I’ve been living. I can “tell it like it is” and be bold about the dangers of sugar, for example–because you’re here because you want to hear that kind of information. If you don’t like it; you’ll either tell me, or you just won’t come back here. And that’s ok.

When I’m personally interacting with people, I don’t talk about our diet unless people ask. Granted, I find myself talking about how we eat a lot. Many, many people ask. It’s “weird” to many people. People are curious. People are facing health issues of their own, and they’re curious about how we’ve fixed them for our family. People notice the weight loss and they want to know more. People are wondering why we aren’t eating gluten free crackers–because aren’t we gluten free? πŸ˜‰ So they ask questions. And I give answers. And I TRY to get a feeling for how long of an answer they really want. You know–some people ask “how are you?” but you know that all they really want to hear you say is “good” or “fine.”…When I can sense that people don’t want the full scoop on what we’re doing (that would take hours, anyways!), I condense it as much as possible…but that usually leads to more questions….and so it goes….

I don’t walk around telling people “that isn’t healthy.” I am not going to judge you if you do not eat like I do. I’m not going to tell you you’re wrong, and I’m not going to be thinking about it, either. I enjoy my time with people and just treasure being around them, regardless of each person’s individual eating habits! I hang out with and am friends with many, many people who eat differently from my family. I politely refuse the foods that I know will make my family sick, and I usually bring a full meal’s worth of food on my own to social gatherings. We spend time with people and enjoy their company and we do our best to not let the food be an issue. I don’t expect people to cook differently for my sake. I am allergic to nuts, so I am used to having to ask what the ingredients are. It’s awkward, yes, but it’s how I have to live. And if I can’t have something, I try to be gracious about it. I feel bad–I want to show people love by eating all of the foods they make. But I have come to learn my own body, and I know what makes me sick. And since I want to be well enough to serve my family fully that evening, the next day and even the the next week, I choose to abstain from the foods that make me sick.

Each person has to make their own choices in this area. If you’re strictly following the GAPS Diet and you really want to see a difference in your life & your health, you have to be (what Elaine Gottschall said about SCD) “fanatical” about it. You can’t let bad bacteria grow in your gut. It grows in your gut when you eat the wrong foods. It’s best to be on the diet 2 years after the last symptoms occurred for full healing…well, if you eat even a small amount of something that can make the bad bacteria and yeast grow in your body, you might face symptoms again. And then, would you stay on the diet 2 years after that? See what I mean? Is it worth it? πŸ™‚

But like I said, this is a personal choice. And, we can be as strict or lenient as we want to be in our own life and in our own household, but we cannot make changes for our friends or family. It is up to every individual and family to come to their own conclusions about their health. It’s not our job to tell them “you’re wrong.” If they ask about our choices or opinions, it’s fine to give answers. If people ask questions like “what about your cholesterol?” when I mention that I’m going to be rendering lard (my friend asked this today ;)), I say politely “well, I don’t believe that eating lard raises cholesterol.” (I don’t :)) And that’s that. She asked, so I gave an answer.  And if it leads to more of a discussion, that’s fine, as long as it’s a conversation where both people get to talk and give input (this is how conversations ought to go). If they disagree, that’s fine–it’s their choice. It’s not my job to change their mind. I don’t think of myself as my friends’ teacher or health coach. πŸ™‚ I am simply a mom who faced health issues and who did what I could to heal my family the way I thought best. That’s it. I’m no different from anyone else. We’re all reading, and researching, and coming to our own conclusions, and living what we believe (or not ;)), but we’re all in different stages of this life-journey, and we ought to give each other some grace! πŸ™‚


    • brenda

      Hey Amy, no problem! We try to do things more “potluck style” and I try to bring something hearty enough to fill my family. I usually always try to bring some kind of dessert we can have so that my kids don’t have to see others having dessert & not have any. πŸ™‚ Many of the people we know are aware of the fact that we’re on some kind of special diet, so they’ll ask questions about what they can make. As far as main dishes, chili (homemade) is usually safe, and pot roast or roasted chicken, etc. So if they ask for suggestions, I’ll give them…We went to some new friends’ house yesterday afternoon. Not knowing whether or not they’d have a snack time (or what they might serve), we just brought a big bag of raisins over. Thankfully, it worked out, they pulled out cheese to go with our raisins. πŸ™‚ The mom quietly mentioned ice cream to me, but I politely told her that we don’t let them eat that, without any further explanation (of course, if she asked why, then I’d answer ;)). I try to be as polite as I can but still protect my family’s health. Does that make sense? πŸ™‚

  • Wendy

    Just stopping to say thanks for linking up to Tip Day Thursday last week. Sorry that I’m a bit late.

    My 6 yo DD will tell her friends in the lunchroom at school that their lunchable is unhealthy and full of chemicals while she eats her hummus and pita! Love kids!!!

    Around My Family Table

  • Jenni

    This is probably my favorite blog post of yours. You give such loving, Christian, and practical advice. It IS HARD to talk about food and diet at times. Our culture is so fixated on food…sometimes in a good way but many times not. Its interesting that for a culture that spends so much time eating, we don’t spend more time knowing what we put into our bodies. Thanks for all or your hard work and for your positive, non judgmental attitude! I

  • michelle

    great post! found you through the gaps forum πŸ™‚ My biggest problem is not so much telling people how they ought to eat, but silently judging what they are doing. It is equally important to regard people with grace even in our own thoughts…thanks for posting!

  • Emily

    Thank you so much for this post! It is really timely for me today as I was struggling with this issue just this morning while at a cafe with two other mom friends and our toddlers. One of the other moms said “I tried cutting out soy for 2 weeks and it was impossible.” I wanted to say that we eat zero soy, despite the fact that it’s in everything (everything processed, that is). Nothing’s impossible when you’re taking your health in your own hands! Then not two seconds later her toddler broke out in hives all over his face. I wanted to share but I know she’s not in the right place. Grace!

    Emily in Washington, DC

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