This circus monkey at heart loves waffles, painting my nails, pole fitness, high heels, little kids, conquering fears, and making pretty much any food where I get to use my butane torch. So it is with courage of conviction, I share with you bits of piecing together progress in overcoming health challenges through faith, food, and a kinder approach to healing inside and out, so I can live a full, vibrant, empowered life; a life lived with the pain of heartbreak and obstacles, married with faith.
“We could never learn to be brave and patient, if there were only joy in the world.” – Helen Keller
Serious illness and injury have been my walking partners for twelve years. I struggle to overcome. I struggle to find myself, and my voice. I struggle to be the best and healthiest I can be. There are many stereotypes connected with ongoing health struggles. Boxes the world tries to put us in. We live in a broken world, and I don’t like people being put in boxes. We are, each of us, far too complex for such a thing.
“Everything has its wonders, even darkness and silence, and I learn whatever state I am in, therein to be content.”
– Helen Keller
I spent a long time in darkness and silence, until God began to layer small, subtle things into my isolation and showed me just how many of His wonders and how much of His love were to be discovered…to be seen and heard in that darkness and silence.
Traditional medicine only took me so far. I began to believe the lie that if they couldn’t help me, then I simply couldn’t be helped, and there wasn’t anything else for me on this earth. Slowly God began to provide quality alternatives that led me down the road to realizing He created so much beauty in the world, and part of His creation was naturopathic and holistic medicine, plant based supplements, and food.
He gave us food! God’s the One who created us to need to consume food throughout the day, not only to help us remember Him as provider and lover of our souls, but as Healer. Food contributes to a greater healing than I ever thought possible. He also created flavors people! If the only purpose of food were for nutrition, and to remember He provides for us, we wouldn’t have been given the varieties of flavor, texture, and color that exist! Let alone the ability to combine them in innumerable ways for our pleasure, enjoyment and well being…all of which are abundant gifts to show His love for us and our human bodies.
However, there is a difference between ‘food’ and ‘filler.’ Food is something that nourishes and sustains. Physiologically we take in nutrients to fuel, as well as nourish, and sustain our physical bodies. In order to do that, food needs to be real as in, not fake, false, or artificial. For example, things with chemicals and preservatives are so much tougher for your body to break down, because they’re designed not to break down at all.
Learning to identify things the body can in fact use to heal was quite the process. Trust me, this girl loves her ice cream, boxed mac and cheese, and sour cream and onion chips… but I found as I slowly (and I do mean slowly) weeded out items with GMO’s, preservatives, chemicals, dyes, antibiotics, hormones, and a host of other impurities I was able to get off the teeter-totter and maintain lasting progress!
Food is key to self-repair, comfort, nutrition, healing, relationships, socializing, and more, but other than getting some nutrients, and health benefits, I wasn’t experiencing any of the warm fuzzies. With zero creativity, I’d eat whatever I wanted for a while…feel miserable, and crawl back to the same, boring separates. Bottom line, I had no idea what to do with real food, because real food comes in ingredients! Wahoo! And I literally did not know a thing about cooking, if it didn’t come in a box.
My forge-ahead-through-the-darkest-night passion came bubbling back as I realized I had three choices. One: I could just give up, and slowly die. Two: I could do the bare minimum, with what I knew, and be mad as hell for the rest of my life. Or three: I could learn to kick its clean, everything-free little butt in the ass and rock it out! HA! So, I decided on the third choice, and wound up at culinary school to learn how to be awesome!!! Real, clean food is in fact delicious and fabulous! Limitations don’t have to mean the death of fun or comfort; they are just a puzzle waiting to be solved. Remember,
“A bend in the road is not the end of the road… Unless you fail to make the turn.” – Helen Keller
One of the biggest brain changers I got out of culinary school is how processing through the senses in a physical way helps the mind, body, and soul. Marrying flavor, pairing wines, and building beauty in any art form comes from immersing your senses in the moment to unlock your creativity.
Aromas, visual beauty, sounds, what something feels like in your hand, and tastes like on your pallet are all VITAL to our personal growth and ability to experience God in an integrated way. There is a special vitality and power for living we can access when we tune in to our senses in the now.
“Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it.” – Helen Keller
Easter is a special season to me. At first, it felt like the beginning of the end to my torn up teenage soul. I lost a lot that first year, and the losses continued to mount as the years passed. Be actively for yourself, not just, passively ‘not against’ yourself. You’re worth it! Jesus thought so. He gave His life for yours. For me, everything that’s happened since Easter, twelve years ago, really turned out to be the beginning of the beginning. Food is a gift, and life, though filled with challenges, can be lived fully and vibrantly, with pain and faith, in picturesque harmony day by day, like our Savior on the cross, pain in faith for us.
*photos courtesy of Shannon McGlurg