SO I have a story to tell you. It is a drama, a comedy, a tragedy, and a love story all rolled into one. It is about the human race. The setting is Thanksgiving week anyplace in America. Millions of people will gather with their loved ones and celebrate every blessing God has bestowed upon us all year-long and they will have food and fun and fellowship and many will be seeing each other for the first and maybe only time this year because of jobs and distance and expense for travel etc. I adore Thanksgiving. For me it can be really easy to take for granted the things I need to be thankful for and sometimes I tend to focus on what ELSE I want or think I need. Sometimes I need a good reminder that my God is a God of divine provision and always provides exactly what I need each day. I am breathing and that is a blessing. I have a warm sweater on today on this chilly fall morning and that for sure is a blessing. My family all came over for Thanksgiving and I got to see my sweet grand-babies and that too is a huge gift. Is my life perfect? Of course not. We worry about finances and our kids and the same things as everyone else. But I am beyond thankful. My cup truly runneth over. And the fact that God decided five days was long enough for me to have the flu and I woke up today feeling like a new woman is something else I am SUPER DUPER thankful for along with the creator of Tamiflu. Yep I am very thankful for them!
I love Christmas also. Most importantly because Christmas celebrates the birth of my Savior Jesus Christ. It truly is my very favorite holiday and time of year. I usually have my tree up by Thanksgiving weekend and have Christmas music on my XM radio by Nov 5. I LOVE Christmas. And having grandkids makes Christmas so much fun. I love watching Ansley and Laila open their gifts and look so excited and now we have sweet little Maddox and his first Christmas this year. Nothing makes me happier than a house full of smiling faces. So yep, I am a little Christmas crazy for sure.
However, In my profession, as a nutritionist and holistic health coach, this time of year completely saddens me. So we start Thanksgiving Day and gorge ourselves (because that truly is how we show thanks in America????) and then we start the gorging season, I mean Christmas season and we eat our way to December 31 and then that night we eat and drink some more just one last hoorah and then we wake up January 1 feeling tired and bloated and our pants are too tight and we make these insane resolutions and purchase an annual membership to a gym (which they love because you don’t use it after March and they make a killing) and buy the latest diet fad that promises you to lose 10 pounds in 10 days and we start this mode of deprivation. We put our bodies into a serious turmoil and this cycle of gorging and dieting and bingeing and starving does terrible things to our metabolism and gut health that most people just do not understand. Why do we do this?
How did we evolve into a nation that has this feast or famine mentality? We are always either gorging or dieting and it is a vicious endless cycle. Our gut microbiome is a delicate precious thing that God created with the exact balance of good and bad bacteria. The day we are born and we start introducing baby formula, processed baby food, sugar laden juices and then as we get older more processed foods and chemicals and medicines the gut balance deteriorates and this causes a host of issues.
We have literally been spending the last 50 years as part of a human experiment gone terribly wrong. But the story of the covered up science about sugar and the original food pyramid and the Ancel Keys story is another blog for another day. Just understand that when the food industry, as powerful as it is, manipulated the science and your government, the old grain heavy fat is bad food pyramid came to be and thankfully science is now disregarding and tweaking that daily. By 2020 hopefully sugar and grains will be the smallest portion of the new “Choose My Plate” guidelines. However not to digress.
We have set a very dangerous socialization standard for ourselves that says treating our bodies as the temples God intended means deprivation and putting trash into our bodies is a treat or reward? Backwards much? Oh I am sure the devil loves this trait in us for sure. See the weaker the body the weaker the mind and the weaker the mind the easier for the devil to get inside. God doesn’t instruct us to be healthy and treat our bodies as temples just because he cares about nutrition, God knows that the stronger our bodies are the stronger our minds will be and the better we will be able to obey what God is calling on us to do. Think about it for just a minute.
1Corinthians 6:19 tells us “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?” The verse is extremely clear and yet we seem to ignore this one as a society. We eat an average of 150-170 pounds of sugar per person per year in America. However during the 1800’s this number was closer to 4-6lbs per year. We eat more processed fake lab created edible food-like substances than we do real food made by God. When I speak to local high schools and challenge the kids to go 14 days with no fast food they literally look at me as if I had six heads. The idea of giving up fake food is so totally foreign to them. Often I will look at a food log of a teenager and not see one home cooked meal for a week. This just boggles my mind. Our taste buds are so jacked up from the chemicals and fake food we eat, (oh and for the record- anything from a box or a package or a fast food joint is fake food. Anything that doesn’t come from nature and cannot be killed caught or grown is fake food) that we do not even truly know what we like anymore when it comes to food. It will shock you how differently things taste when you detox off the fake food and fill your body with good real food.
On top of our obsession with food- usually fake food- we have this really unhealthy relationship with our bodies. The media dictates what beauty is and gives young women and men these insane ideals that they then begin to strive for that are often extremely unhealthy. Kids are born loving and accepting their bodies and all of those around them. Once again socialization takes over around middle school and all of a sudden if you do not dress and look and act a certain way kids tend to be cruel and mean and this begins some very unhealthy patterns that can have lasting effects on our lives and our ideas of self-love and acceptance. Sometimes the pressure of trying to hold up to society’s standards can lead to some very unhealthy relationships with food and with our bodies.
I know because I was there. See, long before I went back to school to study food and nutrition, I was a 350lb food addict. I have been in recovery for almost 10 years. I used to think if I were just skinnier, or just a little bit prettier, or just a few pounds smaller I would be just right. It took me a long time to realize that I am just right as I am. Of course I am a work in progress with a long way to go and I spend each day working to treat my body as the temple God created and to refine that temple to the best of my abilities. Some days I do great and some are total fails, but it was a huge lesson to realize that the shape and size of my body did not define me. I am six feet tall and will never ever be a tiny petite woman. But I can be healthy. I can refine my temple to being the best version of Erin that honors God that I can be!
The diet industry makes me cringe. Trust me I have tried every single one out there and the honest truth is there is NO DIET that works long-term. If one did the rest would go out of business. There are styles of eating that are good in theory. Staying on a style of eating that is plant heavy, low in carbs and sugar, and low in processed fake food is a winning plan! Imagine if we all STOPPED THE DIETING MADNESS and focused on getting our guts as healthy and balanced as possible and treating our bodies as the temples they were intended, eating real food and stay off the sugar and fake stuff. If we truly accomplished this task, as God has commanded us in the bible, we would all be happier and healthier.
Have you ever really thought and prayed about these two verses?
1 Corinthians 6:19 “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you?”
1 Corinthians 10:31 “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”
Most People take better care of their cars and pets than they do their bodies. To be truly healthy and in a right place with God, we have got to get to the place where we take better care of our bodies and put our health as a top priority. I think it goes without saying that if we were acting promiscuous or using illicit drugs or overindulging daily in alcohol, we would feel convicted. But why then do we not feel that same conviction for being sedentary and for putting fake chemical laden food into our bodies day after day?
Let’s keep it real for just a minute. What I am about to tell you may not be popular but it is the truth. We all know someone who has struggled with alcohol addiction, drug addiction, or some other addiction and let’s face it we all judge. But then we think nothing of gorging on sweets and processed fast food and junk and how dare anyone judge us for that??? Treating the body like a temple does not just apply to abstaining from the usual suspects. It means eat real food. God gave us all we need to nourish these temples in nature. Animals and plants. We certainly do not eat enough plants in this country and if we did we would be a lot healthier. Each plant color has a specific nutrient and purpose. And no don’t tell me you eat or drink some superfood powder that gives you your veggies, or drink some artificial ketone drink, or the latest greens drink . Hogwash. That is all gimmick after gimmick. EAT REAL FOOD. Get your gut healthy. We don’t do this enough which is why every human on the planet needs a great multivitamin, probiotic, and magnesium supplement. And no for those rolling their eyes at me, this is not a plug for you to use the supplements I use, (which are the best out there) it is a plug to eat real food and treat your body like a temple.
Now don’t get me wrong. I am not saying we will never again have a slice of grandma’s apple pie or ever have a treat on vacation, but what we are doing on a daily basis is making us sick. Most people don’t even realize the 95% of chronic disease is preventable based on what we eat and drink. THAT SHOULD SCARE YOU TO DEATH! What I am saying is that we need to do a better job of every day asking ourselves if everything we eat or drink or do is truly to the glory of God? Yes this means what we eat but it also means the thoughts we allow to creep into our heads. It means comparing ourselves to others. We don’t need to be like someone else to be good enough. We are enough and God only calls us to be the best version of ourselves. The best version or Erin will always be a six foot tall woman and never a petite tiny super model. But guess what? That is AOK! God didn’t call me to be a size six. God called me to be the best version of Erin.
I say we start a movement. A real movement of people who say NO MORE to falling for the latest diet trap. A movement that understands that eating crap daily is just as much a sin as smoking and doing drugs and being promiscuous and drinking to excess. THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE. A movement that loves these temples God gave us and that understands we are all beautiful broken works in progress. A movement that shows ourselves and others grace when we stumble and falter and have a bad day, not one that says “oh well, I ate a cookie so I blew it and may as well eat the whole bag.” A movement that knows we were made to move and does its’ best to move our bodies daily. A movement that knows self-care is a critical part of the picture and that means saying no to overextending ourselves and yes to some ME time. A movement that knows that one bad day of eating doesnt mean we are doomed to be unhealthy forever. A movement that does our best to refine and tweak these temples. A movement that wants to be the best versions of ourselves and that truly loves ourselves and understands without a shadow of a doubt that we are beautiful and blessed creations of God. A movement of #templetweakers
No diets, no resolutions, no negative self-talk. Just real broken flawed people making a commitment to do our best to follow what God commands and to treat our bodies as temples every single day as best we can. Each meal is a chance to honor God. Each time we fill our cups is a chance to honor God. Each time we move our bodies and choose the home cooked meal over the fast food burger is a chance to honor God. Each time we help and support another is a chance to honor God. Will you join with me and commit to refining your temple? Will you be a #templetweaker with me?
We have a public group on Facebook called #TempleTweakers. Feel free to join and have support as you work to refine and tweak your temple. We want to hear your daily victories and support you when you are feeling low. Let’s band together and create a movement of positive, loving, grace-giving people working to be the best versions of themselves.