Although eating and food are obviously related, they are not the same thing. Food is what we consume. Eating is how we consume it.

In an ideal world, our bodies would send us signals to let us know when we are hungry and when we didn’t need to eat anymore. In an ideal world, we would listen to those signals, know what and when to eat, and all live happily ever after.

This is not an ideal world.

Early on, we learn to associate food with comfort. Babies cry and moms nurse them. Toddlers fall down, and a favorite treat can distract them from their tears and get them back on their way.

And there are rules. Veggies before dessert. Clean your plate. Green is good and sugar is bad. You have to eat breakfast. One year eggs are good, the next they are bad. Artificial sweeteners are life-savers and then they’re death in a little pink, yellow, or blue packet.

I wonder who spends more on advertising: the food industry or the diet industry?

No wonder we’re all confused.

I used to feel really deficient because food and eating were my weaknesses. I mean it’s just food. It isn’t alcohol or drugs or anything else that gave a discernible high. In fact, eating too much can be downright painful. Why would that be appealing? Then, about the millionth time I read Genesis, I realized something. Food was the very first temptation. To Eve, food was, “good … and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable.” Wow.

I want part of my journey to help me sort through the whys and wherefores of my own eating habits. Why do I think sugar will get rid of a headache? (It’s not blood sugar related; mine is fine every time I check.) How come I still feel the need to eat everything on my plate even though I’m 42 years old? Why do I sit down to eat meals when I’m not even hungry and why do I feel that I have to eat at social gatherings if food is served? Why can’t I just eat when I’m hungry, stop at enough, make healthier choices, and say, “No, thank you” when I’m not hungry? It’s not from a lack of knowledge. There’s something else going on.

Here’s my real goal: “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.”

What about you? Are food and eating struggles for you? If so, how? Is it the meal planning end of things or the eating part? Do you want to replace your cravings with food with cravings for God? How can we do that? Seriously — I want to know.


Food, Part 2: Books for the Battle

So we’ve established that I have lifelong issues with food. Planning ahead, making good choices, dealing with the responsibility of feeding my family, and eating for some not-so-good reasons. We also established that the time and place to deal with it now. So what’s next? First, I’ll tell you what doesn’t work for me.

  1. Guilt. If guilt were going to motivate me to change, I would’ve done it a LONG time ago.
  2. My own appearance. I’m not blind. I can see the pictures. I can look in a mirror. I know what I look like and I know that it’s nowhere close to what I could be.
  3. My own health. Sad, isn’t it? When my blood pressure started creeping up, it was a good short-term motivation but that didn’t stick around.
  4. Eating plans. Trust me. I’ve done them all. Points, Atkins, South Beach, Weigh Down. . . they all work for a while, but I’ve followed the typical pattern of returning to old habits and then some.

In most areas of my life, other people are my motivation. Caleb’s diagnosis of Type 1 Diabetes is what made me get serious about getting organized with supper and family meals, but I also want to work on the bigger picture. Face it: I’m an American and I eat too much and I eat too much of some not-so-good stuff.

Since other people are better motivators for me, I’m taking a global and spiritual approach to this. Here are some books I’ve just started reading that I hope will provide the spark to take the next step.

Rich Christians In An Age Of Hunger is written for our times, when every day more than 34,000 children die of starvation and preventable diseases, and 1. 3 billion human beings live in relentless, unrelieved poverty worldwide. Why is there still so much poverty in the world? Conservatives blame sinful individual choices and laziness. Liberals condemn economic and social structures. Who is right? Who is wrong? Both, according to Ronald Sider in this newly revised, expanded and updated edition of Rich Christians In An Age Of Hunger. Sider explains that poverty is the result of complex causes, and then he presents practical, workable proposes for change, proposals that should be taken up by every man and every woman who seeks to deserve the title “Christian” and to apply and to follow the teaches of Jesus of Nazareth in the modern world. — Midwest Book Review

Food is the one thing that Americans hate to love and, as it turns out, love to hate. What we want to eat has been ousted by the notion of what we should eat, and it’s at this nexus of hunger and hang-up that Michael Pollan poses his most salient question: where is the food in our food? What follows in In Defense of Food is a series of wonderfully clear and thoughtful answers that help us omnivores navigate the nutritional minefield that’s come to typify our food culture. Many processed foods vie for a spot in our grocery baskets, claiming to lower cholesterol, weight, glucose levels, you name it. Yet Pollan shows that these convenient “healthy” alternatives to whole foods are appallingly inconvenient: our health has a nation has only deteriorated since we started exiling carbs, fats–even fruits–from our daily meals. His razor-sharp analysis of the American diet (as well as its architects and its detractors) offers an inspiring glimpse of what it would be like if we could (a la Humpty Dumpty) put our food back together again and reconsider what it means to eat well. In a season filled with rallying cries to lose weight and be healthy, Pollan’s call to action—”Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”–is a program I actually want to follow. –Anne Bartholomew

Most of us are at a great distance from our food. I don’t mean that we live “twelve miles from a lemon,” as English wit Sydney Smith said about a home in Yorkshire. I mean that our food bears little resemblance to its natural substance. Hamburger never mooed; spaghetti grows on the pasta tree; baby carrots come from a pink and blue nursery. Still, we worry about our meals — from calories to carbs, from heart-healthy to brain food. And we prefer our food to be “natural,” as long as natural doesn’t involve real.

In The Omnivore’s Dilemma, Michael Pollan writes about how our food is grown — what it is, in fact, that we are eating. The book is really three in one: The first section discusses industrial farming; the second, organic food, both as big business and on a relatively small farm; and the third, what it is like to hunt and gather food for oneself. And each section culminates in a meal — a cheeseburger and fries from McDonald’s; roast chicken, vegetables and a salad from Whole Foods; and grilled chicken, corn and a chocolate soufflé (made with fresh eggs) from a sustainable farm; and, finally, mushrooms and pork, foraged from the wild.– The Washington Post

So . . . hopefully they will each provide pieces of the puzzle that I can use to rewire my brain and retrain my responses. Stay tuned for the next steps.


There it is. Food. Something I have struggled with all my life. My eating patterns were highly scrutinized and I admit to using food as my rebellion at different times in life. Oh yes, I will eat a brownie. Oh yes, I will put a whole bag of chocolate chips in the cookies when I make them. There were lots of food rules and I probably broke them all.

I could talk about how food is tied up in the whole body image/weight issue too, but I really just want to talk about food. I’ve always had to think about it, either because of my own food issues or because of trying to meal plan for my family. Have to admit: I love feeding people. I don’t like the planning and shopping part, but I do get a lot of satisfaction from having people over and feeding the. I’m a pretty good cook when I have the time to do it.

Working full time has put a serious dent in my limited ability to plan, shop for, and prepare food. We started eating out too much, and I started buying quick-to-fix food for when we did eat at home. We ate in front of the tv pretty often because the table was usually covered with papers and homework and incomplete projects.

Food was out of control.

Last August, I knew it had to change when Caleb was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. Read carefully: what someone eats does not cause Type 1, but it is vitally important in managing it well. One of the hardest things about re-entering life after his hospitalization and diagnosis was the very well-meaning people who would give me information about how we could cure Caleb’s diagnosis through diet.

Type 1 has no cure and isn’t caused by what you eat. Please remember that.

Anyway, Caleb’s nutrition needs plus my own feeling of being out-of-control has led me to reevaluate the role of food in our life. I’ve already mentioned and how helpful it has been. Another resource that I would encourage all of you to check out is an upcoming television series, Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution. You can watch a preview episode at Hulu or catch the 2-hour premiere Friday night on ABC. The preview episode focused on school cafeteria food, and so does Fed Up With Lunch: The School Lunch Project. I know that not all of you have children who eat school lunches, but mine do. That was one of the first things I wanted to change when Caleb was diagnosed, but he desperately wanted to continue eating in the cafeteria because it was a normalizer. When your whole world changes, you need something to make you feel normal. I couldn’t take that away from him.

Tomorrow will be Food, Part 2: Books for the Battle.

Let the geekiness commence

Remember this?

Well, get ready for this:

Yep. Jeff Bridges and everything. Tron always reminded me of Kamazotz from Madeleine L’Engle’s beautiful work A Wrinkle in Time. Well, Kamazotz in a blue and black computer generated way.

(Sorry the viewing proportions are off, but my true geek friends will love this anyway.)

Things I get excited about

Yesterday, Caleb had a check up with the Endocrinology team at Children’s. I’m always nervous before these. Have we kept good enough records? Are we eating too many carbs? What about the days we didn’t remind Caleb to check his blood sugar first thing in the morning or before he went to bed or . . . ?

You get the picture.

Anyway, yesterday’s appointment went really, really well! Even though his daily numbers can be all over the place, his averages were good. The primary measurement (called A1C) was 6.7, which is in the non-diabetic range. No, this doesn’t mean that he’s “getting over it” or that his body is recovering its ability to make insulin, but it does mean that he is healthy and that makes me excited.

One of the things they really liked was the low-carb supper plans that we’ve been using. I put a link over on the left-hand side bar so you can go see their site. We learned about e-mealz when we took a Dave Ramsey course last summer. I enjoy cooking, but meal planning and grocery shopping have always been big struggles for me. E-mealz is only $15.00 for a 3-month subscription and I get a low-carb meal plan every week that includes main dishes, sides, and an item-by-item grocery list. It’s a no-fail way to make sure you have a plan and the needed groceries every day. Get this: you can even tell them which grocery store you tend to use and they’ll send you the plan for that store. Yeah. It’s that cool.

AND last but not least, I get very excited about The Chronicles of Narnia. You already knew that, didn’t you? Here’s a fan-made trailer for the upcoming Voyage of the Dawn Treader movie. Rumor has it that it will be in theaters December of 2010. I can’t wait. Yes, I know that I will have to and that means that I can wait, but still. . . . I can’t wait!