A Realistic Perspective on Real Food in a Very Real World

A Realistic Perspective on Real Food in a Very Real World

Grace. We all need it in every aspect of life. One area that generally lacks grace is the mainstream Real Food Movement. If you are feeling overwhelmed, discouraged, or anxiety-ridden by the heavy-handedness among many (not all) real foodies, you have come to the right place. I am honored to be joining three terrific ladies offering you grace through these four posts on The Real Truth About Real Food:

Real food

My husband is a traveling Christian musician. (Hold on. This does have to do with real food.) Because we are a family that does everything together, we go with him. That, my friends, means 9 people and a 130-pound dog in a super-sized van towing a trailer all over the country meeting people from all walks of life. All walks of life.

Many of the churches we visit feed us in one way or another. We have been blessed with elaborate spreads and honored with humble meals eaten among new friends. We’ve met people who eat their food straight from the earth and those who eat their food straight off the shelves. We’ve encountered people who could afford to eat whatever they like and those who are barely scraping by, living off the church’s food bank until they can get back on their feet. All walks of life, I tell you.

Real Food

One of our tours took us through many poor churches whose members generously shared their meals with us. That experience made me rethink my fairly dogmatic view of what was truly important about food. I felt almost…embarrassed by some of the real food aspirations I held. I also grew downright indignant (to put it nicely) toward the type of real foodies who shout “You’ll be sorry!” at those whose lives necessitate veering from real food perfection. Where’s the grace in that?

Our lives necessitate not merely veering from perfection, but taking some serious detours along the way.

There are two approaches we can take as a family in our current circumstances where eating the ideal real food diet is, simply put, impossible. We could riddle first our minds and then our bodies with disease and infirmity by stressing over the potential health hazards of not attaining real food idealism. This would, naturally, involve struggling to meet what amounts to unrealistic goals for this season in life, wreaking havoc on our budget, and bearing the burden of guilt for our failures. (Sounds like fun, doesn’t it? It’s not. I tried it.) Or we could do the best that we can, ditch the unhealthy stress and guilt, and enjoy the blessings of fellowship and food on the road, however imperfect it may be. Did you catch the irony? In case you missed it, let me rephrase:

Stressing over health is one of the unhealthiest things a person can do.

Also ironic is that one of the most priceless lessons I learned about eating, joy, and appreciation came not from the real foodies, but from those we met on our travels, specifically those who have very little food. (Of course, my hubby will tell you that he’s been saying this all along…and he would be right…again.) Those people are not calculating whether their yogurt was cultured for 24 hours or 6. They don’t have the luxury (or curse) of worrying whether their eggs are farm fresh or whether the chickens consumed soy. They’re not wondering whether their apples are organic and cleansed properly or if they were picked up off the ground and rubbed on a pair of dirty jeans (the only way to eat apples, in my book).

They are grateful for whatever is set before them and they eat it with joy.

Shouldn’t we all eat with joy?

Real Food

I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with being a real foodie. Personally, I feed my family food that is as untouched as possible. We make almost everything from scratch. We minimize the amount of sugar we consume, bake our own bread, culture yogurt, soak nuts, make granola bars, and on and on it goes. Cold cereal–what’s that? Frozen pizza–a distant memory. Store-bought salad dressing–not here.

But you know what? I refuse to let real food be my idol, and I refuse to let real foodies stress me or my family into a state of perpetual anxiety.

I know some people have never had a gram of sugar or a preservative in their lives.  Me? Well, if preservatives actually worked as well on the human body as they do on margarine (and I hope they do), I’d live to be 280 from what I consumed in college alone. I know some parents religiously monitor their children’s toxin exposure. Me? I’m very cautious, but I cannot deny the health benefits of the sheer joy that is served up with my grandpa’s chocolate malts or the occasional hot Krispy Kreme donut. I know some people will refuse food served by others if they know it is not ideal. Me? I totally enjoy myself as I fellowship over food, however imperfect. (Admittedly, I steer toward the healthy, and I dutifully turn down foods that give my nursing baby colic or me…a-hem…flatulence…for the sake of my hosts. You’re welcome.)

Real Food

Yes, there are real allergies out there and real health conditions and overall we should try to make real food a very real part of our very real lives. With that I heartily agree.

But…

We should not sacrifice real living in the process. We should not crucify joy on the cross of food perfection.

When the anxiety of eating becomes so great that the enjoyment and blessing have been replaced by fear, there is a problem. When others (or you) are made to feel inferior, anxious, or guilty because the food on their plates is not ideal, a whole new arena of hazards is being introduced–mental, emotional, joy-sapping hazards. When the food becomes more important than the relationships, there is a problem. When other people are starving and parents are flippin’ out because Grandma offered Junior a graham cracker (assuming Junior is not allergic to graham crackers), priorities are skewed…and not just a little bit.

I’m living in a place called The Real World, and living in that zipcode requires balance. If you’re a neighbor (also living in the real world), and you find yourself needing a frozen pizza or even a GASP Pepsi with crushed ice and a straw from time to time, enjoy! Eat it with a smile, because food is a blessing that not everyone has, and because that smile is good for your health…and stress will kill you faster than corn syrup.

Real Food

I may not be the ideal real foodie, or even close for that matter, and we may not live to be 120, but this one thing I know: the joy and friendship enjoyed over our meals on the road are far better for our health than the stress of striving to achieve unattainable perfection. Who wants to be perfect anyway–it’s lonely at the top, and studies show you live longer if you ditch the stress and loneliness in favor of real relationships with other real people. I’m pretty sure studies would show you live longer if you eat nachos, too, don’t you think?

I’d love to hear your thoughts…but keep it friendly. This is a bully-free zone.

Remember to visit these lovely ladies!

80 Replies to “A Realistic Perspective on Real Food in a Very Real World”

    1. Ha ha! You want to be like me–too funny! Well, you’re pregnant, so that’s a good start. And you’ll need some gray hair, a little hypochondria, and a really big dog. Love you back! You’re a bloggy rockstar! And your post is FANTASTIC! It’s perfect!

    1. I’ll take my chances with corn syrup over stress any day! (Actually, I try to avoid both, but, well you know!) 🙂

      Loved your post today, Anne!

      1. Hey I have corn syrup in the fridge–it’s lasted a year. It fills in the gap when I run out of sugar (due to limited budget).

        You’d find our family and church is much like the ones you mentioned, sharing our meals with a lot coming from the ground (and a bit from the shelf), as we’re not exactly…wealthy…and we’re in a farming area. I do homemade breads, our desserts are more often than not homemade, I don’t worry as much about sugar as the recipes don’t take much, I don’t make my own yogurt and stuff, but I am growing a small garden here in town if that earns any brownie points. I even make my own soap (stove top in a stock pot). I’m trying to talk hubby into letting me plant stevia in the flower bed and maybe some peppermint.

        Point is…I agree pretty much with you! We personally aren’t food snobs..we can’t afford to be. I don’t care if the cow ate organic or not..it’s a walking hamburger. The chicken can eat whatver it wants, it still tastes good to me. And I’ll take a cherry Coke on ice any time! That and fresh sweet tea!

        hugs 🙂

          1. LOL yes, busy here! We are in Kansas, and blessed by tons of farmer’s markets around us, folks on the roadside in trucks, etc that sell produce all summer/fall long. My favorite is the honey salesman who sells out of his truck bed tons of honey. YUM! This year I’m canning as much as I can so we can eat a bit better this winter rather than using a lot of processed factory stuff–bush beans, corn, tomatoes, etc… Can’t wait! 🙂 The freezer will be getting eggplant, brussel sprouts, squash, and zukes that are growing so far. 🙂

  1. Amen! I totally agree with all that you have written. We have to be very careful of taking something and not letting it become an idol for one. Yes, it is important to try your best in serving the most nutritous meals possible. I have tried the real food movement, and honestly I about killed myself trying to do it all and also got so depressed that we could not afford grass-fed beef and raw milk, and ended up serving our family mostly bean dishes, not saying that is all bad, but at the sametime gets very boring.

    Like you, I enjoy eating with others and enjoying life with them. Sharing is awesome!

    We decided awhile back to do what we can and let go what we can not. There is nothing else that we can do.

    1. I had the same experience, Nora, right down to getting depressed and almost desperate over what we couldn’t afford. It is too easy to make it an idol. The other gals wrote on that aspect more specifically and did an excellent job.

      Thank you for sharing your experience!

  2. I have read all 4 of your articles now and you sure have convinced me! I absolutely believe relationships are more important than food but sometimes I forget…I thank all 4 of you for the wonderful reminders to keep it all in balance and keep Jesus on the throne of our lives and not food or even health.

    1. It is SO easy to forget and get caught up in doing what’s “best” for our families…only to have it turn out to be misguided, or at the least over-the-top. Been there! Still in recovery! 🙂 Blessings to you, Lori!

  3. I so appreciate your balanced approach to food. It makes me sad to see so many people saddling themselves with financial burdens and insane amounts of stress all in the name of food. I think your perspective is one that needs to be heard and I couldn’t have said it better myself.

  4. I totally agree with this blog. I love reading your posts and I love that you are taking a stand on what you believe. After all, food is not the most important thing, your relationship with Christ is. Keep on keeping on!

  5. This is an excellent post and timely for me as well. I couldn’t agree with it more. I found you through Anne’s post and I’m glad I did! Have a blessed day.

    1. Oh, thank you, Hallee! You’re very sweet!

      My camera died yesterday, so you may be seeing the same pictures again and again. 😉

  6. Thank you for this article! I have this one person on a social media site that I go on that comments against certain food sales I may find and post online and it has been getting really annoying lately! I love your perspective!

    1. Ohhhhh that constant unsolicited preaching is irksome! I think it only drives people away. I feel for you.

      Thanks for your encouragement! 🙂

  7. Amen to that! We try to eat as wholly as we can, but I am not going to turn down food from someone else either based on what I want for us. And some days, it is just easier and less stress to open the can of soup than to think about dinner when life is busy! Thanks!

    1. I once read a comment on a blog post about the deadly hazards of microwaves. One lady wrote, and I paraphrase:

      “Well, I have almost no time to feed my son some nights, so it’s either drive through a fast food joint or heat up some healthy, homemade leftovers in the microwave before we’re out the door again.”

      In the real world (where you may have noticed most of us live), there are no nannies and maids and lobster dinners awaiting us after a long day…or at least not in my reality. 🙂

      All that to say, yes…sometimes we need a can of soup! 🙂

  8. I’ve read all four of these posts now and I think you have it absolutely right. Although we should respect and care for the bodies God has given us by trying to give them what is best, this cannot be at the expense of brothers and sisters elsewhere or of growing relationships with each other as we share whatever it is that the Lord has blessed us with. This was a timely reminder for me, as a minister with a chronic health condition I did go through a phase of being over-anxious and spending money that was needed elsewhere on food that was supposed to help in all sorts of miraculous ways. I’m over that now thank the Lord, and although still trying to balance the role of food in my life I’m relying on God’s grace in my weakness.

    1. Thank you for sharing your experience, Cheryl. I have a daughter with Crohn’s, and people in the RF community have spent considerable time and effort sharing how her condition is my fault, and how I could cure her or could prevent it in other children by doing A, B, C. It can be very tempting to go overboard! I have, and I likely will be tempted to do so again. My grandmother, who has rheumatoid arthritis, says to my food comments, “Enjoy your food, Love. Enjoy it.” That woman is still going strong at 85 and enJOYing life!

      My husband has a song about your last sentence. It’s called Grace Beyond my Need.

      Thank you for sharing your story! God’s blessings to you!

  9. I was on the perfect food kick for a long time, ironically fueled by a desire to get rid of an anxiety disorder. I love these posts that you guys wrote, because it is so true that stressing over food is worse than just eating what is available to you and enjoying it. I continue to eat a healthy diet, but I am no longer convinced it is the cure to all of life’s problems. Being thus convinced was a problem in and of itself, as you all have so eloquently pointed out.

    1. I could have written that comment! I too was on the perfect kick and it really took a toll on me. It’s hard to step back, isn’t it? You’re right that realizing our diets aren’t the be-all and end-all of existence is so crucial, but difficult. Thank you for commenting, Michelle!

      1. I just found this post and I too found it interesting. I went on a Raw Food Diet for a year then began introducing some cooked food at night. I felt great, lost weight, and my body was healing. Then our financial slump dropped in a deeper slump and trying to feed a teen boy, and two younger boys on raw food was nearly impossible not to mention my wonderful husband. They were constantly hungry. I felt totally guilty for not being able to do it right like others. AS our money belt tightened we had to introduced more no-no foods. And gradually the weight came back. I would love to know how to enjoy food and still lose weight. My body responds perfectly to a raw food/vegan diet. However it is nearly impossible to make that work with 4 males in the house. Still left in tears not knowing how to eat heatlhy and afford it and lose weight. Was never this difficult as a teen.

        1. I highly recommend reading the book Trim Healyhy Mama. Great info for being healthy in a balanced way and be able to lose extra weight.

  10. Thank you for your collaborative effort on this topic! I am at the opposite end of the spectrum (eating/serving basically ALL processed foods), but I found this sooo helpful! I always felt too overwhelmed to start, and now I’m seeing the perspective (quoting my beloved FlyLady) that I need to make progress- not perfection… I see babysteps in my future 🙂 Thanks again!

    1. Progress, not perfection–AMEN!!! I love FlyLady, too, and her approach is the best approach as you step toward less processed foods. One step at a time! When that becomes second nature, another step…and several steps backwards from time to time without guilt! 🙂 I’m so happy you stopped by, Joanna! You can do it!!!

  11. AMEN AND AMEN 🙂 I completely prefer to be an all nat-ur- all girl, as much as possible… However lately every time I ‘think’ I am doing good, I find out a product I favored over another ends up not being ‘great’ either.
    Also a six month lay off for my husband and a chronic illness for me, has left us below poverty level for the first time in our lives. I had to get over food anxiety FAST. I would go through our monthly food budget in a week if I stressed over buying non organic items, or (gasp) regular soaps and detergents. I would seriously be far more ill from that stress, I know, I have lived it.
    I am finding living in one moment at a time, full of joy for ALL He has provided, is the only way to live for me.
    Thank you for the reminder!

    1. I love this: “Living in one moment at a time, full of joy for ALL He has provided, is the only way to live.” EXCELLENT! Thank you for sharing that beautiful thought.

  12. Thank you so much for this series. Just in the last few months I’ve been delving into blogs that focus on DIY homemaking and organic ways of doing things and have become completely overwhelmed. I sensed what you talked about, that all of the ones I read thought that their lifestyle was more important than the feelings of the people they came into contact with. I was left to feel inadequate and even shameful because I didn’t have the money or time or energy to do all of these things. I just recently found out that I have a lot of food intolerances and I’ve found a whole new overwhelming group of blogs to feel horrible about when I read them. I really needed to read these four posts today…it couldn’t have possible come at a better time. In all my searching, I have found people who say they are Christians, but never people who have uplifted me like your four posts. I’ll definitely be following your posts now. Thank you. 🙂

    1. Rachel, your words have touched my heart. I know that most of the people out there are trying to help others, but I also know that some have admitted that they want to stir up conflict or just gain numbers. I don’t believe the dogmatic, do-or-die approach is helping anybody, but I know it is causing a lot of grief. The four of us simply want to offer grace and lend a helping hand, as Christ teaches us. I’m very glad you’re here, and I wish you the best on your journey as you learn to live with food intolerances. Let me reassure you that it does get easier! It really does. Bless you, girl!

    1. Thank you, Becky! My head has more humor–that’s funny. My girls have translated that into, “See, Mommy really IS weird!” 😉

    1. Thanks, Slacker Mom! Perspective is very important, as real food (or anything) can consume a person. Thanks for commenting!

  13. This is beautiful. Balanced and focused. Whole foods are valuable, but whole people and whole experiences are even more valuable. Thanks for the reminder.

    1. Jaime, that is beautiful! “Whole foods are valuable, but whole people and whole experiences are even more valuable.” I love that!

  14. I cannot say my “thank you” any better than those before me…especially Jaime…but I want to contribute and encourage you by saying BRAVO. As a WAPF chapter leader I have swung too far and God in His grace has gently guided me back to balance. I could not have said it any better than you so eloquently did. Thank you.

    1. Thank you for your perspective, Jamie. As someone in WAPF, you are in a position to truly help people. I contacted our 2 local WAPF leaders with questions once. One offered sympathy and said she’d get back to me and never did, and the other only tried to sell me things. Ha ha. Needless to say, I went WAPF-less after that. 😉 I’m quite pleased that you have a balanced approach and can truly make a difference to hurting people! Bless you!

  15. I’ve read all four of the articles and so appreciate the balanced look at the whole foods thing. It’s easy to get wrapped up in what we ‘have to do’ and forget that God gave us food for our enjoyment. I realised the other day that I had gotten a little out of whack in my perspective when I was teaching a new bride to bake bread and apologized for teaching her how to make white bread first, before we do the whole wheat grinding thing. She said, “Oh, I love homemade white bread. Is that ok??” Oh, my goodness, yes, it’s ok! Thanks for the reminder, ladies!

    1. I’m chuckling over your new bride story. Very cute! I have wake-up moments like that, myself. I too was blessed by the articles the other ladies wrote, and will referring back to ALL FOUR next time I get out of whack…which happens too much with me, too! Thanks for your encouragement, Leslie! And how wonderful that you’re passing your skills on to other ladies!

  16. You get this comment because you’re the last of the links on this topic. lol Freedom from self-imposed rules. Sounds very Christ-like to me. I try to feed my family the best foods that I can, which, being a fallen person, isn’t always the best in others’ minds! But, I find that I would “fail” the worst when I stressed over it and just kinda “gave up” for a night.

    We don’t feel great when we don’t eat great, and so I will continue to feed them the best that I can, but not feel the guilt over not living up to my own food standards. There has to be balance in our lives. I vote that we continue to send a message to our country for better food choices and hopefully things will change, but I cannot count on that or make more stress in my life over it.

    A bit jumbled this morning. 🙂

    1. Hooray, a perk for being last! 🙂

      Yes, indeed, freedom from self-imposed rules. Thank you! I completely agree with everything you said in your comment. Completely! Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Cheryl. 🙂

  17. I used to have the exact same approach as you– we ate nourishing whole foods at home because we enjoyed the preparation, the taste, and the health benefits. When away from home we gratefully ate what we were served and focused on fellowship, not food.

    Then my husband became very ill with a life-threatening autoimmune disease and bone marrow mutation. Statistically, he should be either an invalid or dead by now. We made the hard decision to stick to our food principles 100% because whenever we veered for the sake of convenience or fellowship he was in bed for days in severe pain.

    Will stress kill us faster than corn syrup? Maybe, maybe not. In our family we decided to “choose our hard.” Yes, committing to 100% whole foods has been hard in its way but the circumstances that bright us to that decision were even more hard. When I see someone drinking a Pepsi or eating a Krispy Kreme I do cringe inwardly. BUT NOT OUT OF JUDGEMENT. Only because I wish I would’ve known what was brewing in my husband’s body sooner.

    I think much of my own stress is of my own making, not because of our food. In Biblical times, the ONLY food choices were whole, organic foods. Things are different today and we each need to do the best we can, making the decisions that seem best at the time.

    Food or a food philosophy should never be an idol, of course. Neither should our culture persuade us to deviate from what we know to be the right thing. We don’t use seatbelts or carseats in moderation. We use them faithfully, every single time even though there have been MANY a time when the stress level caused by a distraught baby or toddler made me wish it was 1950 and I could just hold my baby in the car.

    “Stress will kill you faster than corn syrup” is funny until it’s a member of your family who is dying. We have chosen to look at why we view certain situations as stressful and address that perspective. We discovered we had very warped ideas about leisure time, for example. Family fun time can be washing dishes or chopping vegetables. A celebration doesn’t need to include a restaurant or food additives to be joyful, fun, and memorable.

    So I have a mixed reaction to this post. Certainly we should not be judging other people for any reason, certainly not because of what they eat. And I understand the stress that comes with trying to achieve a certain goal. For me, “fence sitting” with a goal of 80-90% whole foods was much harder than going 100%. Because my kids were always asking if they could have this or that at a party or at the store. Now they don’t ask and they will tell anyone they don’t mis those foods one bit.

    We each are on our own journey. Ours has been very difficult, at times, but I am thankful for where it has brought us.

    1. I’m right there with you, Lisa. I’m finding the consequences of us not sticking 100% much more stressful than just saying “no thank you”. May God give you the strength to keep doing what you need to do for your family. Not everyone is blessed with being able to veer off of whole foods and not face serious consequences.

      1. Very true. It is a hard cross for you to bear. We’ve been on that road in the past ourselves for a season, and I pray God gives you strength and peace.

    2. Lisa, I’m sorry to hear about your husband’s condition, and I pray that his diet is helping him. It’s a tough road you walk together. My prayers are with you.

      My post is intended to minister to the hearts of those who have found judgment, criticism, fear, and guilt within the real food community. That is something I have run into time and time and time again to the point that it made me want to quit trying, because I knew it was never ever going to be good enough. Like many others, I would appreciate being able to prepare 100% whole foods. (Actually, I do right now, because at the moment we are home, and I am in control of my environment.) However, when we are out in the mission field, which we will be full time after trading our house for the open road later this month, I will not have access to the same food resources I have at home. Things I do at home without thinking, like making yogurt and stocks, dehydrating, sprouting, soaking, gardening, making sourdough, grinding grain, making kraut, making kefir, and even things others take for granted, like shopping sales, knowing where to find affordable foods, having a freezer for better or cheaper meats and stocks, having access to local foods, knowing the farmer’s markets, etc. are not realistic in our mobile life. I can’t do it all on the road, and we will be on the road all the time. I could stress over it (which, admittedly, I will for the first few weeks), or I can commit to doing my best and letting go when I have to. This post is for people–like me–who simply cannot do it all, who need to know it’s okay to do the best they can and no better, and who need encouragement to release the guilt and paralyzing fear and feelings of hopelessness weighing them down.

      I encourage everyone to move as much toward whole foods as possible, but, unless it is a crisis situation or they have the get-up-and-go to make it a major life overhaul without stressing out over it, it needs to be a gentle process without guilt or fear.

      Eating with others is a difficult balance. We frequently have people offer us sweets that were prepared specifically for our family…pretty much at every church we visit, so 4 times a week on average. We have to monitor our kids closely, and it is a struggle to balance goodwill and good food. So you see, I really wish EVERYONE ate a perfect diet that they could share with us! 😉 I’m sure you do, too, to make your fellowship a simple process. We share your views about family fun time and celebrations, as well, by the way.

      My prayers are with you. Blessings on your choices and family. Thank you for taking the time to be a part of this discussion.

  18. I love it! We try very hard to eat well at our house–raw milk, fresh eggs, lots of fruits and veggies, organic when we can afford it, homemade and almost everything from scratch, but… I have found that stressing about everything my 17 month old boy puts in his mouth (including dirt, bugs and unknown vegetation while outside) is not worth it. I am so much happier when we do the best we can, try to hear the Holy Spirit, try to make good choices, and RELAX! And not judging my brothers and sisters in Christ if their diet is different than ours.

    I’m sure when Jesus and the disciples were traveling around the countryside, visiting in different homes, they did not always eat what they were accustomed to, or the customs of the homes may have been slightly different. The Lord’s grace covers much. (Hmmm, funny thought… did Jesus stress over whether his figs were organic or not? 🙂 )

    I believe we need to remember that love, mercy and grace are a lot more important than perfection. In every area of our lives.

    1. In Jesus time ALL food was “organic,” there was no such thing as synthetic pesticide or synthetic fertilizer. And Jesus followed the Law of Moses including the dietary laws spelled out in Leviticus, so no, if someone offered him pork or oysters or catfish he would not have eaten them. He primarily interacted with Jews, though, so all of the food offered to Him would have been acceptable.

    2. “I have found that stressing about everything my 17 month old boy puts in his mouth (including dirt, bugs and unknown vegetation while outside) is not worth it. I am so much happier when we do the best we can, try to hear the Holy Spirit, try to make good choices, and RELAX! And not judging my brothers and sisters in Christ if their diet is different than ours.”

      I really agree with this and am right there with you!

    3. “I believe we need to remember that love, mercy and grace are a lot more important than perfection. In every area of our lives.”

      YES!!! Thank you! 🙂

      I believe the New Testament speaks out against judging other Christians for their diet. In fact, I know it does, because I just read it. Thank you for sharing! 🙂

  19. Oh I love this post! I have definitely stressed myself out…I’ve always tried to be health conscious. But I went straight from college life to mom life (mostly) and then I had kid after kid LOL…three kids two years apart each later and I would die without the convenience of a drive through every now and then. With that being said, we have joined a CSA and I do try to keep at least our dinners as whole foods based as I can. My three year old has close to 20 food allergies and counting…all the big offenders (Milk, wheat, eggs, peanuts..) and he’s even allergic to things like potatoes, tomatoes, corn and meats like beef, chicken and pork. I am so very aware of all the crap in processed foods…and I’m aware that my little allergy ridden son consumes a lot of the things he allergic to just because he ate a cracker in Sunday School. Food has become such a major stressor in my life just due to food allergies alone, that I cannot stand to stress about all the other “little” stuff anymore…and ya know what? Sometimes I just need a Cherry Coke 🙂 Thank you! I was referred from another blogger that was referred to me by Pary Moppins 🙂

    1. Your poor child being fed foods he is allergic to! Won’t the people at your church help to protect him? Are they aware that they are harming your son with what they feed him? I can’t imagine how a Christian could feed a child a food that is harmful to them on purpose. Will they not feed him a safe snack that you provide? That is what I do to keep my children safe and at our congregation it is not a big deal at all.

      1. It’s not that they’re not trying to restrict his food intake…it’s just that he is literally allergic to EVERYTHING. He has to eat food he’s allergic to every day…or he’d get no nutrition. He has Oral Allergy Syndrome — which is basically where a bad pollen allergy turns your body allergy to almost everything that is pollinated. On top of it his body, for some unknown reason, forms IgE antibodies against just about every protein he consumes on a regular basis. We have an epi pen now and thankfully the only allergy he has an anaphylactic reaction to is cow’s milk protein. He no choice, unfortunately but to eat foods he’s allergic to — otherwise he just would not get enough nutrition to grow properly at his age.

        1. I don’t have a degree as a doctor or anything, but I have done quite a bit of research about food allergies etc, it may be possible for your son to heal from this. I don’t want to come on a post about not glorifying food and act like food can save everyone from everything, but the GAPS protocol has done WONDERS for my child who wouldn’t grow and had loads of food allergies. I have heard it even helps people with the IgE problem that your son has, even though the diet does have plenty of protein in it. Perhaps you would consider looking into that, so your son can get the nutrition AND avoid the things he’s allergic to, and possibly overcome some of his allergies.

          Poor kid! My daughter was having sensitivities to all kinds of grains, potatoes, and a handful of other things which I am not sure of. She couldn’t assimilate her nutrients from her food because of the huge amount of work her body was doing to cope with the allergies and toxic overload. She wasn’t growing. But after applying the diet for 3 months she gained weight, after 6 months she gained a year’s worth of growth! She still eats this special diet most of the time, but ultimately she will be able to consume regular foods.

          1. We’ve used GAPS also. In fact, one of my daughters eats full GAPS most of the time. Occasionally she will add quinoa. It does help, as does, of course, removing all processed foods. Thank for sharing your experience.

          1. He was recently diagnosed with eosinophilic esophagitis. His diet has been reduced to chicken, beans, fish/shellfish, rice, quinoa, broccoli/cauliflower and asparagus. He drinks (or we are trying to get him to) neocate jr formula.

  20. Great post! I enjoy watching/reading studies of people who have lived healthfully to or past 100 years of age, and there is a surprising trend: they ate “well”, but NOT ONE ate all organic/non-processed/preservative-free! The range of foods they ate was so great that it was barely considered in the list of things that they all had in common (and that those who live shorter lives didn’t have). For those who are curious: the number one indicator of long life was not smoking (obviously). Second was genetics. The third? Keeping happy and active and having lots of good relationships with low stress. Food was surprisingly low on the list…and while they were all healthy weight, the fact that they ate bacon (from the grocery store) every morning or didn’t eat a lot of fruit didn’t seem to have much of an affect on their overall health and longevity. I try to remember that when I get too focused on food. I feel that we almost WANT food to be the most important, because it gives us an excuse to idolize it or justify our choices…but just because we want something to be true does not mean it is. Relationships, happiness, and low-stress have been shown again and again to be what is truly important to good health. Thanks for the reminder!

    1. Sarah, great comment! Thank you for sharing this. I think we want food to be a cure-all for disease and the secret to long life because we want to have control. Humans love to be in control. (I know I do! Ha!) I like reason number three for long life. I think I’ll focus on that one. 🙂

  21. AMEN! I have spent waaaaayyy too many hours pouring over real food blogs. Learning much, but also feeling the need to do “everything” right has left me exhausted and overwhelmed. I was a young woman when having a “Martha Stewart home, garden, wedding and lifestyle” was all the rage. Pretty unattainable, but we tried anyway. I do find that trying to live the real food lifestyle requires many more hours than I have afterworking 50+ hours a week. I want to trust God, eat good food and enjoy fellowship and peace. When we make food our idol we miss out.

    1. Amen right back atcha! 🙂 I too “want to trust God, eat good food, and enjoy fellowship and peace.” And I too have been burned out by trying to do it all right, and trusting in food over God. Thank you for sharing your story.

  22. I love it!!! Although I have food allergies that really do limit me, I whole-heartedly agree. We need to have grace and as much flexibility as we can. It makes for sweet fellowship!

  23. Thank you so much for this article! I just stumbled across your blog looking for homemade cough syrup recipes. I am new to being a real foodie. We are missionaries on deputation and I was really struggling with the fact that we cannot eat a real food diet on the road. I am so glad I can now let go of the stress and fear and enjoy food on the road, no matter what or where. Thank you for your Biblical perspective!

    1. I don’t know how I missed this comment, Bonny! Thank you for dropping in and sharing your experience and struggles with real food as missionaries. I know exactly how you feel. I hope you have adjusted and can find a good balance while in the mission field. Blessings to you and your family!

  24. Amen and Amen. Well written . Bless you ladies for addressing this. As a home cooking and canning , low budget Mom of 9 from a home cooking, home canning low budget family of 11, I heartily agree. It has been discouraging many time throughout life to see my Mom do the best she could with what she had and try to do the same myself, only to get bowled over by some well meaning wealthy organic foodie who thought we weren’t caring for our families right!
    Add in to that the stress that all these “healthy” “godly” diet plans put on any woman who is 10 lbs overweight but has no money to afford all these fancy ingredients, and you have a recipe for mental disaster and WAY too much time, money and energy taken away from relationships and the things that really matter!

    1. Yes, yes, yes. Giant sigh. Ignore them and forge ahead! Easier said than done, I know. Well-meaning people throw so much guilt on us mamas. If only they knew.

      On a side note, I love that a girl from a large family had a large family herself. That speaks volumes! I’ve “only” got seven, but isn’t it fun?!!!

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