For the past month I’ve been eating a fairly strict paleo diet in an attempt to reign in some severe (literally) all-over eczema that has plagued me since I gave birth in December. I’ve been no dairy, no grains, no refined sugar. Paleo is also kind of weird in that it omits legumes for reasons I don’t remember, as well as white potatoes. This is not a permanent change for me as I believe beans carry a lot of nutrition, although I suspect my days of dairy are totally over.
We made a lot of changes. We researched, went grocery and soap shopping, switched over to formula and relocated the dogs. Food was probably the biggest change.
I, like most women, am an emotional eater. Good day? I would like to celebrate with an m&m cookie please. Rough day? Just pour me a venti soy chai with a side of cheese danish. Normal day? Thanks in part to that cappuccino I made myself this morning! So, what if I believed what the Bible says about God in 1 Peter 5:7 and that he cares for me and I should give my troubles to him? Nope. I did not. I was more like, “Cast my anxiety on this venti americano with a shot of hazelnut syrup, because it will make today happen.”
This completely weird obsession of what I am going to refer to as food as worship, then led me to the debate of whole/organic/raw foods vs. processed foods. I have never really been a big produce eater. Occasionally I’d have a hankering for a salad, or choose a fruit cup instead of fries, or an apple instead of a baguette. When I got pregnant and then was subsequently in the breastfeeding/postpartum period (see ’emotional eating above’) all I wanted was comfort foods, which was bagels, cream cheese and a #1 combo, add cheese with a Dr. Pepper. Processed, fast, not healthy. Even when we would eat a healthy meal, like zucchini noodles with meat sauce, I’d load it up with cheese and eat my weight in accompanying breadsticks. I’m going to take an Andy Stanley moment and pose a question: What would the world be like if for one month Christians actively relied solely on God’s direct creation ( i.e. not: ‘God made man, man made Doritos’ argument) for sustenance? 6 months? 1 year? What would that do to obesity rates? Heart disease? Diabetes? Again, not one for the guilt Gospel, but really. What if for one month we said “Hey God! I am going to trust you and your creation and only eat things that you created for me to eat (re: Genesis 1:29ish).” What do you think would happen? For me, great things happened. Amazing things happened, actually. Allowing myself to trust God in that way was HUGE for my heart– both the one that Jesus lives in and probably also the one that is responsible for distributing blood and oxygen throughout my body.
The last thing that I felt God teaching me about was stewardship. In recent years I’ve become very fixated on being a good steward of my things, although admittedly I run extremely hot and cold with this. Some days I am “save all the money!” and other days I am “buy all the things at Target!” so I can’t really claim to be 100% committed to this, but I am constantly wanting to get rid of stuff we have laying around and wanting to be aware and take care of what we do have and use. I feel like especially in America we truly have a lot of stuff and I want to make sure that I am caring for it well. Dave Ramsey always says that our money is not ours, but we are managing it for God. While we still have a ways to go with our finances and getting out of debt, I would like to think that we keep that in mind when we budget and also approach our things the same way. Up until this month, it never really occurred to me to treat my body in that way. Like, God gave me one of them and if I want it to last, I should probably take care of it, and I can start doing that by watching what I put on and in it. Aha! Such a simple concept, yet it had never occurred to me until this season. As an act of gratitude and respect for the design of my body, and using what science has taught us about nutrition, I can care for my body in the best way by putting good things in it, and not putting toxins on the outside.
WOW. So it’s been a good month. I am seeing an improvement in my eczema finally, after what seemed like weekly, discouraging cyclical flares. It could be diet. It could be dogs living in the garage. It could be the UV therapy I’m doing 3x a week. It could be the new shampoo I’m using. It could be the allergen/dye/everything free “soap” we use to wash the sheets and dishes. It could be that I am not breastfeeding anymore. It could be that it’s almost fall. It could be that I switched toothpastes and deodorants. It could be the vitamins I’m taking. It could just be the typical “heal” before a big flare. Eczema is a fun disease like that. Nobody knows or can explain fully why it does the things it does. One of life’s great mysteries, I guess.
But whether my body is healed or not, I would not change a thing about this month or this season. Certainly I would prefer to not have to deal with this condition, as it is an extremely emotional and frustrating thing at times, but the way that God has rescued me, held me and shown me so many things I can’t help but feel grateful. And as redundant as it may sound, I am grateful for that gratitude.