A Wake-up Call

I like to think I honor God in all aspects of my life.  I'm pretty clear about how He wants to me live, and I have been for most of my adult life.  Lately, however, I've discovered I've made some choices mindlessly - choices I didn't think God cared much about. And I'm paying for them now.

I'm talking about food choices. I never thought much about my diet, only that I probably ate too much.  Like every woman on the planet, I've had moments of "that's it, I'm getting rid of this extra weight. I'm joining the gym, blah, blah, blah." And I've lost 10 or 15 pounds.  Then I get lazy, and it all comes back.

As I wrote a few weeks ago, in December I had blood work done that showed I have very high blood markers for rheumatoid arthritis.  This was shocking, as I have no swollen or painful joints - just bad blood work. After getting conflicting reports from rheumatologists in my area, I ended up at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, FL. The doc there suggested I start meds right away, because it looks as though RA is coming.

I did tons of research on RA and read a book called The Inflammation Nation, which was completely eye-opening, and changed my thinking on what I've been eating all my life. RA is an inflammatory disease where the immune system is on overdrive. It's constantly on the attack, which eventually destroys joint tissue.  Untreated, or uncorrected, people with RA can end up in wheel chairs.

I'm also reading The Daniel Plan by Rick Warren, a book about honoring God and our bodies by getting back on track with food - eating whole foods, real food, and getting the junk and processed food out of our lives.

I well up as I read parts of it because I'm realizing how misguided my eating pattens have been.  I've not been fueling my body, but poisoning it with things like sugar and too many carbs and "white trash" like white rice, white bread, white crackers, and white potatoes. I've simply been a mindless eater.  Not a conscious one.

I'm praying God will change my thinking on this, because RA is caused by inflammation, which is caused by sugar, the wrong kinds of carbs and "white trash." I didn't know much about inflammation.  I'd heard some of these things before, but I didn't have any health issues - until now - so I just figured I was doing OK.

My Mayo doctor told me I have three months to change my diet and see if we can get my blood work back to normal. By the grace of God, I don't have any joint issues yet, and I'm hoping I can turn things around before I do. 

So, I gave away the boxed, processed items in my pantry. The bulk of my grocery bill is now produce.  I have leaves and sprouts popping out of my 'fridge the moment you open its door. I've discovered I like pea shoots, parsnips, bok choy and Japanese sweet potatoes, things I never tried before. I've learned I don't like turnips and will not be buying those again. I try to have some form of kale every day. 

In overhauling my diet, I've realized this is a spiritual journey for me. Eating was an area of my life I never asked God about. Rick Warren sums up the problem in one sentence: Dedicate your body to God.  Period.

If I do that - daily - I will eat properly. I will feed my body with what it needs to stay strong and healthy. The Daniel Plan reminds me that my body does not belong to me. It was purchased at a price, and God gave it to me to use in the service of others. This never hit me so hard as it has recently.  God has given me a wake up call,  and I pray I correct my course. My family is supportive, for which I'm so grateful.

I have not had a life-changing event such as this in many years, and I regret I did not pay attention to my diet 20 years ago.  Thankfully, we have a God who gives us second chances.


Ruth said...

If you are still gardening, I suggest growing kale. it is so easy and it will keep going and going. I recently had to cut all gluten out of my diet and my GI also says I have Crohn's(colonoscopy next week to confirm) so it looks like even more changes may be coming to my diet. I don't eat much processed food anyway. I wonder if RA could be what my husband has. Is that the same as degenerative arthritis. I will have to check. But, he has it in his spine and in his shoulder. He eats healthier than he did a few years ago, but he loves his sugar. He says he doesn't have much. But, yeah... I hope you diet helps you.

Rita said...

Good for you! I have gradually been heading in a healthier direction, but haven't eliminated as much from my diet as I would like to. I'm so hoping this will help you so that you won't be dealing with RA!! You go, Girl!! :) You're an inspiration!

Joyce said...

I've made a lot of concious changes to the way I eat in the past 18 months, and have also finally found an exercise 'plan' that I look forward to and enjoy-that last bit is a real accomplishment. I've never been someone who loves 'working out'. I've lost about 12 pounds, gained muscle, and reduced my choleserol significantly. My cholesterol wasn't high enough for meds, but it was inching that way. I just had it rechecked in January, and my dr. could not believe the new numbers. I think the thing I've learned too, is this is a process. We develop habits over time, and I don't think we necessarily break them overnite. Recording absolutely everything I was eating and drinking for a three week period was eye opening and really helped me get a handle on my snacking and mindless grazing. Good luck with your goals for improved health!

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

Staying away from processed food and fast food is a good idea. Here at my house I do my own cooking but that white trash you mentioned, sugar, rice and bread are still a part of my diet. I learned a long time ago that the natural things are the best for us and so far ...70 plus years now, I've been doing pretty well. Thankfully no health problems yet.

Jo-Anne's Ramblings said...

Just saying good for you

Marie said...

we are trying to change our eating habits here as well. I'm so glad you have a good support system. :)

Cecilia Marie Pulliam said...

I have had this bookmarked to read for sometime and I am finally getting a chance to read this. These kind of wake up calls sure jerk the rug out from under you. I have a few myself. I too am leaning on experts as well as my faith to make the required changes to my diet. I will be praying for a successful reversal.

Pamela said...

My husband and I did a Whole 30 clean eating challenge and felt so amazing that we are now adopting it as a way of life (disclaimer: we did have a major fail during the last holiday season but felt so awful that we knew we needed to get back on the program). During our first Whole 30, we slept better, had more energy, lost our aches and pains (hip for me and shoulder for DH), lab numbers dropped significantly, and we lost weight! The links between food and inflammation are there and making changes to your diet are really beneficial.