In Mormonism there is a standard of health revealed by the prophet Joseph Smith in 1830 called the Word of Wisdom. It is something I have been thinking about a lot lately. Growing up Mormon we heard lessons on Sunday about it all the time. And every time we would have the lesson it would go something like this: DON'T: Drink, smoke, do drugs, drink tea and coffee and etc. DO: Eat your fruits, veggies, and grains, exercise, sleep as needed.
But as I have been reading books about our food system and how crazy it has gotten, I have really struggled to know how to eat best for myself and the baby... and my husband... but I've stopped trying to convince him to eat healthier... you can bring a horse to water but you can't make 'em drink ;) (I love you Nate!)
I have recently read Michael Pollan's books In Defense of Food and The Omnivore's Dilemma. They seem to touch a lot on the subjects I've been studying.
In the Doctrine and Covenants 89:4 it warns us about evils and designs of conspiring men, perhaps the type of people Pollan talks about in his books, who scientifically process and modify "foods" to make us want to eat more or to cut back on costs for themselves while making more of a profit off their foods that we are finding cause all sorts of "Western diseases" (Heart disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and more.)
So how do we combat these issues, the scriptures tell us to eat wholesome herbs and fruits in the season they grow and grains like wheat, rice, and oats should make up the bulk of our diet. Meat is to be used sparingly and would preferably be used only in times of winter, cold, or famine.
The biggest thing I realized I needed to fix was to do all these things with thanksgiving! Generally in our home we pray before every meal and we give thanks for our food, but how often do I just say those things and not really act on them. I know most of you are in the same boat as me, with lives so busy we are frequently eating fast food, making and eating meals as quickly as possible to try and make a few extra minutes available in our day.
Thanksgiving means to acknowledge and give thanks to God. When we are really grateful for a gift, we could just say thank you, but doesn't it show more gratitude when we savor the gift. We are glad in our hearts, we take time to use the gift, we use it with prudence, making sure not to squander it away and think about its future.
In my own life I know I can use a good dose of this type of gratitude in all areas, not just food, but I have realized to follow the counsel God gave me in these passages we call the Word of Wisdom, I need to be more conscious of where my food comes from, making sure its a sustainable source, to quote my Italian heritage to enjoy "La Dolce Vita" the sweetness of life by savoring all aspects of it. To me it means making a meal and sitting down to enjoy it with family and friends. To bring back meal time where we forge friendships and learn to appreciate the sweet things of life.
This also means not gorging at meal time... enjoying a slice of cake rather than cramming my stomach to the brim with it... no matter how good it is. I've realized I have become a bit gluttonous and when I have a small taste of something really good, instead of enjoying it, I scarf it down without even taking time to chew and taste it.
So this is the new goal for eating. To live in constant thanksgiving. And to enjoy living La Dolce Vita.