Wednesday, April 18, 2012

I Ain't No Foodie, But....

I just made banana bread. With honey. My house smells awesome... if you're into that sort of thing.

One might call me a glutton. Well, I might call me a glutton. It's kind of always been this joke among my friends and me.

My freshman year of college, my roommate and I put up the verse 'put a knife to your throat if you are given to gluttony' on our micro-fridge in the dorms. A year later we had what we dubbed 'The Obesity Counter', where we would set our baked goods and candy delicacies so we could devour them at any point throughout the day. It was a beautiful set-up.

I remember eating 7 grilled cheeses in one sitting at the all-you-can-eat buffet the dorms provided for us. Another time, at camp, I scarfed down 5 enchiladas when most others could only consume 1 or 2 at most. I was told just a year ago that you, in fact, have a separate stomach for cookie dough. What this really means that as full as I might be, I can always find extra room to eat several giant spoonfuls of that wonderful raw eggs, sugar, vanilla with a fleck of chocolate concoction.

I'm in no means a foodie, but if you start talking chimichangas, white queso, pizza, a good burger, macaroni & cheese (the blue box), fruits, fruit pizza... Okay, I have to stop because I'm salivating. Yes, I know I have the appetite of a 5th grader... but it's so good.

So I love food.
Most of you probably do, too.

But, I've been thinking lately... as much as we judge and condemn others and ourselves for so much sin, have we forgotten about gluttony?

Instead of seeing gluttony as a sin, we are quick to encourage others to consume more food. Girls- I sometimes think we do this so we don't feel bad about the amount of food we are eating... 'cause if someone else is eating more than us, we're good to go. Or maybe we just have a lot of food and we don't want leftovers so we tell our guests to eat up! Maybe we just love it and for some reason, in that moment, we are scared we'll never get a bite of a food that tastes just like this one...and so we eat as much of it as possible.

And then we want to vomit. Some of you probably do vomit.

How often do you hear anyone encourage someone to STOP eating? I wonder if we don't because we're scared of offending people. We might as well be saying, 'Hey fatty, don't you think you've had plenty of pizza? Why don't you     s l o w it down?'

Mostly I've just realized my lack of self-control lately. Well, and the fact that my pants started fitting a little tighter and I certainly don't want to buy a new wardrobe. But, it's made me think.

Is my overeating sin?
Is it something I should be conscientious of?
Is it something I need to confess?

I kind of think that it is.
And, to tell you the truth, I've had a lot of various thoughts about food and faith in the past. I've thought that fasting would be unhealthy for me because I would be doing it more to lose weight than anything else (some of you might have given up something for Lent just to lose a pound or two...). Quite oppositely, I've thought that overeating/not caring about what I eat was better than having an 'eating disorder' and being consumed with calorie intake and carb consumption. I thought, in some capacity, that it meant I had a healthier view of myself. I realize now that maybe I've had a different kind of eating disorder: gluttony.

Ultimately, I think that self-control matters.
I think there's a balance (isn't there always?)... but it's one that we do need to be aware of.

There's no reason indulge in food to the point where we feel sick.
It's been amazing the last few weeks as I've been able to eat good food every day, but not to the point where I'm busting at the seams. It's been amazing to be aware of how much food I used to eat unnecessarily. What a waste...

My advice to you today?
S l o w it down.
Enjoy food, yes. But, don't idolize it. It can be a god, too... both the presence and the absence of it.

And if nothing else?
Maybe you'll at least be a little more conscious of it today. Not super-obsessive conscious... but a healthy-type of conscious. An 'Oh, I've eaten plenty...I am satisfied' type of attitude, instead of a 'More, more, moreeee' type of mentality.

You can do it!

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  1. :-) This post makes me happy--mostly because I grew up in a really poor area and I've lived in developing countries, where food is respected and seen as a gift, not a right. Living in North America now, it's a bit shocking to see that many Americans have a pretty sinful attitude toward food, not always the wastefulness stereotype per se, but an under-appreciation and victim or martyr mentality if they don't have variety at every meal.

    Also, an American family member was just diagnosed with diabetes brought on un-healthy diet! So, this might be one of those issues where the Bible isn't 100% clear, but common-sense and hospital bills can make wise food choices seem like a great idea. :-)

    P.S. It's great that the Bible talks a good bit about food and hospitality, which I'll be writing about in my book and addressing what foods Christian hospitality centers serve guests and how their choices directly impact local community and ministry...

  2. Debbie, I'm SO glad you posted this! Kent and I actually had a conversation about gluttony last year and finally when I stopped eating so much, I realized I. WAS. GLUTTONOUS. And it was a sin. It is a sin.

    I was like this for EIGHT years. I used to blow people away with how much I could eat, and I was PROUD of it. I bragged about it. I put everyone in the Truman (all-you-can-eat) dining halls to shame. I put men to shame. I put my dad and my brothers to shame. I felt like I HAD to get dessert at fancy restaurants because I was STILL hungry, when grown men couldn't even finish their meals. I was the one asking my aunt for more food 2 hours after Thanksgiving meal.

    The weird thing is, there were 2 reasons for this:
    1. I didn't always eat very healthy, and so I was still hungry because my body was craving the healthy stuff, nutrients.
    2. The main reason was I ate out of fear. I don't know why, but my whole life, especially when I was a kid, I would get really bad stomach pains if I went too long without eating. Sometimes only several hours would be enough to produce pains that brought me to tears. (I know it has something to do with my body bc my sister was the same way.) Because of this, and because I've had a time in my life when I didn't always know I was going to have a meal, I would try to stuff myself at every meal, every chance I got to eat, I took it.

    It gave me a really skewed perspective of what it means to be hungry. I trained myself to crave food as much as I did, without realizing it. But knowing also that I was going to be fed 3 times a day, every day at camp helped me get rid of that fear. I remember days in the beginning of WA that I found myself weak and shaky from low-blood sugar before lunch, just a few hours after having breakfast. I had days where it was really difficult to serve food and wait until the end to eat. Once I had to sit down for a bit because I felt like I was going to pass out.

    Something that I learned was that I was a real wimp. I'm not gonna die. I'm going to get fed. I don't need to demand food ASAP. I don't need to only think about myself getting fed. For me, not being gluttonous is a way of trusting the Lord that I am going to be okay, that I am going to be fed. Obviously, it has to do with my body and genes, but I think even more of it had to do with my heart because I stopped eating that way, and I am fine. Perfectly fine.

    I'm not perfect. Being in college makes me a lot more lax on my eating habits, and I see that lack of self-discipline affect other areas. Self-control and discipline is an area that when one area is compromised, it spreads, so I'd encourage everyone to think twice about how they eat. Oh, and now, I hate feeling stuffed. It feels absolutely disgusting to me.