So I read this book and I was convinced I was going to become a Vegan.
Inside the pages held promising statistics based on extensive research that such a diet would prevent and reverse heart disease. A lot of the research was based on The China Study as well. So I bought the cookbooks and read the accompanying books their research alluded to and I was all in. Truth be told I still believe a vegan diet can be a great option for some people.
However, I started going to this doctor that took a different approach.
After my first visit she told me she wanted me to adjust my diet to be primarily vegetables, meat, and some fruit and nuts. I was even given permission to eat bacon. Whaaaahh?
The catch? I was to eliminate sugar from my diet. No problem I thought. I wasn’t really eating too many sweets at the time, just the usual cereal bar for breakfast, salad with Ranch® for lunch, pasta for dinner, and Cheez-its® for a snack. No sugar there, right?
So on the second visit she said my sugar was out of whack and asked what I had had for breakfast. No problem. No sugar. I was sure. But she explained to my ignorant self that the coffee with creamer and the Clif Bar I had consumed had pa-lenty of sugar. Oh. Yeah that.
Around this time a friend of mine had completed her first round of Whole30®. I didn’t know much about it except to note that my friend looked and felt better than ever. As I did my own digging, I realized that this “Whole30 business” was basically what my doctor was asking me to change my diet to: Paleo.
So I bought It Starts With Food, read as much as I needed to know to get started, and began my first round of Whole30®, completing the remainder of the book during the 30 days. And let me just tell you; it was both eye opening and life changing. Not only did I learn so much about different foods and what actually happens when these foods enter your body, I learned so much about cooking. After all, when you’re on Whole30® you kinda have to cook…3 meals a day,…from scratch, with no additives or preservatives for, really, over 30 days. I made homemade mayo, salad dressings, spaghetti and pasta sauces. I spiralized vegetables and made them into pasta. I even made homemade Paleo Doritos®. Hey, a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do. While this might sound intimidating to some, for me it was an absolute blast!
Not only did it become a fun hobby, it truly became an act of worship for me. I was able to spend more time in prayer as I stood alone in my kitchen for hours making things like Eggs Florentine with Hollandaise, Almond Cauliflower Crust Pizza, BLT Quiche with Sweet Potato Crust, and…get this: rice-less sushi, which afforded me the opportunity to appreciate God’s creation and simply reflect in awe an wonder at how amazing our God is.
You see, before this, I didn’t appreciate food. I took it for granted. I paid no attention to what was in the foods I was consuming. I simply, naively, put them into my mouth and trusted my body would do what it had always done with the junk I ate: find as many nutrients as it possibly could and work hard to make it work for my body and not against it.
But now, here I was, using fresh herbs and spices and marveling at how God in His perfect design made this plant, and then that plant…and then someone came along and decided to put those two flavors together and the result is absolute magic in your mouth. I mean, God could have just made one herb and that could be the seasoning that we use on ALL of our foods. But that’s not the God we serve. Our God is awesome. And since He’s the one who made our tongues with roughly 10,000 taste buds, He cared enough and knew that eating would be an enjoyable experience for us, so He gave us an abundance of possibilities.
So every time I would cook, I would relish in that. When you’re doing Whole30® you’re required to sit down and eat every meal slowly. I always ate standing up…and in a rush (I’ll admit…I still do sometimes). But doing this provided me the opportunity to really thank God for my meal. After all, each meal took a lot longer than it takes to heat up a frozen dinner in the microwave or pour a bowl of cereal, so by the time it was complete and I was able to sit down and eat it, boy was I truly thankful for it. And seriously, everything I made was absolutely, insanely delicious. (*brushes shoulders off*)
So, much in the way my piano room has always been a sanctuary for me as I’ve sat and played, sang, and written worship songs to God, my kitchen also became a place where I would spend time in God’s presence, marveling as His incredible creation.
Which is where the story turns.
You see, in this world we have good and evil. There are evil forces at work all around us seeking to absolutely ruin us.
The Bible puts it this way:
“Be clear-minded and alert. Your opponent, the devil, is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” –1 Peter 5:8
You see, that’s been Satan’s aim from the beginning. God created beauty and said to us, “Here, come explore all that I’ve made and enjoy it with me,” and the devil convinced us that God was somehow holding out on us…that he was depriving us (see Genesis 3:1-6).
So not only does Satan not want us to believe God at His word, He also aims to come in and corrupt anything that we do that brings us closer to God. His one mission is to come into our sacred garden, our sanctuary of worship, and poison it with sin, sickness, anxiety, insecurity, doubt, and fear…
…and that is exactly what He did to me.