Monday, November 3, 2008

My family's journey into Whole Foods

For months, I resisted this idea of organic living, more precisely a whole foods diet. What on earth was whole foods anyway? Whole foods refers to a diet composed of whole grains (wheat, quinoa, brown rice, rye, etc.), plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, raw milk and cheese, sweeteners such as raw honey, maple syrup and agave, and a lack of processed, prepackaged foods. I would also add that it contains foods that are fermented, such as yogurt, kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, homemade mayonnaise and ketchup, to name a few. A quick glance at Wikipedia defines it as "foods that are unprocessed and unrefined, or processed and refined as little as possible before being consumed.”

Let me share why we live and eat the way we do. Almost 5 years ago, I was diagnosed with a syndrome called PCOS, Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome. It has a host of maladies that come with it, but the one that was most devastating to me was the forecast of not having a biological child. I was offered medication, but my doctor suggested that I try a different diet. I was encouraged to eat similar to how a diabetic person would eat, and to reintroduce exercise into my life. Sometimes this is all that a PCOS woman needs to keep her symptoms from getting any worse.

I decided it was worth a try. My plan was to follow E-Diets, and to exercise. I lost 15 pounds, began to see an herbalist, and miracle of miracles, I became pregnant (another cool story because we were just about to turn adoption papers in).

Hmmmm . . . yes, God allowed me to get pregnant, but I also wondered if there was something to this eating healthier? I certainly felt better.

Enter our friends Chad and Krista. All they could talk about was this amazing book called The Maker's Diet by Jordan Rubin. The premise was eat like God commanded the Israelites through the Levitical Law:

Leviticus provides a few basic rules that tell us what meats are considered clean an unclean, or for our purposes, healthy and unhealthy.

Land Animals: Healthy meats to eat are from animals with a cloven or split hoof that also chew the cud(Leviticus 11:3): cows, goats, sheep, oxen, deer, buffalo, etc.

Avoid animals that chew the cud but do not have cloven or split hooves (Leviticus 11:4): camels, horses, rats, skunks, dogs, cats, squirrels, possums, etc.
Don’t eat swine (pigs). They are unclean animals. (Leviticus 11:7-8) (they don’t chew the cud)
Why: Animals on the unhealthy list are primarily omnivores and carnivores. They eat meat from other animals which increases the likelihood that they carry a disease or parasite. In general, animals at the bottom of the food chain have the cleanest meat. Animals that chew the cud more effectively process their food and are therefore cleaner.

Seafood: Eat any fish with fins and scales but avoid fish or water creatures without them (Leviticus 11: 9-10). Some examples of things to avoid: catfish, eel, all shellfish
Why: Sea creatures without fins and scales are typically bottom feeders and are known to have the highest concentration of contaminants such as heavy metals.

Poultry: Birds that live primarily on insects, grubs, or grains are acceptable, but avoid fowl that eats flesh, Leviticus 11: 13-19, where you will find a large list of birds.
Why: Same reason as for the land animals. Animals that eat other animals have an increased risk of picking up diseases and parasites so it is best to eat food from the bottom of the food chain.
Yea right, I thought. Jesus has come to redeem us--there is no way I can obey all of the food laws in the Old Testament.

For months, I resisted. It seemed weird and to top it all off, buying organic was suggested--who can afford that?

Well, fast forward a little over 9 months, our precious son was born naturally but I didn't recover so well. What was wrong? For probably a variety of reasons, my thyroid decided it wasn't going to work anymore. It was done. Once again, I was faced with having to be on medication for the rest of my life and somehow get over postpartum depression. Something had to change.

Until next time, if you would like more information, please view a talk I gave at a church retreat.


christina said...

Jodi, this is terrific! What a powerful testament to God' work in your life...and in the life of your family!

himamma said...

I am going to try your new bread recipe. Sounds interesting.

Michelle said...

AWESOME! Where is part 2? Send me a link!