Welcome Oh, it certainly gets personal around here at faith-family-food. Today is gonna be one of those days! I’m going to share some information and emotions from a book I finished reading last month. Maybe some of my audience can offer their ideas, as well. And considering our topic of discussion today, I have to include a healthy dinner option. How about Pork, Broccoli, and Carrot Stir Fry? It will be delicious and nutritious! Thanks for stopping by. Note–I may receive small compensation from advertisers or affiliate links found on this blog. For further information, please see my terms and disclosure page.
Food For Thought Most anyone who knows me knows that I am a huge fan of the author Lysa TerKeurst. I started with Uninvited last year and have finished three more books by her and have another one started. She is inspiring, encouraging, and real! When I learned she had a book on the topic of diets and food available, I just knew I had to read it. Perhaps I could relate to her struggle as my own, especially since she was using a spiritual perspective. The book is title Made to Crave and was published in 2010. Before starting the book I was under the assumption that we were possibly going to replace our cravings for food with a craving for spiritual time with God. This is correct, mostly.
Part of my problem is I likely started reading a book on a sensitive topic during a very sensitive time in my life, so my mind wasn’t in the right place for receiving the wisdom. I likely struggled with the book, also, because I am keenly aware of my struggles with food and diets. Every book I have read by Lysa becomes so personal, but this one was almost too personal. So, yes, I recognize that I probably struggled with the ideas in this book because they are areas that I have weaknesses. So here are some of the ideas I thought about while reading this book. Feel free to weigh in with your comments, too, no pun intended!
There are many things I enjoy about life…my family, hiking, art, reading, music, and…food. I love to make it and I love to eat it, plain and simple. Unfortunately, I have a body that shows my love for food well…too well. But have I ever looked at my passion for cooking as an obsession or possible sin? No, or at least not until I read this book. First of all, if I were the size of Ms. TerKeurst, I don’t even think I would consider my weight a problem, so it’s hard to take diet advice from someone who’s “heavy” weight is my half-marathon weight…yikes! My second thought was how I have always looked at my passion for cooking and baking as a hobby, not an obsession. Would God consider my passions, my hobbies, for the mountains, waterfalls, and hiking a sin? Probably not, as long as I’m not neglecting any of my other responsibilities. Someone might say, but those are good things for your body. Yes, the fresh air and exercise are wonderful for my physical and mental health, but there are people who do extreme activities and put their lives in danger while enjoying mountains and backpacking, but do we look at their choices and think, “They must have an unhealthy relationship with mountains. They’re sinning.”? I don’t think we can say it enough, but the key to a healthy productive life of enjoyment and service to God is about BALANCE.
You know when I did become obsessed with my food? When I joined a “diet” program. I spent four years following, almost religiously, the Spark People program. I lost 90 pounds. I recovered some of my physical health. I got my body in shape for running and pushed myself physically where I never thought I could go. Am I thankful for that experience? Yes, I was physically a mess after having my daughter, working full-time, and attempting my master’s degree while raising a toddler. But the amount of time I invested in measuring and recording food was phenomenal. I couldn’t bring myself to deviate from the plan and I got very OCD about following it. I spent a large amount of time on the computer documenting every single thing I consumed, solid or liquid, and every single minute of physical activity I performed. The amount of time I invested in this “healthy lifestyle” did take my attention away from my family, which is not a good thing. This became my unhealthy relationship with food. Yes, it felt good to see the number on the scale drop. Yes, it did feel good to fit into the same size I wore in college. Yes, it did feel good when I got compliments from family and co-workers about my new appearance. But those good feelings were fleeting, just like the good feelings someone may get from consuming a pint of Rocky Road. I found out that a lot of peoples’ compliments were very shallow, as if they could only like me as long as I looked the right way. I found out the scale will only go down so far for me. Let’s just say I’m built solid-I’ll stand up well to an earthquake. I found out that losing 90 pounds wasn’t enough to get the doctor off my back. I found out I was unwilling to spend the rest of my life “chained” to someone else’s idea of what I should and shouldn’t be eating every day. I missed the occasional treats. I missed the creativity of the kitchen when I’m preparing recipes. I missed the stress-free approach to food I had before. Basically, I wanted food to be fun again.
So here I am, seven years after I started that weight loss journey, with a bunch of those pounds back. I can’t run anymore because of an injury to my foot I got during my “obsession.” I’ve had to buy some jeans in bigger sizes than I did a few years ago. And, gasp! I blog about food! But here’s what else I have…a lot of knowledge about nutrition that I can apply to my own food choices, as well as pass on to my readers. I have a more relaxed approach to eating, which sets a good example for my daughter. I have outlets for my emotions that are not food-related. I have a body that is still strong enough for hiking, yoga, strength training, and daily walks. I have lower blood pressure and less digestive issues. I have a family that loves me and supports me, no matter where I currently fall on the weight loss continuum. And I have a God that has created me “fearfully and wonderfully” (Psalm 139:14). I am NOT saying neglect health needs or consume in large quantities. I am NOT saying eat void of nutrition. I am NOT criticizing Lysa’s choices for herself or her approach to food and spirituality. I am saying that I choose to enjoy food as I would any other area of life…with smart choices and balance.
You can make your own judgements on the book, if you would like to purchase and read it, click here (10/20/17 at 10:00 am, CDT):
Today’s Scripture I must be very careful that no passion I have, whether for cooking or exercise or anything else, takes my focus off following God’s will for me and my life. If I am allowing food or consumption of anything (even my former job!) to prevent my worship and praise and service, then it has become a sin in my life that I must take before God. Ultimately, we must love the Lord our God above all else. No passion or earthly desire should come between us and that love and obedience. This is a critical verse to remember regarding these commandments:
1 John 2: 15-16 “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the father is not in him. For everything in the world–the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does–comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.”
Today’s Recipe I certainly want to lead by example with my food and nutrition. At our house we have to save the decadent treats for special occasions and balance heavy meals with lighter fare. I hope you will see that balance here in my blog. Most nights you can feel good about serving your family a meal like this Pork, Broccoli, and Carrot Stir-Fry. If you have a birthday or family event coming up, you can check out my recipes page for some cakes, desserts, or appetizers for celebrating.
The Health Benefits: Broccoli is nutrient dense and an “ultimate” super-food, right next to spinach and blueberries, and only beets and red onions contain more polyphenols. Broccoli also contains plant-based iron and CoQ10. Carrots are loaded with beta-carotene and antioxidants. Lean pork can be as lean as light meat poultry and is a great source of protein and iron. Bonus–by using a small amount of meat in a stir-fry cut into small pieces, you keep your portions under control. There is also a small amount of fiber available in brown rice, if you choose to use it to accompany your stir-fry.
Pork, Broccoli, and Carrot Stir Fry (makes 4 servings
- 1/2 lb. pork tenderloin, cut into thin strips
- 1 head broccoli, cut into small pieces
- 4 medium carrots, peeled and sliced thin
- 6 green onions, sliced (with tops)
- 1 TBS canola oil
- 1 orange, juiced
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 1 TBS low-sodium soy sauce
- 1/2 TBS corn starch
- 1/2 TBS minced garlic
- 1 tsp honey
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 cups cooked rice
- red pepper flakes (optional)
1 Heat oil in large skillet or wok. Add pork loin strips and cook 3-4 minutes.
2 Add all vegetables to skillet and stir.
3 In small bowl, combine fruit juices and next 6 ingredients and whisk until smooth. When vegetables begin to soften, add sauce to skillet. Stir gently and place lid on pan. Cook another 3-4 minutes.
4 To serve, place 1/2 cup of rice in bowl. Add vegetables and meat, top with red pepper flakes, if desired.