Healthy Living: It's a Journey

We’re starting a new journey, a quest of sorts, seeking higher ground. For those of you who know us, you might say this has been a long time coming. After all, Ericlee has been a disciplined athlete and coach for almost 20 years and Dorina has been passionate about homemade, good-tasting, fresh food for about the same amount of time. You might say we’re on a “food journey.” But it’s more than a road trip down the latest fad diet lane or culinary trend. We are really thinking and changing our lifestyle to embrace healthy living - in all areas. Of course that includes a diversity of topics, including how we care for our bodies, what we eat, how we exercise, how we raise our children, what we believe about medicine, how we recycle and give back to the earth, how we invest our resources, how we live in community and even how we live out our faith.

Our most conscious thinking on this topic started two summers ago. We were living in Roanoke, Virginia and our friends, Jan and Pat Wright, opened their home to us. While staying with them, Jan began to tell us what she had learned about the benefits of whole grains and eating according to God’s design. She recommended two books, GRAINS OF TRUTH by Donna Span and WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS ABOUT HEALTHY LIVING by Dr. Rex Russell. We didn’t have time to read these books that summer but Jan told us about their contents in detail.

Jan also influenced us by living their contents. She bought a flour mill for her family and began making homemade, whole grain breads and muffins. (They were delicious!) She also started making yogurts and granola at home and replacing white sugar in recipes with honey. And the best part was she and Pat, shared their knowledge and abundance with us. We learned by watching (and eating!) what these healthy additions could do for your diet.

Not long after our time in Virginia, we got pregnant with Meilani. That started us on a new stretch of our journey as we began thinking about birthing and raising a child in today’s world. Would we have a natural birth or take drugs during childbirth or choose a C-section? Would we breastfeed or bottle feed? Would we give her inoculations according to the doctor’s recommendations? What would we feed her when she began solids? How would we prepare our home for a baby? What would we eat during pregnancy and as role models for our daughter? How would we include her in our exercise routines? For those of you who are parents or parents-to-be, you know the questions abound. So do the answers. Everyone and their mother’s mother has something to say about how to raise kids properly. It’s a bit unnerving for first-time parents who are just trying to do the right thing and getting so many conflicting messages.

Meilani was born in May and we began to make some tough choices about our lifestyle – some unpopular choices we discovered. We were already on this road but we cut out all fast food during my pregnancy (except for the occasional In ‘n’ Out Burger – which are made with hormone-free beef, fresh veggies, cheese and buns, by the way). We also decided to take the natural birth route and Dorina survived Meilani’s birth without extra drugs. Dorina also committed to breastfeeding our children. We become more convinced each day as we read about breastfeeding that this is God’s design to help children combat diseases, allergies and other healthy problems.

Now as Meilani is eating solid foods in addition to breastfeeding we daily have to make tough choices about snacks, meals, etc. This summer we returned to Virginia where Dorina was working on her master’s degree and we reconnected with our friends, the Wrights. Ericlee also spent his free time (while chasing Meilani around) reading those two books Jan originally recommended, GRAINS OF TRUTH by Donna Span and WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS ABOUT HEALTHY LIVING by Rex Russell. Basically, that reading changed his life – all of our lives.

Ericlee graduated with a master’s degree in Kinesiology. He has read numerous books about nutrition and health as related to athletics. He has always believed there was a better plan – God’s plan – for healthy eating and living, but all the books he read felt like fad diets or new scientific trends missing that link to faith and the Bible. These two books piqued his interest because they were both biblically based. The books present a mix of philosophy about eating and practical ideas about how to live in today’s society.

This past fall Ericlee began work on a major overhaul at Fresno Christian Schools in regards to nutrition and attitidudes on health. Many of you may have probably heard about the revolution in the California public schools taking out sodas, candy and increasing the healthy food options in the cafeterias. Ericlee feels strongly that a private school like Fresno Christian should be leading the bandwagon on this issue, not jumping on as an afterthought. He brought his convictions and readings to school administrators and received some positive feedback. Fast forward a few months and now he is starting a Wellness Council at the school, encouraging kids at lunch hour about healthy options for lunches and talking to teachers and parents about nutrition.

Dorina was recruited to help create the first installment of Nutrition News. We used what we’ve learned from these books and included some of our own two-cents worth as well. We’re slated to write this newsletter at least twice a year for the Fresno Christian community.

Our small group (four other young Christian couples starting families) have already voluntarily joined us on this journey. We meet every other week for dinner and fellowship. We’re starting to read WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS ABOUT HEALTHY LIVING together and discussing how we can live out these “healthy lifestyle goals” practically in community. How can we help each other? How can we hold each other accountable? How can we influence and encourage others? These are some of the questions we will be grappling with as a group.

We are inviting all of you, our friends and family from many walks of life, to join us on the journey. You may want to engage in conversation or send comments through this blog. We would love your input, comments, criticism, kudos or whatever. We'll include recipes, quotes, ah ha moments and we'd love to hear yours. Read on.

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