In August 2007, our family started this "healthy living" journey. We read some instrumental books and started to pray about making changes in our diet and lifestyle. We started with baby steps so our budget could handle it. Now six months later, we find ourselves reflecting on how these changes have shaped our lives and our bodies.
Some of the steps we've been working on:
-eliminating white sugar and subsituting natural sweeteners (mainly honey and 100% maple syrup)
-avoiding white flour and substituting 100% whole wheat flour and other types of whole-grain flours
-reducing the amount of meat we eat and investing in grass-fed, hormone-free options
-incorporating more seeds, nuts and vegetables into our everyday fare
-buying locally-grown and/or organic
-avoiding processed foods and fast food at all costs
Of course, we didn't embark on all this at the same time. We started small. We looked for budget-friendly options by going to the farmer's market weekly and comparing prices at local grocery and health food stores.
In September, we also started rereading WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS ABOUT HEALTHY LIVING by Dr. Rex Russell with a small group of three other couples from our church. Our group has been meeting for four years, sharing meals, fellowship and reading books together. We asked the group to join us on our journey, mainly because we wanted moral support from Christian friends and we desired a core group to make similar lifestyle choices with us. We are all on our own journeys but praying, eating and learning together.
What we've noticed since we started making these changes:
-We've noticed increased energy, which contributes to that "fullness of life" we're going for.
-We've experienced minimal sickness. (We know we're not totally immune, but we definitely have been sick less than in the past and less compared to those around us.)
-We've lost weight, which wasn't really one of the goals but has been a healthy outcome. Ericlee has lost about 10 pounds since August. Dorina has lost 15 pounds and about 3 sizes (Never thought she'd see the day!)
-We've survived on the same food budget. (This was something we were really nervous about back in August, but the slow changes and shopping around has helped with all that.)
-We're discovering new healthful and yummy foods each day - grains, seeds, fruits, vegetables, all kinds of things we never knew about before.
-We look forward to weekly trips to the farmer's market for in-season goodies. We are thrilled by kale, bok choy, butternut squash, raw milk and cheese as well as old favorites like oranges, strawberries and tomatoes.
-We actually feel the difference when we eat out or eat unhealthy foods because our bodies are not used to it. Wild!
Probably the most amazing and unexpected part of this journey has been the opportunity we have almost daily to share and influence others to also pursue this healthier and fuller life. Ericlee's sphere of influence includes Fresno Christian Schools where he coaches P.E. He is so proud when his elementary students find him at lunch to tell him and show him they are choosing fruits and water and avoiding soda or other sugary drinks. The third and fourth graders even "compete" now for who can bring the healthiest lunch.
Ericlee also started the Wellness Council at Fresno Christian this school year. He's proud of the work parents, teachers and administrators are already doing to make healthy choices for the school. Currently, the group of about 10 people are working on "wellness policies" to implement at Fresno Christian. These policies affect Fresno Christian's identity as a school and how they influence others around them.
Dorina feels humbled by daily opportunities to share her findings with other moms and friends. She continues to tinker with new recipes in the kitchen. Check out her menus (more than a month's worth now), incorporating some of these healthy options. Dorina will also be speaking on Friday, February 29 at Moms & More for the Well Church. (She's excited and nervous about this new opportunity to share her passion.)
Tonight our small group met at our home for an Indian-themed meal (packed with nutrients, vegetables, legumes and healing spices). We shared around the table about ways God is blessing each of us. We prayed. We read chapter 6 on "Grains" in the book. And we've noticed a breakthrough even with this group of friends. We see a hunger for knowledge and a sense of encouragement as we walk this road together.
Are you on this journey? We invite you to share your struggles, questions and victories. We would love to hear about changes you've made in your life and what you've noticed in the last few months.