Much of what the defenders of the status quo believe to be following a healthy lifestyle is punitive in nature, brilliantly constructed for markets that are driven by profits. This is especially true in the health food market. As a result, we restrict, inflict, prod, poke, examine, analyze, correct, eat this and not that, and chain ourselves to labels. We pay emotional damages for how uneducated we are, how undisciplined we are, how sick we are, how weak we are…and we believe we deserve it.
The punitive approach to health weighs most heavily on moms (women in general really) who struggle with being enough. It is very hard to be all things at all times, to do all the right things for our family’s health and happiness. Women, and especially moms, are brainwashed in a sense. It’s a false- image of womanhood that includes EVERYTHING- everything we are conditioned to believe is healthy.
As I have struggled with unhealthy habits and the extreme pendulum swings I think will correct unhealthy habits I have discovered a few things. The first being that I must mistrust the image of womanhood that is constructed by the advertising monopoly if I am to understand the true nature health. I am convinced that our health has been monetized and re-engineered. We have abandoned age old traditions in favor of supposed advancements and innovation, resulting in a health crisis created by consumerism gone mad.
Sit with that idea for a moment. Just acknowledging this relieves stress. It brings back a sense of power. It detaches us from the frenzy, and our eyes are opened to a lie.
Monetized health does not have to be the norm for me and my family. I can choose to take a different approach to health, and this approach does not cost a lot of money, it does not require a degree in molecular biology, it does not demand too much energy, and it is NOT punitive. In fact, it’s not really an approach at all. It is not ideological, exclusive, or secret.
Nothing concerning true health is new-quite the contrary. It is as old as it gets. What I want to share, and hopefully work through as I journal, is the journey of living a truly healthy life, the life I was created to live. Health is about being. No gimmicks, no tricks, no new revelations, no cutting edge expert advise.
My first Thursday’s Health Report begins in a funny spot, however I think it hits the bullseye. If we as women want to begin to live, and live fully, we might consider getting off the conveyor belt of monetized health. We can choose to unsubscribe to the polls, the statistics, the clicks, the next miracle, the headlines, and the health drama. We can become UN-consumers. This detox is hard, because we are conditioned to follow the advise of experts. For reasons that are evident, yet hard to understand, women have willingly forfeited our God-given genius concerning food and health. We think health is too complicated, too scientific, too much for us to take on ourselves. This is true in cases of illness, when we truly need the expertise of trained physicians and healers. However, this is not true when it comes to everyday living and living well.
I truly believe women have a built in sense about food. It is a knowing- knowing what to cook, how to cook it, and how to serve it. The clues we need to Hansel and Gretel our way back to health are present in our food traditions, cultures, and families. It does not take too many paces for a woman to retrace her steps and find the old country ways. My own Texas farm heritage has wonderfully healthy food traditions; garden fresh vegetables, hearty beef, and lingering conversations at the supper table are three of my favorites.
Women have traditionally been the keepers of food traditions and the preservers of culture. There is something to discover in this- it is a blueprint of health that has preserved generations, and it is a beautiful part of womanhood. This unseen gift gets high-jacked by experts who through science and technology undermine the spiritual nature of the kitchen. This loss of power, tradition, and confidence is where I want to begin my musings on Thursday’s Health Report.
Try this little exercise:
Go to your kitchen and stand in the middle of the room. Feel the space you take up, feel your weight, feel your body, connect with it. Stay put for about three minutes. Stay still until you feel something, anything.
What did you feel? Keep trying this exercise until your heart and kitchen connect. Until you can pray with thankfulness for the opportunity to feed and nurture yourself and others. Often times when I do this, I feel a great sensation of warmth right in the center of my chest near my heart. It is here that I pray to God. It is our Creator that is the true source of health. True and deep prayer is also the protocol for a consumerism detox, and a rejuvenation of our food gift. We have to give up our false- image and turn to the true Image. In this we experience joy, relief, healing, gentleness, mercy, and love- the very opposite of the punitive and rigorous nature of monetized health.
Thursday’s Health Report 3 Weekly Challenges
- Archive all the gimmicks and expert advise.
This will be hard for me, however I know it is necessary. Often times, I am distracted from being healthy by reading and studying about being healthy. I want to fill up this extra time and head space with prayer, my duties, long walks, and cooking yummy healthy food!
- Don’t buy anything that has a health promise stamped on it.
This does not include prescribed medicines and supplements. Otherwise, I am going to eat real food. Nothing that has been over-processed, over-rated, or over-advertised. This means I will do most of my shopping around the outside edges of the grocery store.
- Pray and wholeheartedly give thanks for the food that I eat.
This might seem simplistic, but I wonder how often I do not connect with the Eucharistic nature of mealtime and food. I want to slow down and cultivate a heart of gratitude when it comes to food. Food is so precious, and wonderful, and life giving. Glory be to God.
Will you join me, join the conversation, join me in a few real life challenges, join me in prayer? This Lent I am hoping to regain health in my home, body, and soul. I want to return and repent. I want to regain power- the power that comes from a life that is centered in the right place. Check back next Thursday for another report about where I am at in this journey. Thank you for reading. Mandy