Bread and Wine

Last night I finished Shauna Niequist’s book, Bread and Wine. I loved every page of it. photo

She tells stories of her life–truthful and raw. And just about every chapter ends with a recipe that relates to the story she told. She proposes that hospitality should not be stressful or formal, but that it should be authentic and relaxed. She says life centers around the table. That food is…

“…the great equalizer, the level playing field many of us have been looking everywhere for. The table is the place where the doing stops, the trying stops, the masks are removed, and we allow ourselves to be nourished, like children.”

I love food. I always have. I’m one of those people who goes to bed thinking about what they will have for breakfast and wakes up thinking about dinner plans. I love heating up leftovers for lunch and I never skip a meal. For exercise, food gives me power–the fuel for my machine. I eat well, healthy–but I’m not a calorie-counter and I don’t obsess.

I believe there’s freedom to be found in life, including with food. Food is a necessity, but it’s also a blessing. It should be enjoyed, preferably with family or good friends and good music around a large table.

As a child, I was taught to eat everything on my plate. My family and I are notoriously fast eaters; gobbling up every bite (except for the peas I pushed underneath my mashed potatoes). Maybe this is because we’re also doers…busy and active. Going and moving all the time. Chad, my brother, could hardly sit still. Sometimes he’d actually circle the table between bites, not without chastisement from my mom or a stinging pinch from my dad.

Finn loves to "eat, eat!"

Finn loves to “eat, eat!”

I’m a health professional, a fitness fanatic. But I’ve honestly, HONESTLY never dieted. Never. I owe this to my mom entirely. She never complained about her body or her weight. She was health-conscious and active; the opposite of lazy. She was always working to achieve the best body God gave her, but she never created that tension that some women do when they’re obviously not happy with themselves. That feeling of…

she doesn’t like herself, so maybe I shouldn’t like myself.

I’ve since learned of my mom’s inner struggle with identity and body-image, but THANK YOU, MOM, for not projecting that on me as a child.

This is dangerous, moms. This is life-altering for girls.

Food should not be abused. Either in excess or deficiency. This is, of course, more difficult than it sounds. Most of my clients either binge or starve. They punish themselves for the bad meal(s) they ate the day before with starvation or exercise abuse the next day. They eat icecream in the middle of the night and workout for three hours the next morning. They will either drink four sodas a day or none at all, ever. Diets. Extremes. Enslavement.

Health is found somewhere between. With moderation and freedom.

My life-verse: “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery” Galatians 5:1.

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3 thoughts on “Bread and Wine

  1. I was just reflecting on this recently, realizing what a gift it was that my mother modeled a healthy relationship with and enjoyment of food. Such a rarity in today’s culture, I’m afraid. Glad you enjoyed the book; I loved it too! And since you’re an everything in moderation kind of girl, you’ve GOT to make those bacon wrapped dates, stat! They’re unreal.

  2. Very inspirational post. I’ve been reading post after post on FB lately from friends losing weight. What people don’t understand is that it is also very difficult coming from the other direction. Growing up my mom always said everything is fine in moderation, but also limited the “bad foods”. They were only for special occasions. Somewhere that thought stuck with me more than the more reasonable one and obsessions took over. I battle it still everyday (better now than in the past of course). Hoping to be a mother in the near future one of my fears is projecting negative food ideas onto my children. I think I should read this book 🙂 Thank you! This post made my day!

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