Saturday, August 20, 2011

Labors of Love: Taking care of the body (and bodies) God gave me

By Kaelin I.

My last year of high school I surrendered on and off to an idolatrous eating disorder. 

I knew the statistics. Recovery rates are minimal, and relapse is common. So, around the time I came to know the Lord I became increasingly concerned about this particular sin.  With all the data stacked against my recovery, I asked God to take it away. I knew I could not do it myself.  I also asked Him to replace it with a desire to fuel my body correctly; to respect it, and nourish it.  This post is not a testimony of my eating disorder, but I wanted to give the background on the beginning of my love of learning about food and how it works in the body. 

God promptly answered that prayer.  While it was a little hard for me to let go, it is not something that troubles me at all today.  In fact, I am pretty repulsed by the thought of harming my body in that way.  However, as someone who grew up eating lots of Hershey’s syrup and candy, learning how to “fuel my body correctly” has been a long process!  Nonetheless, this summer has been yet another opportunity for me to continue on my quest for healthy eating and general care for not only my body, but some very special other bodies, too!

For the last 7 or so years of my life, I have eaten a salad nearly every day for lunch.  Here is just one of the zillion salad and salad-like creations I’ve come up with.  This one is spinach leaves, strawberries, apples, walnuts, carrots and I dressing I made out of almond milk, strawberries, dates and cashews.  

Luke (our 3 year old) even eats salads now.  He’s been extra excited about the food that comes from our deck “garden” (a couple of planting pots on our deck).  This year, we grew cherry tomatoes, green peppers and basil.

One of my main goals is to make veggies and fruits interesting and appealing.  We all know we are supposed to eat our vegetables.  Just knowing that sentence isn’t enough for me sometimes, so when I read these books: Eat For Health, and Disease Proof Your Child,  I was very excited to put my knowledge into practice.  I do have one small critique his books, FYI.  Fuhrman seems to really like soy milk and soy products a lot; us not so much. We’ve been sticking to almond milk.  We also enjoy cow’s milk, preferably the full-fat kind.  I do have another book I really like: Food Rules.  This one is short and a pretty easy read.

Luke was very enthusiastic about eating this veggie-man sandwich!

A couple of months ago, in our Costco Magazine of all places, I found a recipe for making “healthier” Red Velvet Bars.  The recipe is mostly beets and beans.  I added more beans and more beets to mine.

It is super yummy and perfectly messy for a little guy.  So I decided not to slam my one year old with sugar for his first birthday.  He got the Red Velvet instead! (Note: mine looks brown... that’s because I skipped out on the food coloring when the only bottle of red coloring I could scrounge up was one from my landlord that looked like it was from the 1930s... didn’t red food coloring cause cancer then??  I’m not sure, but anyway, brown was fine with me and now we just call them “Chocolate Bars”.)

Luke and Corban had a joint birthday party this year, which was a fantastic time!  Yes, we still served the regular, sugar-me-up type cake as I am full aware that not everybody is as excited to get healthy as I am.  But this year I did give Chocolate and Vanilla alternatives.  I already told you about the chocolate, and the vanilla was from a recipe that Becca Goodpaster passed along to me, called “White Bean Vanilla Cake”.  I experimented a little and came up with my own version of vanilla frosting using cashews, almond milk, vanilla and dates.  My husband, Paul, really likes the vanilla and was trying to serve the  healthy cakes to all the guests!

Chocolate Bar
Looks the same...

Got any more?!

My most favorite kitchen tool?  Well, I have two, really.  First is my Oster Mechanical Food Steamer.  There is something so much different and so much better about a freshly steamed vegetable.  We like steaming broccoli, celery, artichokes, squash, potatoes, carrots, cabbage, and fruits for pureeing. My whole family loves Brussels sprouts now!  That amazed me, because I remember gagging on one at the dinner table as a kid. The steamer also cooks rice, which I am so happy about.  I hate making rice in a pan.  All I do is throw the rice and water into the steamer and it’s perfectly done without me ever stirring or tending to it.  I can easily cook fish and other meats, too.  I’ve also never found an easier, or better way to make corn-on-the-cob.

My other most indispensable kitchen appliance is my blender!  I use it so much we were seriously considering saving up the money to buy one of those professional Vita-mix type ones.  But, we got a perfectly reliable one (that even does nuts and large quantities of frozen strawberries) from Costco.  Wow, I just realized I’ve mentioned Costco a lot in my posts this summer.  I really don’t work for them, or get money from them or something.  We just shop there a lot!   

Here is the beginning of a Veggie Meatloaf from Fuhrman.  Yes, it does have ground beef, but is probably 60 percent veggies.  Tasty, and a great way to sneak some veggies in for the boys. Sometimes I have to blend at my desk if I cook at night because my children’s bedrooms are right off our kitchen!

We also made a Quinoa Loaf.

The other thing we have been doing a lot of this summer to energize our bodies is bike and walk!  I love where we live for that reason.  We have walked and biked all over the U Of M Campus, Downtown, along the River and through the neighborhoods. We also walk to Aldi and Target.  It’s been a great way to meet some more of our neighbors, too.

If we protest our naps at home we can always take them on the road!
I do have to mention that I am unbelievably blessed by a husband who has fully supported and accepted the daily salad routine, as well as all the other crazy health experiments that have come out of our kitchen.  To my very great enjoyment, Paul and I talk about food and health quite a lot.  He is actually going to be teaching an Education Hour this fall at Hope about food called, “Eating to the Glory of God.”  I’m excited about it. I will be there as much as possible if the two little ones are doing ok.  Join in if you can!

Us after a date night so generously given to us by Eric and Naomi Glidden (and me wearing a dress from the Hope Women’s Clothing Swap! Thank you Suzanne Anderson!)

Something that is really great about nourishing our bodies and exercising is the pure sweetness it is to have the occasional indulgent treat.  Our family would have fit in well back in the day when going out for a soda was special!

Wow, ice cream is from the Lord!
I know that eating healthy will not save us, nor will it guarantee a longer, or even healthier life.  God will take us when He will, we still get sick and our bodies are still decaying.  But, as for my family and I, we’ll still be eating and nourishing our bodies the best we know how given the knowledge we have.  I think my favorite Hope sermon quote ever is this one from Cor: “It’s kinda like when you’re sitting down to a meal at McDonald’s and you ask God to bless the food to your bodies, and God’s like, ‘Would you give me something to work with?!’”  I laughed so hard I kind of embarrassed myself.

After all has been said, I just can’t end this Healthy Body post without sharing a little confession: There may have been a few Rolo's and possibly some Werther’s eaten during the course of writing this post!  Paul just came in laughing at me and asked, “Are you eating candy and writing a post about healthy eating?”  Um, yep.  You caught me.  I guess I’m not perfect yet.

Well, that’s the last of my Summer 2011 posts in the Series: Labors of Love.  We do have a family blog in case you’re interested in checking it out.  It’s .  I will not promise to have super current posts.  Truly, the “Kaelin” section has been neglected!  Ah, inspiration comes and goes, and really, a lot of the time the moment the inspiration comes I’ve got a sink full of dishes, a squabble in the living room, a tea pot screaming on the stove, a house to whip into shape and dinner to make. It’s been fun, see you around Hope!

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