We have tried so many diets these past few years I think that whenever our close friends or family invite us over for dinner, they have to check my blog to see what exactly are they eating these days???
Blogs can skew perspective, however, because at least I tend to blog a lot about an exciting new dietary discovery and little to none about how that discovery didn’t exactly pan out. The Perfect Health Diet that we tried this summer would fall in that category. While I started off losing 3 pounds, after that–nothing. If 3 pounds is all eating wheat and sugar costs me, well, I can live with that.
I also found the constant focus on food and whether it fit the diet to be extremely distracting emotionally and spiritually. And I was very stressed about the strain the Perfect Health Diet was putting on our budget. I mentioned this to a priest in Confession, and he immediately encouraged me not to worry about any special diet that was not medically necessary. “You should even get the kids Lucky Charms once in awhile!”
A few days later I read this from St. Francis de Sales,
It seems to me that we ought to have in great reverence that which our Savior and Redeemer Jesus Christ said to His disciples, “Eat such things as are set before you.” To my mind there is more virtue in eating whatever is offered you just as it comes, whether you like it or not, than in always choosing what is worst (modern people read: healthier); for although the latter course may seem more ascetic, the former involves greater submission of will, because by it you give up not merely your taste, but your choice; and it is no slight austerity to hold up one’s likings in one’s hand, and subject them to all manner of accidents.
Furthermore, this kind of mortification makes no show, inconveniences no one, and is admirably adapted to social life. To be always discarding one dish for another, examining everything, suspicious as to everything, making a fuss over every morsel–all this to my mind is contemptible, and implies too much thought of meats and platters.
The real meaning of those sacred words, “Eat such things as are set before you,” lies in such an indifference to what one eats and drinks. I should make an exception of any food which is unwholesome, or likely to be injurious (modern people read: it’s okay to decline dessert or follow a medicinal special diet!)…
At all times a constant habitual moderation is better than occasional excessive abstinence, alternated with great indulgence.
What more direction could I ask for? I breathed a sigh of relief and made some regular old sandwiches for lunch.
The best of the diet experiment was that it inspired William to try some new foods and we happily discovered that his five years on the extremely restrictive Specific Carbohydrate Diet has resulted in some digestive healing for him. He continues to avoid wheat, sugar, and soy, but the rest of us are back to a normal, balanced diet.
Normal and balanced–that’s my goal for sleep, exercise, vitamins, and all that good stuff.
Now, no wheat or refined sugar for one of us means I do need to alter some Thanksgiving recipes but nothing drastic. Cranberry sauce made with honey and grape juice instead of sugar still tastes great. This afternoon I’ll be making pecan, apple, and pumpkin pie with honey and pre-made gluten free pie crusts from Whole Foods.
I have trouble with a from-scratch wheat pie crust; I can’t even roll out a rice flour one. I think there will be regular stuffing at our family’s Thanksgiving gathering tomorrow, so I picked up a box of Glutino corn bread stuffing mix for Will too. (I know Whole Foods takes a beating from Catholic moms online for being overpriced, liberal, and uppity towards big families, but I just love the place. For medicinal special diets even Amazon can’t compete with Whole Foods.)