Balancing Nutrition with Priorities -Part 2

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Welcome back for Part 2 of our discussion on balancing nutrition and priorities. Read Part 1 here.

This past week I was preparing burritos for dinner. I was frustrated and fretting about the need to prepare my own homemade tortillas. I wanted to…but energy was seriously lacking. So I went to the store. I bought white tortillas. And you know what? I felt free! I felt truly free to eat and enjoy this food without fear. Our burritos were delicious filled with home cooked beans, meat, cheese, guacamole, fresh salsa and sour cream! And we all loved it!

There is freedom in Christ, my friends (Galatians 5:1). There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, and that includes your food choices (Romans 8:1-2). Fear is slavery. God designed food for our enjoyment. He gave Peter permission to kill and eat. God had made all these food items clean through the blood of Christ (Acts 10:13-15).

This means that when done in a spirit of thanksgiving, we can enjoy the glorious flavors of God’s creation with joy. We love going out to eat and rejoicing in the flavors of Thai and Mexican food. This is part of delighting in the beauty and diversity of God’s creation.

“Whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Cor. 10:31).

Is God being glorified through your fear and striving? Than food and health is distracting us from this higher calling.

So I often buy canned tomato soup, boxed cereal, small yogurts, and minimal packaged foods here and there. Why? Because it makes my homemaking a bit more simple, makes my husband happy, increasing the joy in our marriage, and I do have more time to enjoy my kiddos. I no longer fret about it. It works for me in this season. My husband and my children are happy. There is peace. I want to keep my eyes on the Kingdom. Investing in the souls of my children, serving and loving on my husband (even if that means white hamburger buns and small yogurts for work that he loves!), and giving first to the Kingdom.

I wanted to include this helpful list of guiding questions that Natalie at Guarded for the Gospel shared. These are invaluable. They should be asked consistently when we feel our heart striving, feeling anxious, or overwhelmed.

These practical guidelines will help guard against health/nutrition becoming wrongly prioritized, over and above loving God, family and friends:

1. How does my husband feel about our family’s health and our current diet? What is his opinion about investing extra time/money in this area?

Listen, and really value his thoughts! Unity is so key.

2. What is our current budget? Am I submitting to it?

Do NOT overspend for the sake of healthy food and in doing so, dishonor your husband! You may have nourished his body by putting a super-nutritious meal on the table, but you might be kinda like a Big Mac to the financial “arteries” of your marriage. (You are clogging it up, slowing it down, and working against him if you are overspending your budget!)

3. Does my hubby have food preferences? Am I being thoughtful toward them?

If your budget + your health agenda = lots of beans…

but your husband does not like beans, then CHUCK the beans!

If he likes meat, figure out how to work meat in your meals! This may be A LOT OF WORK. But if he knows you want to make meals that are enjoyable for him and healthy, he will be more on board with you.

You won’t be gaining any support if you disregard his preferences for a meat-and-potatoes dinner, and serve him tofu served on mixed greens, with flaxseed dressing and pine nuts.

A true story from our house: My husband recently told me, “Spinach is a leaf. It does not belong in my drink. Put it in my salad!”

Yup. Green smoothies are a cool idea to me. Next time I’ll make them during the day! :)

4. Do my eating habits prevent me from spending time with other people, when I will be forced to eat foods that fall outside of my own ideas of health?

Jesus hung out with lepers. He did not think his own health so important as to avoid contact with people who could possibly jeopardize it.

5. Does my family’s spiritual/emotional health ALWAYS come first?

Baking bread and making homemade butter is NO excuse for not teaching scripture to your children, praying with them, playing on the floor with them, or having time to relax and talk/listen to your husband.

6. Am I keeping LOVE as my first priority? Am I always thinking through how to best order my time according to LOVE, not merely our diet?

These are truly convicting and yet so freeing at the same time. I pray the Lord would bless and keep you and allow you to keep this balance through His grace. Pursue health and wholeness first and foremost through Jesus Christ! I encourage you to make healthy food and lifestyle choices, use whole grains, natural sweeteners, and food as close to the original source as possible, but don’t become enslaved to it.

Try not to go to the opposite extreme of abandoning all and making yourself sick, but rather do not worry about non-organic produce, parabens in your body products, or feeling guilty if you didn’t soak your grains, or fretting that every stomach ache or dry skin issue must be linked to a food allergy. Do your best with the resources God has entrusted to you, guard your heart against fear, and enjoy the freedom you have in Christ!

I will end with this sweet quote by Sheri from the comments on Part 1. She put it so well with this illustration:

I just heard Elisa Morgan from MOPS international speak and her key phrase was, “She did what she could,” from the story of Mary anointing Jesus with perfume. To sum up her talk, God only expects us to do what we are capable of doing, not what someone else can do, or doing or giving to the point of wearing yourself to the ground making you useless. Its a good thing to remember in all aspects of life.

About Lindsay

Lindsay Edmonds is first a lover of Jesus, wife, mother of four, homemaker, and writer. She loves inspiring women around the world toward simple, natural, and intentional living for the glory of God.

85 Responses to Balancing Nutrition with Priorities -Part 2

  1. Cassie December 12, 2011 at 11:19 am #

    I don’t know anything about you other than these two posts. I found you from google and I haven’t even taken the time to look around, but before I do I wanted to say, “Thank you!” Thank you for releasing me from this terrible burden that trying to be healthier has placed on me! It is so hard to know where to draw the line at times, but thank you for reminding us all that it’s okay not to be sold out to this. I will definitely try to keep making small changes for the better, but in the mean time the things I don’t get to immeadiately won’t kill us. And, thank you also for the wonderful example of doing this while still submitting to our husband’s preferences. My husband can be very picky and just doesn’t like homemade bread or brown rice. I still make them for me and the children, but it’s so relieving to just be reminded to not allow this to disrupt the unity of our marriage. Thank you, thank you. :) You just won a new subscriber.

  2. kelly February 22, 2011 at 12:44 pm #

    I absolutely LOVE these two posts, part 1 & 2, as well as your post on is real food an idol. Thank you so much for writing these with such a biblically-centered, Christ-centered heart of love. I have shared part one on my FB page and hope that many will benefit by being reminded that our hope is in Christ alone!
    Love and blessings to you, sweet sister in Christ, Kelly
    http://www.facebook.com/TheNourishingHome

  3. Jill January 15, 2011 at 9:39 pm #

    While I do agree with some of your post, I think that some healthy ideas are very important and can easily be in place in my everyday life without being an “idol”. I do make my own bread and homemade butter among other things, but my child is along side me, helping me and bonding with me right in our kitchen! He loves to cook and is always happy to help. He is also learning important skills at the same time.I have fibromyalgia, and if I gave in to a processed food diet, I would be quite sick and unable to care for my family. Healthy food is a must if my family wants me to function to play and spend time with them! I also am at a high risk for breast cancer, and avoiding parabins is a must. If I want to be able to serve God’s kingdom, I must take care of the body He gave me so I can do his work. I am not obsessed about it, I have made healthy eating part of our everyday lives. If you are well organized and plan meals, it takes no longer than whipping up sonething processed, and I never bust the budget to do it. We garden and can, and shop sales and use coupons. We are honoring the Lord as we care for the bodies he gave us, so we can do His work to the fullest!!!

  4. Cathy January 8, 2011 at 1:17 pm #

    4. Do my eating habits prevent me from spending time with other people, when I will be forced to eat foods that fall outside of my own ideas of health?

    I LOVE this question. Am I becoming difficult to socialise with? Am I building barriers between my children and their grandparents by making it too hard? Am I making it impossible for friends to bless my family by watching my girls for a few hours?

    We have very difficult allergies (soy is in everything!), so I try and supply food as much as possible to alleviate the difficulty, but these relationships are very important and I don’t want to sabotage them.

    Thank you for reminding me to keep this in perspective. And I love your story about the spinach in the smoothie! No harm in trying it once, but if they really don’t like it, probably better to keep the peace, especially when they’ll eat in in a salad!

  5. Erin @ Biblical Nutrition to Heal January 3, 2011 at 6:02 pm #

    Love it as always!!! Your other post you did about not sacrificing family and life in the pursuit of perfection (especially for food) was one of my favorites! It can be so hard to focus on so many different aspects of our life at once… it’s most important to not allow food to become a God to replace our true Lord and Savior.

  6. Jane January 1, 2011 at 1:24 pm #

    Well written, Lindsay. He loves your sincere pursuit of Him, sweet one!

  7. Jen December 30, 2010 at 9:42 pm #

    A key thing for me is to be honest with myself about where my time is going. When I’m not in the kitchen, am I rolling around on the floor with my children or teaching them scriptures? Or do I spend some of that time on the computer/hobbies/other selfish ambitions. Knowing what an impact diet can have on my family, it’s really not that huge of a committment, especially if I have my children work alongside me as much as they are able/I can handle or at the very least in the room with me doing something at the table. If you work at it, that time does not have to be a waste in regards to having quality time with your children. I think our perspective is so skewed. In pioneer days much more time was spent on food preparation and it was just part of life. I don’t think any children felt slighted – they were included and it was just what they did and it worked.
    I also wonder why the default diet in our country is total garbage. Here factory garbage is the norm, and if we eat natural, local, or organic, we’re seen as idolizing that lifestyle and being food snobs. That is so ridiculous. It’s all in perspective. Acknowledging that that food really isn’t food at all and wanting to actually *nourish* my family (rather than send their systems into defense) on a daily basis with the type of food that God intended for us to consume, I’m not being over-the-top at all. Why should we let the masses decide for us what the standard should be? That’s not right – it’s God’s Word that is to be our standard, otherwise we’ll be blowing with the wind in whatever culture we happen to be immersed in at the moment.

    For families that have immediate health concerns regarding diet (I say “immediate” simply because I believe poor health choices will surface eventually), this is definitely a stressful topic. Which leads me to beg the question: why is “fellowship” synonymous with “sharing a meal”? Why don’t people fellowship with others through a game night, going rockclimbing, going to the theater, etc.? It takes a lot more creativity, but it really allows you to get to know people better anyhow when you’re involved in something with them.

    I’m striving to teach my children that being healthy is the norm so they don’t have to re-teach themselves one day and struggle through the mess of not knowing what I very seamlessly could have taught them from a very young age.

  8. Kristen December 29, 2010 at 7:28 am #

    Thank you SO much for this encouraging post. The Truth is so precious– thank you for helping us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus and on all of the things that matter— not just food, fear, health. This post was timely!

  9. Tanya December 28, 2010 at 9:05 pm #

    Your comment about the spinach in the smoothie made me laugh! My husband says the same thing. :)

  10. Meagan December 21, 2010 at 5:31 am #

    Baking bread and making homemade butter is NO excuse for not teaching scripture to your children, praying with them, playing on the floor with them, or having time to relax and talk/listen to your husband.
    ^ I really agree with this. Good insights, thanks so much for sharing! You are full of good ideas :)

    • Colleen G. December 21, 2010 at 5:56 am #

      Maybe but as a mom who has energy issues and health problems too much time and focus on meeting the “healthy” criteria can reall drain the enjoyment out of meals and preparing them. Food will not save anyone from growing old or provide a sure buffer against cancer. God once provided food for us in a time of need that would make a “health nut” cringe. White and sugar stuff. I let the craze get to me for awhile and was unthankful. God gave us that to eat so it was good enough. Nobody dropped dead or got sick. :) I learned that life is more than food. If you have the resources to be all whole grain and organic- Awesome!. If not don’t miss out on the blessings either.

  11. Tara December 20, 2010 at 7:15 pm #

    Really great post. Thanks for this. I love your blog!

  12. Sara December 20, 2010 at 9:18 am #

    Thank you so much for posting this. It was refreshing to read as I feel as though I’ve easily put health on an altar and become so afraid of all of the bad stuff and this easily steals my joy in serving the One. It is liberating to know that we have freedom in Christ…that it’s okay if I feed my toddler something that’s not organic because that’s all we have, or that my lotion might have a paraben in it. Yes we should strive for healthy living in our families, but I think especially today—the organic ‘trend’ sometimes creates a fear-based following where we feel as though we can somehow control our children, our spouses, our marriages, etc. Your posts were a great reminder to remember Who we are serving and TRUSTING in. Not trusting in safe lotions, cosmetics, whole grains, the organic labels, essential oils and herbs, etc. But trusting in our Creator. And finding joy and ultimately experiencing a PEACE that none of those other things can provide.

  13. Colette December 20, 2010 at 7:28 am #

    I am so, so glad that you posted on this topic! We desperately need to be reminded of the importance of the freedom that Christ has won for us in this area. I feel like too often we can make healthy eating a black/white “moral” issue, which leave ourselves feeling either self-righteous or completely condemned. Yuck. I’ve definitely struggled with this myself. God has been very gracious to remind me of my priorities, as I have recently started back to work full-time. There simply aren’t enough hours in the day to be the home-steading-wife that I have idealized in my mind…that is, and be able spend time with the Lord, spend time with my husband, serve the church, and love my neighbors. Ironically, by letting go of our food a little, I’m a healthier and happier woman…

  14. Ami December 20, 2010 at 4:52 am #

    God has given you the gift of writing and encouragement! Thank you for using it to bless us all way out here on the other end of the internet.

    Merry Christmas!

  15. Katie December 20, 2010 at 4:18 am #

    I love how you always put God first. You are such an encouragement.

  16. Lindsey December 19, 2010 at 4:32 pm #

    What a timely post! It seems God is trying to get something through my thick head. Thank you for letting Him shine through you.

  17. emily green December 18, 2010 at 6:00 pm #

    this series is such a blessing for me to read!! THANK YOU. i can relate to all that you’ve written; ironically, i prepared dinner w/flour tortillas tonight, too! funny.
    my husband and i were just discussing this; the idolatry, really, that can take place when our focus and lens becomes dominated by this healthy/whole food passion. it is a GOOD practice and it does feel good, as a wife and mama, to learn and implement ways to support the health of my family. but, not to the point of overwhelm, anxiety and discouragement!
    thank you so much.
    i will be linking to these on my blog! =)

  18. Kristine December 18, 2010 at 5:18 am #

    This was JUST what I needed to read today. I have been struggling with out budget and trying to plan healthy meals for our family. I stressed when I had to buy bread instead of making home made bread for our family this week. But with a 2 year old and a 4 month old, sometimes I just need to buy bread and then go play with my family.
    Also, for Christmas my husband’s family will be visiting. His mother will be doing much of the cooking and baking (she LOVES to cook/bake and feels loved, and expresses love by doing so). But she makes FAR from healthy foods when we all get together and I am realizing while I don’t need to pig out just because all the unhealthy food is around, BUT I do need to relax, and not worry so much about what we will be eating when they are here in our home. I can make some healthy dishes to go along with what she makes and then just enjoy the holidays.

  19. Megan December 17, 2010 at 8:18 pm #

    I really enjoyed this series and I’ve been thinking about this a lot. Josh and I don’t believe that we can cheat death or it’s timing but we eat healthy for a better quality of life. I feel better when I eat right and exercise. Knowing that life is uncertain, it’s easier to remember what’s really important on a day to day basis. It was funny as I read about trying to be more understanding of the husband’s likes…it’s opposite at our house! I have to remind him to ease up every now and then. =) Thanks for posting!

  20. Erin December 17, 2010 at 8:08 pm #

    Excellent series Lindsay! Thank you so much!

  21. julie December 17, 2010 at 5:24 pm #

    I’m so encouraged you wrote this. As I read, I thought of an article my husband wrote – that might be interesting to you or your readers:

    How to Get Your Man to Eat Like a Girl.
    http://realfoodlittlerock.blogspot.com/2010/10/how-to-get-your-man-to-eat-like-girl.html

  22. Karen December 17, 2010 at 2:53 pm #

    Thank you for taking away my guilt about not always buying/making the “perfect” foods. It’s difficult when my friends try to buy everything organic, but I can’t afford to. At least I’ve been slowly progressing toward a healthier lifestyle.

  23. Sara @ EveryBitterThingIsSweet December 17, 2010 at 2:37 pm #

    A friend sent me this today … and it was an incredible gift. Wow. I have been mulling over these very things and really wrestling in my heart about it. The Lord spoke through you today to me.

    Thank you,
    Sara

  24. Michelle @ Traditional Simplicity December 17, 2010 at 12:53 pm #

    I have found this same struggle come to head the last couple of months. How ironic you write this post as I sit down to re-evaluate our food budget for the New Year. I’ve decided to make eating fruits and veggies, less processed more of a priority over organic. Yes, I’ll buy organic where I can. I even just bought a lotion from a box store – who would’ve thought? Lol. Thank for you for this wonderful little 2 part series…perfect timing for me!

  25. Erica December 17, 2010 at 12:00 pm #

    Thanks for this great post! I’ve often said that, for us, it is more important to actually eat fruits and veggies (non-organic) than to not eat them at all because it is not in the budget for our family of 8 to eat all organic. Some things are do-able, and I buy organic when it is cost effective. Yes, I make most things from scratch and take baby steps toward more healthy choices (i.e. soaking, etc.). Everything in balance, and the incremental changes I make that actually stick are better than too many, too fast that cannot be maintained.

    Thanks for writing this!