Moderation- in moderation- is better than extremes.

I was reading Hearth’s Unified Field Theory: Food this morning and it was s reminder to me of why moderation -in moderation- is best. She is about to embark on one of my favorite dietary resets (the Whole30) and so writes a bit about her philosophy of food and health.

I don’t think that the ideal involves us making food an idol, either.   And I’m not even saying everything in moderation – I think differently.  I think we should have feasts, and special times to enjoy the most wonderful flavors and sensory experiences that we can conjure up.   But I believe that we should SHARE those experiences so that we enjoy them for a moment, and then that moment is over.

Bad food is like wearing weights.  You don’t want to burden yourself with the bad stuff on the regular, you don’t want to eat party food on the daily.  On the day to day, you want to eat good food that makes you feel incredible, that makes you feel strong and smart and clear and light.

Whatever that prescription is for you, that’s what you should eat.   And you should drink lots of clean water, avoid other chemicals as you can, put clean things on your skin and hair – do as much good for yourself as you can.

I like this approach, as it mirrors my own approach to health and fitness. The older I get, the more I recognize the inherent problem with conflating what works for me into a bedrock principle which everyone else must follow. I’m referring to practical matters here, rather than issues of morality and faith.

There are actually lots of Biblical examples to confirm my understanding of this idea, and I have resolved to one day compile them all since this seems to be such a terribly difficult thing for most Christians to process and internalize. It won’t be today though, as I am thinking more about the practical application of the snippet I posted from hearth’s post.

She is right that there are times when moderation in “all things” needs to be set aside, although these times are to be the exception rather than the rule. Daily feasts necessarily diminish the significance of a feast in the first place. I suspect this is why we see so much dissatisfaction, snark, and general disdain surrounding times and seasons that once were universally considered times of great joy.

When the Elder Brother’s* father killed the fatted calf for his reclaimed son, it was noteworthy because it was not something they did every day, even though the father with his wealth, certainly might have been able to enjoy a fated calf more than once in a great while. This is one of the ways we approach certain foods in our house.

Because the craving for a sweet, fatty treat is pretty easily sated in our culture (we have 4 Publix supermarkets within 10 minutes of our home), we have resolved that unless we want it enough to get in the kitchen and prepare it ourselves from scratch, we don’t really want it. With a few exceptions, this easily limits cookies, cakes or pies to a weekend treat, usually Sundays.

This is easily transferred to just about anything, not just sweets. Fried chicken, french fries (which need to be cut, then soaked in ice water, and deep fried twice to get the fast food effect), or any number of foods that would require a fair amount of time and effort to prepare at home.

Imagine if everyone had this limitation (like many of our grandparents did!). We’ve taken this approach with a lot of foods over the years and it dramatically increases the propensity to just grab a banana when we get hungry.  And then, when we get around to baking a treat, we enjoy it all the more.

Moderation in most things -in moderation- is a good rule of thumb.

*This parable has been forever transformed in my mind to the Story of the Elder Brother, rather than the parable of the Prodigal Son, and this is why.

 

 

 

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13 thoughts on “Moderation- in moderation- is better than extremes.

  1. I wrote the bit about feasts in light of being Primal for three years… Yeah, it was better for me, and I figure that’s where I’ll land after my reset. BUT. Feasts need to happen. Shared food unless you have an actual ALLERGY… it’s a good thing. It keeps you from a scarcity mentality, and from making food the idol.

    And that’s the other half of this (which is in the book I’m working on now). Food as idol – you can make food do entirely too much work, whether it’s kale or chocolate. It’s just food.

    So I think (this is more of a problem for me than thee) that a part of feasting needs to be COMMUNAL feasting, not just cooking something naughty just ’cause. Feasts are about more than just the food, in other words, even if the food is off-the-charts.

    And wheat and sugar are just too EASY when life is stressful, or why I need the reset.

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  2. You are all my kin though I’ve never met you, blessed be those who find fellowship in the Lord!

    I went full-on nuts for Paleo in 2008 shortly after D1 was born, but before that, I’d read Pollan and Kingsolver, renewed my knowledge of Child and Pepin, the Foxfire books, the New England Cooks Book, and schemed to get down and dirty with my food.

    I’ve gardened with my dad since before I could read. I’ve had to scale back to almost zero over the years (I almost always had basil or something growing on a sill even in my college dorm), but now I am in a position to grow so much, more than I can eat! in a 25×25 space. And, we have chickens, 12 pullets that will lay for the next 3-5 years, and I have room to expand.

    Food messes with me but most of that “messing” has to do with worldly expectations of a woman’s, a mothers, body, than my own real needs.

    Should we eat better? Absolutely. Should we lose weight, maintain or gain strength, and strive to please our husbands? Yes. Should we expect to look 17 for the rest of our lives? Lol sweet cheeks

    But back to Whole30 and food and feasts…I think programs like this have their genesis in our total disconnection from the cycle of feasts, famines, and normalcy. We don’t know them, so we strive to have discipline in our diet…artificial restriction where once it was naturally imposed…to recreate what our ancestors knew as a common and anticipated occurrence. We can refrigerate and grate and shred and blend as we choose and that’s great. But at the end of the day, if electricity fails and we must take what we can get…well then. We will. Taught abs and huge butts be damned, you will live before you will shun a tomato for fear that it will make you fat.

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  3. I cans make you jealous, GTTF… I got “two books” for Mother’s day, so one of the books is a book on permaculture. Imagonna go after the hill this year. Yes I am. Err. When I have a moment. But soon. Raring to go. I mean, it rained. So, not illegal to water things THIS year. Woohoo!

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  4. There is such a thing of courdse, as too MUCH communal feasting also. For example, just this month we have had:

    ~ Family Reunion
    ~9-year-old’s birthday
    ~ Mother’s Day
    ~ My niece graduating high school

    Each occasion marked by a “communal feast” of varying degree. Sundays are a big deal in our house as its the only day of the week when all the family members who live here ( 7 of us) can be counted on to be home for dinner.

    And so, the kitchen is filled with me cooking, the drink foodie daughter in here making a specialty concoction, Bright Eyes pitching in wherever needed or scratching her itch to try and make something new she stumbled on. This past Sunday was this rhubarb tart. Yep, it was amazing. Husband possibly on grill duty, kids setting the table nice and pretty, etc. In short, a bustling kitchen worthy of a feast day.

    Large family in relative proximity means one has to moderate the feasts, LOL.

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  5. Should we eat better? Absolutely. Should we lose weight, maintain or gain strength, and strive to please our husbands? Yes. Should we expect to look 17 for the rest of our lives? Lol sweet cheeks

    I just thought of Cher, ROFL. But yep, you’re right.. There seems to be an inability for most of us moderns to deal with reality. I am not beyond the struggle. Having to walk around next to “Hollywood Handsome” doesn’t make it any better either.

    Seriously, my hubs is great with affirmation so I am pretty comfortable in my skin. Unlike most women I actually need the extra confidence boost he gives.

    I think programs like this have their genesis in our total disconnection from the cycle of feasts, famines, and normalcy. We don’t know them, so we strive to have discipline in our diet…artificial restriction where once it was naturally imposed…to recreate what our ancestors knew as a common and anticipated occurrence. We can refrigerate and grate and shred and blend as we choose and that’s great. But at the end of the day, if electricity fails and we must take what we can get…well then. We will. Taught abs and huge butts be damned, you will live before you will shun a tomato for fear that it will make you fat.

    I think about this SO often! How spoiled with choices and access we are when it comes to food. For example, I made this last night. Seriously? Who in times past cooked this stuff? Who spiraled zucchini into spaghetti shapes to have the effect of pasta without the carbs??

    I wonder if it wouldn’t do our family a lot of good to strip it down to basics for a bit.

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  6. I have currently growing: Lavender, basil, mint, tomatoes coming in so beautifully. purple bell peppers which I have already started using. eggplant, red bell peppers, and pole beans.

    Hey Hearth: a guy at church with a super green thumb told my husband that right now is the PERFECT time to drop a few okra seeds in the ground. I wasn’t around when they spoke, but LOL. My man likes okra, so even though I don’t like it, I’m growing the okra.

    Edited to add: This fried okra which I made for hubs last week was decent enough to almost soften my dislike for okra:

    The inner texture of it though…

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  7. I LIKE okra, but I’ve heard that it was pretty spiky – that’s true love right there. 😀 (Doubt it would grow here, not enough heat/humidity).

    Daydreaming about my yard over on HRG. Again, this is where I think “this is normal”. Because I have a front yard the size of a postage stamp, in which I have a lime tree, lemon tree, large rosemary bush, and a decent assortment of roses. As well as weeds. :p But eh. We’ll come to the restructured front yard soon enough.

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  8. I’m in the PERFECT climate to grow most anything if I plan it right. I’ve got tomatoes in the ground and peppers and eggplant ready, pole beans, beets, five varieties of lettuce, spinach, bok choi, Napa cabbage, carrots, garlic, onions, rhubarb, blueberries, blackberries, and herbs all over, medicinal and culinary.

    I’ve spent the past six years building and improving my garden, and it’s only getting bigger and better. This year, I’m designing permaculture beds for fruit trees and more fruiting shrubs and understory herbs and flowers, a redesign of the fire pit, and nut trees.

    I have a traditional potager and I plan to make my whole yard serve our vegetation needs. Chickens and rabbits, maybe a goat (lol my husband would kill me and feed me to the chickens). As much self sufficiency as possible.

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  9. Sounds amazing. I am not a good gardener. At all. This year is turning out -so far- to look like a great year, but I haven’t had consistently good years back to back in the decade since I started gardening.

    I know you have longer winters there, GTTF. when do you get to start planting? We start in March (I waited until late March this year), of course, which is why I am already picking peppers and the tomatoes are growing nicely.

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  10. Winter is funny lately. We had a warm autumn and the first half of winter was warmer and drier than usual, but in February and March we had freezing temps for weeks and enough snow to bury us for a few days.

    I start some plants indoors but by the middle of April I’d had my early cool weather crops in, lettuce, beets, broccoli and all. Tomatoes were just planted last week, and I had to cover them because we had a two-night dip into the 30s with daytime highs in the 50s…in May. Not unusual, but it makes putting the prima donnas out a dicey prospect. I won’t get any fruit from them until late June, and by October we’re mostly done. One of these days I’ll built a greenhouse for a longer season.

    I don’t like heat, or humidity, or summer, but I love fresh produce so I live with it. I am a bit jelly of your ripe peppers though!

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  11. I live in what I refer to as the geographic pseudo-south. Florida (south of the panhandle) is south, but not southern, and less so the further south you get.

    Even so, I was raised by true southerners who love okra (Dad always put in his spicy gumbo). So was my man, but I have never developed a taste for it. Not even as my taste buds aged have I taken a liking to it.

    I think my dislike rubbed off on a couple of the kids too, LOL

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