Let people watch you fail. It helps you both.

Nationals, Run 1
First Run at my first National Championship

 

One of my favorite parts of being a committed athlete is the social value that I get to pay forward.  You might ask, “what is social value, as it applies to an athlete?”  Let’s start with a colloquialism we all have heard.

“If at first you don’t success, try, try again.”

How often do we see our friends and family stop an activity when they fail in a grand way?  For sure, the one place where I watch it play out in real time is the façade of dieting and exercise.  Parents start fad diets and workout regimens, and they get results…but only for a time.  The hands of time take their toll during the battle, and their willpower is replaced with the patterns of the past.  Voila-they return to failure mode.  Failed dieting and exercise regimens are the true unwanted occupants in our kitchens and on our neighborhood walking trails.

On the flip side, I read some news that seems intuitive while also helping the next generation avoid the abomination of obesity that my generation is trying to normalize.  MIT published some research on Sept 21, 2017, in Science that demonstrated that parents who struggle and suffer in real time in front of their children are really doing a great service to those children.  By struggling and fighting a battle in front of our children we teach them that hard work pays off.

“There’s some pressure on parents to make everything look easy and not get frustrated in front of their children,” says Laura Schulz, a professor of cognitive science at MIT. “There’s nothing you can learn from a laboratory study that directly applies to parenting, but this does at least suggest that it may not be a bad thing to show your children that you are working hard to achieve your goals.”  Further, the study claims that “children’s persistence, or “grit,” can predict success above and beyond what IQ predicts. Other studies have found that children’s beliefs regarding effort also matter: Those who think putting in effort leads to better outcomes do better in school than those who believe success depends on a fixed level of intelligence.”

They designed an experiment in which 15-month-old babies first watched an adult perform two tasks: removing a toy frog from a container and removing a key chain from a carabiner. Half of the babies saw the adult quickly succeed at the task three times within 30 seconds, while the other half saw her struggle for 30 seconds before succeeding.

babyandtoysThe experimenter then showed the baby a musical toy. This toy had a button that looked like it should turn the toy on but actually did not work; there was also a concealed, functional button on the bottom. Out of the baby’s sight, the researcher turned the toy on, to demonstrate that it played music, then turned it off and gave it to the baby.

Each baby was given two minutes to play with the toy, and the researchers recorded how many times the babies tried to press the button that seemed like it should turn the toy on. They found that babies who had seen the experimenter struggle before succeeding pressed the button nearly twice as many times overall as those who saw the adult easily succeed. They also pressed it nearly twice as many times before first asking for help or tossing the toy.

We must struggle in front of others if we want to teach the next generation about grit.  Sure, there are feel-goods associated with showing off weight loss and body shape changes, and all those positive accolades can stroke an under stimulated ego.  Just look at Instagram or Facebook for evidence.  The real social value is not to you and your desire for attaboys.  The social value comes from fighting the battle, recording your efforts, documenting your setbacks and fighting hard the next time, when those you love are watching.

I love competing with family and friends watching, even when I lose.  The act of publicly going at 100% and preparing to go at 100%, teaches others other that hard work pays off.

Go fight.  Go fail.  Let your family and friends watch.  Just don’t give up-then, they will grow up and do the same thing.

 

2016 Year in Review

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Running in Zofingen

Accountability is at the core of reaching a goal, and accountability requires measurement.  If you can measure something, you can improve it.  I achieved a lot of goals in 2016, and here is some background on implementing a measurement strategy and use it to make your goals happen.

Let’s do a hard accountability measurement example first that many of us all share-we want to spend more time with family. If you say you love your family and want to spend more time with them, you have set a goal.  How do you make the claim that you are doing something about it and not just blowing hot air and making another fruitcake New Year’s resolution?  Start with the measurement!

Get out your calendar and look at how often you saw them in 2016.  Perhaps you saw them a total of 6 times, and all but one of those instances coincided with a holiday.  That means your measurement showed that you had 5 holiday visits and 1 non-holiday visit.  Remember, we aren’t measuring quality here-just quantity.  To reach your spoken goal of spending more time with family, you need to visit them more than those 6 times.  That means that future measurements include numbers that are larger than 5 and 1.  Perhaps you could set a goal of 6 holidays and 3 non-holiday gatherings. From your measurement, you see a need to pick some holidays that you missed and add in a couple of non-holidays.  The unspoken assumption here is that you will continue to repeat your previous behavior.

At the start of last year, I studied the outcomes from running and riding my bike.  I knew I could do better but the causes for the low performances were a mystery.  So, I got serious with my measuring.  Here is what I committed to measuring:

  • Body Fat-I was between 10 and 12%, and I knew that I needed to get to 8%, if not less.
  • Power on the bike. Going “as hard as I can” didn’t give me a metric to say how hard was hard.  Measurements shows that my sustainable power was 200 watts and change.  I needed it to be in the 255 Watt window to get the sustained speeds that I wanted.
  • My running cadence was 165 to 168 strides per minute. I needed to get to 180 to be more efficient.
  • The difference between the speeds that I did my long runs at was not that much different. My easy days weren’t easy enough, and my hard days weren’t hard enough.  I needed to learn how to go easier, as well as go harder.

Getting there….

To address body fat, I felt that most of my eating habits were healthy, but there was room for improvement. I committed to a monthly body fat measurement regimen with one of my Pilates instructors, Laura Pittman.  I knew I was eating too many carbohydrates late I the day and needed to measure what happens when I eat less.  I started eating more sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes, and I added more veggies.  During my monthly body fat analysis, I watched my weight remain relatively constant, but my body fat went all the way down to 7% at the end of the racing year.  It remains there.  Success!

To address my low power, I incorporated more “hard” sessions that included repeated efforts above my best race efforts.  These anaerobic efforts worked wonders to increase my power.  My cycling speed is up 10%+, and I haven’t worked out any more than I did in 2015.

My running still has room to grow.  My long runs are nearly all on trails, so I run slower.  I have started doing intervals but that aren’t frequent enough or fast enough to result in much of a difference.  To address this, my first 4 events of 2017 are all running events, forcing me to prioritize running ahead of cycling until the end of March.  This makes me put more runs on the schedule.

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My family, at Christmas time

 

Every Sunday, I review outputs from these tools and adjusted workouts.

I implemented a plan to address these-details of this would be an overwhelmingly long blog.  Suffice it to say that without the help of my family and business, this plan would have failed.  Here are the 2016 results:

  • I had two first place overall wins last year: one duathlon and one Ultra-Marathon. That causes me to shake my head in disbelief, and, in one instance, cry.  Beating everyone else in an endurance competition when I am 51 years old breaks nearly all molds people have of what the aging process is.
  • I did better than ever both at Duathlon Nationals in Bend (9th place in my age category) and at Duathlon Worlds in Switzerland (10th in my age and 91 out of 241 overall). Despite aging, I am getting faster in both disciplines.
  • I finished the competition season at 7% body fat
  • I didn’t get injured. I could have put this first, as it is a precursor to success with everything else.  What this means is that I didn’t get any overuse injuries or range of motion injuries associated with not being aware of your body’s limits. Had I been in a car accident or the like, I would still be making this claim.
  • Giving-it-away points were higher than expected. Giving-it-away points are earned each time my wife and I share our knowledge of fitness and nutrition.  I helped a couple of athletes out as well as taught two of our classes.

The items up there that I controlled are the 3rd and 4th ones.  The first two I didn’t control-I have no input as to who else shows up on race day.  However, I know that 1 and 2 would not have happened without 3 and 4 happening.

Accountability requires that I do this process again, starting now. There were things that didn’t go right in 2016 that I need to address in 2017.  My goals remain the same:  run faster, ride faster and longer, avoid preventable injury and eat better.  The obstacles I hit were associated with inconsistent efforts to get there.  My strategies all revolve around avoiding inconsistency.

In those moments when you get honest and observe that your results don’t meet your goals, don’t take the “let’s try harder” strategy.  That doesn’t work.  Start with measuring your efforts and keep doing it.  You need the feedback provided by measurement to see if your efforts are working.

 

 

Dear Abdomen-Handling weight gain over the holidays.

Dear Abdomen,

I know I put on weight over Thanksgiving but haven’t stepped on the scale yet to put a number to it.  I just know that I did.  My clothing didn’t fit the same today as it did a week or two ago.  And, I don’t feel the same.  I feel bad about all the eating I did over Thanksgiving.  Maybe words like, “depressed” or “empty” are feelings associated with the knowledge that I gained weight.  Yet, I had a good time with family, and I know I  shouldn’t feel bad about spending time with my loved ones.  What can I do?  – Charlene

Dear Charlene,

There is a need to reconcile these extreme feelings.  Gaining weight between late November and early January is common in Western culture.  Although science has no defining study that says, “you gain weight when it is cooler,” there is a school of thought that makes us think that when it gets cold, we don’t sweat as much and we gain weight.  Too bad science doesn’t support this.

The evidence points towards two distinct events that are to blame for weight gain.  To begin, we introduce unstructured change into our diets.  The holiday foods aren’t aligned with what we eat the rest of the year.  After all, we don’t eat stuffing in May, nor do we have pumpkin pie in August.  We don’t know how to judge portions or frequency in which to eat these unknown foods. Secondly, we respond differently to the impact of an emotional disorder called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) that causes both depression and increased food consumption from darker, shorter days.   This disorder to so widespread and common that people specialize in the health care aspects of it.  SAD has a greater impact in polar regions, but it can alter eating and sleeping patterns in the continental US as well.  My family experiences a mild depression when we turn back the clocks in the fall, for we knows the days of going outside to work in the garden after dinner are over.

Those two explanations that blame a changing diet and SAD aren’t justifications, though.  Truth be told, a lack of self-control plays a role, as does denial and a lack of preparation for upcoming nutritional assault that you know you will face in the holiday season.

Newburgh-Tow-Truck-Company-845-764-8865-fixing-a-flat-tire-on-disabled-car
Thanksgiving is a flat tire event.  Do you fix the flat or blow out 4 more tires?

We recognize the pattern that arises this time of year.  We even coined the phrase 4 flat tire syndrome.  When your cars gets a flat tire (like blowing your nutritional plan when you overeat at Thanksgiving), the normal person would stop the car and change the flat tire to resume normal operation.  The tendency this time of the year for someone who lacks nutritional maturity is to get out of the car and pop the other three good tires, to really ruin the ability to travel.  Then you sit next to the car wondering what happened!

Don’t let the flat tire of Thanksgiving lead to a string of events that includes three more flat tires of crummy eating that lasts until January 1.  If you think your self-image is damaged now, wait until January 1, when you over-respond with a new gym membership and a diet that you know you won’t sustain.  A Canadian blogger named Michael Freedhoff recommends these strategies to avoid the Holiday/winter weight gain issues:

  • Cook meals from scratch. The processed junk food that somehow just “shows up” on our counter is a part of the problem.  This is like putting more trees and snakes next to Adam and Even in the Garden of Eden.  Instead, make food prepared from real ingredients and try to eat as many healthy meals as you can.  If it is in a bag or from an unknown source, replace it with something that is good for you, instead.
  • Cook as a family. After all, the people whom you want to see this holiday season are most likely to be near or in the kitchen with you this time of year.  Use that time to make good food together and not just eat it together.
  • If you think you suffer from SAD, fess up and get medical attention. There are treatment strategies that will create a path of hope.  You aren’t weak if you seek medical help. You are acting wisely to seek medical help.

Lastly, some weight gain this time of year is healthy for those of us who are extreme athletes. That all said, I too was impacted by Thanksgiving and put on some weight.  For world class athletes in the endurance sports like marathon and Ironman, winter is a time of weight gain.  Runners from El Doret, Kenya, gain up to 15 pounds each winter/off season, as many of them get to a very low percentage of body fat.  For you, keep up some exercise, despite what you think of the weather and lack of daylight, and adapt to the changing outdoor season.

 

Welcome to Church!

So, I had a food and fitness moment that included me throwing the obese-man-03leadership of a couple of local churches under the bus.  Then, I got my heart broken, for the good.

My church, like most churches in the south, is populated by those whom are fat.  Fat people have fought hard to become accepted as normal, and they have their advocates like any other group of people.  Their presence anywhere in our society, including church, is not a big deal.  Churches are filled with folks of all sorts, all at different places in their walks with God.

However, for those of us who call Christianity our faith, we have a different set of standards than those who live in the world.  Christ tells us in Romans 12:1 that our bodies are “temples.”  He also says that we are to offer them as sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God.

Historically, the temple in ancient Jewish culture was the pinnacle of village activity.  People diligently cared for it, making sure that nothing unclean was ever brought into the temple, and the priests who served in the temple were often the most revered members of society.  The temple had an outward appearance that was pleasing, and the community was proud of their church.  Inside the church, there were rules regarding what could be brought inside and who could and could not bring things into the temple.  That mechanism of filters was what defined how the church was to be maintained as “holy.”

“Sacrifice” implies going without for a higher good.  People sacrifice going on a great vacation in order to save for education for their children.  That word “sacrifice” used in this context has the same meaning and connotation as one who goes without in the world today.  God says it is Holy and Pleasing to Him for us to treat our bodies as a living sacrifice (as opposed to a beheading as some ancient religions perceive sacrifice to mean).

Lastly, he says that the act of treating our bodies as “Holy” is our “true and proper” worship.  This is not to say that teaching, preaching and prayer and song are inadequate worship, but they aren’t “true and proper” worship.  True worship comes from treating our body as a temple.

These are not my words, folks.  Yet, they are lost by the leadership at the place that I call my local church.  Our church is led by folks who either disagree with Romans 12:1 or feel it doesn’t apply to them and the people they lead.  For me, it was life-transformational to learn the depth of Romans 12:1, and the impact that it has had on me led to hundreds and in some instances thousands of you reading this blog.

I recently lost the ability to look at leadership with any real level of respect as they shared their passion for the messages and mysteries that they see in the Bible, while simultaneously leading a life that didn’t include any passion for true and proper worship.  Heck, even the worship leader and his wife are obese!  All the while, there has been a focus on building a children’s area that was full of quality places that would be the “temple” used to attract in new folks.

Trashing the temple is sin.  It isn’t right to ignore God’s teachings about the temple, sacrifice and what God finds Holy and pleasing because you aren’t very good at it.

This doggedness of the truth began affecting me.  The temptation was to quit and move on.   Yet, no one can maturely leave a situation that is troubling without first trying to fix it.  My wife and I responded by creating a course that we call “Faith, Food and Fitness,” the objective of which is to:

-lay out what the Bible has to say about food and fitness topics.

-provide guidance and support for implementing these mandates in the 21st century, in the USA.

-add valuable science to help achieve their goals.

We have opened the doors to our church, employees and friends to take the class.  The class was published in the list of life group classes that church members can participate in.  Despite the hundreds of people who call our church their home church, we have only had a handful of folks take the class.  We have run the class twice.  Both my wife and I are all but done asking this crowd if they want help on the topic.  After all, help isn’t for people who need it.  It is for people who want it.

Over the last few months, we have been attending church infrequently, but truth be told, we haven’t missed it.  Then, the weekend before leaving to travel to the World Championships, I went to church.  My son and wife had an event up the road in Davidson, NC, that prevented them from coming, so I went alone.  At church, there was talk of an upcoming men’s retreat/event weekend.  The lead pastor marketed this unique men’s event by repeatedly sharing with the audience that all the men who attended were going to eat barbecue.  References to what we were going to study?  Nothing that I heard.  What they were going to put into the temple made the hot list of topics and was the only topic that got brought up more than once.

I concluded that I was done with this place.  I was done with the hypocritical leadership who says “follow Christ” but leads others astray by trashing their temples. These guys are making chubby buddies and didn’t see anything wrong with their actions.  The epidemic of obesity in church has grown so much that both Fox News and Christianity Today have published articles on how bad obesity trends in churches are, even when compared the general population. In addition, a friend of mine just took on a high level leadership position at a large church in our area, and I called him out on his failover to perform true and proper worship.  He heard that he needed to go on a diet.  Last I saw him, that strategy wasn’t working.  To complicate things, he used to be a worship pastor.

All these events added up, and I finally concluded that we weren’t changing anyone or anything from our efforts, and I was being “dumb” for sticking around and beating my head against a rock with our church.

So I thought.

On Sunday am, before the start of church, Emily, the Equipping Pastor got my attention and pulled me towards where she sat by showing her big, bright smile.

“Guess what!” she said.

“Tell me,” I responded, not knowing what to expect.  However, I have known her for 10+ years and knew she was going to tell me, regardless of my answer.

“You helped to inspire me.  I am running my first half marathon soon.  I have been training for it, and…”

I didn’t hear anything she said after that.  All I could hear was, “Jeff, you are wrong…dead wrong about not making an impact.”  Just because I couldn’t see results or feel results didn’t mean there weren’t any.  Emily and her sister have both followed some of my goings on, and her sister took half of our class.  But, they have gone radar silent and we haven’t heard from either of them in a year.  I thought they had gone back to their old ways.

Philosophically, I asked, “Is it enough that one person got it?”

Yes.  Through one, many can be saved. How many times did one person, changing one person, start a revolution that impacts a culture.

Had Emily not approached me, I would have concluded that my efforts were wasted at our current church and I would have begun seeking a new place to call church where they were valued.  At our church, we most certainly prioritize fixing cars and having cool stuff for our kids, but not so much regarding “true and proper worship” and “sacrifice” make it into behavior patterns where leadership is leading by example.

I don’t know what is next, but giving up isn’t on the next step list.

 

 

No longer waiting for weights!

Throughout my whopping three of years of endurance training and competition, the areas where I have knowledge deficiencies continue to show up.  The moments are humbling.  Here is my “latest” discovery that I put in the category of dumb moves.

My “solid” logic has been to skip weight training.  My reasons were “thoughtful.”

  • I need long twitch muscles to be an excellent endurance athlete, and that is where I put my focus. Weight training builds up fast twitch, and I don’t use many of those during a race.
  • I continue to improve my outcomes by training more in running, biking and nutrition.
  • I only have so much time during the day (I have a full-time job, a ministry, a family, a scout troop, etc.), and it was easy to cut out the weight room.

I had the equivalent of a flat earth argument perfected.  However, my thinking was missing one element, namely, it lacked evidence that this was the best way to go.

As I took a look at my performances, I saw that I wasn’t getting exceptional results most of the time.  No podium finishes at Worlds.  Sure, there was King of the Mountain at Nationals, but no first place overall finishes in any of the events around here… just first in my age group from time to time.

As always, my learning began with a moment when I start wondering if my strategy may be wrong.  Oh, how my wife loves it when I start with that word “wrong” and refer to myself…Despite never having an “in your face” moment that pointed out what was missing, there was a moment. I came in several minutes behind a guy at Long Course Nationals who weighed 25 pounds or so more than me.  He was the same age…so I started reading more, and I challenged by assumptions. Listening to stories and reading provokes some questions regarding my ideas regarding effective training.  The more I read from folks whom our community deem to be knowledgeable, the more I concluded that my formula left room for improvement.

In my mind, there existed a disconnect when it came to weight training/resistance training and long-distance endurance training. I believed that weight training was not necessary as an endurance athlete.  I most certainly didn’t want to become bulky and thereby slow down while going uphill.  Climbing mountains is an art that also doubles as a balancing act.  As one gains mass, there is more weight to pull uphill. All things equal, the lighter cyclist goes up the hill faster than the heavier cyclist.  Climbing is about maximizing my power to weight ratio…so my conclusion was that a bigger me is a slower me, especially on hills, right?

I have had weight training on my workout schedule in the past, but it used to get very low priority. High-volume endurance training without strength training can easily lead to the wasting of muscle and a much “softer” physique…and I certainly had that after Switzerland last fall.

So, now the evidence is coming back in that all physiques are not equal.  Recent learnings now teach me that If I want a lean and powerful physique, weight training is a must. Not only that, I need to treat my time in the weight room with the intensity that I treat my hard bike rides or tempo runs.  I got a blessing when I learned that weight training does not have to be a long duration activity; I can knock out a great session in 45 minutes.  Now, I attack the weight training with some of the same intensity that I see in my oldest son who loves hard workouts in the gym.

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My oldest son knows something about weight lifting…

So far, I have seen my weight go up (7%), but I have also seen my running pace sped up, while my heart rate and perceived effort have not.  At a recent 10-mile race, my average heart rate was the same as it was a year ago, but my pace was 45 seconds faster per mile than a year ago.  That is a big jump!  Yesterday’s long bike ride averaged 22 mph for the first 20 miles.  I am sure that I was not at 100%, either.  The course was hilly (1300 feet of elevation during that first part).  Weight is up, but power is up more!

It required a bit of courage to put research to the test, especially research that may prove me wrong.  Now that I have put it to the test and am seeing results, I am glad that I was wrong.   Sure, the research overwhelmingly claims that vigorous weight training builds lean muscle and significantly increases metabolism, but I didn’t know what how this would manifest in duathlon.

Since starting this experiment, I have found that my pants and shirts are tighter, but my waist has only gained ½ of an inch.  I don’t want new clothes.  However, running faster makes the idea of getting a few pieces of clothing all worth it.

I encourage everyone to examine their fundamental beliefs.  Learning requires the rejection of previous hypotheses!

 

My Race Car

I love the visualization created by a “race car.”

Race Car!
Race Car!

It not only exceeds the speeds of anything that you and I drive, it also has a lot in common with human body when asked to perform like an athlete.

Imagine if this race car, with all of its performance expectations, had some sub-standard components installed on it.  What would happen if we put Honda Civic sort of tires on the car because they were readily available?

There would be consequences. At the very least, it would be beaten by cars with equivalent drivers and engines that were using the best tire for the job, not the Honda Civic tires.

What might happen if we put regular gas in this race car and tried to race against others who were utilizing racing fuel?  No doubt, we would lose, even if we had a faster motor that the other cars.  We wouldn’t have the efficiency that the other cars have.  To ask it another way, what if our race preparation included the use of 85 octane and we only used 100 octane for the race itself?  To begin, we wouldn’t have experience with the more efficient fuel source and we would have to “learn as we go” how to best use this “new” fuel.  We would be at a disadvantage to all of those drivers and race teams that use racing fuel day in and day out and are familiar with the performance of racing fuel.

As I work with other athletes, and sometimes when I am alone, I am tempted to use convenient cheapo gas.  Drive through food, food-in-a-box and food with shelf life of spent nuclear fuel are right in front of me, at every convenience store and grocery in my community.  Even with my knowledge of nutrition and the benefits of eating smart and the consequences of cheating, the temptation remains.  I like my cheapo gas, now and then.

What should be our response?

We already know the answer.  If you want to win, you should behave and act like a winner would, every time.  Eat to win and treat your body using the best fuels possible.  Did I really have to take the time to say that?

Race Car, when presented with racing fuel after using cheapo gas for an extended period.
Race Car, when presented with racing fuel

Yes, I did.  It starts with the “conversion” that we have to go through when we leave the world of cheapo gas and migrate towards the consistent use of racing fuel.  To translate, to be winners, we need to abandon gas station food and migrate towards real food.

We all resist.  We see it in children when they are given real food and are told that they cannot have the packaged food anymore.  This kid lost her Pop-Tart and had to eat chicken and rice.  See her response?  That dissatisfaction of the loss of junk food doesn’t go away just because you are an adult or are an athlete.  That desire for cheapo fuel has to be untaught.

Race Car, consistently using  racing fuel.
Race Car, consistently using racing fuel.

However, once we are migrated over to eating real food, the act of choosing what to put in our tank is a non-event, and we appreciate its effects literally, all the time.

What cheapo fuel do you need to stop putting in your race car?

thoughtsintraining chickens sitting on a rain barrel

Food sure isn’t what it used to be.

Over the last months, as my blogging has decreased and my efforts have gone elsewhere, you guys have asked a couple of thematic questions:

  • What is next? What is your next story…you went from nobody to the World Championships.  How do you top that?
  • What about food? You talk about, you teach about it, it but don’t write about it.  What is up with that?

My wife and I have been mentoring folks in our local community about some basic truths regarding food and fitness….time to write about that stuff, too.

0P7HxA4Mb5hugJubAXF10QTeaching on the topic has changed us, and we both have been emotionally touched as we see the differences in our family and friends.

After all, it is the impact you make on others that defines you.  It isn’t the medals on the wall or trophies in your bank account that create real value.

Our passion has affected our community, and it has humbled us.  Men, and women, are visibly different.  They are thinner and stronger, and they are also more confident.  One man engages others and shares his story with anyone willing to listen.  Way to go, Joe!

To start, and to end the conversation, we choose to follow God’s word, and God’s plan.  We use the Bible as our unique scale of sorting out right from wrong when it comes to food.  The scientific method has its place, and we use it, but when there is a disparity between what God says and what a scientist concludes, we go with God.

To jump right to it, the most common question is about how and what we eat.  There are inevitable assumptions in the question, so let’s get them out there.

Assumptions:

  • God concluded at the end of creation that everything was good. That word “everything” included all food that he had made. Any suggestion or outright claim that the food that God called good is not good is worthy of an immediate discard.  You have been duped by modern science.
  • We need each other’s support to be successful. Eating and living a healthy lifestyle “alone,” is not a long term strategy.  God calls us sheep, not goats.  Goats can live and thrive alone.  Sheep cannot.
  • Most of what we “know” about food and fitness comes from our family, schools and environment, not from credible sources. Very few start with the question, “what does God teach us about food?” and build from the answer that they get to that question.  They let others answer this question for them.
  • We prioritize real food over synthetics. As my wife likes to quote, “food from a plant is better than food made in a plant.”

As I look at the Bible, there is more than adequate proof that food is problematic.  The first sin involved eating the wrong foods.  The greatest test of faith in the Bible, Abraham’s sacrifice of his son, Isaac, ended in a food sacrifice.  Jesus’s most intimate time on Earth was the Last Supper, and all of the “big” miracles in the Bible involved making food for the masses.  Food plays a big role in how God interacts with humanitymedium_27178077

My wife and I think it only makes sense that the enemy uses food to break our connection with God.  That people eat “bad” food or the wrong foods, or too much food is nothing new….the roots of this behavior go all the way back to the Garden of Eden.

Lastly, the final assumption that I make is the most easy to explain.  What Adam and Eve need from food is the same as what we need today: we still need protein for growth and recovery, fat for energy storage and metabolism management and carbohydrates for energy.  The people before written history needed the same things from food that we need today.  There is no, “they needed different things back then than we do today,” in our thinking.

Alas, there are more food choices today than there were a thousand years ago.  How do we handle it? Our view is that we don’t need to look back a thousand years to sort this out.  Just think of the old black and white photos of our grandparents.  What did they look like?  Were they chronically obese?

No.

Did they eat crackers, frozen pastries, Cheetos, non-dairy creamers, Splenda, frozen burritos, pop tarts, cheerios, Gatorade or Snickers?

No.

For us, the boiler plate of tests is this: am I eating something that my grandparents could have prepared and eaten?  If yes, then it is worth consideration.  If the answer is no, I am eating a fad food…not a good idea to follow fads.

Fads don’t last.  Fads don’t impact history in a positive way.  We want to avoid fads.

The next couple of blogs will contain our findings, and our stories of how eating what is called, “clean food” has changed our family’s lives.