'Tis the season of dietary overindulgence, which starts with Halloween and lasts through New Year's Day, when many resolve to undo the damage inflicted by too many Christmas cookies. Seeking a balanced perspective on food in this unbalanced season, I eagerly read Christianity Today's cover story on the food movement. Leslie Leyland Fields argues for thoughtful food choices governed by our belief in a God who rules all creation, while cautioning against seeking perfection through our diets. Fields introduced me to the term orthorexia, an eating disorder characterized by an unhealthy obsession with healthy food. While I don't know anyone with orthorexia, I know plenty of people who are anxious about what they and their children eat, myself included.
In some ways, I'm laid-back about food; my kids get to keep all their Halloween candy and tuck potato chips into their tuna sandwiches. But I also know how I'm supposed to feed my family, and how often I fall short. When I pack an especially healthy school snack (hummus and pita, for example, instead of the usual cheddar Goldfish), I secretly hope the teacher will notice that I'm following the school's healthy snack policy to the letter. I worry that I'm not vigilant enough about my kids' diets given that my husband's family has a history of diabetes. I would like to lose a few pounds but feel defeated when, yet again, I skip breakfast, only to satisfy mid-morning hunger pangs by stopping at Starbucks for a latte and scone.
Anxiety drives out gratitude. When I'm worrying about whether my kids' snacks contain trans-fats or how many servings of fruit they've had today, I forget how fortunate I am to be able to feed my children when they are hungry. In his Four Freedoms series, Norman ...1
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