Quit Telling Me About Your Macros and Pass the Bacon

by | 6 Apr, 2018 | 1 comment

I love bacon.

I mean, I love it. Pepperoni pizza. Chips and salsa. Biscuits and gravy. French fries. The only way to stop me from consuming is to remove. Sometimes, I will eat so much or so many, that I’ll actually get angry with myself.

Ridiculous. Pitiful. No one should eat that much of anything.

I desire to eat well, whatever that means. I desire that for my family.

Is there a struggle more pronounced than what we eat? Is there a family that does not wrestle this issue? Is there a family unaffected by the things that they eat, that is happy with how they eat?

To tell you the truth, I get sick of hearing about it.

The Struggle

The standard American fare is an abomination.

I grew up in a meat and potatoes family which went right along with our white picket fence and 2.0 children. Most meals included a meat, a potato/starch, and some sort of vegetable, normally corn or green beans or succotash, bread on the side. Plain old white bread, often with butter, margarine actually.

I came through it okay, I guess. My father just turned 85, decent health considering.

Yet, 160 million Americans are classified as obese—nearly 35-40% depending on the source. Five percent of American adults are morbidly obese—a 400 percent increase since 1986. It’s going to get worse. Nearly 30% of boys and girls under age 20 are either obese or overweight, up from 19% in 1980.

It’s killing us.

Heart disease slaughters Americans by the bushel, far and away the leading cause of death for both men and women. It causes 1 in 4 American deaths, a whopping 610,000 a year! For comparison’s sake, heart disease kills each year about the same number that AIDS has killed since 1981.

A major cause of heart disease is lifestyle, primarily a poor diet and inactivity.

More than 100 million Americans wrestle with diabetes, roughly 10 percent of the population. A major cause of type 2 diabetes is lifestyle…primarily a poor diet and inactivity.

Yet I wonder, is the issue really about what we eat?

Which Way

I used to carb up. I know you did to.

In college, I kept a hot plate in my barracks room and would consume mass quantities of pasta. The night before an athletic event, gotta get my carbs in. That’s how it went. Now, it seems that carbohydrates are anathema, or are they?

I had a commander introduce me to the Atkins diet some years ago. We went to get lunch at the chow hall and I watched aghast as he consumed four hamburger patties with a handful of boiled eggs. “All the protein and fat you can eat,” he exclaimed between mouthfuls. I threw up in my mouth a bit.

At some point, Paleo came along. Never mind the fact that there’s really no such thing as cavemen, but we must eat like one I’m told. If it doesn’t grow, don’t eat it. Eat tons of plants and some meat. Sounds simple. Paleo became de rigueur in the Crossfit community, an incestuous relationship that persists to this day.

At some point, someone declared Paleo antiquated. To the best of my knowledge, people do their “Macros” these days. I’m not sure exactly what that means, only that it sounds wack.

I am reminded of a conversation in Iraq some time ago. One of my crew chiefs was lamenting about how he couldn’t seem to lose any weight.

“Maybe don’t eat so much, exercise a bit more,” was my Platoon Sergeant’s sage advice.

The Struggle Typified

My family eats okay, I guess. Again, I don’t really know what that means.

Our diet waivers consistently from Paleo to standard American (meat and potatoes) to outright gluttonous blasphemy. We’ll start with meatless Monday culminating with a nice salad giving my children another reason to rue the day. Tuesday’s became Taco Tuesday. By week’s end we normally devolve to pizza night and whatever we can muster to get the kids off our backs.

Haste and busyness lead to poor food decisions. As the stewards of a large family, my wife and I often find ourselves required to be in several places simultaneously.

“Kids, time for bed.”

“What about dinner?!”

Crap! At that point, I’ll run to the dollar general and grab a handful of $1 frozen sandwiches—ribs, cheeseburgers, chicken patties—or fall back to Ramen noodles. My children laud me as a god when I come bearing such gifts. Let me arrive with a gallon of milk and a cheap bag of cereal and they practically faint with gratitude.

“Father, could we perhaps partake of the cereal tonight…”

We seldom buy much junk food, not out of any altruistic reasons, but purely because my sons make short work of it. A bag of chips will last an hour or two, ice cream, maybe overnight, cookies, forget about it.

And we have night eaters. We are as yet uncertain as to who the nighteater(s) are, whether its an organized effort or the spontaneous work of a lonewolf, but the 17-year-old looms large in our aperture of suspicion.

My wife will attempt to sequester the goods. I’ll frequently happen across a two liter of soda or bags of junk food stashed in the most unlikely of places…seldom-used closets, a desk drawer, the garage behind my tool box.

Still, we’re all pretty healthy considering. The boys play sports. We run around and wrestle and struggle to get them off the couch and away from video games. But, I think we do okay.

The Issue

Is there a sin more ignored than gluttony?

Is there a sin more damaging than gluttony?

Is there a sin less preached about than gluttony?

My wife did home nursing for a while. One of her patients was a morbidly obese woman who could literally walk from her bed to her chair in the living room and not much further. She was a literal prisoner of the flesh. Had she been a believer, which I have no idea if she was, she’d have been unable to obey that most basic of commands, to go. Had she been an unbeliever, she’d have been sequestered from the world, from the church, only having hope that someone would come to her to bring the life-changing message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

I heard that she died recently.

The believer’s body is the temple, the resident of the indwelling Holy Spirit. (1 Corinthians 3:16-17, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20) We ought to treat it accordingly, as the vehicle which carries us to take the Gospel to the nations. We ought to eat and drink to the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31)

Scripture condemns gluttony. (Proverbs 23:21) “it is not good to each much honey.” (Proverbs 25:27) All things are lawful, but all things are not helpful. (1 Corinthians 6:12) At the same time, as all foods are allowable, we should not condemn or pass judgment on those who eat differently from us. (Romans 14) It is what comes from within a man that defiles him. (Mark 7)

As such, what if we just ate with restraint?

Eat a sandwich, a cheeseburger even. Just don’t eat five or one every day for a month. Eat a salad one day. Have some pizza the next. If you feel like eating Paleo or doing your Macro’s, then do it, but quit making food an idol.

Enjoy food. See it for what it is, fuel for the machine and fuel for fellowship.

Now, I think I’ll go make my boys some pancakes with gluten in them…breakfast for dinner rocks!

1 Comment

  1. Randall wipf

    “Haste and busyness” I agree that’s a huge problem for people trying to eat healthy. Combine those two with the convenients of junk food and its game over. As a truck driver I work eleven to fourteen hours a day And am bombarded everyday by all the awesome junk food truck stops have to offer. Self control is what has helped me to lose 50 pounds and change my diet. I have found that eating healthy has given me the energy after a long day to cook a good meal. I guess it depends on how bad you want it.

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Bradford Smith

Bradford Smith

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Soldier, Pastor, Author – Bradford stays busy, with his wife Ami, raising their 9 children, serving the nation, pastoring, preaching, and writing books (#3 is due out October ’17).

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