It was the best of foods, it was the worst of foods… (my apologies to Charles Dickens) Well, maybe not the worst but some of it certainly wasn’t good for me and I have been suffering the consequences.
A couple of days ago I arrived home after spending eleven days in Alaska on a short-term mission trip with a group from my church. We went to support and encourage a group of fellow Christians in the interior of the state and it was a wonderful experience. While there we got plenty of exercise while constructing a smokehouse for smoking salmon. I spent a lot of time digging holes to remove roots and shoveling gravel. Exercise was plentiful…
…Unfortunately food was plentiful also. Some of that food was healthy and delicious; fresh salmon was abundant and we had it for meals more than half a dozen times. But there was also unhealthy food such as Indian tacos which are like regular tacos except fried bread (think fried dough at a county fair) is used instead of tortillas. Oh yeah – that was not healthy, but I ate because I thought I just had to try it. Next time maybe I will have the intelligence to just make a taco salad out of the rest of the ingredients.
Then there was the fact that I was traveling with some serious foodies who believe a meal is not complete without a sweet dessert. Desserts like homemade chocolate chip cookies, or s’mores made with Mounds bars and coconut marshmallows, or apple dumplings…need I go on. Once again, the sight of these sugar-laden treats emptied me of all intelligence, of all knowledge of their toxicity to my system, and I ate. After all, I had worked hard each day, surely I could eat without it causing any problems. I wish. Minor bloating and intestinal problems plagued me all week thanks to my change in diet. I smartened up for a couple of days and went back to a low-carb diet which made me feel 100% better, but by the end of the trip I was once again indulging in things I shouldn’t have been indulging in and I started to swell with fluid retention.
It took more than 24 hours of travel by van, jet, and more van to get home and during that time my feet, ankles, and legs swelled unbelievably. It hurt to walk and it hurt to bend my knees. I got on the scale immediately upon arriving home and found I was twelve pounds heavier than when I left. TWELVE pounds in twelve days! What is wrong with me that I will eat stuff that I know is bad for me? Do I have a death wish instead of a health wish?
I’ve been home for a little more than 48 hours now and for all of that time I have been back on my healthy diet of protein, healthy fats, and non-starchy vegetables . In 48 hours I have dropped eight pounds of water weight; my ankles are once again visible and my feet are no longer swollen. I’m sure I will drop most of the last four pounds in the next couple of days as I continue to detoxify my body. The question is – will I have learned my lesson? The next time I am confronted with foods that I know will have a negative effect on my body will I be able to sensibly decline and find something healthy to eat instead? How long will I be able to hold on to the memory of the extreme discomfort I suffered as a result of my poor choices? Will I learn that the short-term pleasure of high carbohydrate foods leads to longer lasting negative consequences and robs me of the ability to be all God intended me to be? I would not have to detoxify if I honored Him by eating correctly in the first place.