Editor’s Note: This article was first published in July of 2013. It is being reprinted as part of a new weekend series at PJ Lifestyle collecting and organizing the top 50 best lists. Where will this great piece end up on the list? Reader feedback will be factored in when the PJ Lifestyle Top 50 List Collection is completed in a few months…
In recent posts I revealed a few personal pieces of our lives, mostly focusing on the economic impact of a health crisis. However, life-changing events such as these seldom come in isolation. This perfect storm arose out of our lifestyle and diet, devastating my husband’s health and testing our faith.
In the span of a weekend my hard-working husband Mike went from a “Top Gun” insurance-fraud investigator to a bedridden patient, while I morphed into little more than a trembling caregiver. Without our realizing it, his lifestyle of constant traveling and eating on the road along with my budget-conscious (rather than health-conscious) efforts at home created unthinkable consequences.
Without any real symptoms, over a period of years he quietly developed chronic deep vein thrombosis. After a stint in critical care, surgery, and high-power medications, we exhausted all medical avenues to dissolve the clot.
The surgeon came in sporting a “you-did-this-to-yourself-big-guy” attitude and handed us a one-way ticket into a nursing facility. He declared that nothing more, medically, could be done. He explained, in a clear “good-luck-with-that” tone, that Mike’s body had to heal itself. He needed to “forge new veins.”
The finest health-care system in the world could only stop the progression of the clotting — which, arguably, is profound. Nonetheless, medicine had nothing further to offer us other than opiates, Warfarin, insulin, and around-the-clock, skilled care.
No cure, not even an injection of hope.
The fluid in his legs wasn’t going away “any time soon.” Which translated to him not getting out of bed any time soon. What fluid remained in six months, they said, would become permanent — an inconceivable thought.
My oldest daughter developed a theory and a plan. In the process we discovered these simple principles that had a profound impact on Mike’s recovery and my life.
1. God Designed Us to Eat.
At the risk of stating the obvious: We were created to eat. We come out hungry and spend our first years tasting everything from rocks to the contents of a diaper. Then we spend the rest of our lives struggling against the food we want to eat and the food we “should” eat. Then food becomes the enemy. That’s not the way it was supposed to be.
Then God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you; and to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to every thing that moveson the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for food”; and it was so. Genesis 1:29-30
Eating is not only something we do to physically survive; “breaking bread” together has a deeper spiritual richness that strengthens families and friendships. When God made Adam and Eve, He put his beloved creation in the midst of a garden. He surrounded them with His abundance and bathed them in His fellowship.
Once we realized that food was not the enemy, but a gift from God, it changed the entire dynamics of how we viewed what we ate.
2. God Cares About What We Eat
In a culture of obesity, we’re told not to make feasting or food a centerpiece of our daily life. And yet God did just that throughout the Old Testament.
He also laid out specific dietary restrictions. If you argue that as Christians we are free from dietary laws, I would agree. But also, we came to understand the wisdom of 1 Corinthians 10:23 (ASV).
23 All things are lawful; but not all things are expedient. All things are lawful; but not all things edify.
It may be lawful for me to ignore the fact that God cares about what we eat, but it’s clearly not in my best interest to do so. He wants us healthy. He wants us strong. He wants us to live a long, prosperous life.
By embracing this truth, we stopped listening to food manufacturers and began to learn about the fast array of healing qualities of food made by God alone.
3. Our Body Is Designed to Heal Itself.
“Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food.” — Hippocrates
I realize there is no book in the Old Testament titled “Hippocrates.” However, it’s still truth. By looking at our diet as God’s way of restoring the body, we began using food as Mike’s medicine.
We didn’t latch on to any fad diets. Instead we hired a Christian nutritionist to educate us. It’s still a process. But what a wonderful journey it has become. Mike has lost over 115 pounds, and although he still suffers with pain and swelling, he is home, walking, and astonishing his doctors with each visit: