Grace Before Meals

A few days into November, my siblings and aunt were in a group text about missing the Halloween shindig at her house. She felt terrible that we didn’t get stacks of king size candy bars and endless wings that we have in years prior. She told all of my siblings that she would send them care packages at school but then told me, “Ker, you probably don’t eat candy”.

Being a nutrition-loving chica, I tend to get a reputation for staying away from all junk food. People think that because I delight in the main food groups of sweet potatoes, hummus and quinoa, I neglect anything that isn’t a superfood. False.

Don’t write the letter F because it could be mistaken for a T. Sound familiar to your third grade teacher? She is quite the wise one because my F is a strong false. It’s actually in all caps. And then followed by Zac Efron saying “Exclamation point!” like in HSM.

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I just laughed at my aunt’s text because I read it at midnight as I was walking down the aisle at Walmart with a family size bag of twizzlers, a can of frosting and a box of cake mix in my hands. I genuinely appreciate her thoughtfulness to make sure that I would enjoy her gift to me. But yes, I like candy and anything labeled “bad for you”. Lately, it’s all been quite familiar to my taste buds.

I’m just now exiting a few week phase of not wanting to meal prep, even look at kale or frankly, walk into a grocery store. That is saying A LOT for a girl whose favorite room in the house is the kitchen, prefers roasted broccoli to potato chips and turns a 10 minute trip to Trader Joe’s into 2 hours because I don’t want the fun to end.

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My body hasn’t been asking for vitamins and minerals and I’m certainly okay with that! I used up gift cards in my wallet to dine at the finest fast food joints, relied on student organization events to feed me with all of the pizza and donuts you could ever ask for and greeted my friends with a box of limited edition oreos just because I wanted to try out the peppermint flavor.

Because food is fuel. It allows our bodies’ endless functions to operate, our happiness to elevate and our lives to be lived abundantly as we glorify God. It is a commonality for relationships to grow and community to be fostered. And sometimes, it is all the physical medicine we need.

Respecting my health does not come in the form of lean, clean or green. At the core, it is honoring my identity. 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 says it all. “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple.”

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So when the parents come to visit and want to treat me to sugary coffee drinks and maple ricotta cornbread, I don’t deny it. When the person helping me at a local gelato joint tells me that my one scoop of pistachio will sink to the bottom of my waffle cone, I tell her to scoop on another. When I lose track of how many times I’ve incorporated peanut butter into a single day’s meals/snacks, I don’t care ker.

Whether it is s’mores or spinach, I give myself grace. Grace before meals. And then during. And then after. While I’m at it, I surely allow it to spill into every part of my life.

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Today, I was planning on using up my groceries before Thanksgiving break rolls around in a few days. Power o’s (first three ingredients = navy beans, lentils and garbanzo beans) in cashew milk, homemade granola on top of a smoothie, an apple, a baked sweet potato, a banana with peanut butter and a vibrantly colored salad with nature’s finest ingredients were on the menu. But the roommates had other plans. And I’m oh so glad they did!

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