For many years, a lot of my time and passion has revolved around food, nutrition and health. In many ways, this has been a valuable passion that has taught me a lot, helped me improve my personal health and allowed me to help others pursue their goals of healthy living. I love cooking and reading recipes is a favorite pastime for me.
I love the we, as a culture, are learning to focus more on our health. It scares me how much we have let ourselves go as a population (guys, in 2010, 75.1% of adults in America are overweight. 42% are obese. OBESE!), so my heart is warmed when I see people making choices that put their health above their comfort or physical desires. Any time I see someone that is clearly out-of-shape out running, I have to fight the urge to roll down my window, pump my fist and cheer them on as they have made the difficult and uncomfortable decision to work to improve their life.
But what happens when you take it too far?
What I can no longer deny is that health and nutrition have frequently become idols for me. Struggles with body image have won the battle of priorities in my life at many times, which means that God and His image of me has taken the backseat to my own earthly image of myself. Even though it has been a while since I have been statistically overweight and even though I know that I am of a healthy weight and size, I still struggle to avoid criticizing myself, to approach food and cravings in a healthy way and to remember that food and nutrition are made for our bodies, not the other way around.
I am very careful to avoid ‘fitsipiration’, a new social media trend (mostly Pinterest) where you use inspirational images and statements to inspire you towards fitness goals. Surely keeping yourself motivated toward fitness goals is not a bad thing; however, most of them feature photos of women with absolutely ripped abs, toned and defined backs, strong and chiseled hips, or men with bulging, billowing biceps, huge and shredded pecs, the quadriceps of Hercules. As much as they can inspire you toward improving your fitness, they can equally remind you just how far from ‘perfection’ you are. It is a reminder of just how far you are from being worthy of being called ‘fit.’ Continue reading
“He took some bread and gave thanks to God for it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this to remember me.”
The Lord’s Supper, the sacrament of Holy Communion, is a sacred part of the Christian faith, one that is innately controversial simply because of its significance. Some believe it must be practiced as frequently as possible, others no more frequently than once a week; some that only believers of their own tradition may partake, others that anyone may partake, regardless of formal examination; some believe that it absolutely must be wine, others that it is insignificant. And let’s not even breach the question of transubstantiation. But that is nothing related to what I want to discuss today. Instead, I want to talk about our constant failure to follow his command.
I have a confession to make: I’m not really great at following recipes. I’m trying to think of the last time I cooked from a recipe and actually followed it truly. Honestly it has been, probably, about two years, and as we know, I cook a lot. I also try lots and lots of new recipes. Probably half of the cooking I do is trying out something new. So why don’t I follow directions? Almost always it is because I don’t have all the ingredients the recipe calls for and either those ingredients are too expensive for me to justify purchasing or I simply didn’t have time or desire to go to the grocery store.
Some would say the ability to substitute is a gift, a skill, a talent. I would not disagree. After all, this is one of the distinguishing characteristics between someone that ‘can’ and ‘cannot’ cook. I’m thankful for my ability to adjust recipes to what I have in my pantry at any given moment. Take, for example, what I made for dinner last night: Cauliflower and Potato Curry…which I based very, very loosely on a recipe for “Coconut Curried Sweet Potatoes and Chickpeas.”
Cauliflower & Potato Curry
1 Tbs vegetable oil (or ghee, if you’re going authentic)
1 yellow onion, slivered
3 cloves of garlic, minced
3-5 dried red chilies, chopped (or red pepper flakes will work, too)
1/2 head of cauliflower, separated into florets
3-4 red potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 Anaheim pepper, chopped (or any kind of fresh, mild pepper, really)
1 (13.5 oz) can of coconut milk
1 (13.5 oz) can of diced tomatoes
Cinnamon, Turmeric, Curry Powder, Cumin, Coriander, Cloves
- Heat the oil over med-high heat and, once hot, add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened. Then add the garlic and red pepper (omit if you don’t like spicy) until fragrant.
- Throw in the cauliflower, potatoes and fresh pepper and let those cook for a few minutes. On top of the vegetables, add a generous shake of each of the spices. Everything should be yellow from the curry powder and turmeric, and you should be able to smell the cinnamon. (If you are very concrete, go with 2 teaspoons of each and adjust from there.)
- Add the tomatoes and coconut milk, stir and bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer for 30-60 minutes. The longer you let it simmer, the deeper the flavor will grow. It’s good to check in on it every 15 minutes or so, give it a stir, make sure it isn’t burning or sticking and test the flavor. After about 30 minutes, you can add more spices to suit your tastes.
- Serve over rice and/or with fresh naan.