I’ve been rather omnivorous lately.
Omnivores, as you may recall from seventh grade Life Science class, feed on both plants and animals. While someone might be omnivorous and be known to feed on just about anything in sight, omnivores aren’t likely to gorge on margherita pizza.
Or drink a glass of wine after dinner.
Or relish in a plate full of peanut butter chocolate chip cookies, fresh out of the oven.
My own adventures in omnivore-like eating have stemmed from participating in the Whole 30 elimination diet this past month. By the time some of you read this post, I’ll slowly be reintroducing dairy and alcohol, grains and legumes and sugar into my diet. Hopefully, I’ll continue with the eating habits I learned during the 30-day period. And hopefully, selfishly, pretty please little baby Jesus, I’ll find that I can continue to eat my three favorite food groups (bread, cheese and wine), when the reintroduction phase passes.
But more than anything, I want not to forget the renewal I’ve experienced through food this past month.
Renewal comes in a number of different ways, I suppose.
We experience spiritual renewal when we hole up at the local Catholic retreat center and spend time being quiet before incense and candles and statues of the Virgin Mary and the Christ figure alike.
We experience relational renewal when our best friend comes to visit for the weekend. We know she’s dropping everything just to be with us – us! – and even though we live far away, we know that the 48 hours we’ll spend together will refuel the deepest parts of our insides.
And we experience physical renewal when we let our bodies rest from all the hard work we make them do on a daily basis. We lay our heads down on our pillows for the night. We sit down in our comfy leather chair at the end of a long day. We snuggle under a blanket with our babies.
And I guess that’s what I’ve been doing this past month: resting my body from the foods it normally, mindlessly consumes.
The irony, of course, is that I’ve felt closer to my body in this time of renewal than I ever have before. I can tell you every single morsel that’s entered my mouth, on any given day. I’ve begun to see patterns, like what happens if I eat too many eggs or consume more than two cups of coffee in the morning.
And I’ve begun to crave things like vegetables for a snack. Vegetables? Yes, like the things that grow in dirt. Hand me a bowl of shishito peppers seared in sesame oil, and I guarantee you my eyeballs will roll into the back of my head. Offer me half of an avocado, and I’ll sprinkle some sea salt and lime juice on the little bugger, and eat it right out of the shell.
I don’t know who I’ve become.
But I do know that I’ve been renewed and am the in process of being renewed. That certainly counts for something, even if it’s been messy along the way.
Because this new way of eating, you see, has me hangry: hungry and angry. When you’re taking care of babies, and trying to get a bit of writing done here and there, and living life in general, it’s not the easiest obstacle to face.
And when all the sugar is draining out of my system and I’m left with what they call a “carb hangover,” all I want to do is hole up in my room and watch Grey’s Anatomy.
But at least I have food to feed my family, and at least I have a choice in what I can eat.
In the big scheme of things, 30 days is a mere blip on the radar screen. As I write this post, 17 days into the process, I’m reminded that I’m more than halfway there, that the end is in sight. And the renewal, the resurgence, the restoration I’ve begun to experience is worth all those meals of not getting to eat exactly what I want to eat.
It’s changing me from the inside out, and really, this change is rebirthing me to wholeness.