I’m hungry, but I really can’t think of anything to eat. I go to the refrigerator to decide what to make for dinner and walk away frustrated. Nothing seems satisfying.
Over the past few years, I’ve developed several food sensitivities that limit what I eat. These aren’t life-threatening as some allergies are, but the discomfort I get from eating the wrong foods isn’t worth the momentary pleasure of eating something I shouldn’t.
The first one was lactose intolerance. After growing up on a dairy farm and always drinking a lot of milk and eating milk products, it was a shock to realize that I could no longer digest them. I can drink some non-dairy milks and eat butter and some hard cheeses, but even lactose-containing yogurt gives me digestive problems.
When I continued to have problems, I found out that I was also sensitive to gluten and fructose. This seriously limited what I could eat. The day I came home from the doctor with the list of foods I shouldn’t eat anymore, I walked around the supermarket and felt like I was grieving over all the foods I enjoyed that I wouldn’t be able to eat.
It has turned me into an avid reader of ingredients, which helps me to make sensible and wholesome decisions about the food I eat. You could say that I’ve become a food minimalist. I have a limited list of foods that I can eat, and I try to have a well-rounded diet with a lot of vegetables and some fruits, lean chicken, eggs and fish, brown rice and a small amount of hard cheese.
But sometimes, like today, I wish I could eat something really decadent. But I won’t, because I know that would result in a stomachache for a week afterwards.
I can’t help but draw a comparison to my spiritual life. Sometimes I feel like I get bored limiting what audiobooks I listen to, and I want to try something different. I love to listen to audiobooks as I fall asleep, but sometimes I try some book that I know isn’t good for me, and my mind is plagued for days by images I don’t want to think about.
So I’d rather be a minimalist. I’d rather eat my chicken and vegetable stir-fry. I’d rather listen to the Psalms for the 119th time as I am going to sleep than have to deal with the aftermath of some thriller that doesn’t agree with me.
I’m thankful for my sensitive stomach that keeps me on the straight and narrow in my eating. I’m also thankful for a sensitive spirit that cues me to what is and isn’t good for me to dwell on.