Living with intention is one of my continuous goals.
The past two years I have set an intention to simplify my life in ways that encourage justice and good stewardship. I believe that Micah 6:8 “He has shown you, mankind, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you but to act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with your God,” correlates with Jesus’ two greatest commandments to love God and neighbor.
In 2013 I felt drawn toward practicing justice by becoming aware of slave-made products and limiting my contribution to slave-driven markets. I committed to buy only fairly traded chocolate & coffee, and to abstain from clothes shopping unless absolutely necessary.
In 2014 I wanted to continue this discipline by setting an intention to eat meat-free whenever possible, with exceptions for community and hospitality situations so as not to place my fast before fellowship. This intention was driven by knowledge that animal production for human consumption is a major contributor to greenhouse gasses, and the treatment of mass-produced animals is abysmal.
This year, I am turning my attention a little closer to home.
While we try to make healthy choices, mine and my family’s sugar consumption still exceeds what is recommended for good health. You may or may not be surprised to learn in the year 2000, the average American consumed 32 teaspoons of added sugar every day. The USDA recommends individuals not exceed 10 teaspoons per day, and the American Heart Association recommends no more than 9 teaspoons for men and 6 teaspoons for women.
Consuming added sugar contributes to inflammation, cavities, high triglycerides, heart disease, and our expanding waistlines. In filling our plates with processed foods high in sugar, we pass by more nutritious foods. High sugar diets are almost always lacking good vitamins and minerals.
This is my year to tackle sugar and processed foods.
I plan to read every label, count those grams of added sugar (4grams per teaspoon), replace processed with natural sweetness. I am setting an intention to bypass all processed sugar, soda, white rice, and white flour daily. I will allow myself 1 weekly indulgence in each of these categories, which should give me room to eat out with my family, or receive hospitality graciously. My hope is to increase in health, decrease my inflammation, and shrink my waistline. I don’t have specific weight goals, focusing on weight is not productive for me. I desire to care for the body I have as the gift that it is and nurture the life I have been given each day.
Here is to a new year, a new challenge, another opportunity to grow.
Embracing life and making it count, how ReFreshing!