Thursday, January 6, 2011

I was going to post something about the trivium and quadrivium...

...but I decided against it. Instead, I stoked up the fire in the woodstove and made our (the kids' and my) favorite comfort food for lunch: mac & cheese with hot dogs. Yep, that's right: mama is out and about, and papa is feeding the kids. Sadly for them, my culinary repertoire is primarily grill-centric.

I say "sadly" only from the perspective of the parent that realizes the lunch he just made for his children is not exactly what those skinny dieticians would call "healthy" -- but then again, I can't recall the last time I looked at a dietician and thought, "You know, she looks really healthy." Nope. Every dietician I've ever known or met looked like an extra from one of those "Feed the Poor African Kids" commercials Sally Struthers used to do on TV when I was a kid. I look at them and immediately think, "This person will not do well in an economic collapse." They've got no stored body fat, so if they start going hungry, their body will immediately start consuming muscle mass instead of utilizing the body fat that God designed for exactly that sort of situation.

It's actually gotten quite silly -- the current preoccupation with health and longevity is almost idolatrous, in my opinion. On the one hand, you should care for the body God gave you; being an Orthodox Christian, this is almost automatic. As my bishop once said, "If you follow the Orthodox cycle of fasting and feasting, you will be very healthy." In my experience this is true. Take a break from the heavier foods (meat, dairy) twice a week, and for extended periods of six weeks twice a year. Even if it's not done as an ascetic exercise in self-denial, it will have health benefits.

On the other hand, the problem I see is that there are people out there who will go to extreme lengths to extend their life or live "healthier" lives, but make no attempt to incorporate a spiritual dimension to this. God gave us a certain amount of time on this earth to come to repentance and to develop a relationship with Him that will last for eternity. If we waste that time trying to extend that time... we've lost everything. Even if you are physically healthier, you are spiritually impoverished, so what's the point?

From my perspective, it's quite simple: I'll follow the entirety of the Orthodox pattern of life as much as I am able. I'll try to fast when the Church recommends, and won't fast when it's a feast; I'll try to follow the pattern of the Church's calendar in worship, which is not bound to a pagan or Papist calendar (as a side note: I think this cyclical pattern sets the tone for the rest of one's life, and has a deep impact on the way one thinks and lives). As for the quality of the food my family eats, we try to raise, grow, hunt, fish, or gather our own as much as possible. We're intentionally and methodically weaning ourselves off of the System. We produce our own eggs, milk, cheese, yogurt and ice cream. We make our own wine with fruits that grow within a few miles of our house. We grow meat chickens every spring, and have a garden every summer. We hunt and fish in the summer and fall. That's how we feed ourselves. Does that stop us from, when it's convenient, stopping by Taco Bell or McDonald's? Absolutely not, because for us, it's about self-sufficiency and freedom from the System.

It's certainly a nice side benefit to know that we're eating healthier food, but that's not what it's about. Instead of buying and reading books about the latest healthy diet fads, wasting time and money at the gym or on excercise equipment, and spending oodles of time on the Intarwebthingy, watching testimonial and inspirational videos on YouTube, there's lots of time and money left over to support the local parish. And therein lies the real reason I hate diet fads: they are simply another distraction from the One Thing Needful.

All right. Back to work.


  1. LMAO I don't know how many times I saw that picture but I just now saw what it said.

  2. Glad I could make you L your AO.