Sharing The Message Of God’s Good Food

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Welcome to another Real Food Quote Monday (RFQM). Each Monday, I quote from something I read, and ask you to add your thoughts. This time, I really crave your thoughts as I think it is a great topic for us to share our collective wisdom!

It is amazing how much this topic comes up, and there are as many answers as there are people. During the eCourse, several forum discussions have come up around this question. And here is the question.

How do you share the message of good, healthy, and real food, especially with those are who aren’t open to it, or don’t get it?

A Letter From Norway

The Spring 2010 issue of the Weston A. Price Foundation‘s Wise Traditions quarterly journal, includes an encouraging letter from Ames, Norway. I really enjoyed reading it! Bjorn Solberg shares how blessed his family is to obtain two gallons of raw milk weekly, which has helped he and his family recover from serious illnesses without medication. He said, “our whole family had ‘pigfluenza’ and we all recovered and got natural immunity without any mediation, except raw milk and time.”

He is a teacher and leads a small WAPF chapter. He says he wants to make the message of real food known to everybody. He was hospitalized recently, and I’m not exactly sure why from his letter, but I got the impression it was because of running himself ragged. Now recovered, he says:

“In a nutshell, I try to live more wisely, and not overdose people with information. To convince stiff adults is only a waste of time and energy.”

That last sentence was funny to me, but I think it is so true. Someone who does not want to hear what we have to say just won’t hear it.

We’ve probably all been in this position with a family member or friend. The topic of food may come up, and we have an opportunity to share. Do you share? How much do you share? What is the reception? What do you do if someone is not receptive?

My Approach, For What It’s Worth

I am not a confrontational person. If someone asks me my opinion, I do share. But I struggle with how much to share. Sometimes I get so excited about what we’re doing and learning and experiencing that I can get carried away. And other times, I fumble my words and nothing comes out right at all.

I try to watch for cues that the other person is interested before I keep going. Sometimes they are and sometimes they aren’t. If not, I try my best to not go on too far. Sometimes, I can just tell that I better not say anything else. I don’t like to push something on someone who is not receptive.

A usual strategy is to stick to just talking about my family and the Lord, rather than more technical information about traditional methods or how I make cheese. If I get the feeling that the person feels weird or uncomfortable, I do my best to graciously change the subject.

If I feel welcomed to continue, I can gush on and on about God’s wonderful food. I think it is helpful to demonstrate that we believe we’re on the right track because of the amazing changes in our food allergies from eating and cooking with traditional methods. If a person is at all wary of what we’re doing, I think it helps to reveal that in addition to our desire to glorify God through embracing His food, we have seen great results through a GNOWFGLINS diet.

Despite my best efforts, which I full well know are not perfect, people still don’t understand what we’re doing. One person I know thinks we just eat all organic food, with no discrimination. (In actuality, we know that our food must go beyond organic.) I have to accept the fact that no matter what I say, my true points might not be heard. People hear what they want to hear. I have to let that be. It is not my job to convince everyone, or think for everyone. With God’s grace, I do my best to explain if I am given an opportunity, and I try to do it all out of love.

One thing my husband and I do more often than not is refer someone to this blog and tell them to watch our video. :)

Wisdom From eCourse Members

I’d like to share some of the wise (and funny) things that have been said on the eCourse forum about this broad topic. The topic is broad enough to cover bringing loved ones round, sharing our perspective on food, stewardship and health with friends and extended family, and it even applies to what foods to bring to functions.

Jen said, “The only suggestion I can make is to live in a constant state of prayer about this. You may not be able to change the mind and heart of your family, but God can.” Regarding her husband, just look at this great strategy! “To educate my husband, I get the most important information that is very direct, put it in a binder, and ask him to read the articles on road trips, when waiting for an appointment… I don’t give him a book. He has no patience with that. He needs hard evidence in writing, not a conversation.”

Dani says her approach is, “kinda like sharing the gospel–you see how serious they are about seeking the truth, and then you delve appropriately.”

And for a giggle, here’s what Holly says about people who she’s told about the eCourse. “Try explaining to people what exactly we are doing with the eCourse. ‘Is it a cooking class?’……..’Oh, you didn’t know how to cook rice until now?’……..’Why would you dehydrate nuts when you can already buy them roasted?’ I am labeled the “health nut” at church! :) ” [Wardee: Of course, everybody reading this post knows that we soak grains and nuts to neutralize phytic acid, right?]

On the topic of what foods to bring to functions, Valerie shared her wise approach with a built-in Plan B: “I decided that I am going to just go out on a limb and try to come up with a suitable tradition foods offering for the events I go to. Soaked muffins generally go over pretty well for brunches, and I have also taken plain yogurt mixed with fresh blueberries and drizzled with a bit of raw honey. There are tons of soups and other dishes you can make using soaked or sprouted beans and grains, and no-one may even notice the difference. If it’s a hit, you can use that opportunity as a teaching moment to educate people about your traditional methods. That’s what I’ve done at my church, and some of the ladies have asked if I would do a little class with them. I do the same thing with the babysitter. …  Each parent has to bring 2-3 food items/week to contribute to breakfast, lunch, and snacks. I use that as an opportunity to introduce them to healthy options like pastured eggs, soaked baked goods, coconut milk puddings sweetened with coconut sugar, herbed yogurt cheese, pastured beef. I figure if no one eats, I’ll just take the leftovers home and feed them to my family. :)”

Tara’s son was super brave and gave a great example for us all of baby steps. “My 16 year old son took a bit of my raw goat milk kefir to a study group and used it in their project. They were doing a presentation on ‘power smoothies.’ He had them all taste it and of course most of them turned their nose up at it. BUT – the good news is that now they’ve heard of kefir!! None of them knew what it was before my son brought it to the group. So sometimes when I think all my efforts are in vain, I have to remember the times like these that tell me my efforts are paying off.”

I hope you were encouraged by what these ladies had to share. I was! Now it is your turn — how do you know what and how much to say to curious (or not curious) friends and family? What do you do if someone is not receptive? What do you do if they are? What do you bring to social functions? What other advice would you offer on this topic?

(Photo credit: “Fruit Salad” by Sonya.)

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Comments

  1. says

    I have been so hurt by the responses and negative comments on the way we eat and live from family and friends that I refuse to talk about it unless they directly ask me. They all eat terribly and have no desire in them to change. My youngest daughter has terrible reactions to chemicals, preservatives, etc. So when we get together, I bring our own food to eat. They use to get plain mad and upset about it but now they just ignore it. If we have anything here at our own home, I make the whole meal. It does get expensive but I think it is a teaching moment without me having to say a word.

  2. says

    Amy, how sad. :( I’m sorry about that. I would agree that our actions speak when words fail, and I hope that one day you’ll be rewarded with at least understanding if not support.

  3. says

    I find it so interesting that people can be so defensive and down right mean when it comes to food!
    I think people take it as a personal insult when you can’t eat something or choose not to, or just choose to do things differently. Like their way isn’t good enough.
    Since this past New Years Day when I had an argument with a family member because I brought juice to the party instead of soda (I was asked to bring drinks). She stated “IT’S NOT GOING TO KILL YOU TO DRINK SODA ONCE A YEAR!” Well………….it wasn’t once in a year, we just got finished having parties with the same family members for Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day and New Years Eve, where soda was served. I personally don’t/can’t drink soda, not even once a year. It wasn’t until I told her that it makes me sick, that the thought even crossed her mind that I really can’t drink soda.
    Most people just don’t understand unless they have gone through some sort of journey with food, like we all have. They truly don’t understand.
    I honestly feel sorry for these people, because they are in the long run just hurting themselves. God gave us perfect food, somewhere along the line, humans messed that up to the point that many people can’t even see the perfect foods He has given us.
    That makes me so sad!
    I, like Wardee, am not confrontational, I don’t like arguing, there is no purpose in it, where is the spirit of Christ in that?
    I now only speak when asked to about food, and I am limited in what I say unless they want more.
    As a Holistic Health Coach I have learned to teach someone else at their own pace, it took me years to get where I am at today. I can’t expect someone else to get to the end of their journey in one conversation. And really, learning about healthy foods never has an end, I think!
    I can say how grateful I am to God for giving me a disease (Crohn’s) that would start me on this wonderful journey in real food. Not only have I healed myself, through God’s help, and changing my diet, but I am feeding my family real foods now, which wouldn’t have happened if I never had that journey.

  4. Kelli says

    I love to talk about food, and I just figured that people who like me would be interested in the things that i like also. I have figured out that they don’t have to like everything that I like. I talked about nutrition a lot to my extended family because I was so excited about what I was learning that I thought they would be so thankful to hear what I had learned. After a while I noticed them debating with me and looking annoyed. So now when I talk about food to someone, if they don’t seem really interested in the subject, I just don’t go there. Most people learn when they are ready. So unless someone is ready and willing to learn, or has fun sharing ideas, it is not a subject I talk about. It is hard when we get together with family members to eat, because they do not welcome healthy food as a good addition to the meal.

    I have a friend whose goal is to eat raw, and I just love talking about food with her. We do not have the same views on food, although I love the idea of eating more raw food but I also love my meat, but we can still enjoy the conversations, and I really appreciate that. I don’t have goats, but I love when my friend talks about her milking goats. As long as we do not make food our idol, I think it is fun as women and homemakers to share what we learn with eachother. Passionate Homemaking has a good article about not making food an idol.

    I do like the idea of bringing healthy food to pot lucks, and then if someone asks you for the recipe, you will have a reason to share how that particular food is prepared. And then if they are interested, you can share more. I usually just take the easy way and point people to your blog or to Nourishing Traditions. Your blog and others like it do fill a need to talk about this subject with like-minded people.

  5. Holly Michele says

    Food is such an emotional thing. I’ve learned over the years that it’s best to just keep my mouth shut unless someone asks my opinion. My family eats so differently then my extended family, who are junk food addicts. So much so that we’re the ‘weird bunch’ at family get togethers. Honestly, have we as a people gotten so far removed from REAL god given food that we don’t know what real food looks and tastes like anymore? My family eats as basic to Mother Nature as we can find and eat. Why is that so foreign to our extended family? I think that the accepted norm of processed food is so ingrained into people’s daily meals these days that bringing juice to a party instead of soda pop just blows people’s minds. lol! It was two Christmas family parties ago that my mother in law did what she has always done every year in packing up all the ‘leftovers’, including the soda pop and giving it to me as we left for home. I finally just had to say ‘No thank you…we don’t eat that kind of food’. She finally got the message but she WAS offended. Best thing we can do is just be true to ourselves in our own homes AND elsewhere and hope and pray we don’t offend anyone too much, eh?

  6. says

    I generally don’t say anything unless someone asks and then I just try to answer their questions. I started a blog so that I could just refer them and they could seek answers at their own pace and interest. I also refer them to other blog posts of people that are so knowledgeable and have written well about God’s good food (Thanks, Wardee, and others!!). People know we eat differently and when they do have questions, they come back and ask – even if they weren’t interested before. We do NOT make a big deal about what others eat and we try to make the best choices of what is provided (or quietly do without) if we are at someone’s home/party. If I am asked to bring something, I bring the very best whole foods that I can and hopefully people get a positive idea of healthy eating. My children often will eat what is served at church functions and talk of trying to make healthy choices or just eating what they want. They like “junk” food, but they always talk about knowing that it is not good for them and being glad to come home where we eat “real” food. I don’t pressure them either. I serve healthy foods here and try to indulge in healthy treats occasionally so that they don’t feel deprived. We are having fun experimenting with the water soda. I TRY not to stress about our food and I try to involve the family in the process as much as possible. Life is really one grand adventure . . . I figure we should enjoy the journey and the people we love (even if they don’t eat like we do :-)

  7. jed says

    I have long since given up any type of food evangelizing. Almost everyone around me is too deep and too invested into the current SAD (Standard American Diet) way and though many found me to be entertaining, mostly in the end found me annoying.

    For me, it was difficult not talking about what I felt to be soooo important. For years I was troubled by my inability to just get someone to engage in a discussion about our health let along actually have some type of positive impact. For example, in the last several years, I have only found one person interested in taking some kefir grains and I am surrounded by individuals suffering some serious issues concerning their digestive tracts. Another example, several years ago, I ruined a lifelong friendship when I refused to support a friend giving soda pop to their 4 year old constantly. I said my peace one to many times and she said she’d had it with me-=we rarely speak even years later.

    What I found that has given me a good sense of peace in all this is from the book of Mark. If Jesus, who is offering quite a prize, can simply let a young man walk away without chasing him down and arguing His points virtues, so should I. So, I never, ever push any discussions anymore and am peacefully allowing friends and family to “walk” from the offering of…well….whatever it is we are offering here.

    As there where many disciples with diverse personalities, so to are there many styles among us. This is only my view and way of handling life and is not meant to be a model for anyone. I respect everyone’s approach to life and style regardless of whether it matches mine or not.

    mostly at peace, wanndering around, sometimes lost but usually happy,

    jed

  8. jamnee says

    My husband and I have been so blessed with the ecourse. It has been very interesting to see the different reactions that we get from different people. For the most part, we have been sharing the word through our cooking and having people over for dinner. After people get to taste the food, and see how wonderful it is, they don’t have anything bad to say.

    My sister-in-law, who has a lot of digestive/constipation issues, felt wonderful after eating “our” food for a weekend. She thought it was very cleansing :)

    My grandmother, who is a diabetic, really enjoyed that she could eat “our” food, but still tried to send us home with a sack full of Little Debbie Oatmeal Cream Pie’s. I think she was a little upset at first that we wouldn’t take them, but I tried to explain to her (even though she should already know as a diabetic) that we feel so much better when we are putting God’s foods in our bodies (and not processed junk)!

    The hardest part is to share by example, because I want to blab about how wonderful it is all of the time.

  9. says

    We just moved to a new state and I’m so blessed with the new group of friends I’ve made at church. I’ve found many like minded women who are also trying to reform the way their families eat. We are all at different stages and have different opinions but at least we all understand that we are trying to make choices to benefit ourselves and our families, even if most people think it is weird, so we don’t judge. For playgroups, they ask everyone to bring their own lunches so none of the kids feel weird if they can’t eat what the others are and nobody has to worry about food issues. It’s just a very understanding group of women.

    Before we moved, I had a few friends that were just getting into what I consider to be “healthy” eating (as opposed to low-fat foods, etc). Although I consider myself a newbie compared to most of the Real Food bloggers I know, I was definitely the “weirdest” among them. I tried not to preach but I just loved to share the things I was doing. They were all loving and took my talking as enthusiasm and not as reprimands on their choices so I was lucky then too because I probably should have shown more discretion in my critiques.

    Family is probably the trickiest because I don’t want to rock the boat. Since it has just been me and my husband, I’ve been willing to put aside any differences I have for the week or two a year we spend with my in-laws and eat whatever they serve – a very SAD diet. My husband and I will often volunteer to cook a meal or two while we are visiting. I do so more as a thank you gesture than anything but I use the opportunity to cook something healthy that isn’t so unusual that they won’t like it. I guess I think the relationship is more important than the nutrition – however, I’m not sure how I will feel in a year when my baby starts to eat!

  10. says

    I am just beginning my journey, and being so close to my “old self” I find it easier to have grace with people who think I’m extreme (“To the uninitiated, dedication looks like obsession.”)

    My example: Some months ago a woman who makes everything from scratch asked me to watch her kids over lunch. She sent lunch (good start) but she didn’t emphasize her desire the children eat only what she brought, so I interpreted it as an effort to be less of a burden.

    Her children made comments (I hope my children never make): One rejected something I made because “I never eat store bought eggs” (her sibs had no complaints, so it made her look elitist/picky), another acted (as in, over-acted, I can’t believe I was the first place they’d seen this) surprised when I pulled a jar of salsa front the fridge: “You BUY salsa?” and other things to make distinctions between our eating styles (and I’m not even all SAD).

    The difference I want to teach my kids is to either pull the health distinction, and make a point of it based on us and *our* bodies, or just suck it up for the 2-6 meals/month we eat away from home.

    I would only be willing to do the former when I have reached the “level” that I was consistently eating that way at home, and I know I’m not there yet.

    Some people really have heartier constitutions and seem to survive comfortably on less revelation, so I want me and my family to be willing to eat “anything” — to some extent — so food isn’t an “issue”.

    One difficulty I see as a hospitality-oriented person, is that I know other people also wish to serve and be hospitable. If I deny them that opportunity because we don’t yet have the relational bridge that will let me explain my “special eating”, I miss something I think is more critical: “Isn’t life more important than food?”

    So far (and I recognize I’m only beginning) I see it as I see dealing with my in-laws: This is a foray into another culture. As a result, the focus is on the relationship: you just eat what is put in front of you. (Or you don’t eat, but you recognize it holds a legitimate risk of offending.)

    Anybody here ever imagined the scenario of eating grubs as a part of first-contact with an unreached people group? Would you eat or refuse to eat? (I still don’t know) but I try (try) to be respectful.

    And, oh, hi. I’ve just discovered the amazing world of whole-food blogging in the last week and I’m reeling. Thanks for having such thorough, experience-based content on-line. It is a great encouragement.

  11. Pat in TX says

    Once upon a time several years ago, my nieces asked me to watch their two young sons for the day while they worked to move one of the families. Generally, my nieces do not have a whole lot to do with me but rather rely on each other, so it was really a one-time thing. One was a baby, to whom I fed several bottles of formula. The other was a toddler. I sat the toddler at the table with our family for lunch, let him eat what he wished, and did not require him to stay at the table. My children were very upset with me, why I allowed him to do things which our family does not do. (I suppose these days they would also be upset with me for feeding a baby a bottle of formula!) I reminded them that these little boys had parents who were training them their way; training them was not my job. Keeping them healthy and happy for a few hours was the extent of my job. This was in direct contrast to the little Downs syndrome boy that we kept daily for three years, until he began to attend the public school system programs. Since we had a significant role in his life, he very definitely followed the rules of our house – and he knew very well which things he could do at our house and which he could do with his mommy!!

    This past weekend, I was blessed to prepare all of the food for a Rehearsal Dinner and much of the food for a Wedding Dinner in honor of my son and new daughter! It was not my job to retrain the guests’ palates, and in reality some people don’t feel too well when they start eating healthier foods. I fixed normal meals that I felt would be enjoyed by my guests. Oh,I snuck in a few things: I served real butter with the rolls, which many consider a luxury. I used Sucanat in the salad dressing because having tried it both ways, no one in our family can tell a difference and it really helps my husband. I used real cream in the Chicken Veronese, because I cook with real ingredients. But I also made “normal” cupcakes and brownies for Friday night and 7 “normal” cheesecakes with toppings like homemade cherry topping, pecan praline, and an actual oreo crust on two of them. I laughed as I finished my baking for the weekend. I had used exactly one bag of white sugar; I was neither lacking one Tablespoon, nor did I have one Tablespoon left!

    My point is that we share the level appropriate, not only for the interest of the parties involved but for the amount of influence we have over them. A few of the guests at the wedding actually eat closer to the way we do, yet all were gracious and I heard not one complaint! Some of us were joking on Sunday at church that we looked forward to eating *normally* – normally for US that is – as we returned home at the end of the festivities.

    My parents live locally, and so they understand much of the way we eat, because they need to understand that there are things I do not want them to feed my chidren. (They have no respect for the way we eat, mind you, just an understanding. My 86yo father thinks raw veggies or even steamed veggies are as scary as raw meat – literally!) I can be gracious about the occasional treat, but war would erupt if they ever fed them a pink packet, and they know it. My husband’s parents are not local, however, so there is no reason to make a huge issue with the regarding what we will and won’t eat. There are many reasons why I might take a small amount or even avoid certain foods, but we can usually find enough to keep us going. Of course, none of us have actaul food allergies; my husband does fall asleep nearly instantly if he eats sugar, white flour, etc.

    One last thought is that we set the best example by sharing our lives with others on a regular basis. To regular church potlucks, I absolutely take the best and healthiest dishes I can! I always offer to bring part of the food when we are invited guests, not so much to make sure there is something I want to eat as to make sure we don’t overburden our friends with 14 extra mouths to feed:-) We spent a long weekend at our new daughter’s parents’ home over New Years last winter; it was their engagement weekend. Her mom is a gracious and kind hostess who was very happy to host all of us for every meal over the long weekend, but her cooking is 180 degrees different from ours – all carbs, pancakes from a mix, etc. After two days without any green vegetables, I was having intestinal issues that were starting to bother me:-/ She asked me to run to the store on the third day for her, so as a “treat” I brought back a whole bunch of fresh veggies from the store and cut them up for a veggie tray. She seemed a little surprised as she had put out snacks (processed), but her greatest surprise was when the whole thing was polished off in less than ten minutes! Her daughters are a little leery of raw vegetables, cooked ones too mostly, but they are learning since being around all of us! My greatest joy was as I was cutting everything up, and my second son asked why in the world I would slap a grown man’s hand (his:-) for stealing veggies!! A good laugh, and a great reminder that if you raise them to love real food, they will.

  12. says

    Because we live so remote I usually feed people when they visit, it is how we visit after a tour of our farm, and we “visit” at the ktchen table. As I offer them helpings of prepared leaves from medicinal plants served on homemade bread or as a meal, I tell them the benefits of what they are eating and why this is so. Most of our “friends” are into this and they share with me also. We send them home with plants for their gardens and they bring us plants from theirs. Our friends tend to all be growers or farmers of some sort, just like us. http://www.costaricamountain.blogspot.com We like to talk about our cows, their cows, dirt, food, recipes, our causes, biodynamic farming, and political trends.

    If you do not like my food, or knowledge, you will probably not be on my friends list, nor will you return of your own free will. I would rather spend my time with like minded people. For the others who do not want to hear or share the message and the knowledge, thank you for not returning and wasting our time. We have come to a point in our lives where we do not want to spend time with people we do not like nor want to be with. It’s a good thing, very liberating.

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