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Detox: The Road Forward

September 19, 2007

Much as I’m tempted, I’m not too keen to get back to my old diet (and not just because a cheeseburger would make me sick for a whole day right now). We even considered extending the diet for a few more weeks, but finally decided that we’d very slowly head back toward meat and lactose and sugar and everything.

I didn’t miss stuff so frequently or deeply as I thought I would, and I’m not all that eager to get back to the way things were. For a little while, anyway, I’d like to be shocked to realize just how much cheese is on a single piece of pizza, and how good one cookie tastes, and how much flavor there is in a sip of beer. At the same time, I don’t want to be some kind of food Nazi, and I’m aware of the economy of getting protein in the form of meat. I’m also more aware than ever of my own weaknesses and inabilities to moderate my appetites and my portions. I’m more binary, I learned: I can eat no sugar, or lots of sugar, but I’m almost unable to eat a little sugar. I am able to abide by self-imposed prohibitions (even arbitrary ones like this diet), but I’m quite good at ignoring sensible limitations of my appetites.

It reminds me of a Richard Foster book I read years ago that was about simplicity. He was writing about spiritual disciplines, and our tendencies to be so binary. So, if we’re aquisitive, and wish to be free from consumerism, we tend to stop going to the mall altogether. Which is a good start, of course, but our final goal should not be complete abstinence, but rather a more balanced, moderated lifestyle. So (to use my random example) we should get to the point that we’re able to visit the mall and not spend our money like it’s air.

On the other hand, my years-old bent against ‘spiritual disciplines’ (or the use of the term ‘spiritual’ at all, for that matter) has combined with some recent thinking and reading about holism to make me think more deeply about this diet. Maybe I shouldn’t be so concerned about taking lessons I learn about my body and applying them to my spirit. Maybe my body and my spirit are inseparable, or at least practically so. Maybe what I eat is spiritual, in the same way that the things I do for my spirit should affect my body. Maybe eating and exercise have their own inherent value, apart from any religious or spiritual application. Maybe the reason I feel peaceful and less struck with grief after this month is about my diet, and not anything else.

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