Mary sat at Jesus’s feet and listened to Him teach. Martha hurried around the kitchen preparing a meal. I want to be both at once! The tension between when to be quiet and prayerful and when to bustle around and do many things is difficult for me. I want to do it all!
Often we feel tension when trying to make good decisions in the kitchen. Organic food vs. budget, avoiding processed foods vs. time spent in the kitchen…That tension is the motivation for creating Kitchen Stewardship. I hate that feeling, and I want to help you break free of the worries and do your personal best to give your family and God the best you can, one baby step at a time.
I offer you one tiny step in the process of releasing worry and integrating prayer into your kitchen. Today’s tip is for everyone who feels crunched by their food budget but wishes they could spend more on “clean” food.
The Tug of the Budget
We are not all able to give our families the very best, perhaps, because of financial limitations. Many single-income families struggle with food purchases, especially when trying to eat nutritious, safe food. Organic food is expensive. Stainless steel water bottles cost a lot more than plastic. Avoiding pesticides may mean you have to avoid eating out or taking a vacation. Healthy fats cost waaaaaay more than shortening. Fruits and vegetables – even the standard ones – make a bigger dent in the food budget than potato chips and processed bread. Organic food is expensive. (Have I said that one already?) Buying grass-fed meat and healthy eggs can make you feel like you ought to get insurance for your frozen food in case of power outage. Natural supplements and dishwasher detergents get into double digits pretty quickly. And have I mentioned organic (and well-raised) food is expensive?
I don’t want you to think “eating healthy” means “eating organic”. It’s far from that. But purchasing foods that have LESS added to them – fewer preservatives, fewer pesticides, fewer chemical fertilizers, less processing, less sugar, less high fructose corn syrup – always ends up costing you MORE in the end. It’s an unfortunate irony.
There’s no way around balancing a budget and buying healthy food. Either you find places to cut and buy the expensive stuff, or you do what you can and purchase less than your idea in many categories. What are those of us to do who have already made budget cuts, who desire organic spinach but must grab the 10/$10 bag of pesticide-laden stuff anyway?
How to Make Up for Less than Perfect?
My friend has a way to compensate. She knows she can’t afford organic, pastured chicken, for example. When she serves run-of-the-mill storebought chicken that ate God-knows-what under miserable conditions, she begs our Lord to fill the gap. She prays the meal blessing with her family and adds a codicil in her head: “Lord, I know this isn’t the ideal meal. Please bless this food. I trust you to make up the difference in nutrition for my family. Protect us from anything in this chicken that might harm us. May we be healthy anyway.” It’s about doing your best, and then trusting God to fill the space that lies between the resources you have and what you’d like to serve. God saved Daniel from hungry lions, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego from fire, and Peter from shackles in a prison. Don’t you think He can protect your family from a few pesticides if only you ask? “Bless US, O Lord…” Ask, seek, knock. “And these Thy GIFTS…” God knows how to give His children good things! “From Thy bounty…” All our food is from our God. “Through Christ, Our Lord…” Jesus will provide.
Important to Remember…
One reminder: please don’t look at this as an excuse to buy whatever you want and hope that God won’t allow the consequences of your choices to harm you. We are instructed not to tempt or Father. We all know we shouldn’t go jump off a tall building and expect God to catch us so we aren’t at all injured. We can’t be irresponsible with our choices. Our purchases still affect the world at large. We must be sure to do what we can to reduce our negative impact on the environment and give our families the best with the resources God has given us. Someday we’ll be in Heaven, God willing, and we won’t have to think about what to buy, how to prepare it, and if it’s going to hurt us.
But in the meantime, since we live out of Eden, pray a meal blessing at every meal, and super-charge it with supplication for holy supplementation!
Copyright 2009 Katie Kimball