Two experiences I had this past week are prompting this post.
On Tuesday, one of my fifth graders told me that she had a blood test done earlier that day. That prompted me to ask her why she had to have the test done. "To check my blood sugar. I have to change what I eat, because my doctor said I'm on the road to diabetes." Wow. This girl is not obese, and to me, she appears to be just a little overweight. But diabetes runs in her family, and her doctor was concerned about the extra pounds she is carrying. Fifth grade. Ten years old.
My other experience centered on an episode of Chopped, a Food Channel show that brings chefs together for a cookoff, the winner taking home $10,000. The contestants on last night's episode were school lunch ladies. All of them were overweight, and I'd say they were easily in the obese category.
From listening to them, it was clear that they were really trying to provide the young people they serve healthy choices each day. But it was also clear that they weren't choosing those same choices in what they ate. I'm not trying to judge them, rather just pointing out what I observed.
As the holiday party season gets underway, I wanted to challenge you to pay close attention to what you are eating and drinking. In his Spiritual Exercises, St. Ignatius wrote about using caution with our food choices.
He told his readers that, when eating, the food itself should not be focus of our attention. If we fall into that trap, then we can be carried away by our appetites and easily make poor choices (Spiritual Exercises, #210-217).
St. Ignatius believed it was sanctifying to eat and drink less when presented with the opportunity to partake in excess. And if we do eat/drink too much or choose the wrong foods/drinks, then that should affect what we eat/drink at our next meal.
Friends, I don't want to spoil your holiday mood. We shouldn't be fearful to go to parties and enjoy ourselves. Those get-togethers are a huge and important part of the Christmas Season, and they are great.
I'm just reminding you (along with myself), that we need to be careful what we consume. The joy that should come with Christmas is much more than food/drink (or presents). Let's keep our focus on the Person we are celebrating, and remember that our bodies are meant to be cared for, not just sometimes, but all the time.