Where to begin??? I am a story teller at heart, and I can’t tell the end of the story without telling you some of the beginning.
My husband, Bill, has had difficulties swallowing as far back as he can remember. In fact, on our very first date, he got a piece of rice stuck in his throat! So, when he was diagnosed with a condition called Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EE) last fall, I was not surprised. EE is caused by an allergic response in your throat that can cause difficult swallowing amongst other things. In researching EE, I came across many suggestions to eliminate the six most common allergens: gluten, eggs, dairy, nuts, seafood and soy. At this point, Bill is choosing to manage his EE with allergy shots and a stomach acid reducer, but has not changed his diet.
In the midst of that, my daughter was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, an autoimmune condition that causes low thyroid hormone levels (hypothyroid). In researching Hashimoto’s, I saw consistent encouragement to eliminate gluten from her diet. We quickly cut gluten from her diet, but didn’t make any other dietary changes for several months when she got the results back from an allergy sensitivity test. That test revealed that she has sensitivities to peanuts, gluten, dairy, mushrooms and eggs (sound familiar?) and to a lesser degree a variety of other things like bananas, chia seeds, black pepper, and bay leaves.
In the background, I have always struggled with my own eating habits. I am a foodie. I live to eat, not eat to live. I vacation largely as an excuse to consume large quantities of delicacies, preferably sweet and fattening.
So, this spring, when I kept seeing people posting on Facebook and Instagram about Whole30, my interest was piqued. I went ahead and checked out a book at the library about the program called “It Starts with Food.” One evening, I was laying on the couch, reading through the book, and feeling how IMPOSSIBLE this diet would be, when Bill said it was time to read our family devotional book, “Dinner Table Devotions.” (which we love, by the way!) That very day, the first of March, the devotional was titled “Heart Hunger for God.” The devotional quoted two passages of scripture, Matthew 4:2-4 and Matthew 6:17-18.
And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.”
But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'” Matthew 4:2-4
But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. Matthew 6:17-18
Incredibly, that day’s devotional included these words,
“…while God gives food for us to enjoy and to keep us healthy, he also expects that we will sometimes choose not to eat or choose not to eat certain foods. It’s called fasting. Fasting is when we go without food or certain foods for a period of time, not for the purpose of losing weight but for spiritual reasons – because we want to develop our hunger for God. We want to connect with God in an intense way by denying ourselves the comfort or distraction of food.”
I could sense in my soul that the Lord was calling me to fast and that He would use this time in a very real, spiritual way in my life to break the stronghold that food held in my life.
And thus began my Whole30 journey.