Food for thought

Photo: Shutterstock
Photo: Shutterstock

How does lemon and oreg­ano chicken with risoni sound for dinner tonight? Or tofu and chickpea curry spiced with cumin, turmeric, garam mas­ala and chilli?

After years of resisting the promptings of friends to get a slow cooker I finally capitulated and bought the biggest one I could find in the sales.

Three cookbooks are out on the kitchen bench, including the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet on a Budget, and I dip into them each day for ideas. I’m planning meals for the next few weeks, and trying to include more fish and vegetarian meals into my cooking repertoire.

It’s such a simple, wholesome pleasure to try a new healthy recipe and see the family tuck into it with gusto. We’re blessed to have children who will give anything a try.

My sister is a big part of my inspiration for cooking with health in mind. She and her boyfriend have been eating a mostly vegan diet (no meat, fish, eggs or dairy) for almost a year now and they are fantastic evangelists for mindful, healthy eating and lifestyles.

Every time we have a meal with them I’m reminded that this is how I should be in my Christian life, never denigrating the choices of others but offering a clear and attractive alternative.

They will admire the meat and fish dishes at family gatherings, but bring enough of their own tasty meal – often an experimental concoction none of us have ever thought of eating before – to share with everyone.

They initially copped a bit of flak from people curious about how they manage to eat so differently to most of us or parents worried about whether they are getting enough iron and calcium.

They very patiently answered all the questions they were asked, giving the practical and ethical justifications for their dietary choices.

So, in the Christian life, I should always be ready with an answer for the reason for the hope in my heart, as St Paul advised. The reasons for the hope that has seen us accept five babies in a materialistic culture.

They don’t talk about it too much at all. They don’t need to preach their philosophy to have an effect on others because they are living it and it just becomes naturally evident from being with them over time.

They are both the picture of good health, with great hair and skin. Each of them is a healthy weight and goes to the gym or plays a sport regularly, so it’s obvious their diet is sustaining them. And they are happy.

Each time I come away from seeing them I’ve been determined to eat better myself and cook better for the family.

I think it was St Francis of Assisi who said: “Preach always, use words if necessary.” This is how my sister has converted me, and by extension my whole family, to much healthier eating habits.

And this is how I feel called to evangelise for Christ, with clear and evident contentment and through my daily simple choices and habits which are rooted in deep prayer, reflection and study.

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