Kitchen Stewardship | A Baby Steps Approach to Balanced Nutrition

Mary and Martha Moment: Trust in the Promise of your Meal Blessing

March 27th, 2009 · 20 Comments · Mary and Martha Moments, Prayerful Kitchen

This is the first in a series of Mary and Martha Moments to build you up in your quest for stewardship of all God’s resources.

For an amazing spiritual outlook on food, you’ll want to check out the philosophy behind GNOWFGLINS blog and eCourses.

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!

The next M&M Moment in this series will help you begin to pinpoint “your best” efforts in the kitchen.

Part two: Baby Steps

Part three: Soul First, Body Second

Part four: Pray Constantly

I am a guest lecturer and partner with GNOWFGLINS eCourses, so I will earn commission from any sales made starting here. Of course, the courses are also an awesome way to learn to cook real food, so I’d gab about them anyway.

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20 Comments so far ↓

  • April L.

    Are you sure you haven’t planted a bug in my house, to listen in on our conversations? I have been married just over a year, and have gone back and forth and back and forth with this issue. It’s funny if you look back at our grocery spending. You can tell which months I decided, “No more junk food! I don’t care how much it costs…we’re eating real, natural food!” and the months where I said, “I’m going to feed us as cheaply as I possibly can…Hello, Aldi!” I can’t believe I never thought of it this way before. Thank you so much for sharing this, and I so look forward to reading more in this series!

  • Katie

    I’m so glad this is fitting for other people, too. I’m glad you’ll be back–the whole mission of Kitchen Stewardship is to give you baby steps to health…without breaking the budget and while protecting the earth. A tall order, and one that depends on the mercy of God (and a good meal blessing) sometimes! Thanks for visiting!

  • Mary Ellen

    Thank you so much for this post! We’re making the switch to whole, real foods and last week our grocery budget just spiraled horribly out of control. It left my husband scratching his head in disbelief. From his perspective, all the overtime he worked was for nothing and from my perspective, I just felt like a failure. Thanks for the reminder to give it over to God.

  • Whimsy Girl » a new twist on meal blessing

    [...] Kitchen Stewardship has an answer that is so simple.. it will leaving you slapping your forehead and saying “why didn’t I think of that?” Unless of course, you DID think of that.. in which case BRAVO!!! Mary and Martha Moment: Trust in the Promise of your Meal Blessing [...]

  • karen

    will you share your ‘meal blessing’ please.

    thanks,
    kv

    Katie Reply:

    I’m Catholic, so our traditional meal prayer is this: “Bless us, O Lord, and these Thy gifts, which we are about to receive, from Thy bounty, through Christ our Lord. Amen.”

    rose Reply:

    Of more value than acquiring riches is feeding the body with healthy food. Also, in addition to taking God’s blessing, please give “Thanks!” to God, the Lord and Power of the Universe.

  • Michelle

    Thank you so much for this post. It’s easy to get caught up with the good-for-you groceries, meal planning, and preparation. It’s easy to forget, even if you usually do bless your food, how meaningful and important it truly is. I have been struggling with our food budget since my “conversion” to natural foods. It’s wrecked havoc on our finances, and has brought stress to my marriage. As I scale back and decide what we can do without, your thoughts will come back to me. Thank you again.

  • LJ

    Good perspective. Thanks. I appreciated your thoughts.

  • One Year of Eating More Traditionally « that's life in the big city

    [...] we left for 4 days. So the past week, my husband just picked up stuff that he likes. We believe in God’s blessing and I’ve always believed that the stress will kill you sooner than the box of Cheez-Its [...]

  • paws

    I’m a Latter-day Saint (Mormon), and I’ve come to the same conclusion you have – we do the very best we can to put nutritious food on the table, then beg the Lord to make up the difference. I believe this applies in all areas of our lives – the Lord will fill the gap for us if we pray in faith!

  • Kelly

    Thank you for writing this! It’s how I feel every shopping trip. My husband fully supports our organic foods, but the budget is terribly painful!

    I need to remember this – that God is in control…and he has our back, regardless if foods are pesticide ridden, sprawling with ecoli, etc.

    Much needed encouragement! Thank you!

  • Sarah H

    Katie, I REALLY appreciate this. As I sit late at night after spending almost an hour reading the great grain debate all over the internet (to soak/not to soak, to ferment, to sprout, to abstain) and then all the loveliness in the debate comments about the age of the earth, it was a nice reminder to give it all to God. Interestingly enough I’d recently come to the conclusion that asking a blessing of the meal was unnecessary; the part that was important about meal prayer was to express gratitude to the Lord for his bounty. Now, I’m rethinking it.

    Katie Reply:

    Sarah, This is a post I should revisit more often, too…thanks! :) Katie

  • Julie

    Thanks for this!!!!! I often feel the pressure to do my best but the budgetary constraints are terrible. I’ve been trying to treat my son with alternative medicine instead of prescriptions which may harm his body. $20,000 of hyperbaric oxygen therapy, about $1,000 a month in insurance co-pays for OT, Speech therapy, activities, and supplements, pretty much every treatment you can think of and they all helped him get better. He is now in a regular classroom with no supports, just speech therapy for stuttering. Then he gets diagnosed with Dyslexia so I’m looking at vision therapy and tutoring so he can keep up. He’s in the 5th grade and his grades are slipping. I’m so used to pushing myself to cram work and self care in between his school hours and then spend all evening taking him to therapies that I just broke down. His father has issues that were never treated and he basically can’t hold down a job as a lawyer. When he can hold down a job, he has to work 12 hours every day, except for Sundays, and still does not make enough to make a dent in our bills. The strain is just too much so I was looking for cheaper alternatives to our very expensive diet.
    I think I need to hear that I just have to try my best and leave the rest to God. I’m so used to fighting and working and plowing my way through everything to help my son, that just the thought of resting on God’s shoulders helps me to breath again. Thank you for this. God bless you.

    Katie Reply:

    Julie,
    I’m so glad God spoke to you through my weak and tiny self. I’m overwhelmed just reading your story and imagining juggling all of that – God bless you for doing such great things for your son. Keep doing your best and keep trusting. (And make chicken stock and yogurt if you aren’t already – two of the most frugal, healthy things I can think of that don’t take much time!) :) Katie

  • lakelady

    Glad I found your site. Despite trying to cook diabetic friendly for years now, I still have a lot to learn, & I’m new to this approach.
    I greatly appreciate this post. After a friend spent 3 days in the hospital from bad eggs in her breakfast taco, I became convinced that our foods are not necessarily ‘safe.’ I began to add an extra prayer to grace: “Lord, let this food nurish us & pls don’t let it make us sick.” Not eloquent, but definitely heartfelt. This makes for an odd & not entirely amusing blessing when one has done the cooking oneself-esp when guests are present.. I still say it– w/a post-prayer explanation. Most people seem to appreciate the reasons behind my odd request.

  • Correna

    FANTASTIC SITE, I can’t thank you enough for this site. It is an answer to prayer as I have searched for a blog that answers my questions on healthy eating, but this site is all around balanced for everything in life, not just food, but so much else. Thank you. Correna

  • Rosa

    I love this! Sometimes I feel in the real food world if I’m not picking apples from my backyard and chewing whole wheat berries, I’ve blown it.

    As I read this post I thought of Paul’s words to Timothy, specifically on not letting people bring the law into what they eat:

    “For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.”

    Wisdom, discernment, effort. Yes.
    Fear. No.

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Amen, Rosa!!! :) Katie

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Welcome!  Meet Katie.

I embrace butter. I make homemade yogurt. I eat traditional real food – plants and animals that God created, not products of plants where food scientists work. Here at Kitchen Stewardship, I share how I strive to be a good steward of my family's nutrition, the environment, and our budget, all without spending every second in the kitchen. Learn more about the mission of KS here.

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