I find God in the sacrifice that it takes to make real food. Though it pains me as a young and financially struggling woman to do so, I put a premium on food. There are two main reasons: justice and obedience. “Intensive agriculture” of animals and the rise of “agribusiness” are not just of concern to animal welfare activists. They should loom in front of every Christian. Agribusinesses (think any large meat or milk company) pay farmers pennies for what they do. Farmers either have to grow their number of animals and relax their standards of quality, or fold (hence the phrase, “get big or get out.”) Corporate slaughterhouses for beef employ illegal immigrants and frequently injure them with the ruthless speed at which they process animals. Agribusiness looks out for the bottom line, not for human beings. As Christians, we are pro-people, and we are called to steward God’s creation. It is more just for me to pad the pockets of farmers that are doing it right than to put one more drop in the bucket for companies that care nothing for their farmers’ livelihoods or welfare.
As a Christian, I live an embodied faith and an embodied existence. My body matters to God just as much as my mind, and he designed my body to work seamlessly with food. However, the short cuts that our industrialized society has taken with food in the last 100 years have made previously innocuous foods hazardous territory for the human body (read: corn, grains, soy, fats). My obedience to God’s plan for my life includes making time to cook at home, preparing my food conscientiously, and seeing where my body needs healing. As a consequence, I spend just as much time cooking each week as I do at work. Living life without processed foods is a full-time job. This is a sacrifice. My husband and I have traded a busier life with more activities for more time around our dining room table with friends. We miss going out, and we miss short cuts, but we are thriving on traditional foods, and our bodies have never felt better.
I continue to find God in the sacrifice that real food requires. My favorite farmers plug away, weathering seasons of hard work and little pay. My husband and I balance our budget, trying to work miracles. This part of my life is a staunch mirror, showing me the things I want to continually hold onto: my money, my spare time, my life as I know it. With God’s help, I sacrifice one of these things at a time, and it is glorious, simply glorious, to see the cross of Christ in my life with food.