health and hunger

i like to eat. i’m of the particular persuasion that food is pretty amazing. i also like to try and eat healthy. recently, i finished reading ‘food matters’ by mark bittman. it was a fairly good read. i liked it because it was simple, about healthy eating and informative about the history of the food industry in america. 
i’ve been thinking about and trying to care for myself and my family by making healthy choices in what we eat for awhile now…and i’ve also been trying to work hard at maintaining our budget in the midst of that. these two things alone make me feel like I want to scream a lot. does anyone else feel like this? then, on top of those two things, i can’t stop thinking about the fact that there are people, tons and tons of them, going hungry all over the world while i walk down rows and rows of grocery aisles, choosing items and reading ingredient lists. okay, no hydrogenated oils, no high fructose corn syrup...what in the world is that ingredient? …amount of sodium, sugar… where does this even come from? sigh.
it's become quite popular and normal to be super aware of every ingredient we put into our mouths and bodies in america. it's all quite understandable considering how the health of our country has declined over time and how many disgusting things are put into the foods we're sold.  almost everyone is allergic to something these days.  but, as with everything, it seems like we humans just like to swing from one extreme to the other. now, it seems like health is the ultimate obsession. i see it in the media, in facebook statuses and hear it in conversations. it's everywhere. 
world hunger is also, almost everywhere.  last night i read this in the winter 2011 issue of compassion magazine: "more people in our world are affected by hunger than by AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined. daily, hundreds of millions of children and adults live with the effects of chronic malnutrition, of not having enough food to meet the body's minimum requirements for a healthy, normal life."
this isn’t news to me. i’m sure it isn’t news to most of you either. it just keeps coming to mind.  there are thoughts that gnaw at me and fill my mind about how I need to devote time and resources to making healthy choices for my family.  then there are the gnawing thoughts of all of the unknown, hungry faces who don’t spend a dime or a minute thinking about half of the things i spend time thinking about.
it is a gift and a curse to have so many choices and so much abundance. i think it's fine to enjoy the things we've been given.  and, being really, really thankful and generous should go without saying. but, i’m also beginning to think about how i cannot let health become a chief goal or a perceived "right."
to be perfectly honest, there can be a lot of self-centered desire for control and a-way-too-easy slant towards idolatry in me where this is all concerned.  i know it’s more than okay to want to and try to be healthy. i know its okay to like and enjoy food immensely. but i also know i want to be more like Jesus. i’m sure he cares about health and wants us to be healthy but i think he cares about our hearts even more (not to mention the millions of empty tummies that span the globe). i want to be concerned with what his heart is concerned with. i need to be, to have spiritual health; the health that trumps all other forms of health.
i'm not an expert (or even slightly close) on the topics of health and world hunger.  but it's been on my mind a lot recently.  i'm still processing but there are a few conclusions i've come to:  i’m not going to stop caring about what we eat as a family. i am going to keep wrestling with these things and how I am to live in light of it all as a follower of Christ who happens to live in one of the wealthiest countries in the world. it's clear to me that it is downright wrong to obesses over being healthy. and i know i need to call it a lie when i subtly begin to believe I can gain more life from what and how i eat, rather than from Jesus, Life itself. i have lots of room to grow. 
have any of you been on a similar journey? how do you pay attention to and tend to your heart in matters of health and world hunger? i'd love to hear.
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