NOTE: This is an introductory chapter explaining my working title for my forthcoming book based on this blog. After WAY too much agonizing, I finally decided that my blog is about much more than eating. It's also about more than organic living. It's about living intentionally. So, that's the title (for now) - Live Intentionally. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this chapter. The manuscript goes to beta readers this Friday!
What Does an Intentional Life Look Like?
An Intentional Life is a life that is authentic. It’s real. It can be trusted. It means not just healthier eating, but knowing your food – where it came from, how it was prepared, and what it can do for you. It’s also enjoying that food and taking pride in the care you’ve taken in selecting or creating it.
It’s feeling good about how you spend your time and how your children spend their time. It’s taking care of your body and teaching your children to do the same. It’s exploring your own creativity and ability and not being a stand-by passenger in this life.
An Intentional Life does not demand that you eat only organic food, but it does demand that you know your food. There’s a danger in defining organic as the food that has received the government’s little green label. In fact, I might venture that most of the certified organic food you find in the grocery store isn’t nearly as organic as the food you’ll find at your farmer’s market or roadside stand. The people defining the word organic are the people with the most to gain from that definition (and that wouldn’t be you and me). The food manufacturers have loads of money to spend on lobbyists and plenty of political power to ensure that the definition is watered down enough to make mass production of organic food possible and profitable.
An Intentional Life will lead you to get to know your neighbors, the farmers who grow your food, and other parents who wrestle with the same desire to change their lives. It may motivate you to learn more about nutrition, our food system, government, and your community. You may find yourself reading labels and directions and cruising the internet for information and recipes.
An Intentional Life is unplugged. It’s not dependent on screens or the latest gadget. I’m not suggesting you become Amish, I’m simply saying that living intentionally requires that you weight the cost/benefits of adding that new game system or the latest fashions. It will mean considering how much stuff you have and how much you need. It will mean sharing more and wanting less.
Intentional lives are not dictated by convenience. Sometimes living intentionally requires a bigger effort and a little more time. Sometimes it doesn’t. It’s a life not governed by the bottom-line or time-saved, but that’s not to say it doesn’t value both of those goals.
Living Intentionally will lead you to buy locally, make your own food, and parent your children in ways that may not, at first, be easy. An Intentional Life can sometimes make you feel out of step with the masses. As I watch the lines at the fast food drive-through and the overflowing carts at Wal-Mart, it becomes obvious that most of us are sheep. We follow everyone else, trusting that if they’re eating it and the store is selling it and the government is allowing it, than it must be good for you. Many times, it’s not.
Sure, it won’t kill you, at least not today. All you have to do is look at our ever-expanding population to know that we can survive on artificially colored, chemically-created, pesticide and preservative laden food. We can spend 14 hours on the internet each day and our evenings parked on the couch. We can give our kids every new gadget and allow them unfettered screen time. Most people do. And they live just fine. Until they don’t, but hopefully they’ll have seriously good health insurance and some major savings to support them when their bodies finally max out on the toxins and stress and it’s time to pay the piper. They may never wonder who their children could have become had their minds not been numbed by toxic food, too much technology, and the resulting lethargy.
Living Intentionally is about common sense. Think about what you are eating. Think about what you are doing. Think about how you are affecting the planet, your neighbors, your community. Think about how you are parenting. Be intentional.
An Intentional Life is a life you feel good about – down to your core. It’s knowing you are doing the best you can for your health, your family, and your world. It requires no excuses.