“Because My Body Is A Temple,” “I Love Kale!” And Other Lies I Tell Myself

Warning: If you are easily offended by the occasional swear word, eye-roll, or someone mocking your 1.5 million Instagram photos of your healthy, homemade meal, close this tab.  Because there will be mocking.  And eye-rolling.  And maybe some swearing.  You’ve been warned.

I woke up annoyed this morning.  Annoyed, dissatisfied, and disappointed.  I laid in bed for several minutes, trying to snap out of my funk.  Just be happy, d*** it! (Yes, I thought the asterisks)I even prayed.  No luck.  So I went about my morning routine, which is not much of a routine because I am stubbornly, unrepentantly type B, not to mention lazy (I’ve washed my hair exactly twice this week). But the one thing I never give up in the morning is breakfast.  I always, always eat breakfast.

I was halfway through my blueberry-almond butter-flax seed-kale smoothie when my annoyance morphed into actual anger because of one teensy, little thought:  I hate kale.

I hate it.  I truly do.  It’s bitter and tough and never gets fully blended into my smoothie so I always end up crunching on the stalks at some point.  It’s a despicable green.  And I actually feel a weird pang of guilt for admitting that.  Why? Because my body is a temple.

Meh, that’s not really why.  But I am a beautiful Christian woman (see how confident I sounded there?!), and that’s what beautiful Christian women should say when deciding what food to put in their basket at the grocery store: “My body is a temple.  Kale or spinach?  My body is a temple. Vanilla yogurt or plain?  My body is a temple.  Wheat Thins or Triscuits?  Wait, no!  I’ve gone down the aisle of death!”

The actual reason I feel guilty for admitting how much I dislike kale is because it means I’m a failure.  I fail at being healthy.  Because based on information I’ve gathered from conversations with personal trainers, friends, and countless obscure “scientific” articles friends have posted on facebook, being healthy requires one to:

  • Cut out dairy (those pesky, cancer-causing enzymes)
  • Cut out gluten. NO EXCEPTIONS.
  • Cut out meat (except fish, and maybe organic bison if you’re a pansy)
  • Substitute agave nectar for sugar
  • Cut down on fruit (watch the carbs!)
  • Substitute almond butter for peanut butter.  Peanut butter is for half-ass granolies.
  • Never use a microwave
  • Never, under any circumstance, eat food that is not 100% USDA organic.
  • Eat kale.  Lots and lots of kale.

So as you can see from this list, I am limited to eating organic kale, almond butter, maybe some legumes, an occasional serving of quinoa, and organic halibut (which no one can afford on a regular basis).  And if I decide to stop eating kale, 1/5 of the food I’m allowed to eat if I want to be healthy is gone.  So I’m a failure at being healthy, because what the heck am I supposed to eat without kale?!

Here’s the thing: in American culture,

healthy = thin = beautiful = valued = significant

So, because I don’t like kale, I have no significance.  Don’t buy that line of reasoning?  I didn’t think I did.  But then a seemingly unrelated thought gave my ego a pretty good shake: I spend more time at the gym than I do with Jesus.  In my twisted, vain mind, working out is a better use of my time than talking with my creator.  Because I will feel better about myself spending an hour getting drenched with sweat than an hour talking with a God who knows me intimately–all the good and bad–and loves me unconditionally.  I find my significance in having a “daaaamn girl!” sort of temple, not in the Holy Spirit who lives inside it.

I need to repent.

I need to be more obsessed with God than I am with trying to perfect my body.  And my guess is, if I can do that, I will finally be able to find out what it means to treat my body like a temple of his Spirit.

Also, to all of you who harp about health and go tanning:  your double standard never ceases to make my eyes roll.  There–now I’ve mocked, sworn, and rolled my eyes!  You can’t say I didn’t warn you.