Sunday, October 3, 2010

On Former Favorite Things: Pork on my Fork

As a Southerner, I was raised on the pig.  Bacon, pork chops, cracklings, BBQ, and my Nana's Thanksgiving Ham (it's all capitalized because Pauline Hilton's ham IS a proper noun, believe me!) are just a few of my former favorite things.  Yet, as an adult I do not eat pork or pork by-products. At all.  Ever.

Since I live in North Carolina, I know that may be hard to believe.  But I am a Muslim, so it's part of my way of life but it's also a personal choice.  I became Muslim in 2006,but I had stopped eating pork when I first began studying Islam in 2005. Except that one time I ate pepperoni pizza during Ramadan at my cousin's birthday party but that's another post for another day.  Generally speaking, I haven't eaten pork in nearly 6 years.  I say all of this to say, if any of you out there are finding it difficult to adjust to new ways of eating or new foods, I FEEL YOU!  To completely eliminate something you have eaten all your life (and love) is not easy.  But if you make up your mind, and don't make failure an option you can do it just like I did.  I pledged my heart and my life to Islam, so failure at this whole "no pork on my fork" think was not an option.  Thankfully, I have been fairly successful at adopting the same discipline I adopted with not eating pork to a more healthy diet in general. 

This doesn't just apply to pork.  Maybe it's sweets that you need to limit, or to stop drinking soda.  Or maybe you need to adopt a low sodium diet, or eat more vegetables.  Whatever it is you're trying to do believe me, I'm doing it too.  At 24, I'm doing all I can to save myself from the health problems I see in some of the people I love dearly so I am trying my best to eat all things in moderation.  Sometimes I win, sometimes I lose but at the end of every week I can usually say I ate a lot more good stuff than bad stuff.  Hippocrates said " Let food be your medicine"; Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) said that we should eat 1/3 food, 1/3 drink, and save 1/3 for air, but most of us are "digging our graves with our teeth" instead.  Especially African-Americans, who are overrepresented among those with diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, heart failure, and cancer.  

We don't have to kill ourselves with food!

Recently, I was in the grocery store and a lady looked in my cart and asked me if it was difficult to eat healthy.  First of all, I was extremely pleased with myself that someone could look in my cart and only see health foods like whole grain organic cereal, lean proteins like beef and turkey, fresh and frozen vegetables and nuts and fruits for snacks. Secondly, I told her what I will tell you all now: Exercising discipline over yourself to break a habit is rarely easy, but usually worth it.  In the case of food and diet it involves changing your mind, and letting your brain do the decision making and not your eyes (if we really listen to our stomachs, they don't usually lie!).

So yea, you will see me post things that I bake.  I am human and like I said, I want to adopt a healthy lifestyle which includes enjoying certain foods in moderation.  But will I strive to eat vegetables at every meal, and then some? Yes.  Will I only stock my cabinets with foods that I can feel good about eating and feeding my children? Yes! And will I give up, even when I've had a cookie (or two)? Absolutely not, and you shouldn't either!


Sarai said...

Sis, I definitely feel you on this post! Pork is every where, but discipline is a necessity. It was one of the harder things to give up especially the by-products (gelatin is in everything! ) but I don't even miss it anymore Alhamdillah !

The Sukkar Chef said...

It is challenging to start out, but we have managed to do it alhumdulillah. Check the Muslims Can Eat! page, I will be posting more information about halal foods and products as the information comes in InshaAllah.