Monday, February 25, 2013

"Cravings:" On Human Hunger and Being Wonderfully Made

I'm going to go ahead and review Mary DeTourris Poust's latest book, Cravings: A Catholic Wrestles with Food, Self-Image and God, without having finished it. This is a wonderful book. This is a book on the relationship between spirituality and food and the first, its publishers say, written from a Catholic perspective.

I am a veteran of probably dozens of self-help books, including Body Clutter: Love your Body, Love Yourself;   Fat is a Feminist Issue, and When Food is Love,  . All of these books have helpful insights and tips. But Poust's book is the first I have read that links one's issues with food with a weak relationship with the One who named us first.
In the opening chapter, aptly titled "A Deeper Hunger," Poust suggests we read Psalm 139 as if it were written for us or by us. I have done this several times since picking up the book a few days ago. Try this for yourself. You can find the psalm here. 

At the end of each chapter, Poust poses her readers some questions. Question #2 in the first chapter hit home for me. "Have you seen yourself as 'less than' at any point in your life? If so, what brings up that feeling for you?"

Gosh, I don't remember a time when I didn't feel inadequate about myself, starting with my earliest memories. I never considered the possibility that I might be "wonderfully made." Mindless eating is a way for me to distract myself from my wounds, and I know I am not alone in this. Those of us who  struggle with our relationship with food - and I have run the gamut from overeating to undereating - also likely need to spend less time in front of the refrigerator and the mirror and more time in conversation with the Mystery that summoned us into being.

This Lent, I have given up eating all processed foods and bread too, unless I bake it myself. This is leading to more mindful eating, which is just what Poust is prescribing here. This book offers a guide to those of us journeying toward a more wholesome relationship with both food and with God. And that is so many many of us, yes?  I am working through Chapter Two. I can't recommend this book more highly. And I now consider Psalm 139 a kind of theme song/lullaby as I travel through Lent.

LORD, you have probed me, you know me:
you know when I sit and stand;
you understand my thoughts from afar.
You sift through my travels and my rest;
with all my ways you are familiar...

You formed my inmost being;
you knit me in my mother’s womb.
 I praise you, because I am wonderfully made;
wonderful are your works!

 (fetus 16 weeks after conception

My very self you know.
My bones are not hidden from you,
When I was being made in secret,
fashioned in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw me unformed;
in your book all are written down;
my days were shaped, before one came to be.

1 comment:

  1. I too have been reading this book and am not quite finished. Poust has really made me stop and think about my relationship with God and with food and how I think of myself, my "made in His image" self. I agree. Wonderful read.