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Saturday, August 27th, 2011
It’s weird, but true: There are more non-Jewish Americans who are kosher-abiding than those who are actually Jewish. Last October, a book by Sue Fishkoff came out that I would love to read. It’s called Kosher Nation and it explains why America has gone kosher. Fishkoff shares:
“More than 11.2 million Americans regularly buy kosher food, 13 percent of the adult consumer population… There are about six million Jews in this country. Even if they all bought only kosher food, which is not the case, they would not be enough to sustain such growth. In fact, just 14 percent of consumers who regularly buy kosher food do so because they follow the rules of kashrut. That means at least 86 percent of the nation’s 11.2 million kosher consumers are not religious Jews.”
My wife and I, along with our nine-month old son, are among that 86 percent. We are not Jewish, or even Seventh Day Adventists (who also do not consume pork or shellfish). But we are adamant about our kosher diet.
So is it a religious thing for us at all? Not really, but sort of. We just kind of stumbled into it.
Through the Mexican bloodline in my family, I have adopted eczema- a vicious skin disease. My mom has it on her neck. One of my uncles has it on his knuckles. And I had it on the palms of my hands; in particular, I had dyshidrosis, where tiny clear blisters form, then pop, and dry out the skin- basically burning it.
For several years during my 20′s, I had what I call “Freddy Kruger hands.” It was embarrassing, overpowering, and even depressing to live with. I was desperate to figure out what exactly it was and more importantly, how to cure the “incurable” disease.
And so began my journey into the world of natural cures and holistic living.
My skin problems peaked shortly after getting married. My wife and I took our honeymoon in New England, eating pretty much nothing but shrimp, scallops, and lobster the entire time. It was good eatin’.
When the week ended, I got back and realized that my entire body had broken out. I found myself in a cloud of despairing depression for no good reason.
I learned that the bottom-feeder shellfish that I consumed were full of heavy metals, including nickel. On top of that, my tungsten wedding ring also contained slightly toxic metals.
Eventually, I remembered that somewhere in the Old Testament of the Bible (Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14) God instructed the Jews not to eat certain animals. I was always under the misconception that those food laws were simply there for a certain group of people to show their obedience to God. Now I realize that those random food laws were God’s way of helping people to know what foods to eat- even as a way of avoiding cancer and disease.
By not eating the animals that are lowest on the food chain, along with all carnivores, the human body is exposed to much less toxins.
And the whole thing about not mixing dairy products with meat? Simply put, that combination prevents food from digesting through the body too slowly. Otherwise, the undigested food remains in the body for too long, potentially causing health problems.
Needless to say, as I converted to a kosher diet, my eczema gradually disappeared; as a side effect, I also lost 25 pounds in the process. So I became inspired to invent The Shell Diet, which is basically the kosher version Mediterranean Food Pyramid.
And that’s how we became a kosher, Gentile family.
Granted, I’m not saying it was an easy transition. It’s still tempting to smell crispy bacon that a co-worker is heating up in the microave or dine at a seafood restaurant where I lust for buttery scallops. But for me, it had to be all or nothing. Anything was worth getting rid of my eczema.
Even for our son, it’s not necessarily easy to keep him kosher. For example, most infants’ pain relievers contain Red Dye 40, which is derived from petroleum; while others may contain Crimson Lake, which is made from scale insects. (The only insect permitted to eat by kosher law is the locust.) When I was a kid, I had a lot of stomach problems, as well as, anxiety attacks- that is, until my parents stopped allowing me to have foods with red dye in them.
It’s strange that I would become the least bit of an expert on being kosher; especially for the fact that I don’t really have any Jewish friends.
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bacon, Bible, diet, eczema, food dye, Gentile, Health, Jewish, kashrut, kosher, Kosher Nation, Mediterranean food pyramid, Mexican, Nashville, New England, Red Dye 40, seafood, shellfish | Categories:
Deep Thoughts, Health, Must Read, People, Storytelling
Saturday, July 23rd, 2011
Is The Dadabase a “Christian blog?” That’s a good question. The answer is yes; in the sense that I am narrating my version of fatherhood from a Christian perspective. The answer is no; in the sense that it is not directed specifically for a Christian audience and that the majority of my posts do not contain an explicitly spiritual theme.
While I do sporadically splice in quotes from the Bible, I intentionally do not use quotation marks nor do I list the Biblical reference where they came from. Because to me, these ancient teachings are intertwined into my thought patterns. So I don’t see a need to separate them when I write.
I love writing for Parents.com. I am so appreciative of how much they value the realness and authenticity of all their bloggers; free of censorship. I can truly be me without having to ask myself, “Was that too Christian of me to say that?”
Basically, if it relates to and ties in with my life as a dad and a husband, it’s fair game. The Dadabase is simply an unfiltered reflection of what goes through my head as an unseasoned parent and an everyday guy who just happens to be of the Christian faith.
But while technically I do have complete freedom of speech here, I also believe in using my freedom to write content that is relevant to the majority of readers and not becoming consumed with promoting my own agendas to the point they become a distraction.
As a Christian, I sometimes struggle with the assumption that my viewpoint will largely be perceived by the general public as politically incorrect, representing an old-fashioned mindset that is typically unwelcome in mainstream media and entertainment.
I’m not referring to a reluctance to use the name “Jesus” instead of “God” or “Merry Christmas” over “Happy Holidays.” Instead, it’s stuff like when I mention that my son has a soul, that I am spiritually responsible for him, that I pray for him to one day know Christ like my wife and I do, and when I matter-of-factually state that there is a heavenly kingdom awaiting us after this life.
Even more so, I am overly aware of the bumper sticker that reads, “Jesus, save me from your followers.” I recognize that for some, the word “Christian” has a stigma connected to it, associated with words like “judgmental,” “prideful,” “arrogant,” and “bigot.” I realize how easy it can be to determine the integrity of an entire group based on their loudest, most hypocritical examples.
I know I am not expected to be perfect, but I am expected to be different. Yet in the most basic ways, as a parent, I still represent the way many moms and dads feel; Christian or not.
A slightly reoccurring phrase I have seen in comments that readers leave on this blog is “It’s like you’re reading my mind…”. Despite having different preferences in our parenting techniques and styles, most of us share the same basic desires for our children. It doesn’t take being a Christian to want to positively re-brand fatherhood or to be vulnerable enough to admit that I fell in love with my son gradually, not instantly.
Last month my wife helped teach 3rd grade at Vacation Bible School. The theme was “Where Faith and Life Connect.” That’s one of my themes too; as a human, as a writer, as a guy who has to go to a real job during the day just like most other people, and as a parent.
Yes, my faith is the most important thing to me. But it’s not all I talk about. In fact, whatever the next Dadabase post is about, I’m sure it won’t mention anything about God or Christianity or any overt spiritual themes.
Just as the familiar blue skies eventually intersect with the mysterious outer space, so do my everyday life events overlap my intangible Christian faith.
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Bible, blogging, censorship, Christ, Christian, Christian blog, Christianity, daddy blog, faith, fatherhood, God, Jesus, parenting, spiritual, VBS | Categories:
Deep Thoughts, Spirituality
Thursday, December 30th, 2010
It’s a sort of eery feeling getting up at 1:30 AM, 3:30 AM, and/or 5:30 AM every morning to feed and change Jack. While it’s still dark and quiet, while I’m only “awake” enough to put the word in quotation marks, and while my memory barely records the routine actions taking place during the twilight, I’m sure I’m subconsciously looking for something out of the ordinary. As I hold Jack in one arm and his bottle in the other, the dimly lit room casts a strange shadow on his face. Sometimes when I look at him during this time I get a little creeped out. In this situation he reminds me of a baby version of the Cowardly Lion in the Wizard of Oz (played by the Jewish actor Bert Lahr); that movie and the original Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, though they are both wonderful classic movies, have always freaked me out a bit. On a similar note, it also seems like I’m taking care of a little old man, with his receding hairstyle (Jack Nicholson style), his chubby cheeks, and his baby-version-of-cussing-somebody-out cries when he’s really hungry and his diaper is wet.
To make matters more theatrical, there are times when I am taking care of him during the middle of the night when it’s like he peeks around my shoulder and sees something and gets this calm yet curious look on his face. Does he see something? A guardian angel? Jesus? Maybe the ghost of Bert Lahr?
I wouldn’t be surprised if babies can see into the spiritual realm. It could make sense in a way; babies are completely innocent. They are unaware of damning traps like pride and greed. I could see how a baby is naturally closer to Heaven than we adults are. Sometimes I envy the things my baby may be seeing. But then again, it would be just another thing to spook me in the middle of the night. It seems every account I can immediately think of in the Bible where an angelic being spoke to a human, the angel always had to start the conversation out with “Do not be afraid…” But Jack isn’t scared by whatever he is seeing around me that I am less aware; if he’s actually seeing anything supernatural at all.
Bert Lahr as The Cowardly Lion:
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afraid, baby, baby crying, Bert Lahr, Bible, changing diapers, Cowardly Lion, creepy, dad blog, dad from day one, dark, fear, feeding, ghost, guardian angel, innocence, Jesus, old man, parenting, scary, spiritual, spooky, supernatural, The Wizard of Oz, twilight | Categories:
Nostalgia, People, Spirituality, Storytelling, The Dadabase
Saturday, June 12th, 2010
In my first “dad from day one” post on April 13th (dad from day one: She’s Having a Baby), I told the almost spooky story of how my Mexican grandma dreamed she was having a granddaughter two weeks before we went public with the news that my wife was pregnant. Since then, we have been asked on a near daily basis if we think it’s a boy or a girl.
I have found it easier this whole time just to assume my grandma’s dream is right. And in the past couple weeks since my wife has began “showing”, it’s become pretty obvious she’s “holding the baby high”, which is typical for a girl in the womb.
I would never go see a psychic myself. But… what happens when someone else goes to a psychic and their fortune is about you instead?
That’s exactly what happened. Today, one of my wife’s coworkers went to a psychic as a sort of “joke birthday gift” to herself. The fortune told: “One of your coworkers is pregnant with a girl.”
So it’s settled. My grandma and a psychic have both had a vision about this baby girl.
Our kid is the size of a sweet potato.
Only one way to know for sure- wait until next Thursday (June 17th). That’s when we’re officially finding out whether we’re having a boy or a girl- given that our baby isn’t crossing its legs during the procedure.
In a week’s time, I will have posted “dad from day one: The Gender of Our Baby”.
Here’s what The Bump says about our baby this week:
“Your fetus has become amazingly mobile (at least compared to you), passing the hours yawning, hiccuping, rolling, twisting, kicking, punching, sucking and swallowing. And, baby’s finally big enough that you’ll be able to feel those movements soon.”
All pictures with the “JHP” logo were taken by Joe Hendricks Photography:
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baby, Bible, birthday, boy, child, dad from day one, fatherhood, fetus, gender, girl, Jewish law, Mexican, parenting, pregnancy, pregnant, psychic, Revelation, sweet potato, wife | Categories: