I thought, as I picked up my copy of Cravings: A Catholic Wrestles with Food, Self-Image, and God, by Mary DeTurris Poust, that it would be a pleasant read (the author is an impeccable writer) that I would then pass along to a few people (which I will) and then move on.
After all, I do not have an eating disorder. I’ve only recently been able to gain weight. (Don’t throw things. I can’t help it.)
What I found, though, was not a book that was about recovering from an eating disorder. What I discovered within this book was a mindset that points to how disordered we are.
This book gave me a “Theology of the Body applied to life” sort of jolt. Everything we do with the physical impacts us spiritually. Without balance in eating–something we have to do, something we often want to do, but something we so often treat as incidental–we lose balance in much of the rest of our life, from how we relate to people to how we focus on God.
DeTurris Poust is a masterful journalist, and that’s how she weaves interviews throughout this book in a way that’s fascinating and inspiring. But she’s also someone who’s been there, who continues to struggle, and who has found a Catholic response.
What makes this book great is how DeTurris Poust bares her heart and shares her struggles. She’s not the poster child for weight loss or being the perfect eating family.
She’s a Catholic wife and mom who continues to struggle. She’s a woman who has found peace…and it’s not on the scale and, in fact, it doesn’t even involve the scale.
The peace comes from a healthy relationship with that thing we do during so much of our waking time–eating.
This book isn’t just wonderful for the theory it presents. Oh, no, you’ll find practical solutions to…well, to the fact that you rush through breakfast and can’t stop snacking all afternoon and wondering what exactly you ate for dinner. She doesn’t give you a diet or a top secret “follow these seven steps to healthier living” list.
Instead, you’ll find within these covers a challenge to embrace your faith, which means including your eating habits as part of your faith life.
Wait a minute. Whaaaa?
When’s the last time you looked at your Cheerios and coffee as a chance to have a sacred moment? How often do you pause and NOT multi-task during your dinner? A snack is fine…but is it for your body or your mind?
After reading this book and considering my own life, I have to say this: I have a disorder. We all do. It’s called sin. It infiltrates everything, and yet…and yet, we need look no further than our own Catholic faith to find redemption.
Mass is a meal.
Yes, I knew it before. But the way it’s drawn out in this book is truly wonderful and was, for me, a unique viewpoint It was not in a hammer-over-your-head experience, but more like the gentle melting of an Andes mint in your mouth.
There’s a lot of good in this book, so much that I suspect this will be one of the top gifts I give close friends and family in the coming months. My copy’s sure to get beat up (and accidentally lent to someone who won’t return it, thus necessitating another copy).