About

sa·vor·ing\ˈsā-vər-iŋ, ˈsāv-riŋ\ verb
1 : To taste or enjoy with zest: relish   2: to appreciate fully: enjoy or delight

Judy PurcellFor more than 25 years, I have had a love affair with cooking.  Savoring Today began March 2010 to test recipes and develop a cookbook to share this passion for connecting family and friends with healthy, delicious food. I believe great food goes beyond flavor or nourishment—it fosters relationship. Love it or hate it, preparing meals is one of the significant ways we promote health, meet practical needs, and demonstrate the value of those served at the same time.

In the hurry of the world around us, there is pressure to move on to the next thing whether it is technology, to-do lists, work projects, or kid’s activities—even our leisure time is often the result of pure exhaustion. Living full tilt drives our appetite for convenience foods, leaving little time or inclination to focus on nutrition or the people at hand. In the pursuit of quick and easy, we sacrifice vibrant health and miss touch points with those we care about.

Slowing the pace to allow dinnertime to be an experience of the senses, nourishing, and relational is a rewarding effort. When savoring a meal we chew more slowly, utter sounds of delight, even roll our eyes trying to express something wonderful holds our attention—shared with someone, it is even better.  If we apply the concept of savoring to our lives, we engage more fully in today so the future does not consume the now.

Life is a great gift, savoring it begins with today.

 

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Of course, there is a personal story that fuels these passions …

Most of us go about our day without a thought it could be our last. Until something interrupts that thinking with a heavy dose of mortal reality—we are finite, fragile, and subject to life’s twists and turns. December 9, 2007 was just such a day when a young man with an assault rifle fired upon families at our church, killing two young women. Considering we were his next close target, it is truly miraculous that our family survived the onslaught with a single flesh wound. I share more about this experience through my other blog Overcoming Trauma for those interested. None of us have a guarantee of tomorrow; today is our opportunity to live fully, to savor life.

Among other things, this event convinced me that life is too short to not have dessert—not the ideal way to approach trauma healing, but hey, it is a process. I was quite fatigued from adrenal exhaustion and our entire family dealing with PTSD, so my usual zeal for healthy food choices gave way to compromises in the midst of overwhelm. Subsequently, I mysteriously gained a few pounds I could not seem to shed, which I blamed on my age (over 40). I knew better, but didn’t want to give up my excuse to indulge. Unfortunately, it didn’t just affect my energy, health, and waistline, it affected my husband’s as well.

September 2010 I drove my husband to the emergency room with discomfort in his chest. It didn’t take long before he was in the cath lab with two stents in his heart. The compromises had taken a toll. Convinced he did not have a Lipitor deficiency, he did some research and worked for a year to get his health back on track and eliminate any need for prescription drugs—exercise, reduced stress, supplements—and the part I could help him with: diet.

Our quest for nutritional health began more than ten years ago.  Eliminating refined sugar, oils, white flour, and processed foods were the focal point of our dietary makeover.  We made significant changes, benefiting with less seasonal illness, sustained level of energy, shedding excess body weight, and overall well-being.  It proved true; it worked.

So how did he end up in the ER?

Knowing is not doing; over the years, we got busy, a little lazy, and a bit arrogant. We compromised more than we thought. Even though our clothes fit a little tighter, we blamed it on our age and assumed we were fine; besides, we ate right most of the time and took supplements occasionally. The reality of the choices you’ve made is never clearer than when you face a serious, yet avoidable, health risk.

The statement that woke us up was from the cardiologist: “We know that what he was doing wasn’t working.” That was hard to hear because we thought otherwise. We heard from more than a few people whose perception was that we followed a good diet and were relatively healthy. Well, we perceived that too. However, when we took a hard look at what we were really eating rather than relying on our knowledge of a healthy diet, denial was exposed.

Compromising adds-up in the form of convenience, justification, and rationalization. Compromise is exactly what got us (him) here—special occasions, dinner out with friends, mood enhancement, been good for a week, worked out harder this week, too tired, too busy, were all part of the excuse regimen. Whatever bargaining was necessary, we found a way to eat what we wanted, put off regular exercise, and still feel okay about it. These momentary “just this once” decisions appear harmless, even manageable. Seemingly small concessions, accumulate into health-robbing patterns.

Activity is not exercise. Having the ability to exercise, thinking about exercising, planning to exercise, buying exercise equipment, is not the same thing as actually committing to a lifestyle of regular exercise.  Taking the stairs instead of the elevator, parking farther away from stores, weekend hikes, walking the dog is all good, but it is not a substitute for real heart-pumping exertion 3-4 days a week. Technology encourages passivity. We sit in our cars, at our desks, at the table, when entertained, while we wait, you get the idea. Sedentary habits catch up with us and the medical bills tell the real story.

Diligence in diet and exercise prove true once again; it still works. In just a few months, cholesterol numbers dropped dramatically and so did the numbers on the scale (he shed 25 lbs and I shed 12 lbs). The funny thing is, I had been “trying” for over two years to lose those 5-7 lbs with no sustained progress. Denial had set in as I flipped through fitness magazines for new exercises and complained to friends that I just could not figure out why the scale kept inching up. I wondered if my metabolism had simply changed after turning 40 and this is just the way things would be—it happens to everybody at some point, right. No, I was in denial and unwilling to get serious about it.

I remember telling friends, “Life is too short to not have dessert“. They agreed, who wouldn’t? (We like it when friends validate our denial.) Well, I have adjusted that mantra. Life is too short not to have dessert; it will likely be shorter if we do. Don’t get me wrong, we will have a treat on our birthday and enjoy special holiday traditions, but it will be rare. This is not a fad diet or a knee-jerk response to a health issue; we have seen first hand what works, what doesn’t work, and the cost if we ignore reality.

What have I learned?

Food matters.

Love endures.

Life is a gift.

I believe life is better with coffee and God’s love is better than anything. More than a survivor, I am an Overcomer. (Rev 12:11)

 

20 Responses to About

  1. food by katherine February 16, 2011 at 9:53 am #

    I agree with this message. We spend so much time just getting to the next step, or forgetting to be present (by texting, surfing or emailing). Lets just be in this moment and enjoy it. I am glad I found your blog.
    Very impressed with what you have in so little time. This is a lot of content in just 10 months! Thanks for taking the time to find me and share some words of encouragement. Your post made me smile and I will savor the gesture.

  2. gibsongirl247 March 11, 2011 at 7:28 am #

    Love your thoughts about savoring the moment, so true….plus, all your pictures make me really hungry!

  3. Wendy Davis July 10, 2011 at 3:43 pm #

    Just found your site and your post about savoring is so apt! I think we all need to be reminded now and then (or more frequently) to truly savor everything. There’s no doubt life is hectic but stopping to enjoy our food and truly savoring it will hopefully flow into the rest of our lives and all that we partake in. Thank you!

    • Judy July 11, 2011 at 5:54 am #

      Thanks so much for stopping by, taking time to comment, and your words of encouragement!

  4. Edie Hutchison October 5, 2011 at 5:47 pm #

    How wonderful, to hear someone speak of their dedication and love of God. He is too often left out of our lives and our circumstances. May you be richly blessed by all who stop by, and by our Lord, Himself. ;) I am a wife, Mom, Grandma and Great Grandma, and God is so important in everything I do, and because I love to cook — especially for those who mean the world to me, I always aim to bless them, so I will frequent your site, to gain inspiration in all areas of my life. Thanks, and bless you!

  5. CJ at Food Stories May 3, 2012 at 11:45 am #

    I found your site on foodblogs.com and thought I’d stop by and check it out. I just subscribed to your feed and can’t wait to see what your next post will be!

    • Judy May 6, 2012 at 6:48 am #

      Hi CJ, thank you for taking time to say hello and subscribe, I appreciate that so much! I hope you stop by again and join in the conversation from time to time.

  6. Julie May 15, 2012 at 2:14 pm #

    Judy,

    Stumbled upon your website as the Parmesan zucchini sticks caught my eye. Can’t wait to try it.

    I wholeheartedly agree with your position statement. I have always been interested in cooking, nutrition and health for as long as I can remember.

    Even though I thought I ate healthy for the most part, save my sweet tooth, my weight was slowly creeping and increasing over the last 10 years (time period included menopause, that scapegoat of an excuse). My endocrinologist suggested (for the second time) that there are drugs to reduce my rising cholesterol. I said no, I want to do it naturally through a change of diet and exercise – and I mean it this time! She looked at me and gave me 6 months.

    In those 6 months, I dropped my cholesterol 70 points, lost 30 pounds (lost additional 7 pounds in the two following months). This was achieved through better cocsistent food choices, cutting out the sugar, (my nemesis), fried foods, and began to exercise 3-5 times every week (running). My first 5k was 5 months into my life change and 1/2 marathon 2 months later.

    I feel great and enjoy how I look. The interested thing is that it is actually not difficult once you set upon a path and stay with it. It has been 10 months now.

    I’ll be looking for more ideas from you. (Sorry for the lengthy message but wanted to add support for your philosophy.)

    • Judy May 21, 2012 at 7:57 am #

      Hi Julie!
      Thank you so much for your message, it is so encouraging to hear from you and your story. It can be hard to stay on track, I am so glad to hear that you did and you are reaping the reward! Congrats on your 5K and 1/2 marathon, we need goals like that to keep us moving and motivated. :)

      I am so glad you took time to comment, please continue to do so as you stop back by.

      All the best to you!

      Judy

  7. Heidi Medina February 24, 2013 at 7:15 am #

    Hi there, just wanted to let you know I nominated you for the One Lovely Blog Award and the Very Inspiring blog award. If you are interested go to this link. http://simplysophisticatedcooking.wordpress.com/2013/02/24/one-lovely-blog-award-and-the-very-inspiring-blogger-award/

  8. Lizzy (Good Things) May 5, 2013 at 6:15 am #

    Dear Judy… so delighted to have found your blog… and thank you for your kind words on mine. My father always said to me ‘Darling, every day is a gift’ and I bear these words in mind every day of my life. My health has suffered in recent months, largely I think due to the stress of caring for a (now grown) son with chronic schizophrenia. While I take care to eat well and exercise, there is still a mystery linear mass on my lung. Taking things a day at a time while the doctor does various tests. Enjoying the kinship I’m discovering in the blogging community. Thank you again.
    Lizzy (Good Things) recently posted..Postcards and Morsels – Collector Village Pumpkin Festival 2013My Profile

    • Judy Purcell May 5, 2013 at 7:20 am #

      Hi Lizzy, so good to hear from you again. Your father was wise to pass on such a life-affirming outlook. I am sorry to hear you are dealing with so much and I understand how an adult child can drain emotional, financial, and physical resources. Our oldest had a serious car accident right before her 18th birthday and sustained a closed-head injury. One of those cases where they look fine, but they are not. To say that season of life was exhausting and emotionally stressful would be an understatement. It is even more difficult when they are adults, making costly decisions which affect us, yet we cannot change. I am certain what you deal with is far beyond what we experienced. My heart goes out to you.

      I think you are right in considering stress to be a health robber — it is. I pray wisdom for your doctor and victory in your outcome as you pursue health and healing. I would love to know how you are doing, I will continue to pray.

      Peace and abundant life to you.

  9. Mimi July 10, 2013 at 6:22 am #

    Very smart words.

    • Judy Purcell July 10, 2013 at 6:29 am #

      Thanks Mimi, and thanks for taking time to read this loooong about page and saying hi. :)

  10. Heather August 13, 2013 at 2:45 pm #

    That scripture has been horribly mistranslated. Rev 12:11 actually says 11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death
    Maybe you already knew that but I find the coffee in your verse to be absurd for a scriptural reference.

    • Judy Purcell August 13, 2013 at 4:45 pm #

      Hi Heather. Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to read through my About page and comment. I think you may have misunderstood the reference I made to scripture. The two sentences are in reference to my life — the first sentence had nothing to do with the scripture reference. I was not trying to translate the scripture, just mentioning it in case someone didn’t understand the second sentence’s reference to being an overcomer, since that is not a common word used today. Many talk about surviving, I was encouraging the reader that there is more, hoping they would look the scripture up for themselves.

      I’m sad it was only the scripture that caught your attention, there is far more to my story here, and yes, I believe the scripture applies.

      Peace to you.

  11. A Canadian Foodie December 6, 2013 at 9:08 am #

    What an incredible story. Kudos to you and your courage and love. I think I need that soup recipe you made the other day and that will remind me of your valiant life changing story.
    :)
    Valerie
    A Canadian Foodie recently posted..Krupnik: Polish Barley Soup with ChickenMy Profile

    • Judy Purcell December 6, 2013 at 9:44 am #

      Hi Valerie, thanks for your kind words and encouragement. I hope to post that soup recipe soon ~ we can all use another chicken soup recipe to keep us warm and well. :)

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