Steve and Me

Last night, Spencer and I watched a short documentary on Steve Jobs. Only in the last few minutes did they mention how he dealt with his cancer through a strict vegan diet, but my curiosity was piqued. I live in the land of normal eating today, but for many years, I lived in a prison of self-imposed deprivation and health obsession. I once knew everything there is to know about health and food and yet today I eat whatever you put in front of me (unless it has mustard or mayo in it – a girl’s gotta have her legitimate dislikes). I will never un-know or un-learn what I spent days, weeks, and even years pouring into my brain, but I am no longer a slave to it. That said, learning of Steve Jobs’ foray into healing through food, I just had to dig a bit further.

And hello again, Health Nut Crazies! I thought I would get an unbiased account of Jobs’ cancer-fighting methods, but instead I got every Paleo, Macro, and Raw Veganist pointing the finger at Jobs for killing himself through food.

“He was a “clean vegan,” so soy must be to blame!”

“No, he needed more high quality protein, so it must have been the fault of fructose from too much fruit and juice!”

“Didn’t he eat cooked sushi once? He was just asking for cancer!”

And then I found the following link that extracted every inch of his eating peculiarities from Walter Isaacson’s recent Steve Jobs biography:

Don’t get me wrong, The Weston A. Price Foundation has an agenda, but as I read through the bullet points about Jobs’ eating habits, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for him. The man was obsessed with clean eating, an exhausting-exhilarating rollercoaster I know firsthand. In the end, it’s a search that never delivers. Perusing each phase of his food obsession, I was reminded of how my demanding eating habits were stressful on those around me and how my belief systems about food –whatever they were at the moment – were gospel.

But they aren’t gospel. They can’t be. Food just doesn’t have that kind of power. And no matter how many juice fasts or colon cleanses we undertake, we will still die. There is no cheating death. One day, it is going to happen. For Steve, it already did. For me, it’s coming.

One health crusader I used to love was Ann Wigmore. She was a raw foodist who blended all of her food in order to expend as little energy on digestion as possible. She was hardcore. And yet she died. In a fire! No cancer, no heart attack, just accidental death. Death doesn’t care if you eat sprouts or pizza.

That’s probably why I love Jesus so much – he freed me from cage I locked myself inside of for almost a decade–and he said in Matthew 15:11:

“It is not what enters into the mouth that defiles the man, but what proceeds out of the mouth, this defiles the man.”

How profound! Food either rots on the counter or turns into feces, yet we can devote our entire lives to it. But what about what comes forth from our mouths. How much energy and effort do we put forth to make sure that isn’t junk or trash talk? I love the way Jesus comes in and turns everything on its side. Just when you think you are a nice, good, clean person, he says, “Wait, you hate your next door neighbor? That’s just like murder, murder in your heart!”

And then I say, “Yikes! I’m horrible. The worst! Let me clean up my act and get good.”

And then he snags my tidying hands and says, “You can’t get good. I AM good. Don’t get good, get me!”

So, in the end, Steve and I lived in the same country where we inhaled the same carcinogens on a daily basis. He sought contentment through asceticism and harsh treatment of the body, while I’ve turned to –by the grace of God –a peace that passes all understanding. Steve Jobs made history. And billions. That he left behind.

And I’m left sitting at my desk while my son naps wondering what I will make. What will I leave behind? Please let it be more than a clean colon.