Pastor Chef’s Tips for a Balanced Lifestyle

Mark Kujawa, the Pastor Chef, says that when it comes to cooking, everyone wants ‘quick and easy’. He says that’s partly because we live in ‘a lazy culture’. But if you’re well-prepared, ‘quick and easy’ is actually possible. ‘I can do Spag Bol in about 10 minutes,’ he said. ‘So quicker than a Friday night drive through at Maccas.’

He told Alex how the day before he visited Vision, he was attending a class to improve his skills. A student asked how long they had left before lunchtime. When asked why he wanted to know, the student replied, ‘because I’m ordering my Uber Eats.’ He could easily have walked to the shops just down the road.

Mark points out that in Church every Sunday, we’re told to focus on our spirit, and in our society we’re encouraged to keep our minds healthy by balancing our commitments, making sure we set aside family time if we’re married or have children, or time to be ourselves if we’re younger.

When it comes to the physical body, it’s interesting, because the oxymoron in it is that we’re so conscious of how we look in the sense that we post it all the time.

As a 49-year-old, Mark’s well-aware that people once made fun of him the way he sometimes teases the younger generation. ‘But When they do the selfies,’ he said, ‘they get this sort of look where you tilt your head to the side, and you pat your lips a little bit. Your knee crosses over, and then you do your selfie.’

‘You’ve got to get the right angle. We’ve got to take 50 million photos ‘til we get it right, and all this kind of stuff. Yet we don’t really look after our body. And it comes down to a balance of all three. Not just the two.’

So how do you keep healthy in spirit, mind, and body? ‘There’s this funny Scripture in the Bible,’ Mark said. ‘Paul says ‘exercise profits the body little’. And so a lot of people say well, I don’t have to go and do gym. Well you probably do. You need to do a bit.’

But Mark says there are plenty of ways to stay healthy. Some light exercise like going for a walk releases endorphins, which make you feel refreshed, a good thing for both mind and spirit. You can also get exercise through hobbies, which are more about fun than fitness for its own sake.

Mark’s own hobby is road cycling. ‘Whenever I go for a ride,’ he explained, ‘that’s what I call it. I’m not doing a race. So I don’t do exercise to prove something. Guys are at the gym, pumping, looking at themselves in the mirror. Good on you. You know what I mean? But we don’t look after our body enough.’

Fruit and veg have been top of every healthy-eating campaign since the dawn of time, but Mark feels an abundance of it is more important than ever. ‘20 years ago a tomato was so much value of vitamins and minerals. Today, because it’s so genetically modified, and farmed so much, you have to have the equivalent of like 10 tomatoes, to have the same nutritional value you did 20 years ago.’

‘But then, do a real cool thing. My wife does it. One day a week should be a treat day. Not a binge day. A treat day.’ A bit of ice-cream now and then is not a problem, so Mark says that you should treat yourself to some nice food occasionally.

‘If everyone does a little bit of exercise a day, and eats well, and if you knock the sugars out of your diet, and the processed foods, that’s all you have to do. So no soft drinks, no energy drinks, watch your ice-creams, sorbets, anything that has sugar. Even our milk has sugar in it, can you believe it?’

‘If you knock that out, and introduce all fresh stuff, stuff you have to cook or make, then you’ll be pretty cool.’

About the author

Jonathan Craig

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