Tuesday, February 21, 2012

What the Bible has to Say About Food

Food use to be and still is at times my enemy. When I was younger I vascilated between super restrictive, like no cheese on my pizza, to binging on a whole pack of Snackwells cookies (remember those?). I could go from eating a giant sized frozen yogurt and countless peanut butter cups to eating only one cantalope or one bagel in a day. I had an unhealthy relationship with food, I either over-are or starved myself.

So, think with me, is food good or bad in your life? Is food your enemy or is it your enjoyment? Is food your boredom buster or your comforter? Now just suppose, you wondered what God thinks about food. Where would you look? His word of course, and that is what we are going to do today. From the very beginning of time, right in Genesis, food has played a role in the lives of humans. In the garden food was part of the fall of man. God said "eat all you want, enjoy but don't eat from that one tree" and what happens? We are not satisfied with all that He has given us and we just have to eat the forbidden fruit and WAM! Life is changed forever. Now man has to go and find his own food, he has to work hard, really hard in order to feed himself. Why ? All because of one little fruit that he could not help eating.

Moving on in the bible we see more interactions between God, his people and food. While the children of Israel wondered the desert God provided them food, as much as they wanted, it was called Manna. God gives us food to take care of us. Yes, He gives us food because he loves us and knows we need to eat in order to be healthy and serve him. So right here, in these two Old Testament examples we see that food is good and necessary in the eyes of God.

Then we go onto Deuteronomy chapter 14 and food is there again. This time it is God's list of do's and don'ts regarding food but don't miss God's heart for his people in the long list of restrictions. In verse 2 we see why God put so many restrictions on food. Verse 2 says God's people are holy to him and chosen to be his treasured possessions. Did you get that? God didn't put all of those food restrictions out there to be difficult but because he loved His people and wanted them to be holy and treasured. What an important point to understand--the restrictions were out of a father's love.

In 1 Kings 19 we have the story of Elijah and Jezebel. Jezebel threatened Elijah's life and he took of running until he was so tired that he fell down under a bush and went to sleep. When Elijah awoke he was greeted by an Angel that touched him and said "get up and eat." Two times this happened, so we can see that our physical sustenance is important to God. God wants us to eat, he wants us to enjoy it (Ecclesiastes says there is nothing better than to eat, drink and be merry) and he will provide the food that we need.

In the New Testament there are many examples of Jesus and food such as Jesus feeds the 5,000, Jesus calls himself the bread of life, Jesus turned water into wine and the last supper. My favorite story of Jesus and food is in John 21 after Jesus rises from the dead.. It is early morning and the grieving disciples have returned to their jobs as fishermen. As the disciples are coming in to shore with their boat they see a man on the shore and suddenly recognize that it is Jesus. Jesus says to them "come and have breakfast with me." Would you not love that? Jesus saying "come, sit, let me fix you some breakfast" that would be heaven on Earth. So there you go, coffee only drinkers, Jesus says to have breakfast.

Now this next passage is from 1 Timothy 4. There were a lot of problems in Timothy's church and people were making up laws about food abstinence. Verse 4 says "For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving." Wow, did you read that? Nothing is to be rejected that God made because it is good. That verse right there gives us so much direction in this vegan, vegetarian, paleo, gluten free world. Everything God made is good, what a freeing thing.

So, what do we eat? Things that God made, not man, because they are good. The word does not say to eat chips, soda, candy bars, french fries or anything out of a box. The bible does not call these things sinful but it doesn't call these processed foods good. So in our family we try to eat as natural as possible. We try to eat foods that are whole and directly from the ground, tree, bush, animal or vine. Don't get me wrong we do eat treats but we make them ourselves out of whole, preservative free ingredients. If we want cookies, we bake them, so we can save money and know what ingredients go into them.

At the grocery store, the healthiest, God made foods are usually found on the perimeter of the store. Fruits, veggies, dairy, eggs, meats and seafood are usually against the four walls of the store. So think about it the next time you shop--is your cart full of things from the 4 outside walls or does it abound with products from the center isles? We watch the Biggest Loser and Bob once said that if a food can last more than 2 weeks in your pantry or refrigerator, you probably shouldn't eat it. Of course there are a few exceptions, like canned tomatoes or healthy crackers but in general I think it is a good thought.

When I create a meal I think of 3 things:
  1. protein
  2. veggies
  3. carbs or grain
I try to eat protein every time I eat followed by a fruit or veggie. Some meals may or may not include a grain. Grains are always my downfall because they are so much more plentiful and easier on the go but I am working on this. I know some of you say, "but I don't like that type of food." Well, it is all in what you get use to. You may have to retrain yourself as I am, to eat more protein. Or maybe you have to retrain yourself to grab an apple instead of chips, be responsible for yourself. If you want something different just do it. Don't think of your nutrition as "I can't eat that." Think of it as "what can I eat?"

Food Networks Paula Dean recently came out with her Type II Diabetes diagnosis. In an interview I heard Paula said it took so long for her to come out about the diagnosis because she "wanted to bring something to the table". Do you know what she brought? A pill. Yes, meds. It was as if she did not really understand that Type II Diabetes and being overweight is a direct result of her eating and activity level. Paula also said "people are gonna eat, you can't stop that." She is right, people are going to eat and they have to eat but it is all about choice. Paula can eat the foods she loves and just take a pill, done, over with, if you want to put meds into your body everyday. Or, people can eat the foods God made and live a healthy life that enables us to serve our creator as he designed. And that friends, is what it is all about. Eating well so that we can have the best physical capabilities to serve the Lord no matter where or what He calls us to. It is not about a societal standard but taking care of ourselves so we can serve HIM.

1 comment:

Diane said...

Very well said, Tammy. Lot's of truth to ponder here.