Fixing It With Food

ohpleaseWhat does biblical eating look like?

Is it ‘the Daniel diet?’ (Vegetarianism with God’s blessing). Perhaps it’s the Eden diet or the Maker’s diet. (I’d love to say I’ve made these up, but no.  Christians are suckers too).

This gets me thinking. Water into wine.  Surely Ribena would be a healthier choice?  Sugar-free, of course. Or John the Baptist.  Locust and honey does not a balanced diet make. Perhaps angels brought him supplements.  We could go on. Jeremiah.  Naturally grumpy…or lactose intolerant? What about the garden of Eden?   Why ban a nutritious piece of fruit?

Not all healthy eating is idolatrous: but as with an eating disorder, it can be.  We see this with the rise of orthorexia: where ‘health foods’ rule us just as much as anorexia or binge-eating.  For me, it’s currently ‘fertility foods’.  Avocados, wholegrains and linseeds. I shake tins at my husband ‘Nuts for your …!’ And there’s some truth: if you’re under or overweight, it’s harder to conceive. But my weight is great. A pineapple will not impregnate me. (Sorry for all the mental images people, I think in pictures).

I tell myself it’s just being sensible: and it is, to a point. We live in a culture of ‘foodies’, so who’s to draw the line between passion and obsession? But even though we eat healthy, our hearts can stay sick. This is relevant for those with eating disorders: but it’s true for us all.

Think about Christ’s temptation.  After 40 days fasting, he’s naturally hungry. The enemy asks Him to make the stones bread: and Jesus refuses.  Instead He reminds the Devil that we live not by bread alone, but on God’s word.

What are we to learn? That I should read more of the Bible and cut down on sugar?  No.  Jesus is not simply a model for me to copy.   I can’t do it! Whether it’s an eating disorder or an addiction to shopping, I can’t beat it myself.  Even if my diet or bank balance is healthier, my heart stays the same and I cannot change it.

So what now?  Look at myself and resolve to try harder?  Or despise my frailty and beat myself up? (Both things that feed the disorder).

No.  I lift my head and look to Jesus.  In fact, no again.  He lifts my head and He captures my gaze.

Jesus proves his divinity, not by making stones bread, but embracing His weakness. He refuses to feed Himself – because He wants to feed us. And to us He says:

‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.’ (John 6:35)

We don’t need miracle supplements or extra linseed. We need Him.

3 thoughts on “Fixing It With Food

  1. As an ex-dietitian, it does my head in that christians write ‘diet books’ based on what they’ve gleaned out of the bible. I cynically see it as just another way for people to make money out of people’s hunger for magic fixes and faddy diets but with a spiritual label to make that ok.

    Only recently I heard someone retelling a sermon they had heard on how we all came from the 12 tribes of Israel and therefore have different blood types meaning we have to eat different diets. A GP was there as this was shared and queried the biblical basis of this sermon and what scriptures backed it up and that’s before you delve into the evidence base for the actual dietary advice.

    The one place where the bible probably backs up evidence based advice is in Leviticus…I had a lecture at university where we were told that the food laws actually appear to safeguard against foods that have a high risk of causing food poisoning, and burning the fat on the alter before being offered to the priests was probably pretty healthy too.

    At times I wonder if I was any good as a dietitian as my core belief was that God created food for us to enjoy and savour…doesn’t mean we should over indulge, but equally means that it’s ok to eat some butter/sugar/CHOCOLATE!

    Over the last week I’ve discover that the word for the way I dislike myself and all my failings is shame, but that Jesus died to take my shame away, so I can become everything God created me to be. Beating myself up, comfort eating or skipping meals, drinking alcohol or punishing myself in some other way will not take away my shame, only Jesus can.

  2. Bullseye! A dart to my heart in a good way. I’m glad you wrote this, Emma. I’d never heard the term “orthorexia” before, but it comes close to describing the determination I’ve felt to “eat healthy” in order to avoid dying from cancer at an early age like my mom did. As if I can control that or make life and death as linear as that. However, for years I was convinced it could. And, culture didn’t help any, with books and nutriceutical companies hawking supplements that can apparently help one live forever, if all their adverts prove true. Problem is, no one has lived long enough to prove it! We do so love to have a plan to follow, rather than a Person (Jesus) to trust. How wonderful–“He lifts my head and He captures my gaze….We don’t need miracle supplements or extra linseed. We need Him.” Amen!
    By the way, I love how you think in pictures! I think I’ll give up nagging my hubby to take TWO garlic capsules TWICE a day, instead of the one-a-day he’s now quite comfortable with taking. No more “Dear, they’re antiviral, you know. You don’t want to catch cold, do you?”

  3. L2F – that’s interesting. I read today that the Levitical laws were about setting boundaries (Mary MacDonald’s written an essay on it) – though like you, I’d been told they were about food hygiene! And I agree: butter, sugar etc are good things.

    Hi Valorie: I’m ashamed to say I have garlic capsules too. (Tho only taking one – when I remember, which was February.) Like you say, we want a plan to follow – and for all kinds of reasons, many which have nothing to do with weight.

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