Does God Care About Nutrition?
Nutrition is a hot topic
Nutrition is a hot topic in our culture today. So hot in fact that the last 30 years we see passion, arguing, struggling, and idolizing relating to all things nutrition. We often see many obsessing about which diet to follow, which new supplement to try, and what type of fitness routine should we adopt. Our culture is completely distracted from what really matters and our mental, physical, and spiritual health is suffering from it all.
The diet mentality
Fleeting motivations to look better often lead to unhealthy thoughts and attitudes which can then lead to destructive eating patterns. Our culture is so eager to find a quick fix or purchase that new miracle that we don’t realize that we are digging ourselves a deep hole. When we buy into the ideas of the next new thing and short-term changes, we have succumbed to the diet mentality.
The hallmark of the diet mentality is that we are continually trying to lose weight, frustrated by lack of progress, exhausted in all efforts, and ready to give up. We are so tired of having to watch what we eat that we lose all joy in eating. Diets are exhausting! We are jealous of all the others that seem to put in no effort and have wonderful success. We feel as if we have no hope.
What does God say?
As I was reflecting on what is happening, it made me ask, what does God say about all of this? All throughout scripture, the Bible teaches us to take care of ourselves to our best ability. But our good intentions to take care of our earthly bodies can sometimes get side tracked when we start to make these intentions more important than our God. Anytime we place something as more important than God, we give up the peace, comfort, and love that He gives us through this struggle.
Let’s change how we think
If this sounds like you, you are not alone. We need to start thinking differently about how we take care of ourselves! The Bible doesn’t talk a lot about how we feed ourselves and nutrition specifically, but it does talk a lot about how we take care of our bodies (1 Cor 6:19-20). Taking care of our bodies involves many aspects, but one important aspect is how we feed ourselves nutritionally. Our nutrition affects so many parts of our lives and our overall health that I firmly believe God cares about our eating habits. But we also must keep perspective. We should feed our bodies well, but we should not let this goal become our god.
Let’s change our motivations
We should also consider our motivations for taking care of our bodies well. There are many motivations that are rooted in scripture. First, God calls us to take care of our earthly bodies (1 Cor 6:19-20). He also calls us to do everything for his glory (Col 3:17). Lastly, he calls us to work for him (Col 3:23). All of these are proper motivations to feed your body well. Proper motivations are so important. We must change our hearts in this matter if we want to be successful in making changes that will last. When our motivations turn from fleeting to steadfast, we can actually change habits and make progress.
What does good nutrition look like?
Practically, what does taking care of our earthly bodies mean? There is so much conflicting nutrition information out there, how do we know if we are eating right? These are really good questions and I think the answer is slightly different for each of us. However, this answer contains many common threads. First, taking care of our bodies well means paying attention to our hunger. We should consider if we really need to eat when we are not hungry. Paying attention to how much we need to eat to be satisfied instead of full is also very important. Second, it means eating a variety of foods in a balanced and moderate way. Generally speaking, this means not cutting out major food groups (unless there is a medical reason to do so).
An overall healthy diet includes lots of fresh vegetables and some fruits. It also includes good sources of proteins. This doesn’t always mean meat! There are many vegetarian options including beans and lentils. Lastly, a healthy diet limits processed foods and excess sugars (both of which can become addictive). Following these general guidelines for a healthy diet can give you a great start, but as always, if you need more specific guidance, a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist can be very helpful (you can find one at https://www.eatright.org/find-an-expert).
Mentally, we need to change how we think about nutrition. This means not obsessing about it and keeping God your most important thing. Next, consider the characteristics God calls us to adopt as his children. Are you being patient with yourself and your progress? Do you experience peace with your food decisions? Are you using self-control? Lastly, are you thanking God for the healthy foods you enjoy?
Joy in feeding your body well
What would it look like if instead of a diet and a burden, we could change our eating habits with joy? Instead of focusing on looking better, what if we embrace the idea of really taking care of our body? What if making a healthy choice felt peaceful? What if instead of eating well for a short time, we always worked to take care of ourselves? Imagine a world where we truly desired to take care of our bodies! Let’s all resolve to find joy and delight in taking care of our body well to serve God!
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