On a good day, I drink six glasses of water, choose half of my carbs from whole grain sources, eat lean protein, avoid processed snacks, enjoy a green salad, and neglect dessert. On a bad day, I forget to drink water, eat countless refined grains, enjoy a large helping of high-fat proteins, munch on processed snack foods, leave the salad mix in the fridge, and help myself to at least a couple desserts.
Unfortunately, my life looks like it has a lot of bad days.
Do I need to feel guilty for not eating six servings of vegetables every day or for enjoying a beloved dessert? It seems silly to feel ashamed about such things.
Friend, you need to stop worrying about quinoa, kale, grilled chicken, and cauliflower rice. Why do you eat those things, anyway? Is it because you don’t want to defile your body as the Holy Spirit’s temple? Is it because you truly enjoy eating those foods? Or is it because society tells you to consume them?
Are you letting society control what you eat? How can you tell?
1. You never allow yourself to eat the no-no foods, like Oreos or white bread.
2. When you eat at a restaurant with your friends, you order last so you can base your entrée choice on their orders.
3. When you go grocery shopping, you fill your cart with the latest fad foods and smile proudly at the checkout as others’ eye your cart.
4. When you invite people over for dinner, you use recipes from websites like Skinny Taste and Eating Well to impress your guests.
5. When you leave the house, you always make sure to bring a healthy snack, like Greek yogurt or hummus with carrot sticks; but when you’re alone, you eat whatever you want.
If any (or all) of these scenarios sound familiar to you, then you are probably allowing society to have too much control over your diet. It’s not a sin to eat spaghetti squash with your chicken Parmesan or to grease your pans with coconut oil instead of butter. But it is a sin to place too much of your focus on society’s view of food.
Don’t misunderstand me. Many fad foods are very healthy and nourishing for your body. It needs the nutrients that come from some popular products. You simply need to ask yourself this question: What are my motives for eating foods like these? Is it to seem trendy? To feel good about myself? To impress my friends and family?
Our main goal for eating well should be to glorify our Father in heaven, as our goal for every activity should be.
As Solomon wrote, “It is not good to eat much honey, nor is it good to search out one’s own glory” (Proverbs 25:27, NASB).
It’s interesting that Solomon paired both of these things together. There is clearly a balance between eating too many unhealthy foods and letting popular health crazes become our first priority. It’s definitely not good for you to consume a bag of candy every day or to always walk past the produce section at the grocery store, but Solomon’s instruction to not eat too much honey can be taken to an extreme.
Do you ever let yourself enjoy a small treat? Do you ever tell yourself that it’s okay to order something besides a salad when you eat out? Can you buy Chex mix, frozen waffles, or flour tortillas without feeling ashamed of yourself? Or can you only imagine the stares you might get when buying a box of Lucky Charms? Do you only look at your friends’ faces as you order fries with your grilled chicken sandwich? Can you only focus on what your dinner guests will think of the cheeseburger sliders you’ve prepared for them?
The real issue is not about food.
The real issue is this: Are you looking for God’s approval or the world’s approval? Are you listening to your body—the body which He gave you—or are you simply listening to your friends, coworkers, and church members talk about the foods you should eat?
When you eat, I hope you focus on God’s opinion alone. Pay attention to your body’s signals for hunger and fullness. Follow your doctor’s instructions about your diet. Eat a wide array of foods. Try to choose foods that will supply fuel and necessary nutrients for your body. And be willing to enjoy a treat every now and then. In short, don’t let society’s view of food become too important. Focus on eating healthy foods to provide nourishment for the body God gave you. Glorify Him in every aspect of your life—even your diet.
Grace M. is an eighteen-year-old high school graduate who lives with her parents, two sisters, and dog, Cocoa. She loves sunsets, mint green, and red velvet ice cream. She enjoys playing piano, baking, and playing volleyball. She blogs about the Christian walk at tizziestidbits.wordpress.com