The Message version – “Didn’t you realize that your body is a sacred place, the place of the Holy Spirit? Don’t you see that you can’t live however you please, squandering what God paid such a high price for? The physical part of you is not some piece of property belonging to the spiritual part of you. God owns the whole works. So let people see God in and through your body.” – 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
People often ask me why I became interested in nutrition or care so much about leading a healthy lifestyle. I am always reminded of this verse in the Bible that describes our body as a temple and that we are on the earth to glorify God through everything in our lives, including how we take care of the vessel that He so carefully and lovingly knit together in our mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13). If we were created in the perfect image of God, shouldn’t we strive to maintain our body and health as He intended it to be? The complex and miraculous physiological processes of the human body are designed by the Creator to function under a set of ideal conditions, and it is ultimately up to each and every person to take care of their body to maintain their individual health. I understand that genetics play a major part in a person’s health, but I believe that a large percentage of the health conditions Americans face can be prevented through healthy habits and mindful living. More importantly, this has to start at a young age as we’ve seen with the dramatic rise every year in childhood obesity.
God created the earth and everything in it, and when I think about how perfectly water, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and even animals provide vastly different but equally important nutrients that we humans need to survive, I see God’s love for us. He knew exactly what we would need, and gladly gave us everything to live the abundant lives that He desires for us. I also think the colors, fragrances, textures, and tastes of real food show His creativity. This is why I am such an advocate for eating as fresh and unadulterated food as possible, and I don’t understand how America has twisted our view to happily eat man-made, processed, nutrient-stripped, packaged, and sometimes unrecognizable “food.” I recently read Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food, and I absolutely love every point he made (I’ll probably have a post later with my favorite quotes). His main tagline is “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”
Yeah sure, it might be easier to swing through the drive-through every day for cheeseburgers and fries or not have to think about the complicated science of nutrition before sitting down to every meal, but do you think it makes God happy to see his children suffer because of clogged arteries, low self-esteem, or limited mobility? I imagine it does bring Him joy to see people growing their own plants and appreciating food from the soil that He’s given, being full of energy to live life enthusiastically, or honoring Him with their bodies by reaching their full potential to cross the finish line of a marathon.
On the other hand, I don’t believe God wants us to be obsessed about or consumed by our eating habits either. It’s very easy to get caught up in both spectrums of eating disorders, whether gluttony or under-eating, but that is not the kind of life we should be living to honor God. After all, he wants us to enjoy life to the full! Even Jesus was known to savor a good Passover feast and wine occasionally. In the end, I think it’s about finding the balance of enjoying and appreciating our food while striving to live a disciplined and healthy life so we can live long and enjoy God’s blessings.