Our guest post today comes from Cara Faus. Cara lives in Montana with her husband and two young children. She loves learning about nutrition and God's natural remedies through food, herbs, and holistic medicine. She writes at Health, Home and Happiness.
Real Food and Religion: Christianity
Christianity, being more of a relationship with God than a religion with strict rules, presents itself in many different ways. I am here to share how my relationship with God affects how I feed my family, how I am learning and growing in how I believe God wants us to deal with food, and personal convictions that I hold. Everything I share is going to be from my personal perspective, open to changing as I grow and change as a Christian and as I learn about health and nutrition. Further, I believe that God calls different people to focus on different things at different times; I don't think that my way is best for everyone in every situation.
Our convictions about food are to eat food naturally as God designed it. We believe that before the fall of man everyone ate a raw vegan diet from the garden, not requiring any work. After the fall, and subsequent flood, we believe that humans have needed to do a little more work for their food (till, plant, harvest, hunt, cook- Genesis 3:19) and that God did give us the knowledge of how to properly prepare foods, along with specific dietary laws. While we know that following the food-related laws is not necessary for salvation (Romans 14:20) and we have no desire to be legalistic with them, we do think that they are good guidelines as a general way to eat, and that's why God gave them in the first place.
We don't want to drive anyone away from God because of our eating habits, so if our general 'eating rules' are going to be an actual hindrance to helping someone's relationship with God, then we will gladly eat whatever is appropriate at the time.
Our food convictions as of now:
We stay away from pork, bear, or any animal that doesn't have cloven hooves or fish that don't have fins and scales. The pork issue is what comes up most often, and I will happily eat a BLT at someone else's house, though I just keep in mind that 'unclean meats' aren't the best thing to serve my family and we choose not to buy and serve pork. For me it's more of, "God said this- if I don't have a good reason to go against it, I'll go ahead and just do what He said in the Bible."
We eat whole foods that have been traditionally prepared. I believe that God either directly told people how to prepare food (such as soaking grains), or He gave earlier generations intuition on how to make food in a fallen world most nutritious.
We seek medical help naturally first, in most cases. We're doing the GAPS diet, which doesn't allow grains although there are many mentions of grains as acceptable food in the diet. I believe that God gives us understanding of the body, and oftentimes gentle solutions to chronic problems through diet. I also believe that a diet with too many non-food items (preservatives, food dye,etc) in it will cause problems, though it will be different degrees for different people. While it may sound extreme to some, I felt God was leading me to get rid of a root canal I had, and a variety of health problems went away that were associated with it.
We strive to balance doing what we believe to be best for our physical bodies with what is realistic and best for us and others spiritually. This is constantly changing for our family; you can see in our 'journey to real food' that we are constantly taking baby steps to eat how we think God would like us to. We also are constantly checking ourselves to try to make sure we're not being over the top and trusting in food rather than God for our health.
We want to make sure we're not focusing on food to the point that we neglect other parts of our lives- so our meals aren't always perfectly balanced if it was more important to rock a cranky baby to sleep or help a friend move. Sometimes we do order pizza (for hubby and me), and sometimes the kids eat date-nut balls for dinner ~smile~. We try to think of what is the best thing I could be doing at this particular time- and that isn't always going to be preparing a fresh balanced meal three times a day; though I believe that as I get better at planning and family management, it will be possible to eat 'God's best' just about all the time.
With the kids, because we feel that as parents it's our duty to give our kids the best start reasonably possible, we do avoid letting them have food that we know will harm them. As a result, I do end up saying 'no' to french fries or Coke for the 9-month-old, or gold fish crackers for my 3-year-old who is on a diet to help with some developmental issues. While this could be too legalistic for some, it's what are convictions are regarding balancing the physical needs of our young children (especially since we can see a difference in them, so we know it affects them) and the feelings of those who are around our kids and may offer food. My husband and I don't mind eating a little junk food every once in a while to better 'fit in' with others, but we can handle stuff better since we're adults without health issues.
We have friends that we fellowship with that eat how we do, but as a general rule our church still eats the typical American diet. We usually just try to not focus on food, but focus on the Lord and everything seems to work out just fine!
My thoughts on the book The Maker's Diet. I think this book is great for any Christian who is interested in changing their diet, whether it is to loose weight or for a health issue like diabetes.
How God has lead us to look into different child-related issues including birth, breastfeeding, and vaccinations.