Are you confused with all the mixed messages that are out there about what we are to eat? Should you do Atkins, Paleo, Paleo Autoimmune, Keto, or plant based? Do you need to be gluten free and dairy free? Are you struggling with weight due to eating too much comfort food lately?
I have been through the gamut of all these legalistic eating philosophies and the excessive desire for comfort food.
I have Thyroid autoimmune disease and recently learned from the internet that gluten interferes with absorption of Thyroid medication. I learned that I was not to eat too much of certain vegetables in the brassica family like cabbage, broccoli, and Brussel sprouts.
It had gotten to the point that I felt like I was going to die if I ate any foods I loved, so I went to chocolate for comfort… but it could only be clean, dark chocolate. If I didn’t die from eating the wrong food, then I would probably die from the virus anyway… so what was the point?
What a way to think! Right??
Then I started thinking… shouldn’t scripture have the answers? Why was I going everywhere except scripture? Shouldn’t we always go to scripture first? Humm…
Two passages of scripture really began to stand out to me as I read them over and over in five or six different versions and read commentary on them.
“Now the Holy Spirit tells us clearly that in the last times some will turn away from the true faith; they will follow deceptive spirits and teachings that come from demons. These people are hypocrites and liars, and their consciences are dead (seared). They will say it is wrong to be married and wrong to eat certain foods. But God created those foods to be eaten with thanks by faithful people who know the truth. Since everything God created is good, we should not reject any of it but receive it with thanks. For we know it is made acceptable by the word of God and prayer.” (1 Timothy 4:1-5 NLT)
“Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ…. So don’t let anyone condemn you for what you eat or drink…You have died with Christ, and he has set you free from the spiritual powers of this world. So why do you keep on following the rules of the world, such as ‘Don’t handle! Don’t taste! Don’t touch!’? Such rules are mere human teachings about things that deteriorate as we use them. These rules may seem wise because they require strong devotion, pious self-denial, and severe bodily discipline. But they provide no help in conquering a person’s evil desires.” (Colossians 2:8,16a,20-23 NLT)
I would encourage you to read the whole chapters of 1 Timothy 4, and Colossians 2, in several versions to get a good representation in your mind of what these scriptures are saying.
As I thought on these verses, I wondered why I couldn’t eat gluten and dairy, if God created those foods to be “eaten with thanks” and King James says they are “sanctified by the word of God and prayer” (1Timothy 4:5 KJV).
1 Corinthians 10 talks about us being allowed to do anything, but that may not always be beneficial for us. That didn’t apply to certain food not being beneficial for us specifically. Paul was talking about eating meat sacrificed to idols and causing an offense for someone else (see verses 23-33). He later says that when you go to dinner, eat whatever they serve and don’t worry about it unless it does cause an offense (see verses 27-33). These verses go on to tell us, whether we are eating or drinking we should do it for God’s glory and be imitators of Christ.
1 Corinthians 6:12-20 has some of the same language, but talks about food and then about being pure sexually and taking care of your body, which is God’s temple if you are a Christian.
As I thought on all of these scriptures, I began to examine the why behind denying myself certain foods. The absorption of my medication may be a problem with gluten, but for years, before that “new teaching” came out, I was on thyroid medication and eating gluten with abandon and my labs were always normal. No absorption problem there.
I asked my husband why he thought everyone in the world seems to suddenly have problems with gluten, and he asked me, “How much money do you think the gluten-free industry makes?”
I understand allergies. I know they say that our bread is not pure and has chemical additives like high fructose corn syrup that other countries do not put in. But, isn’t gluten always the same chemically? And, the bread I buy for my husband is free of corn syrup.
I know that I need to take my medication on an empty stomach to aid absorption and not eat anything with calcium for a few hours, but many medications are inhibited by calcium. It doesn’t mean you can’t eat calcium products… just don’t eat them near the time of taking the medication.
I understand too much sugar is not good for a diabetic. But the diseases our bodies have, seem to come from excess food, which is gluttony, and also addressed in scripture.
To get myself back on track, I pulled out a book that points to scripture to help us learn how to eat again. We seem to have lost our way.
The co-authors of this book, Arthur and Judy Halliday, address the real issue, which comes from a desire for love and relationship, but instead of turning to God to meet these needs, we turn to food. On pages 70-71, they address legalism and grace. “Legalism says we must shape up by adhering to fixed formulas or a rigid set of laws or codes” (see page 70, 1 Timothy 4, and Colossians 2). “Grace is freedom that conforms us from within; legalism is bondage that constrains us from without.” (page 70)
“When we adopt external methods to constrain our behavior, we are buying the lie that victory can be won through our own willpower.” “When we love Christ and our desire is to please him in everything, we are released from clinging to rules, regulations, and performance.” (see page 73)
“…we can set up the most legalistic system of all in our self-protective relationship with food… Just as obedience to the law could not establish righteousness or remove our guilt, focusing on an external or self-regulated coping mechanism does not resolve our deepest problems. In our struggle with food, eating, and weight, there is no law, no diet, no deprivation we can summon that will subdue our compulsive indulgence.” (see page 74 and Colossians 2:23)
The authors share eight keys to “conscious eating”. Out of all of them, four resonate more strongly with me:
- Eat only when my body is hungry.
- Eat and drink only the food and beverages I enjoy.
- Eat slowly, savoring each and every bite.
- Stop before my body is full. (see pages 79-80)
…”it can take twenty to thirty minutes for your body and brain to fully register what you have eaten” (page 80). So, it makes sense to eat slowly and stop before full.
The authors walk you through scripture and ways to make new choices and effective changes. I think they sum it up very well in the quotes below.
“When we are still and can listen for the Holy Spirit, we begin eating foods we enjoy, foods that nurture our bodies and produce good health. When we slow down, we gain awareness of when to stop eating. In this stillness, we enjoy food as never before…. Releasing the behaviors that no longer serve us—-our fat machinery, our painful past experiences, our denial, our pride, our lack of forgiveness, our rebellion, the radical extremes of our eating habits, our frenetic pace—we also release the excess weight that burdened us. Living by grace and freedom in Christ, form a renewed mind and in the power of the Holy Spirit, we discard our mindless habits and live in the light, fully cognizant of life, reflective in our responses, enriched by our activities, and graciously giving God the glory.” (See page 248)
“The keys to conscious eating encourage stillness and a willingness to wait on God to feed us and lead us.” “God satisfies our deepest hunger.” (See page 249)
I recommend this book for anyone struggling with bondage in the area of food and the mixed messages online. It’s important to let ourselves be led back to scripture, trust that God’s word is inerrant, and stop listening to the man-made rules and deceptions of the world that create huge money-making industries.