Biblically Organic

As someone with multiple food sensitivities, food is something I think about a lot. I worry about the effects of eating certain foods. I worry about not getting enough of certain food groups. I worry about whether or not I’m putting the best food in my body, and I worry about worrying about it too much.

New food trends are always popping up and trying to get our attention. Whether it’s the new Sour Patch Kids cereal or the benefits of the keto diet, there are always new bandwagons to jump on. New studies come out saying that fat is the root of all evil. Next time it’s gluten. Our bad, clearly it’s dairy. Fat is healthy now! It’s confusing, to say the least. I’m still waiting to hear that the healthiest option is to eat only carbohydrates. That, I can get behind. 

In all seriousness, is there a response we should have as Christians to food trends? Do we have a responsibility to eat healthful foods? Does it really matter? How far should we take it? I know I can’t afford organic everything. Even if I could, is that really the best use of my money?

In both the American and the Anabaptist culture, there is a lot of guilt that is projected onto us to stay away from unhealthy food. It bothers me every time I hear people, women in particular, bashing themselves for not being healthy enough or being “overweight.” I have a hard time seeing women jump from one “perfect diet” to another. It very quickly feels like it becomes a holiness competition.

On the flip side, I think gluttony is something that’s way more prevalent in our circles then we seem to realize. Food is a huge part of our Anabaptist culture. I know I’m prone to using food as a comfort blanket. I think most of us do more stress-eating then we’d like to admit. It’s not healthy for us to run to anything except for God for comfort. 

Whenever I see verses about gluttony, my little antenna goes up. One thing that stands out to me is how often drunkenness was paired with gluttony. Proverbs 23:20-21 says, “Be not among drunkards or among gluttonous eaters of meat, for the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, and slumber will clothe them with rags.” Food, just like alcohol, can very quickly become an addiction, and eating can become idolatry.

Something I’ve been convicted about recently is how much food I allow to go to waste. Food is so readily available that there’s no tangible consequence for wasting the food we have. I’m still trying to figure out what that means for me. When I consider how many people are dying of starvation, I feel guilty for throwing food away.

There’s a lot of noise right now about meat—its effect on both our bodies and the environment. I don’t think most of us plebeians realize how many valuable resources it takes to raise enough livestock to feed our country. It actually has a bigger effect on global climate change then all of our transportation services. There’s also a huge amount of water and land that is required to grow crops for feeding and housing livestock. I know not everyone loves statistics, but these numbers are a little startling. According to the UNCCD, “It takes up to 10 pounds of grain to produce just 1 pound of meat, and in the United States alone, 56 million acres of land are used to grow feed for animals, while only 4 million acres are producing plants for humans to eat.”[1] Meanwhile, there are people across the globe that are dying for lack of food and water. Do you see the issue here?

I’m still asking myself if we should be concerned about this. After all, we were designed to be Eden’s caretakers. Are there less fortunate people that are suffering because of our carelessness? Because if that’s the case, we’re doing it to God. I don’t have the answers, though I wish I did.

I’m definitely not trying to convince everyone to become a vegetarian. I’m not a vegetarian either—I was born into a family of devoted carnivores. It’s just something that I think we need to at least think about. Turning a blind eye without fully understanding the issue doesn’t seem wise or Christlike. I would love to hear your thoughts. This is a subject I’ve been wrestling with lately, and I’m still trying to figure out what I actually believe.

I do think we should pay attention to what food we’re putting into our bodies. Our bodies are God’s temple, and we’re a reflection of Him. However, just like anything else, the opposite extremes seem equally wrong to me. Neither obsessing over being healthy nor eating whatever you want without thought are good. It seems like it comes down to what our motive is. Romans 13:14 says, “Put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.”

 

Rhonda Mast Rhonda Mast has an unquenchable thirst for knowledge. That may be why she knows the proper fencing stance, spends countless hours on YouTube watching videos on tatting and cranberry harvesting techniques, completely covers one wall of her room with her bookshelves, understands 19th century boxing cant, reads the dictionary, knows the proper way to curtsy and tie a cravat, and has invested a small fortune in candle making supplies. It’s also why you should never ask her why algebra and ancient literature are practical classes for high schoolers. She routinely distributes vitamins, fashion advice, natural beauty products, and math tutoring to her seven siblings. She’s developed a love for adoption, foster care, and a whole host of little boys in Mexico, although she has a number of health issues that slow her down more than she likes. She is learning blind trust in God and complete surrender to His will.

 

[1] Global Land Outlook, Chapter 7. October 31, 2017. August 12, 2019. https://knowledge.unccd.int/sites/default/files/2018-06/GLO%20English_Ch7.pdf

12 thoughts on “Biblically Organic

  1. “Are there less fortunate people that are suffering because of our carelessness?”

    Wow, great article Rhonda! You’ve certainly made me step back and think. I suppose I’ve always had the mindset that my eating affects only myself, so as long as what I eat is ok for me, it’s fine. How arrogant is that?!? But thinking about something as common as food in light of loving God and our neighbors makes it suddenly very important.
    Thank you very much for sharing!

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  2. Overall, a needed word on a timely subject. However, the inclusion of “climate change” decreases the impact. Yes, climate changes, just as it has for approximately 6,000 years. But there is truly no consensus among scientists who actually study the phenomenon. The “true believers” have an agenda of control, not science.

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    1. Thank you for your input! I know this is a very controversial subject, and I want to at least acknowledge some of the different viewpoints. In retrospect, it might have been better for me to disclaim before bringing it up. I know not everyone shares my opinion!

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  3. Thanks for the article Rhonda, you bring up some interesting questions.
    I am concerned about the idea that animals in the US are taking up too much of the world’s resources by doing what God created them to do – eat grass and grain to supply mankind with food (Genesis 9:3-4). I think sometimes we can get trapped in a zero sum rationale that says – if our cattle would eat less of our grain, then that extra grain could go to help feed people or cattle for impoverished people on the other side of the world. Not necessarily so and not likely.
    I also believe that our great God is the blessed controller of all things – even our world! And while many people who do not recognize God as the sovereign Creator of our world, believe that humans have a direct impact on our climate’s heating and cooling; I believe that humans have far less influence than we’d like to think and that GOD is the one who causes our earth to experience heating and cooling trends according to His good pleasure (Psalm 135:5-7). Just my 2 cents worth! Keep thinking and writing!

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  4. I enjoyed this article. You raised a lot of important questions to ponder. I would like to challenge you to research the difference in health and environmental impact between “normal” confinement operation beef and grass-fed beef. It might be encouraging.

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  5. The book omnivore’s dilemma” is a must read for anyone who is interested in this subject. He is not a Christian but it is a very thought provoking book. Some things he points out…

    1. Cows were created to eat grass and it wasn’t until the availability of cheap fossil fuels that it became commercially viable for them to be fattened on corn silage. (Machinery to harvest it and chemical fertilizers to grow it)
    2. Grassland sequesters more carbon per acre than a forest.
    3. It takes 10 calories of energy to produce and distribute 1 calorie of food today.

    On a personal note, it amazes me how so many end times prophecies that deal with weather could be ignored by conservatives when they approach the issue of climate change. All of those weather phenomena look a lot like what would happen if the earth were to experience a dramatic climate change.
    I’ve heard it said that man is being presumptuous to declare that our collective lifestyles could impact something as big as climate. It seems to me however that if God gave us as the human race dominion, then we cannot say that our activities here have no consequences. God doesn’t like fatalism.

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