I live in the high desert of New Mexico surrounded by the original Americans and their homeland known as the Navajo Nation. History, the railroad, and I40 have brought men and women from Mexico, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.  In fact Gallup has become  such a diverse community that our church has a banner on our building that reads “Strength in Diversity.”

I am a pastor who truly believes that Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life. When others come to accept Jesus as their personal savior they often wonder about  how their cultural beliefs will merge with their newfound faith.   I have taught many men and women that they should respect their culture and the lessons that have been passed down from generation to generation. I encourage others to embrace the  wisdom of their ancestors while honoring scripture.  Yet  there are those times when culture blatantly opposes God’s Word. When asked what to do during one of these situations I usually respond with one simple sentence.  Scripture trumps culture. 

And that’s as true for me as it is for anyone else. I am an American. Let me be more specific. I am a Southern White American. And my culture is known for some of the most delicious food in this country. From fried chicken, fried okra, beans and cornbread,  to shrimp and grits, we have amazing food! Oh! And don’t forget that sweet tea ruins through our veins!

Not only am I a Southern White American who was raised on delicious food that isn’t  good for you,  I’m also a 50 year old woman who grew up with the convenience of McDonalds, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut,  and a bunch of other fast food restaurants serving me food that seemed to taste great but, once again, has proven not to be so good for me.

And I have grown up eating the  Standard American Diet. From childhood into adulthood my grocery buggy looked just like everyone else’s.  It was filled with five pound bags of sugar and flour, sodas, boxes of cereal, chips, frozen pizzas, and so much more…..

You may be wondering where I’m going with this. How does scripture trump culture when it comes to eating?

1 Corinthians 6:12 You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is good for you. And even though “I am allowed to do anything,” I must not become a slave to anything.

19 Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, 20 for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.

I can choose to eat the Standard American Diet and suffer the consequences of my choices.  I can continue to embrace my the diet of my people and deal with the diseases they have tried to pass down to me.  Or I can choose to confront the culture of eating with scripture. Not everything on the grocery shelves is good for me so I choose not to put those items in my cart. For me sweet tea is addictive so that means that I cannot  allow myself to cave in to that addiction.

But ultimately I choose to honor God with my body by feeding it good food that is nutritious and delicious, daily exercise, and a good night’s sleep.

Today I want you think about this question:  Have you allowed the convenience of fast food along with processed foods, the lack of exercise, and burning the candle at both ends to make you a slave to the Standard American Diet, disease, or obesity?


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One of the things that I have found most frustrating is that I can’t eat what everyone else eats. Not only am I a fifty year old menopausal woman, I’ve also dealt with hypothyroidism since I was about 27 years old.  This means I’ve had to deal with weight gains and the difficulty that comes with losing weight, fatigue, depression,  and a host of other minor issues associated with the disease.

In the past I tried to use the disease as an excuse which may have worked for others but I was never able to actually convince myself to give in to it.

Then I spent years (and I do mean years) complaining that I couldn’t eat what everyone else was eating. And by everyone else I really mean Hank. Seriously, Hank would eat a Jethro-sized bowl of ice cream and not gain an ounce but when I carefully measured and ate one cup of that very same ice cream I’d gain weight. And I won’t even go into bread, chips, candy, sweet tea, cookies……..

And then I realized what the problem was for me. I had conformed to the Standard American Diet and was dealing with the results which settled around my waist and hips. I had to return to eating the way God created ME to eat. That’s lots of fresh fruits and veggies along with fish and lean meats.

So often we read Romans 12:2 and only think about the spiritual aspects of conforming to the patterns of this world. But there’s so much more to it than that! We need to apply this verse to every aspect of our lives including our eating habits!

During the next week, I challenge you to look at your eating habits. Are you trying to eat like the world but wanting to look and feel like the beautiful woman God created you to be? Maybe it’s time for a renewal of your mind……

Romans 12:2 Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you].

thinking about food

A verse from my daily reading….

Matthew 6:25 Therefore I tell you, stop being perpetually uneasy (anxious and worried) about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink; or about your body, what you shall put on. Is not life greater [in quality] than food, and the body [far above and more excellent] than clothing?

When we read this verse we tend to think of those who are going without, don’t we? But what about those of us who have become consumed about what and how much we eat, about the size of our hips, and getting some spanx to make us look thinner.

We’ve kept food journals, measured serving sizes, and counted calories. Instead of saying our nightly prayers, we tried to recount everything we ate throughout the day. We start each Monday on a diet. And end each Friday rewarding ourselves with food for making it through the week.

We’ve spent countless hours thinking about food, haven’t we? And in doing so, we have been in direct disobedience to Christ. (OUCH!)

Isn’t time that we break this vicious cycle? Don’t you think we be concentrating more on God and his kingdom, family, and friends than we are going to eat or what we shouldn’t have eaten?

Now this doesn’t mean that we should just eat absolutely anything our heart desires because then we’ll wake each day more disgusted with ourselves than we were the day before.

It means that we should be eating fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats. We should be eating the foods that God placed in the Garden of Eden and not what we find at the food courts in our local mall.

ImageLet’s stop looking for the magic pill that will allow us to eat those things that got us into this shape, stop paying Jenny Craig for her advice, and begin following the plan of the ONE  who designed and provided the perfect meal plan for us during creation.

 

 

 

The Standard American Diet is not God’s perfect meal plan for us. But neither is Jenny Craig, Atkins, Weight Watchers, Nutrisystem, or any other man-made system.

When we are on any one of these plans we are conforming to the patterns of this world.

Let me say it again. When you are following the  advice of government, corporations,  or people rather than following the Word of God then you are conforming to the patterns of this world.

Yet Scripture teaches us that we should “not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:2)

Let’s you and I  transform our health by the renewing of our minds as we discover God’s perfect meal plan in scripture by going back to the very beginning as we look at God’s provision for Adam in the order He created it:

Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth”; and it was so. And the earth brought forth grass, the herb that yields seed according to its kind, and the tree that yields fruit, whose seed is in itself according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. Genesis 1:11-12

Then God said, “Let the waters abound with an abundance of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the face of the firmament of the heavens.” So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that moves, with which the waters abounded, according to their kind, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. Genesis 1:20-21

Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth the living creature according to its kind: cattle and creeping thing and beast of the earth, each according to its kind”; and it was so. And God made the beast of the earth according to its kind, cattle according to its kind, and everything that creeps on the earth according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. Genesis 1:24-25

If you want to be on God’s perfect meal plan, then you should:

  • Eat mostly vegetables, fruits, seeds, nuts, beans or, put another way, those things that grow from seeds.
  • Get the majority of your proteins from fish and fowl.
  • Occasionally include beef, lamb, and pork.

In the past we’ve seen eating this way as a diet or as a way of denying ourselves what everyone else is eating. Yet God himself says that “it is good.” When you and I are transformed by the renewing of our minds and understand that God’s ways are always good and that they always work for our good, then we will no longer see this way of eating as a diet to be endured but as another way to honor our Father.

Let’s not wait to start a new diet on Monday but begin eating God’s way today.