Do you intentionally grow bacteria on your counter?
Have you ever sipped a glass of raw milk while researching whether you should soak, sprout, sour, or just ditch your grains altogether?
Have you felt overwhelmed by the things others say you should be doing, yet you have trouble managing it all?
Honestly, keeping up with the real food world can be discouraging and downright depressing.
If you allow it to be so.
The problem is that we can become so obsessed with buying food or making recipes in order to become better parents, better spouses, better employees, or better people.
And then we might elevate food too high — place it on a pedestal where it was never meant to be.
Can real food become an idol?
I believe it can.
It was once, for me.
I've spent many Sunday school and Bible study lessons teaching kids in Mexico not to have any gods before the one true God. We talked about all the things they might value over God while I overlooked my own — nourishing real food.
Real food does. not. save. you.
Real food is not God. We shouldn't idolize it and allow it to take the place of God in our lives.
Dear children, keep away from anything that might take God’s place in your hearts. –1 John 5:21
Now, for those of you with serious health needs (such as celiac disease), I'm not saying to eat anything that would harm you.
This is directed toward those of us without serious medical issues that are directly food-related.
Food is a gift, and I am extremely grateful for it. I believe that we are called to be good stewards of our bodies. I believe that eating good food is a way of answering that call. However, food is not an end-all.
It's okay to compromise from time to time.
Many people like to embrace the 80/20 rule: 80% real food and 20% compromise foods. Your compromise could be an instant cup noodle or organic ice cream. It's fine; just strive to not make those compromises every day.
Compromises might also be the simple things like buying a regular chicken from the store instead of a pastured one because you can't afford it. Maybe it's buying canned coconut milk instead of making your own.
Whatever it is, do your best, trust the Lord, and don't worry about anything out of your control.
We can spend all our time stressing over whether or not we're feeding our families the perfect diet, but in the end, all that stress can be just as unhealthy as a non-organic strawberry or unsoaked wheat.
Breaking bread together
Last year when I attended Allume — a gathering of many amazing, Jesus-loving gals — I sat around a table with friends like Richly Rooted, My Humble Kitchen, Hilary Berstein, Don't Waste the Crumbs, The Humbled Homemaker, Back to the Book Nutrition, and many others.
We enjoyed food, broke bread, laughed, prayed, and even ate cupcakes with lots of processed white sugar, flour, and hydrogenated shortening. But you know what, they were tasty and it was SO freeing.
Do we eat like that every day? No, but we were grateful for the provided food, and so we dined.
There is a sacred holiness to the breaking of the proverbial bread together. So much of Scripture takes place over a meal. Some of Jesus' last teachings were at the table.
When we put food above others…
…we are saying no to the joy that they have in preparing a meal for us.
I get it — it can be hard to eat foods we know are not nourishing to our bodies, yet the fellowship gained may make it worthwhile. There's always balance.
What message do we send to people when we tell them we can't eat with them because their food isn't good enough? Unfortunately, food is such a personal issue that people on both sides take offense far too easily. But can't we occasionally put aside our differences, for the sake of others?
Last summer I visited friends in an indigenous village in southern Mexico for a Quinceanera. I was offered a place to stay that evening, along with a few others, and we arrived at the tiny cinder block house at midnight expecting to crash into bed. Instead, the hostess greeted us with a meal of chicharon (pork skin) soup, tortillas, and instant coffee with powdered creamer.
She sacrificed so much to serve us — staying up late, keeping the food warm on her wood-burning clay stove.
I was overwhelmed by her kindness.
It is a constant battle not to say no to the sweet hospitality and fellowship we are offered, but I believe it is worth the fight. These verses refer to meat sacrificed in pagan temples, but I think they apply here as well.
Accept other believers who are weak in faith, and don’t argue with them about what they think is right or wrong. For instance, one person believes it’s all right to eat anything. But another believer with a sensitive conscience will eat only vegetables. Those who feel free to eat anything must not look down on those who don’t. And those who don’t eat certain foods must not condemn those who do, for God has accepted them. –Romans 14:1-3
This irks me!
This phrase really irks me: “Better to spend money on food now than pay a doctor later”.
Is it true, at least part of the time? Yes.
Do I practice it myself? You better believe it.
But here's the thing. Health is not a guarantee. My mom, and aunt, and cousin have some of the best diets in my family, but they have all had cancer (and survived, thank the Lord!).
Other family members, who eat substantially less-than-perfectly, cancer hasn't touched.
Our only true Salvation is through Christ.
It reminds me that our only true salvation is through Christ. We can be guilty of claiming that our healing comes through real food, while forgetting where the food came from.
Real food is not our God.
I still believe that we should all eat as much real food as possible. I am thankful for all I am able to buy and grow, and I strive to check my heart and make sure food never again becomes my idol.
Have grace upon yourself, have grace upon others. Eat and be thankful!
So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. –1 Corinthians 10:31
How about you: do you think real food can become an idol?
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