The Power of Choice
by Rebecca Mueller, MS, RD
The secret is out! We are a nation that has fallen in love with food! Restaurants, grocery stores, and cafés are found on almost every corner. From the beginning, God created us with a need for nourishment in the form of food. Quite frankly, I really enjoy this aspect of life. Cooking is one of my favorite hobbies and sampling my creations is part of the fun.
Since we are required to eat three times a day, we have to make a lot of decisions for food selections. As a dietitian, I help people sort through the mass of health and nutritional information that is thrown their way by the media. Read the cover of most women’s magazines and you will inevitably find a photo of some decadent dessert, along with an article on “How to lose 10 pounds faster than ever before!” Somewhere along the line, food has moved from nourishment to entertainment. The media and our longing for fast, convenient, and easy meals have resulted in a somewhat skewed view of “health” which includes our food and exercise choices.
The word “healthy” is generally defined as “being in good condition – the general condition of something in terms of soundness, vitality, and proper functioning.” Since God designed health to be a “condition,” food and exercise are part of achieving a balanced condition mentally and physically. Throughout Scripture there are many passages pertaining to nutrition and well-being. God uses our sensations of hunger and thirst to exemplify biblical principles. In the book The Rest of God, Mark Buchanan highlights a chapter on the wonderful aspect of feasting. He helps shed light on the symbolism behind a Sabbath feast. He also states that in the Bible, food is viewed as a gift from God that makes us strong and brings us joy. However, this legitimate need often gets satisfied in illegitimate ways. It’s easy to slip into a habit of abundant meals that doesn’t keep with the premise of balance, variety, and moderation. We eat what we want—not necessarily what we need. Many times, God uses food to remind us of His provision and love. All He asks in return is that we enter into meal times with praise, obedience, and thankfulness.
God Cares About Our Health
Through mealtimes we have an opportunity to quietly step back from the busyness of life and bask in the glory of God’s faithful provision. However, it’s easy to forget about “basking in God’s glory” when breakfast turns into a Pop-Tart and coffee. It’s also easy to forget about God’s provision when meals are quick, convenient, and sliding out of a microwave on a cardboard tray. All food is God-given, but some foods pack more nutritional punch than others. There are wise and unwise choices in the area of health just as there are in other areas of our lives. “Everything is permissible – but not everything is beneficial” (1 Cor. 10:23). We are allowed to have freedom in our actions and choices, but these freedoms have resulted in a population where 65 percent of adults are overweight or obese. According to the National Weight Control Registry, obesity is the second leading cause of preventable death! We have a weight problem in the U.S. -- a major health concern. The good news is God specializes in taking problem areas and turning them into victory.
So often we forget to allow God into our health concerns. We remember to pray for those who are sick and struggling with disease, but do we offer praise in times of optimal health? Do we pray in times of mental and physical struggle with our self-image and weight? So often we don’t open the Bible for body image concerns and mental focus for weight loss. God is the one who designed us exactly the way we are, and He desires to be our stronghold with every issue that nags at our daily thoughts. According to Proverbs 24, when we seek His wisdom it is sweet to our soul, and it provides us with lasting hope. God wants us to taste and see that He is faithful in every area of our lives as He is faithful throughout all generations (Ps. 100).