Simple Keys to Better Health

I am a foodie. I get depressed; I eat to cheer up. I get happy; I eat to celebrate. I get angry; I eat to calm my emotions. We all eat to celebrate time together with family and friends. That aspect is good, even spiritually beneficial. But it is never good when we eat things we shouldn’t, in amounts that aren’t good for us.

Today I am a thin man like an alcoholic in recovery is sober. French fries, pasta, ice cream and 7 Up are my drugs of choice. Eating for appetite and entertainment and emotions and indulgence, rather than for nourishment and strength, has gotten me into trouble time and time again. That doesn’t mean we cannot have great tasting food, but when that totally governs what we eat and how, and how much, it does not serve us well.

Eating With Intent

Rather than eating for appetite and entertainment, it is better when we eat with intent. Break the habit of mindless grazing. Stop, think about what we are doing, and at least some of the time wait for true hunger to kick in. True hunger manifests itself with physical weakness and a growling stomach. When is the last time we were truly hungry?

1. More Intent, More Enjoyment and Benefit

Food is meant to be fully enjoyed, to full benefit. Here are a few simple keys.

  • Eat less, and less often. You will enjoy your food much more. True hunger improves the taste and texture of food. A meal becomes a major celebration.
  • Eat slowly. Savor each and every delicious bite. Let every mouthful become an event!
  • Eat well. It is not just what we eat that counts but how well we eat and what we properly digest. Good digestion begins in the mouth, so chew well.

Seriously, we don’t fully enjoy the sensual delights of food if all we are doing is stuffing our face! Food is meant to bring joy to both body and soul. That is why there is such delightful variety. Vivid colors, manifold flavors, interesting textures, wonderful aromas, and endless combinations of the same all tell us that God designed us and our planetary home so that the eating experience could be a source of great pleasure. Eating carefully and intentionally amplifies our enjoyment!

2. More Intent, Better Health

What we eat and how affects us physically, then emotionally, and ultimately spiritually. For a while it may look like we enjoy sinful indulgences without consequence, but there is a law of sowing and reaping, and it is inescapable. Every bite affects our health, for good or bad. Poor eating will produce poor health; good eating will go a long way toward promoting good health. It really is just that simple. So think about each meal. Make intentionally healthy choices. Each and every meal is a choice for better health, or poorer. If we do what we’ve always done, we will get what we’ve always got. Life is never static. We are either improving or in decline. I want to be on the way to better health. Every bite counts.

But is it really a spiritual matter? Of course it is. The Bible lists moderation as a fruit of the spirit. And we all know our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. How tragic to fill God’s temple with junk, and things that will cause the building to deteriorate faster.

3. More Intent, Longer Life

Our food choices determine how much life we will have in our days, but how many days we will have in our life. The older we get the more important each meal, and the more immediate the effect, for good or ill. At my age I cannot afford to waste too many meals in mindless, health destroying indulgence. I want to live well, and long, and not regret my indulgences. By God’s grace, I can. With His help, I will - in Jesus name. Hey folks, most of us really are smarter than this!

Sub Code Living

We would never knowingly move into a run-down building. We hire inspectors to do a thorough examination. Is it all up to code? Is this a good investment? Are there any serious problems? Anything need to be fixed? But here we are, living in God’s house/temple, and we choose each day with each bite the materials for its construction; how strong its foundation, the walls, the roof. We would not live in a garbage filled house, but we are continually tempted to put garbage in God’s house. And this temple of the Holy Spirit is our only residence here on earth! Buy a money pit of a building? You can move. Mess this up, and you die!

Perhaps we need to ask God to send the Holy Spirit to inspect the building in which we live. Is everything up to the Bible code? What things need to be fixed? What needs to change? What do I need to do better? What does the Word of God say about my eating?

God’s Word About Our Eating

Given To Appetite

The Word says if we are given to appetite, we are in serious trouble. When you sit down to eat with a ruler, consider carefully what is before you; and put a knife to your throat if you are a man given to appetite. Proverbs 23:1-2 NKJV Rulers were notorious for their rich refined diets. No one else could afford them. They ate refined foods, rich deserts, junk food, cake and bread made with white flour. Now, with the mass production of food, we too can have the privilege once the preserve of the rich, a refined unhealthy diet! When you are faced with a table full of unhealthy choices, “consider carefully what is before you.” Choose wisely. Every single bite is going to have long term consequences. We can either eat like a king, or eat like the King’s Kid. Eating like a king is putting a knife to our throat; it is an act of slow suicide. The three Hebrew children would not eat the unhealthy diet of the king. Neither should we.

They are headed for destruction. Their god is their appetite, they brag about shameful things, and they think only about this life here on earth.” Philippians 3:19 NLT

Behavior and Customs of This World

And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all He has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind He will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship Him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12: 1 – 2 NLT

How wonderful when our eating becomes an act of worship. Not appeasing our fleshly appetites, but glorifying our God who gave us such marvelous bodies.

“The behavior and customs of this world” speaks to me of the Standard American Diet (S.A.D.), mindlessly eating fast food and convenience cooking, inflicting on ourselves the disastrous diseases of affluence.

But, we can change the way we think. Let our minds be transformed, reformed, and conformed to God’s ways. And if we change the way we think we will change the way we eat.

Continual Careful Intent

Poor heath is an especially horrible form of poverty. For the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, and drowsiness will clothe a man with rags. Proverbs 23: 21 NKJV

The lazy person puts no effort or intent into their eating. The sluggard buries his hand in the dish; he will not even bring it back to his mouth! Proverbs 19:24 NASB And eating right takes effort - lots of continual careful intent and effort.

My Relationship with Food

I know because this foodie has struggled greatly, and I still have days of difficulty when I want what I want, and that’s all there is to it. But it is possible, with God’s grace, to exercise restraint and retrain your taste buds to enjoy good food. Eventually healthy choices become automatic.

Most of the health problems in North America are caused by our disastrous S.A.D. death diet. High blood pressure, Type 2 Diabetes, many, many cancers, heart disease, stroke; all of these are significantly lower in less affluent countries with a healthier diet. We bring it upon ourselves and then want God to cancel the law of sowing and reaping. We pray for healing when we need to ask for wisdom, and the grace to obey the Word of God concerning appetite. Come on folks, you know I am right!

In August 2010 I was in a mess. My daily french-fry, ice cream, 7 Up diet of indulgence was affecting my heart, my lungs, my bones, my blood pressure and my overall quality of life. And God was on my case. He made it, for me, a sin issue. “This is wrong. It is not what I want for you; stop, and change.” I said I would, but I needed His help. Not just grace, but wisdom and grace. He gave me both, and grit to boot. And He gave me six words with three simple keys to better health:

  • Eat less. Eat only when you are truly hungry, and stop before you are overly full.
  • Eat better. Eat healthily. Make good choices.
  • Exercise more. Do something to get fit, burn calories, and raise your metabolic rate.

I did, and it worked. It was hard, hard work. But it gave great, great rewards. No more blood pressure meds. No more miserable monthly attacks of shingles. Each winter I was getting a cold that became bronchitis and every second year, pneumonia. Since then, hardly a sniffle.

Choose You This Day

As trite as it sounds it really is ultimately all a matter of choice. If common sense or a desire to please God in our bodies doesn’t motivate us, a health crisis just might. It is amazing just how quick and easy it is to decide for good health when you realize not doing so will kill you. How much better it is to make the right choices because we want to live well and glorify God in our bodies. I want to live a very long life. Eating right is one of the keys. I came to realize I was a slave to my stomach, and in bondage to my appetites. I prayed, “God help me,” and He did.

Tyranny of the Taste Bud

God gave us our senses of taste and smell to make eating enjoyable, and to protect us from spoiled and rotten food. But they are to be our servants, not our masters. Aroma, flavor, texture and attractive presentation add to the enjoyment of eating. They are gifts from God. Just don’t let them be king, all the time.

Honor God With Your Body

Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.” I Corinthians 3: 16 - 17 NKJV

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, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body. 1 Corinthians 6:19 – 20 NLT

So, what is God saying to you? What do you need to do? Let’s glorify God in our bodies by eating with intent, by His grace, for His glory; In Jesus name.