Food Idolatry

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Please note: For my friends and family who follow special diets because of medical or personal reasons, this is not aimed at you or anyone specific. I know you have your reasons and I have not felt judgement from you. I know some of you have very serious reasons for not eating what you eat and I understand how life-threatening food allergies can be. This is more directed at something I’ve seen around the web.

The following is an actual statement I’ve seen in a Facebook group: “Why would you feed your child that trash?” [Canned vegetables were the item in question] Now I am all for healthy eating, but I do think some people have taken it too far.

What I mean by too far is when you end up judging other people for what they choose to eat. With all the diets there are out there, chances are extremely high that someone you know eats very differently than you. And when you begin to feel that you’re superior to them for your better diet, I think that’s where the problem starts. Because to be honest, there is a lot of disagreement on what is healthy for you – some people say vegan and other people say paleo and there’s a lot of disagreement on what is healthiest for you depending on who you ask. And not all the science that backs it up is always rock solid. And families are so different – one family eats only organic, whole foods while another family feels lucky just to be able to find more ways to get fresh fruits and vegetables into their diet. You don’t know a person’s circumstances, why they choose to eat the way they do, what kind of budget they have for spending, where their priorities lay, etc etc – so why do some people feel the need to put others down over their diet? I don’t see a way that that statement above could be construed as anything but hurtful and mean, designed to put down this mom who was just trying to do her best. I am okay about sharing about your diet but how about we use statements like “This is what we eat because of x and it works for our family” instead of “If you eat meat/don’t eat meat you will get sick” (take you’re pick, they’re both out there).

My second problem is that I think a lot of people expect their diet to save them. While healthy eating is good for you, I think it is dangerous to place all your hope in it. First, because your hope should be in Jesus and second, because bad things can still happen to your health no matter your diet. Are some diets worse for your body than others? Yes but there is also no one perfect diet that will keep you perfectly healthy forever. I mentioned yesterday how I watched Pink Ribbon Inc and one of the women living with stage 4 breast cancer talks about how she ate right – no sweets, no alcohol, plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables – and she still got breast cancer. If you buy into the idea that your diet will save you from all your health problems, present and future, I think the fall can be hard and fast. Our only real hope has to come from Christ. He is our savior, not the perfect diet.

Final thought: 1 Corinthians 10:31 – “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” Always keep that in mind. You have to ask yourself, is it really glorifying God if I use my diet and food choices to feel superior to those around me or to put them down?

Final final thought: Many of the people making all these claims are not registered dietitians but yet still feel thy can tell people how much better their diet is.

Final final final thought: I know I have strong opinions about what I think is best sometimes. I am trying to learn more on areas where it is neither wrong or right in the Bible and not an issue of clear safety (like if I saw someone’s six month old just hanging out in the backseat of a moving car by themselves not in a car seat) just to say this is what worked for our family, but I am not perfect and it is a work in progress. There are things I am passionate about, but I am recognizing more and more not everyone has to do those things the same way I do. I don’t want to judge other moms especially because I know how I’ve felt judged. Please give me some grace as I attempt to change a deeply engrained behavior. I can be judgmental and I know that and I’m trying I change but I also know it’s hard.

Other bloggers have expressed these thoughts also, much better than I can:
Can Natural Living Become An Idol?
Turning Away From Food Idolatry
Part One: My Real Food Journey – Can Healthy Eating Become an Idol
100 Percent Certified Organic Idolatry
Faith & Food

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