Let me get straight to the point, your lifestyle of healthy-eating is killing you. You were not made to worship at the altar of food, and the health-food industry has bewitched you. The idol of “healthy-eating” is a cult that particularly ensnares and entices women. This is a false gospel that Christian women are being led away by, and the men in their lives are doing precious little to halt the slide.
You were not made to worship at the altar of food, and the health-food industry has bewitched you. Let me make some generalizations. A crunchy mama often talks about her healthy eating “journey”, or her quest to feed her family with “real” food. She does her shopping at those stores where they don’t have plastic bags, and regularly spends twice as much money on half as much food. She posts about how sugar is as bad as cocaine, the flour in your pantry isn’t really grain, and shares the discoveries of her “research” into how bad MSG & GMO’s are for you and how great she and her family has felt since 86ing them from their diet.
Here’s the rub, your “quest to eat healthy” never ends until you have bought in to an entire “ecosystem” of products. It is interesting to note that many fear Monsanto and big farm lobbyists and their control of our food supply, but neglect the fact that the all-organic industry (and its ilk) is just as eager to sell you on something you may not really need. You are being advertised to, and it is surprising how little resistance is put up by many well-intionioned housewives.
Crunchy Mama’s quest starts as simply eliminating “junk foods” (chips, soda, candy); but it soon turns into buying pesticide-free foods, then a gluten intolerance, followed by GMO-free toothpaste and BPA-free toothbrushes, Himalayan salt lamps to combat EMFs, expensive vitamin supplements, powders, and drinks, and an insistence on grinding your own spelt flour so that you can eat “like they used to.” This devotion to healthy eating will obsess you until it controls every facet of your life. It will also successfully cut you off from Christians who don’t eat like you. In effect, you will have recreated a dietary code that more closely resembles Jewish Pharisaism than it does Christian feasting. You will have erected a barrier to fellowship and liberty that inhibits your enjoyment of God’s good gifts, and stumbles weak consciences.
This soggy reasoning leads many crunchy mamas to forget that pleasure in foods is not evil. Your brain releasing dopamine after biting into a fresh KrispyKreme donut, or munching on a handful of potato chips, or sipping southern sweet tea, a beer, or soda is not a sign that something is going wrong. Rather, God fashioned our tongues to send signals of pleasure to our brains in response to such flavors. Sugar is a gift from God, not a curse from evil corporations. Can gifts be misused? Of course. But the problem, then, isn’t in the gift it is in the heart. Self-control must certainly be advocated for in regards to our eating, but it strikes me that many women who crusade against sugar, flour, etc. want artificial control (i.e. no “bad food” in the house) to take the place of self-control.This soggy reasoning leads to many crunchy mamas to forget that pleasure in foods is not evil.
The other problem I wish to address is your “lifestyle” choice is rarely left unvocalized. Instead it is talked about ad nauseum. Think about the many women who have been lured into the sins of insecurity and envy because you keep prattling on about your health food choices. She is left running through her cupboard, measuring herself against you and finding herself lacking. She becomes convinced that she is not caring for her family as well as you are, and so she begins her own quest to eat “truly” healthy. The tendency here is to think, “I’m grateful I do not eat like other men!” Those with weaker consciences are left to grapple with whether they are doing something wrong, because all the crunchy mama’s told them that you shoudn’t buy bread from the store.
My question is “truly healthy” by what standard and at what cost? MSG has been shown to be harmless. However, that didn’t stop one Christian lady from asking a hostess of a fellowship meal I attended if the chips had MSG in them. The look on the hostess’ face was one I won’t soon forget as she blushed in shame that she hadn’t lived up to this other woman’s dietary standards. She meekly apologized, and the other woman pronounced she would just skip out on the chips. Surely it would have been better if the first woman had simply eaten the chips in gratitude!
Or another woman who wondered aloud whether God even intended us to eat grain, and if He did, He certainly didn’t mean our modern “produced” grain. Now living in the Inland Northwest, we grow enough wheat around here to feed nations. Further, while they “used to” eat stone ground wheat, they also used to hope that they’d have enough food to make it through the winter. We take it for granted that we can get a loaf of bread (made from wheat from around here more than likely) anytime of the year. Surely this is a better arrangement than hoping there’d be enough to last until next year’s harvest!
If you’ve read thus far, well done! I know that many in my readership probably fall on this spectrum of healthy-eating. I don’t wish to offend unnecessarily, but I do hope to jar you enough to help you spot the gluttony that is often found at the heart of healthy-eating. It obsesses over food. It stresses over what “poisonous, cancer causing ingredient” might I accidentally be feeding my family! The focus is often not on glorifying God, enjoying His gifts (such as refined sugar, manufactured wheat, and even MSG), and encouraging Christian hospitality. Ask yourself if perhaps you’ve been suckered into being a willing costumer of the “organic food” industry. Ask if you have been subtly converted to the school of thought which teaches certain foods are “better for you.” Christ is Lord of the earth and history. That means refined sugar wasn’t somehow outside of His foreknowledge and He is now scrambling to figure out which angel leaked the secret directions for processing sugar cane into that (clearly wicked) white powder.
After all, at some point in history, some guy put a rock in his mouth and discovered salt. Does that mean we should eat rocks by the fistful? Nope. It does mean that God has placed us here to discover the many uses of the blessings he’s filled the earth with. Should we use wisdom and self-control? Of course. Should we insist that the sawdust flavored flourless flour is actually “better for you?” Um. Negative. Gut health is not as important as some clever marketer would have you believe. In essence, your smugness in not drinking a 64oz Big Gulp of Mountain Dew will do far more harm to your soul than it will to the body of the fellow who chugs three a day. There is obviously not enough space here to go into all the details of these many issues, and I’m sure this raises many questions, which I will gladly answer in the comment section and, if necessary, in follow up posts. Let the discussion commence…
Ben Zornes’ helpful guide to health food. pic.twitter.com/zenacWLOZv
— Ben Zornes (@benzornes) May 12, 2017