What would Jesus eat?


Just in time for Thanksgiving, the Daily Mail UK, reports on various Christian diet groups and plans. Christian Weigh Down, Thin Within, and Fit for Life Forever are a few that offer diet advice as well as support groups that explore why one overeats. Dr Elisabeth Weichselbaum, of the British Nutrition Foundation

…is much more impressed by the What Would Jesus Eat? diet, whose author, Dr Don Colbert, has identified a whole new angle on the Mediterranean lifestyle.

Colbert explains: ‘Jesus ate primarily natural foods in their natural states – lots of vegetables, especially beans and lentils. He would have eaten wheat bread, fruit, drunk a lot of water and also red wine. And he would only eat meat on special occasions, maybe once a month.’

‘This diet takes a very sensible approach,’ says Dr Weichselbaum. ‘The staple food would be bread, and food from plant sources, with moderate amounts of proteins.

‘This is exactly our advice – eat anything in moderation. It also recommends asking yourself: “Why am I eating this?” It makes you aware of what you consume and encourages you to think about it.’

Read more at How more people are turning to religion to help them lose weight.

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Sara Miles
Sara Miles

It's striking to me how much Christian weight-loss programs share with ex-gay ministries. Both are attempts to conform misbehaving bodies to an idea about godliness. Both are efforts to control the desires of the flesh and its works. Both are cast as helping people away from sin toward health. And both require people to hate themselves, instead of following the only commandment, to love.

I can't help noticing how it remains OK for everyone to make judgments about the obese––maybe to admit, as some Christians say about homosexuals, that it isn’t really their fault if they have a genuine medical problem, but that if they’re just giving in to their fleshly desires then they’re weak, out of control, self-indulgent and not right with God.

We live in a culture where religious authorities are glad to tell us that our bodies, created by God, are dangerous and always about to lead us into sin. They tell us that our deepest desires—for food, for love, for being known and loved as we are—are at odds with salvation.

But diets, purging, or reparation therapy to change your sexuality are not the Spirit at work. All the hateful and self-hating attempts you make to control the flesh, to beat down your body’s truth and make it conform to the business of the world: this can't be the Spirit at work. Religious law invoked to shame or blame others, to scapegoat the people who show disobedience in their bodies and in their desires—this is not the work of the Spirit.

Of course "moderation" and "health" are reasonable concepts. But the only source of healing, unreasonable as it sounds, is love.

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