God always intended food to be fuel for the body. He also meant for it to be a source of pleasure; that’s why He made food to taste good. As usual, the good God intended has been corrupted by the practice of people. This happened from the very beginning. In the garden, Eve looked at the fruit she knew she wasn’t supposed to eat and saw that it looked good, was good for food, and made one wise (Genesis 3:6). The first two were legitimate food reasons. The third was a nonfood reason. All of these reasons, of course, were trumped by God’s declaring this tree and its fruit off-limits.
Food today isn’t forbidden by God, but that doesn’t stop people from choosing food for nonfood reasons. Now, people don’t necessarily eat to become wise, but they eat for comfort, to relieve stress, to temporarily overcome boredom, because it’s pleasurable, as a form of rebellion, and in the name of convenience. The more nonfood reasons people have to eat, the more they eat. The more they eat, the larger they become. The larger they become, the more dissatisfied they are and the harder it is to experience and maintain a sense of personal happiness.
I encourage readers to utilize an easy-to-find tool in order to eat more healthfully. This tool is the U.S. government’s food pyramid found at www.MyPyramid.gov. The pyramid is a dietary guideline for all ages and activity levels. It also outlines the daily recommended amounts you should consume in different food categories. You can print up a daily meal planner sheet that helps you track what and how much you’re eating.
The bottom line for healthier eating, which you’ll find in my books or through the pyramid, is to eat more grains (with whole grains being the best), more fruits and vegetables (with darker vegetables being best – just think peppers and broccoli as opposed to celery), more lean sources of dairy and protein, and less oils and fats (with more of the good sources of fat like olive oil and flaxseed oil and less of the saturated and partially hydrogenated fats). With all of the healthy eating going on, there isn’t much room left for things like processed foods, packaged convenience or snack foods, junk food, or “discretionary calories” like cookies, cakes, pies and the like. Having these items occasionally is realistic. Eating them consistently, daily, is not realistic for healthy living.
God designed your body to use the food you eat as fuel to power your body’s functions. If you consistently put lousy gas in the tank of your car, it wouldn’t run properly. it may still get you down the road, but you’ll experience pings, burps, smoke, hesitations, and lack of power. It will gum up your engine parts and increase the amount of pollution in the air. Do this long enough, and you could find yourself calling a town truck on the side of the road. It’s the same way with your body. An occasional treat is not going to cause you problems, but if you live on a diet of high-calorie, high-caffeine, low-nutrient foods, your ability to physically perform will be compromised.
I’ve just gone over to the tip of the iceberg (or the pyramid) of healthy eating. I encourage you to pick up a copy of one of my books that contain information on healthy eating (The Body God Designed). Each of these books takes you on a journey of discovery for healthier living and gives you the tools you need to make better choices. Right now, I want to acknowledge what you really know to be true, that you need to commit to eating more healthfully. It really does make a difference in how you feel.
Authored by Dr. Gregory Jantz, founder of The Center • A Place of HOPE and author of 35 books. Pioneering whole-person care nearly 30 years ago, Dr. Jantz has dedicated his life’s work to creating possibilities for others, and helping people change their lives for good. The Center • A Place of HOPE, located on the Puget Sound in Edmonds, Washington, creates individualized programs to treat behavioral and mental health issues, including eating disorders, addiction, depression, anxiety and others.