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    The Diet Discussion Guiding Principle

    June 18, 2007 by Brandy Vencel

    It seems that every family I come across has their own way of eating. And I suppose that this has always been true. In the past, the foods eaten by different groups of people were differentiated by the spices used. For instance, I couldn’t believe how bland some of Si’s family recipes tasted! Apparently, the New England diet {which is where his grandparents originate from} is very mild. Out here in California, with so many different ethnic groups in the metaphorical soup, the food is sometimes packed with flavor. I started out cooking with chili powder, cumin, garlic {lots of garlic}, basil, marjoram, curry, oregano, thyme, rosemary, ginger, cinnamon, etc. I could go on, but I will stop there. My spice cabinet is packed, but I didn’t own nutmeg until Si’s mom bought me some during one of her visits.

    However, the American diet became a bit unified for a time with the acceptance of processed, packaged food. I can pretty much buy the same frozen pizza in every state. Most families I know, regardless of ethnicity, have eaten a frozen pizza. But there are also omissions from the diet–foods that are not easily prepared from frozen. These are foods that some families rarely or never eat, because they either do not fit the instant-food mindset, or have simply been forgotten from the family’s collective memory.

    These days, many Americans are moving away from the frozen food aisle for health reasons. Our journey away began with a desire to be more health-conscious, but didn’t really get going until we discovered triggers for our son’s tic problems. Others around us are changing their diet as they become aware of the nonfood ingredients in processed foods, namely artificial flavors, dyes, and chemical preservatives. And others are trying to combat weight problems.

    When you begin to read the literature in all the health books out there {or even Dr. Mercola’s website}, you will find that each author has their own view of what is the best way to eat. That sense of superiority carries over into a judgment of those who choose to ignore the author’s advice. This is particularly true in the vegan/vegetarian arena, where there is an influence of animal-rights activism that condemns those of us who choose to eat meat on moral grounds.

    So where do we go if we are to navigate this issue? Check out Romans 14:1-4 {emphasis mine}:

    As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

    And in verse 10, in this context of food, it is written:

    Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God…

    Finally, verses 13-23 sum it all up:

    Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean. For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died. So do not let what you regard as good be spoken of as evil. For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.

    Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God. Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for anyone to make another stumble by what he eats. It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble. The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who has no reason to pass judgment on himself for what he approves. But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.

    There is a lot to unpack in these verses, and I’m not going to go into it all. Suffice it to say that people have been judging each other’s food selection for a very long time. This is not some battle over Mosaic dietary laws; it is clearly a battle between vegans and carnivores {remember the first few verses, where we learn that the he who is weak “eats only vegetables”}. And what are we told? Quit judging. Let each person make up their own mind and live according to their own conscience.

    I wanted to use these verses to frame this discussion because I want to emphasize that what I share here about nutrition, even though I sometimes couch it in absolute language, is a sharing of what our family does. It is not an attempt to judge someone else. Dr. Mercola is only a man. He gives some great advice, but in the end it is you who are accountable to God. Act according to your own conscience. To reiterate verse 22, this time from the NASB:

    The faith which you have, have as your own conviction before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves.

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    2 Comments

  • Reply Brandy June 19, 2007 at 3:39 pm

    I have an online subscription there, but I hadn’t read the article yet. Thank you for pointing it out! I am linking it to the sidebar now, but I will try and go back and link it to one of my resources pages.

    Appreciate it!

  • Reply The MPL June 19, 2007 at 1:58 pm

    Hello Brandy,
    I don’t know if you read the Wall Street Journal Opinion Page online. I read an article today that I think you might find interesting. If only I knew how to write a hyperlink for you in this comment box, I would. Since I can’t, here it is. I suppose you could cut and paste it.

    http://www.opinionjournal.com/extra/?id=110010227

    Talk to you later.

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