Have you noticed that nutrition advice is ever-changing? Carbohydrates are good one day and bad the next. Breakfast used to be the most important meal of the day; now, you should skip it to save calories. For those of us working hard to be good stewards of the bodies God gave us, it can be downright exhausting to figure out the best way to eat.
When I chose nutrition as my college major, I was convinced I would solve this puzzle once and for all. Finally! I would learn from the experts, debunk the myths, and nail down the perfect diet for physical wellness. Four years and a nutrition degree later, my biggest take-away was this: there is no such thing as a perfect diet.
Does this mean making mindful food choices is a waste of time? That anything goes and we don’t need to give a second thought to caring for our bodies? Absolutely not!
Scripture makes it clear that God wants us to care for our physical bodies. There are many dimensions of wellness, and we are called to be good stewards of each of them for God’s glory. Jesus speaks to this in Mark 12:30 with His command to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” We were bought with a price and must care for our physical bodies as an act of worship to the one who created them. We should cultivate good physical health so that we are equipped to carry out God’s call for us on earth. Our food choices certainly play a role in this call.
But cultivating good health through nutrition can’t be boiled down to a list of good foods to be eaten and bad foods to be avoided. It’s not that simple! Food contributes to overall wellness in many ways – physical nourishment, yes, but also social connection, service of others, and gratitude for God’s good gifts. Paul reminds us in 1 Timothy 4:4 that “… everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving.”
What if our greatest need to guide our food choices is not more knowledge (hear me – nutritional science will always be evolving!), but wisdom? Jesus’ brother James encourages us to seek wisdom in all things.
“If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” (James 1:5)
Food plays a unique role in each of our lives, and the specifics of ideal nutrition will vary for each of us throughout our lives. So how do we eat the way God intends for us?
Here are two important steps:
- Ask God for wisdom to guide your food choices! Then, slow down and listen for His answer to this prayer.
- Approach each meal with a grateful heart, no matter what is on your plate.
There may not be a one-size-fits-all perfect diet, but we do serve a perfect God who provides good food and grants wisdom. We can trust Him to guide us as we steward our physical wellness! Freeing, right?
Kirstin Sandreuter is an Area Rep in Cumberland Co, Maine. Kirstin participated in cross-country and track in her years at Cornell University and while in high school. She graduated from Cornell with a degree in Nutritional Sciences and Dietics. Have a question for Kirstin? Email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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