Anxiety about food

On the way back from Tokyo, I was talking with my friend (we drove together) about food.  As moms, we both struggle with feeling guilty about the kinds of foods we feed our family — if its brocolli, its good, and if its organic, its good, and the rawer, the better.  BUT if its chocolate cake, its BAD.  Both of us have felt trapped and enslaved by these kinds of thinking.  She shared with me the things she had been learning in this area, and as I listened, my heart longed for freedom.  I thought about how I usually felt: as if God were up in the heavens, looking down upon me with displeasure, pointing His finger at me as I was tormented in my heart and feeling ‘bad’ because we had a cream of chicken casserole for dinner instead of steamed, raw veggies (three different colors, of course), homemade whole wheat bread, and meat that was baked and not fried.  What a CROCK! I didn’t even know I was under such slavery to my ideas of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ food, resulting in guilt upon guilt.  I read this passage today..

After He (Jesus) called the crowd to Him again, He began saying to them, ‘Listen to Me, all of you, and understand:  there is nothing outside the man which can defile him if it goes into him; but the things which proceed out of the man are what defile the man.  If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear … Do you not understand that whatever goes into the man from outside cannot defile him, because it does not go into his heart, but into his stomach, and is eliminated?'” (Mark 7:14-18)

The word ‘defile’ here comes from the Greek word koinoō, meaning to defile, profane, or make common or unclean, in the sense of the Levitical laws.  I’m certain this verse does not mean that no food could cause harm to our physical bodies, but I do believe it is making a distinction between what is truly important — out hearts.  I’m interested in discussing the tension between feeling freedom in what we eat and feeling responsibility to take care of our ‘temple.’

Of course, I am blown away by these thoughts.  I’m just not quite sure what to do with myself.  I’m wondering.. what do all of you think?  How do you process food, cooking, and eating?  Is there a measure of guilt in your decisions, or can you make choices freely?  Do you tend to seperate foods into good/bad categories?  What DO you think? I’m dying to know.. let’s hear it.

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4 thoughts on “Anxiety about food

  1. Hi Jamie. Dixie and I talked about this and we agreed that although we do eat some things which are not that great for us, we normally don’t think of it that deeply or really experience guilt about it. I do feel some guilt sometimes because I eat too much (whatever that is, Ha!) Generally we have a pretty rounded diet and we seem to eat plenty of fruit, veggies etc. and we continue to use supplements etc. For me, in taking car of our “temple” I feel more guilt about not exercising enough than I do about types of food etc. I want to be more diligent about regular exercise to lose a few pounds and control blood pressure, cholesterol etc. Where food is concerned I don’t think I worry about Good or Bad. For example, I love your asparagus and could eat it every meal, however, I have never considered chocolate cake bad, Ha! I just try to have more good than bad most of the time. I am sure you are doing a great job of feeding your family in a healthy manner and you all seem to take exercise very seriously so I for one am impressed with how you are doing in that regard.
    Love you.
    Mike

  2. I think its important to take care of our bodies and to give our children a good base of nutrition and healthy eating habits to grow from… which in my world, sometimes involves a little chocolate cake 🙂 I think being too regimented can give kids problems later in life, so I wouldn’t be too bound up over an occasional treat. In the same way, we are to honor God and do all things as unto the Lord, so a healthy diet and exercise are important tools for us to give our children

  3. Just to clarify my own personal position….chocolate cake is ALWAYS a good gift from God.
    Especially if it has white frosting and is served with coffee and/or milk. 🙂

  4. Some funny comments above. You know I love food and I have guilt about it when I go above what I should. I think that guilt is there for a reason, to tell me I don’t need seconds or don’t need chocolate cake for breakfast (not that I do that, but it’s a good example!). When I did the First Place Bible Study our leader had told us about an overweight pastor that had realized that he was preaching but wasn’t listening to some of the basic teachings of Christ “Man can not live on bread alone”. He was over indulging, something Christ would never have done. It was interesting hearing about his journey of weight loss, healthy lifestyle, and building a stronger temple. I think anxiety about food is normal for us moms with little ones, but as long as you aren’t a slave to food (which you sure don’t look like one!) you don’t have a problem. What ever happened to fasting in the church? Jesus did it, yet we are never encouraged to do it!

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