In 1 Corinthians 10:31, it says, “So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”
So how do food and faith collide? Whether you follow a certain religion or just are one with the universe, food and how you treat your body with it can have a powerful role on your spiritual life. In this season of Lent, I was curious about how something so innate to our body survival – food – can connect with faith – which for those of us who follow one, is a way of feeding our souls.
Fasting is a major part of many faiths. Almost all religions have fasting as a practice: Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikhism and likely many more.
Although fasting is not a daily part of my practice, I do practice honoring my hunger. I only eat when I am physically hungry. When I start to feel hungry, I wait an hour or two. This allows me to seek the foods that truly satiate and nourish my body. Foods I believe that bring me closer to my core faith and to God.
Fasting has multiple meanings in this context. It can be a prayer practice that involves denying yourself something (usually food and/or water) in order to increase your spiritual awareness. Fasting is also about separating yourself from attachment. In this sense, the season of Lent lends itself to that denial of wants. In fasting for lent, the idea is to give up something, especially something you have come to overly depend on.
Can Faith Guide Your Relationship with Food?
Superboosting our health can unlock sacred energy. That’s why they have “superfoods.” But how do you identify your connection with God/the Universe/ a higher being with what you eat?
Lately, I have been giving more thought to the substance of what I eat. Work has been super busy and I have been running around with little time to just sit down and eat. Consequently, I have been eating protein bars and snack foods.
It’s been about convenience, but I have felt heavy (spiritually). I am not even following my own advice in this article:
An even better reason that religion to consider giving up artifiical sweeteners – possible heart attacks and stroke, as reported in this WSJ article today.
Eating something that is sweet but is not supposed to have negative consequences is a type of forbidden fruit – almost too good to be true. That is why it does not surprise me that there are reasons to gravitate away from circumventing our body’s true needs. We need glucose. We need energy. We need to live life and give life.
Thinking Beyond Giving Up
So for my Lent fast, I am giving up processed food and processed sugars including artificial sweeteners. This is not as dramatic as it sounds. Outside of these foods, I eat mostly “whole” foods. But what do we mean by whole foods?
The presence of highly processed and “fake sugar” food in my diet was co-existent with “foods of the earth,” but it had started to occupy a lot of space in my mind. And, I could recognize that my sense of smell and taste were dulling. An orange I had eaten recently tasted like a sponge.
Beyond thinking of “giving up”, I am experiencing something – eating as in Biblical times. It is eating more food. Eating food with a spiritual purpose – the same food that connects me spiritually with my beliefs, and my faith.
Generally, whole foods refer to foods that are processed minimally. So any plant, animal, or seed. It actually is very broad! But the problem is when the food gets mutated into a “techno carb” version of its original self – like I wrote about here:
And because I have been eating more of these foods, and sitting down less to eat, I feel disconnected in some way. I have, and have always been a seeker, even before I converted to Christianity in 2017.
What Do We Seek When We Eat?
To keep the body in good health is a duty, for otherwise we shall not be able to light the lamp of wisdom, and keep our mind strong and clear. –Buddha
This is a good question to ask. What does your body REALLY WANT. What does your mind really want? Whether you are in faith, a seeker, or just on a path of growth, asking these questions will compel you to connect with the one thing we all have to do to stay alive. But beyond just living, which we can do eating almost anything, it is a question of what purpose is this food serving. Is it giving you more energy? Is it making you a better lawyer, accountant, doctor, student, worker among workers? Is it helping you feel satisfied so you can be present for life? Do you eat on autopilot, or do you take time to savor the food and think about where it actually comes from?
By no means am I recommending this to anyone (and I do not have the authority to do so, especially after you read my disclaimer). But I do feel great sharing my faith and whatever in this world lights up your soul, definitely don’t keep it inside.
Foods consumed during Biblical Times
Here is a list of foods that may have been consumed during Biblical times:
- Bread: Bread was a staple food in the Mediterranean region, and it was typically made from wheat, barley, or spelt.
- Fish: Fish was a common food source, particularly for those who lived near the sea. Some of the fish that were likely to have been consumed include sardines, tilapia, and carp.
- Olives and olive oil: Olives were a popular food in the region, and they were often pressed to make olive oil.
- Grapes and wine: Grapes were commonly grown, and wine was a popular drink.
- Lentils and beans: Legumes such as lentils and chickpeas were commonly eaten.
- Fruits and vegetables: Figs, pomegranates, dates, melons, cucumbers, and onions were among the fruits and vegetables that were likely consumed.
- Meat: Meat was not as commonly consumed due to its expense, but it was still eaten. Lamb, goat, and beef were the most common types of meat.
- Nuts and seeds: Almonds, pistachios, and sesame seeds were among the nuts and seeds that were consumed.
- Milk – Cows milk was rare, and in any case it was not liked as much as the more common milk of ewe lambs and of goats. Since milk tended to spoil quickly, cheese making was very common.
- Honey was the sweetener that was used for most things. Cane sugar was unknown.
And wine. Duh. But I actually don’t drink it period, so no need to worry about that.
If you were wondering about eggs, at least according to by sources, eggs were brought into the Holy Land from the East and were regarded as a food for the wealthy (not much different today!).
What a typical meal day looks like:
Breakfast: Ezekiel 4:9 sprouted grain bread, 1 tablespoon of Amish churned butter, 1 tablespoon of raw honey, 1 cube of feta, 1 egg.
Give one egg to Galaxy. She prefers her kibble seasoned with coconut oil and then a sunny side up egg on top with a cooked but slightly runny yolk.
Lunch: Kale salad with berries, chicken breast, olives, and balsamic / olive oil dressing
Snack: Large mandarin orange, almonds
Dinner: Salmon with roasted vegetables and large salad
Dessert: Figs dipped in honey
Where I Go From Here
Well, I have about another month of this. Will I stay on this fast “forever?”. No – I am sure I will be stuck in no man’s land nowhere and at some point, I will have to eat a protein bar. But this process is already teaching me to be more purposeful of what I eat, drink, and generally allow my body and mind to take in.
And it doesn’t matter how many carbs it has.