This is a question I get a lot in my house. Is _________ healthy?
Is watermelon healthy?
Are cookies healthy?
Which is healthier: peanut butter or jelly?
I have two reactions to these questions.
My babies are thinking about food and trying to eat healthy. What parent doesn’t want their kids to make wise choices about the food they eat?
Unfortunately, this reaction far outweighs my pride. You see, I’m concerned my kids are beginning to develop my food disorder. They’re thinking way too much about if something’s healthy or not. It hasn’t inhibited them from eating foods, but they’re often asking about the nutritional value of a meal. They’re looking for the best foods to eat.
I know how to answer their questions about cookies and watermelon. I bust out some Cookie Monster wisdom:
Cookies are a sometimes food.
And I tell them that some foods are healthier than others.
But my struggle with food is a little more complicated. Is high fructose corn syrup healthy? What about non-GMO food? Then there’s non-organic food? Are these healthy or not?
I’m beginning to see that the problem isn’t whether or not I can discern which food is the healthiest.
The problem is I’ve bought into the myth that there is a perfect way to eat.
We see this lie of “perfect food” everywhere we look today.
Internet ads flash Dr. Oz’s toothy grin with the caption, “5 Foods You Should Never Eat”. Well of course we want to avoid those. Our friends talk about their organic co-op that has the best produce around. We hear about the top smoothie recipes and ways to sneak fruits and veggies into our kids foods so they’re getting every single vitamin and nutrient their bodies will ever need. People use Juice Plus and Shakeology to bridge the gap of the vitamins and nutrients they don’t get from their daily diet.
Drink water not juice, eat less gluten because it can cause auto-immune disorders, avoid food dyes to avoid hyper-active children, stay away from McDonald’s chicken nuggets because it’s not real chicken. Eat super foods like quinoa, kale and blueberries and be sure to memorize the Dirty Dozen foods. And the list goes on and on of ways to eat perfectly.
But can we ever eat perfectly?
And I don’t mean maintaining a lifestyle that keeps all of the rules all of the time. Even Dr. Oz concedes this is impossible. I’m asking is it possible to eat perfect food? To answer this, we need only re-visit Genesis 3.
Adam and Eve disobeyed God and received some stern consequences:
Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life.
The earth was cursed as a result of Adam and Eve’s sin. Can perfect fruits and veggies come from imperfect ground? No.
There is no such thing as perfect produce.
Further Paul talks in Romans 8:20 about a cursed creation:
For creation was subject to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.
So it’s not just the ground that’s been cursed; it’s all of creation. This means even the meat we eat is cursed. Can perfect meat come from a cursed animal? No.
There is no such thing as perfect meat.
This means the 100% grass fed organic beef we eat – CURSED.
The free range chicken we cook – CURSED
The non-GMO potatoes we buy – CURSED
The superfood organic blueberries in our cart – CURSED
It’s all cursed. And food isn’t the only thing that’s cursed…we are.
Consider for a moment that we could eat the perfectly balanced diet of perfect food. We’d still have a problem.
Our bodies are cursed.
We can look again at Genesis 3 to see how we’re all cursed because of Adam and Eve. Or we can simply look to our friends and families to see the effects of sin.
I’ve got a friend who can’t eat celery. Celery! Her body cannot process the proteins found in celery and many other fruits and vegetables. She can’t eat them because the factory of her body is cursed. For her, celery is not healthy. Another friend has a child with type 1 diabetes. She has to regulate how many bananas her child can eat so her sugars don’t spike too high. She has to be cautious because her daughter’s body is cursed.
My friends are not the only ones who are cursed. We all are subject to this consequence. Even if we were able to eat perfect food, our bodies would still mess it up because we’re not perfect.
And yet we hear everyday that
If we eat the right foods, we won’t get sick.
This is impossible. It’s a lie. And I don’t want to believe it anymore.
Does this mean we should all run out and let our children binge on Ding Dongs dipped in ranch dressing? Well probably not (unless you want to be the cool mom). We still need to strive to make healthy food choices.
I believe some foods are healthier than others. I personally know that buying all organic or all GMO free costs a hefty penny and most budgets can’t support the expense of it. And I know many children and adults have legitimate diseases, food allergies and sensitivities so they have to be mindful of what they’re eating.
Just as no one style of jeans fit every woman, there is no one-size-fits-all food plan. We thoughtfully consider all of the facts and make the best choices we can.
But I also believe we should carefully consider the way we think about “perfect food”:
1. Let go of the idea of perfect food. Cut ourselves some slack. Realize that ALL of creation, including our food and our own bodies are cursed and imperfect. We can’t avoid getting sick sometimes and we can’t avoid death no matter what we eat.
2. Stop trusting food more than Jesus. This becomes a spiritual issue because we try to use food to avoid pain, suffering, and even death..but food will ultimately fail us. It’s called idolatry when we look to something other than Jesus to save us from death. Our bodies need to be healed – our spirits need to be healed – all of creation needs to be healed. We need a perfect Savior because we’re not perfect. Romans 8:22,23 reminds us of our desperate need for healing and redemption
For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves,waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.
We are adopted as sons and daughters of the Father because of Jesus. The whole reason He came to earth was to be perfect and restore us because we could not do it ourselves. And He offers free forgiveness when we make food an idol.
3. We are promised perfect bodies in eternity. Revelation 21:4,5 reminds us that
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning or crying or pain; the first things have passed away. And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold I am making all things new.”
Our bodies will be made new and we will finally have the perfect fuel. No longer will we groan to have disease free bodies because it will be a reality…something that cannot happen this side of heaven.
While I wait for heaven I try to make the best food choices I can…and keep in mind that while I can never eat perfect food, I do have a perfect Savior who promises to redeem my cursed body.
How do you talk with your kids about food?