God-Given Food: A Bible Study and Beyond
by Celia Maria
Anyone who has participated in a church supper or snacks after a church service will recognize the need for this book. As Maria explains, among church-goers you will find two very different attitudes about food: one is that every kind of food is acceptable to eat, as long as a blessing is said over it—this is the attitude that loads the after-church snack table with sugary processed food and sees no problem in allowing children to stuff themselves with donuts, cookies and cupcakes; the other holds that we should eat the “original diet plan” given in Genesis of only plant foods.
Moved by all the illness she has observed among church-goers, Maria provides a third way for her fellow Christians to eat—one inspired by the work of the Weston A. Price Foundation. She begins with an excellent discussion of veganism, the diet appropriate for the Garden of Eden, but not for mankind after the fall. She provides diagrams of the digestive systems of various types of animals and of the human being. Our digestive systems are most like that of the pig—an omnivore. Later in the book she quotes more scripture to show that Christians can eat animal foods—starting with God’s command to Noah to eat meat.
Knowing that she will meet resistance, Maria treads carefully, showing that healthy food actually tastes good and
does not have to be weird. She provides a great chart for “replacements”: whole eggs for breakfast instead of cold cereal, homemade soaked oatmeal instead of instant oatmeal, fruit instead of donuts. She provides an ingredient list for each processed food—horrendous ingredients in chicken nuggets, fast food burgers, commercial bread, processed cheese, canned broth and soup, frozen fries, artificial maple syrup, storebought dressings and pickles—as a way of convincing families to opt for healthy replacements—baked chicken with spices, grass-fed burgers, traditional breads, real cheese, homemade soups and broths, real maple syrup, homemade dressing and lacto-fermented foods. She addresses the excuses most people have—I don’t like to cook, I don’t have time to prepare healthy meals, I can’t afford to eat healthy—and provides scriptural arguments for taking joy in the activity of cooking, making time to cook and spending money wisely.
Maria’s book includes discussion of all the burning questions in the field of nutrition: animal fats and cholesterol;
grains; fermented foods, dairy foods, broth and soups; and salt. And kudos for finding this wonderful passage from Job (Maria knows her Bible!): “Can flavorless food be eaten without salt? Or is there any taste in the white of an egg? My soul refuses to touch them. They are as loathsome food to me” (Job 6:6-7). My sentiments exactly!
Each chapter ends with summary bullet points, relevant passages from scripture and questions for the reader. Finally Maria provides us with a great collection of basic recipes. For those wondering how to bring the message of healthy food to a church congregation yet to understand that putting processed foods into the body temple is like taking a sledge hammer to the church furnishings, this book is an excellent way to begin. Thumbs up!
This article appeared in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly magazine of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Spring 2018.