Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Guest Blogger Laura Danner: When Food Deceives Us

Deception often involves taking an unpleasant fact and wrapping it in such a shiny, enticing new package that the ugly reality is ignored until it is too late – for example, the “all sales final” vehicle that looks like new on the used car lot, but then breaks down on the drive home. In one form or another, we’ve all had experience falling for something that ultimately proved to be “too good to be true.”
Food is an area where I can be easily deceived. Unhealthy food choices are presented in such enticing packages: “convenience food,” “fast food,” “super-sized value meals,” and even “drive-thru.” With the hectic pace of today’s world, who wouldn’t be drawn to the promise of a lot of cheap, fast and convenient food that doesn’t even require you to get out of your car?

Years of giving in to these temptations resulted in my being an overweight, lethargic and unhappy adult. The ugly reality behind the kinds of food I was choosing is that they often provide a high amount of calories with relatively little nutrition. The very process of making food fast and convenient requires stripping many of their naturally occurring nutrients and replacing them with fats, sweeteners, chemicals and preservatives that can be harmful to our bodies.

It wasn’t until I made a conscious decision to change my eating habits that I was able to achieve and maintain a healthy weight. The weight did not come off as the result of a quick and easy fad diet … it had taken years of poor food choices to gain the weight, and it has taken years of healthy eating and exercise to lose it and keep it off.

From the beginning, God gave us the food we need to sustain us. Genesis 1:29 states:

Then God said, "I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food." (New International Version)

Notice that the foods God originally gave us to eat are not necessarily “fast” or “convenient” … they take full seasons to grow, and require labor to be harvested.

Daniel understood the importance of eating the foods provided by God. The first chapter of the Book of Daniel describes how King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon wanted Daniel and his men to eat the rich food and drink from the king’s table. Not wanting to defile themselves, they instead consumed only vegetables and water for 10 days and, after that time, proved to be stronger than those who had been eating the royal food.

At the end of the ten days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food. So the guard took away their choice food and the wine they were to drink and gave them vegetables instead. To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds. (Daniel 1:15-17, New International Version)
Does all this mean that it’s a sin to eat fast food? Of course not! As with anything, the key is in balance and moderation. Making convenience food an occasional treat, rather than the mainstay of our diets, is one way we can honor God with our bodies.

Laura Danner works as a technical writer/editor, and lives in the suburbs of Chicago. Her interests include writing, camping and hiking. As part of her ongoing process of maintaining a healthy weight, she has completed three walkers’ marathons (26.2 miles), and climbed the Willis (formerly Sears) Tower twice. Laura’s new goal for 2011 is to take up running, and be ready to complete a 5K event during the summer.


Barb W said...

Laura is a long-time friend of mine and a gifted writer. I still keep some of her poetry on hand.

Thank you, Laura, for this post. I especially liked this line: Notice that the foods God originally gave us to eat are not necessarily “fast” or “convenient” … they take full seasons to grow, and require labor to be harvested. An "aha" moment for me.

Don said...

Great article. Thanks for the insight. Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

Great post, Laura! Keep up the good work on living a healthy lifestyle to honor our Lord.

Daniel Ch. 1 is one of our main "go to" passages for training our children to eat and live well. We educate and guide them regarding nutrition, yet allow them to make their own food choices to some extent. When they run their choices by me I often ask, "What would Daniel do?" They give me a funny grin and put back a piece of candy, usually. :)

Although challenging, it is worth the effort to train them, I believe. My mama heart feels so rewarded when my 11 year-old reads labels to check for "high fructose corn syrup" or serving sizes.

Barb, I love your food blog--such a source of truth for an area where I believe Satan has a huge stronghold on women.

Laura said...

Thanks to all for the positive feedback! I love the concept of using Daniel to help teach children to eat healthy foods - that's awesome!!

Mrs. E said...

Insightful post. We all could put a little more effort into eating healthier. I do my best, but I love pasta.