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Faith-Based Nutrition from a Christian Dietitian’s Perspective

I am so glad you have decided to take a moment and join me at my table! 

I would love to share my thoughts about faith-based nutrition from a Christian dietitian’s perspective.

Many people are curious or unsure about what faith-based nutrition is. I have heard it called a “Jesus thing,” “A cult approach,” and even “Faith without reality,” none of these could be further from the truth. 

I would love to clear up some of these misconceptions. 

Faith-Based Nutrition = Bible-Based Nutrition

It is my belief and approach that faith-based nutrition is in actuality Biblically based nutrition. God centered and intrinsically God inspired. I use a restorative approach to our relationship with food that begins with an understanding that we were uniquely, divinely, and intentionally created.

Faith-based nutrition is the pairing of God’s principles set out clearly in the Bible for caring for our bodies with gold standard, clinical science. It is an understanding and respect of human anatomy and the complexity of physiology, using the Bible as a roadmap for healthier nutritional choices. These choices will help to prevent or manage many chronic diseases.

Faith-Based Nutrition Improves Community Health Outcomes

It is my further belief that it is an understanding of God’s care, plan, and provision for man’s physical needs which have been proven by science through the exploration, examination, and testing both in clinical and public settings. Communities of faith and scientists have been working together for years in harmony to improve community health outcomes. In 2010 the Faith, Activity, and Nutrition program (FAN) conducted a study to improve heart outcomes of a community with great success. Today, that approach continues as health organizations pair with local churches to implement dietary and lifestyle changes through communal meals and public health education classes.

Faith-Based Nutrition is Caring for God’s Creations through Food

Through faith-based, or my preferred name for it, Bible-based nutrition, we teach people how to explore health and nutritional needs from the understanding that we are all God’s creations and the best way to care for his creations is through the foods he created for us. In fact, the first chapter of the Bible, Genesis, explains the creation of foods which took place before the creation of man. Genesis 1:11, “God said, ‘Let the land produce vegetation: plants yielding seeds according to their kinds, and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds.’ It was so.” 

God goes on to instruct Adam and Eve regarding foods they were to consume. Genesis 1:29-30a states, “Then God said, ‘I’ve given you every sort of fruit-bearing tree, given them to you for food.’” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute of Health, U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the American Medical Association, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, American Heart Association and many other reputable, science-based sources all agree the consumption of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are essential to a healthy body and a method of prevention for chronic diseases.  

Faith-Based Nutrition Complements Promoted Diets

A faith-based approach to nutrition runs parallel to many of the proven medically promoted diets including the Mediterranean Diet. In fact, the Daniel Fast is a great example of this similarity. The Mediterranean Diet is recognized for its low-saturated fats and promotion of fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. In addition, the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, United States Department of Agriculture MyPlate, and The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Eat Right programs are excellent tools to educate and instruct regarding portion sizes, healthy plant-based fats, lean proteins, fiber, and ways to increase fruits and vegetables for all ages. Science has shown that increasing our intake of fiber rich foods such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetable will reduce our risk of many chronic diseases. In addition, science supports increasing our intake of fish and plant-based proteins and decreasing our intake of red meats to reduce the risk of heart disease, fatty liver disease, and many cancers, just to name of few of amazing benefits of eating the foods God created for our enjoying and longevity.

As a Christian that is also a nutritional expert, I try to see each person through the filter of how Jesus would see them. I try to love them where they are, not where I’d like them to be.  Jesus instructs us to love our neighbor and to see each person as God sees him or her, looking at his or her heart.  This approach is similar to Health at Every Size. 1 Samuel 16:7 states, “God does not see the same way people see. People look at the outside of a person, but God looks at the heart.” I believe we need to approach every person as the unique individual he or she is. While we all share similarity in DNA we are also unique with our own personal likes and dislikes, fears, and concerns surrounding how we approach the foods we eat.

Finding Faith-Based Nutrition Through the Bible

I start every class with these Bible verses to empower and encourage each person with the understanding that we are not alone. In fact, God transforms us from common to uncommon, ordinary to extraordinary, and fragile to being filled with the power of God. We have been given his strength and also his roadmap to better health: 

  • 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your bodies.”
  • 2 Corinthians 4:7, “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.”

Romans 12: 4-8 tells us that we are each a different part of the body of Christ with unique gifts and talents that we are to use. Some are preachers, some are teachers, some are scientists, some called to be doctors, dietitians (ok, so I added this one!), etc. and we are told to use our gifts according to how they have been given to us. I believe that faith-based nutrition uses the gifts and talents of those that have been called to share the gospel, make scientific discoveries, and help to heal the bodies of believers. 

There is room at the time for each of us and together we make the family healthier and stronger. Thanks for sitting at my table today!

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