Friday, March 30, 2012

Losing Weight and Eating Right the Bible Way: Another Example of How NOT to Use the Bible

It seems that the Bible as "answer book" approach is not going away anytime soon. There are plenty of authors and preachers out there that claim you can solve all your problems if you would simply apply the Bible. Got money problems? Follow the Bible's ten easy steps to financial freedom. Having problems in your marriage? The Bible has the answer. Looking for ways to get ahead in Business? The Bible has the answer for that too.

It seems that whatever your problem, the Bible has the answer. Never mind that this "book" is a combination of  documents written over hundreds of years, thousands of years ago. You can use it like an encyclopedia or phone book and simply look up what you need to know. Ah, if it was only that simple.

So what put me on this rant this morning, you ask? Food. No, not the instant oatmeal I was eating at my desk. It was food in the Bible, or at least the claims that some are making about "Bible food" or "Bible diets."

I ran across a book review today that discusses how a psychologist who specializes in sex therapy and addiction turned his attention to food. Sounds exciting already, doesn't it? The good doctor turned to the Bible as part of his work with food addiction. But here is the interesting part. He is Jewish. So instead of asking "what would Jesus eat"  he asked "what would Moses eat?" In sum, he suggests that we consider eating to be a "holy act" by recognizing that food is a gift from God. His approach in Holy Eating is that you approach food spirituality. He wants us to concentrate on being thankful to God, which will help us to lose weight. In fairness, he does not seem to be offering a selection of recipes that will make you lose weight. But I am also not sure if he needed the Bible to do this. I will be even more wary if his publisher starts selling rubber bracelets inscribed with WWME?

But this article led me to a Google search to see what else I could find on this topic.

I was not surprised, though I wish I was, that there is already a book out there titled What Would Jesus Eat? There goes that idea! I have not read the book, but I suspect it is a very thin one since the only things I remember Jesus eating in the Gospels is bread, fish and wine. Perhaps the author suggests I eat a filet-o-fish sandwich with a glass of Merlot?

I was briefly excited to see another book titled The Maker's Diet. But then I discovered that it was not published by Makers Mark and there would be no recipes for bourbon ribs.

If you are looking for a quick list of foods with antioxidants, belief-net lists ten Bible foods that may help you.

On another website I found someone suggesting that we reject all nutritional advice and instead concentrate on our impure thoughts and remember the words of Jesus that it is what "comes out of your mouth" rather than what goes in that matters more.

I was pleased to see that there really was a Bible diet out there. The Daniel Diet claims that it is a ten-day detox and weight-loss program based on Daniel 1:8-15. There Daniel and his friends only eat vegetables and drink water for ten days. What confuses me about the diet, however, is that the conclusion of Daniel's story is that he and his friends were fatter than everyone else. I wonder why the promoters of this diet did not mention that? I wonder if they read that far?

Finally, there is Ezekiel Bread. I have seen this for sale in various grocery stores across the the country. I suppose the attraction is that the recipe comes right from Ezekiel 4:9. What could be better? But again, I wonder if people have read any further.True, Ezekiel is given a specific recipe for the bread. But a few verses later he is instructed to cook it over human dung. After a bit of debate, God relents and allows the prophet to cook it over cow dung. Somehow I suspect that the FDA is NOT allowing that to happen, which makes me wonder if the health benefits of the loaf have been compromised.

I am not against reading the Bible and I am not against healthy eating. Both are a regular part of my life. But I am frustrated with those who mine the Bible for magic formulas, in this case recipes, that will help them lose weight. I do think the Bible can guide us here. It suggests that we live a life of moderation and listen to the wisdom of those around us. Perhaps if we ate less, ate things we know are better for us, and listened to the wisdom of health experts we would not be generating books and articles about so-called Bible diets and recipes that are neither a diet nor biblical.

In the mean time, I think I will try a filet-o-fish with Merlot.


  1. Nathan MacDonald wrote a great book back in 2008 called What Did the Ancient Israelites Eat? Diet In Biblical Times. In one chapter, MacDonald specifically addresses some of the books you mentioned. It is a gem of a resource.

  2. Any recipes for ba-manna bread?

  3. @Mike... Ah, Keith Green... good stuff.

  4. Ba-manna bread - great Keith Green.

  5. John,

    I believe the "Foodie Bibles" in your picture is made of fig-newtons! How scandalous! We all know that Jesus Hates Figs! (Mark 11:12-14) We know Jesus would not eat that!

    (P.S. heavy sarcasm intended.)

  6. The greatest benefit of going to the Bible is to find Jesus. If we find Him every time we go, then we become imbued - or replenished - with the spirit to do right.

  7. I'm curious, do you believe? or just know the "material" well enough to teach the facts? I am honestly asking and honestly confused.