Why I’m Not Paleo or Vegan (Or Any Other Food Label)

Stories for the Journey

 

Note: This week, I will be sharing stories of my physical  journey. All of these are intended to tell what happened to me, not to tell you what to do. They are anecdotes NOT advice. You have your own journey and have to do your own research. Feel free to share your stories in the comments or in an email. I would love to read them! 

We have known for years that religion and politics aren’t polite topics at a dinner party. However, the food served at the party may very well have religious and political connections. Heated debates can come from a simple admission that you love a good steak or that you enjoy homemade bread from time to time. What used to be personal choice about what to eat for dinner is now purportedly harming the environment or treating animals inhumanely.

In today’s world, we’ve labeled ourselves and compartmentalized ourselves into groups. Have something against grains and legumes? Join the Paleo community. Do you like your plant foods but hate eating animal products? There is a Vegan club for you to join. Maybe  you eat both, but cooking food bothers your sensitivities? Eat all your food raw, and sign up for the raw food only mailing list.

It used to be certain macronutrients we discriminated against. Fat is bad for you….eat low-fat. Such was the health scene during my high school years. So I loaded up turkey sandwiches on Wonder bread (hold the mayo…only mustard), Snackwells and pretzels. Nothing on the label mattered except that box at the top that read Total Fat.

Then, a certain doctor made carbohydrates to be our nemesis. So, we ditched our Snackwells and ate loads of whipping cream with sugar free jello, bacon and eggs and pork rinds. But not too many fruits and vegetables because they might throw us out of ketosis.

Calorie counting continues to go in and out of vogue. As if we can run our bodies like machines and expect to get certain results. Four hundred calories of chicken breast, brussel sprouts or chocolate cake all count just the same. If you make bad choices and consume too many calories, you can always burn off the effects with exercise.

With the current labels, we don’t discriminate as much against macronutrients but certain food groups. I’ve heard reports villifying everything from wheat to broccoli, from eggs to soybeans, from bananas to carrots.

I’m not saying there aren’t legitimate health concerns with some foods or food allergies that necessitate their removal. However, all the bandwagon hype begins to create bondage and obsession after awhile. God created our bodies as complex systems and we are more than a collection of laboratory nutrients.

I began to look at the philosophies behind these foods while reading my Bible at the same time. Did you know that the Paleo diet is based on the supposed diets of cavemen that are said to have lived millions of years ago? Paleo enthusiasts will tell you that we evolved to eat a carnivorous diet that we can hunt and gather, and agriculture is the ruination of our society.

My Bible tells me that God began life on earth just over 6,000 years ago with tree fruits and herbs as our diet, then moved us to an agricultural lifestyle that included vegetables from the ground. After the Flood that changed the environment and landscape of the earth, he introduced meat to our diet. It seems like they have it a little backwards. I find it ironic that the most elevated food among the Paleo crowd is bacon. While food has nothing to do with our salvation, bacon is one of the foods that God specifically warned His people against for their health sake.

Vegans and vegetarians abstain from meat and meat products for various reasons. Most of them are political or religious. One woman who was an outspoken vegan for years told how she changed her diet to include meat after finding deficiencies in her nutrition levels. She began to get hate mail and death threats from her former fans. This is serious stuff.

The idea that we have to protect the Earth or that we worship animals also supports evolutionary thinking and idolatry. God gave man dominion over the world. We are to be in charge. Yes, we are to care for the earth and steward it. God even laid out specific guidelines in His Word on how to care for the plant and  animal kingdoms so they would continue to sustain us and themselves. But its resources are gifts from God to us to manage. Our food should not manage us nor become a god to which we bow.

Those are just two food philosophies that are prevalent today. I agree that man has chemically altered food away from God’s design, and those foods are best to be avoided. However, take a look at some foods enjoyed in the Bible: fish, eggs, milk, oil, grape products, wheat, millet, quail, soybeans, bread, beef, barley and honey.

Jesus Himself cooked and ate fish, bread and honey. He attended celebrations where beef may have been served and created grape juice at a wedding.

The spiritual principles God gives to guide our food choices are they must be glorifying to God, and we must not worship any food or drink. As I try to guide my own and my family’s health, I’m trying to be careful about jumping into any food philosophy other than those that line up with God’s principles and His Word.

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