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"You Are What You Eat" Pt. 1

As you are reading, there are events in your life that you have already deemed as follows: important, boring, exciting, sad, scary, good, bad, and about a thousand other adjectives to describe your experiences. Here is a thought: What is important to you? Is this item(s) of significance morally right or wrong? How would you classify this event/experience as morally acceptable? Whose standards are being used as the template for your basis of making a moral judgment? You’ve heard the expression: “You are what you eat.” This has been used for decades to promote healthier eating choices, primarily those made by young people in public school settings as they ponder the invariably difficult choice of eating either a well-decorated salad or the American hamburger with French fries.

This saying actually goes back well into several centuries prior to the current age. This phrase has come to us via quite a tortuous route ( Anthelme Brillat-Savarin wrote, in Physiologie du Gout, ou Meditations de Gastronomie Transcendante, 1826: "Dis-moi ce que tu manges, je te dirai ce que tu es." [Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are]. In an essay titled Concerning Spiritualism and Materialism, 1863/4, Ludwig Andreas Feuerbach wrote: "Der Mensch ist, was er ißt." That translates into English as 'man is what he eats'.

Both Brillat-Savarin and Feuerbach emphasized the metaphorical usage of their quotations. It was understood that when someone chooses to eat various types of food, those choices impact one's state of mind and health. The English phraseology didn’t emerge until sometime later. By the 1920s-30s, the nutritionist Victor Lindlahr, was a strong believer in the idea that food controls health: the Catabolic Diet. His theory appears to have been promoting alternatives to eating beef and was printed in a 1923 edition of the Bridgeport Telegraph, for 'United Meet [sic] Markets':

"90% percent of known diseases are caused by cheap foodstuffs. You are what you eat."

This quote has been used for many years to advocate making healthier eating choices so future generations will not fall victim to the various degenerative conditions caused by poor life choices; however, the spiritual and philosophical emphasis was the main intention first presupposed in its origin. What if the choices that we made were predetermined mainly due to our personal worldview belief systems? In other words, how does one determine the difference between a right choice and a wrong one? When a person continually consumes thoughts, theories, suggestions from a source(s), does it have an impact on his or her worldview?

A worldview is a life philosophy or conception of the world; for example, Mark has attained five years of the highest education at a large technical university and has been promoted to vice-president of financial affairs. His salary is six figures and money is not an issue for he and his family. His focus has become spending as much time at work to continue watching his company grow and ultimately, increase his salary. In a typical week, Mark spends about 70-80 hours at work, is a faithful husband, and provides for his kids’ needs. Mark seems to be truly care for his family’s well-being by providing them with everything they need in terms of tangible, physical items. On the other hand, Mark has an educational background comprised of secular ideas and philosophies. He has been taught that man only progresses as education increases and good works are maintained. From the Christian perspective, one could see that Mark is spiritually-bankrupt despite his good works and willingness to provide for his family and meet their physical needs.

Why would someone make a “snap judgment” on someone that is clearly a good person and lives to provide for his family and treat everyone with respect? A Biblical perspective could conclude that Mark has violated God’s first commandment of ‘putting no other gods before Him.’ Mark has created the idol of making money to fulfill his every need and God has been ignored as the basis for Mark’s ability to earn this income. There is nothing wrong with earning money. God’s Word never states that money is the root of all evil; however, 1 Timothy 6:10 states that the “love of money is the root of all evil.” When someone replaces God with anything, this is considered idolatry. We can care for our families, the environment, all of mankind, every race and creed; however, if we do not know Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior, these works are done in vain. Who receives the credit for our works? Our words? Our thoughts?

If the Christian truly believes that Ephesians 2:8-9 is true, then our good works cannot and will not save us. The faith we place in the living God through His Son Jesus Christ becomes the basis for our being and our everyday life choices. He commands us to follow His Son’s example and “love one another as I have loved you.” (John 13:34-35) God tells us that others will know us (Christians) by how we love one another, even when we don’t want to!


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