The “Fruit-of-the-Spirit” Diet (Part One)

**Originally published in the Christian Online Magazine, August 2013**

The “Fruit-of-the-Spirit” Diet

Part One: No Laws?

By Rebecca Aarup

“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Since we are living in the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.” Galatians 5:22-23, 25 (NLT)

 

No sugar, no carbohydrates, no gluten, no chemicals, no processed foods…there are enough food laws to make a person’s head spin! You can hardly enjoy a conversation without the issue of food restrictions being raised. I’d guess a good majority of people are on some sort of specialty diet, whether due to medical problems or personal convictions. And admittedly, I adhere to a few of those food rules myself. But sometimes I wonder what it would be like to open my refrigerator or visit my favorite restaurant, eat whatever I want, whenever I want, with no fear of the consequences those food choices would leave with my body.  What a wonderful world that would be, right? Unfortunately, though, I’m one of those people who gains weight when they as much as look at a chocolate chip cookie cross-eyed. I have to watch what I eat “religiously” as well as exercise consistently just to maintain my current weight (which is on the high end of normal for my height). A lot of this has to do with aging (boo!) and the consequences of suffering with an eating disorder for many years. Suffice it to say, if I was to take a free-for-all approach to my diet, I would be shopping for a newer, larger wardrobe rather frequently.

 

But imagine a dietary world with no rules, where nothing was off limits. I can hear you laughing now, “Sure, Rebecca, sounds great BUT…” And you’d be right, because the reality is, that is not the world we live in. The things we choose to do or think directly affect our physical and emotional health, whether we like to admit it or not.

 

And that got me thinking, “what if”? What if there was something we could consume without fear of consequences. A substance with no rules or laws. How would that affect our outlook on diet, exercise, health, and spirituality? That’s when one of my daughter’s favorite verses popped into my head, the fruits of the Spirit found in Galatians 5:22-23, against which “there is no law.” Is it possible that walking by the Spirit’s leading specifically in the ten areas mentioned in this popular passage could help us live a more balanced life in every area of spiritual and physical health? Does the fruit of the Spirit even have anything to do with our diet and health?

 

Over the next several months I hope you’ll join me on this journey of exploration through a diet with no rules or limitations—the “Fruit of the Spirit” diet. We’ll be looking at what, if anything, each “fruit” has to do with our physical health. The Apostle Paul reminds us to “follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives,” and so it is with the area of food, and physical health.

 

How about you? Do you think any of the spiritual fruits listed in Galatians 5:22-23 relate in any way to your diet or physical health? In what ways?
To ensure you don’t miss any of this ongoing series, to comment, or to ask questions, visit me at http://www.RebeccaAarup.com and enter your email address to receive new articles directly in your inbox each month. In the next article we’ll discuss “What’s Love Got to Do with It?” I hope you’ll consider joining me on this journey unlocking the keys to the “Fruit of the Spirit” diet!

© Rebecca Aarup

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Substitutions Encouraged

**Orginally published in The Christian Online Magazine, February 2013**

 

Many of you are already aware of the healthier options that exist in the culinary world, but just in case you need a refresher (because I know I forgot easily), I’ve decided to share a list of common food choices that have healthier alternatives. Browse through the list and see if there is anything new for you to try and let me know how those New Year’s Resolution recipes worked out for you (just click on “Temple Maintenance” to view past articles as well as leave your comments)!

Celebrate this Valentine’s Day with wise food choices–keeping your heart healthy and serving God by maintaining the temple He entrusted to you.

“’I have the right to do anything,’ you say—but not everything is beneficial…Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received of God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” 1 Corinthians 6:12&19

Meals/Main Course Items:

First Choice: Ground Beef (Hamburgers, Sloppy Joes, Tacos…etc.)

Better Choice:Organic Grass-fed Beef (no fillers, hormones, or chemicals used)

Best Choice:Lentils and Black Beans (Veggie Burgers, Bean tacos, Sloppy Joes…etc.)

 

First Choice:Loaded Baked Potato

Better Choice:Mashed Potatoes

Best Choice:Mashed Steamed Cauliflower

 

First Choice:Traditional Pasta Noodles

Better Choice:Rice Noodles

Best Choice:Whole Wheat or Quinoa Noodles

 

First Choice:White Breads, Bagels, English Muffins, or Cereals

Better Choice:Whole Wheat Breads, Bagels, English Muffins, and Whole Grain Cereals

Best Choice:Sprouted Grain Breads, Bagels, English Muffins, and Cereals (i.e. Ezekiel™ brand)

 

First Choice:Flour Tortillas

Better Choice:Artisan Tortillas (Black Bean and Corn, Whole Wheat, Blue Corn and Flax…etc.)

Best Choice:Sprouted Grain Tortillas

 

First Choice:Jar Spaghetti Sauce

Better Choice:No Sugar Added Jar Spaghetti Sauce

Best Choice:Home Made Spaghetti Sauce (Organic Canned Tomato Sauce, Crushed Tomatoes, Tomato Paste and Spices/Herbs)

 

Snacks Items:

First Choice:Cake (Chocolate, Devil’s Food, Yellow, Vanilla…etc.)

Better Choice:Fruit/Veggie Breads (Zucchini Bread, Carrot Cake, Banana Bread…etc.)

Best Choice:Fruit/Veggie Bread with Substitutions (see below)

 

First Choice:Apple Slices, Grapes, Iceberg Lettuce Salad

Better Choice:Oranges, Bananas, Carrots, Mixed Salad (Iceberg and Romaine Lettuce)

Best Choice:Tomatoes, Fresh Organic Berries, Organic Leafy Lettuces (Spinach, Kale, Arugula, Radicchio…etc.)

 

First Choice:Chips

Better Choice:Popcorn

Best Choice:Raw seeds or nuts

 

First Choice:Candy Bars

Better Choice:Fruit Snacks (i.e. gummy bears)

Best Choice:Dried Fruit (i.e. dried pomegranates)

 

First Choice:Soda

Better Choice:Sparkling 100% Fruit Juice

Best Choice:Sparkling Water

 

Ingredient Substitutions:

First Choice:Eggs

Better Choice:Egg substitute (i.e. Egg Beaters™)

Best Choice:Ground Flax Seeds and Water (1 Tbsp. ground flax to 3 Tbsp. water)

 

First Choice:Vegetable Oil

Better Choice:Coconut Oil

Best Choice:Applesauce

 

First Choice:Refined Sugar

Better Choice:Agave Nectar or Organic Raw Sugar

Best Choice:Stevia

 

First Choice:Chocolate Chips

Better Choice:Baking Nuts

Best Choice:Dried Fruit, Raw Nuts and Seeds

 

Dips/Dressings:

First Choice:Store-bought Creamy Dressings (Ranch…etc.)

Better Choice:Store bought Italian or Vinaigrette Dressings

Best Choice:Home-Made Italian or Vinaigrette Dressings (Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Vinegar and Spices…etc.)

 

First Choice:Ketchup, Mayonnaise

Better Choice:Reduced Fat Cream Cheese or Sour Cream

Best Choice:Mustard

 

First Choice:French-Onion Dip

Better Choice:Salsa

Best Choice:Home-made Guacamole Dip (Fresh Avocados, Salt, Pepper, Garlic and Lime)

© Rebecca Aarup

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profilepic3Rebecca Aarup is an author and freelance writer. She is a health columnist for The Christian Online Magazine, creater of S.E.R.V.A.N.T. Sisters online women’s ministry, and has written devotionals/studies/articles for a variety of publications including The Secret Place (Judson press), Evangel (Light and Life Communications), and Mustard Seed Ministries. She just released a new Bible Study The Word: Six Lessons from Psalm 119 which is available as a free download on her website or in print form from Amazon. Beyond writing, Rebecca is a wife, home-schooling mom, and Bible student at Liberty University. She lives in Glendale, Az with her husband Chris and 5 year old, Samantha.  You can read more from Rebecca by subscribing to her blog (it’s free) and following her on twitter and facebook.