Nourishing Pathways (part 2)

**Published in The Christian Online Magazine September 2012 Issue**

This month concludes my interview with Rebecca Gertner. In case you missed the first half, you can read it HERE.

Nourishing Pathways to Health (part 2)

“Sometimes we think we can’t give up our fast food or soda pop or whatever it is we really, really like But God says with His help we can, if that’s what He wants us to do. I believe that God has a plan for each of us. What He wants me to do may not be what others should do. We need to pray about it, and no, it’s not silly to ask God which foods you should eat. He made you after all, so He knows more than anyone else knows what is good for your body and what’s not,” Rebecca explains.

The Gertner’s also decided to use organic produce to limit the chemical additives consumed in their diet. “Pesticides and other chemicals in our food do a lot to make us sick. It’s sad to say but there are food products out there that have more chemicals in them then actual food. If the chemical was designed to kill bugs, it will help kill us too. Buying organic produce is a good choice to make,” Rebecca said.

Recognizing the cost of eating healthy may appear daunting to many families, Rebecca still believes the physical benefits far outweigh the initial cost. Luke’s oncologist is also pleased, noting he has shown remarkable improvement. Rebecca learned how to save money by looking for great bargains, growing her own vegetables, and making products like laundry detergent and cosmetics at home.

For any family wanting to improve their health, Rebecca suggests incorporating small changes to avoid becoming overwhelmed. “Unless you have a medical crisis, there is no reason to make drastic changes that will stress you out. Start with something doable,” she says, “Like stop drinking soda. Next you could purpose to eat a vegetable at every meal. A great way to do this for breakfast would be making a green drink out of pineapple, mango and spinach sweetened with stevia. Keep adding one change on top of another and eventually you will be eating drastically different than you once were, but won’t go through the stress and drama. You will grow and adapt as you go.”

Rebecca and Luke’s three kids, Karsten, Faith Anne and Grace, have adapted well to the family’s diet changes. “They understand it will help their daddy get better and be better for all of us,” Rebecca says. “So far it has been great and I know God has given an extra measure of grace in that department.” She also noticed that as her kids’ diets improved, their overall health improved. Bruises and scrapes healed quicker.

“We view this as a lifestyle change,” Rebecca says, “Mostly so we can be realistic about it, but also because there is no known cure for the cancer Luke has. It would be a shame to work hard to get well, only to have a relapse simply because we started eating the way we used to again.”

Despite the uncertain future, Rebecca’s attitude is hopeful as she follows God’s plan for her family’s health. “In the book of James it talks about how when we know what’s right but choose not to do it, we are sinning. I have applied that verse to this area of my life. If I know I should be eating healthy but consistently make poor food choices, then I am sinning. I am not saying that I don’t eat sweets or French Fries every now and then, but on the whole, I should be eating what is good for my body, not just what tastes good. Anytime we purpose to do something healthy, we benefit. Whether it’s more energy or less illness, it’s a benefit. Everyone benefits from eating a healthy, nutritionally solid diet.”

© Rebecca Aarup

Recognizing the Causes of Over-Indulgence

**Published in The Christian Online Magazine June issue**

Column: Temple Maintenance by Rebecca Aarup

Recognizing the Causes of Over-Indulgence

Anyone who has had any experience with lawn maintenance or gardening knows how obnoxious ugly weeds can be. One way or another they have to be dealt with; weed poison or elbow grease. The same is true for believers. We want to be changed instantly; read a verse and do what it says without effort. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy; there is work required. God has made us His gardens of fruit bearing, yet we sometimes lose our crops to weeds. Here are some ways you can recognize a weed problem in your own garden.

Weed #1: It’s my body so I can eat however much I want, whenever I want.

The Bible is emphatic on how we should view this lie. Paul tells us, “You are not your own; you were bought at a price.” (1 Cor. 6:19-20) Once you recognize your need to self-gratify is directly contradicted to the word of God you can repent of your belief and begin to live as one who knows their worth in God’s eyes.

Weed #2: God doesn’t care about what I eat.

Get ready to grab your weed poison and spray it: “Do not join those…who gorge themselves on meat, for… gluttons become poor, and drowsiness clothes them in rage.” (Prov. 23:20-21) I’m fairly certain that God does care about what we eat, and how much, otherwise he wouldn’t have chosen to warn us about the consequences. Our loving Father does not wish that we would suffer out of our own ignorance, so He gives us helpful guidelines in His word.

Weed #3: Food makes me happy/Food is a pleasurable reward.

Get your shovel because Jesus tells us all about how to be satisfied and it has nothing to do with food. “Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Matt. 4:4)

If our joy is coming from the Fountain of Living Water, why do we need a counterfeit as silly as food? When we recognize our value as God’s beloved children, we have perfect peace that sets us free to eat in moderation and not use rewards as an excuse to over-indulge.

Weed #4: I’ll start a diet when I have more time, I’m just too busy. (Procrastination)

Our friend James has some words about that. “Now listen you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city’…Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.” (Jms. 4:13-14, 17) When we know what to do and still refuse to do it we chose to ignore (grieve) the Holy Spirit.

Weed #5: The only way I can be healthy is to eliminate certain foods and buy health food that I can’t afford.*

“Everything is permissible for me, but not everything is beneficial. Everything is permissible for me, but I will not be mastered by anything.” (1 Cor. 6:12)

Whether or not you feel convicted to avoid certain foods is between you and God. Let the Holy Spirit do His job and refuse to do it for Him. If you have experienced positive results from giving up something, by all means share it in a loving manner, but never assume it’s God’s will for
everyone.  Ask the Holy Spirit to give you discernment over your food choices. Common sense will usually reveal what is “beneficial” for our God given temples, and what we should do without.

Be assured you can eradicate weeds and grow healthy crops of self-control once again. Confess to the Lord your short-comings and receive His forgiveness. Obedience will clear your conscience before God and allow you to experience freedom from the guilt over-indulgence can bring. You’ll also be freed from diets once and for all!

*This is not meant to include people with food allergies or medical issues that require them to abstain from certain foods. Eating foods out of medical necessity is an entirely different issue this article does not intend to address.

(For an in-depth study of Biblical weight loss, see Thin Within: A Grace Oriented Approach to Lasting Weight Loss by Judy Halliday, R.N. and Arthur Halliday, M.D.)