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What Does Food Have to do with God?

Around 5:30 most evenings, the inevitable question arises. What are we going to eat for dinner? Sometimes I've planned it out in advance, but most days it's a scramble. And although I intend to provide nutritious meals every night, efficiency sometimes wins out.

There was a time when Peter bought "healthy" hot dogs–nitrate free, no preservatives, organic, etc. My response: "Peter, this totally defeats the purpose of hot dogs. I would have to spend 10 minutes cooking these before I could serve them to our kids. The point of hot dogs is the 30 seconds in the microwave and dinner is ready!"

So we try to be healthy, but I find myself nuking the hot dog more often than I care to admit. With that said, I also believe that what we put into our bodies matters, and not just for the sake of physical health. I believe that what we eat matters to God.

Recently I wrote a post for her.meneutics, "Food Cleanses and the Integrated Self," in which I discuss my own history with food and suggest some links between what I eat and who I worship. It begins:

We live in a culture obsessed with food. Eating disorders, once the exclusive terrain of adolescent girls, plague populations as diverse as older adultsOrthodox Jewish women, and young men. On the other hand, the nation as a whole is experiencing an "obesity epidemic." Whether through self-starvation or self-indulgence, many Americans have an unhealthy relationship with food.

When I was 14 years old, I was diagnosed with a condition called gastro paresis, paralysis of the stomach. The doctors couldn't determine a cause and they didn't know of a cure. In retrospect, I think I had been eating so little that my body slowed to a halt in response. Soon enough, I couldn't keep any food in my system. It came right back up. I told myself, and others, that I was suffering from a rare illness. The thing was, I liked being sick. Or at least, I liked being able to eat whatever I wanted without any worry about weight gain.

In the midst of those years of doctors' appointments and visits to therapists and hospitalizations and continuing to insist to everyone around me that I was "doing just fine," I remember my aunt asking, "What is there in your life that you need to purge?"

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