Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Eating & Drinking for the Glory of God

How could a former bread-fiend & carbohydrate addict like myself could cut out sugary-rich carbs for a 3-week duration? [See yesterday's post if you're wondering what in the world I'm referencing]. As I contemplated the answer to that question, a few practical disciplines stood out above the rest, and because this blog functions as a virtual scrapbook/journal I believe they're important to document for the sake of remembering the things the Lord is teaching me.

For those of you that don't know my story, most of my nutritional decisions throughout high school + college were driven by a desire to look a certain way. I thought less was more, if you know what I mean. Or maybe it's less, is less [ha, ha]. No, but really, in my mind, less calories = less of Hunter on the scale, and that was my ultimate goal. I had no idea what the dangers were in consuming a sub-1,200 calorie diet/day. So my personal 'nutrition program' [which, by the way, was driven by nothing more than the concept of calories-in, calories-out + photos of iconic celebrities] consisted of keeping a mental record of how many calories I was ingesting and trying to burn at least half of those calories off by the end of the day.

Prior to my first sugar detox I knew a little about nutrition, but almost nothing about the dangers of eating too much sugar. It started when my trainer told me that I was incorporating too many sugary-rich carbohydrates in my diet, specifically in the form of fruit [both fresh & dried]. She suggested that I try doing the 21DSD [21 Day Sugar Detox] to regulate my blood sugar so that my nutrition wouldn't be driven by the insulin roller coaster that I referenced yesterday. So, I downloaded the PDF & read about the dangers of sugar, then participated in the detox for the first time. Next, I read each one of the articles that Diane Sanfillippo included links to in the PDF. After that I read "It Starts with Food" by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig, the creators of Whole 30. That did it for me. That's when I started ingesting every bit of information on nutrition that I could get my hands on.

The more I learn, the more I understand that paying attention to the amount of calories you intake is not nearly as important as the quality of the food that you're ingesting. Now, I probably eat 3x more than what I did back then and I actually weigh about the same, if not less than I did. On top of that, I'm no longer tethered to the scale and allowing the number that appears to dictate my day. Education + study takes a little bit of time, but I think I've gained it all back + some not wasting it worrying about counting calories. So what's my point?

Everything we do is an expression of our spirituality. Scripture says, "So whether you eat, drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." Earlier in the same book the Bible tells us, "... you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body." God's ultimate purpose in creating us was to express His glory! This isn't a burdensome or oppressive duty, rather, it brings freedom and ultimate joy [that far outweighs the freedom of no longer feeling the need to step on the scale on a daily basis]! Strive to do everything you do to make God look as great as He really is. So, how can we glorify God in something as simple as eating & drinking?

One thing's for sure, it's not by obsessing over calorie counting while compulsively weighing yourself to try to look a certain way. I'm going to go ahead and throw this out there: that seems a lot like striving to glorify yourself. Admittedly, I've been there, and there is zero freedom in that way of doing things.  In addition, we can't allow ourselves to swing to the opposite side of the pendulum and stuff our faces without considering what we're actually intaking. [Disclaimer: my goal isn't to communicate that counting calories or indulging in a piece of cake every now and then is a bad thing. There is a time and a place for both. But my hope is that pointing this out will cause you to examine your motivation behind such behaviors].

If you're like me you might find yourself longing for a fool-proof equation that will enable you to maintain the tension between the two extremes [the calorie-counting guru on one side and the gluttonous couch potato on the other]. Thankfully I don't have that formula, because it would deprive us both of the single-most important element of brining Him glory in all that we do, think and say: dependence. Solely relying on knowledge + information is a fruitless endeavor [pun-intended for you sugar detoxers]. Instead, like everything else in our lives, we've got to acknowledge total dependence on Him in our approach to nutrition. That is the heart of the Gospel. We can't do it [we've fallen short of His glory], but God has done it [through His Son Jesus], so we've got to depend on Him to fulfill this wondrous task of glorifying Him.

In addition to total dependence on Jesus, we should approach nutrition with much gratitude. Eat & drink with a thankful heart, knowing Who provides your sustenance. I am so thankful the Lord has blessed Brooks and me with the opportunity to purchase and eat nutrient-dense foods. We are part of a small percentage of people that have this luxury, and our desire is to steward it well. Even beyond that, our physical sustenance serves as a tangible reminder of His provision for us in the death and resurrection of His Son. Simply put, eating can serve to remind us of the Gospel.

Finally, as believers, we should approach nutrition with excellence. In whatever you do, do it well, not to make yourself look great [cause apart from Jesus, we're not], but to display the greatness of God. Doing things well requires effort. This may go without saying, but in order to make wise decisions about the foods your body needs to function from day-to-day you need to develop a working knowledge of nutrition. There are so many other aspects involved in glorifying God with our bodies, but this is a start. Add to the list as God grants you insight, and join me in the quest to glorify Him in all that we do!


  1. this was such an encouraging post! my husband and i have been doing the paleo diet for a while now, but it's been so hard for me to stop with the sugars!! loved your perspective. super encouraging! :)

  2. You incorporated the Gospel with a topic that is constantly bombarding us on a worldly scale - weight and "looking good" physically. You did such a great job hitting all the important points of taking care of our bodies and health & fitness as part of our worship to Him and should all point to His glory. Thank you for posting this, Hunter.

  3. Thanks for your feedback, Signe and Amanda! That means a lot coming from you two!

  4. Thank you for your very encouraging post. Gloryfying God through our bodies is indeed the wise thing to do. I often wondered how my sugar addiction can be cured and as you mentioned, what's needed is a sugar detox. That's why when my sister told me about the 3 Day Military Diet, i jumped right on since it is low carb, and permits no sugar - only Stevia. I guess what worked for me here is learning about calorie counting, portion control and the value of exercise. It also helps to have an accountability partner to help you through when on a fitness journey. To learn more, here's a great site to see http://3daysmilitarydiet.com/results-reviews/military-diet-success.html