June 23, 2011 by Stacy McDonald
“If the Divine Creator has taken pains to give us delicious and exquisite things to eat, the least we can do is prepare them well and serve them with ceremony.” – Chef Fernand Point
WARNING: Read all the way to the end to find out how you can WIN your own FREE copy!
Health for Godly Generations: A Reformational Perspective was written by Renee DeGroot, a homeschool graduate with a Certificate in Christian Education from Whitefield College. I am so late in reviewing this excellent book it is embarrassing. When I first received this treasure for review I quickly devoured it. I followed my husband around the house reading him choice paragraphs and waiting for him to answer with, “That’s what you always say too, dear.” But, instead, he gave me a look that said, “I guess this confirms the fact that I still can’t have barbecue chips, right?
I tease my husband about his secret (or not so secret) love for potato chips, but he really does “get it.” Especially as he’s discovered that food really can and is supposed to taste good without being altered beyond recognition. It doesn’t need chemicals and food dyes anymore than my daughters need Botox or facelifts (I didn’t use myself as an example just in case you disagreed with me!).
Those of us who grew up on Frankenberry and Ding Dongs learned to love the taste of dirt. But, I’ve found that as we begin to eat right, we develop a taste for what is good, wholesome, and nourishing. Our palates “heal” and we learn to recognize and enjoy the “good stuff” from the pink sugared cardboard.
Renee has done a fantastic job of communicating the fact that what we believe about food matters. And what we do with what we believe will impact future generations. How we grow our food, and what happens to it from farm to table, not only affects our bodies, but in a very real way it impacts Christian culture.
“True beauty is sought as we cultivate food in the way God created, preparing it purely and wholesomely to nourish and strengthen us, and serving it lovingly at the family meal table.”
“If ‘Culture is religion externalized,’ as Henry Van Til proclaimed, and if diet preferences are an element of culture (which they are, since diet is not universal but is shaped by geography, people groups, and traditions), then all food practices, including harvest, preparation, nutrition, and consumption, are associated with the working outward of a people’s religion….A distinctively Christian and reformed view of culture will likewise affect our food preparation and diet choices.”
In a clear and engaging style, Renee speaks candidly about the importance of glorifying God by eating foods that help us to carry out the task of Kingdom building.
“Christians would not purposefully disable themselves to perform a necessary task; that would be ridiculous. However, we impair ourselves perpetually by eating things which will have detrimental effects on our bodies.”
In addition to health and nourishment, she reminds us that God did not give us boring, colorless, or tasteless food. In Chapter 5, For Pleasure and Sustenance, Renee explores the beauty and pleasure of food. As well as discussing the blessing and importance of hospitality, she describes how God allows all of our senses to be employed in the enjoyment of a good meal.
Wonderful meals can bring pleasure to all the senses that God gave us. Food is heard sizzling or simmering on the stove or crunching in our mouths. Our eyes are met by the variety of colors, surfaces, shapes, and sizes that can be manipulated in the process of combining foods and presenting them on the table. Food is felt as it is harvested from a garden, sifted through the hands during preparation, or broken into pieces for eating. Aromas of food often greet entrants of a home even before they make their way to the dining table, and appetizing smells entice us toward what will soon be eaten. Taste of course, is the one sense dedicated entirely toward food and is the sense, in eating, that is most fundamental.
In addition to addressing some of the serious problems with food production today and confronting the issues that plague today’s average American diet, Renee gives us hope. She offers practical advice on realistic ways we can improve our eating habits. She confirms that healthy doesn’t mean misery and despair – quite the opposite.
Renee doesn’t promote fad diets or offer us recipe we wouldn’t feed the neighbor’s cat. Instead she gives us ideas for moving forward. She gives us food charts that will help us make informed choices on what we’re putting into our bodies and gives numerous practical helps to get us started. For instance, she has a helpful sugar chart that compares and informs us about the various kinds of sweeteners available, detailing the pros and cons of each. She offers a “suggested basic shopping list” and how to best care for purchased foods.
In a “down to earth” fashion, Renee talks about her own journey to healthy eating, admitting that her family has yet to completely eliminate white flour from their home (though she says they are close).
- Health for Godly Generations also answers the following questions:
- What do genetically modified foods do to our bodies?
- Which foods contain what nutrition?
- How can we, in a consumer-driven society, implement a diet that utilizes the bounty of God’s goodness for our health?
- What are the healthiest substitutions for commercial foods that have been nutritiously compromised?
Renee’s advice here is excellent and true:
“Know the origin of every box, bag, bottle, carton, and can that goes from the field to the factory to your feast-table. Know, and be satisfied with, how food was grown, how it was made ready for consumption and packaging, and how it should be incorporated into your meals. The more you study health, the more the principles will become ingrained, and terms such as “natural,” “pure,” “super food,” “vitamin-rich,” and “wholesome” will be on your mind as you shop for and prepare meals for your family. The more progress you make toward healthy choices, the more exciting, and hopefully less-overwhelming, meal preparation will become.”
Health for Godly Generations is engaging, thorough, refreshing, and real. It is a useful resource as well as an inspiration. I highly recommend it!
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