I told you earlier this week about my experience with some food allergies that led to my decision to pay more attention to what I eat, and my desire to eliminate, as much as possible, artificial colors, flavors and preservatives from my food.
Paying attention to my food is one of the major reasons I decided to raise chickens. But it’s more than the artificial stuff. I’ve become more and more convinced that God cares about what we eat, and we’re pretty much ignoring what he thinks.
It started when I met author Hope Egan at a conference back in 2004 or 2005. She had just written her book, Holy Cow!, which was being given away at the conference. I probably wouldn’t have read the book if I hadn’t actually met Hope in the ladies room during a break in the luncheon. As we were washing our hands she asked, “Do you think the soup had ham in it?”
I don’t even remember if I had eaten the soup but as we started talking about why that was important to her, I learned that Hope is a Messianic Jew who had written a book about why God still wants us to follow the dietary law found in Leviticus.
At that point in my life, I didn’t care at all what I was eating. This was pre-allergy days, and the thought that God might give a rip about what I ate came as a shock. So when I got home, I read Hope’s book, and let me tell you: she made a very good case. (You can read my review of Holy Cow here.)
It wasn’t one of those books that tells you what you’re doing wrong or sets up arguments. What Hope did was explain the dietary law and why Jesus, an observant Jew, would have followed it himself. Then she went on to explain that modern science pretty much supports God’s Word, and that while the Israelites may not have known why some foods were allowed and other not, it makes sense even today.
The shellfish and pork arguments really stuck with me. Both eat … er … crap, literally and figuratively. They’re designed to clean pollutants and garbage, so when God says it’s abhorrent to eat fish without scales, there’s more than the cost of a shrimp cocktail behind his reasoning.
Anyway, if you want to know more, you can read the book yourself.
But between Hope’s book and my allergen problems, it was becoming clear to me that maybe eating is more than just putting food or food-like substances in my mouth. Maybe God gave us certain foods for a reason, and maybe – just maybe – life would be better if I considered that.
Of course, then came Opio, and that’s where the story gets really interesting.