Why Can’t Eating Bread Be My Spiritual Act Of Worship?

Why Can’t Eating Bread Be My Spiritual Act Of Worship? January 16, 2019

So, it is possible I watched rather a long video about how Jillian Michaels is wrong about the keto diet thingy. You were probably thinking of clicking on all those links, but then realized you had better things to do, and so went on and did those things, whereas I, fool that I am, asked myself, ‘What did Jillian say about the keto thingy that was so awful?’ 

Took lots and lots of scrolling to discover that she prefers the more ‘traditional’ 80s approach to food. Count those calories, eat a ‘balanced’ died that includes carbs ‘in moderation’ and limit your fat intake. And spend lots and lots of time in the gym. One YouTube offering intimated that Michaels is invested in businesses like Weight Watchers and other kinds of endeavors that want you coming back all the time and giving them your money. They do desire for you to get thin, sort of, but not so that you forget to come back to them next January. They prefer you yo-yo-ing up and down, always monitoring your eating, but never arriving at a comfortable and sustainable weight. 

I should admit, here, that doing the 30 Day Shred that one time deeply prejudiced me against Ms. Michaels, even with the sound off. My soul shuddered over her free and roguish manner. She is the Honoria Glossip of fitness celebrities—lots of shouting, slapping, and making everyone feel uncomfortable about themselves. 

Still, though, like so many, I would like to be thin and—which is unhappily the kicker—still eat carbs…by which I mean the bad ones. I don’t want want to subsist on the keto diet, rearranging my lettuce leaves and trying to manufacture ecstatic joy over yet one more avocado. I want a bun around my burger. I want the delicate ambrosial wonder of the thin sliced toast actually existing underneath my tablespoon of pure butter. 

I stood in my own kitchen yesterday, disconsolately choking down mealy, yet expensive, blueberries while my children dipped golden, divine bits of fried potato into mayonnaise. ‘This can’t be worth it,’ I muttered. ‘Those potatoes obviously taste better than thin feels.’

I wonder, when I finally roll into heaven, all my food angst having dragged my gray hairs in sorrow to Sheol, what God will say. Will it be, ‘you should have eaten healthier.’ Or, ‘You shouldn’t have been thinking about yourself so much.’ Or, ‘It was Sunday, it wouldn’t have killed you to eat that last piece of cheese, you were dying anyway.’ 

Because that’s really the trouble—food is supposed to fit into the Christian life. But, like everything else, it is so culturally broken. All the societally binding norms have been cast away into the twitterverse. As the mark of our advanced humanity, we each of us have to sort it out entirely alone, according to ‘conscience,’ lists of allergies, the looming threat of diabetes and heart disease, with only a passing glance at a doctor who doesn’t have time for us anyway. 

That’s why the keto thing is is so revolutionary, I think—except not for me. You just eat these certain kinds of foods and don’t eat all these other foods and you really will lose weight and your blood sugar will come back into acceptable levels. If you do it, it really does work. The trouble is doing it. The trouble is disciplining your mind and inclinations to such a degree that your body, and your mouth, behaves itself. All this at a time when discipline is not something most of us Christians are known for. 

But also, Jesus did say ‘I am the bread of life’ and so, when you really do try to cut out bread, it feels like you’re cutting out Jesus—or if not Jesus, something so spiritually essential that the great lack seems to overpower all the other lacks. 

In every case, the thing the ‘dieter’ discovers is that one’s god really is one’s stomach. And so every person has the chance of standing, wrestling with Satan and all the spiritual forces of wickedness that rebel against God, in the most intimate and mundane circumstances—in the kitchen, trying to decide what to eat. 

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