Torch, Summer 1980

Excess weight, along with additional debilitating ailments, can be directly related to poor nutritional habits. Managing Your Personal Food Supply, edited by Ray Wolf, states, "We may be the most fed people in the world, but statistics strongly indicate we are not the best fed people. In fact, diet appears to be a major contributing factor to our national epidemic of degenerative diseases. The reason for our poor diet is not, in most cases, inadequate amounts of money to spend on food, but rather a lack of basic nutritional information combined with an abundance of nutritional misinformation in food com– pany advertisements and the prolifera– tion of overly refined, processed, 'junk' foods. "America has long been proud of the near-eradication of infectious diseases within its borders. What we have failed to see is that communicable diseases have been replaced by degenerative diseases as leading causes of death. These diseases-cancer, heart disease, diabetes, stroke-are all at least partially related to diet and are not more prevalent among the poor than among the more affluent in this country. "Diet-related causes of death include stroke, heart disease, bowel cancer, and diabetes. Other illnesses don't necessari– ly cause death, but they do cause discomfort and can aggravate other illnesses: obesity, tooth decay, gum disease, anemia, and constipation. Poor nutritional habits afflict Christian and non-Christian alike, of course. But I feel strongly that the Christian has a little more at stake in this nutritional battle. Bill Gothard presents a sound case when he says, "A person's attitude toward himself has a profound influence on his attitudes toward God, his family, his friends, his future, and many other significant areas of his life." It is a difficult situation to look into a mirror at an overweight body that just doesn't feel very well most of the time and truthfully say, "I like what Isee; I like the way Iam." God wants us to operate at peak efficiency for Him, and we simply cannot do so effectively when we are unhappy with what we have done to ourselves. It is difficult to be a happy Christian and to do those things we know we should when we are tied up with physical ail- ments and appearance problems that we have brought upon ourselves. It truly does affect our attitude toward God, our family, our friends, and our future. Surely we should accept ourselves as God made us. But who makes those midnight trips to the icebox, God or you? What do we do with our God-given intel– ligence as it relates to taking care of this "temple of the Holy Spirit," nutritionally speaking? Poor nutritional habits and the ail– ments _we suffer aren't funny; they aren't healthy, either. Psychologically, the whole trend can be a real "downer," par– ticularly when we know we can do something about it. Yet we are too lazy or think it not important enough to do so. How important is it for each of us to operate at peak efficiency for Christ physically, mentally, and spiritually? God wantsus to operate at peak efficiency for Him. None of the ten commandments hap– pens to be "thou shalt not get overweight, or thou shalt not become a nutritional wreck." But the Lord does say, "Let your moderation be known unto all men" (Phil. 4:5). As Christians, we have a tendency to quote that verse to the guy next door who drinks too much. It is time we started looking in the mirror and remembering that this verse was written for us too. And then we need to do something about it! The good news is that we can do something about our nutrition. We can get plenty of help along the way. When you start thinking about changing the way you eat and acquire your food, don't feel like some sort of revolutionary-it's a trend beginning to sweep the nation. We could all write a book dealing with nutrition by just comparing the various diet books on the market today. As a matter of fact, you can easily lose weight and vastly improve your muscle tone just trying to carry all of them out of your local bookstore! Almost all diet and nutrition books based upon sound eating habits can be effective in helping you change your nutritional outlook and eating patterns and, subsequently, your life. The key here is sound eating habits. Our current eating habits are definitely not very sound. Managing Your Per– sonal Food Supply further states, "This change in eating habits or, more realistically, in the kinds of food most available to us has been documented by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Since World War II, the consumption of dairy products has gone down 21 per– cent, of vegetables 23 percent, and of fruits 25 percent. Accordingly, soft drink consumption is up almost 300 percent and 'munchie' consumption (potato chips, crackers, etc.) is up 85 percent." Your family doctor will probably be more than happy to provide you with information on proper nutritional habits and eating patterns that will get you off to a good start. I also highly recommend self study of good diet books as another avenue to be thoroughly explored. Reputable weight loss and nutrition groups are a third area to be considered. And, of course, combine nutritional effort with a safe and sane exercise program to tone up the new you that is sure to emerge! Christian friend, we were made in the image of God. Some of us have let the image get a little out of shape. Sometimes the temple of the Holy Spirit is just not physically up to par when it comes to witnessing to others or living the joyous Christian life. Our modera– tion has slipped into excess. Occasional– ly, or perhaps more than occasionally, we just don't feel well enough to "run the race." It is not God-honoring when we "bum out for Christ" due to poor health brought on by careless nutritional habits on our part. It is time to shape up that image that God has given us, to revive physically the temple of the Holy Spirit, to throw out excess, and to welcome back modera– tion. "Run the race" once again in a healthy body which is alive with physical nutrition supplied by each one of us and with spiritual nutrition supplied by our God! Dr. Cummins is a 1964 graduate of Cedaroille College and is currently the Community Program. Director of the Suburban East YMCA, located in Columbus, Ohio. 5