An interesting topic indeed. You’ll see this come up in discussions that are both pro-vegan and pro-meat (Paleo, Primal, Warrior, etc.) I think it’s interesting that the discussion brings up the word “design” as it pertains to our human habits of eating. I guess my question is: Do you believe we were designed?
If you are like me and believe in God, then yes, we can assume we were designed. If you are a believer in the Big Bang Theory, evolution as a sole mean to creation, or anything like that, don’t worry about how you were designed. According to that, you weren’t. But, if you believe Biblical times to be the oldest recorded history on Earth, read on with me.
I talked about how our ancestors may have eaten during a hunter/gatherer time in my last post here. My assumption based on what I have learned is that thousands of years ago people ate whatever they had available. If you lived by a body of water, you ate fish. If you lived by an apple tree, you ate apples, and so on. But if we want to look at how we are designed to eat, we can turn to what the Bible says about food.
And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food.” Genesis 1:29
Fruit and vegetables. Check.
“And you, take wheat and barley, beans and lentils, millet and emmer, and put them into a single vessel and make your bread from them. During the number of days that you lie on your side, 390 days, you shall eat it.” Ezekiel 4:9
“Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. I have given you all things, even as the green herbs. But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood. ” Genesis 9:3-4
And as we look at the New Testament we learn of Jesus eating both fish and bread:
“But while they still did not believe for joy, and marveled, He said to them, ‘Have you any food here?’ So they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish and some honeycomb. And He took it and ate in their presence.” Luke 24:41-43
Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” Matthew 26:26
Okay, so we know that grains, plants, meat, and fish clearly have made the list of things we can eat according to the Bible, which is my understanding of probably what we were designed to eat.
Unfortunately God has not handed down any rules on levels of macronutrients (protein, carbs, fats), or at least not to my knowledge. So what should it be? 40/40/20? Or does it matter?
And he said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing.” Luke 12:22-23
Okay, so there is more to life than getting too caught up in micro-managing every calorie that goes into our body. Got it.
With that I will say that we should probably be eating what is healthy and wholesome and real – the fish, bread, meat, fruit, and maybe the occasional glass of wine – all things mentioned several times in the Bible. And we should probably not eat any one these things in excess, hence the old gluttony law (If I remember right that was a commandment, not a suggestion). And we should probably also do our best to eat healthy with the whole part of taking care of our temple (body) and honoring God.
Then we have another food group: the man-made foods. Candy, high-fructose corn syrup, MSG, GMOs, and the whole bunch. Nothing mentioned specifically in the Bible about these things. We might need to wait for the second-coming for a ruling on those, but until then this is my opinion: God did a pretty good job with the food He supplied us. Steak – mmmm. Salad with tomato, cucumber, mushrooms, sprouts, and sunflower seeds – yum. Or a nice juicy, ripe apple – yes, please. All this extra artificial junk that is leading to obesity and an array of other health problems are man’s own inventions to tantalize taste buds and earn a profit. We probably don’t need too much of that stuff.
So, how were we designed to eat?
We were designed to eat any real food as far as I can tell.
If you eat a vegetarian diet and rarely eat junk – good job.
If you eat a more meat-heavy diet that allows for not much refined crap – keep up the good work.
If you eat grains, veggies, fruit, and meat in moderation – you win. You have the best diet. Just kidding, had to see if you’re still paying attention.
If you eat mostly processed foods, soda, candy, and other junk – I’ll be praying for you.
Happy healthy eating.