As I briefly touched on in my first blog post on this subject, gluttony is mentioned in a few places in the Bible, but almost never preached on. I believe that we Christians have been dealt a major disservice! Since many preachers are overweight or have a congregation consisting of overweight and obese people, they avoid this topic like the plague. It needs addressing.
First, let’s see what the Bible has to say about gluttony. The primary scripture on gluttony is Proverbs 23:21: “for both drunkard and glutton will become poor — drowsiness will clothe them with rags.”(CJB) Since this was originally written in Hebrew, what does the Hebrew say? The Hebrew word used here is “zalal” and it means to be loose morally, worthless, or a prodigal. In Deut 21:20, the Complete Jewish Bible translates zalal not as “glutton” as many other versions do, but as “lives wildly”. I don’t know about you, but I always thought of a glutton as someone who ate too much. Do you see “overeating” here? I don’t. Apparently “zalal” should have been translated a little differently!
So what exactly is a glutton? Webster’s equates the word “glutton” with a “belly-god”. This is defined as: “one who makes a god of his belly; that is, whose great business or pleasure is to gratify his appetite; one given habitually to greedy and voracious eating and drinking.” I don’t know about you, but I know a lot of overweight and obese people who simply do NOT fit this description! So what’s REALLY going on?
It’s the big lie promoted by the food industry and bought into by main-stream media and medicine. What is this lie? It’s about the foods we eat every day. Fat DOES NOT make you fat! Sugar, white flour, and all their related processed food cousins are what’s making America fat! You say: “How do I know this”? I’m glad you asked!
It’s really all about the hormones. When we eat a diet rich in processed carbohydrates (most American’s diet), our body produces insulin to grab onto the sugar that the carbs are broken down into, and either uses it for energy, or stores it as fat. When you eat carbs that are also rich in fiber, or eat them with healthy fats, the digestive process slows down reducing the absorption of sugar, thereby decreasing the insulin response, and allowing for a balance of energy, and a longer period of feeling full (Jordan Rubin, “The Maker’s Diet Revolution”, pg 83). When we consume the typical American diet including the white bun, bread, or roll with the French fries (of course), followed by dessert, we have a carb overload. Suddenly our body screams “Hurry up insulin! Get rid of this sugar! What?! We don’t need this much sugar? Store it as fat! We might need it later!”
Another hormone balance dramatically affected by sugars, processed grains, and starchy foods are the appetite regulating hormones leptin and ghrelin. According to the authors of the Maximized Living book “Cruise Ship or Nursing Home: The 5 Essentials of a Maximized Life”, the reason so many of us are weight loss resistant is an imbalance in Leptin (pg 26). Leptin is the hormone that tells your brain to burn fat, but when we overload our system with excess sugar-turned-into-fat, pretty soon Leptin quits working and insulin keeps storing the sugar as, well now you know, fat! Ghrelin is the “hunger hormone”. It tells us when we are hungry so that we eat! Normally, that would be a good thing, except that all those processed, refined carbs flowed through our system too quickly, and instead of feeling full longer, we are hungry again! So now, we keep eating and not being satisfied. Our bodies are getting fatter, and starting down the chronic illness path instead of the health and vitality path!
So now you are thinking, “What should I be eating and what should I avoid”? Avoid like the poison that they are processed, refined carbohydrates. These have removed most of the fiber and nutrients leaving a lot of empty sugars. Since the glucose produced by such a diet is immediate and immense, it does not take a lot of this to end up being stored as fat. These foods are rampant on the grocer’s shelves: white flours, sugars, breads, pastas, and rice, and ingredients ending in the suffix “ose” such as dextrose, maltose, etc. are some examples. Most prepackaged, boxed foods, and desserts would fall into this category. Many foods and condiments contain hidden sugars. If it says “low-fat” or “fat-free” on the front, it probably has added sugars. Don’t buy it! Whole foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables, 100% whole grains, nuts and seeds, eggs, and free-range meat are a much healthier choice. Shop on the perimeter of the grocery store, not the middle.
Next week, we will explore healthy fats and the so-called heart disease connection! Take courage! We are not a bunch of fat gluttons. We are hormone imbalanced people being fed poisoned food and it’s making us unhealthy!