Food and Faith

Many faiths incorporate some sort of food morals into their point of view.  I think it stems from some notion that it helps the person live the way their faith calls them.  These practices manifest themselves in many ways.  In Catholicism, many practitioners refrain from eating meat on Fridays, sometimes just during Lent and others all year around except on festival days.  This practice also seeps into other Christian sects.  For example I attend a Lutheran-associated university, and since I’ve been here the cafeteria always serves fish on Fridays.  In Hinduism, cows are considered sacred animals and therefore practitioners do not eat beef.

Neo-Paganism’s outlook on food varies person to person.  Some believe that animals as sentient beings and therefore it is wrong to consume animal products.  Others maintain that since our ancestors relied on meat to survive then we should carry on that practice.  I think it is somewhere in between, therefore I limit the amount of meat I consume.  I have tried vegetarianism, but I have found that I cannot function without the types of proteins meat can provide.  That and I REALLY like pepperoni calzones and a good steak.

From my point of view, what is more important is where the products come from.  Recently a lot of concern has come to light about the chemicals in our food.  A lot of products now contain hormones and additives that may have negative effects on the human body.  While that research is ongoing, the lack of nutrition in these ready available products have been linked to obesity and other medical conditions.  I am not a doctor nor a scientist, but as a consumer I do not like the sound of that.  Also, documentaries such as Food Inc. have given voice to alternatives in food consumption.  I know recently organic food has been found to be as nutritional as other farming methods, but I maintain that the lack of chemicals make organics worth the price.  As a personal spiritual practice the closer to nature my food is, then the clearer I will be able to sense the Goddess and God.  I have found that on the days I eat french fries and cheeseburgers I feel less in tune with myself and the natural world than I do on Moroccan veggie stew day.  It’s a little hard on a college campus to fully engage in this practice, but I make do.  I eat as much fresh food as I can and supplement with grocery store certified organic items.

What is most important is whatever you choose to do should reflect not only how you want your body to feel, but also the way you connect to the divine.

© Ariadne Woods

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