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|Devil's in the details|
WWJD is the name of the game here, with the idea that eating what Jesus ate is the key to staying thin and healthy, cause everyone knows from all the
photos divinely inspired depictions of Jesus, that he was thin and healthy. Right?
Different versions include:
- Don Colbert's many books in The Bible Cure For… series
- Gene Wall Cole's Jesus' Diet for the Whole World (2005), claimed to be "from deep inside the Vatican Vaults!"
- Numerous promoters of raw foodism and macrobiotics using the term "Jesus Diet"
- Michael H. Brown's The Strength of Samson: How To Attain It (1974), aimed at bodybuilders
- Rich Tucker's Biblical Nutrition (1973)
Along those same lines, several products have hit the market lately such as:
- Bible Bar, a Power Bar-like concoction made from the seven ingredients recommended by the LORD in the book of Deuteronomy 8:8}: "a land with wheat and barley, vines and fig trees, pomegranates, olive oil and honey;"
- Ezekiel 4:9 Bread, made from the recipe found in Ezekiel 4:9: "Take wheat and barley, beans and lentils, millet and spelt; put them in a storage jar and use them to make bread for yourself. You are to eat it during the 390 days you lie on your side." (note however that Ezekiel 4:12 adds a really bizarre ingredient to the mix: "Eat the food as you would a barley cake; bake it in the sight of the people, using human excrement for fuel.")
There is no word yet on whether the Jesus Diet includes using human dung as a fuel for baking your bread.
Is it actually a healthy diet?
The typical diet of a Judean circa 2000 years ago would be based on bread made with wholegrains, fresh fish, seasonal fruit and vegetables, and red meat (beef and mutton) for special occasions; it would eliminate pork products, as well most of the processed foods that are linked to health issues when overconsumed, with the notable exception of wine. However, most "Jesus diet" proponents do not actually recommend eating a historically accurate diet, and usually prohibit wine consumption (citing verses against drunkenness), or focus on the supposed healthful properties of heirloom varieties of wheat over scary modern selectively bred wheat, effectively making it a Holy Paleo. Few Jesus diet nutritionists consider the fact that food would have been far more scarce to a 1st Century Judean than to a modern person, to the point where the cultural fear around food was starvation, rather than getting fat.
It is true that a good diet should be mostly whole-food and vegetable-based, widely varied, and with red meat, sugary treats and alcohol enjoyed in moderation. However, there's no reason that limiting yourself to 1st Century Roman Judean cuisine is the best way to achieve that - first of all, it hugely limits the variety of food sources despite this being one of the most important factors of nutrition, and secondly, there's no chocolate mentioned in the Bible (chocolate being a New World food).
However, as fad diets go, you could do much worse.
Is it even good theology?
No. A repeated motif in the Bible is the idea of Jesus eating like a man, meaning that he ate the typical diet of a person of that time and culture, no more or less healthy. The idea that the food he ate was somehow 'without sin' in comparison to a 'sinful' modern diet of dessert pizzas is a bizarre conflation of the concept of an action being "good" and a diet being "good". Jesus also didn't follow modern conceptions of 'clean eating' - one verse even has Jesus sarcastically observe that when John the Baptist refuses to drink wine he's seen as a madman, while when Jesus drinks wine he's seen as a drunk (Luke 7:33-7:34). Jesus never seems concerned with the idea of eating for health in any form, frequently telling his disciples to not bother packing food and emphasizing that they should put their health entirely in the hands of God.
Some Jesus diet proponents put a lot of emphasis on the idea that their diet will lead to long life, which seems like a strange assertion to be made about the diet of an ancient literary figure who is most notable for dying in his early 30s.
- Archive of Cliff Scott's Bible Bar "The Bible Bar — A Great Source Of Deuteronomy’s Seven Good Foods" Cliff Scott Enterprises
- Deuteronomy 8:8 (New International Version). BibleGateway.com
- Ezekiel 4:9; Ezekiel 4:12 (New International Version). BibleGateway.com. Admittedly, cow patties and the like have been used for fuel for centuries, but this was a little over the top, which was kind of the point.