If you watched the science-fiction movie, The Matrix, you may recall a scene in which the main characters are sitting down to a meal of mush as their only food, day in and day out, which was said to be nutritionally everything a body needed. One of the men commented how it just did not satisfy him the way a sizzling steak did!
Although not limited to a daily meal of mush as in the movie, so many people do not allow themselves the pleasure of enjoying what they eat. They deny their taste buds and eat something they call “diet food” or “healthy” even if it is something not found in Nature. Limiting their diet to a boring selection of only a few items, they begin to miss the variety of real food, and also begin to want the foods they feel deprived of having.
They do not enjoy eating and so, invariably at some point, decide to forget the “diet” in order to eat something more tasteful and gratifying. Guilty feelings arise when they eat something not on the diet.
If a person is hungry for too long, she will grab anything, wolfing it down just to stop the hunger pains, even if she ordinarily would not choose that food. The writer of Proverbs agrees: “…to the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet.” (27:7)
Are your taste buds happy?
Many years ago, I went on an extended fast and after a few days, found that although I wasn’t particularly hungry, I really missed eating! I also realized that God intended that we would enjoy food so we would actually eat.
The Creator God gave us such wonderful abilities to see the colors, smell the aromas, feel the texture, hear the crunch, and taste the wide variety of nature’s bounty. Using all of our senses adds to the delight.
It is interesting to me that the holidays God gave to the Israelites were called feasts. They were times of enjoying food together. Indeed, times of mourning were marked by fasting or the barest forms of sustenance. When the prophet Daniel fasted for twenty-one days, he gave up “pleasant meat” (KJV) or “tasty food” (NAS). It was only a temporary abstinence. If you are not fasting, you will want to eat often enough so that you do not get close to the “grab anything” stage.
Enjoying good food is satisfying to the body and soul, as well as, a compliment to the one who made it. “God… richly supplies us with all things to enjoy.” (1 Tim 6:17)
Healthy eating does not have to mean the days of happy taste buds are over. Here is where a cookbook and a spice rack can liven up an otherwise boring meal. Educate yourself and plan a trip to the grocery store to stock your pantry with a variety of good-tasting food. A diversity of food choices provides better nutrition and also keeps feelings of deprivation away.
When we take the time to appreciate and really taste what we are eating with gratitude, we honor God’s intention. Otherwise, what is the point of having taste buds?