All or Nothing Diets and Christianity

Enjoying bean burgers doesn't make us vegetarians

Enjoying bean burgers doesn’t make us vegetarians

“I know that smell,” I said to myself as I peddled my bike through the neighborhood in the early evening when everyone was cooking dinner. “Pork.” I imagined the tenderloin covered in a savory sauce on the grill.

Meat and chicken are macro nutrients, mostly protein, and though protein is an essential nutrient, we don’t have to make it our main dish. Fish is an excellent source of lean protein with omega 3, a very healthy oil. Fish and plant proteins won’t add extra weight to the scale like meat will. In fact, as we age we can keep the extra weight off if we simply change from a meat and chicken-based diet to a fish and plant-based one. The consumption of red meat on a daily basis is not only disastrous to keeping our weight in control but also to our health in general. Daily consumption of red meat is linked to weight gain, heart disease, and some types of cancer. If you want to lose weight and keep it off, take meat out of your diet.

It’s not easy giving up a meat-based diet. Try cutting back by eating it only two or three times per week and replace meat with fish and plant protein dishes. Veggie bean burgers are great piled with toppings like mushrooms, lettuce, and onions with banana pepper mustard. Try making a meal of roasted vegetables (asparagus is very high in protein) with rice and black beans. Use a small amount of meat or chicken as flavoring to help give the taste of meat without the deleterious effects of it. Add nuts and seeds to your plant-based dishes for extra protein.  If you love meat, keep it in your diet, just don’t eat it every day.

God told Adam  “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.” Later, Eve tells the serpent that God told them, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’ She added to the rule, ‘you must not touch it.’ Our natural tendency is to, ‘add to the rules’ to make them even harder to follow.

We set ourselves up for failure when we do this. We have this all-or-nothing attitude. Either we are vegetarian or we are not. Either we eat meat everyday or we eat only plant-based food. We cannot simply be Christians, we have to be Catholic or Methodist, Evangelical or Reformed.

It is better to do away with labels. If becoming a vegetarian is not for some of us meat-lovers, that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy vegetarian dishes.  If a brother or sister in Christ seems too liberal-minded or too oppressive in his literal translation of scripture, he is still a brother and she is still our sister in Christ. We can enjoy the fragrance of Christ in one another without having to agree on every point, just as we can enjoy the scent of roasting pork without having to eat it.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13


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