I had to “give up” sugar and gluten because of Lyme Disease. I put give up in quotation marks because I’ve been known the occasionally cheat on this diet, but over all, I’ve stuck to it pretty well, way better than I ever thought I would.
It was ridiculously hard to change my diet so dramatically. Gluten and sugar are two of my favorite food groups, one or both seem to be in everything I love to eat. It was a serious adjustment, even more so because I, like most first world citizens, was addicted to sugar. Missing the foods is one thing, seriously craving them as I went through withdraws was another.
But the withdraw symptoms only lasted two weeks and when I got to the other side I found that turning sweets down was easier. It was then when I started getting the same comments over and over again. People were always eager to tell me how they could never give up gluten or sugar. They couldn’t do it. It was too hard. There wasn’t enough reasons to do so. They wouldn’t even want to try.
Well, who would?
But all these comments lead me to start thinking about gluttony in different terms. It made me realize how many people have dismissed it. Myself included.
People who are lustful or lazy tend to acknowledge that there in the grips of one of the seven deadly sins, whether they hold value to it or not depends on the person, but they’re aware of it. When we find ourselves overwhelmed with pride, envy, wrath, or greed we still acknowledge that those traits are sinful. We hear people express those emotions we know they aren’t healthy or right. A small amount of wrath can be as dangerous as a large amount. Envy no matter how small the amount is destructive.
But gluttony seems to have been dismissed except for when people are displaying it to the highest extreme. Our gluttony isn’t that wrong, it’s just those extreme cases that are. It’s a lie we’ve started to believe. After all, mankind has worked for decades trying to make food accessible, to try and rid the world of hunger, and to make getting a meal as easy as driving up to a window. This is progress!
I don’t deny that it is, all these things are wonderful, but in the pursuit I think we’ve let gluttony lose its meaning. We don’t see us using food as therapy as being gluttonous. We don’t see us rewarding ourselves with food as gluttony. We don’t understand that constantly looking forward to the next meal as being gluttonous and we don’t see our unwillingness to give up foods as a sign of gluttony.
I’m not saying I’ve rid myself of my gluttonous ways, that’s the farthest thing from true. Anyone who has seem me plow through snacks knows I’m just as guilty as everyone else around me. But I’m starting to see my bad food habits for what they are: sinful. There is a reason we aren’t supposed to be like this. It’s greedy in its own right, selfish at the worst, but it’s also bad for us physically and emotionally. Sugar is bad for your mental health. There’s new studies out daily on how it’s bad for us physically. Over eating is one of the leading factors in death, over consuming certain food leads to all sorts of illnesses. And that’s not even mentioning the fact that we’ve become dependent on it for more than nutrition, but rather use it to feel voids in our lives.
This isn’t a call for you to give up sugar or gluten. Jesus was all about bread! He ate gluten, but He didn’t eat like we do, or for the same reasons. There is a lot that needs to change about our eating habits, but I think the first step is to be aware of it, and to discipline ourselves in some manner.