Phyiscal and Spiritual Meaning in the Dietary Laws

Wow.  This is a beautiful and profound 8 minute video that explores spiritual truths contained in the dietary laws of Scripture. It makes me think again of this verse:

It is the glory of God to conceal things, but the glory of kings is to search things out. (Proverbs 25:2)

What a great God we serve! His word is so rich, so meaningful, full of gems of perfection waiting to be searched out!

I hope you enjoy!


Clean and Unclean Meats

Most Christians firmly believe that the New Testament clearly abolished the dietary laws of the Old Testament, but is that conclusion correct?  A closer look at the main New Testament “proof text” passages that deal with this topic reveals that this is actually one of the most misunderstood, but most easily corrected, topics in the New Testament.

I encountered several teachings from 119 Ministries that cover the material really well, so I’ve posted those videos with the corresponding scripture references below.

Mark 7:19 – “Thus He declared all foods clean.”

And he called the people to him again and said to them, “Hear me, all of you, and understand: There is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him.” And when he had entered the house and left the people, his disciples asked him about the parable. And he said to them, “Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him, since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?”(Thus he declared all foods clean.)

This is the easiest verse to deal with because the parenthetical statement (Thus He declared all foods clean) in Mark 7 was nowhere to be found in the original text.

You can see the actual, literal Greek here:

Additionally, taking the context into consideration reveals that the subject being discussed was the washing of hands before eating – something God never commanded.  Men added this rule, which wasn’t necessarily bad in itself.  It was the elevation of this rule to a standard of righteousness that was the dangerous part.

Acts 10 – Peter’s Vision

The next day, as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the housetop about the sixth hour to pray. And he became hungry and wanted something to eat, but while they were preparing it, he fell into a trance and saw the heavens opened and something like a great sheet descending, being let down by its four corners upon the earth. In it were all kinds of animals and reptiles and birds of the air. And there came a voice to him: “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.” But Peter said, “By no means, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean.” And the voice came to him again a second time, “What God has made clean, do not call common.” This happened three times, and the thing was taken up at once to heaven.

Does this vision mean that unclean animals are now to be considered clean?  Though that’s the conclusion most of us have drawn, it’s not at all the conclusion Peter or any of those who heard the vision came up with.

1 Timothy 4:1-5 – Clean meats from deceitful spirits and teachings of demons?

Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared, who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.

Is teaching about the dietary laws of the Old Testament paramount to departing from the faith and being devoted to deceitful spirits and teaching of demons?  That’s certainly what it sounds like the text is saying, but a closer look reveals the truth.  God didn’t create all animals to be received as food.  He only created certain animals to be food. See Leviticus 11 for details.

Acts 15:19 – Not troubling the Gentiles

Therefore my judgment is that we should not trouble those of the Gentiles who turn to God, but should write to them to abstain from the things polluted by idols, and from sexual immorality, and from what has been strangled, and from blood.

This scripture was a confusing one to me for a while. Does this verse say that Gentiles who turn to God don’t have to keep the dietary laws?

When talking to one of my Messianic Jewish friends about this part of scripture, I was instructed to read one verse further. This verse says, “For from ancient generations Moses has had in every city those who proclaim him, for he is read every Sabbath in the synagogues.”

So, it seems the members of the council were assuming new believers would eventually hear all of the law. There was no need for them to adhere to everything BEFORE admitting their salvation. The law was never a pre-requisite for salvation; it was God’s direction for how his already-saved people should walk. God would reveal more of Himself to them each week through His word.

Genesis 9:3 – Every living thing will be food for you

Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything.

And for those who question what God allowed Noah to eat, there are answers for this verse too.

Here is a more in-depth study of the verse:

Introducing Food to Baby

As a first time mom, I was so excited to begin to care for my baby culinarily.  I made a vast array of pureed baby foods for Madeline.  By the time Anson came around, I skipped the pureed foods and went straight to smooshy finger foods. I did the same with Kieryn, except that instead of a separate, special menu, she mostly got whatever smooshy, soft thing the rest of the family happened to be eating.


So, with each kid I’ve gotten progressively more casual. At this point in motherhood, I view introduction of solids as a time of exploration.  I don’t puree anything, and I rarely use a spoon.  I just give my babies a soft chunk of fruit or vegetable and let them feel, mush, and taste it themselves.


Because it’s such an uncivilized – uh, I mean casual – approach, I usually prefer to remove baby’s clothes. And I try to keep her confined to the high chair.


We start offering finger foods whenever they seem interested, usually around 6 or 7 months.  It usually takes another month or two after introducing solids for our kiddos to really start getting into eating.


Here are some first foods I like to start with:

beans of all kinds
cooked egg yolk
cooked carrots
steamed broccoli
baked sweet potato
peeled grapes
ground beef
yogurt (with a spoon)
hummus (with a spoon)

. . .really almost anything soft is fair game. 🙂

Side note about the picture: It’s remarkable how few good pictures I have of Kieryn.  Baby number three gets enjoyed a TON by all the members of the family, but doesn’t get her picture taken nearly as often as the other two did.  This picture may be poorly composed and slightly blurry, but at least it gives you an idea of what her early feeding times looked like.

Multiple Exposures

One other important point on introducing foods:  Keep offering healthy foods even if it seems your baby doesn’t like them at first.  It can take multiple exposures to a food before baby embraces it.  So, if it seems baby doesn’t like broccoli, don’t fear. Acquiring a taste for it may take some time. Just keep encouraging her to try it.  One day she may decide she loves it. I’ve seen this happen again and again with my kids. 

If the sheer number of exposures to a food doesn’t seem to be doing the trick, I’ve adjusted the preparation or presentation of it.  Instead of offering the undesirable food by itself, I’ll mix it up with another food she likes.  Or instead of giving it raw, I’ll try it cooked.  Or instead if giving baby a chunk to pick up herself, I’ll offer it on the end of a spoon or fork.  (It’s amazing the things they’ll eat when it comes at the end of a shiny utensil.)  When they’re a bit older, I’ll allow them to dip the undesirable food in ketchup or salad dressing if it’ll help them eat it.

Other Resources

Here are two more good posts about this kind of casual, natural introduction to foods, one on Keeper of the Home and the other on Passionate Homemaking.

And here’s an informative, more traditional article about the topic.

“100 Days of Real Food” Menu Plans

I just read a fascinating blog post on Keeper of the Home’s site, called Meal Plans from “100 Days of Real Food.”

Even though I’ve been on my healthy journey for almost 7 years, I still feel like a novice in so many ways. There are so many more things to learn, so many approaches, philosophies, and nuances to consider.  That’s why I appreciate the author’s simple and basic approach.  She started at the beginning, a place where I am comfortable.

The detailed student in me (or is it really just the voyeuristic part of me?) also also appreciates a good, long look into someone’s private life.  Things like detailed menu plans really help me to consider practical ways of adjusting our practices, even if our criteria for healthy foods don’t line up completely. (We are still avoiding gluten as much as possible unless we come upon a better understanding of how to incorporate it without our bodies responding poorly.)

I’m linking up to her menu plans here just so I have them handy, but I do recommend checking out her site too.  



FREE Pantry Makeover!

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(Not sure if your city has one?
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1) Click on the image to the right to be linked over to Earth Fare’s new website.

2) Submit your info.

3) Print the coupon on the following page.

4) Raid your pantry to find peanut butter, soda, cereal, salad dressing and/or jelly with unhealthy ingredients (high fructose corn syrup or hydrogenated oils).

5) Bring these items to Earth Fare’s customer service desk.


Anyone interested in exploring healthier options should get on this!  What a neat promotion!!!

We aren’t 100% – An introduction to our dietary habits

Reading our menu plans, you might see things that seem contradictory:

Gluten-free pancakes for one meal and pizza with plenty of gluten for another.

Dairy-free meals beside other meals with plenty of dairy.

We’re not 100%

We aren’t 100% dairy-free or gluten-free or sugar-free.  We are not 100% healthy.

To be perfectly honest, I don’t even know what 100% healthy is.  Some people say it’s 100% organic. Some say 100% organic AND vegetarian.  Others say 100% organic AND vegetarian AND all raw. Or fermented. . . I can’t even keep up with it all. The opinions range quite a bit.

What I do know, is that we do see improvements in our health with limited dairy, gluten and sugar.  (Read more about the discovery of the effect dairy had on our health here.)

Though I can see some validity in many different dietary regimens, I try to test everything from a Biblical standpoint and from a personal evaluation.  I don’t see 100% vegetarianism in the Bible.  (When God sent food to Elijah, it was bread and meat.)  However, there were no chemicals, drugs or added hormones around back then like there are now, so I can see a benefit to eating as much organically grown food as possible.

High Standards at Home, Freedom Abroad

I try to keep to high standards and good balance in our home. (That is, high standards as I presently understand them, with an understanding that my understanding will likely change or at least alter in the near future based on new findings.) Then when we eat out, or go to Care Group, or a Family Night at church, we indulge without severe health repercussions. For example:

  • We try to eat only whole, unprocessed grains (whole oats, brown rice, etc) at home. But we still like eating Moe’s  fantastic burritos – white tortillas stuffed with white rice, beans, guacamole, and more.
  • To some degree, we’ve been trying to avoid wheat at home since we suspect it is at least a mild allergen to some of us.  And the more I read about the subtle and pervasive trouble gluten can cause in a lot of people, the more I think we should move away from such a strong dependence on it.  I’ve found some great gluten free recipes that use almond flour and coconut flour, which allow me to make terrific breads, desserts, and pancakes.  But we won’t hesitate to munch down a wheat sub or pasta on occasion.
  • We try to avoid large amounts of dairy at home, but we still enjoy cheesy pizza and dollops of sour cream on our Mexican food.
  • We try to avoid sugar at home, but we still indulge in an ice cream treat or a doughnut (my weakness!) from time to time.

How I Shop for Food

When at the grocery store where I have greater control over what I buy, I avoid anything with:

  • High fructose corn syrup
  • Partially or fully hydrogenated oil
  • Artificial colors, flavors or preservatives

And I avoid buying meats that have been given:

  • Antibiotics
  • Growth hormones

Whenever possible, I try to buy:

  • Organic foods because of the greater health benefits to us and the higher standards of stewardship the farmers have to adhere to which benefit the rest of God’s creation.
  • Things processed as little as possible.  In general, the more man messes with things God has made, the worse for us it becomes.  A fresh apple will have tons more nutrients and benefit to our bodies than applesauce that has been heated (which can kill a lot of the vitamins and minerals), then infused with a chemical concoction of high fructose corn syrup (to make it sweet enough to please our taste buds conditioned to need ultra-sweetness) and partially hydrogenated oils (to extend its shelf life to a million years).

For more good nutrition guidelines, read this excellent post on a new favorite blog of mine, Keeper of the Home. It’s called Good Nutrition in a Nutshell.   I agree wholehartedly with the information here.  It’s terrific and general and comes from a Biblical perspective.

Why health matters

Why do we care so much about food?  Do we worship health? Or do we think self-denial brings us closer to God?  No! We limit these items in order to:

1) Prevent sickness and to stay strong for God’s glory. It’s hard to do all God has called us to do when we’re out of commission.  Sickness limits our fellowship and service. We see our health as a gift to be stewarded for God’s glory and our good.

2) To be good stewards of the Earth God has given us dominion over.

For more on this, check out this more detailed post about the spiritual reasons to steward our health by my great friend, Kelly.  I couldn’t improve on it!