How Diet Affects the Spiritual Life

“May the God of peace himself make you perfectly holy and may you entirely, spirit, soul, and body, be preserved blameless for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ”
— 1 Thessalonians 5:23

When it comes to our well-being, we are not just bodies with souls or souls with bodies. We must look at the body and soul together as one. There is unity between our body and soul — which means that no matter how deeply we tune in to our spiritual practice, we also need to focus on human health-- and how we fuel our bodies. Food does not just fuel the body, but the soul as well. We are this unity.

In our past two posts, we’ve shared about the benefits of spiritual fasting and how to fast. In the last video of a three-part series on Ascension Presents, Jackie talks with Franciscan Friars of the Renewal on the importance of diet in your spiritual life. 

When it comes to our well-being, we are not just bodies with souls or souls with bodies. We must look at the body and soul together as one. There is unity between our body and soul — which means that no matter how deeply we tune in to our spiritual practice, we also need to focus on human health-- and how we fuel our bodies. Food does not just fuel the body, but the soul as well.

Food connects us with others; we gather together with friends and family to break bread; to share our faith, culture and heritage. When properly understood as a gift, it becomes clear that food is a tangible expression of God's love for us. Food connects us to God. Because food is a gift, what we eat and how we eat it—is much more than a matter of convenience, taste, desire, or consumption. In today’s society, food is the source of endless angst and anxiety and can play the role of God in people’s lives. We struggle with obesity and eating disorders and endless disease. How we respond to the gift of food indicates how we feel about the giver.

When food is healthy and grown with reverence for its environment and with care for those in our communities it provides genuine nourishment, body and soul.

Consuming poor quality food can tarnish the body and the soul causing symptoms like brain fog, depression, weight gain, gut dysbiosis, hormonal imbalance, etc. This results in dis-ease and distracts us from God--and yes, even leads us to sin. God intended for us to delight in our food and for it to give us life, not take it away.

Are you ready to feed your spiritual life? 

Focus on Quality

Eating whole, real, unprocessed foods that are life-giving (like fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, high quality animal/plant protein) nurtures both our body and soul. Just as food brings us closer to God, the wrong kinds can also separate us from Him. Recognizing this and bringing it to God is the first step to truly nourishing your body and soul. 

Take An Individual Approach

Food and fueling ourselves is very individual - what we need is different based on our genetics, health history, blood type, wellness goals, etc. One thing that rings true for everyone is that we need to eliminate food that brings dis-ease to our body or separates us from the soul. Ridding your diet of inflammatory foods (like gluten and processed sugar) is an important step to do this.

Seasonality: Flexibility with the ebbs and flows of life

Just like seasons, our prayer needs change throughout the year-- and so should how we fuel ourselves. There is no “quick fix” or one-size-fits-all approach. The Lord keeps us hungry and as life shifts, we must, too. Our stress levels, nutrition needs, movement and sleep all fluctuate throughout the year, and we must alter our diets to meet the demands we place on our body.  With an emphasis on eating natural, whole foods, it’s also important to pay attention to what’s in season and to fill ourselves with what nature gives us. Eating enough to meet the demands we place on the body is essential-- just as getting in adequate prayer that our soul calls us for.

We invite you to tune in to how God is nudging you fuel your body and soul. What are you clinging to the most? What can you eliminate to create more space for God? What can you add to grow closer to Him? How can you better nurture your body? Yes, this can be a difficult challenge, but little by little we can cut the branches to bear more fruit and draw closer to God. Come to the table, partake of the Bread of Life―and eat with joy.

“May the God of peace himself make you perfectly holy and may you entirely, spirit, soul, and body, be preserved blameless for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” 1 Thessalonians 5:23