Skip to comments.Overweight? Jesus offers some food for thought - Jesus has been called on to help Americans
Posted on 02/25/2003 1:24:04 PM PST by chance33_98
Overweight? Jesus offers some food for thought
February 25 2003
A cookbook inspired by Christ's diet is spreading the word on healthy eating. Charles Laurence reports from New York.
Jesus has been called on to help Americans in their eternal struggle with obesity, with a diet dubbed "the healthiest ever devised by man".
Drawing on the inspiration of loaves, fishes, water and wine, a Florida doctor has published a self-help manual, What Would Jesus Eat?, and a companion volume, the What Would Jesus Eat Cook Book.
Don Colbert said he wrote the book after realising that many of the fattest Americans were also dedicated Christian fundamentalists.
Dr Colbert, who studied for a year at a Bible college as well as training at medical school, believed that in such a God-fearing country as America, obese people might be prepared to listen to Jesus even if they failed to heed the advice of their doctors.
"Jesus sat down calmly to eat and drink and enjoy the company of his companions," he said. "There was laughter and profound conversation.
"Our lifestyle has gone wrong. It is behind the epidemic of heart disease and cancer, and this is something we really can learn from the Bible."
The biblical diet, and most of the recipes in the cookbook, will be familiar to any European accustomed to Mediterranean cooking, which seems to have changed little in 2000 years. Most dietitians have recognised that the benefits of its combinations of modest helpings of fish or meat with salads, lightly cooked vegetables, olive oil, fresh bread and fruit, all washed down with a decent wine. The diet, however, is alien to lovers of American junk food.
"Although many of my fellow Christians are deeply familiar with the Bible, this diet seems unknown to them," Dr Colbert said.
"They have no idea how to eat. They shovel food into their mouths, are hooked on fast food and eat alone in front of the television. They live on the run as they pursue their growing appetites, not just for food but for material wealth."
The cookbook contains a few biblical surprises. It seems unlikely, for instance, that Jesus of Nazareth was familiar with Worcestershire sauce or with Dijon mustard. Recipes, meanwhile, range from such timeless classics as Mediterranean fish stew and broiled lamb (under the heading "Bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry" - Luke 15:23) to more modern concoctions such as turkey tarragon pittas.
His books have sold 166,000 copies, but the inclusion of wine in menus that Jesus might have been familiar with has prompted a furious reaction from the Southern Baptist Convention, whose preachers denounce drinking alcohol as a sin.
"The drinking of alcohol is ungodly and leads to sinful behaviour and is not acceptable to our faith," a spokesman for the convention said.
"It is our belief that references to wine in the Bible are misunderstood. Jesus drank new wine, which is what we know as grape juice, and this is what we use for our communion."
But Dr Colbert, 46, said he would rather face the wrath of the Baptists, America's largest Protestant denomination, than betray what he believes are medical and religious truths.
"As a doctor, I know the extensive studies which have proved beyond doubt that a modest consumption of wine with meals is good for the heart because the alcohol helps break down the fats," he said.
"As a devoted 'born again' Christian who studies the Bible every day, I also know that Jesus and all those in Biblical times drank wine with their meals."
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