We might define the right food as natural foods that are fresh or have been minimally processed and contain no additives such as growth hormones, antibiotics, preservatives, or artificial flavors or colors. They are also foods which, when eaten, promote health rather than diminish it.
Right amounts? Just enough, neither too much nor too little. Less is better. We benefit by eating more plants than animals. Vegetables are our friends, as are fruits and whole grains. Smaller amounts of dairy products and meats (beef, poultry, fish) are better as well.
The challenge is spiritual not moral. Bacchus, god of consumption, enjoys enslaving us by enticing us to eat or drink in ways that harm our health. We do this when we make a habit of eating the wrong food or the right food in wrong amounts because both habits reduce our vitality. In contrast, Jesus frees us from our bondage to Bacchus so that we may enjoy greater vitality.
The challenge, again, is spiritual not moral. Chocolate cake is not nutritious but eating it occasionally is not a sin. Condemning someone for eating it is. Habitually eating it, however, is a sin because it damages our health and witnesses to our bondage to Bacchus.
Our freedom or slavery is not just personal but societal as well. Right eating involves not only personal choices. It also relates closely with societal alternatives. This is because the fullness of life sought by Jesus includes the vitality of all God’s good creation.
The challenge here is also spiritual and not moral. Vulcan, god of technology, wants to organize agriculture along technological lines. He values efficiency, economies of scale, and the vitality of his Global Technological System (GTS) over love for creatures, including farm animals, and the whole of God’s good creation. We witness more clearly to Jesus as together we develop ways of living that elude the GTS and root themselves in our local ecological community.
Jupiter (god of politics) and Pluto (god of money) are involved here too. Jupiter subsidizes technological agriculture and imposes regulations that favor corporate control of God’s good creation. Pluto entices political and corporate elites to work against the vitality of humans, animals, plants, and ecosystems simply to make more money.
The vitality of God’s good creation means planting, growing, harvesting, distributing, preparing, eating, and recycling food in healthy ways. Not only do we want to eat the right food in the right amount at the right time. To promote the vitality of all creation, we want to eat food that is organic and locally grown.
Organic food is natural food; food, that is, that closely resembles the way God created it. It is food grown without the use of petroleum-based pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers. It is also food that is prepared for distribution, sale, and consumption without the use of chemical additives, artificial solvents, or irradiation.
We want to eat food that is locally grown because the closer we are to the source of our food, the healthier our food, local economy, and ecosystem. This is because the Christian way of living to which Jesus invites us is really all about relationships. We seek to have immediate relationships of freedom and love with the people, other animals, and plants, with the air, water, and land, that all play a part in our daily lives. Through such relationships we may nurture and protect our fellow creatures and this will lead us together into the fullness of life which is Christ’s goal for us.
Sources of locally-grown organic food include our own gardens, community gardens, local farms (sometimes linked to local households through community-supported agriculture), pick-your-own farms, roadside stands, farmers’ markets, local food cooperatives, and local food sold in corporate supermarkets. We may witness more clearly to Jesus by shopping in ways that economically support our neighbors who grow our food and, by doing so, promote the vitality of our ecological community.
Relying on local food also means enjoying a diet, and learning to prepare food, which varies according to the season.
Local food sources include the wild areas of our local ecological community. We may forage local wild plants or even hunt local wild animals such as deer. When doing so, however, we need to be mindful of ecological balances to avoid eliminating species or reducing their numbers to a level that damages the vitality of our ecosystem as a whole. The goal, again, is a relationship as a human society to the other species in our ecological community that strengthens the vitality of the whole.