Healthy Indulgence

What is your first impression when you think of health food? Do you think of all the good things you must give up? Or maybe you think of boring rabbit food. Certainly you’re not thinking of enjoying the things you’re used to. However, there are ways to stay healthy while at the same time enjoying some of your favorite indulgences.

What does it mean to indulge? It means “to yield to, satisfy, or gratify desires or feelings.” Is this entering some forbidden territory for a Christian? Aren’t we supposed to crucify the desires of the flesh? It is a common religious notion that to “crucify the flesh” means to forsake the pleasures of this world. Let’s not be so religious. God made a beautiful world with wonderful things to enjoy. The secret is to know your healthy options and to enjoy them without being ruled by them. The Apostle Paul says, “‘I am allowed to do anything’—but not everything is good for you. And even though ‘I am allowed to do anything,’ I must not become a slave to anything” (1 Corinthians 6:12). Paul is saying that, even when enjoying things permitted by God, we must not let anything take control of us. So, as you enjoy healthy indulgences remember James 4:17. It is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it. If you are indulging in a pleasure you cannot moderate with self-control, then you ought not do it at all. In addition, if partaking in any activity causes your brother to stumble, you should treat such as if it is not permitted by the Lord. With this in mind, let’s explore some indulgences that, when used in moderation, can be safely enjoyed:

Wine
When speaking of the fermented grape, we often hear from religious circles: “Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18). True, do not get drunk; but, nowhere is drinking wine prohibited by scripture in. In 1 Timothy 5:23, Paul actually suggested that Timothy drink wine to ease some digestive issues he was experiencing. So, if you enjoy wine, there is nothing wrong with a small amount. Red wine, especially, is filled with antioxidants like resveratrol. However, while enjoying this freedom, you need to be particularly careful. Be ever mindful around whom you partake of alcohol as to not cause stumbling. You are best off abstaining if there is any risk at all.

Cheese
We all love cheese; that gooey delicious addition to almost any meal. But conventional cheese is a nightmare for your health. Pasteurized cheese from an animal that is filled with hormones, antibiotics and fed corn is like eating glue. However, if you buy raw cheese made from the milk of naturally–raised, grass-fed cows, you now have a health food filled with fat-soluble vitamins, minerals and a good source of protein.

Coffee
The coffee bean is one item with a mixed reputation. The bottom line is that a cup every day will not hurt your health. It is the use of multiple cups daily that is harmful, especially when filled with terribly unhealthy additions like creamers, flavorings and sugar. Try adding coconut milk and sweeten with Stevia as a creative option. And test if you are overdoing it. If one day without coffee makes you feel anything but good (like tired, headaches, etc.) then you are using too much. Healthy habits never cause bad symptoms. Back off until you can enjoy it without withdrawal symptoms. If you struggle, then stand on 1 Corinthians 6:12, “I must not become a slave to anything.”

Chocolate
There is more good news about yet another controversial item. Cocoa is not the problem. Again, it is all those things added to it that make it a poor health choice. This includes bad dairy, sugar, oils, and unnatural ingredients. If you find chocolate that is pure, you can enjoy it at times without ill effect. Be moderate and you can benefit from its high antioxidant value. The darker the better!

Fats
Healthy fats that you find in beef, milk, butter and eggs are excellent to consume. But again, they must come from naturally raised animals. This means grass-fed, free-range, antibiotic-free, hormone-free animals raised in a natural environment and slaughtered humanely. Under these conditions, they are good sources of healthy fatty acids and packed with excellent vitamins.

Bread
Ah, the dreaded complex carbohydrate. But try this: instead of choosing a store-bought bread, bake your own! It might sound complicated at first, but it is easier than you think. It literally takes no more than 15 minutes of hands-on time to go from grain in a bucket to fresh bread out of the oven. Sure, it will take about two hours on the clock. But, unless you plan to stand over the dough and watch it rise or bake, the time needed to actually do anything is just minutes. Fresh bread is not only much more delicious (and the smell from the oven heavenly), but its health benefits far outweigh any bread you can purchase. Most breads sold as “healthy” are filled with ingredients that offer no health benefits and ultimately harm your health. Plus, freshly baked bread is much easier to digest.

Most temptations stem from a perversion of something good. 1 John 2:15 reminds us, “Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you.” It is not the good things that God created to be received with thanksgiving that we should abstain from, but the things of the world that are perverted substitutes. Enjoy the things God created and indulge yourself in the simple pleasure of things that are natural. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think (Romans 12:2).

Dr. Jeff Hazim is a chiropractor and nutritional counselor practicing in Pompano Beach (TheBrowardCenter.com), and Executive Director of “Biblical Health Television,” the only TV network devoted to biblical Health (BiblicalHealth.tv). Weekly Radio Broadcasts: BlogTalkRadio.com/BiblicalHealth

 

Dr. Jeff Hazim :