Fruits and nuts. Meat and vegetables. Junk food and health food. We eat in a rush, trying to get out the door in the morning. We eat to tide ourselves over until the next meal. In English, the word “diet” has come to mean not just the noun “the foods we eat” but also the verb of attempting to achieve better physical health by changing or limiting what we consume.

God is concerned with all of our lives: physical, mental, and spiritual. He created us as holistic beings, and the food we eat plays a major role in the quality of our life. God created food to nourish, strengthen, and sustain us, yet too often we treat our diet as an afterthought.

In the beginning, God said, “Look! I have given you every seed-bearing plant throughout the earth and all the fruit trees for your food” (Gen. 1:29, NLT). God designed us to enjoy a vegetarian diet. After the Flood, God permitted people to eat meat (Gen. 9:3-4), and He drew a distinction between meat that is “clean” and is better to eat, and “unclean” meat, which is best avoided (Lev. 11). Today, science has found that a vegetarian diet rich in fruits, nuts and vegetables is ideal for maintaining health.

The Bible counsels balance. “Do not join those who drink too much wine or gorge themselves on meat, for drunkards and gluttons become poor, and drowsiness clothes them in rags” (Prov. 23:20-21, NIV). It puts all our life choices, including our diet, into perspective: “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31, NIV).

As for the concept of “dieting,” it’s important to remember that making significant changes to your health through dietary choices must be a balanced combination of healthy eating, exercise, and adequate rest. Lifestyle changes take patience and commitment. There is no “quick fix.”