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Is it Possible to Eat Healthy in 2024?

Vanessa Luu

Contributing Writer
Updated Apr 01, 2024
Is it Possible to Eat Healthy in 2024?

 Living in a quick-fix culture carries a heavy, toxic load.

Short of homesteading, is it possible to eat healthily in 2024? I have been wrestling with this question for the past few years. Biblically speaking, I've been vacillating between not worrying about what I eat or drink, just like Jesus tells me (Matthew 6:25), and disciplining myself to find the cleanest foods for my holy temple of a body (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). For years now, I've gone back and forth between the two because, biblically, both ideas are supported.

You may be wondering why this is even an issue for me. Of course, I should discipline myself with the help of the Holy Spirit to consume the cleanest food and drink. The problem is that healthy eating is much more complicated today—well, at least I believe it to be. And it's not only that healthy food is hard to come by; there's also a mental battle surrounding this issue.

When I started this article, I believed that short of homesteading, it was impossible to eat healthily. I'm sure I'm not the first one to tell you, but other countries have banned most of the chemicals we eat. Yes, I said chemicals. Sad, right?

The New York Times says that Europe has banned Potassium bromate (which helps dough rise faster) and azodicarbonamide (cancer-causing carcinogens used to make bread items appear whiter). BHA and BHT (a carcinogen used to enhance flavors), and yellow and red food dyes (used widely in drinks, desserts, processed vegetables, and drugs, but they are also in things you may not even think of, like mustard) may cause itching and hives.

These examples are only a few of many. Our FDA allows these banned items and says they are safe in small amounts. Think about how many years you've bought bread from the store. By anyone's math, that is significant; therefore, I deem it unsafe. But what can I do to change it? Baking my bread at home is great, and I do it a few times a year, but I use flour that I bought at the store. Flour that is still treated with things I probably shouldn't consume. So is the extra work even worth it?

Can I Trust the Food Industry?

For years, I unquestioningly trusted the grocery store. If they sell it at the grocery store, it must be safe to consume, and while I haven't dropped dead on the spot, I do suffer from a lot of physical symptoms that are most likely caused by consuming a lot of toxic food-like substances or food additives. We breathe a lot of toxins, too. Living in a quick-fix culture carries a heavy, toxic load.

So, back to the original question. Is it possible to eat healthy in 2024 with all of our GMO foods, pesticide-filled produce, and hormone-filled meats? Or is it something we should even put any energy into? I will hesitantly answer: Maybe. 

Reaching a maybe status still requires focused time, energy, and money. If you have a lot of money and land (and your land isn't contaminated), I think you can eat healthily, per God's design. But is there any hope for the rest of us who rely on the grocery stores and don't have the proper land to grow or raise our food?

I've been struggling with eating healthily because with as much effort and time I can put into the endeavor, is it even enough? God teaches that we reap what we sow. So if I reap junk food, I'll live a junky life. If I reap healthy food, I should reap a healthy life on this earth, but in my experience, I need more money to eat from the land to tell if my efforts are even worth it. The reality of the situation leads me to defeat, where I want to consume ice cream, Oreos, and delicious iced lattes because even without them, I may not be eating healthily, so I might as well enjoy them!

I don't believe I'm alone in this line of thinking. I think most Americans have justified at least some of their guilty food pleasures because they don't know what is healthy anymore, and I get it.

My struggle to eat healthy foods began after the 2020 pandemic. Up until then, I had eaten a lot better. As I was putting this article together, I realized my real issue was losing hope that healthy eating was possible. I questioned the safety of everything and gradually gave up because I couldn't find an answer I felt confident in.

I convinced myself that giving up and hoping for the best was the right thing to do in this situation. Over the past four years, the happenings in our nation have squashed all my hope in humanity. I was angry every day for the first two years of the pandemic. I would bring that anger to the Lord, and thankfully, I don't carry that anger anymore, but the residual of that anger remained, and my hope in humanity never returned.

Jesus is my only hope. I surrendered all beliefs that anyone but Jesus had the intention of helping me, and that colored my opinions on food and health. There are so many different diets and opinions on what food is healthy and what isn't; how can I know whose opinion to trust? So I went back to the Bible, my firm foundation for everything.

How Does God Say We Should Eat?

In Acts 10:15, God gave Peter a vision of the clean foods they could eat. Peter was shocked that God told him, "Get up, Peter; kill and eat them" (Acts 10:13). He was referring to reptiles and all sorts of animals, including birds. As a practicing Jew, Peter had been taught that all of these foods were unclean and never touched them. But God told Him, "Do not call something unclean if God has made it clean" (Acts 10:15). God's message to Peter also extended to everyone. No longer was a Gentile to be considered unclean.

God's people had been cleared to eat any creature or plant on this earth back in the time of Noah: "All the animals of the earth, all the birds of the sky, all the small animals that scurry along the ground, and all the fish in the sea will look on you with fear and terror. I have placed them in your power. I have given them to you for food, just as I have given you grain and vegetables. But you must never eat any meat that still has the lifeblood in it" Genesis 9:2-4 (NLT).

Where did the term "unclean food" even come from? God gave Moses the laws on clean and unclean food in Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14:3-20 (and the texts are almost identical). There are a few theories about why these laws were created if God abolished them later. I lean on the side of symbolism. God gave them those strict laws on what was clean and unclean to help teach them how to live.

If I were to create a list of what God says we can eat based on this Scripture, it would include grain, fruits, vegetables, and protein (various meats). Any animal must be drained of its blood, but that's fine with me. So this is what we can and should be eating.

I often hear the statement in my mind, "Don't call unclean what God has made clean" when I'm getting ready to eat, and it helps me shift into gratitude for what God has provided, but can I do that in good conscience when what's on the menu is pizza or a delicious takeout burger? I'm still deciding. 

We have a lot more on our plates today. I don't think they had butter back then, and we have it as a staple in our house. I don't think they had things like half and half and coffee creamer, and even the milk they drank from animals wasn't processed. I doubt they even consumed milk as much as we do. According to the CDC, 79% of adult Americans consume approximately 3 cups of dairy a day.

Could the Way I Eat Be Sinful?

Gluttony is a sin, so I ask myself, "Am I a glutton?" The definition of gluttony is habitual greed or excess in eating (definition from Oxford Languages on Google). By definition of the word, no, but I've wondered if we as a nation are gluttons. Don't we overconsume everything from television, social media, food, and drinks daily? My answer is yes, but is God's answer yes? There are no data charts on what God considers a healthy diet, so we have to use other principles to determine His answer; as I stated before, I've found this to be extremely difficult.

I have a theory that our toxic world may be a result of our sinful living. God had given us dominion over the earth (Genesis 1:26-31), but we've corrupted it. So what do we do?

There is yet to be a foolproof plan for healthy eating, the perfect diet, or a one-size-fits-all solution, but I suggest that if this matter concerns you, as it does me, you bring it to the Lord.

As I have found with all my struggles, the answer is found in discerning our hearts and intentions. So, let me provide you with a list of questions you can ask yourself, and I will share my answers with you:

1. Why are you eating what you are eating?

2. Do you eat and drink for pleasure?

3. Do you eat as a part of the fellowship?

4. Are you eating to support your body?

I will answer these in order. Most of the time, I eat what I eat because my body needs food, which has told me that I'm hungry. Sometimes, I eat and drink for pleasure, but usually during holidays or special occasions. I eat as a part of the fellowship and know that Jesus did, too. I am doing my best to eat foods that support my body, although this process takes time because many of us today have specific food intolerances, so it's not the same for everyone.

God has blessed me with understanding in this struggle with healthy eating and reminded me once again that He is God and that as long as my heart belongs to Him and I long for His daily bread, I can leave worry far behind. I'm not sure I'm cured of reencountering any of these food battles, but that's okay because I'll always be a work in progress on this side of heaven, just like everyone else.

Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/PeopleImages

Vanessa Luu is a wife, mother, and faith-based writer. She speaks and writes to believers to encourage them to live authentically with God.