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What would Jesus eat?

Posted by aviel on November 1, 2014

If you’ve been following this blog for a while you know of my deep interest in the fields of nutrition and dieting. So I just saw this interesting post on a new website, Galilee33.com, titled “What would Jesus eat?“.

Excerpt from the Conclusion:

We can’t say with any absolute degree of certainty exactly what Jesus ate, besides what has been related to us in the Gospels, but we do have reliable information as to what was commonly eaten during the times of Jesus and we see little reason to believe that Jesus didn’t partake of all these foods. For those of you who may be looking for dietary advice, this “diet” has a variety of wholesome foods that is in many ways similar to the famous Mediterranean Diet, that many nutritionists and doctors recommend.

I find this last part to be particularly interesting, both because I used to be a Christian, but also because of my interest in nutrition. I think that one of the key differences between today and during the time of Jesus (or insert any time-period before modern times) is that people ate a variety of wholesome foods, but with no added fats. People cherished fats, but they were mostly fats in whole foods and not added butter or oil (I guess except for olive oil, although not for frying). They also didn’t add sugar to everything, but ate sweet fruit and other food that naturally contain sugar. Today it seems like we do the opposite; we add fats and sugar to pretty much everything and we wonder why it’s hard to lose weight. Added fats and sugars are just empty calories, devoid of any nutritional value. We might add whole foods to the diet, but the main things we eat are usually commercially produced junk.

The similarities between the time of Jesus and the Mediterranean Diet is simple this: you ate what you could grow and had access in nature. For logistical reasons you simply couldn’t eat a lot of meat every day and you also couldn’t just open the fridge and get your sugar-fix just because you happened to crave something. You would eat communal meals that were naturally balanced, and in between meals you would simply snack on something available, such as fruit.

Another aspect people tend to forget is that back in the days when people were more religious, they would have all kinds of fast-days. Jesus himself fasted for 40 days in the desert, according to the New Testament. Religious Jews fast at least a few times a year, such as on Yom Kippur, but in my experience Hassidic Jews often fast far more often than that for spiritual reasons. In other religions as well people often practice fasting, such as the Muslim Ramadan when Muslims fast for 1 month, between sunrise and sunset.

So to sum up: what I believe today when it comes to diets, is that the best method is to eat a variety of whole-foods with little to no added fats or sugars, and if you have excess weight to lose you should practice intermittent fasting. The first person to launch this type of diet, long before it was popularized by the famous “5:2 Diet”, is Brad Pilon and his “Eat Stop Eat”-diet, based on fasting for weight loss. I would definitely recommend this practice as a relatively easy way to lose weight.


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