Christian Devotions

Stories & Poems by a Minister's Daughter


Foods in the Bible

Picture of Bible

Biblical Foods: Flatbread, Locust, Barley, Beans, Corn, Dates, Fish, Figs

"In the Garden of Diet Good & Diet Evil"

It's rather interesting that the first two major events in the Bible which served to reshape mankind were centered around food. First was the Fall in the Garden of Eden involving a 'mystery' fruit. The second dynamic event was the slaying of Abel whose meat sacrifice to God was more pleasing than Cain's.

Foods definitely play a big role in biblical events; they also hold symbolic meanings in our every day lives. Over the centuries, mankind has tenaciously studied the nutritional values of foods. Those highest in nutritional values can be traced to the foods that were available during the earliest of man's days on earth - nutritional gifts from God, the Great Provider. The following are all power-foods referenced in the Bible that can assist with weightloss and weight maintenance.

Unleavened Bread - Flatbread. Basically, unleavened bread is flatbread that hasn't been risen - which many Christians currently identify as a communion wafer. Leavening agents, such as yeast, are added to the bread dough which produces a carbon dioxide gas by fermentation, thus making the dough rise. Unleavened bread was served at many feasts and celebrations mentioned in the Bible.

The Law outlines such recipe standards in Exodus 29:2"...And unleavened bread, and cakes unleavened tempered with oil, and wafers unleavened anointed with oil: of wheaten flour salt thou make them."

I have a recipe for unlevened bread if you care to read that [posted at Sharen Taylor Griffin,]: My Recipe for Unleavened Bread

Locust: One of the scariest moments as a child that I experienced was when the minister spoke of John the Baptist eating wild honey and locust. All I could picture was a wild man with bug legs sticking out of his lips. I was scarred, no doubt. It superseded Jonah in the whale's belly.

The Webster's Dictionary provides several definitions of locust: 1. short-horned grasshopper; 2. cicada; 3. any of various hard-wooded leguminous trees as carob and black locust and honey locust; 4. the wood of a locust tree.

Carob is defined as 1. a Mediterranean evergreen leguminous tree with red flowers; 2. a carob pod and its sweet pulp.

As for myself, I would rather think that John enjoyed the sweet pulp from a carob pod (i.e. locust) with his wild honey - but whatever form the locust came in, one thing's for sure, that being - John sure thought it was tasty!

Barley: Inky dinky barley boo! A one-half cup of cooked barley contains about 97 calories and is low in fat and high in fiber which can assist in lowering bad cholesterol levels and protect against certain types of cancer. Rich in iron, folate and niacin, barley makes a healthy part of a weight loss plan.

Toss a bit of barley boo into your pot of soup, or stain and flavor the liquid with lemon, a drink that is renown to be soothing to invalids. In addition, fiber rich barley can keep you feeling fuller for long periods of time.

Beans:: Packed with fiber, an excellent source of carbohydrates, iron rich - beans are a stellar food when it comes to dieting and healthy weight loss results. A single serving has the power to tame your appetite for hours.

A one-cup serving of 'Pinto Beans' has only about 240 calories! They are not only filling, they also contain nerve-soothing B vitamins, more than 2/3 of a day's folate requirements, a good dose of fiber and are iron-rich.

There's more! Health studies indicate that men who include pinto beans and other high-fiber foods in their diet may obtain as much as a 60-point reduction in their total cholesterol. 

Some other varieties of beans to try are green beans, wax beans, soybeans, miso beans, winged beans, yard-long beans, kidney beans, navy beans, lima beans, pink beans, French beans, Great Northern beans, broad-beans, black beans, garbanzo beans, jumping beans (huh?) - the list is almost er....endless! Bean sprouts are another option for your diet plan and can be grown on your kitchen window sill.

Corn: Isn't it amazing that one of the most popular foods in the Bible is ultra popular today? Corn is easily grown, easily harvested and easily stored. Dried, canned, frozen, fresh - made into rich dishes, from corn chowder to corn pudding. When eaten with beans and lentils, corn forms a complete protein, taking the place of meat in the diet.

Dates: Enjoy five large fresh dates for about 115 calories. Dates are practically fat free and sodium free, as well as a good source of fiber and iron. Dates can also be enjoyed dried and are quite popular in date nut cake and fruitcake recipes during holidays.

Figs: As a Christian, I would imagine that you already know that fig leaves make awesome outfits! Other than being coined as 'mankind's first designer outfit', figs are a power food. Due to their high cost, and the fact that they deteriorate rapidly, figs are generally enjoyed in their dried state rather than fresh - but there's nothing quite like the taste of a plump, ripened, sweet fig!

Jesus was certainly aware of their lushness and once cursed a barren fig tree which immediately shriveled and died. Was it because he was hungry and there was no fruit? The act of course, was symbolic, to teach us that we should be fruitful for God. Matthew 21:18-22.

Fish: Only the mention of sheep supersedes the use of fish in the Bible. Well, it's actually a pretty close race! God compares mankind so many times with sheep, yet many outstanding moments defined in the Bible involved fish:

- Jesus feeding the multitude, the coin in the fish's mouth for taxes due, the Apostles returning to fishing after Jesus' death when He commanded that they be 'fishers of men'.  Even the Christian sign is that of the fish.

Fish is lower in calories and fat than any other meat-protein. You can enjoy a good amount of fish in your weight loss plan; it's filling, tasty, easy to prepare and economical.

Flour, Spices, Wheat, Pulse, Onions, Pomegranate, Olives, Olive Oil, Wine, Mandrakes - Come & Dine!

"In the Garden of Diet Good & Diet Evil"

There's an old Christian song that I'm very fond of entitled, 'Come and Dine'.  The words talk about Jesus having a table spread where the saints of God are fed, He invites His chosen people come and dine...."

The King's Table is always full of good things for us!  What would we think if we went to His table and found a heap of problems there? How would we feel if something looked inviting, and we discovered it was something very bad rather than good?  We certainly wouldn't be very happy. In fact, as arrogant as it might sound, we 'expect' only good things at The King's Table.

The King's Table provides us with an excellent example of how we should set our 'Daily Diet Table'. When we come to dine, we need to see healthy faire before us, nothing tempting or too dangerous to our bodies to ponder eating. Life is always good - at The King's Table!

Garlic: One of my most memorable childhood memories centers around garlic. At the church we attended, there were several members who lived to eat garlic and onions. The combination was combustible! I always dreaded entering the tiny little church in the woods because I knew what it smelled like on the inside. The fumes always set my seat to squirming and my mother to throwing mildly threatening looks at me. I pondered how all the paint remained on the walls. But this was before the invention of Super Mints!

Garlic holds many powerful health benefits (in addition to its powerful fumes after ingested). Enjoy at will, but do make sure you have some of those Super Mints on hand.

Flour: The soft fine powder we define as flour can be created from multiple foods - from cereal grains such as bran or wheat, edible seeds such as sunflowers (including some acorns), even from dried or processed fish. Flour contains a good deal of calories per cup - about 400. If you're enjoying a slice of pie, about one-half of the calories may be derived from the crust.

Grapes: Another popular Biblical food that is ultra popular in Today's World. Grapes are so versatile for cooking needs - from jams to juice. Grapes grow readily in the woods, along the edges of highways, and near bodies of water.

Next time you take a walk in the woods, try searching for some. The patches that Tom and I have been fortunate to discover generally contain grapes with tough skins - mostly wild Mustang grapes. However, they make the best juice and jams. But please be mindful that wild things feed wild critters so if you think the wild food supply is sparse, it's best to pass it by. On the other hand, if you think the generous bounty of wild food will rot - then by all means be a gatherer of the wild things.

A great diet trick is to place a few grapes into your freezer. Remove when frozen and roll into a bit of sugar. The frozen grapes take a while to enjoy and contain a mere 55 calories per cup plus calories for added sugar.

Honey packs a unique flavor to foods, and tastes much different than table sugar. One tablespoon contains about 60 calories. Though high in calories, this natural gift from God's Good Earth holds more sweetening powers than the white stuff.

Try adding honey to tea, coffee, milk, toast, biscuits and cereal.

Honey Warning: Honey should never be given to small children as it's been associated with infant death syndrome. Check with your doctor for detailed information regarding honey dangers and kids.

Leeks: My father used to grow the most beautiful leeks in the valley! Leeks are tall, with a root that is long and chunky, faintly resembling a flattened onion or a frilly vegetable alien.

The taste is between an onion and garlic - quite unique. Leeks are extremely low in calories and can help safeguard against certain types of cancer.

Lentils: Have you ever noticed that sometimes when you eat, certain foods tend to keep you feeling full longer?  That's a good example of the definition of 'Satiety'.  Sometimes, reaching Weight Loss Success can be as simple as incorporating 'filling foods' into your diet plan. Lentils is at the top of the list when it comes to Satiety Powers!

Lentils are also complex carbs and fit well for those on low carb diets. As a sidebar on SIMPLE CARBS, beware of going overboard in restricting your carbs. Fruit and milk are also considered simple carbs and are a vital part of the daily diet. In addition, carbs provide energy. With all the lights cut off in your house, you sure need a backup candle in place - so don't forget the lentils.

Wine: Oh the woes of wine and roses! Over the span of my life, I've heard much heated debate regarding the definition of 'wine' in the Bible. Was it real wine? Wine was commonly known as the first squeezing from the grapes, and Strychnine the last. Was drinking wine a sin? Is drinking wine a sin?

With all debacles aside, both grape juice and wine are associated with many health benefits. Some of the fondest stories in the Bible place the focus on wine - from Noah to That Great Wedding Feast. Your interpretation of the meaning of wine in the Bible of course, should be between you and God.

Wheat: The moist breeze funneling in from the Mediterranean Sea mixing with the warm climate set forth a perfect land cradled with wheat, barley and other precious grains. Wheat was a vital staple in Biblical times - the mainstay of the daily diet.

With all the talk of low carb dieting, people have become acutely aware of the power that carbs play in the daily diet plan. Wheat is one of nature's complex carbs, so when shopping at the market, to get your best nutritional buys, look for: wheat bread, wheat pasta, sweet rolls - WAIT!!! That's...WHEAT rolls, as well as wheat flour for preparing recipes from scratch, and cream of wheat to start your diet breakfast off with a bang!

Spices were precious commodities in Biblical days. Trading was commonplace and often translated into great wealth for those pitching spice abroad.

Spices are a fantastic way to bring out the flavor in your boring weight loss plan. Turn Plain Jane to Calamity Jane by sprinkling a bit of lemon pepper onto that dull chicken breast. See Jane cook! Cook Jane cook! 

Weight Loss Tip: Sprinkle cinnamon and no calories on your baked sweet potato, then add a couple of packs of sugar substitute. Or, dust your carrots with rosemary. Experiment to create diet delicacies!

Raisins: These are basically dried grapes, traditionally sun-dried to bring out the sweetness in the final product. Raisins are fortified with iron, low in fat and contain zero cholesterol. They add a tasty bite to stuffing, fruit compotes, breads and meat dishes.

Pulse refers to a porridge in the Bible made from the edible seeds of various leguminous crops such as beans, lentils and peas OR with meal. Pulse, like corn, was often parched.  Many times, pulse was sopped with the fingers from wooden vessels at mealtime.

Pomegranates: Some may argue that the forbidden fruit was a pomegranate rather than an apple. Like apples, pomegranates are hugely symbolic in the Bible. Priestly robes were embossed with a ring of pomegranates meshed with bells. Like mandrakes, pomegranates were associated with fertility.

The pomegranate looks like a blood orange and is filled with tiny clusters of juice, each cluster centered with a seed. Pomegranates contain some of the sweetest, tastiest juice, but so many seeds and rind that a good amount of effort must go into the eating process. However, it's definitely worth all the work!  Other benefits for weight loss: A whole pomegranate contains a mere 100 calories and takes quite a long while to consume. The pomegranate is almost fat and sodium free. The seeds make an excellent dietary source of fiber, but they can add bitterness to the palate.

Onions: Used liberally for seasoning powers.  Keep in mind that one-half cup of raw onion contains about 30 calories. Compare that to ten small onion rings that have been deep-fat-fried containing 300 or more calories.  That's ten times the calories due to a vat of fat - about 17 grams.

Olives: Olive trees thrive in heat, and there's a lot of that to be found in the Holy Land. Gnarled branches, feathery gray leaves, stout fruit - this strong-horse lives to an ancient, ripe old age - generally about 500 years. Who needs a parrot when you have an olive tree??

Another great thing about olives is that a little goes a very long way. Five large black OR green olives contain a scant 25 calories. The next time that you're craving a fresh salad, chop up a few and toss into your salad OR pitch some onto your baked potato OR over your baked fish.  One health note: The green olive contains more than twice the sodium (salt) as the black olive, so beware if you are on a sodium-restricted diet.

Mandrakes: Much debate has centered around this frequently referenced Biblical food in regards to, "Just what are they???" Aphrodisiac? Components for magical potions? Fertility aids?

Most Biblical scholars tend to resign to the theory that the mandrake mentioned in the Bible is akin to a potato-apple, pale orange in color, sometimes renown as Satan's Apple by many living in the regions of Palestine and other areas surrounding Jerusalem - where the mandrake can still be found flourishing. There are many varieties of mandrakes - reaching 2 feet in length or more. The forked root of the mandrake resembles a human body hung in suspension - which adds to the aura surrounding this rather mysterious plant, actually a Mediterranean herb of the nightshade family, supporting white or purple flowers.

The Hebrew translation is 'love plant', which Leah can perhaps attest to!  One reference in the Bible speaks of how Rachel bargained for her sister Leah's mandrakes which had been harvested by her son, Ruben, in the wheat fields. For her bargaining power, Leah ended up producing another son.

Inspirational Writings by Sharen

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