Busted Halo

In Rendezvous with G-d, twentysomething blogger and journalist Monica Rozenfeld explores what it means as a young Jewish woman in New York City to have a relationship with G-d.

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July 19th, 2010

Have a little faith in what you eat


monica-faith-in-what-you-eat-flashMaking plans to move in with a kosher roommate has really made me start to think about what I will be eating when I make the move in a month. Recently, I visited a doctor who reminded me the importance of not cheating on my gluten-free diet. It causes all sorts of problems for me (fatigue, skin problems, allergies, and down the line can contribute to diabetes and certain types of cancers). Yet, for whatever reason, I have not taken it as seriously as I should.

It’s funny for me to think about how people who are ordered to follow diets by their doctors for health reasons often cheat, and many times go back to old eating habits, yet people who commit to a kosher lifestyle will never taste a shrimp cocktail or cheeseburger ever again. How come, when it comes to faith versus science, faith makes a much stronger impression?

If you were to read kosher laws in the Torah, you will notice there is no explanation for the reason G-d told Jews to keep a kosher diet. Jewish law, as an FYI, is separated in three categories — laws with rational explanations, laws which require rabbinic interpretation and laws that cannot possibly be explained and therefore must go by faith. Kosher laws fall in this third category according to many Jewish scholars. However, even without understanding why, people who choose to keep kosher remain committed, while people at risk of heart attack or diabetes continue to eat as they so choose. Why the difference?

My thinking comes down to two things: G-d and community. If G-d Himself commanded me to keep gluten-free, I’d probably listen. If my whole community decided to go gluten-free with me, I most/more likely would not cheat.

But, wait…

Have you ever seen a rabbi smoke a pack a day? Or, a religious woman overfeed her children artificial candy? I have. And while they are not breaking religious law per se, I’d like to bet they are hurting their physical bodies (G-d-given) which are required for us to be whatever it is G-d wanted us to be, right? And more so, if our doctor tells us to eat a certain diet, who is telling that doctor? Maybe, maybe, if we all saw words of wisdom as G-d-given, we might have a little more faith in our food choices and the advice our doctors give us too (with caution).

This, at least, is my new outlook on my gluten-free diet.

Although spirituality and faith can be difficult, it sometimes is easier for us humans to fall back on law (which is probably why it’s there in the first place) and ignore logic. What I am figuring out now, however, is our personal logic is holy too and should maybe more often than not be interpreted as our own personal religious law. I have now made a conscious decision to carve gluten-free diet into my 10 commandments knowing it’s what is intended for me. No logic required.

The Author : Monica Rozenfeld

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  • Jeanne

    I enjoyed this article very much. I am Catholic and had a similar experience during Lent this year where I ate very healthfully. Yet after Easter, I went right back to my old habits. I questioned why it was easier to stick with a better diet when it was tied to my prayer life. My question was, in itself, the answer. My prayer life. Thank you so much for this article. I will be sharing it with my online friends who also struggle to live more healthfully.

  • Helen

    Great piece! It might be interesting to try to view your symptoms as God’s way of telling you what not to eat. I happen to follow the same diet because I think it’s healthier in general, even though I don’t have such blatant symptoms. You just gave me a great reason not to cheat any more. Thanks!

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