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If you were going to make a case for vegetarianism from the Bible, one of the passages you would use would be what I have been reading in my Bible study for the past two days. It's from Daniel Chapter 1. Here is the story.
When the Babylonians carried the Jews into captivity, the Babylonian king picked the brightest and healthiest Jewish boys to get a higher education and train them to be leaders. He gave orders that they be well taken care of, including eating food prepared for the king's own household. Four of the boys, led by Daniel, asked the official in charge for different food. At first he refused. After all, the king had ordered the best food in the kingdom. If these boys ate something else and they weren't as healthy as the other boys, then he would be in big trouble.
Daniel convinced the official in charge to try a test. He and his three friends would eat only vegetables and drink only water for 10 days. At the end of the test, the official would compare their health. Here is the result of the test, "At the end of the ten days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food. So the guard took away their choice food and the wine they were to drink and gave them vegetables instead."
Someone wrote a book based on this passage advocating vegetarianism and calling their plan the Daniel Diet. In my pre-BTD days, I tried to follow this plan, but eliminating meat always made me sick. The best I could do was to eat meat only once a day, but when I did that I gained weight.
So now, with my understanding of the BTD and my Type O body, what do I make of this passage of scripture?
First, if those Jewish boys were type B secretors, as Dr. D says Jews historically are, then they didn't need a lot of meat for optimum health. The passage doesn't say that this is how everyone should eat. It was an experiment for a particular group of boys.
Second, some translations use the words "rich food" instead of "royal food". That conjures up several interesting mental images - high fat gravies, high sugar pastries, and low fiber, high calorie delicacies. That would make sense. Even a Type O would do better on vegetables and water than on "rich" food.
The study guide I was using this week, had a third possibility. When Daniel talked with the official in charge, he said he didn't want to "defile himself" with the king's food. This indicates that the food had been offered to pagan idols. To eat food devoted to false gods would have broken God's law and compromised Daniel's commitment to God.
So I come away from this passage with a couple of thoughts. While my Type O diet is not all vegetables, it is none-the-less a simple diet. Meats are served without fancy sauces. Vegetables are eaten raw or lightly cooked and eaten with a little olive oil. Fruits and nuts are eaten in their natural form. Like Daniel and his friends, my health is better if I stay far away from rich foods.
While food offered to idols isn't an issue in my culture, there is a tendency in my culture to let food and health become like gods. There are people around me who live to eat. Thoughts of food are the focus of their day. There are also people around me who worship beauty and fitness. This passage would warn me against those extremes.
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