I took this subtitle (The Influence of Tradition) from an article that I came across. I think it brings more clarity to the point that I want to make in this blog. My original subtitle was: Where Did It All Begin? Speaking of health disparity in this country, and particularly among African Americans. You may have come across some of my work that talks about how I had to overcome tradition in order to get to the place where I walked down a safe path that the Holy Spirit was leading me down in terms of my eating habits and moving away from traditional foods that would have exacerbated health problems in my body.
Here is an excerpt from the article. Click on the link below if you want to read the entire article:
"Making the word of God of none effect through your traditions: and many such like things ye do." -- ST. MARK vii.13.
Such was our Lord's word to the Pharisees; and if we turn to our own life it is difficult if not impossible for us fully to estimate the influence which traditions exercise upon it.
They (traditions) are so woven into the web of thought and opinion, and daily habits and practices, that none of us can claim to escape them. Moreover, as any institution or society grows older, this influence of the part which is handed on from one generation to another tends to accumulate; so that the weight of it lies heavier on us in an old place than in a new one, and it is obvious that there is both loss and gain in this.
The bible talks about the tradition of men that makes God’s word ineffective (Mark 7:13). In this passage, Jesus is talking to the religious leaders because they were making the word of God invalid by their tradition of teaching that salvation was a result of following rules, regulations, and works instead of believing in Jesus Christ as the Son of God, who came to give His life as a substitute for our sin by dying on the cross. Jesus was basically telling them that He was the redeemer and had fulfilled the law with its rules and regulations. Jesus told them that they were making the word of God ineffective in people lives. That salvation was not by works, but a free gift of God’s love through grace (favor that we didn’t deserve and could not earn, but nevertheless, was given to us because of God’s love for us), bestowed upon us through Jesus Christ. He basically told them that God’s word couldn’t work for them as long as they held onto tradition. Likewise, I also knew that God’s word would not work for me as long as I wanted to eat what I wanted to eat, when I wanted to eat it and how much I wanted to eat, no matter how much I prayed over my food. The Holy Spirit was showing me a safer path to take that would promote health and healing in my body, and that came with maturity and embracing wisdom.
In addition, all through the bible God talks about health and healing but so few of us are experiencing health and healing. For the most part, we experience sickness and chronic disease and subsequently premature death. Experts tells us that we are dying from diseases that are preventable. I encourage you to get to a place where you “shift your thinking, shift your feelings and emotions, shift your decisions or the choices you make, shift your actions, shift your habits, which will create a newness of character so you can get to the right destination in life”…yes I know, a lot of shifting! I borrowed it from a prominent Pastor. He said it so succinctly.
I read somewhere and it resonated with me, that in order for transformation to take place we have to carefully consider the truth. I came across some truths that I discovered while reading a booklet that my daughter apparently picked up from a plantation that she and another family member toured a few years ago in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and I wanted to share it with you so we can understand better how we got to the place we’re in regards to nutrition and why I want to encourage you to consider shifting your thinking so you can get to a right destination.
The book has recipes that originated from slavery time as well as a history as to how “soul” food came about and basically it stems from slavery time where the slaves were not allowed to eat the best. The best was given to the slave owners. The slaves were given the parts of the animal that the slave owners didn’t want. Parts such as the intestines, the pig’s feet, basically most, if not all, of the internal organs, including the brain. The slaves, apparently, received only choice pieces of meat on holidays and they did so because during the 4th of July for example, the slave owners didn’t want to be outdone by other slave owners. They wanted to put on a good show. So they gave the slaves the best so the salve owners could look good. So as a result, our foreparents had to eat what was given to them and created recipes to “stretch” the meals and to make do. As I was reading the history and looking over the recipes, I was dismayed. Although this knowledge was not new to me, but reading the details were a bit overwhelming. I thought to myself, so this is how it all got started. Poor food choices and the health risks that came along with it. High blood pressure. Diabetes. Obesity. Strokes, etc. It all stem from way back in the day and subsequently passed down through the generations. We inherited a food culture from our foreparents. We learned to cook the way we currently cook because it was passed down to us. In their defense, they did what they could with what they had. But we can do better! We can make better choices because we have better opportunities and more knowledge than our foreparents! The comfort foods that they passed down are quite delicious, but far from healthy. Don’t get me wrong, the fast foods and processed foods today are no better! But as far as our foreparents’ dietary choices are concerned, a huge part of what we inherited came down from previous generations and according to my limited research, that’s where it all began. And of course, the book points out that, back then, as now, food is how we say welcome to my home. It’s how we say I care. It’s how we show love, but as I’ve discovered over the years, and it began with me discovering some truths in my own life that little, if any thought goes into asking questions such as: Am I investing in my health or am I enabling a disease process? Should I continue the dietary habits of my foreparents? Is what I’m eating leading me to my weight loss goals, and ultimately good health? Will it promote health or sickness and disease? Is it good for my body? Will it protect my cell life? Health begins at the cellular level. I used to say that good health starts in the kitchen, but really it starts with understanding our identity in Christ and from that relationship with Christ, will come all the wisdom and strength to make a shift in our thinking so we can get to a healthier place. So I guess I’m challenging you to consider a generational shift away from traditional eating habits and our modern day processed and fast foods so that you can fuel your body with the right nutrients so that you and your family can have a positive health outcome. If you want a starting place, I encourage you to avail yourself to the resources on my website. They will not only point you down a right path in terms of healthy foods, but they will help to strengthen your inner man so you can make that generational shift so that you and your children might live healthier lives, not just physically, but spiritually as well (Deut. 30:19).
Helping you to discard your past so you can embrace your future,
Changing Mindsets, Changing Lives