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St Basil the Great – Thoughts on Food !

“…whatever is calculated to relieve our need with the least trouble, this is to be employed. This the Lord Himself made evident on the occasion when He was host to the weary multitude lest they should faint on the way (Mt. 15:32), as it is written. Though He could have enhanced the miracle in the desert by using costly appurtenances, yet so frugal and simple was the repast He prepared for them that the bread was of barley and besides, the bread, there was only a little fish. He does not mention drink, since water which nature provides for all was sufficient for their need. But, according to the advice of Paul to Timothy, even this beverage should be declined if it be injurious to anyone because of physical weakness. Nothing, in fact, that is known to be harmful should be partaken of, for it is not reasonable to take food for nourishment which from within us would make war upon the body and hinder it in the accomplishment of the precept. This same principle ought to be our guide in accustoming the mind to shun what is harmful, however alluring it may be. Futhermore, by all means, we should prefer whatever is most easily procurable. We should not concern ourselves with costly fare and seeking extravagant foods with expensive sauces on the pretext of continency. On the contrary, we should choose whatever is easy to obtain in each region, cheap, and available for general consumption, and use only those imported food that are necessary to sustain life, like olive oil and similar products. In addition, if something would be useful for the necessary relief of the sick, this too, is permitted, if it can be procured without difficulty, disturbance, or distraction.” St Basil the Great. The Long Rules, 19.

How different this is from the ideal that the world presents…Instead of simple, locally produced food, it exalts delicacies imported from afar. Instead of healthy, basic products, it present chemically processed and enhanced foods which essentially are harmful for our health…

If only at least fasting Christians would choose simple products from their own region! Then perhaps local farmers would continue their work….But no! The world has taught us to “need” “soy chicken” and “fasting cookies”, full of various harmful chemicals.

Even when we are not fasting, we prefer what the world and the enemies of God set before us: Processed, sugary or artificially sweetened foods that result in diabetes at best, heart disease as its sequel, or worse yet, neurological !

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