Eat your five a day! (28-08-20)
A Bible Reading (Daniel 1: 8 -16) Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way. Now God had caused the official to show favour and compassion to Daniel, but the official told Daniel, “I am afraid of my lord the king, who has assigned your food and drink. Why should he see you looking worse than the other young men your age? The king would then have my head because of you.” Daniel then said to the guard, “Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see.” So he agreed to this and tested them for ten days. 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.
As many of you will know well by now, I am a keen gardener, particularly when it comes to fruit and veg. My goal in life is to have something fresh that I can pick for the meal table all year round. At present, I am harvesting onions, broccoli, kale, sweet corn, runner beans and courgettes from the garden and carrots, tomatoes, salad leaves and herbs from pots on the patio with brussels, leeks and peppers still to come in the autumn and winter.
There is nothing better than vegetables that were still growing an hour or so before we ate them. These are so delicious when eaten raw or lightly steamed rather than boiled. This gives them a crunchy texture and a better flavour as well as preserving more of their natural goodness such as vitamins, enzymes and other nutrients. I’m not advocating the latest de-tox, but this can nevertheless be a real help for reducing high cholestrol and it is even beneficial as part of an anti-cancer regime. What is more, it is biblical!
Daniel and his three friends, Mishael, Hananiah and Azariah, (better known to us as Meshach, Shadrach and Abednego of fiery furnace fame) had been taken captive and deported to Babylon by King Nebuchadnezzar. The king had selected a few young men showing aptitude and ability to serve in his palace and learn the language and literature of the Babylonians. They were to be trained for three years, and after that they were to enter the king’s service. The king assigned them a daily amount of food and wine from the king’s table, but Daniel chose a simpler food regime, which was to prove the healthier option.
Now I must point out that we are not vegetarians at the Rectory. We enjoy vegetarian cooking but we also eat plenty of eggs, fish and meat. However, we do recognise the value of our ‘five a day’, or in our case probably nearer ten or twelve a day. Like Daniel and his friends, we have found that this kind of diet plays an important part in keeping us well-nourished, fit and healthy. This is a simple life choice on our part. Home-growing is rewarding and I believe it can play a significant role in the fight against not only cancers, diabetes and heart disease but also Coronavirus.
Heavenly Father, we thank you for providing natural nourishment within creation to keep us fit and well. We ask for your blessing on the produce of our gardens and the crops of our farms for the well-being of our community. Amen.