Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

What You Think about Food

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

What You Think about Food

Article excerpt

When is a vanilla milkshake not just a vanilla milkshake?

When it's part of an experiment to determine whether the thoughts we think about food - whether we think it's good for us or bad for us - actually have an effect on the experience we have with that food.

In the milkshake experiment, Alia Crum, a clinical psychologist, created a giant vanilla shake, then divided it into two batches - with startlingly different labels. One telegraphed indulgence, the other low-calorie.

The result? Those who believed they were drinking the ultra-high- calorie shake had a physiological response similar to the response that would be produced if they actually had consumed a high-calorie shake. And although Ms. Crum wants to do more research, she says she would posit that the effects of food are certainly connected to mind- set (see NPR, "Mind Over Milkshake: How Your Thoughts Fool Your Stomach," April 14).

But what if the effects of food were entirely thought-based? That's a thought-shift to be sure, although it's one backed up by the Bible.

In one notable example, pottage, tainted by poisonous gourds, threatened the life of the sons of the prophets (see II Kings 4:38- 41). But when they cried out in fear, Elisha, who understood the total power of God, proved the poison harmless. The men, and their meal, were saved.

In another example, Jesus fasted for 40 days with no apparent physical effects - no weakness, illness, or loss of function (see Luke 4:1-14). In fact, when Jesus returned from his fast, the Bible says he returned "in the power of the Spirit" - strengthened, not spent.

Of course, we can't know how these two men prayed, but my own prayers about various food issues have shown me that one spiritual fact, which enables each of us to gain dominion over food, is that God is Love itself. Divine Love is our constant gardener, and we are Love's plantings: sustained by Love's nourishment, growing strong under its watchful attentions, turned naturally toward Love's life- giving light.

Understanding this isn't just practical; it's essential. Feeling a conviction that it's divine Love that governs and sustains our lives removes the effects of other so-called powers. …

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