Jesus, The Good Nutritionist?

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"Jesus, the Good Nutritionist" by Monica Portogallo (CatholicMom.com)

FreelyPhotos.com, CC0 Public Domain

As a little girl, I got excited about commonalities I shared with my crushes. Michael had two older sisters like I did! Jimmy watched the same TV show I watched last night! It was silly, but it made me excited to think that I had a connection with them, however trivial.

It may be this same sentiment that led me, as a nutritionist, to the idea of Jesus being “The Good Nutritionist.” Sure, Jesus’s primary mission was not to improve His people’s physical health through their food choices, but I like to think he was at least hinting at it. Let’s explore a few passages.

In Matthew 4:4, Jesus reminds Satan that man does not live on bread alone, of course referring to the importance of God over the flesh and worldly things like food. Still, he might have also been encouraging nutritional balance and variety in food choices …

In John 6:1-15, Jesus multiplies barley loaves and fish, feeding thousands and leaving more leftovers than he started with. Certainly, this miracle demonstrated His glory and foreshadowed the eternal banquet in heaven. He could have also been promoting soluble fiber from barley and omega-3 fatty acids from fish …

In multiple passages, such as Luke 22:19 and 24:30, Jesus breaks bread and shares it with his disciples. Sure, this tells us about the nature of the Eucharist, the importance of fellowship, and other spiritual truths. Perhaps Jesus was also teaching us about portion control …

In John 21:1-14, the resurrected Jesus invites his disciples to eat breakfast with Him. This act demonstrated that He was in fact resurrected and not some kind of ghost, but we might surmise that Jesus was also encouraging his followers to eat a healthy breakfast …

Finally, in the gift of the Eucharist, turning bread and wine into His very Body and Blood, He elevates food and drink. Now food can be not only a source of physical nourishment, but of spiritual nourishment as well, giving life to our souls. And just maybe, He was also letting us know that carbs in moderation are not “bad” for us.

I don’t know if thinking of Jesus as “The Good Nutritionist” would be helpful to anyone besides me. After all, He has many more meaningful and poetic titles, like “The King of kings” and “The Good Shepherd.” For me, though, thinking of Jesus as The Good Nutritionist gives me another way to bring Christ into my work at a secular institution. I like to think it helps me to be a good nutritionist.


Copyright 2018 Monica Portogallo

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About Author

Monica Portogallo is a wife, mother, and registered dietitian nutritionist who does her best not to miss the lessons God sends to her through the joys and struggles of daily life. She lives in California.

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