Be what you eat

By Rev. Fr. Eva Chuma Nnamene

Comments from last week's edition were only complimentary. In other words, there is no unfinished business from last week's presentation. So we simply go straight to this week's theme which, by the way, is very interesting: "be what you eat".

Once upon a time, eating fatty food, or being fat was part of looking good which was an evidence of good living or richness: "ndi uwaoma". At that time, one who was slim was seen as "okporoko" - or better put, "onye uwaojoo".

However for some decades now looking trimmed has become part of looking good, and thus, the evidence of "ndi uwaoma" changed as well; and had to include being slim. What changed too was the kinds of food people eat.

Different types of food give different kinds of nutrients to the body which include: proteins, potassium, calories, carbohydrates, vitamins and so on. These nutrients in the food enable growth and maintenance of the body. They help the body cells to do their different functions well.

In fact, to a large extent, the kinds of nutrition that different foods give have driven what people eat over the ages. And awareness of what each food gives, and what food is better at what point in life, have varied from place to place, generation to generation, and so on.

Because of the fact that different foods give different nutrients to the body, and because some nutrients are preferable to others at different stages in life, and for different purposes, some thinkers, health workers, nutritionist, scientists and so on, have championed certain ideologies about what people eat.

Ludwig Feuerbach amongst several others, for instance, said "man is what he eats". This is to say that what people eat, not only gives them all kinds of nutrition, but also can influence who they eventually become.

As Christians, we eat a special kind of food which is supposed to give us certain kinds of nutrients to shape our lifestyle. That food is the Holy Eucharist. And these are what it gives us: it gives us eternal life (John 6: 53-54).

It draws us to a closer union with our God. In such closeness we develop deeper love for God and for our brothers and sisters. Holy Communion increases God's sanctifying grace in our lives. It helps us to checkmate sin - that cankerworm that destroys our lives.

It reduces our inclination to sin, and enables us to be more inclined to do good. In it we answer God's call us to perfection (Matthew 5: 48). The Holy Eucharist is the catalyst in our process to perfection.

When we eat garlic or ginger, people around us get to know it by our mouth odor or our body scent. When we receive Holy Eucharist, how may somebody else know what we have received? The answer is clear: by our lifestyle. By what we do and say.

By what we look at, and what we look like. By what we wear. By where we go. By whom we go with. For truly the ancient wisdom says "by their fruits, you shall know them" (Matthew 7: 15-20). If you eat the Holy Eucharist, therefore, be what you eat!

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