Double-cheese Danger

Abstemious monks follow divine dietary plan

“When we see news clips of a shark swimming near a beach, it scares us into not going near that beach,” says Liz Weinandy, a registered dietitian at Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center. But “what we should be scared of is double cheeseburgers, french fries and large amounts of sugary beverages” (, Oct. 3). Poor eating habits occupy a major blind spot for most Americans. This fact is not without spiritual ramifications.

Proof abounds that abstaining from rich food is healthy. The Church offers evidence of a divine dietary plan via the example of her monks. Trappists fully abstain from meat as regards four-footed animals. While living as lacto-ovo-vegetarians, they may sometimes eat fish; their diet mostly consists of milk, eggs, vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds, and grain products.

Trappist monks are remarkably long-lived and free of disease. Their abstemious fare, along with prayer, exercise, and fresh air, lengthens their lives through avoidance of chronic disease. In history many great epidemics and plagues that ravaged the neighboring countryside were stopped at the gates of an abbey (see A Popular History of the Catholic Church in the United States, by John O’Kane Murray).

The Catechism of the Catholic Church, #2288, reads, “Life and physical health are precious gifts entrusted to us by God. We must take reasonable care of them.”

Richard M. DellOrfano spent ten years on a cross-country pilgrimage following Christ’s instruction to minister without possessions. He is completing his autobiography: Path Perilous, My Search for God and the Miraculous.

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