Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? ~ Matthew 6:25-26
Disciplines | Intentional Nutrition

Allowing oneself to be fed enables a woman to experience obedience and surrender as she yields control over some of her most basic needs and desires. It also allows for a daily reminder of her spiritual need and dependence.

A lifestyle characterized by intentional nutrition extends back throughout the ages as is testified even in the lives of Old Testament Saints (a classic example is found in Daniel 1) and carried out over the course of the ages through present time.

In the spirit of watchfulness and waiting, the discipline of Intentional Nutrition is offered to those who wish to embrace it in their repertoire of disciplines.

This discipline, is only partly intended to help make you more pleasing to others and therefore to yourself. Although weight loss is a likely consequence of living under healthy dietary disciplines, strictly speaking, this is not a diet or a weight-loss program at all.

It is instead best understood as a way of integrating spiritual discipline and an opportunity for obedience into one of the most routine aspects of your daily life. By investing the otherwise routine activity of eating with attention, you have the opportunity to elevate its meaningfulness.

In its difficulty and its intrusiveness, intentional nutrition resembles all other disciplines used here in its potential to provoke mindfulness. When following this discipline, or similar ones offered in other contexts, women throughout the ages have found that nutritional awareness promotes spiritual awareness illustrating, once again, the interconnectedness of the spirit and the body.
I find that it is far easier for me either over indulge or eat nothing at all than to live my life in simple obedience to the basic sustained guidelines that are given to me by the discipline of intentional nutrition. ~ j
This discipline has been researched, developed, and embraced by other women who have followed journeys of obedience that are very similar to those discussed in this site. Several of them would tell you that they have found that the discipline is a way of expressing how you should be fed: you will be given what you need and learn not to take more than has been offered to you. This womans story provides an illustration of the benefits she has received over time by following this discipline:
For me the beauty of this discipline, exists in the difficulty of it. While i have lost more weight on other more extreme diets, I also gained it back quickly because my heart was never transformed by any of them. I am slowly beginning to realize that by bending my spirit to what this discipline offers. I am being set free gradually and slowly from the passions and attachments i have held to food throughout my life. I am far from being freed from them, but this discipline at least gives me the opportunity to face them and deal with them. This probably remains as one of the most difficult disciplines for me to embrace as it requires patience not only with my inclination to indulge but also with my desire to lose weight quickly. Instead of just eating as i please or dieting my way, instead I am called to surrender daily to being fed. ~ j
This discipline, or approved modifications of it, is used by many women in our communities regardless of weight since its primary purpose is to nourish awareness, to help an obedient woman live fully in reverence, and to learn how to place a desire for momentary pleasure behind a desire to be obedient, since it is obedience that yields the greater pleasure.
Daily Sustenance

Morning: One piece of whole-grain toast with butter or margarine. One egg or one serving of dairy. One serving of fruit.

Lunch: Unlimited green, leafy vegetables; broccoli, zucchini (courgette), cauliflower, green beans, cucumber and/or tomatoes all without butter or oil. One serving of fruit. One serving of meat, fish or soy. One serving of dairy.

Supper: Unlimited vegetables (without butter/oil) as above. One serving of fruit. One serving of approved carbohydrates (may also be taken instead at midday; for portion size, see below). One serving of meat, fish or soy.

Throughout the day: One-half low-carb chocolate bar. One serving unsalted nuts. Three cups of coffee (artificial sweetener only). Two 12-ounce (355ml) diet sodas. One-half glass (90g) wine. Unlimited tea (artificial sweetener only).

Required: A minimum of 64 oz water and three vegetable servings and three fruit servings per day.
Serving sizes:

Dairy: 6oz (177ml) milk. 2 oz (60g) cheese, 6 oz (180g) cottage cheese (low-fat). 1 small container yoghurt (low-fat, natural).

Fruit: one medium apple or orange, 1/2 cantaloupe, 1/2 grapefruit, 6 kiwi slices, 6 strawberries or blackberries, 10 blueberries or raspberries, a small-medium banana. No raisins. No grapes. No watermelon. No applesauce, unless it's unsweetened without any additives beyond apples. The potato is not a fruit.

Meat/fish/soy: 3 oz (90g).

Nuts: 1 oz (30g).

Carbs: Basmati or brown rice (only), al dente pasta: 1/2 cup. Boiled new potatoes, 100g.

NOTES: Green leafy vegetables, lettuce, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, radicchio, spinach, etc. Cauliflower: 1 cup. Not lima beans, lentils, peas, chickpeas, etc. Mineral water, soda water, seltzer and other clear, calorie-free waters may be consumed without limit. Low-sodium salt or salt substitute only. Low-sodium soy sauce permitted in moderation (less than 1t).


Nutritional information © 2009 SSMA. All rights reserved

Note: Fasting is not necessarily going without food. A recommended companion to this resource is God's Chosen Fast by Arthur Wallis as well St. John Chrysostom's notes on Fasting.