Quotes about diet from throughout Christian History.
Some men, in truth, live that they may eat, like the irrational creatures [i.e., animals] ... but the Instructor enjoins us to eat that we may live. For food is not our business, nor is pleasure our aim. Both are simply on account of our life here, which the Word is training up to immortality. Therefore there is discrimination to be employed in reference to food.
It is to be simple, truly plain, suiting precisely simple and artless children—as ministering to life, not to luxury. And the life to which it guides consists of two things,health and strength, for which plain fare is most suitable. [Plain fare] is conducive both to digestion and lightness of body, from which come growth, health, and right strength—not strength that is wrong or dangerous and wretched, like that of athletes, which is produced by compulsory feeding.
We must therefore reject different varieties, which bring about various mischiefs, such as depraved habits of the body and disorders of the stomach. Taste is soon impaired by an unhappy art that of cookery and the useless art of making pastry.
People dare to call by the name of food their dabbling in luxuries, which glides into mischievous pleasures. Antiphanes, the Delian physician, said that this variety of victuals was the one cause of disease.
However, There are people who dislike the truth. Due to various absurd notions, they renounce moderation of diet and put themselves to a world of trouble to procure dainties from beyond the seas. (The Instructor II:1)
But let our diet be light and digestible, and suitable for keeping awake, unmixed with diverse varieties. Nor is this a point which is beyond the sphere of discipline ... sufficiency presides over a diet measured in due quantity, treats the body in a healthy way, and distributes something from its resources to those near us.
But the diet which exceeds sufficiency injures a man, deteriorates his spirit, and renders his body prone to disease. On top of this, those dainty tastes—which trouble themselves about rich dishes—drive to practices of bad reputation, daintiness, gluttony, greed, voraciousness, insatiability. Appropriate designations of such people as so indulge are flies, weasels, flatterers, gladiators, and the monstrous tribes of parasites. The one class surrenders reason, the other friendship, and the other life, for the gratification of the belly. They crawl on their bellies, beasts in human shape after the image of their father, the voracious beast. (The Instructor II:1)