Megachurch pastor Bill Hybels on healthy eating: Poor diet is a 'discipleship issue'

Willow Creek founding pastor Bill Hybels(Photo: Willow Creek)

Pastor Bill Hybels' new book, "Simplify: Ten Practices to Unclutter Your Soul," encourages people to lead healthier lives, including taking care of one's physical body.

Hybels shared different techniques for going from "Exhausted to Energized" and other changes of state and mind, and revealed that he is a follower of the Paleolithic Diet for physical wellness.

The Paleolithic Diet, or Paleo Diet, takes its name from the prehistoric, Paleolithic Era. The diet rejects all processed, pasteurised, harvested, or otherwise human-influenced items in favour of simple foods that were available tens of thousands of years ago.

The Willow Creek Community Church pastor follows a modified form of the diet, primarily eating fruit, meat, nuts, and vegetables. Hybels said that although the benefits of a proper diet are known, healthy eating is not often discussed in the church.

"The Apostle Paul says in one of his writings, 'Glorify God with your body,'" he told Charisma News in an interview published last week.

"Christ-followers, leaders or non-leaders, who are destroying their bodies by little activity, poor diet, lack of rest, and nobody talks about it, nobody thinks there's a discipleship issue here."

A 2012 American Journal of Preventive Medicine study predicted that by 2030, nearly half of the American population will be obese, leading to increases in health care costs and lower quality of life. A 2006 Purdue University study found that Baptists tend to be the heaviest religious group with a 30 per cent obesity rate. In comparison, Jews had a one per cent obesity rate, and Buddhist and Hindus were only 0.7 per cent obese.

Pastor Hybels said that culturally-acceptable, destructive behaviour should not be tolerated.

"I don't put this in the 'Hey, this is the cultural thing to do,'" he stated. "I say, 'The body is the temple of the Holy Spirit.' Why do we say that that imperative does not apply to us?"

"Simplify: Ten Practices to Unclutter Your Soul" is available now in online and physical retail stores.