In the Talmud, we read: "Rav Hisda says, "one who could eat barley bread, but eats wheat bread has violated "ba'al taschit." Rav Pappa says, one who could drink wine, but drinks beer, has violated ba'al taschit." (Shabbat (140b)) Later, the Talmud states: "But this isn't the case. ba'al taschit of one's body takes preference."
Ba'al Taschit is the Torah's prohibition on wasteful or pointless destruction of property or resources. Ravim Hisda and Pappa are saying that this prohibition, as it relates to what we eat, is based on the cost of the food. But, the Talmudic commentator looks at the concept through a new lens: how food affects our body. Is my diet healthy? Do I eat foods that are nutritional? Do I consume no more than my body needs? In terms of good health, in many cases, the diet composed of simpler foods is better than one containing processed foods. Over-consumption contributes to being overweight. Highly processed foods contain additives that simpler foods don’t. What I have found this week is that I feel much better eating less and eating simpler. I have dispensed with my overindulging, and eliminated the chips and dip. This is not to say that people who have food shortages are better off. It points to the fact that I eat too much, and eat the “wrong” things. My experience this week has reinforced what I already knew, and what the Talmud teaches: eating right is a top priority.