Hello hello! Let me tell you a little more about Grahamites, and why Bacigalupi might have decided to include them as the instance of Christianity in his lovely book.
According to Cindy Lobel, the Grahamites were those who followed Sylvester Graham and practiced “limiting their diets; avoiding meat, spices, condiments, and complex preparations of food; abstaining from alcohol; and bathing regularly.” Historically, those regulations appealed to people back in the nineteenth century as a contrast to eating greasy and/or processed foods. Ironically enough, the same restrictions help in the opposite conditions, like those in the world of The Windup Girl, where food is scarce and disease is rampant.
They took “you are what you eat” to a different level. For exampled the Grahamites argued, “Eat spicy foods … and you might have a spicy constitution, making you prone to the temptations of the day, including drinking, gambling, and prostitution” (Lobel). Their diet, to be sure, was bland. They promoted bran bread, the inspiration for Graham Crackers. This presents something of a contradiction, given that there’s plenty of alcohol in the book, but the sentiment of mostly unaltered food remains.
Of particular note is the vegetarianism. The book scarcely mentions meat and other animal products altogether, with the death of the megodont being the only major mention of humans eating meat. Specifically, “the offal will likely go to feed the pigs of the Dung Lord’s perimeter farms, or stock the yellow card food lines feeding the Malayan Chinese refugees who live in the sweltering old Expansion towers under the Dung Lord’s protection” (Bacigalupi 25). With all the odd diseases, it’s probably safe to assume most meat isn’t fit for consumption; a religion of vegetarians would have a feasible platform.
Bacigalupi, Paolo. The Windup Girl. Night Shade: New York. 2009.
Lobel, Cindy. “Sylvester Graham and Antebellum Diet Reform.” History Now: The Journal of the Gilder Lehrman
and-antebellum-diet-reform. Accessed 9 December 2016.