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THE GREAT PHYSICIAN'S Rx for HEALTH & WELLNESSSeven Keys to Unlocking Your Health Potential
By Jordan Rubin David Remedios
Thomas NelsonCopyright © 2007 Jordan Rubin
All right reserved.
Chapter OneKey #1
Eat to Live
The Lord alone led him, and there was no foreign god with him. He made him ride in the heights of the earth, that he might eat the produce of the fields; He made him draw honey from the rock, and oil from the flinty rock; curds from the cattle, and milk of the flock, with fat of lambs; and rams of the breed of Bashan, and goats, with the choicest wheat; and you drank wine, the blood of the grapes. -Deuteronomy 32:12-14 (NKJV)
After our first child, Joshua, was born on Memorial Day weekend in 2004, my wife, Nicki, bore the brunt of the feeding duties. It was up to her to nurse Joshua with the best nutrients that God in His wisdom devised-a mother's breast milk.
Whenever Joshua cried during the night, Nicki rubbed her tired eyes and dutifully got out of bed to feed our infant. I often joined her to show my support and love, and when I say often, I mean it. Okay, maybe it wasn't as often as Nicki wanted, but I woke up most of the time. I was just as excited as she was about this new life God had given and entrusted us with.
Sometime before his first birthday, an interesting thing happened: it was becoming apparent to both of us that Nicki was not producing enough milk to satisfy our big, bouncing boy. A nursing mother normally produces between twenty-three and twenty-seven ounces of milk per day, but that wasn't enough for Joshua, who communicated his desire for more milk through wailing tears. We needed to supplement his diet of mother's milk with his first solid foods.
Uppermost in our minds was introducing his little stomach to foods healthy and easily digestible. I decided that his first solid food should be a cooked egg yolk from a soft-boiled or coddled egg. To prepare this nutritional powerhouse, I began by boiling water-yes, I know how to do that-and carefully placing an egg, which is high in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins A and D, and lutein, into the water. I let the solitary egg boil for three or four minutes, or until the yoke was soft and warm.
When the egg was finished cooking, I rinsed it with cool water. Then I cracked the shell and removed the yolk from the egg white, which I didn't plan to serve to Joshua because egg whites can be highly allergenic to infants.
Like any proud pop, I'm happy to report that Joshua loved his first bites of solid food-and showed us his bright orange cheeks to prove it. A week later, I introduced him to mashed pieces of fresh, organic Florida avocado, which has an abundance of enzymes, healthy fats, vitamin E, and fiber. He was all over that avocado, although he asked me several times where the tortilla chips were. (Just joking.)
I believe more than ever that one of the best things Nicki and I can give Joshua is a healthy start in life as he weans himself from breast milk and begins eating solid foods. We want to raise Joshua to "eat to live"-the first key to unlocking your health potential-not to "live to eat." To help him understand what that means, Nicki and I will be teaching our son these important concepts: eat what God created for food, and eat food in a form that is healthy for the body.
Scripture suggests three boundaries that we can use to identify what God intended for us to eat, according to my friend Rex Russell, M. D., author of What the Bible Says About Healthy Living, and they are noted here.
1. When God calls an item food: God said, "I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food." (Gen. 1:29) "You will eat the plants of the field." (Gen. 3:18) "These are the animals you may eat: the ox, the sheep, the goat, the deer, the gazelle, the roe deer, the wild goat, the ibex, the antelope, and the mountain sheep." (Deut. 14:4-5) 2. When God brings items to His people as a gift: "Also the food I provided for you-the fine flour, olive oil and honey I gave you to eat." (Ezek. 16:19) 3. If Jesus ate or served an item: "He took the seven loaves and the fish, and when he had given thanks, he broke them and gave them to the disciples, and they in turn to the people." (Matt. 15:36)
Dr. Russell has made a list of foods that Scripture tells us are designed for health and that may be enjoyed. They were created for food, as opposed to foods that are changed or converted into something that humans think is better. If any of the following foods are altered, they lose many of their health benefits. Here is Dr. Russell's list, followed by where each item is mentioned in Scripture:
almonds (Gen. 43:11) barley (Judg. 7:13) beans (Ezek. 4:9) bread (1 Sam. 17:17) broth (Judg. 6:19) cakes (2 Sam. 13:8 [NKJV], and probably not the kind with frosting) cheese (Job 10:10) cucumbers, onions, leeks, melons, and garlic (Num. 11:5) curds of cow's milk (Deut. 32:14) figs (Num. 13:23) fish (Matt. 7:10) fowl (1 Kings 4:23) fruit (2 Sam. 16:2) game (Gen. 25:28) goat's milk (Prov. 27:27) grain (Ruth 2:14) grapes (Deut. 23:24) grasshoppers, locusts, and crickets (Lev. 11:22) herbs (Exod. 12:8) honey (Isa. 7:15) and wild honey (Ps. 19:10) lentils (Gen. 25:34) meal (Matt. 13:33 KJV) pistachio nuts (Gen. 43:11) oil (Prov. 21:17) olives (Deut. 28:40) pomegranates (Num. 13:23) quail (Num. 11:32) raisins (2 Sam. 16:1) salt (Job 6:6) sheep (Deut. 14:4) sheep's milk (Deut. 32:14) spices (Gen. 43:11) veal (Gen. 18:7-8) vegetables (Prov. 15:17) vinegar (Num. 6:3)
These foods are nutritional gold mines, filled with essentials for building healthy cells in your body. God's dietary guidelines contain no refined or processed carbohydrates, no altered or damaged fats, and no artificial sweeteners. The typical American diet strays far from God's design with its glamorous array of techno-foods replete with empty calories, refined carbohydrates, and woefully inadequate nutrition. A diet based on eating whole and natural foods harvested directly from the Creator's bounty, however, nourishes and satisfies us. That's one more reminder why it's important to (1) eat foods that God created and (2) in a form that is healthy for the body.
You may have read those two statements and wondered how they apply to your life. Perhaps you're thinking, It can't be this simple. Well, it is and it isn't. While fresh fruits, farm-grown vegetables, and protein-rich meat are readily available in our land, the genius of man has figured out how to prepare, manufacture, cook, microwave, and market mass-produced foods in ways not always healthy for us. Too many of the so-called foods sold in our nation's supermarkets and too many of the meals prepared in restaurants are not really food because they were not created by God but were largely put together in man-made laboratories.
Like sheep following the next one off a cliff, we are passing through checkout lines with shopping carts filled with processed foods missing many of the nutrients that God intended us to receive. As for eating out, don't get me started on how we've become a country that loves deep-fried, greasy food high in calories, high in fat, high in sugar, and-in most people's minds-high in taste. When you add it all up, the acronym for the "standard American diet" is SAD-and what nearly 300 million Americans eat each and every day is sad. For adults, this usually means:
a breakfast of a Danish or a bowl of sugary cereal drenched in 2 percent milk and a cup of caffeinated coffee stirred with nondairy creamer and artificial sweeteners. a midmorning snack in the employee lunchroom-a glazed doughnut or a plain bagel smeared with margarine or cream cheese. a lunch consisting of a turkey sandwich (made from processed turkey breast) on white bread, some kind of chips, and a diet soft drink. an afternoon snack from the vending machine-a candy bar and another soft drink bubbling with sugar or artificial sweetener. a dinner of heated-up frozen pizza (pepperoni or Canadian bacon) and a salad bowl of iceberg lettuce served with a creamy, full-fat ranch dressing. a dessert of chocolate chip ice cream, topped with chocolate sauce.
I'm vastly oversimplifying things, of course, but I'm also not taking into account that one-fourth of the American adult population frequents a fast-food restaurant every single day of the year.
Eat Close to the Natural Source
Going back to the example of the typical American diet that I just described, which foods were in a form that God created? One could say that God created the coffee beans and the iceberg lettuce, but everything else was mass-produced in some industrial bakery or far-off factory using ingredients that had been stripped clean of nearly all the nutrients and pumped up with additives and preservatives.
The Great Physician's Rx for Health and Wellness calls for eating foods as close to the natural source as possible. This "natural source" was first described in the opening chapter of Genesis when God said, "Let the waters swarm with fish and other life. Let the skies be filled with birds of every kind ... Let the earth bring forth every kind of animal-livestock, small animals, and wildlife" (1:20, 24 NLT).
After God created all these animals, we learn that when the Lord God made the heavens and earth:
there were no plants or grain growing on the earth, for the Lord God had not sent any rain. And no one was there to cultivate the soil. But water came up out of the ground and watered all the land. And the Lord God formed a man's body from the dust of the ground and breathed into it the breath of life. And the man became a living person. (Gen. 2:5-7 NLT)
That first man-Adam-was probably hungry before his first coffee break, but there were no vending machines or Jack in the Box drive-thrus in the Garden of Eden. Instead, there was plenty of low-hanging fruit for him to grab and eat, even though Scripture does not reveal what kind of fruit he preferred. Knowing that the fruit was grown in the perfect and pristine Garden of Eden, we have to believe that it tasted great and was brimming with nutrients.
Later on, when Adam and Eve had left their bite marks on fruit from a tree that God had told them not to eat from, the days of la dolce vita were over. After their banishment from the Garden, the First Couple had to "scratch a living" (Gen. 3:17 NLT) from the fields by the sweat of their brows, but at least they were eating natural grains. (The Bible says that Noah and his family were the first to receive permission to eat meat.)
Adam and Eve and their descendants ate foods in forms healthy for their bodies, which speaks to the second foundational principle of eating. When we eat foods that God created in forms that are healthy for us, our bodies are nourished and able to perform at optimal levels. Foods that God created are what we call "natural."
So much of what passes for food these days is as far from natural as a snowboarder skiing uphill. On supermarket shelves from Portland, Oregon, to Portland, Maine, you'll find that most of the food is man-made-something God did not create. That's because food-manufacturing conglomerates have excelled in the last one hundred years at taking something that God created-wheat, for example-and turning it into something totally unhealthy by stripping out the God-given nutrients and adding chemicals by the truckload. A tube of Pringles, which are cloned crisps of processed potatoes and additives, offers little, if any, real nutritional content. That's because Pringles are not food in a form healthy for the body.
The difference between what our American culture stomachs and what people eat elsewhere was demonstrated in the days after the horrific tsunami struck Southeast Asia. Western aid groups rushed in, and in the Sri Lankan town of Galle, the famished refugees opened cardboard boxes packed in the United States only to discover cans of ... mixed vegetables in cream sauce. When the Sri Lankan people attempted to eat the canned vegetables, they got sick because their stomachs weren't used to digesting vegetables swimming in a chemical-laden, cream-based liquid. Their bodies preferred their green beans and corn fresh.
The more convenient foods are, the less healthy and farther away from God's design they are. You see it every time you walk into a supermarket. Sure, the grocery chains sell fresh fruits, vegetables, and meats, but few of those foods are organically grown or produced. Instead, supermarkets offer a tremendous variety of convenience foods-ready to eat or ready to be heated up in the microwave. In our time-starved society, the quicker dinner gets on the table, the better.
If that's the way you want to shop, your neighborhood supermarket will entice you to buy from the inventory of several thousand different brands totaling one million items. The canned goods and breakfast cereals and golden apples are stacked perfectly; nothing is out of place. Track lighting illuminates the fresh produce, while an abundance of cheery signs remind shoppers about the "Extra Savings!" The aisles are wide enough for two carts to pass each other, but not too wide: grocers want anything that catches your eye to be at arm's length. At both ends of the aisles, end caps feature specials of the week, like twelve-ounce bags of Lay's Cheddar and Sour Cream Potato Chips for $1.99.
In supermarkets you can find 157 kinds of breakfast cereal, 22 brands or types of peanut butter, and 25 brands of chocolate chip cookies. Despite this great variety, most of these food items are not even close to a food that God created in a form that is healthy for the body. Earlier I mentioned one of the staples of most diets around the world-wheat. After the harvest, wheat stalks are trucked to flour mills and rinsed with various chemical bleaches that sound like a vocabulary test from high school biology class: nitrogen oxide, chlorine, chloride, nitrosyl, and benzoyl peroxide. (By the way, benzoyl peroxide is a popular ingredient in over-the-counter acne medications.) The result is that half of the healthy fatty acids are lost in the milling process, as well as the wheat germ and bran, which contain vitamins and fiber. By removing most of the naturally occurring nutrients and adding chemicals and a few isolated and synthetic vitamins and minerals, we've managed to take a healthy food that's been on families' tables for centuries-usually in the form of bread, pasta, or baked goods-and turn it into one of the most highly allergenic, difficult-to-digest substances.
After processing, the "enriched flour"-whoever came up with calling denuded wheat "enriched flour" deserves some sort of marketing award-is packed up and shipped to bakeries, where it becomes the main ingredient in bread and a zillion other food products. (If you read your labels, much of the "wheat bread" found in supermarkets is made from-you guessed it-white enriched flour.)
I'm happy to report that whole wheat bread made from unprocessed whole grain flour, which is how God created wheat to be milled, is becoming more readily available as customers demand it. I wonder sometimes, though, if we should follow the lead of the Swiss government, which places a tax on the sale of white bread to make whole wheat bread cheaper.
Producing foods as cheaply as possible is the mantra of today's agribusiness. Another heavily processed commodity is sugar, which is found in nearly every man-made food, from ketchup to peanut butter to teriyaki sauce. Sugar comes to us from sugarcane, which is then processed 99.9 percent. I'm sure research scientists are working overtime to remove the last one-tenth of 1 percent in sugarcane that's healthy.
Biochemists are also working on ways to preserve foods for longer and longer shelf lives since all foods eventually lose their freshness and rot. In biblical times, people didn't have the option of freezing food or storing it in a refrigerator. They ate food fresh from the field, fresh out of the oven, or fresh from the fire. They also preserved foods for short periods by the process known as fermentation or culturing. They didn't attach a "shelf life" to foods in those days.
Excerpted from THE GREAT PHYSICIAN'S Rx for HEALTH & WELLNESS by Jordan Rubin David Remedios Copyright © 2007 by Jordan Rubin. Excerpted by permission.
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