In the last, opening post for this website we examined the importance of temples throughout the world and their impact on human thinking. Various cultures for the most part revere temples and all that accompanies them- we even noted that according to the New Testament we were told that our bodies are to be temples for the Creator God, and for the Christian in particular for God’s Spirit to take up residency. The temples themselves were not to be worshipped but rather a place in which people came TO worship the higher Deity or entity. As such when they were actually functional- in use in their heyday- they had to be maintained at a fairly high level to both attract the worshipers and ensure the continued use of them as facilities. When some type of food was brought into these temples to offer as a sacrifice, the priests (especially those in the Hebrew Old Testament) had to follow a very strict regimen of selection and preparation. However, it seems today that we have lost the essence of this importance, most Christians for example claiming that Acts 10 and Colossians 2 fully release us from any obligation to keeping the Law. And for purposes of entering into a relationship with Christ and the clear Protestant understanding of salvation ‘not as a means of works’, this is quite true. However, in terms of a more accurate understanding of what the Bible is actually revealing, there is a principle known as ‘balancing truths’ that must be both understood as well as applied. And one of those balancing truths, as I have come to understand it, is that although we believe that we have been released from the requirements of the Law in regard to salvation, there are still absolutely invaluable principles that when properly applied release results that benefit us in amazing ways.
Let me cite an example that may not be ‘palatable’ to some. Many Christians I know, mostly men, can quote portions of Scripture- some even lengthy ones- off the tops of their heads. By doing so one might assume that they have the right mindset- or to put it in the modern vernacular, ‘they’ve got their spiritual act together’. Some claim special insights into thorny biblical areas such as end-time events, others speak in tongues or have the gift of healing, while others still have remarkable gifts and callings in regard to teaching, evangelism, missions, or prophecy. Nevertheless some of these same people seem totally oblivious to their own ‘temple maintenance’ or health condition. They have little understanding that God desires they be PROactive not REactive about their health. They are frequently suffering from high-cholesterol issues, cancer threats, diabetic conditions or worse. They go to another set of ‘priests’ in our modern society today- the AMA-approved Doctors (one fairly popular internist I know recently stated that ‘all he had learned in medical school about nutrition could have been written on the back of a matchbook’!) with all their accompanying degrees and fancy equipment and prescriptions, hoping for some reprieve from their pain or potentially-alarming situation. I have even heard others immaturely claim, “I don’t have to take of my body, if I die I’ll be with Jesus” even when they had a FAMILY to take care of and other responsibilities.
At this point I must humbly state that I am not totally ‘knocking’ either these Christian men or Western medicine, for I myself was one of these ‘spiritual’ types quoting scripture- sometimes without accurate understanding or to justify my own lack of proactive-ness, AND I was one so dependent upon doctors to tell me everything I needed in regard to my physical health. Now I must boldly state that both classes mentioned above might be open to having some ‘good news’ preached to them. However they won’t see it as good news if they are unaware of what a near catastrophe the health of the American population is right now. So along the lines of bringing ANY good news, we have to look at the bad news first, and for the purposes of this website and blog I will be very brief.
Of the approximately 333 million of us ‘counted’ in the population, nearly 50 million suffer from some sort of cardiovascular disease, 23.5 million or more than 7% from autoimmune diseases, 57% from digestive disorders, while about 80% of women struggle with hormone issues. This doesn’t account for the millions (53 million, last time I checked) dealing with inflammatory or other immunological issues, nor those recently ravaged by Covid and told they’ll be fine if they ‘just get their vaccine shots’. One might look at all of this and rightfully conclude that it will ‘take a miracle’- or a series of them- to turn things around!
I’d like to propose a start to addressing this crisis. It all begins with a very, very basic principle written into the basic order of things in the material (and most likely the spiritual) universe: the Law of Cause and Effect (C/E). In computer language as we first heard it about 40 years ago- ‘garbage in, garbage out’ (GIGO). How is it that we accept this principle as applying to programming, yet have failed to see that it impacts nearly every area of our lives?! IF we want our lives to be meaningful, purposeful, impactful, and abundant, leaving a legacy for generations to come, we absolutely need to heed the principle of Cause and Effect or GIGO. I must be the first to confess that it had taken me the better part of four decades to realize some of the things which I am sharing here- things that many Jewish boys from thousands of years ago would have known by their first Bar-mitzvah, owing to both their belief and adherence to the principles laid out in Leviticus and other portions of the Torah. One of the most basic is to separate the clean from the unclean (in more dire circumstances, quarantine), to recognize that certain foods- meats in particular- are by their intrinsic biological nature inferior to others, to affirm the beautiful unique distinction between the sexes- that men are to be men and women are to be women and dress as such. By NOT making a proper distinction and by attempting to blend things we often do more harm than good.
More recently I have had men tell me, “Brother, I am a NEW Testament Christian,” by which I guess I was supposed to assume that little in the Old was applicable anymore, or at least quite irrelevant. To them I guess it doesn’t matter, thinking that they can eat shellfish and pork as well as highly processed food- things swimming in salt, sugar, and grease with impunity. They don’t need to take a Sabbath rest each week- just keep rollin’ along as long as they put in their 90 minutes on a Sunday morning. It doesn’t matter if they watch some of the most vile entertainment-cloaked in humor and ‘inclusiveness’- out there and laugh along with it, because after all, their salvation is secure- we aren’t saved by works anyway. Somehow the idea of ‘works’ versus highly useful principles just hasn’t clicked. No need to get to serious about their temple since they do attend church, read the Bible, are in some type of men’s group or ministry, and leave spiritual tracts on tables and in restrooms- most often the mens’…if we’re still allowed to call them as such.
Well, Paul- that first-century theologian who had the radical conversion on the way to Damascus (same city there today- amazing how these biblical things never seem to go away!) also said to another church meeting in Galatia, “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked. A man reaps what he sows.” We have often heard this quoted of and to the unbelieving world, or to those claiming to be believers yet living in fornication or adultery, chemical addiction or a gambling dependency, but do we actually not see that this even applies to us ‘serious’ Christians as well? After all, it was written to a ‘church’! And lest we forget Proverbs 16:19 (amplified): “He who keeps and obeys the commandment [of the Lord] keeps (guards) his own life, But he who is careless of his ways (and conduct) will die.”
I believe we can do better… that we MUST do better, not only for ourselves but also those who are depending on us- those in our families, faith-based communities, city, state, nation, world. After all, I know not everyone reading these words is a Christian, but there is a command given by Jesus to His followers to be concerned about our ‘neighbors’, literally meaning any human on the earth who is still breathing. Are we really taking the Great Commission seriously? (Matt 28:18-20).
Let’s talk about food and drink, as that was the central purpose of this post, starting with food. I am not a nutritional expert and there are plenty of excellent resources out there that you can avail yourself of in regard to healthy eating. Later I am planning to post some of my favorite people and their programs for anyone interested to contact. However here I will only give a very brief sketch that I may well build on in later articles. But for the moment, here goes:
Starting with meats- if you are not a vegetarian you should probably follow the guidelines of Leviticus 11 or Deuteronomy 14. The land animals should ‘divide the hoof’ AND ‘chew the cud’, so a kosher land animal list would include oxen, sheep, goats, deer, gazelles, and cattle. Fish must possess both fins AND scales, and interestingly enough, these are mostly ‘mid feeders’ in the waters, avoiding dredging up into their bodies nasty things from the bottom of the ocean as shellfish do, and not cleaning unsavory items off the top of the water such as catfish do. God has made things fairly easy for us if we just take Him up on His advice. Various birds are listed, and those considered kosher would include the dove, duck, goose, pigeon, quail, grouse, swan, turkey, and sage hen, to name some of the 20+ enumerated. This doesn’t mean that you can never eat bacon- I had some the other day at hotel-provided breakfast or eat a piece of shrimp at a wedding, but generally speaking these should be largely avoided the way you would any soda or sugar-packed fancy-iced drink at Starbucks or Peets.
Potatoes are fine, but not to excess. French fries are to be avoided at all costs, since in their preparation they basically contain carcinogens.
Fruits and vegetables are absolutely essential, but I’ve heard some like Dr. Oz say vegetables even more so. Vince Sant tells us to avoid flaxseed at all costs as well as almonds, as he claims the former can raise estrogen levels in men, not such a good idea. Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, goji berries, artichokes, kale, red cabbage, beans, pecans, spinach and dark chocolate are all rich in anti-oxidants, critical for countering free radicals. And in regard to free radicals, it has been said that we are exposed to more in a day than our great, great grandparents were in a lifetime! Where DO all the free radicals come from? Exposure to X-rays, ozone, industrial chemicals, cigarette smoke, air pollution, electromagnetic fields, etc. We are literally’bathed’ in these every day, especially if we live in urban environments.
Broccoli is one of the super-vegetables as kiwi is a super-fruit. And speaking of ‘super’, what are ‘superfoods’? These are nutrient-rich foods known for having amazing health and wellness benefits, according to the Superfoods Company, and if you are struggling to get fit, craving junk foods, have a bloated stomach, are often in a down mood or lacking energy, these superfoods may well be something you need to take a look at. Berries, leafy greens, green tea, ginger, mushrooms are just a few items that will improve your brain health, settle your stomach, and help fight off disease and infection. One thing that has impressed me about Asian cultures is how many of them consider their foods a type of ‘medicine’ so that they won’t need to see any of the medical types. If you’re wondering how much to take or how to prepare it, Vince Sant’s V-shred program is excellent as is Tony Horton’s P-90X in addressing these. There are many companies now preparing and providing the food FOR you to take out all of the guesswork, if you consider yourself to be all-thumbs in the kitchen.
Herbs can be very beneficial as well, but let’s address those another day.
Again avoid nearly all sodas, and even most fruit juices have way too much sugar in them. Sugar is BAD news (sugar is a cancer-feeder) and should be minimized- as we noted above a piece or two of dark chocolate a day would be a great place to level off your cravings for it. Not all meals require ‘desserts’. Wisdom is a great asset here- the Bible says that if we “judged or examined ourselves, we would not (need to be) judged by God.” (I Cor 11:31)
We need to be drinking much more pure water than we do- 60-70 oz per day is recommended, much more water and much less other stuff. And finally there are significant number of useful supplements out there (as well as not so good), and some of the best supplements are still superior to others, and all under consideration need to be examined and tested.
Thank you for allowing me to share a topic that is a bit ‘heavy’- no pun intended- for many people. The good news is it is almost never too late to turn it around if you want a ‘better you’. If I can do it, I know you can as well.
Till the next post and to your health.