Real Food - Not to Fear
|Notice the advert for pastured chicken. (Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash)
Our fear of what's real
For the past 30-40 years, we have been hearing that real food is dangerously bad for us. Everyone is afraid to eat food these days, but we must something because of our unrelenting cravings. Butter is bad, eggs are bad, red meat is bad, cholesterol is bad, carbs are bad, fat is bad, etc.
So, if that is true, what on earth is there left to eat?
I used to believe all the media-myths promoted by the "diet-dictocrats" about food. So I ate the "healthy" way, which meant low-to-no-fat fat, skinless-boneless chicken, no red meat, no eggs, egg substitutes, packaged edibles, polyunsaturated fats, margarine, soy products by the boatload, chemical sweeteners, etc.
The results of eating a so-called "healthy diet"
By the time I was 30, I had developed crippling arthritis in my shoulder joints, remedied (or so I thought) by cortisone shots. By 40 I was overweight, had my gallbladder removed, suffered from irritable bowel syndrome, chronic sinus infections, came down with hepatitis B, was lactose intolerant and went on acid-reducing meds for Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD). At the age of 50, I had accumulated even more health problems. I was dead on my feet all the time, weighed close to 200 pounds, had unrelenting pain from osteoarthritis, high blood pressure, mitral valve prolapse that kept my heart in palpitations, fibroid tumors, ovarian cysts, was diagnosed with Hashimoto's thyroiditis (the auto-immune type of hypothyroidism) and struggled with the flu and colds frequently. Having felt that bad eating a "healthy diet", I surmised that I would probably have been dead by then had I eaten butter, eggs, saturated fat and red meat, etc.
Fed up, the honest research begins
How wrong I was! Shortly after I turned 50, I really began to research nutrition and I was amazed at what I uncovered. And it all made marvelous sense. I discovered that there is actually a large body of information out there that supports Biblical, or what is also called "traditional" or "ancestral" nutrition. I found a wealth of honest, credible research that discredits not only our Standard American Diet (SAD for short - really!), but also what is considered healthy eating by most professionals.
What God has provided for man's nourishment
I mentioned that this information supports biblical foods. But what are "biblical foods? Some say they are only what God gave at creation. But really, biblical foods are any food that He has both created and then sanctioned as "good" for food in both Old and New Testaments. If God says it is good, who am I to say differently?
These foods include meats such as fish, pork, poultry, lamb, rabbit, bison (any type of meat really), dairy products, fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, seeds, nuts, and sweeteners such as honey and dates, etc. God has created so many varying types of food for the nourishment of mankind. It is mind-boggling to think on what is available to eat that comes from the ground, whether those are vegetable foods grown in the ground or animals nourished by plants that grow in the ground that we then use for food.
Food was God's first gift to man
In Genesis, God, out of His goodness gave to the first couple a garden of delights to eat from. "And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food." The first gift given by God to man was food.
The author of Acts in chapter 14, speaking to unsaved men says, “God did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good and gave you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness.” God sustains His creatures with food that strengthens, heals, builds, satisfies and tastes good to boot. “He gives food to all flesh, for His lovingkindness is everlasting. Give thanks to the God of heaven…” (Ps 136:25-26).
God's gift of food to mankind is only good
Food that God provides for man has always tasted good and been good for the body. A good God could create nothing less. 1 Timothy 4:1-5 tells us that in the latter times there will be men who fall away from the faith, “men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth.” That is exactly what is happening now - forbidden foods that we are all afraid to eat. The text goes on to say that “…everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude; for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer.”
|Pastured cows provide densely nutritious milk. (Photo by Theo Leconte on Unsplash)
What about food has changed?
Part of what I discovered was that before food changed so much (over the past 50 years) people ate what God put on the earth and did not get fat unless they ate in excess. Heart disease and other degenerative diseases were rare. Now we eat less and constantly struggle with weight gain and hunger pangs, are plagued with syndromes, conditions and diseases that did not exist when I was growing up. In fact, when I was growing up, I knew of very few people who were overweight and fewer that had diabetes. It is quite different now.
It is now expected, that one in every three children born in the year 2000 or later will develop diabetes 2 in their youth, all because of the eating trends in our country. Consider what Michael Pollan, American author, journalist and food activist, has to say about our current diet dilemma:
“According to the surgeon general, obesity today is officially an epidemic; it is arguably the most pressing public health problem we face, costing the health care system an estimated $90 billion a year. Three of every five Americans are overweight; one of every five is obese. The disease formerly known as adult-onset diabetes has had to be renamed Type II diabetes since it now occurs so frequently in children. A recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association predicts that a child born in 2000 has a one-in-three chance of developing diabetes. (An African American child's chances are two in five.) Because of diabetes and all the other health problems that accompany obesity, today's children may turn out to be the first generation of Americans whose life expectancy will actually be shorter than that of their parents. The problem is not limited to America: The United Nations reported that in 2000 the number of people suffering from overnutrition--a billion--had officially surpassed the number suffering from malnutrition--800 million.”
|Photo by Eiliv-Sonas Aceron on Unsplash
I made changes in my diet
So, after all of these revealing and horrific discoveries, I decided to take the plunge - to start eating whole, unprocessed, organic foods. I enjoyed real butter, eggs, cream, real sour cream, whole milk (raw), red meat, saturated fat as well as fruits and veggies (about the only foods that are not demonized nowadays), and other foods we are supposed to be afraid of and avoid. I also stopped eating man-invented, factory-manufactured, damaging food-like substances.
Real food made changes in me
That was in 2004, over four years ago (now, in September of 2019 as I edit this post, I realized that it's been 15 years ago). Within two months, I stopped gaining weight though I ate large portions and still do; my blood pressure dropped drastically so I threw out my blood pressure meds; my cholesterol improved; I stopped feeling like the tin man in The Wizard of Oz with his creaky, stiff joints; my energy levels soared; the GERD resolved completely; my lactose intolerance disappeared along with the horrid food cravings; and my heart stopped pounding out of my chest. I ate all I wanted and was satisfied until the next good meal with no desire to snack in between. And I was hardly ever sick with the flu and colds.
All this amazing improvement happened because I started eating real food exclusively - the diet God gave us. When I thank God for my food now, I really mean it because I know how amazing real food is and who gave us such goodness. It not only sustains us, it actually heals our bodies. God is good to give to us this miraculous gift of food to sustain and delight us. He gives only what is good for us.
Recognizing the goodness of God as seen in His gift of food
And not only is real food good for our bodies, but it also tastes good. Arthur Pink writes, “The goodness of God is seen in the variety of natural pleasures which He has provided for His creatures. God might have been pleased to satisfy our hunger without…food being pleasing to our palates – how His benevolence appears in the varied flavors He has given to meats, vegetables, and fruits! God has not only given us our senses, but also that which gratifies them; this too reveals His goodness.”
Doesn't that make sense? If God was so wise and creative to form us from nothing with all of our complex systems, is it too much for Him to create foods that nourish, build, repair and delight us? No longer am I afraid of real food. It has healed me as He intended food should. He is a good God who gives us good gifts – one of which is delicious, nourishing food. “…give thanks to the LORD for His goodness, and for His wonders to the sons of men! For He has satisfied the thirsty soul, and the hungry soul He has filled with what is good.” Ps. 107:8-9