Clean, healthy food is important.
We all know that.
We all know that.
But did you know that food filled with additives and preservatives actually damages your immune system - the good guys who keep you healthy? Did you know that food covered with insecticides and pesticides is harmful to the body? Did you know that when we eat items that were never designed as food for the body, it causes harm to the body? Did you know that when we over indulge in foods to create an imbalance of nutrients in our bodies, it makes us sick?
Little things add up.
The human body can only take so much assault on it's immune system. A habit of consuming additives, preservatives, insecticides, pesticides and other things not designed as food, will cause our immune systems to crash and fail. I know. I've been there. It nearly killed me. I was only 39. Learn from me. Don't wait until a 'crash' to change your habits. It might be too late. No one wants an early death.
Sick 'foods' make us sick.
Healthy foods make us healthy.
The Bible has quite a lot to say about food, what is good for our bodies and how to keep them healthy. My body has healed through applying these principles - just like the Lord God promised it would. I have learned I can trust what is being said as truth.
So, what does the Bible actually say?
1. Eat only substances God created for food.
When interpreting the Bible, it is important to understand that we must use the Bible's definitions of terms and not man's, our culture's or the dictionary on the shelf. If the Bible calls a substance 'food' then it is food. If Jesus ate or served a food, then it is food.
"Then 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 for your food." Gen 1:29
"And you will eat the plants of the field" Gen 3:18
"Also the food I provided for you - the fine flour, olive oil and honey I gave you to eat" - declares the Sovereign Lord. (Ezek 16:19)
"Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. I have given you all things, even as the green herbs. But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood." Gen 9:3,4
"You may eat any animal that has a split hoof completely divided and that chews the cud." Lev 11:3
"Of all the creatures living in the water of the seas and the streams, you may eat any that have fins and scales." Lev 11:9
"Don't people complain about unsalted food? Does anyone want the tasteless white of an egg?" Job 6:6
It is important to note that food additives and preservatives are NOT listed as foods. Personally I would categorise them in with chemicals and pharmaceuticals. When we live in a culture, that has been known to add horrendous things to food (including aborted foetal tissue) and mask it as food additives, it is vital to know what we are eating!
Teach your children these principles. Drill it into them for their own health's sake as much as your own. As consumers, we can make a difference if we boycott these products. Personally, we eat organic foods, because it is the simplest way I have found to know that the food is non-GMO and safe to consume.
2. Avoid what is not designed for food.
There are some substances which our culture has traditionally called food, which the Bible warns us against eating.
"Do not eat any of the fat of cattle, sheep or goats." Lev 7:23 (suet)
"You must not eat the blood. Pour it out on the ground like water." Deut 12:16
"Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood." Acts 15:20
"Do not eat the meat of an animal torn by wild beasts." Ex 22:31 (roadkill)
"You must distinguish between the unclean and the clean, between living creatures that may be eaten and those that may not be eaten." Lev 11:47
"And the pig, though it has a split hoof completely divided, does not chew the cud; it is unclean for you. You must not eat their meat or touch their carcasses; they are unclean for you." Lev 11:4-8 (pork, lard, bacon, ham)
Cut the fat off beef, lamb and goat meats or purchase them lean. Eat your meat well cooked, not rare or 'blue' as some do, to avoid eating the blood. Blood sausage and raw meats are to be avoided as well.
Avoid prawns, shellfish and calamari. etc and learn which fish have scales and fins. We choose small - medium sized fish from clean waters that are preferably wild caught, after learning the hard way, that some farmed fish are fed food colouring and other additives to make them more marketable.
If you are really missing bacon, then it may be worth looking into organic turkey bacon as a viable alternative. Beware that many sausages use pig intestines as the sausage casing, even in the organic industry, so its always best to check with you butcher. I know ours didn't advertise this fact anywhere. I only learned when I asked a direct question.
3. Avoid food addictions.
The bible consistently warns us against idolatry and this principle applies to foods as much as any other aspect of our lives. It is common sense to know that you can have too much of a good thing. The Bible warns us against eating too much of some types of foods.
"Man shall not live on bread alone." (Matt 4:4, Deut 8:3)
"If you find honey, eat just enough - too much of it, and you will vomit! Prov 25:16
"He who loves wine and oil will not become rich." Prov 21:17
"Do not join those who drink too much wine or gorge themselves on meat, For drunkards and gluttons become poor, and drowsiness clothes them in rags." Prov 23:22,21
"Do not get drunk with wine, which leads to debauchery. Eph 5:18
|There is no limit on vegetables|
I tell my kids, much to their dismay!
Interestingly, medical research supports the same links to disease and poverty, as that of the Bible - that too much bread, meat, wine, oil or honey will make you ill.
It is important to note that honey, though the easiest of all the sweeteners to digest, has within it, a substance that causes nausea if too much is eaten. I actually like this - because it prevents me from over-indulging in sweets. Sugar doesn't have this bio-feed back link as far as I can determine so it is easier to become addicted to sugar.
- Taking short cuts in food preparation. Some foods need to be soaked to aid digestion, some need to be always cooked etc. Learn how to prepare foods safely to minimise digestive issues. We soak or ferment our grains to aid digestion. Our bread is always a wild fermented wholemeal sourdough. We can tolerate dairy well if it is raw or fermented into cheese and yoghurt.
- Not enough variety of foods. Variety is the spice of life. Your body needs a wide variety of foods to function properly and it needs change. Eat foods in season. Rotate your grains, meats, fats, dairy (cow, sheep, goat) and vegetables so that you are not generally having the same foods all the time. That was significant in healing my food intolerances and allergies. When we eat the same foods all the time, inflammation will occur, because the same path of digestion becomes over used.
- Avoiding fermented vegetables. Fermented vegetables put good flora back into your body to build your immune system. Probiotic foods are medicine for the body. We try to eat them at least daily. If you don't know how to make them or have the time, and need to purchase them a great brand for those locally is Kehoe's Kitchen. Although somewhat expensive, they are cheaper in the long run, that pharmaceuticals or illness.
- Not eating enough vegetables. As I tell my children, there is no biblical limit on eating vegetables. We are designed to eat a LOT to them.
- Hidden unclean foods. Be aware that many organic sausages casings are made from pig intestines. Usually it's the 'thick' sausages. Just ask you butcher. The thin sausages may be fine. Another common hazard is Asian food. Many Thai or Chinese dishes for example have shrimp paste or oyster sauce as an integral part of the dish. We tend to make those styles of food at home to avoid problems. You can still make a good Thai curry without shrimp paste if you do it at home, but we have yet to find a take-away or restaurant that will do it. Another common hiccup comes from hidden meat fats in pastry or sausages. Just keep asking questions and reading labels and you will get there.
There is so much more that could be said. Below are resources I have found really helpful. I used to look to the Bible for wisdom in parenting, marriage etc. but never thought to consider what the Bible actually said about what I ate or to even think I might need to follow it's wisdom in this area. I regularly ate pork and lard and for most of my life, food additives or preservatives. Learn from my mistakes. Don't wait till things are as bad as they were for me.
Personally I have found the most affordable wait to eat is to purchase my organic vegetables at the Northey Street Markets each sunday morning. I can buy 4 large shopping baskets of super fresh, organic vegetables for about $90. I make my own sourdough wholemeal bread, my own kefir, my own probiotics (though I still buy Kehoe's Kitchen when I am time poor). The organic grains and legumes I purchase bulk through Trumps. Organic meat (we eat about 300g per day in total for a family of 4 adults and 1 child) we buy from either the Northey St Markets or from The Meat-ing Place.