On Wednesday, January 7, I heard Dr. Don Colbert give a motivating speech about eating right to a group of booksellers at The Gathering 2009, a conference sponsored by Strang Communications' trade publication, Christian Retailing. He was promoting his newly released book titled Eat This and Live!, a beautiful four-color book that teaches readers what the Bible has to say about food and gives recommendations on which foods to eat heartily, eat in moderation or avoid.
Colbert opened with a humorous parody of Genesis 1, in which he claimed that God created many delicious foods but the devil perverted them to make them unhealthy. As I recall, he said God created green, leafy vegetables to make a salad and then the devil came up with fattening salad dressing. God made the potato to be nutritious but then the devil deep-fried it and added salt. Everyone seemed to enjoy the parody, which was written by his wife, Mary.
I encourage everyone else to pick it up at a bookstore or order it through Amazon.com, Christian Book Distributors (CBD), or Strang Direct. It has lots of beautiful color pictures, and the different sections are short enough that you can go through them quickly. It is easy and fun to read and has a great deal of worthwhile information. The beginning of the year is a good time to set some new habits, and reading this book will help you do that with regard to food.
Colbert said that many diseases can be prevented or reversed by eating right. He related frightening statistics about cancer, stating that one out of two men and one out of three women will die of cancer. Many cancers are caused or worsened by poor diet, he claimed, and he predicted that soon cancer would pass heart disease as the No. 1 killer.
This book was just released, and if you order it you'll be one of the first to get a copy. Be sure to give us your thoughts on the blog and forward this e-mail to those you think would like to read what Colbert has to say or would like to subscribe to the Strang Report.
Chapter 1Living Food vs. Dead Food
Imagine yourself standing at a crossroads with two arrows pointing in opposite directions: one leading to life and the other leading to death. Does that give you an idea of how serious I think your food choices are? Let's try another visual image. Imagine you have two shelves in your pantry, one that says "dead food" and the other "living food."
On the "dead food" shelf is a label that reads: "These foods will increase your risk of developing degenerative diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and arthritis, and make you overweight. They will also make you more prone to fatigue, hypertension, and high cholesterol."
But the "living food" shelf's label reads: "These foods will help your body arm itself against cancer, heart disease, degenerative diseases, and obesity, and they will sharpen your mind, energize you, and enliven you."
Which shelf are you going to choose?
Those shelves are not imaginary. They are real. In your pantry, freezer, and fridge right now are foods that lead to life and death. They are probably all mixed together, live foods next to dead foods—processed peanut butter next to extra-virgin olive oil, oatmeal next to an XXL-size bag of potato chips.
As we embark on our journey to understand living foods, you need to realize that everything you put in your mouth has the potential to produce life or death. Food is meant to be savored and enjoyed. But eating the wrong foods will bring poor health and can even shorten your life. Are you at war with your health because of the foods you eat? Or are you enjoying the beautiful dance of hunger and satisfaction that centers around the divine gift of living food?
One Timeless Principle of Eating
I'm sure that as more research is done on food and the human body, we will find that some foods may be healthier than we thought (like coffee and dark chocolate). And other foods we considered healthy (such as margarine) are, in fact, harmful to our health.
I once heard a speaker say that after ten years, about half the medical knowledge we have learned turns out to be false. The problem is, we don't know which half!
There will always be changing information regarding foods and their effect on your health, but one timeless principle will always stand: living foods (such as fruits, veggies, and whole grains) will always be healthier for you than processed foods.
"Why Does It Matter What I Eat?"
All men are created equal, but all foods are not! In fact, some food should not be labeled "food" but rather "consumable product" or "edible, but void of nourishment."
Living foods—fruits, vegetables, grains, seeds, and nuts—exist in a raw or close-to-raw state and are beautifully packaged in divinely created wrappers called skins and peels. Living foods look robust, healthy, and alive. They have not been bleached, refined, or chemically enhanced and preserved. Living foods are plucked, harvested, and squeezed—not processed, packaged, and put on a shelf. Living foods are recognizable as food.
Dead foods are the opposite. They have been altered in every imaginable way to make them last as long as possible and be as addictive as possible. That usually means the manufacturer adds considerable amounts of sugar and man-made fats that involve taking various oils and heating them to dangerously high temperatures so that the nutrients die and become reborn as something completely different—a deadly, sludgy substance that is toxic to our bodies.
Life breeds life. Death breeds death. When you eat living foods, the enzymes in their pristine state interact with your digestive enzymes. The other natural ingredients God put in them—vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, antioxidants, fiber, and more—flow into your system in their natural state. These living foods were created to cause your digestive system, bloodstream, and organs to function at optimum capacity.
Dead foods hit your body like a foreign intruder. Chemicals, including preservatives, food additives, and bleaching agents, place a strain on the liver. Toxic man-made fats begin to form in your cell membranes; they become stored as fat in your body and form plaque in your arteries. Your body does its best to harvest the tiny traces of good from these deadly foods, but in the end you are undernourished, overfed, and overweight.
If you want to be a healthy, vibrant, energetic person rather than someone bouncing between all-you-can-eat buffets and fast-food restaurants, take your diet seriously. Now is the time to make the change to living foods.
The Twenty-Minute Rule
It takes about twenty minutes for the food you've eaten to reach your small intestines and signal your brain to stop eating. If you stuff yourself with dead foods, it can take even longer for your brain to detect that it has the nutrition it needs. You keep eating more of the same dead foods, and you are caught in a toxic trap.
Living Longer—but Better?Life expectancy in the United States increased to 77.6 years in 2003, according to a report by the National Center for Health Statistics at the CDC. But half of U.S. residents ages fifty-five to sixty-four have high blood pressure, and two in five are obese.1
A Lifetime of Eating
As an average American, you will consume five pounds of food today.2 Over your lifetime, that's around seventy tons of food that pass through your intestinal tract and are assimilated by your body. This is the equivalent of about forty midsized cars!
1 California Healthline, "Life Expectancy Increases to 77.6 Years in U.S., Study Finds," December 9, 2005. California Healthline is published for the California HealthCare Foundation by the Advisory Board Company.
2 Rural Migration News, "How We Eat," vol. 3, no.4, October 1996, http://migration.ucdavis.edu/rmn/more.php?id=158_0_5_0 (accessed September 5, 2008).