Wednesday, May 27, 2009

History's Healthiest People

"Moses was a hundred and twenty years old when he died, yet his eyes were not weak nor his strength gone."
Deuteronomy 34:7

Or how about Joshua? He was 80 years old when he led the Israelites into the Promised Land. What will you be doing when you are 80? If you picture yourself struggling to remember the details of your life and wasting away in some nursing home, you should ask yourself why. Why is that normal to you? It wasn't normal for the host of Biblical characters who followed God's way of healthy eating and living.

Or maybe you think you already eat healthy. But whose way of "healthy" are you following? God's, or someone else's? Consider the Jewish people. When they followed God's health plan to the "T", given to them by Moses in extreme detail in Leviticus, they thrived, even when civilizations around them collapsed. When the Bubonic Plague ravished Europe in the mid-fourteenth century, the Jewish people escaped its grip. This plague was so devastating that England lost nearly half of its population, and it returned repeatedly over the next 250 years. Here's what Michael D. Jacobson, D.O., a former U.S. Army flight surgeon and family practitioner had to say about the Jewish people's health during this devastating time: (Taken from the Maker's Diet p. 39)

"People concluded that it was the Jews who were responsible for the plague, since they were the only ones who were not dying.
The truth is that, hundreds of years prior to the discovery of bacteria, the Jews were protecting themselves from the deadly Yersinia pestis microbe by practicing cleanliness and good hygiene...more than three thousand years before man discovered bacteria, the Creator had given detailed instructions that, if followed, would prevent the spread of such a deadly communicable disease."

And we're worried about swine flu.

Not only did the Jews follow the incredibly precise hygiene laws given to them by God, (including avoiding touching dead bodies, keeping corposes far from their homes, proper disposal of waste, cleaning their hands, utensils and clothing in running water, and rules for sexual conduct) but they drew their water from fresh springs, instead of drinking from the city wells. In contrast with their cleanliness, the average European of that time bathed once a month, and changed clothes once a year! Rotten food, rats, and other animals were rampant in their homes. (Modern science now blames rats for the spread of the Bubonic Plague.) At the time, European doctors recommended the following treatments for curing the Bubonic Plague: causing bleeding near the heart, avoiding sleeping on your back, shutting all the windows in your house (it was thought that the Plague was spread through the air) and staying as cool as possible. It was also recommended not to bathe, as opening up the pores of the body was supposed to let in the infection.

We know now how preposterous these treatments are. But what "treatment" are you following, thinking that it's the healthiest because modern science, or even a modern health guru, says it is?

I would rather follow a health plan that will never change, which is given by God, who cannot lie, who created our bodies and knows how they function best. Come along with me and I'll show you how to follow the only guaranteed health plan on the face of the earth.

Friday, May 15, 2009

The Case for the Maker's Diet

If you listen carefully to the voice of the LORD your God and do what is right in His eyes, if you pay attention to His commands and keep all His decrees,
I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians,
For I am the LORD, who heals you.
-Exodus 15:26

Question: Do you think the following statistics are traits of a healthy people?
  1. 40% die of heart disease.
  2. One in three dies of cancer.
  3. One in three suffers from allergies.
  4. One in ten will have ulcers. ( I was one of those)
  5. One in five is mentally ill.
  6. Degenerative diseases such as arthritis, diabetes, Alzheimer's, digestive disorders, multiple sclerosis, osteoporosis, epilepsy and chronic fatigue are commonplace.
  7. Learning disabilities such as dyslexia and hyperactivity afflict seven million.
All the common signs of an incredibly healthy people, right? Think again. Even with all of the money we spend on medical costs each year ($800 billion) these diseases still plague our citizens- stealing energy, vitality, and life from millions of Americans and their loved ones.

All of these diseases are diseases of lifestyle. Did you know that these diseases are still uncommon among "primitive" people groups still living today? Or did you just think it was normal for you and all your loved ones to die of heart attacks, cancer, Alzheimer's, strokes, or wind up in a nursing home, incapacitated in your final years? I used to. I know this may all be new to you. You may be cringing at the thought that this illness is all so...preventable. But is it really? Consider this.

The Egyptians were also the leading civilization of their time. They were the most advanced in every way: medically, culturally, and technologically. Not only did they invent the calendar and hieroglyphics, but they developed systems for making paper out of papyrus reed plants, and operated looms to weave cloth into clothing. Because of their clever invention of mummification (see King Tut inside his sarcophagus above) modern day scientists were able to discover what diseases ailed the ancient Egyptians.

Guess what their upper class died of? It will sound familiar to you- osteoporosis, arthritis, heart disease, and malignancies similar to today's cancer. And guess what the Egyptians liked to eat? Seems they had a penchant for processed food just like we do. Egyptian tomb scenes show wheat being processed 13 times before being made into bread. Just like our white flour and processed breads.

This was not true for all Egyptians, however. The majority of peasants and workers were not "rich" enough for such processing, and research shows they likely ate a whole grain bread. Lucky for them, because in addition to the diseases listed above, mummy x-rays show that the ancient Pharaoh's and their families, and the nobles of the land suffered from painful spine conditions. In particular, one wife of a Pharaoh is shown to have suffered arthritis of the spine, and acute scoliosis. (Curvature of the spine.) I doubt she made it out of the house, err, palace, much.

It has now been proven through laboratory testing that the deficiency of the trace mineral manganese (particularly in pregnant mothers) causes scoliosis, buck teeth, malocclusion (where the upper and lower teeth do not align properly) and impacted wisdom teeth. So how does that all tie in to the Egyptians? When the bran and germ are removed from wheat grains (as they are in our processed bread, and as they were in the Egyptian nobility's bread) manganese virtually disappears. See the connection between diet and disease?

Next we will look at the connection between the healing foods God gave us to eat, and how people following God's ways of doing things have thrived throughout history, (particularly the Jews) even in the midst of extreme sickness and death swirling all around them.

So, when it comes to your health, my question for you is: Do you want to live and die like an Egyptian, an American, or like one of God's people?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Journey Continues...Or Begins...

I finished reading the Maker's Diet the next day. I decided that I had to start as soon as possible, even though I had no idea what that meant. One thing I was sure of, I saw no other options. I talked to my wonderful husband, Mark, (who was 25 at the time) and told him I had to do it. I didn't know how he would feel about it- (he loved Dulche de Leche ice cream and Cheez-Its as much as I did) so I told him that I would be happy to cook him separate meals. Graciously, he offered to do it with me. Thank God.

I felt a little overwhelmed, but I kept referring back to the maxim of the entire Maker's Diet:

Eat the food that God gave us
In the way He gave it to us to eat.

Translation: God gave us wheat, but He did not give us Twinkies.

So off I went for my first trip to Whole Foods, armed with my trusty copy of the Maker's Diet. I memorized the ingredients allowed on the first phase of the diet and referred to the recommended brands listed in the reference section of the book. I bought the supplements that the book recommended. I changed our entire diets in one day- and almost four years later, we haven't looked back.

We got started the next day. I woke up every morning for the first week or so feeling that I had been hit by a truck. My body was detoxing after months of sickness. I felt terrible, but I also felt amazing. And more importantly- I felt hope.

After the 40th day, I felt well on my way to recovery. I could get out of bed in the morning. And I could eat. I felt hopeful, and I felt thankful- because I knew that this would affect the rest of our lives, and that I wouldn't have cared one bit about it if I hadn't been sick.

The months went by, and then the years, and I continued to follow the Maker's Diet to a "T". My stomach pain wasn't gone yet, but it was now manageable. Still, I wanted more. I knew that as time went by, all of the "good stuff" I was putting in my body would eventually outweigh the trash that I gave it for 18 years- processed food, a lifetime of Ibuprophen and Excedrin, and antibiotics.

Then I got pregnant. I had no idea how my stomach would react to this. Surprisingly, I felt better than ever. After our son was born (we had been following the Maker's Diet for 2.5 years at this point) I kept waiting for my stomach to return to its previous state. But it never has. I believe God used my pregnancy to put the final touches on my healing. I am incredibly thankful for this- I can't imagine chasing around our 15 month old with a brick in my stomach every day.

And that is why I am writing this blog. I've gathered a ton of information in these last 3 and a half years- spent hours upon hours researching the ins and outs of every aspect of God's health plan for our lives. I'm more convinced than ever that yes, God really does know what He is talking about. He knows how He made us and what will cause us to thrive- and what will send us through our lives on this earth limping, or worse, to a premature death.

So if you're up for it, join me on this journey as I share what I've learned, and am still learning, along the way. If you find something that will help you or a loved one, that's great. If not, that's fine too. I hope either way that you will take a moment to stop and think: Do I know why I eat the way that I do? Do I know why I live my life the way I do? Is it really the best way?

I hope I can help you find your answer.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A Return to The Maker's Diet

On February 16, 2005, I was 19 years old, and newly married. My wonderful husband and I had been married a little over 6 months, and we had just celebrated our first Valentine's Day as a married couple. After having crammed 4 years of college into 2 so that I could graduate before our wedding day, I was thankful to be settling into a more peaceful pace of life as a married woman. Enthusiastic about my new life and excited for our future, I was so unprepared for what was in store for me.

I woke up that fateful morning feeling nauseated. Weird. I was concerned, but figured it would go away sometime during the day. When it didn't go away, I began to think what every newlywed woman would, "Am I pregnant? I must be!" I couldn't think of a better explanation for this bizarre nausea. Within a couple days, I convinced myself that a baby was on the way, and felt extremely excited to find out for sure.

But a couple weeks went by, and a very definitive pregnancy test showed that I was definitely not pregnant. I decided that it must be too early, and so I waited another month to re-test. The test was negative again, but I wasn't feeling any better. By this point I was constantly nauseous and exhausted, and had begun having constant acid reflux and frequent diarrhea. What on earth was going on with me?

My husband and I visited 7 doctors in search of answers. All of them looked at me like I was crazy. But I wasn't crazy. I felt so sick to my stomach I could barely get out of bed every day. Finally I didn't get out of bed for weeks. One doctor looked at me and said, "Why on earth did you do that?" Because I'M SICK! I wanted to scream! The months were going by and I still had no answers.

The 7th doctor ordered an upper GI. (They put you out and stick a lovely tube with a camera down your throat to see your upper intestines.) The results showed a small ulcer on top of my small intestine. But the doctor was still baffled. "This ulcer looks like it is only a couple of weeks old. Your symptoms don't match this at all. I didn't see anything else wrong, and I don't know what else you should do. Try taking an antacid and see if that helps." By this point, the once innocent nausea had turned into a constant brick in my stomach, a feeling in my throat that I was always about to vomit, diarrhea, acid reflux, hot and cold flashes, and complete exhaustion. It was the worst after I ate, but it never let up much. I didn't care about my normal life at all. I just wanted to be in bed.

After living like this for 6 long months, my husband and I were visiting my in laws when my first answer came. My mother in law was very concerned about me and gave me a book that she had just purchased. It was called The Maker's Diet, and she had just seen the author, Jordan Rubin, interviewed on TV. "Maybe it will help," she said. Desperate, I devoured the book in one day. I cried reading the first two chapters- Rubin's story was so much like mine. Young, normal, and seemingly healthy, and then bed-ridden within weeks. I knew that I wasn't as sick as he was, (he was later diagnosed with over 10 diseases, including lupus, Chron's disease, and arthritis,) but I was still very, very sick. The book began discussing Jordan's own crisis of health. As the chapters went on, he outlined what ultimately made him well again, something he called The Maker's Diet. He explained how at the height of his own sickness, his father received a phone call from a natural health doctor in Southern CA. He told him that the reason he was still sick was because he wasn't following God's plan for health. So, as a last hope, Jordan radically switched his diet to consume the foods that God gave us to eat. He moved into an RV on the beaches of So Cal (to breathe the fresh ocean air) and began to eat grass-fed meats, organic, free range eggs and raw dairy, kefir, raw vegetable juices, and sprouted breads.

Frankly, I thought this all sounded crazy. Growing up, my list of healthy foods included cinnamon Pop Tarts and Famous Amos Cookies. I got my fruits and vegetables through Fruit Roll Ups (they had some fruit in them, right?!) and Gusher's. Oh, and how I loved my microwavable, processed pizza and frozen "Chimi Changas" and hot dogs from Costco. Not to mention that I washed this all down with iced tea sweetened with Splenda, or my favorite, Nesquik. I also added some Tang in there occasionally. Another fruit serving, right? I must admit that, when I really needed a change, I would eat about 4 slices of an apple. And then I would quickly open my bag of Cool Ranch Doritos and move on.

So, reading about grass fed meat and raw dairy sounded like it was from another universe. But as I read Rubin's commentary on the dietary guidelines that God gave to the Israelites in Leviticus, I felt increasingly convincted. "Why have I never looked into the fact that God might have something to say about what I eat?" It began to make so much sense to me. Why wouldn't God care about what we ate? He made our bodies, didn't He? The answer sent me on a remarkable new journey- one that would affect every area of my life in ways I never thought possible.