Food for Life – Healthful Lifestyle

As Seventh-day Adventists, we have been given special counsel from the Lord that a healthful lifestyle would improve and lengthen our lives.

“If we neglect to heed the simple laws by which we may preserve health, and fail to cultivate right habits, the Lord will not work a miracle to heal our disorders, while we continue to transgress his laws. Men are sleeping in their graves that the Lord would have had live. They destroyed themselves through lack of knowledge. On many points they were instructed, and yet failed to carry out the instruction given them; but let us become enlightened Christians, walking in the light, and overcoming every defect that we may reap reward in this life, and gain the life eternal hereafter.” Christian Education, 133.

“Is it not time for us to understand that nature will not long suffer abuse without protesting? Our heavenly Father does not willingly afflict or grieve the children of men. He is not the author of sickness and death. He is the source of life; He would have men live, and He desires them to be obedient to the laws of life and health, that they may live.” Counsels on Health, 563.

Nearly 7,000 people were studied by Drs. Nedra Belloc and Lester Breslow in regard to lifestyle and longevity. Their conclusive scientific study documents what we have been told for over 100 years. (Neil Ned-ley, M.D., Proof Positive, Nedley Publishing, Ardmore, Oklahoma, 1998, 3.) It was found that seven factors impact increased longevity. These factors are: (1) sleep seven to eight hours, (2) no eating between meals, (3) eat breakfast regularly, (4) maintain proper weight, (5) regular exercise, (6) no use of alcohol, and (7) no smoking.

In this study, it was found that there was a direct relationship between the number of health habits practiced and longevity of life. Note the study results in the box below.

I hope that you are presently practicing or will begin to practice the eight laws of health, improving your health and longevity.

The predominant ingredient in the following recipe is quinoa. Compared to other grains and vegetables, it is high in protein, calcium, and iron. It is also a relatively good source of phosphorous, calcium, iron, vitamin E, and several of the B vitamins. So, start your day with this delicious cooked cereal, which was a recipe used at the 2006 Steps to Life Camp Meeting.

Food – The Heart

The heart is an amazing organ. For perfect circulation, a strong heart is needed to pump blood to every organ and cell of the body. To support heart vitality, an understanding of its physiology is necessary. “Since the mind and the soul find expression through the body, both mental and spiritual vigor are in great degree dependent upon physical strength and activity; whatever promotes physical health, promotes the development of a strong mind and a well-balanced character. Without health, no one can as distinctly understand or as completely fulfill his obligations to himself, to his fellow beings, or to his Creator. Therefore the health should be as faithfully guarded as the character. A knowledge of physiology and hygiene should be the basis of all educational effort.” Child Guidance, 360, 361.

To understand the heart we need to look at its structure. The heart is located below the ribs and in the middle left side of the chest and is approximately the size of each individual’s doubled up fist. The heart, a sophisticated pump, pumps about 100,000 times moving approximately 7,000 quarts of blood per day. Exercise can increase the output up to 6 times. The pumping phase is 1/3 and the resting phase is 2/3 of the heart cycle. The heart has 4 chambers comprising 2 sets of pumps, one pumping blood to the lungs and the other larger pump, sending blood to the body. The pump is assisted in its function by 4 valves that prevent blood from leaking backward during the pumping and resting phases. The pumping action is initiated by electrical pacemakers and pathways that carry the signal to all parts of the heart.

Arteries, capillaries, and veins compose a system of tubes that carry the pumped blood to the body. The arteries and veins have an outer tissue covering, a muscular layer, and an inner layer. The muscular layer is much thicker in the arteries which carry oxygen rich blood from the heart than in the veins which carry oxygen poor blood back to the heart. The capillaries, located between the arteries and veins are very small, thin tubes which allow the oxygen, nutrients, and waste products to exit and enter the tubes. This complex system of tubes is called the circulatory system. Although all arteries are important, the coronary arteries which carry blood to the heart are critical. If the heart muscle does not have a rich supply of blood, it is damaged, and its ability to function is hindered. There are about 100,000 miles of tubes in our circulatory system and it takes only 15-20 seconds for the blood to go through this entire system. “Perfect health depends upon perfect circulation.” Christian Temperance and Bible Hygiene, 89.

According to the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, heart disease is the number one worldwide killer of adults. It is responsible for 40 percent of all deaths in the United States, more than all forms of cancer combined. Heart disease is closely related to lifestyle decisions (diet, smoking, obesity, sedentary and stressful lifestyle) and other factors (family history, blood pressure, age, sex, and diabetes).

Prevention of heart disease is far better than needing treatment so choose a lifestyle to promote a healthy heart by forming healthy habits and teaching them to our families. Is it any wonder that the Lord says, “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it [are] the issues of life.” Proverbs 4:23.

Be Sober, Be Vigilant

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” 1 Peter 5:8. The word sober means to me: be alert. Peter is admonishing us to be sober, be vigilant; because our adversary, the devil, goes around as a hungry, roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. The word seeking implies that he is diligently looking for his prey. Jesus, speaking to us, said, “And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.” Luke 21:34. Jesus is telling us to look deeply into our own lives and “take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting and drunkenness.”

You see, looking ahead, He knows the trials, temptations, and snares of the devil that are going to come upon each and every one of us; and He says, “Take heed to yourselves.” In other words, you do not even know your own heart. “Do not be overcharged, do not be filled up with surfeiting,” which means on over abundance of food, “and drunkenness,” which is an over abundance of drink. “Beware,” he is telling you; do not let the cares of this life lead you astray so that you do not see what is coming. Christ warns us not to let these, the matter of food and drink, so preoccupy our thinking that we fail to see the devil going around as a roaring lion. “For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.” Luke 21:35-36. This snare, dearly beloved, as my Bible reads is not going to come on just a few of us. It says that this snare shall come on all them that dwell upon the earth.

Have you had any problem with health lately? Have you made commitments and resolutions year after year to change the selection of your food and to begin exercising and following the eight laws of health perhaps, but find that they pass right through your fingers? We are so weak that our best resolutions are likened to ropes of sand, leaving us unable to stand and have victory in our lives and to live this life of commitment we say that we want to live.

Satan knows each one of us better than we know ourselves. He lurks and waits and plans how to lay his snares. He says, “Well, this brother has a problem of overeating, so I am just going to make sure that all of these foods get in front of his eyes.” And how often we neglect the salvation contained in the Word of God, which is so vital to our souls, and fail to withstand his temptations.

“If Christians will keep the body in subjection, and bring all their appetites and passions under the control of enlightened conscience, feeling it a duty that they owe to God and to their neighbors to obey the laws which govern health and life, they will have the blessing of physical and mental vigor. They will have moral power to engage in the warfare against Satan; and in the name of Him who conquered appetite in their behalf, they may be more than conquerors on their own account. This warfare is open to all who will engage in it.” Counsels on Diet and Foods, 65

In 1 Corinthians, Paul likens the Christian’s experience to running a race. He tells us that before we can run the race, we need to engage in physical preparation. In order for the athletes to be in the best health condition to compete in the races that were held in Paul’s day, they submitted themselves to a very strict and stringent diet, chose the right articles of food, and avoided all that is harmful.

Speaking of the contest for eternal life, Paul says, “I bring my body under subjection lest I find myself a castaway.” (See 1 Corinthians 9:27.) This is like no other contest because we have a supernatural adversary who is waiting to devour each one of us; and he knows that his strongest hold upon mankind is indulgence of appetite. We need to be sanctified in the mind, and Satan knows the close sympathy between the body and the mind. He knows that if he and keep the flesh stimulated and the mind benumbed, he will gain control.

The greatest hindrance to sanctification is the indulgence of appetite. So God, in His great love for us, has provided a health package to better equip us for the race of life. He says, “Look, I am going to give you the diet you will need in order to win the race.”

Ellen White tells us, “Let none who profess godliness regard with indifference the health of the body, and flatter themselves that intemperance is no sin and will not affect their spirituality. A close sympathy exists between the physical and the moral nature. The standard of virtue is elevated or degraded by the physical habits.” Ibid., 62

God has a plan that includes fresh air, plenty of sunshine, and temperance in all things. Abstemious, not moderation, is the word that He uses, which means that we are to abstain from every thing that is injurious to our body and use judiciously use only articles of food that are nutritious and that promote health. Beyond that, He tells us to trust Him—trust in divine power.

Satan is waiting for you; and whatever it takes, he is going to suck you right into his trap unless you follow God’s plan, trusting in Him. “Satan is constantly on the alert to bring the race fully under his control. His strongest hold on man is through the appetite, and this he seeks to stimulate in every possible way.” Ibid., 150. [All emphasis supplied] Through the medium of advertising, the devil seeks to use the avenues of the soul—the senses—to stimulate you. Through the eyes, the ears, the taste, the touch, he places his array of temptations before us in the most enticing possible form, hoping that we will take them like bait. He knows that his greatest hold is through the appetite.

Satan, follows a two step plan. First, he seeks to benumb or cloud the mind, and then he strives to stimulate or excite the animal passions.

Stay away from stimulants, because when you are stimulated, you do not have as much control over you own mind. We must realize, as Ellen White tells us in Counsels on Diet and Foods on page 45, that “God requires of His people continual advancement. We need to learn that indulged appetite is the greatest hindrance to mental improvement and soul sanctification. With all our profession of health reform, many of us eat improperly”. You see, Satan seeks to destroy, and Christ is seeking to restore.

If you were preparing for the 1996 Olympic Games, you would adopt a diet and exercise program that would promote the best physical condition possible. Yet, as Seventh-day Adventist Christians who have been given the greatest light on the face of the earth, we sit back and say, “But I like the taste of those things.” God says, “Look, My Son is ready to come, and I need a people on the face of the earth who are going to walk in all of the light that I have today. Do you want life eternal? Are you willing to deny the tings that I tell you are not good for your body, that are going to interfere with your mind?” God is try8ing to fit a people for eternity, and we sit here and eat and drink like the world. We are the chosen nation eating from the fleshpots of Egypt.

Have you wondered how to have victory over all sin your life? The solution lied in conquering the appetite. We each need to acknowledge something today: that health reform is a blessing!

“The controlling power of appetite will prove the ruin of thousands, when, if they had conquered on this, they would have moral power to gain the victory over every other temptation of Satan.” Ibid., 59

“But those who are slaves to appetite will fail in perfecting Christian character. The continual transgression of man for six thousand years has brought sickness, pain, and death as its fruits. And as we near the close of time, Satan’s temptation to indulge appetite will be more powerful and more difficult to overcome.” Ibid.

The devil says, “Yeah, but pork chops are good. And bacon is good. You know, I will even get the translation people to lust after my foods.” So, they buy Stripples and Prosage links, because they still like the taste. Maybe, we do not buy ham, but we enjoy Wham. While we do this, we show that we still crave and desire the taste of the pig! I ask myself, Why is God’s remnant church selling something that looks and tastes like unclean meat? These foods are meant to be transition food for those who are getting off meat, not to be the main entree for the Seventh-day Adventist Christian for fifty years; but I see Adventists coming in to my health food store and buying seven or eight cases at a time.

God has given us a blueprint to run the Christian race. We have it in our hands today, priceless material in which God has warned us not to eat stimulants. “Through the use of stimulants, the whole system suffers. The nerves are unbalanced, the liver is morbid is its action, the quality and circulation of the blood are affected, and the skin becomes inactive and sallow. The mind, too, is injured. The immediate influence of these stimulants is to excite the brain to undue activity, only to leave it weaker and less capable of exertion.” Ibid., 422, 423. You drink the coffee and get a quickening in the mind, and then you get a low down and run to the vending machine and buy that Hershey bar and Coca-Cola at midday, which gives you another boost. “The aftereffect if prostration, not only mental and physical, but moral….You are highly nervous and excitable. Tea has an influence to excite the nerves, and coffee benumbs the brain.” Ibid.

You see, Satan is trying to stimulate our animal passions to benumb the brain. God wants to sanctify us in our mind, to renew us day by day; and what we put into our bodies is going to affect that process.

“The continued use of these nerve irritants is followed by headache, wakefulness, palpitations of the heart, indigestion, trembling, and many other evils, for they wear away the life forces. Tired nerves need rest and quiet instead of stimulation and overwork. Nature needs time to recuperate her exhausted energies. When her forces are goaded on by the use of stimulants, more will be accomplished for a time; but as the system becomes debilitated by their constant use, it gradually becomes more difficult to rouse the energies to the desired point. The demand for stimulants becomes more difficult to control.” Ibid., 424. Have you ever noticed how this works? I anybody here addicted to soft drinks? You have one one day, and then it is two the next. With cigarettes it is one one day, and then it is two the next. With alcohol it is a glass of wine one day, and then it is three the next.

“The demand for stimulants becomes more difficult to control, until the will is overborne, and there seems to be no power to deny the unnatural craving. [You are totally controlled by the adversary’s latest snare. And you jumped into it. He has you controlled. Now you have to break a habit that has you physically addicted.] Stronger and still stronger stimulants are called for, until exhausted nature an no longer respond.” Ibid.

Ellen White talks about tea and coffee. “Their effects are similar to those of tobacco; but they affect in an lesser degree.” Ibid., 425

OH, friends, there is not time for God’s people in these last days to be addicted to anything that is a stimulant. That includes chocolate, coke, and sugar.

The number one reason that i don not eat animal products is that of the disease in animals today. Today, there is aids in cow, cancer and leukemia in chickens, leukemia in dairy products, and tuberculosis is breaking out in the cattle. You see, we have the streamlined inspection system where we not longer have enough meat inspectors form the federal government to go to the processing plants and examine the meat for themselves. So the company inspects its own product. As a result, the quality of the meat products is controlled by the ones who stand to suffer the loss if it is rejected.

Watch out! Be sober, be vigilant, for you adversary the devil goes around as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. And Christ said to watch and pray always. Watch out for your food! Surfeiting and drunkenness!

When the secretary of agriculture Mike Gillispie made a surprise visit to ninety of the twelve hundred slaughter houses in America, what he found caused him to shut down thirty of them immediately. When random samples of one hundred and thirteen different fish across this country show that forty-four of those samples were contaminated with human fecal bacteria because the waters are polluted, it is time to let the fish go, too. Ellen White warned us that disease in animals would increase with the wickedness of mankind.

Put the package together folks. Ninety-three years have gone by since the counsel has been given us on diet reform. Christ is coming. Will we continue to sit here with overweight bodies and cloudy mind, thinking that we are the children of the light?

We as a people are to be preparing to be fitted for the coming of Jesus Christ. That fitness includes a physical fitness, not just a spiritual fitness, because there is a close sympathy between the body and the mind. My Bible says in 1 Thessalonians 5:23, “Sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” We are to be living sacrifices for the Lord, and we cannot go and teach the world the health message unless we are first living it ourselves.

“Among those who are waiting for the coming of the Lord, meat eating will eventually be done away; flesh will cease to form a part of their diet. We should ever keep this end in view, and endeavor to work steadily toward it. I cannot think that in the practice of flesh eating we are in harmony with he light which God has been pleased to give us. All who are connected with our health institutions especially should be education themselves to subsist on fruits, grains, and vegetables. If we move form principle in these things, if we as Christian reformers educate our own taste, and bring our diet to God’s plan, then we may exert an influence upon others in this matter.” Ibid., 380. When we live it, then we can exert an influence upon other people.

Biblical Lifestyles

Typically the standard American diet is made up of foods high in fat and lacking in color. It was not that way in the beginning. In Genesis 1:29, God said, “Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.” In Genesis 2:16 we see the original diet prescribed by God: “Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat.” This did not include any animal products. It was a vegan diet. There was no milk or cheese, or any of the things that western societies tend to eat quite a lot of. When sin entered in, God added the herbs of the field. I call it “The Amended Diet.” This is God’s intended diet for His people in the very last days.

John said, “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth” (3 John 1:2). This is God’s will for us, though many tend to reject God’s will. There are people who are not Adventists who are very interested in what God has shown to His people. In fact, many people, including doctors, are designing their research after light that has been given to us through the writings of Ellen G. White.

A man by the name of Clive McKay, PhD., of the Department of Nutrition of Cornell University once said that in spite of the fact that writings of Mrs. White were written long before the advent of modern scientific nutrition, no better overall guide is available today. Time and time again what God has shown us through the writings of Sister White have come to pass as absolute truth.

Nathan Pritikin of the Pritikin Diet said that Ellen White laid the guidelines for health that unfortunately are not being adhered to as strictly as they should be.

“Flesh meats will depreciate the blood. Cook meat with spices, and eat it with rich cakes and pies, and you have a bad quality of blood. The system is too heavily taxed in disposing of this kind of food. The mince pies and the pickles, which should never find a place in any human stomach, will give a miserable quality of blood. And a poor quality of food, cooked in an improper manner, and insufficient in quantity, cannot make good blood. Flesh meats and rich food, and an impoverished diet, will produce the same results.” Counsels on Diet and Foods, 387.

God is showing us that the blood really supplies the nutrition to the body. You are what you eat, and what you put in your body goes into your blood and feeds all the tissues in your body. If you are not eating a proper, healthy diet, you are impoverishing your body and making it unhealthy.

“The controlling power of appetite will prove the ruin of thousands, when, if they had conquered on this point, they would have had moral power to gain the victory over every other temptation of Satan. But those who are slaves to appetite will fail in perfecting Christian character. The continual transgression of man for six thousand years has brought sickness, pain, and death as its fruits. And as we near the close of time, Satan’s temptation to indulge appetite will be more powerful and more difficult to overcome.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 491, 492.

Since the 1970s, our food supply in this country has become more and more processed and refined and, although often tastier to the human palate, it has become less and less nutritious. We are seeing more and more lifestyle diseases because of this development.

A doctor at Loma Linda, Dr. Lamont Murdoch, taught us that it was faulty genetics that loads the gun, but lifestyle pulls the trigger. The point he was trying to make was that we are all genetically predisposed to different lifestyle diseases, but being afflicted by one or more of them is not a certainty. By following God’s plan there are things we can do that could help prevent us from getting type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure even though they may run in our family. We can change a lot by how we live. The world recognizes this possibility. Not only is research being conducted toward that end, but researchers are looking at Seventh-day Adventists, wondering why we live as long as we do. We are one of the people-groups in the world that produce the most centurions, people that live to be a hundred years or older.

In The National Geographic, November 2005, “The Secrets of Long Life,” there was an article that explored three people groups: Okinowans, Sicilians, and Seventh-day Adventists. Most people would conclude that Sicilians and Okinowans probably have something genetic that makes them live so long. But what do you do with Seventh-day Adventists who are in almost every country of the world, including every ethnicity, every socio-economic class; we have genetics that go far and wide.

The National Geographic article explored some things that were common with these three people-groups. There were four things that stood out.

  1. All three groups believed strongly in some kind of faith.
  2. All three practiced meditation and religious principles.
  3. Most of them lived active lifestyles, which was very important.
  4. They all eat very simple and nearly vegetarian diets.

When we put these together, we start to see four of the eight natural doctors practiced. Putting these things together synergistically, builds a power of health. The more of these natural doctors we obey, the healthier and better off we are.

I have discovered the quickest way to get to the heart of what’s wrong with your health is to ask the Lord for wisdom and insight, and honesty in your heart, and then go through the eight natural doctors one at a time. How’s your diet, your exercise, are you drinking plenty of water, are you getting sunshine and practicing temperance in your life? Are you getting fresh air? Are you resting, especially resting in Christ? And what about your faith in God? These are all important and as we put these eight natural doctors together into our lives, we see miraculous healing.

The Standard American Diet is a sad diet, high in refined foods, high in fat content (40-50%), high in simple carbohydrates, and low in fiber.

Since the 1970s, our diets have really changed in the United States. The Standard American Diet (SAD) leads to:

  • obesity
  • diabetes
  • hypertension
  • coronary artery disease
  • osteoporosis
  • arthritis
  • some forms of cancer such as colon cancer, breast cancer, pancreatic cancer, etc.
  • new diseases, which include fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, and other assorted ailments that are besetting mankind today that were basically never heard of 20 years ago.

Obesity in the United States has jumped from 23.9% in 2005 to currently 36.4% according to (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). That means that more than one in three Americans in the United States is obese. It’s incredible. Diabetes follows the same pattern, along with hypertension and coronary artery disease. These are all lifestyle diseases. There is an epidemic of obesity and lifestyle diseases and it is on the rise. In a recent study that was done by pathologists, we are now seeing in our children the obesity rate going up and they are beginning to have the same kind of arteriosclerosis as adults.

We did a surveillance study, a study where we look at people over a period of time and watch what they are doing, and then go back and review the results at the end of that study. We surveyed people who had diabetes, hypertension, osteoporosis, obesity and constipation. These are all similar in nature because they are caused by the food we eat which harden our arteries, slow the digestive track down, and change the chemistry in the body in such a way that affects our bones, and it leaves us constipated. We watched this group of people with these kinds of ailments for a couple of years. They were given standard treatments, i.e., going to their doctor, receiving laxatives, getting diabetic medications, heart pills, cholesterol pills, etc. After a two-year period none of these people got better.

In the alternative, we could do something about these diseases if we followed God’s plan and made changes. I see people getting off their medications all the time when they follow God’s plans completely. The tendency in western medicine is to prescribe more medicine which is not working and then we begin to see side effects and interactions from the medications. We then treat other symptoms with a new medication and so we are treating effects of medication with medication. It’s not working very well.

Many who are very health-minded just want to take a supplement. One of the problems we are finding is that 10, 15, 20 years down the road, these things cause damage to our body. For example, vitamin A can actually damage your bones. Vitamin E increases the risk of dying from all causes. Folic acid can cause heart disease. Beta-carotene increases the risk of cancer.

Almost all people over 30 years old are overweight and a large portion of Americans—over 30%—are obese. Being overweight leads to the increased risk of lifestyle diseases. In our country it begins at birth. We have found as we give babies baby formula that we see:

  • sixty-times increased risk of pneumonia,
  • 2 to 4 times the risk of sudden infant death syndrome,
  • 10-fold increase in hospitalization in the first year of life,
  • lower IQ scores by an average of 10 points,
  • increase in behavior and speech difficulties are increased, and
  • increased risk of infections, eczema, asthma, and type 1 diabetes.

We also know that leukemia is strongly related to the feeding of dairy products to our young people. A notice from Pediatric Allergy and Immunology stated in May 2015: “Compared with infants born to lean mothers, the researchers found that specific immune cells—monocytes and dendritic cells—among the infants born to obese mothers showed much lower responses to bacterial antigens.” That means they have less capacity to fight infection. It goes on in this same article and tells us, “Maternal obesity raises the risk of a number of health conditions for offspring that can persist well into adulthood, including heart disease and asthma. Now, a new study reveals why this may be; maternal obesity weakens an infant’s immune system, at the same time of birth, increasing their susceptibility to illness.”

Time magazine recognized this development in 1998 in an issue entitled, “Our Supersized Kids.” They are examining the lifestyle reasons why our kids may be obese. The obesity rate in the United States last year, among children under 18, was 17%. They examined these lifestyle issues and concluded, it’s not just genetics, but diet.

  • 32% of all American children are overweight.
  • 90% of these children have avoidable risk factors for heart disease.
  • Food consumption in the U.S. averages over 3,800 calories per person per day.

That’s an incredible amount of calories. An adult, estimated by our government, only needs 2,350 calories a day. I would suggest to you that even that amount is too much. You probably can get by just fine on about 1,800 calories a day. When we see this kind of caloric consumption in our society, we see a lot of obesity. The skinniest state in the United States is Colorado, at 20.2% of the population considered obese. The most obese is Louisiana at 36%.

We need to understand the importance of understanding obesity and why it exists, how to avoid it and overcome it.

Society sees obesity as people who live to eat. There are some people that do, but for the most part, obese people are obese for a different reason. There are over 2 million species on earth and only 3 species have a problem with being overweight: dogs, cats, and people. The elephants and giraffes do not think about their weight. The animals in God’s creation eat exactly what they are supposed to, and they have no weight problem. That should be a clue for us. Animals eating to their full satisfaction will, over time, eat neither too much or too little for optimal health.

Physiology studies show that a person 50 years of age will eat about 50,000 pounds of food, about 1,000 pounds a year. If he ate 1% short over his lifetime of 50 years, he would be seriously malnourished. If he ate 1% too much, he would be about 50 pounds overweight. That means we’re working in a physiologic window of plus or minus 1%. These are the natural mechanisms God has built into our hard-wiring. The Bible says in Psalms 139:14, “I will praise Thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are Thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.” God has made this machine to work within this physiologic window of plus or minus 1%.

God gave us a diet in the beginning that consisted of what we are supposed to eat and we need to follow the recommendations to expect good health.

Physiologically, the body weighs the amount of the food in the gut with things called “stretch receptors” and “nutrient receptors.” They line the inside of the gut and weigh the amount of food in there and the nutrients that are contained in it. If we get enough food, enough volume, those stretch receptors send signals back to the brain that say, “You’ve eaten enough food. You don’t need to eat anymore.” If you’re getting enough nutrition, the same thing happens. The nutrition receptors send messages to the brain to tell us, “You’ve eaten good food. You don’t need to eat anymore.” These receptors send messages to our brain and tell us, if we’re full or not, if we need more food. They perform a gut content, weighing, and calorie analysis. For example, an apple is 5/6 fiber and water, 1/6 carbohydrates, at 300 calories per pound of apples, based on the fact that carbohydrates are 1,800 calories per pound. If you eat a half an apple which weighs about half a pound, you would put about a 150 calories in your body. Your stomach is going to weigh that out and if that is all you have eaten, your body will tell you that you are not done. You need about 350 more calories, healthy nutrients, to be satiated.

Among the 36.4% of Americans that are obese, and almost all Americans that are overweight, only 1% of those people actually have thyroid problems; so you can’t blame your thyroid for your condition.

Dr. Murdock said, “Genetics loads the gun, lifestyle pulls the trigger.” One person may have a normal amount of stretch receptors and nutrient receptors, while another person may be lacking nutrient receptors and stretch receptors. When people put 500 calories in their bodies, their brains tell them they have enough and do not need to eat any more. But those 500 calories in another person may measure the 500 calories as being only 400 calories, and it says, “I need more nutrition. I need more food.”

Remember in the 1970s our government told us that the average four ounces of red meat was bad for us and that fish and chicken was so much better. So, instead of eating four ounces of red meat, which, by the way has the same caloric density and content as does fish and chicken, we started eating about ten ounces on average of fish and chicken every day.

Our caloric intake went up two and a half times just from the amount of meat that we started using. You can trace our obesity epidemic all the way back to the 1970s when the government told us that.

There are other factors involved, like exercise, and some people do have a thyroid problem, but we need to understand that processed foods under-stretch the gut and fool the gut receptors. Processed food lacks proper nutrition and fiber while supplying the same amount of calories, squeezed down into a smaller amount of food. We think we need more food, even though we are consuming the same amount of calories. We are still hungry. So we eat two or three times more than what we were eating before, fooling our bodies with a lousy food system.

Salad, vegetables, and fruits average one to three hundred calories per pound, which means that if you eat a pound of salad, you will get about a hundred calories. However, your stomach is not going to accept a whole pound of salad. You can trick your own stomach into eating fewer calories and be full. You could eat about a quarter to half a pound of salad if you are really famished and that is only 25-50 calories at most and your stomach will be full. We can have the reverse effect when we eat the right way.

Oil contains 4,000 calories per pound. It is the densest food on the planet. As foods have more oil in it, they approach the oil content of 4,000 calories per pound. Puddings and custards for example have 3,200 calories per pound. Chips, cookies, and nuts, are in the 2,500 to 3,200 range; sugars and cheese, 1,800 calories per pound. Meats, bread, and flour, 1,200 to 1,600. Analog meats are in the 700 to 1,200 calories per pound range. Think of your stomach as a ball. We can put all lettuce in there and maybe jam in 25 calories, or we could fill it with oil and put 4,000 calories in there. It matters what you eat at each meal as to whether or not you will gain weight, lose weight, or stay the same.

Often, people who are trying to lose weight decide to go on the salad diet. They go down the salad bar line, build a plate full of wonderful vegetables, even lettuce and good things like that. Then they get to the dressings. They decide not to eat the dressing, but just take some olive oil and drizzle that on and maybe squeeze a little lemon on it and think they have a wonderfully healthy salad. Now a 25 or 50 calorie salad has jumped to 400 or 500 calories because of the olive oil.

To maintain a low body weight with average genes, you would have to eat a low calorically dense diet, that is, a diet that is high in volume but low in calories. Those persons who have the obese genes and want a low body weight are going to have to eat a diet that is low calorie dense. There are things we can do. We can modify our lifestyle, even with obese genes in the family, to live a skinny life. To do that you have to understand these principles.

The solution to this problem is dilution:

  • dilution with salad,
  • dilution with vegetables,
  • dilution with fruit.

These are the kinds of foods you want to eat first when you sit down.

First of all, make sure you have a colorful meal. Eat your salad veggies and those low calorically dense foods first. Fill the stomach up with those, and then look at your more calorically dense foods in very small amounts. So, the solution to caloric pollution is dilution.

There is a difference between the western diet and the vegan diet: the western diet is more than 40% fat coming from mostly animal products. The vegan diet on the other hand is 10 to 20% fat with no animal products whatsoever. Our bodies are fearfully and wonderfully made and actually designed to be vegetarian. The average cholesterol level in those eating the Standard American Diet is about 200 compared to 130 or even less in those eating a vegan diet. The people on the standard American diet are predisposed to diabetes, hypertension, cancer, and auto-immune disease, whereas vegans live 12% longer than the average American and live healthier lives.

While at Weimar, we took people with high cholesterol and put them on vegan diets except for one difference; we added animal protein instead of soy protein in the form of skim milk to the animal protein group, and we gave vegetable protein, mostly soy, to the other group. We were trying to find out what effect animal protein, not cholesterol, had on cholesterol levels.

After three weeks, the cholesterol lowered in the animal protein group 30 to 40 points. That is good, but it was not as good as the vegan group who lost about 70 points in the same three weeks, which is an incredible loss of cholesterol.

Thinking that one group had a genetic advantage over the group, they switched the diet. After three more weeks we found out that the cholesterol that was down 60–70 points before was now at that same 30–40 point level. What we saw was the group on the animal protein, then vegetable protein, after six weeks on a great diet, and then the last three weeks on the best diet, had a 110 point average drop. No medication was taken, just a straight vegan diet. I have seen the same result in my own practice. We put patients on God’s plan, get all animal protein out of their diet, and we see on average a 110 point drop in total cholesterol.

We are having a big political fight in our country about healthcare. We don’t need to have that fight. We can go vegan. It is estimated that we would have 3% to 7% the rate of lifestyle disease that we now have if every American went vegan. That’s incredible. We wouldn’t need the health care system we have now. We wouldn’t need the health insurance. There would be no fight.

The most common question I get asked is, “Where do you get your protein?” Elephants eat grass and leaves and do not worry about getting enough protein or eating too much or too little. There is protein in grass. The grass is green—it has chlorophyll. Proteins produce the chlorophyll through a process of photosynthesis. Grass is filled with protein and we get all of our essential amino acids from plant foods. By eating a wide variety of food you will get all the essential amino acids and proteins that you need.

The Biblical diet, which is very colorful is based on fruits, nuts, and vegetables. It is wonderfully healthy. These are just some examples of anti-oxidant-rich fruits with rich colors: strawberries, blueberries, plums. The same characteristic is shared with the rich anti-oxidant veggies with wonderful colors.

God said, “Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat” (Genesis 1:29). He said, eat of them freely.

Michael Snyder is a Family Practice physician practicing in Bonners Ferry, Idaho, where he lives with his wife and four of their six children. He graduated from Loma Linda University School of Medicine and is board certified in Family Medicine. He was a speaker at Steps to Life Camp Meeting 2015. This article is one of his presentations at that camp meeting.