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Nutrition and The Bible:
In my book Creationist Diet: Nutrition and God-given Foods According to the Bible I quote from several other books that also deal with what the Bible teaches about nutrition. Below are short reviews of each of these books. The title links are direct links to where the books can be purchased from Amazon. Note that my more recent book is God-given Foods Eating Plan.
God's Way to Ultimate Health
By Rev. George Malkmus, with Michael Dye.
In this book, Rev. Malkmus promotes his "Hallelujah Diet." He bases his diet on Genesis 1:29, "And God said, 'See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food'" (NKJV). Rev. Malkmus believes this verse teaches that we should eat mostly raw plant foods, with most of the diet being raw fruits and vegetables.
It is true that raw fruits and vegetables are very healthy and that people need to eat more of these foods. And Malkmus does do a good job of pointing out the problems with the standard American diet. However, there are potential problems with the diet he advocates. First and foremost is that many people simply could not exist on such a diet as it supplies insufficient calories and nutrients.
For instance, Rev. Malkmus presents what he eats in the book (p.92). It is mostly raw fruits and vegetables, along with some cooked foods at dinner, such as a baked potato, brown rice, or whole grain pasta. He also takes several supplemental foods he advocates. Altogether his diet probably provides less than 1,000 calories. Simply put I would starve following such a diet. I know as I did eat such a diet for a week as part of a "detox" routine. I lost five pounds and was ravishingly hungry by the end of the week. The detox was supposed to last ten days, but the hunger forced me to stop it after seven days.
Now I know that the idea of loosing five pounds in a week sounds great to many people, but such rapid weight loss is generally followed by just as rapid weight gain when one goes off of the diet. The only successful weight lose program is one that can be followed indefinitely. Such is not the case with such a restrictive diet. Following such a diet for a week can be good to "clean you out," but to follow it indefinitely would simply be too difficult for many people.
There are also some serious gaffs in this book. The worst is the claim on page 245 that the body can manufacture vitamin B12 from green leafy vegetables and sea vegetables. It is true that some kinds of seaweeds contain vitamin B12, but such foods are not common in the US. And in no way can the body manufacture vitamin B12 in a form that is usable by the body. This is vastly important as a vitamin B12 deficiency can cause serious and irreversible nerve damage. Anyone following a strict vegetarian diet like Malkmus advocates MUST take a vitamin B12 supplement.
The overarching problem with Malkmus's book is he bases his entire diet on one verse of the Bible. Yet there is much else that the Bible has to state on the subject of nutrition and foods beyond this one verse. It is for this reason that I overview all of the relevant Bible verses in my books. In my book I also give further details on the problems that restrictive diets like the Hallelujah Diet can cause. I also present alternative diets that can give the same health benefits that Malkmus claims his diet can give while avoiding the potential pitfalls of his diet.
Eating by the Book
By David L. Meinz
This book presents some very good advice on nutrition, weight loss, and cancer prevention. However, there really is not that much that is "by the Book." Throughout he presents a low-fat diet viewpoint that can been seen in many other nutrition books. He only discusses what the Bible teaches in the last of five parts and then only in regards to what the Bible teaches about meat consumption. However, what he does say here is worthwhile.
He first notes that the Bible restricts the eating of the fat of animals as much as it does the blood. Consuming blood is considered abhorrent today, and Meinz believes that the eating of animal fat should bring the same reaction. With all of the now know health problems associated with the eating of too much animal fat, God knew what He was doing when He told the Israelites not to eat it!
Next he presents his case that Christians today should observe the Old Testament distinction between clean and unclean animals, not for spiritual reasons but for health reasons. He gives a list of clean and unclean animals. He then notes, "Almost all of the creatures on the unclean list are scavengers" (p.225). It only seems logical that animals living on garbage would have higher levels of toxins in their bodies than ones living on plant foods. So again, there was a logical reason for God's original directive in this regard.
The information in this book is helpful, and I would recommend it. But the Bible has a lot more to say about nutrition and foods than just the two issues Meinz mentions. These other "by the Book" directives are discussed in my books.
What the Bible Says About Healthy Living
By Rex Russell, M.D.
Dr. Russell presents three main principles for healthy living. They are: "I: Eat only substances created for food. II: Eat foods as they were created. III: Don't let any food or drink become your god." In the rest of the book he then elaborates on these three principles.
In regards to the first, he quotes verses where God specifically gives certain foods to human beings for food. He then presents a list of foods mentioned in the Bible. And later in the book he goes into further details on each of these foods and the health benefits science is now showing are associated with eating them. One point he dwells on is the distinction between clean and unclean meats.
He notes some of the health problems that have been caused by people eating unclean meats. He also includes an interesting chart of clean and unclean meats. Besides each kind of meat is an indication of it's toxicity level. All clean meats have much lower levels of toxins than unclean meats. However, these toxicity levels are taken from a study done in 1953. It would be helpful if a more recent study were cited.
In regards to the second principle, he first enlarges it beyond food to look at what God said about aspects of healthy living besides food. He notes that God's directives in regards to personal hygiene and sex give health benefits to the person following them. Later he looks at foods. He notes that the processing of foods, such as turning whole grains into refined grains, "strips away" many of the nutrients God placed in the original whole foods.
In regards to principle III, he notes the many problems that addictions to food and other substances can cause a person.
Overall, this book is excellent. Russell presents a lot of Scripture verses and supporting scientific research for what the Bible teaches. It is similar to my books. Reading these three books together would give the reader a good grasp of what the Bible teaches about nutrition and how science is finally catching up to the Bible's teachings.
The Bible Cure
By Reginald Cherry, M.D.
Note: I don't actually quote from this book in my book. But since it covers the same ground as the above books, I figured this would be the best place to post this review.
This book discusses spiritual healing through prayer, diet, supplements, traditional and alternative treatments for a variety of health conditions, and includes a few recipes in the back. However, there is not a lot of detail on any one of these issues as the book is only 152 pages.
My first impression of this book is that Cherry's interpretation of some Bible verses is rather suspect. For instance, he claims that the healing recorded in John chapter nine is a case of Jesus using medicinal and spiritual means to heal. But in no means can spit and dirt be considered to be a medicinal cure for congenital blindness! OTOH, most of the supposed spiritual healings Cherry reports could be attributed solely to psychological factors or the medical treatments that accompanied the prayer.
In regards to diet, Cherry believes the Bible teaches a Mediterranean style of eating. And he is probably correct for the most part. But I did scratch my head when he states throughout the book to limit red meat to three or four times per month but then in a chart on page 118 says to eat lean meat 1-2 times weekly. Most people would probably find the former to be rather restrictive.
He promotes a mostly plant based diet but takes a swipe at a full vegetarian diet at the beginning of the book. But his quick dismissal of vegetarianism doesn't do justice to those who have thrived on such a diet. I go into much greater detail on the pros and cons of a vegetarian diet in my books. I also give a lot more details on diet related subjects that Cherry just glosses over.
In regards to supplements, Cherry recommends rather high doses of vitamins and minerals, especially the antioxidant nutrients. He seems to assume the evidence for their benefit is clear-cut. But as I detail in my books, the evidence is actually contradictory.
As for the discussion on the different healings using prayer and medical means, I did find one story to be instructive. A lady with ovarian cancer believed she was "led" by God to first use chemotherapy, but then she felt led to stop after just three treatments and then to depend solely on natural alternative treatments. And it worked. The three chemotherapy treatments eliminated most of the cancer leaving it more manageable for the natural means. And by stopping after three treatments she didn't experience any of the common side effects of chemotherapy. If the unthinkable happens and I ever come down with cancer, this pattern of treatment will merit serious consideration.
As for the recipes, they are rather basic and seem to be a waste of space in such a small book.
Overall, this book does provide a good introduction to each of the main issues covered. But it is just that, an introduction. For details, one would have to turn to separate books devoted to each subject.
Disclaimer: The material presented in this article is intended for educational purposes only. The author is not offering medical or legal advice. Accuracy of information is attempted but not guaranteed. Before undertaking any diet or exercise program, one should consult your doctor. The author is in no way responsible or liable for any bodily harm, physical, mental, or emotional, that results from following any of the advice in this article.
Note: All Scripture references from: The New King James Version. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1982, unless otherwise indicated.
The above reviews were posted on this site April 19-23, 2001.
They were updated October 21, 2014.
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