|"...Prosper and be in Health..."
It is plainly Yahshua's intent that we not only prosper (including materially), but also that we be in good health. The scripture from which the title above is taken, is found in 3 John 2:
Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.
Yahshua Himself stated that He had come that we might have life, and have it more abun-dantly (John 10:10).
We, especially here in the United States, have been abundantly blessed by Yahweh for these past 221 years since becoming an independent nation. We have fertile soil, abundant crops, and (at least until recently), plenty of pure water. Our children are generally healthy, and born free of defects. Our life-span compares favorably with any other nation's. We have been known as "the world's bread-basket," supplying food and other necessities to number-less less blessed peoples around the world during times of famine, crop failures, and other disasters.
There can be no question that we have been "world leaders" in humanitarian activities, al-most always being the first to offer aid in times of need (yet we are generally hated and de-spised by many of the very nations that we have aided. But that's another subject).
Today, we find ourselves in the unenviable position of "world leaders" in yet another cate-gory. We lead the world in incidences of and deaths from cancer, heart disease, diabetes, stroke, etc., and a recent study showed that over 36% of American women are over-weight, while 33.3% of men are, and even among children, 14% are obese. Excess weight is said to be a factor in all of the above mentioned diseases.
Why? Authorities say that the chief causes are improper diet, and physical inactivity. Other factors enter in, too, such as life-style. If you have self-destructive habits like smoking, drinking too much alcohol, and drug use (legal or otherwise), these will cause or make worse the diseases mentioned, and more as well.
In this article, I want to focus in on our dietary habits, since we are what we eat. We eat too much, we eat the wrong things, and we fail to drink enough plain old water.
I think I mentioned in a previous Newsletter about the 18th and 19th century European workers who, because of their economic status (they were poor), had to eat what was deri-sively called, "black bread." But the elite, the wealthy, ate bread made from white, refined flour.
It soon became obvious that the poor workers were healthier and had less sickness than did the rich. Their bread had all the nutrients nature had put in the grain, while those who ate the dainties, made from the "refined" white flour, were being deprived of these nutrients. We still do this today. The millers of wheat refine it, removing the wheat germ and bran, usually put-ting it in cow feed, or processing it into "health food" products which they then sell us as die-tary supplements to make up for what they took out in the first place.
That's just one example. Another is, we as a nation ignore the plain laws of the Bible about what we should and should not be eating. We are expressly forbidden by our Creator to eat certain meats that were not created for food (Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14 list these).
But man, apparently claiming superior know-ledge over his Creator, says it is OK to eat just about anything that wiggles, walks, creeps or crawls. He sets his own standards, to his hurt.
However, even those of us who observe these instructions of Yahweh's, eat far too much meat. At risk of incurring the wrath of the American Beef Council, and the Dairy and Poultry Associations, etc., let me state emphatically that we could improve our health and prevent many of these disease scourges simply by eating less meat and dairy products (protein and fat), and eating more whole grains, vegetables and fruit, and by simply drinking more water! Most of us don't get anywhere near a sufficient amount of plain water. Coffee, tea, beer, and cola drinks are NOT a sufficient substitute for water.
How much water? At least 64 ounces (two quarts) a day. One guideline is to take one-half your weight in pounds, convert it to ounces, and drink that much daily. Using this method, if you weigh 150 pounds, you should drink 75 ounces of water every day (a little less than 5 pints).
Water helps flush out waste and poisons from your body, keeps the kidneys healthy, and tends to lubricate the joints, preventing arthritis, rheumatism, etc. One source I read recently stated that the single most important thing one could do to improve their health (if only one could be done) is to increase your daily water intake. It is also the cheapest.
Now back to the meats and vegetables before we wander too far astray. In the beginning, Yahweh (Gen. 1:29) said, "See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food.(NRSV)
Later, after Adam and Eve sinned, they were allowed to eat meat as well, but the Biblical example seems to be that meat was eaten sparingly and only on special occasions.
Genesis 18:1-8 is a good example. Here we find Abraham sitting in the door of his tent in the cool of the day (probably late afternoon), when three strangers appear. He instructs Sarah to make bread from the finest flour, and hastens to the herd to select a calf, which he tells a servant to prepare. Then he sets before them the cooked calf, milk and butter, and Sarah's bread, for a feast. This was a very special occasion, as he recognized these "men" were sent by Yahweh.
Another example was given by Yahshua Himself in the parable of the prodigal son, in Luke 15. When he returned from his debauchery, his father killed the fatted calf, and they had a joyous feast to welcome him home.
Americans in our affluence think we need meat on the table three times a day. As a result, we are clogging our arteries with plaque, creating the likelihood of heart attacks and stroke. This creates the "need" for the fashionable operation of this decade, namely, artery bypass surgery.
Meat should only be eaten on special occasions, while our every-day fare should be fiber-rich grains (whole-grain if possible) such as rice, oats, wheat or corn; pasta, leafy green vege-tables, fresh fruits and whole-wheat bread. Fruit salad makes a delicious and wholesome des-sert, as well. Eat items like leafy green vegetables, carrots, fresh ripe fruit, etc., raw or in sal-ads as much as possible. I personally like radishes and radish tops (roughage) in season.
Now, a word about preparation and cooking. The reason we eat (besides the sheer enjoy-ment), is for the nutrients our bodies need to be strong and healthy. These nutrients are vi-tamins and minerals that are in the various foods. Vitamins are living things, and they begin to die as soon as the plant they are in is harvested. The longer the time since harvest, the less the vitamin content. So, it follows, the fresher the product, the more food content it contains. Minerals, on the other hand, are not living, and are not affected as much as vitamins are.
After harvest (whether you raised it or bought it), comes preparation. In the case of vege-tables or fruit that must be peeled, wash it, using a vegetable brush if you wish, and peel as thin as you can. Most of the food value in, for instance, a potato, is within 1/4 to 1/2 inch of the surface. If you will slice a thin cross-section of a potato and hold it up to the light, you can see the mineral ring just under the skin. If you peel too deep, you peel away most of the nutrients and end up with mostly starch.
Then comes cooking. We cook food for three reasons. 1). To kill any harmful bacteria or viruses it might contain; 2). To make it more digestible, and 3). To make certain foods taste better.
But cooking at high temperatures destroys huge amounts of vitamins, and boiling in a pot of water will leach minerals out into the water, where they are likely to be poured down the drain. Result, basically, just filler. No wonder we spend millions on food supplements and vitamin/mineral capsules.
What is the solution? Do as my wife and I did 46 years ago. Get yourself a good set of heavy-gauge cookware that will distribute heat evenly, then use no water, or very little water, to cook fresh items like, for example, cabbage. Wash the food item, place in pan and turn heat to high until top of pan is too hot to touch. Then turn burner about as low as it will go, and let cook until done. Cabbage usually takes about 12 minutes. It is not boiled; it is tender and best of all, it still has most of its vitamins and minerals intact.
You can use the same method for potatoes, etc., in fact just about any fresh item. Of course, for dried foods such as beans, rice, prunes, etc., you need water, but don't boil! Bring to a simmer, then turn heat low and let cook. You will be surprised at the difference in taste, too. Even fresh corn (roasting ears) can be cooked without water. Make a bed of shucks in bottom of pan and place ears on shucks; then hi-heat pan and turn burner to low.
Well, this is not a cooking school, and you may be thinking, "What's this got to do with Searching the Scriptures?" I believe that if we maintain our health (or improve it), we can serve our Creator, Yahweh, better. Remember, He wants us to "prosper and be in health."
So experiment, read up on diet and cooking, get some good tools (pots and pans) to work with, and endeavor to improve your intake. And don't forget to drink lots of water.
Just as our minds would be affected if we fill them with garbage such as pornography, murder mysteries, modern TV programming and music, our bodies are adversely affected if we put the wrong kind of food, or food that has been miss-handled in preparing and cooking, in them.
To have a healthy mind, we must feed it with wholesome thoughts - Yahweh's Word, for example. And, in like manner, to have healthy bodies, we must eat healthy food. I hope you don't dismiss its importance lightly. Next to your eternal salvation, nothing should be more important to you than your health, and the health of your family.
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