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God-given Foods Eating Plan:
For Life-long Health,
Optimization of Hormones,
Improved Athletic Performance
and eBook by Gary F.
the Director of Fitness for One and All
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There are many books and Web sites about nutrition and the Bible. Some are very good, but many suffer from a common problem. They put an inordinate emphasis on the first three chapters of Genesis while virtually ignoring the rest of the Bible. As a result, such books and Web sites inevitably end up declaring that “God’s ideal diet” is a vegetarian diet.
However, this book studies all 1189 chapters of the Bible. By doing so, a much different picture emerges. God gave us meat for food, and meat-eating is assumed throughout Scripture, with no negative connotations. Moreover, red meat, poultry, and fish can and should be included in a healthy eating plan. This is all documented in this book.
The approach of this book is to study different foods and food groups, with a chapter devoted to each major classification of foods. First the Biblical evidence is considered, then the results of this research is compared to what modern day scientific research is saying a healthy eating plan entails. Foods are then classified as “God-given foods” and “non-God-given foods.” The main point will be that a healthy diet is composed of a variety of God-given foods and avoids non-God-given foods. This will simplify the designing of a healthy eating plan.
Another unique feature of this book is the eating plan proposed is designed to optimize hormones, such as testosterone, growth hormone, and insulin. This can produce dramatic differences in a person’s health and ability to live a robust life. It can also lead to a gain in muscle mass and a loss of body fat. The optimization of hormones can also lead to improved athletic performance. In addition, this book looks at other aspects of athletic nutrition, especially pre- and post-workout eating. Such a focus on hormone optimization and athletic performance is not found in any of the books currently on the market about nutrition and the Bible. In fact, the type of diet often promoted in those books and in many popular diet books can be detrimental to the functioning of hormones and athletic performance. This focus sets this book apart from the rest. Much other dietary information is also presented.
About the AuthorThe author has a degree in nutrition, is the Webmaster and primary author for a Christian Web site (www.DTL.org) and a fitness and health related Web site (www.FitnessforOneandAll.com). He is a top ranked master powerlifter, holding 27 powerlifting records, set in three different powerlifting federations. Following the eating plan promoted in this book has enabled the author to deal with a variety of health problems sufficiently to be able compete in powerlifting at this high level.
Table of Contents
[Page numbers are for the paperback. Pages are 8-1/2" x 11" in double-columns.]
Preface/ About the Author/ Disclaimers/ Sources - 5
Introduction – The Author’s Experience - 7
Chapter One – Fruits - 11
Chapter Two – Vegetables - 23
Chapter Three – Nuts, Seeds, and Peanuts - 35
Chapter Four – Whole Grains - 45
Chapter Five – Legumes - 55
Chapter Six – Vegetable Oils and Related Foods - 61
Chapter Seven – Vegetarianism and the Bible - 77
Chapter Eight – God-given Meats and Problems with Vegetarianism - 95
Chapter Nine – Red Meats and Fowl - 109
Chapter Ten – Fish - 119
Chapter Eleven – Milk - 131
Chapter Twelve – Other Dairy Foods and Eggs - 139
Chapter Thirteen – Beverages - 149
Chapter Fourteen – Sweeteners - 161
Chapter Fifteen – Condiments - 171
Chapter Sixteen – Desert and Snack Foods - 177
Chapter Seventeen – The Glycemic Index - 189
Chapter Eighteen – Organic Foods: Are They Worth the Cost? - 195
Chapter Nineteen – Hormones and Diet - 199
Chapter Twenty – Starting and Progressing in an Exercise Program - 211
Chapter Twenty-one – Summary of God-given Foods and non-God-given Foods
Chapter Twenty-two – Fine-tuning a God-given Foods Eating Plan - 227
Chapter Twenty-three – Starting and Following a GGFEP - 235
Chapter Twenty-four – The Author’s Eating Plan/ Sample Menus - 245
Conclusion to Book - 253
Appendix One – Additional Books by the Author - 257
Appendix Two – Web Sites and Newsletters by the Author/ Contacting the Author - 259
The first food group to be investigated is fruits.
Fruits have a prominent place in the Bible, with “fruit” being mentioned 189 times and “fruits” 20 times. Some of these references use “fruit” in a metaphoric sense, such as in the well-known phrase “fruit of the Spirit” (Galatians 5:22). But most of the references are to fruit as a food.
The first mention of fruit in this sense is in Genesis
Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth”; and it was so. And the earth brought forth grass, the herb that yields seed according to its kind, and the tree that yields fruit, whose seed is in itself according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.”
The next mention of fruit is 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.”
So fruit and fruit trees are singled out for a special mention during the creation narrative.
After the creation of Adam, we are told:
15Then the LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it. 16And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; 17but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Genesis 2:15-17).
The most obvious food that grows on trees is fruit. Eve clearly understood God intended her and Adam to eat fruit when she told the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden” (Genesis 3:2). Unfortunately, she went on to eat of the one tree God said not to, and the rest, as they say, is history. But be that as it may, it is clear God intended fruit to be eaten as food.
When Moses sent out the spies to investigate the Promised Land, he told them to, “… bring some of the fruit of the land.” So Moses wanted to know what kind of fruit grew in the Promised Land. The text then tells us, “Now the time was the season of the first ripe grapes” (Numbers 13:20). So fruit was so important that seasons were recorded based on what fruits were ripe at the time.
That fruits were considered valuable in Old Testament
times can be seen in the following:
1When David was a little past the top of the mountain, there was Ziba the servant of Mephibosheth, who met him with a couple of saddled donkeys, and on them two hundred loaves of bread, one hundred clusters of raisins, one hundred summer fruits, and a skin of wine. 2And the king said to Ziba, “What do you mean to do with these?” So Ziba said, “The donkeys are for the king's household to ride on, the bread and summer fruit for the young men to eat, and the wine for those who are faint in the wilderness to drink” (2Samuel 16:1,2).
So “one hundred clusters of raisins” and “one hundred summer fruits” were considered to be a pleasing gift. They are even specifically said to be “for the young men to eat.”
Some specific fruits are mentioned as well. Grapes were mentioned in one of the previously quoted verses. Grapes are mentioned 37 additional times in Scripture. Jesus even refers to grapes when He asks, “They do not gather a grape cluster from thorns, or figs from thistles, do they?” (Matthew 7:16). He then says, “every good tree yields good fruits” (v.17), with the implication that grapes are among these “good fruits.”
Figs are also mentioned in this passage, again with the implication they are among these “good fruits.” Figs are mentioned 21 additional times and fig trees six times.
Raisins were mentioned in the passage from 2Samuel quoted above. There are seven additional references to raisins.
An interesting one is the following:
11Then they found an Egyptian in the field, and brought him to David; and they gave him bread and he ate, and they let him drink water. 12And they gave him a piece of a cake of figs and two clusters of raisins. So when he had eaten, his strength came back to him; for he had eaten no bread nor drunk water for three days and three nights (1Samuel 30:11,12).
So figs and raisins, along with bread and water, are given to this man to restore his strength.
Apples are mentioned seven times in the Bible, most often in the affectionate phrase, “the apple of His eye” (Deuteronomy 32:10, Psalm 17:8; Proverbs 7:2; Zechariah 2:8). Apple trees are mentioned three times (Song 2:3; 8:5; Joel 1:22).
Melons are mentioned by the Israelites when they fondly (though ungratefully) remembered what they ate in Egypt (Numbers 11:5).
Pomegranate is mentioned ten times and pomegranates 23 times. Most of these references are by way of symbolism used in the clothing worn by the high priest (Exodus 28:33,34; 29:24,25) and in the pillars and wreaths in the temple (1Kings 7:18,20,42; 2Chronicles 3:16, 4:13). But there are eight references to pomegranates as food (Numbers 13:23; 20:5; Deuteronomy 8:8; Song 4:13; 6:11; 7:12; Joel 1:12; Haggai 2:19).
So “fruit” or “fruits” are mentioned over 200 times and some specific fruits are mentioned dozens of times in the Bible. Many of these references refer to fruit as being nourishing for hungry people. So this is more than enough to establish fruits as being a God-given food.
With fruit being a God-given food, it is no surprise fruits are an excellent source of a wide variety of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. This can be seen in the high percentages of the Daily Value for various nutrients they provide. The Daily Value (DV) is the amount of a nutrient that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends to be consumed each day. It is the basis for the “Nutrition Facts” values seen on food labels.
Fruits like apricots and cantaloupe are high in beta-carotene (the precursor to vitamin A). Just one apricot contains 10% of the DV for vitamin A and half a cup of diced cantaloupe contains 28%.
Citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruits, along with cantaloupe, kiwi, and strawberries, are excellent sources of vitamin C. One average Florida orange contains 113% of the DV for vitamin C, half of a white Florida grapefruit 73%, a half-cup of diced cantaloupe 94%, and a half-cup of strawberries 71%. Kiwis are the highest of all, with just one kiwi containing a very high 144%.
Folic acid is found in high supply in oranges (26% of the DV) and grapefruit (11% in half a grapefruit). Most berries are a rich source of manganese, with half a cup of blackberries containing 41% of the DV.
Fruits in general are a good source of potassium, with bananas being a particularly good source (15% for an average-sized banana).
Free Radicals and Antioxidants
Just as important as the vitamins and minerals in fruits is their antioxidant capacity. Antioxidants neutralize “free radicals.”
The following quotes describe free radicals and their
Free radicals are atoms or groups of atoms with an odd (unpaired) number of electrons and can be formed when oxygen interacts with certain molecules. Once formed these highly reactive radicals can start a chain reaction, like dominoes. Their chief danger comes from the damage they can do when they react with important cellular components such as DNA, or the cell membrane. Cells may function poorly or die if this occurs (Antioxidants and Free Radicals).
Free radicals are very unstable and react quickly with other compounds, trying to capture the needed electron to gain stability. Generally, free radicals attack the nearest stable molecule, “stealing” its electron. When the “attacked” molecule loses its electron, it becomes a free radical itself, beginning a chain reaction. Once the process is started, it can cascade, finally resulting in the disruption of a living cell.
Some free radicals arise normally during metabolism. Sometimes the body’s immune system’s cells purposefully create them to neutralize viruses and bacteria. However, environmental factors such as pollution, radiation, cigarette smoke and herbicides can also spawn free radicals.
Normally, the body can handle free radicals, but if antioxidants are unavailable, or if the free-radical production becomes excessive, damage can occur. Of particular importance is that free radical damage accumulates with age (Health Check Systems).
Free radicals are implicated in the formation of cancers and in increasing the risk of heart disease. They are even believed to be responsible for the aging process in general. So neutralizing them is very beneficial.
Antioxidants neutralize free radicals by donating one of their own electrons, ending the electron-“stealing” reaction. The antioxidant nutrients themselves don’t become free radicals by donating an electron because they are stable in either form. They act as scavengers, helping to prevent cell and tissue damage that could lead to cellular damage and disease (Health Check Systems).
Antioxidants in Fruit
Beta-carotene and vitamin C are antioxidants, as are vitamin E and the mineral selenium. But there are also elements in fruit other than vitamins and minerals that have antioxidant capabilities. These are known as phytonutrients (or phytochemicals). They are mainly the pigments that give fruits their bright colors.
A book published by Consumer Reports contains the following question and answer:
Q. Your September story on phytochemicals in produce didn’t mention bananas. Don’t they contain any of those disease-fighting compounds?
A. Yes, but less than the average amount in other fruits and vegetables. That’s mainly because the major phytochemicals tend to be the same pigmented substances that give produce its color. Brightly colored foods such as blueberries and kale are loaded with phytochemicals—but bananas are not, because their flesh is relatively pale. However, bananas contain plenty of other worthwhile nutrients, notably vitamin B6, vitamin C, and potassium (Lipman, p.77).
So generally speaking, the brighter or darker colored a fruit is, the greater its antioxidant capacity. This can be seen in the following study:
Based upon the weight of edible portion of the fruit, prunes, raisins, blueberry and blackberry had an ORAC [oxygen radical absorbance capacity] activity of over 20 expressed as mmole Trolox eq./g followed by strawberry, plum, orange, red grape, kiwifruit, pink grapefruit, white grape, banana, apple, tomato, pear, and honeydew melon. It was calculated that the contribution of vitamin C to the total ORAC activity of these fruits was usually less than 15%, except for kiwifruit and honeydew melon. This suggests that the major source of antioxidant capacity of most fruits, and commercial fruit juices may not be from vitamin C, but from other “unknown” antioxidants contained in fruits (Blueberry Council).
What this means is brightly colored fruit like blueberries that are not very high in specific vitamins and minerals are still very healthy due to their high antioxidant capacity.
It should also be noted. “… peeled apples are not as healthful as the whole fruit. Canadian researchers recently discovered that 80 percent of an apple’s antioxidants are found in the skin, (That’s where you’ll find the fiber too)” (Men’s Health. “Nutrition Bulletin,” September 2005, p.540). So when the peel of a fruit is edible, it is best to consume it.
Along these lines, fruit juice would not be as healthy as whole fruits, especially if the whole fruit is not included in the juice. For instance, apples are usually peeled before they are made into juice, so most of the antioxidants would be lost.
Moreover, most often the fiber is filtered out when fruit is made into juice. Plus, the processing often destroys some of the nutrients in the fruit. So what you’re left with is mainly just the sugar in the fruit but very little of the beneficial elements. Or to put it another way, the food has been altered so much that it barely resembles the nutrient-packed food that God created for us to eat.
This point leads to a theme that will recur throughout this book. The more processed a food is, generally speaking, the less nutritious it is. And foods that are so highly processed as to contain very little of the original God-given nutrients can no longer be classified as God-given foods.
In fact, “juice” is only mentioned one time in Scripture, in the Song of Solomon, “I would lead you and bring you into the house of my mother, she who used to instruct me. I would cause you to drink of spiced wine, Of the juice of my pomegranate” (8:2).
This one verse provides little support for juice being a form of fruit that is God-given. But importantly, pomegranate juice is usually not very processed. So it still contains much of the original nutrients and antioxidants. But this is not the case for most other fruit juices.
One pomegranate delivers 40% of an adult’s daily vitamin C requirement. It is also a rich source of folic acid and of antioxidants. Pomegranates are high in polyphenols. The most abundant polyphenols in pomegranate are hydrolysable tannins, particularly punicalagins, which have been shown in many peer-reviewed research publications to be the antioxidant responsible for the free-radical scavenging ability of pomegranate juice (Wikipedia).
Nutrient Density and Glycemic Rating
The next point to be covered is a fruit’s nutrient density. By this is meant the amount of nutrients and phytonutrients a particular fruit contains in comparison to its caloric levels. The greater the ratio of nutrients to calories the more “bang for your buck” you’ll get from the fruit.
So a fruit with a high amount of nutrients and antioxidants and a low amount of calories would be best. And generally speaking, the higher the fiber and water content of a fruit, the lower its caloric levels, and thus the greater its nutrient density.
For instance, one of the previous quotes mentioned that prunes, raisins, blueberries and blackberries had the highest levels of antioxidants. But this was by weight. Since prunes and raisins are dried fruits, they have little water content. So by weight and by volume, they have a much higher caloric content than berries, which have a high water and fiber content.
Specifically, half a cup of prunes has 193 calories and of raisins 221 calories, but a half cup of blueberries only has 40 calories and of blackberries only 38 calories. So even though raisins and prunes are high in antioxidants, you get a lot of calories with those antioxidants. But berries provide the antioxidants at a very low caloric cost.
Also, fruits that are high in fiber and water tend to provide greater satiety value. This means they fill you up faster and for longer. For instance, one average sized apple only has 81 calories. You would only be able to eat about three tablespoons of raisins to keep to this caloric level. But the apple would fill you up much more than what would be a small handful of raisins.
The final point about fruit is its glycemic rating. Much more will be said about the glycemic index in Chapter Seventeen. But here it will simply be said that the lower a food’s glycemic rating the less it raises blood sugar levels. Conversely, the higher the glycemic rating the more the food raises blood sugar levels. A lower glycemic response is better for reasons that will be detailed later.
You need to consult a glycemic ratings chart to know for sure what a particular fruit’s glycemic rating is. But generally speaking, fruits that are high in both water and fiber content tend to have lower glycemic ratings than ones that are low in one or the other.
So berries, high in both water and fiber, have a low glycemic rating, while bananas, with a low water content, have a moderate rating, and watermelon, with a low fiber content, has a high rating. Dried fruit also has a high rating, and fruit juices have higher ratings than the fruits they are made out of. So both dried and juiced forms of fruits would not be as beneficial as the whole fruits.
Further comment on dried fruit is in order:
Reducing the water content of fruit concentrates its fiber and minerals, certain vitamins (notably vitamin A), and many phytochemicals, potentially disease-fighting substance found in plants. But the sugar and calorie content rise by comparable amounts. Moreover, drying destroys the water-soluble vitamins, including vitamin C and the B vitamins, as well as certain heat-sensitive phytochemicals. (Lipman, p.88).
So dried fruit is still good food. But due to its concentrated sugar content, it is not as beneficial as fresh fruit.
The Best Fruits
There are a wide variety of fruits available, such as: apples, apricots, bananas, berries, cantaloupe, cherries, dates, figs, honeydew, granadilla (passion fruit), grapes, grapefruit, guava, jackfruit, lemons, limes, kiwi, kumquats, mangos, nectarines, oranges, papayas, peaches, pears, plums, pineapple, pomegranates, tangerines, and watermelon.
All of these fruits are healthy, God-given foods. But dark or brightly colored fruits with a high water and high fiber content, lower caloric levels, and a low glycemic rating would be best. Fruits that fit all of these criteria are apricots, berries (all colors and types), cherries, grapes (red and purple, not white), kiwis, and plums. These would be the best fruits. Next best would be the various citrus fruits and the more “exotic” fruits like guava and papaya.
An Aside on Supplements
The preceding discussion on phytonutrients is one reason why supplements of vitamins and minerals are not the best way to nourish our bodies. It is best to attain nourishment from real food like fruit. Such God-given foods not only contain vitamins and minerals, they also contain these antioxidant phytonutrients.
If you don’t eat fruits and vegetables, taking a 500 mg vitamin C pill won’t replace them. An orange, for example, has not just vitamin C, but at least 5 percent of a day’s worth of calcium, potassium, vitamin B-1, and vitamin A, and 10 percent of a day’s folate, not to mention three grams of fiber and all sorts of phytochemicals that [a supplement company] hasn’t figured out how to squeeze into a pill (Nutrition Action, p. 9).
This is not to say there is not a place for supplements. But they are just that, a way to supplement or to add a little “extra” to a healthy diet. In no way can supplements make up for an unhealthy diet. In fact, if it is necessary to supplement a person’s diet to make up for a nutrient deficiency, then most likely there is something wrong with that person’s eating plan.
God did not intend for us to get our nourishment from pills. He put all that we need in the foods He provided for us. But we need to eat a variety of these God-given foods. This point will be another theme of this book. And fruit is one such God-given food to include in a diverse eating plan.
Scientific Evidence of Benefits
With such a wealth of nutrients and phytonutrients, it’s no surprise there are proven health benefits to the consumption of fruit. Below is a sampling of research and comments on the value of fruit.
[Many scientific studies and quotations on the benefits of fruit are then provided in the book. This is followed by a look at "Detractors"--those who say fruit consumption is not healthy, with a refutation of their arguments. Then a recommendation for the number of servings of fruit to consume each day is given. A similar format as seen in this first chapter is then followed for most chapters, with each chapter looking at various other food groups.]
The above preview was posted on this Web site February 14, 2007.
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