Healthy Living is Hard Work! We, Americans, have been increasingly dependent on other people for our welfare, food, and lifestyles for a couple of generations. A company far away provides electricity to illuminate and heat our homes, pump our wells, or run the security system. City dwellers get their essential of life– water– from a city-owned pump facility. Most of us get the majority of our food from businesses called grocery stores. Everyday health maintenance is purchased from a health food or drug store business in the form of pills or elixirs. Our Creator never intended for us to be so dependent on others that if something were to happen to our suppliers or our income, we’d be dangerously vulnerable to things like famine, illness, or homelessness. Food is the biggest expense in the household, next to the mortgage or rent. If our food doesn’t keep us healthy, our bodies aren’t properly nourished. Therefore, we’ll spend even more money on healthcare. There are many money-saving skills we can employ to maintain good health that Americans have forgotten to pass on to their children and grandchildren in the last few generations. Thankfully, that trend is beginning to change with increasing speed as many are turning to “prepping,” taking time with our elders, and learning traditional skills. I hope to pique your interest in learning more of those valuable things.
First, You Are What You Eat: “And 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. The current American idea of what healthiness is tends to be distorted largely by the vast number of businesses manufacturing products made for health-conscious consumers. Skilled advertising makes these items look like what we think we need. Unfortunately, the average American eats only a handful of natural and plant-sourced foods. There are thousands of nutritious, natural foods having more nutrition that are available and that would provide a greater nutrient base for healthy bodies. In recent years, trends have begun to change as more folks discover natural lifestyles and traditional food practices. The Internet has connected people in the sharing of knowledge more than the inventor of the printing press could have ever imagined.
In most other countries you would be hard-pressed to find breakfast cereal in a brightly colored box or cake mixes and “Egg Replacer”. For some examples, the French tend to think we’re crazy about our idea of what tastes good or is good for us. They pride themselves in making everything from scratch in the kitchen and taking time to have proper meals and savor them by eating slowly. In Thailand, they rarely take a pill for anything. They instead use herbal preparations and teas. In parts of the Russian countryside, one is considered ignorant if there isn’t an ample supply of garlic for cooking and medicinal use in the home. Many Russian families have crocks of lacto-fermented vegetables, fruits, and beverages (like Kvass) fermenting in cool corners of their homes. Recently, many American commercial seeds are scientifically modified in a genetics lab for large-scale factory farming to endure pesticide chemicals or make non-viable seed. This not only influences other nearby plants but also meats and dairy. These designer life forms are called “Genetically Modified Organisms” or (G.M.O.s), which become things that are nothing like what God originally created. GMO foods are not very nutritious because they’re grown in industrially damaged soils, and most carry varying amounts of toxins as GMO foods always require some kind of chemical maintenance while growing. They are hard to digest, and toxins are released into our bodies in the process. A majority of food products on store shelves these days are made from GMO wheat flour, soy, or corn. Some of us older people remember Jack LaLanne who started the fitness culture and invented many of the exercise machines we are familiar with. He said, “The more things you do to help your health, the more you’ll be able to do. That is why a lot of people are sick and tired.” Jack lived an active healthy life to the age of 96. He also advocated natural foods. Many current health advisors teach that exercise, natural meats, raw naturally raised dairy, organic produce, and medicinal herbs as the best choices to recover and maintain true health. I want to grow old like Jack! (www.JackLalanne.com)
Naturally-raised, whole grains are basic nutrition sources in most cultures, with the exception being Asia’s preference for white rice. The colorful outer coverings on them contain nourishing vitamins, minerals, and fats. Grains that have had the germ removed and bleached, like our common white bromated baking flour, are stripped of the vitamins and fatty acids contained in those coverings, leaving the carbohydrates with some gluten proteins for fluff. Natural sugar cane sap is brown and full of minerals and essential fatty acids. In the factory it is spun in a centrifuge so that minerals and fatty acids are removed in the form of molasses. The resulting lightly amber liquid is dried to become turbinado sugar. It is then baked at high heat to bleach it and evaporate the so-called impurities out and further ground to become the white table sugar we are familiar with. White sugar is a substance now shown in many medical studies to be just as addictive as cocaine. Bleached grains are addictive as well. If you don’t believe me, do a two week fast of sugar and white flour foods, but warn your family first. Corn syrup and high-fructose-corn syrup, the later being 30 times sweeter than regular white sugar, can only be produced at the factory level with powerful machine processes. These corn products are so addictive that some health professionals say eliminating them from a person’s diet causes withdrawal symptoms similar to those addicted to street drugs. (Think cocaine.) Alternatively, an extremely valuable sweetener is raw honey. Grocery store honey is usually pasteurized and filtered, making it just as bad as white sugar. Raw honey from a neighborhood beekeeper is nutritious, antibiotic, and anti-fungal with enzymes that support and help digestion. You can put it in cuts or burns, and it will help heal, not harm. It’s also an immune booster. Note that it is not good for children under one year old.
Speaking of pasteurizing, our family has been using unpasteurized milk, cream, cheeses, and butter for the last 10 years. We buy our dairy from a local farmer who only grazes his cows, does not inject them with “rBght” (a synthetic hormone), and only supplements their diet with herbs. Unpasteurized, pastured dairy is a versatile healing food. Pasteurized milk, on the other hand, is an enigma, causing allergic reactions in many people who are regularly misdiagnosed. Conditions like fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, asthma, frequent ear infections, and recurrent tonsillitis or frequent diarrhea are a few symptoms of dairy allergy. There is more to the story of why milk is pasteurized than we were led to believe. You can read about it in the book called “The Untold Story of Milk” by Ron Schmid, N.D.
Naturally-raised food has lots of vitamins and minerals; industrial food does not. Pill type vitamins and minerals are so expensive they have become a multi-billion dollar industry in this country. While they can be a quick way to begin restoring health for you and your family, you must be careful with them. Most cheap vitamins aren’t digestible (or only partially so) and contain cheap fillers and ingredients, which our bodies can’t process. Look for vitamins that have plants as the main sourced ingredients or have “plant sourced” on the label. Avoid those containing Methylcellulose, names with “-dexter-” (corn) or petrolatum in the ingredient list. Many use binders made from coal, GMO corn, and fuel oil. Why spend all that money on vitamins you’ll end up not digesting and flushing down the toilet? The Internet is a great tool for research.
A Little on Beverages: Clean water is essential to life. Your body is 60% water. The body makes a quart of fresh saliva daily. That’s why you swallow spit between meals. Saliva is the main ingredient for all the other body fluids. This includes blood plasma and various other fluids and lubricants, which it helps manufacture fresh every few days. Sodas, bottled fruit juices, and sugary beverages like Kool-Aid interfere with this production process, the immune system, and also liver and kidney functions. Protect your kidneys and liver! Their main jobs are to eliminate toxins from the body and support your other body functions. Filtered water that is slightly mineralized is your best beverage. If you have city water, filter it as much as possible. City water with fluoride is awful for the body. In nature it occurs as calcium-fluoride, but what is used in public water processing is sodium fluoride– an extremely toxic mix of hexafluorosilicic acid and sodium silicofluoride, which is a by-product of processing aluminum ore. Ingesting sodium-fluoride dulls and suppresses nerve and brain function and the immune system. Filters to remove fluoride and other toxins are available from these vendors: http://directive21.com, http://aquarain.com. “Table salt” is refined sodium (Na) mixed with cornstarch and sugar to keep the sodium from exploding when put into water. Unrefined mined salt, sodium chloride (NaCl a.k.a. “real salt”), already has iodine and minerals that your body wants, and it won’t explode in water either. Your body uses sodium-chloride and water to make saliva. See how they go together?
Natural beverages we can enjoy that support health are: herbal teas; unflavored fresh roasted coffee; white, green, and black teas; lacto-fermented beverages; raw vinegar; and naturally fermented wines and beers, on occasion. Get to know these quality beverages, and add some to your life.
Here’s the Battle– Real food vs. Faux Food: People in most other cultures make meals from scratch, which is cost effective, more physically satisfying, and healthier. Packaged industrial foods leave you feeling hungry, due to a lack of nutrients. So, you feel the need for more “helpings” and buy much more of them to satisfy. Then you gain weight, because your body is still craving nutrients and not receiving what it needs, and so you eat more. What about all that hype over eating fat? Actually, nutritious healthy fats keep you thin! The body burns fat as fuel. Good fats are olive oil, natural butters, cream, coconut and palm oil, lard, tallow, egg yolks, avocado, and more. If it is a fat that comes from a natural source that God made, minimally processed and unadulterated by man, it is a good fat. Your body breaks these down easily and uses them in many ways, like making fuel for tissues, joint lubricants, or cholesterol, which is the primary food for brain and nerve tissue. Yes, your body needs cholesterol! The fad-food called “canola” oil is a GMO, originally designed to be engine lubricant in WWII aircraft but is now marketed as healthy cooking oil. It’s actually a tissue irritant and can cause various forms of inflammation. “Crisco” style shortening is a hydrogenated flax oil (linseed). The recipe was originally intended to be a replacement for candle wax in WWI. It starts to burn at 107F. When does a human body get that hot? This, too, becomes a tissue irritant in the body. Margarine was developed by a French scientist to replace butter for their troops in WWII. It was considered unfit for human consumption and trashed. Some American thought it was a great idea and marketed it as healthy.
If your body is getting enough healthy fats, you don’t gain excess weight. If your body is getting too many carbohydrates and sugars, you will get fat. Consider what the typical farmers do to prepare animals for market. The general practice is for cattle to be fed lots of grain for three months or so to gain weight, which increases profit when the animal is sold and increases the taste of sweetness in the meat. (I may offend some good hard-working people with the following statement, but please forgive me.) This practice causes the animal to be less energetic, so the meat is softer from lack of exercise. Herbivores, like cows, were not designed by God to eat seed-based feed. These animals need leafy plant food to be truly healthy. Grain interferes with the function of their digestive organs, nervous system, and immune system by fermenting in the rumen and producing alcohol, which is bad for the animals. Small farmers have begun to return to natural animal husbandry practices, thanks to educators, like Joel Salatin from Polyface Farms,VA (www.polyfacefarms.com ) and others. Quality meat costs more, but we can be creative to make it a part of a nourishing lifestyle. You are what your food eats.
Produce Your Own Food in A Veggie Garden: Really, this isn’t as hard as you think. Even a neglected garden produces food. Plants are very forgiving. A food garden is an excellent money saver! The food in superstores tends to be flown in from other countries or driven over great distances from other states by truck. Fresh produce must be picked unripe to be shipped great distances. So, scientists have come up with ways of chemically ripening them during the trip in the aircraft or trucks to give the appearance of “fresh off the tree” ripeness. Unripe fruit doesn’t have the complete compliment of nutrients, flavor, or enzymes of truly ripe fruit. Buying local from farms and locally-owned grocery stores is the best way to acquire ripe, nutritious produce.
If a grocery item comes in a box with a pretty picture of what it is supposed to look like on the front, but when you read the ingredients list on the back it doesn’t appear to be English (or looks like a list from a university science lab), it’s a “product” rather than a food. You’ll also pay much more when buying boxed items than you will for the ingredients to prepare that same item in your kitchen. Be careful even with storage foods. Not every MRE is made from nutritious ingredients. Most food made from scratch will in no way harm or kill you. Commercial food products on the other hand have nastier effects. The average American living in 1900 to the 1950’s was exposed to about 20 toxic chemicals per year. In the 21st century, Americans are now exposed to an average of 200+ toxic chemicals per DAY. Many of these are food additives, artificial flavorings, cosmetics, and household chemicals. Most consumer chemicals are neurotoxins and carcinogens. These toxins accumulate in body tissues. With the increases of convenience products we’ve become increasingly unhealthy as a nation. Taste a locally grown tomato or fresh off the tree fruit from your neighborhood orchard and suddenly the produce in the superstores just can’t compare. A fresh egg from your neighbor’s happy little flock of laying hens, which have been out catching bugs and eating a variety of plant life in the yard, will taste so incredible you won’t want industrial eggs. A mind-opening book: “The Fat Fallacy” by Dr. Will Clower can explain these concepts in better detail.
Good, healthy foods begin with good healthy soil. Organic gardeners and natural, small farmers tend to maintain their dirt better than factory farms by putting compost, lime, sandstone, gypsum, manure, and such on their plots to restore and maintain healthy soil along with crop and grazing rotations. This means the produce from the animals and plants raised there will be full of nutrition, minerals, and vitamins. The better your food quality, the better the chances are that you won’t need vitamin supplements or extra helpings at meal times. Healthy food also makes a strong immune system, and, on the occasion you do encounter illness, homemade herbal remedies prepared in the tradition of generations past are easy to make and store.
If all this information is overwhelming for you, listen to Jesus Christ who said, “Don’t worry” (Matthew 6:25-34). Lifestyle changes and new habits are made one step at a time and one day at a time. No one can possibly put all this information into practice by the end of next week or next month. It takes time to develop new skills, habits, and knowledge. I’ve been learning and studying these particular topics for years upon the shoulders of my mother and many others. I didn’t get to where I am today without work. There’s still more for me to learn, more people to learn from, and more skills to gain and improve upon. Learning is so much fun!
I think this is God’s design for us: to always be learning about HIM and Creation, discovering what skills He put within us, pursuing things that interest us, improving our skills and discovering treasures in nature (Psalm 96), and sharing what we know with others by being part of a community that helps each other (John 13:14) and influences our larger society (Matt 5:16). I hope this article has inspired new thoughts and goals for you. Cheers to JWR for bringing us together with Survivalblog! Keep learning and growing.
- “What the Bible Says About Healthy Living” by Dr. Rex Russell,
- “Nutritional Healing” by Dr. James F. Balch,
- “Know Your Fats” by Mary G. Enig, Ph.D.,
- “Nourishing Traditions” by Sally Fallon,
- “The Fat Fallacy” by Dr .Will Clower,
- “The Cholesterol Myth” by Dr. Uffe Ravnskov,
- “The Untold Story of Milk” by Ron Schmid, N.D.,
- “Wild Fermentation” by Sandor Katz,
- www.RealMilk.com ,
- www.RadiantLightNutrition.com ,
- http://directive21.com ,
- http://aquarain.com ,
- www.BackToEdenFilm.com ,