Nutrition

“We are what we eat,” is how the saying goes and as time goes on studies continue to prove that to be absolutely true.  When we eat healthfully – we feel better, we look better, and we preserve our youth, and vitality, and also prevent a variety of diseases, and even reverse some.  This is an element of health I am particularly interested in because it has proven to have such a profound effect on our quality of living.

Being trained as a health teacher you’d think I would have learned exactly what a healthy diet is but the truth is, I learned more about nutrition outside my training as a health teacher.  There are many schools of thought on what makes up a healthy diet and I do believe there are several different ways to eat healthfully.  The one category of food that is essential for any healthful diet is vegetables.  Produce is loaded with vitamins, minerals, fiber, enzymes, and phytonutrients and should be the foundation of any diet or way of eating.  Having produce as your number one household food is essential to preventing a number of diseases and keeping your body in good physical shape.

Advancements in science are finding that you can change the expression of your genes (epigenetics) by altering your diet, in other words, your genes don’t have as much an impact on your health if you eat healthfully and take extra nutritional measures against the disease(s) you may be predisposed to.  What this does is give us more control over our health outcomes.

If you are not sure what to eat to enjoy optimal health and longevity, you are in the right place.  I have done a lot of research in this area and I can help you change your current eating habits so that you feel and look your best (i.e. more energy, your desired weight, more in control of your eating – and your life, in general).

What does the Bible have to say about Diet

I see a lot of guidelines for eating in the bible.  Before I start using the bible as a guide for the human diet, I have to say one thing first.  The food you eat does not have anything to do with being right with God, unless you are like me and have done a ton of research and have developed personal convictions around the topic.

The bible gives us foundational guidelines for what we should eat. Here are just a few of the scriptures that stand out:

  • Genesis 1: 29 And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food.”        This is stated at the very beginning when He created every living thing and instructs Adam and Eve on what to eat.
  • After Adam and Eve (representing all humans) sinned against God, God changed the human diet as stated in Genesis 9:3: Everything that lives and moves about will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything.
  • Daniel from the book of Daniel ate plant foods to honor God.
  • Exodus 3:8 “…I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey…”
  • Deuteronomy 8:7-9 In this scripture God talks about the perfect place to live after humans sinned against God and were no longer allowed in the most perfect place, the Garden of Eden.  “For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, flowing out in the valleys and hills, a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and honey, a land in which you will eat bread without scarcity, in which you will lack nothing…”
  • Ezekial 4:9 contains a recipe for bread.  ““And you, take wheat and barley, beans and lentils, millet and emmern(a type of wheat), and put them into a single vessel and make your bread from them.”
  • Matthew 14:13-21, Mark 6:30-44; Luke 9:10-17; John 6:1-15 are the scriptures which contain the story about Jesus’s miracle, expanding 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish to feed 5,000 people. Here is Matthew 14:19 19 Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass, and taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing.”
  • Matthew 6:11 Give us this day our daily bread.
  • John 7:37-39 Jesus refers to Himself as living water.

This list of biblical references is in no way complete.  I have just included the verses that I feel give key insights to what the human diet should be.  As you can see by what God tells us in scripture, we have a large variety of foods that God calls good from which to choose.  One thing we need to keep in mind, and one that scientific studies have verified, is that fruits and vegetables are not only excellent for keeping the body healthy, but it was the original food that was intended for humans.  I stress this because produce occupies a very small space on the American dinner plate and health outcomes in America have been gradually declining over the last 50 years, and rapidly declining over the past 20 years.

Navigating through our current food supply

There are a number of factors that got the food supply in America off track including government subsidies for foods including corn and soybeans wheat, rice, milk, beef, peanuts, and sunflowers.  These ingredients are in most highly processed, nutrient deficient foods, and are consumed by the majority of Americans, which is the biggest factor for our health declines.  Subsidies were necessary in the 1930’s due to the Dust Bowl drought and the Great Depression that devastated farmers.  It was a necessary thing for the government to keep the farmers in business and food on Americans tables, however, the subsidies have not ended, even during peak profit years.  The agricultural business has become extremely powerful.  For example, the agribusiness lobby has grown to about $60 million dollars per year, which not only makes highly subsidized foods much less expensive than fruits and vegetables, but has created a highly competitive food system using these subsidized foods.  The competitive nature of business has denatured a lot of our natural foods, which is where disease comes in.  Our body comes from nature and our food should come from nature as well, not from a chemistry lab.  This is the root problem with many diseases. 

I didn’t think I needed to understand the agricultural business to help people with their nutritional needs, but it is essential to putting healthy meals on your table.  Besides the agribusiness, there are other food businesses that are creating health issues and disease.  There are too many to mention here but I like a quote from Michael Pollen that sums up healthy eating, “If it comes from a plant, eat it.  If it was made in a plant, don’t eat it.”  Sometimes the trick is figuring out what came from a plant, where the seeds of that plant did not first go to a lab.  The power of the agribusiness has kept that information off food labels.  The organic label has been the single best insurance so far.  There are now other voluntary labels like “Non GMO Project Verified and Certified to the Source.”  If you have not seen the documentary, “Food Inc.,” I highly recommend you watch it.  It will draw back the curtain just a little on the food industry.

There are many resources available to help you navigate this complex system.  It is my job to gather the information, assess it, and use it in my health coaching practice.  I enjoy conveying this information to help people with their diet.

If you agree with my philosophy on Nutrition, consider using my expertise in this area toward regaining good health.  I help educate and support people on healthful eating according to their areas of need and food preferences.

Call me today for a free consultation, (203)469-8888 or email me at healthcoachsheila@aol.com