Yes, our prosperity has some downsides. Today, we’ll look at how our prosperous country lives to eat rather than eats to live. This phrase was first coined by popular medical doctor and nutritionist, Dr. Joel Fuhrman. The prophet Daniel called it “eating the King’s food.” I spent much of my life living to eat. I was definitely gorging on all the wrong foods. My nickname “The Junk Food Queen” was, unfortunately, an appropriate title. Let’s look at five ways we live to eat rather than eat to live.
We eat ultra-processed food rather than God’s food.
It took this “Junk Food Queen” 50 years to realize that our bodies were not created to eat processed foods. What are processed foods? They are foods that have been changed for our convenience such as white rice and white flour where the outer coating with fiber has been removed. They are also foods where many chemicals and additives have been added.
Unprocessed or minimally processed foods like cutting of fruits, removal of seeds, and packaging for storage are fine. But when the outer layer which provides most of the nutrients and fiber are removed, we’ve got a problem. That removed fiber is much needed by our gut lining which is where 70-80 % of our immune system cells are located. And our body does not need all those additives and chemicals.
We eat foods with high calories and low nutrients.
Ouch, this was my everyday life for so many years. It’s what crowned me “The Junk Food Queen.” What was I thinking? I couldn’t wait to get to Young Life Prayer Breakfast on Friday mornings where donuts dripping with sugar, fillings, and chocolate were calling my name. I loved it all—ice cream, candy bars, red licorice candies, cheesecake, ice cream sundaes, cakes, pies, milkshakes, etc. Why Heaven to me was the Promised Land filled with all these delights and me feasting on them throughout the day.
My Heaven on Earth came to an abrupt stop when a Duke University doctor told me I had the worst case of severe, reactive hypoglycemia he’d ever seen. He even told me if I didn’t turn things around, I may not be able to have children in the future. He had my attention. Giving up my Heaven on Earth was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. But when my body returned to vibrant health, it was worth it. I was mainly eating foods that offered no nutrients or benefits to my health—only calories and health issues. I was just beginning my lessons in health and good nutrition from the School of Hard Knocks.
We tend to eat from an inverted food pyramid.
In other words, we are eating the opposite of what we should be eating. With the rise of heart disease, cancers, brain diseases, and over 100 autoimmune diseases in our culture, the FDA has changed the food pyramid. They are now recommending that half of our plate be from vegetables and some fruit, a little less than one-fourth be from varied protein sources, and a little more than one-fourth be from whole grains, and a small amount of healthy fats. This My Plate idea definitely contributed to better health for all who followed. Unfortunately, most Americans are not following the FDA’s advice. The average American eats 2-3 fruits and vegetables each day including French fries which does not count as a healthy vegetable.
However, I then found Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s Nutritarian Food Pyramid. This is my favorite way of informing people what our diet should look like. This diet is in line with what we read in the Bible as to what God provided for us to eat. It is high in nutrients and lower in calories while providing much-needed fiber and a variety of nutrients. See the picture below. https://www.drfuhrman.com/
We eat from early morning to late at night.
When I was diagnosed with hypoglycemia, my nutritionist at Duke University taught me to do this to balance my blood sugar. I actually ate 3 meals plus three protein snacks. I was eating all day long from early morning to right before bedtime. It helped to cure my low blood sugar issues. But when I switched over to 2-3 meals each day based on a nutritarian diet and cut the junk and high sugary foods out, my body thrived even more, and my blood sugar remained under control.
I still revert back to these 3 meals and 3 protein snacks a day when my blood sugar gets out of balance, but I stop when my blood sugar balances. Why? It keeps my body digesting all the time rather than using some of my energy to heal. When I eat too close to bedtime (within three hours), my body spends its time digesting rather than engaging in deep sleep. Even as someone who pre-genetically tends towards low blood sugar, I’m even able to do intermittent fasting several days each week which allows my body to extend its own autophagy (recycling and remaking of damaged cells) which is key for a cancer survivor.
We tend to allow our food addictions to control us.
I would never allow this to happen in my life, but alas, I did. My junk food addiction kept my blood sugar on a rollercoaster ride that left my body not working the way God intended. Yes, I was addicted to many of the wrong foods. I see that clearly today. It took years for me to gradually remove all these addictions in my life and return to vibrant health. I was blind, hardheaded, and stubborn when it came to my diet. I could have lived in my Heaven on Earth sugar high forever, but my body couldn’t handle it. Many times, we Americans don’t realize that food can be very addictive. I had to get off that rollercoaster ride.
Like Daniel, I had to stop eating the King’s food and begin eating the food that God made for me to eat that complemented my DNA and nourished my body. Genesis 1:29 talks about the foods that God made for Adam and Eve to eat. They were seed-bearing fruits, vegetables, herbs, spices, nuts, seeds, legumes, beans, and whole grains. Many call them today “The Daniel Diet” or the “The Garden of Eden Diet.” I’ve learned that the more I eat from these foods, the healthier I am. These foods are loaded with antioxidants, phytochemicals, vitamins, and minerals to prevent disease and much-needed fiber to nourish my gut. God called these foods “good”, and He was right.
Dr. Joel Fuhrman recently wrote a book called “Eat to Live.” What an interesting title. Since I was the average American who can admit that I broke all these rules, the spotlight is now on you. Do you live to eat or do you eat to live?
For Your Health,
From someone who is now trying to eat to live for Him,
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Ginny Dent Brant is a speaker and writer who grew up in the halls of power in Washington, DC. She has battled cancer, ministered around the world, and served on the front lines of American culture as a counselor, educator, wellness advocate, and adjunct professor. Brant’s award-winning book, Finding True Freedom: From the White House to the World, was endorsed by Chuck Colson and featured in many TV and media interviews. Unleash Your God-Given Healing: Eight Steps to Prevent and Survive Cancer was released in May 2020 after her journey with cancer and was recently awarded the First Place Golden Scrolls Award for Memoirs, and Second Place in both Selah Awards for Memoirs and Director’s Choice Award for Nonfiction at the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writer’s Conference. It recently received the Christian Authors Network’s (CAN) Gold Award for Excellence in Marketing for reaching 62.5 million people with a message of cancer prevention and survival. It was written with commentary from an oncologist and was featured on CBN’s Healthy Living Show, Atlanta Live, and CTN’s Homekeepers along with over 75 media outlets. Learn more and cancer and wellness prevention blog and book information at www.ginnybrant.com.