Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Biblical dietary advice

So I was sitting at my friend's table where she had put her giant print Bible in front of me, letting it fall open at random to see if I could read it without my glasses. I could. We were all talking about other stuff. I looked down and these verses caught my eye:

Job 6:6-7
Is tasteless food eaten without salt,
or is there flavor in the white of an egg?
I refuse to touch it; such food makes me ill.

I could not make this stuff up! I laughed out loud, picturing the times when medical and diet people have tried to make me believe that egg white omelets were good.

I'm not a small person. In high school after some serious dieting with Nutrisystem, they made me quit before reaching my goal because my hip bones were sticking out and visible through my clothes. I was in a size 12. I had to come to terms right then with the fact that I was never going to be one of those tiny petite model-types I so wanted to be.

There is a popular radio personality that regularly dispenses some variation of the following advise about losing weight:
Anyone can lose weight. It's just a matter of controlling your calories. There aren't metabolic disorders that keep you from being thin, after all, you never saw a fat person in a concentration camp.

This past month or so have proven her right. If you live on a concentration camp diet anyone can lose weight. Of course, concentration camp diets weren't big on nutrition, and people were sick from all kinds of diseases and even died of starvation. When my stomach started giving me such trouble and I could not eat, I did lose weight. I lost more than 20 pounds in just over a month. Of course I was also faint when standing for more than 5-10 minutes, and was having a hard time stying alert in conversations, and my skin erupted.

What is the moral of the story? Well, I'm not completely over my stomach stuff, but from what I've read about the symptoms, I have developed a peptic ulcer. So I am de-stressing as much as possible, and have decided to only eat what is appealing that doesn't make me sicker.

A week by the beach helped. Our new grandbaby lives within easy walking distance of the beach, so when he and mom were sleeping, I was at the beach. I've always found the beach healing. The sound of the ocean, the vastness and majesty, the fun of watching the birds dash into the surf, beachcombing, smelling the salt air. Much as I love Colorado, it has always been hard to leave the ocean for this vast arid land.

That aside, I have always been a bit rebellious when it comes to all the diet stuff. When margarine was touted as better than butter, I said no way. I'd rather have a little butter than a lot of margarine. Now it turns out the margarines are the worst kinds of fat. So now they say to eat even more tasteless "healthy" margarines. I say, why not eat olive oil and a little butter?

My biggest problem is eating on the run. I need to slow down and like Jack Lalane (sp?) never eat anything from a box, can or bottle. Fresh foods that God created from fresh real ingredients are better than the tasteless crap, or even the flavorful chemical-filled creations of so-called diet food.

A doctor told me to do the "Body For Life" program. I did it wholeheartedly. I bought a gym membership, spent 6 days a week at the gym, ate all the "right" foods, including their diet shakes. It was expensive and a chemical adventure. I didn't lose much weight until the doctor put me on medication. So I was drinking all these expensive shakes with an absolutely unpronouncable ingredient list from Dow Chemical and it took medication to actually get me to lose weight.

What I have discovered, and am still learning is that I can exercize without the excessive nature of the gym treatment. (Walking in the surf is ideal!) I can eat better food without the laboratory experience of diet bars and shakes. And I will never eat egg white omeletes.

Let me remind you of some of the things we have learned or unlearned in recent years.

Coffee is bad for you. Coffee is good for you.
Chocolate is bad for you. Chocolate is good for you.
The ideal diet is low fat. No low carb. No, wait. Some fat is good for you. Some carbs are good for you. Oh the low carb causes gout and kidney stones.
Margarine is better than butter. No margarine is MUCH worse than butter.
Alcohol is bad for you. No, wait. Alcohol is good for you.
Turns out, studies show it's better to eat whatever you want with people than to eat a heart-healthy diet alone. Eating alone is bad for your heart.

Actually, the one thing that has been consistent as near as I can tell is that processed sugar is bad for you. Period. So I am cutting back on sugar. Since sugar is in every kind of processed and fast food, it will be more and more difficult to figure out what to eat when on the way back from Wellington or Aspen or wherever, but I will have to stop and buy peanuts or apples or perhaps even plan ahead (gasp!) and pack travel lunches ahead of time. What a thought!

At any rate, I have never found Biblical dietary advice to be refuted. Daniel and the chosen Isrealites were fed a diet without all the rich foods of Babylon and it was superior. Timothy was told to take a little wine for his stomach's sake. Job says flavorless food without salt and eggwhite omelets make him ill. Terrific advice.