Nineteen years ago this week I married my incredible husband. About six months later he started medical school, and four years after that he started his residency program. Three years later he became Chief Resident and a year later he finally started his private practice. My husband has been a fabulous physician for the last ten years and I have been with him since the beginning. Do you know what I found most odd about medical school? There was only one little two-month class about nutrition! There was class after agonizing class about pharmaceuticals, but only one, two month class about nutrition. And even that toted party lines, ignoring the real connection between food and health. Isn’t that strange? Because what you eat plays a critical role in whether you stay well or not. In fact, your health is directly dependent on your food.
But how do you know what to eat and what not to eat? There is a lot of conflicting information out there that can be so very confusing. Let me give you a simple guideline for choosing the healthiest foods that will keep you well:
Choose foods that God created. Avoid all others.
This isn’t very scientific, is it? Yet this is a unique opportunity for Christians to rely on and glorify God. Remember one of my favorite verses regarding healthy foods, from Genesis 1:31: “And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.” When someone tells you that certain foods, which God created, are bad for you, remember this verse. God created good things.
Now consider these verses from Matthew 7:
“Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?
Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?
If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?”
We are God’s children and, loving father that he is, he has given us good things; including good food that tastes good and does good things for our bodies. He created it that way. Do you trust God, or not?
It should be no surprise – especially if you’ve read much of my blog – that the foods God created are loaded with immune-boosting nutrition. In fact all of the important vitamins and minerals our bodies require can be found in God’s creation; he provided them just for us because he knew we needed them. It just makes sense that your best method of prevention is getting back to eating the foods that God created.
Start your immune-boosting diet with more animal foods: meat from animals raised in the sunshine eating grass; eggs from chickens raised in the sunshine eating bugs; fresh raw milk, butter, cheese and cream from healthy cows living in the sunshine and eating grass. Animal foods are critical to good health because they contain many essential nutrients in more absorbable forms, and, these nutrients make it possible for your body to assimilate nutrients from other foods. So all those vegetables aren’t doing you a lot of good without some good cream, butter, or other healthy animal fat to go with it.
Animal foods are a very important source for vitamins A and D. Lately I have read over and over how critical vitamin D is for keeping us well. In fact many studies are now showing that those who are sickest are vitamin D deficient. For some fascinating reading about all the reasons why vitamins A and D are so amazing, check out the following links:
Since it is nearly impossible for us to get the vitamin D we need from the sun, we must rely on our food to supply it for us. Animals who have spent their lives soaking in the sunshine have an excellent store of vitamin D, especially in their fat. By eating animal foods, especially fatty animal foods, we can get the vitamin D we need. I’m talking about healthy fats such as butter, lard, and tallow. These foods are not only deeply satisfying and delicious, but they will boost your immunities and strengthen your body. Butter’s important vitamins include A and D which are critical for assimilating the vitamins in other foods you eat. Pay attention to that: you may be consuming loads of great vitamins and minerals, but your body can’t do a thing with them if it can’t absorb them. Butter, and other animal fats, makes it possible for your body to absorb other nutrition.
Just look at that rich color — it kind of glows like the sun, doesn’t it? That’s because the cow who supplied the cream lived outside, soaking up the sun, and eating grass that also soaked up the sun. And now my family can eat the sunshine too.
Other sources of healthy fats include eggs from hens who live outside and forage for their food. These eggs are extremely nutritious sources of healthful vitamins, including vitamin A. You can literally see the nutrition in the intensely orange yolks.
These egg yolks are reminiscent of the sun too, aren’t they?
And don’t forget raw milk, which is loaded with immune-boosting and body-strengthening nutrition.
Coconut oil, while not an animal fat, is an excellent source of nutrition. It is full of lauric acid, which your body converts to monolaurin – the specific component in breast milk that builds up Baby’s immunities. Coconut oil is also good for your thyroid and many other bodily functions that must function properly in order for you to stay well.
God also gave us an abundance of vegetables, each one a powerhouse of vitamins and minerals. They contain living enzymes and anti-oxidants that fight off the bad bugs. Keep in mind, though, that canned vegetables will not contain these wonderful things because much of the nutrition is destroyed during the canning process. Winter may not be considered the growing season for fresh vegetables, but God has supplied us with many great vegetables to eat during this time of year. These include winter squash, sweet potatoes, carrots, beets, and a wide variety of greens.
The above picture is an early fall box of fresh vegies from a local farm. Fresh, local vegetables will be more nutritious and tastier than typical store produce. This is because when you get your box the vegetables will have just been harvested that day or the day before. Produce at the grocery store has often been shipped to you from many, many miles away while the nutrition slowly fades away. Also keep in mind that while vegetables are abundant in nutrition, much of it is fat-soluble which means you need high quality animal fats with them. So go ahead and steam that spinach, and serve it with a big pat of butter. We all need to eat more vegetables, and they are definitely more palatable with butter and cream!
Fermented fruits and vegetables are very powerful immune-boosting foods. Refer to my two articles earlier this year, “Up Your Nose With A Rubber Hose” and “Get Cultured” for a detailed explanation. Fermented foods will fill your gut with beneficial bacteria, making it your body’s best defense against sickness. Kefir is one of the most powerful fermented foods. It is a great idea to drink kefir daily, or at least several times per week.
Stock made from the bones of grassfed animals is another key to preventing illness. A properly prepared stock will have leached out the valuable nutrients in the bones and marrow of these strong, healthy animals and turned it into a very usable form of potent nutrition for you. Properly prepared bone stocks, as opposed the kind from the grocery store, are also extremely easy to digest, so your body gets a lot of bang for its buck. Stock is another food that you should be eating several times each week, which means you will need to be preparing stock every week or two. For more about bone stocks, including how-to, see my article, “What The Doctor Should Have Ordered.”
Your Worst Enemy
Like I said earlier, choose foods that God created and avoid all others. There are many, many things on the grocery store shelves that are considered food but truly are not. These are your biggest obstacles to staying well. Thankfully they are extremely easy to identify: they come in a package. If that doesn’t help you, then read the ingredients. Another way of knowing what to eat and what not to eat is to ask, “Does this item grow from the ground, or have a father and mother?” If the answer to either question is no, then you know not to eat it. You could also ask yourself, "Is this food backed by an advertising campaign?" If you answer yes, you know not to eat it. Processed food, which is what these are, is your health’s worst enemy. It takes great effort to digest, it is stripped of all nutrition, and it is loaded with lab creations that can bring harm to your health over time.
Sugar is also your worst enemy. In fact, science has proven that all sugar weakens your immunities for a full 24 to 48 hours. Worst offenders include high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, and anything ending in “-ose” such as dextrose, fructose, etc. Read labels, because these items are in EVERYTHING. But all sugar is bad. You can learn more about sugar and its dangerous effects, as well as which sweeteners are healthy, by reading my article, “Sweet To The Soul.”
Another very informative article about the dangers of sugar can be found here.
Putting It All Together
Here are some examples of what all of this might look like:
Breakfast might be eggs scrambled in butter, and a glass of raw milk or kefir; lunch might be a fruit smoothie made with kefir; dinner might be a bowl of soup made with homemade chicken stock, and a fresh salad topped with a homemade olive oil vinaigrette dressing. If these foods came from a local farm, they will be even more nutritious. Snacks could include a few slices of raw cheese, from grassfed cows. A special dessert could be baked apples using maple syrup instead of sugar. Another whole foods dinner can be found in my post, “Dinner Tonight.” If you work and need a portable lunch, invest in a high quality thermos that will keep soup hot all day, and use your crockpot to cook dinner for you so it will be ready when you get home. A great portable breakfast is a kefir smoothie. Or, a breakfast burrito (Alvarado St. Bakery is a great brand of sprouted wheat tortillas). You can also use your crockpot to make chicken stock while you are at work. And don’t forget that everybody loves breakfast for dinner – it is such an easy and inexpensive meal that, when made with farm fresh ingredients, will go a long way toward making you and your family healthy.
Basically what I have described for building your immunities and preventing illness is a whole foods diet with an emphasis on healthy fats, high quality meats and other animal foods, fresh vegetables, and fermented foods. Eating this way will strengthen your body with every meal, and keep it healthy for the long haul.
For much more excellent information about how what you eat can keep you well, visit the newly re-vamped Weston A. Price Foundation website.
Staying well doesn’t happen overnight; it is a long-term process that must be intentional. Good health is the result of what you eat, not a by-product of genetics. Food really matters! It matters so much that someone in your family is going to have to commit to being the one to seek out, obtain, and prepare healthy foods. This will take time from already busy schedules. Think about the amount of time you spend in a year nursing a sick child and driving to/from the doctor’s office. Now think about taking that time and spending it instead in the kitchen, creating nourishing meals that will nurture your children from the inside out. I think that’s time well spent, don’t you?