According to the book of Genesis God gave three commands to the first two people he made. The first was to produce lots of children; the second was about what they should eat; and the third was about what they should not eat. So it seems that sexual activity as God intended it and what we eat are both high up on his list of importance.
Our amazing bodies are God's most precious gift to us, so we should look after them as well we possibly can out, if only out of grateful appreciation. More than that, the fitter we are the more energy we'll have to serve God and our fellow men and women; the happier we shall feel; and the longer we are likely to live. Ephesians 9.29 says, 'No man ever hates his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it.' Now I'm not sure that Saint Paul would not be so confident about that statement if he were to live in these days of fast food, obesity and lack of physical exercise, but the fact remains that we ought to look after our bodies as well as we possibly can. In 1 Corinthians 6.19,20 Paul even provides a spiritual motive for doing so: 'Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God? You are not your own; you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.' A fit and healthy body displays the perfection of God's design and the beauty of his work of creation: it glorifies its Creator.
God's Word is clear and firm: over-eating, over-indulging in alcohol, and over-working are all sins! 'Hear, my son, and be wise, and direct your mind in the way. Be not among winebibbers, or among gluttonous eaters of meat; for the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, and drowsiness will clothe a man with rags.' (Proverbs 23.19-21) Greedy people and drunkards - even if they claim to be Christians - will not inherit eternal life in God's coming kingdom! 'Do not be deceived; neither the... greedy, nor drunkards... will inherit the kingdom of God.' (1 Corinthians 6:10) Furthermore, we are to have a total rest from work one day per week in order to recover the strength and energy of both our bodies and minds. This was the fourth of the Ten Commandments God gave to Israel, and it was the only one which he specifically said they must observe for ever. (Exodus 31.12-17)
Although the Jews were forbidden under the Old Covenant from eating certain foods - rules that Jesus abolished in Matthew 7.19 - the only real problems that people had with food in Bible times were not having enough to eat or else eating too much. Nowadays there is another and more serious problem, which is the food itself. Industrialized methods of food production mean that much of the food we eat is not as healthy as it should be; the kinds of food we eat are not in the right proportions; and even some official advice on healthy eating is simply wrong.
For example, much of the food and drink we buy has added sugar in it. Skeletons of people who lived in Britain prior to the sixteenth century all have totally healthy teeth simply because they didn't add sugar to their diet.
We are told that saturated fats like lard and butter are bad for us, but this is a false idea. It was promoted in the early 1950s by some very badly presented research which was then widely publicized. Margarine and seed oil manufacturers latched on to it in order to promote their products instead. However a UK Medical Research Council survey in 1991 showed that men eating butter ran half the risk of developing heart disease as those using margarine. (Published in Nutrition Week, March 22, 1991; 21:12:2-3.)
We are also told that cholesterol is harmful, and that we should avoid high cholesterol foods like eggs. MONICA, the world’s largest ever study to monitor trends in heart disease, was carried out by the World Health Organization between 1980 and 2003 to investigate this. Some 10 million people in 21 countries participated in the study. When the data were examined in 2003 no overall relationship whatsoever was found between national blood cholesterol levels and incidences of cardiovascular disease or death.
Again, unsaturated fats in the form of temperate seed oils and the fats and spreads made from them are promoted as healthy by their producers, but because these fats are unsaturated they oxidise when heated, producing potentially harmful free radicals. The same temperate seed oils, such as oilseed rape ('vegetable oil' in the UK), sunflower oil, and corn or maize oil ('Canola' in the USA and Canada) contain excessive omega 6 fatty acids, which can cause inflammation and various resultant health problems. (Some magarine spreads used to include added omega 3 to counterbalance the excess of omega 6, something which is unnecessary in naturally healthy butter.)
Then again, the World Health Organization continues to tell us to obtain most of our calories from starchy carbohydrates like bread, rice and potatoes, but it also recommends that we should reduce our intake of foods which have a high glycaemic index. Foods having a high glycaemic index are foods which per gram produce a high residual level of glucose in the blood. So what kind of foods are these? Apart from sugars, the foods with the highest glycaemic indices are starchy carbohydrates, the very kinds of food that the WHO tells us we should be eating most of!
These are examples of how food producers and manufacturers and governmental advisers and the media have led us into adopting an unnatural unhealthy diet. Calories obtained from old-fashioned sources of protein and fat satisfy hunger longer than calories from starchy carbohydrates and sugar, and that is why a traditional breakfast of bacon and eggs for example satisfies hunger pangs longer than one based on cereals, bagels or toast, resulting in a person eating less overall and so putting on less weight. An unhealthy diet is the principal reason that so many people are obese, have Type 2 diabetes, or suffer from coronary heart disease. In the 1940s, when our diet in the UK was far more natural, those three major health problems were almost non-existent!
In my extensive research about what constitutes a truly healthy diet I concluded that the healthiest balance of protein, fat and carbohydrates for the majority of Westerners who live in centrally heated homes should be in the proportions 25:45:30. This means that we should obtain 25%, 45% and 30% of our calories from proteins (meat, fish, eggs, etc.), fats (butter, cheese, olive oil, etc.) and carbohydrates (potatoes, rice and bread, etc.) respectively. In my book Twenty-First Century Nutrition and Family Health I call this the 'Natural Health Diet'. It involves consuming significantly fewer starchy carbohydrates than most people eat, but more proteins and fats. And of course as little added sugar as possible.
The principal requirements for living a long and healthy life are:
- having a truly healthy, balanced and natural diet
- not over-eating
- not over-indulging in alcohol (preferably none at all)
- keeping clear of other drugs and tobacco
- having a proper weekly rest from work
- having adequate sleep
- taking adequate physical exercise, that maintains strength (arms, stomach, back, legs and load-bearing), cardio-vascular health (heart and lungs), and flexibility.
And here's one special tip: don't sleep in a bed. Research has shown that 97% of all recorded deaths occur in beds!