The Miracle of Food

Who would have known 75 years ago that cutting down trees in our forests would affect the fish in the streams and the ozone layer surrounding our planet? Trees provide so many useful products, harvesting them seemed a natural and wonderful way to have a better life. Inevitably many things were harmed by a seemingly innocent pursuit.

We have such a hunger for secret cures—for something new and "magical" that will change us and improve our health that we've done the same thing with foods. In trying to improve our lifestyle we've often destroyed the natural way in which food is meant to be eaten.

Rice, once eaten by millions in its crude form, was refined into white rice. At first a rich man's food, white rice eventually became the only food for vast millions of people in third world countries, precipitating a host of medical problems, including protein deficiencies and beriberi.

The story is repeated with the refinement of flour. For centuries everyone ate whole-wheat bread. Then the technology for milling and refining flour produced white bread. Because it was expensive it was called the "king's bread". Peasants clamored for it, not realizing that white flour lacks a host of vitamins and minerals, especially B vitamins. They eventually got the riches formerly reserved for the king—include his vitamin-B deficiency.

At the turn of the century nutritionists observed widespread malnutrition among poorer Americans. They attributed it to a lack of protein and B vitamins, the nutrients found mainly in meats and other animal products. A great campaign began for people to eat more meat, which they did. Malnutrition rates subsided, but more and more people got heart attacks. It took nutritionists far too long to comprehend that the diet they had pushed was too high in fat and cholesterol.

Now the pendulum has swung away from animal products. People eat fruits and vegetables, extolling the "magical" qualities of vitamin A and vitamin C. Unaware that fruits have almost no protein and few, if any, B vitamins, these fruitaholics, as I call them, deprive themselves of essential nutrients with their one-sided approach to eating. Just like the big meat eaters, they mistakenly believe that some foods are wonderful while others are terrible.

We search for the perfect way to manipulate our food so we can perform better and feel better. But too often our pursuit of the new upsets what is good about the old.

God didn't give us apple juice or carrot juice or refined rice or white flour. He gave us apples and carrots and whole grains. In the same way that we cut down forests to improve our lifestyle, we hunt for ways to "improve" our diet. We fail to realize that a variety of foods—eaten as close to their natural state as possible—is what the liver and the kidneys and the intestines expect to receive.

Put a variety of low-fat, high fiber foods into your body. Let your organs perform their magic. Isn't it magical they way foods that occur naturally fit so well with our body's needs? What a shame to look so hard for the miracle food when the real miracle is all around you.


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