Food That Is Good For Us
Clean and unclean food
Food can make our bodies sick or healthy. In spite of the advancements of modern medicine, the capacity of hospitals is stretched to the limit, chronic diseases are increasing and breakdown of health is almost accepted as a normal pattern of life.1
A large part of the reason for this decline in health is the food we are eating. It is typical of the fast-paced western lifestyle to heat up ready-prepared meals in the microwave, order hamburgers and soft drinks at the drive-through, and consume processed milk, processed sugar, processed bread and various other processed foods.
By eating such food, we fill up our bodies with antibiotics (which are routinely given as growth promoters), colouring agents, flavour additives (because processed food doesn’t look or taste very appealing without it), growth hormones and preservatives.
Most of these food additives are detrimental to our health. It is degenerative food that leads to degenerative diseases such as cancer, diabetes, arthritis and others, or it can trigger asthma attacks, irrational behaviour, eczema and a multitude of other diseases. 2
This article sets out to explain that by taking good care of our bodies, we can remain healthy and avoid many diseases, or even restore ourselves to full health, as our bodies are astonishingly resilient.
Obvious measures to promote good health are:
Hydrating the body adequately
Cutting down on processed sugar
Avoiding processed food as much as possible
Avoiding e-numbers and preservatives, or flavor enhancers such as MSG.
Getting enough sleep
There are plenty of excellent books and articles that explain how to get into good health and remain healthy. In this article, however, we want to focus on God’s laws for good health. Even in our environment, laden with radiation, toxins and other health hazards, we can keep or restore our health. God who designed our amazingly resilient bodies promised it!
“And ye shall serve the LORD your God, and he shall bless thy bread, and thy water; and I will take sickness away from the midst of thee.” (EXODUS 23:25).
“And the LORD will take away from thee all sickness…” (DEUTERONOMY 7:15)
There is, however, a condition:
“If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee.” (EXODUS 15:26)
Follow God’s commandments to remain healthy - how? This is what this article wants to show!
Following are two testimonies, both given by physicians:
Don Colbert: “During the 1980s I began experiencing some occasional irregularities in my heartbeat. This condition affected me physically, and every now and then my heart would seem to miss a beat. When that occurred, I was forced to stop whatever I was doing and catch my breath. As this condition continued, I became increasingly concerned about why God had not healed me. It became so severe that my doctor prescribed medication to slow down my heart rate. This was very difficult for me. Although I was involved in a healing ministry, I was forced to take a pill every day… In prayer, I complained to God about the situation. In total frustration I said, “Lord, I’ve prayed and I’ve prayed and I’ve prayed, and You have not healed me!” To my surprise the Lord rebuked me and said, “Don’t blame Me for what is your own fault.” I was shocked! … I soon came to realize that I was neglecting to do what was right. I had not taken proper care of my body, and my ongoing neglect began to manifest itself through physical symptoms. Remember, faith begins where natural ability stops. I began an exercise program and started eating correctly. As I continued to modify my behavior, I noticed that my heart problem was less noticeable. Before long, it vanished completely.” 3
Rex Russell: “By following these laws, I have not had one carbuncle (abscess) or any arthritis in the last 18 years. What a change! Before applying these laws, the retina in my eyes had deteriorated to the point that I had to have laser therapy… Now I have 20/20 vision… My doctor, who has a large practice, claims that I’ve done better than any of her other diabetic patients.”4
Both doctors changed their lifestyles and diets according to biblical laws, and their health improved dramatically.
Before we start to explain, please note two things.
Firstly, as Christians, our salvation does not depend on keeping every law of the Old Testament. However, many commandments and stipulations are essential for our health and well-being. There are laws relating to rest, nutrition, food preparation, animal care, farming, and personal and environmental health and hygiene - and whilst a Christian is not subject to the penalties and condemnation of the Old Testament covenant under Moses, continued disregard for God’s law and wisdom (nationally, industrially or individually) may result in ill consequences. Sometimes these follow immediately, sometimes the penalty can be gradual, for example when transgressing God’s food laws. Many Christians would consider it permissible to eat meat from an ‘unclean’ animal in order not to offend the host; see 1 CORINTHIANS 10:27. This should, however, remain an exception, rather than a habit, be done “in faith” (rather than in doubts and conflicts of conscience) and always with the view of not offending other people.
“And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” (ROMANS 14:23).
Secondly, there are always those who go overboard in their desire to stay healthy. Unwittingly believing that low-fat, high-fibre and, often, vegetarian diets are good for their health, they may be starving their bodies of vital nutrients (e.g. vitamin B12, which only occurs in animal products such as meat, eggs and milk). Stunted growth in children and anorexia can be some of the consequences.
The Bible commands us to take care of our body which is the temple of the Holy Ghost. Therefore we have to do what we can to keep our bodies clean.
The following sections will study the Bible’s view on
Clean and unclean land animals; with particular emphasis on the pig;
Parts of even clean animals that should not be eaten: blood, fat.
Clean and unclean birds;
Clean and unclean fish; with particular emphasis on shellfish;
Clean and unclean plants; with particular emphasis on mushrooms.
Unclean Land Animals and the Dangers of Eating Pork
In the Bible there are certain foods that God says we should not eat which God calls unclean (LEVITICUS 11:1-8, DEUTERONOMY 14:3-8).
‘And the Lord spake unto Moses and to Aaron, saying unto them, Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, These are the beasts which ye shall eat among all the beasts that are on the earth. Whatsoever parteth the hoof, and is clovenfooted, and cheweth the cud, among the beasts, that shall ye eat. Nevertheless these shall ye not eat of them that chew the cud, or of them that divide the hoof: as the camel, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you. And the coney, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you. And the hare, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you. And the swine, though he divide the hoof, and be clovenfooted, yet he cheweth not the cud; he is unclean to you. Of their flesh shall ye not eat, and their carcase shall ye not touch; they are unclean to you.’
This means that, according to these scriptures in the Bible, land animals we should avoid eating include:
Land animals that are suitable for eating are animals which both chew the cud and have cloven feet; e.g. oxen, sheep, goats and deer.
At first glance, the distinction into clean and unclean animals seems arbitrary. Why should the horse, for example, be unclean, just because it doesn’t fulfill the criteria of parting the hoof and chewing the cud? After all, doesn’t it eat the same food as a cow?
The difference lies in the digestion: the cow’s stomach contains four rumination compartments (rumen, reticulum, omasum, and abomasum). In each compartment, various kinds of bacteria help to digest grasses and grains. Harmful bacteria, parasites and toxins are broken down more completely and have a smaller chance of reaching the flesh of the cow.5">http://www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/ResourcesforYou/AnimalHealthLiteracy... Horse meat often contains more viruses and parasites.6
Why are rabbits, for example, listed under unclean animals and why does the Bible say that they chew their cud? In fact, rabbits do not regurgitate cud as cows do, they do eat part of their feces (special droppings called cecotropes) and are often carriers of the tularemia bacteria that can be transferred to humans.7
A Closer Look at the Pig
Why is pig meat toxic?
Firstly, pigs are scavengers; they eat any food they can find including waste products such as feces, dead carcasses and their own young which makes them an undesirable meal, as ‘you are what you eat’10">http://smallfarms.oregonstate.edu/sfn/w15pigsonrange
Health Risks linked to eating pork
There are several areas of danger concerning the consumption of pork. There are risks from how the pigs are fed and raised, the diseases the pig may carry, and the negative effects of eating the meat. An example of this is in the U.S. where pigs are fed ractopamine in order to increase the rate of growth by 60-80%. This is an additive which is banned in 160 countries such as China, Taiwan and all of Europe because of the health problems it causes such as restlessness, anxiety and an elevated heart rate11
Antibiotics are also fed to pigs (and other animals) in order to fatten them up. By feeding pigs antibiotics, over time the bacteria in the animals will become resistant to them. This means that a person who becomes affected by the antibiotic resistant bacteria could be resistant to any antibiotic treatments if they become ill. This has become such an issue that the World Health Organization issued a statement showing their intention to "reduce the overuse and misuse of antimicrobials in food animals for the protection of human health."12 These antibiotic resistant bacteria are becoming more common. For instance, in the Organic Consumers Association an article was published in 2006 recounting the findings of a study by the University of Minnesota where they found antibiotic-resistant bugs in 7.1% of 113 swine veterinarians. The University of Iowa also found the same bacterial strains in 147 of 299 pigs which had been tested with nasal swabs13. The report also notes that ‘there have been serious infections reported in the Netherlands related to these strains…[and] since an estimated 18,650 deaths a year in the U.S. are estimated to be caused by a range of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, researchers have encouraged U.S. and Canadian authorities to pay attention to the findings’14. This shows that there is an increasing concern about antibiotic resistance through feeding pigs antibiotics and the dangers it poses to health.
Consumption of pork has also been linked to the deadly superbug virus MRSA. One study by Polish scientists published in BioMed Research International investigated oxacillin resistance of the pathogen staphylococcus aureus from pig and pork meat in South-West Poland. Oxacillin is a penicillin antibiotic used to treat the pathogen staphylococcus aureus which is a life-threatening disease treated through antibiotics. It is the same class of drug as methicillin which is linked to Methicillin-resistant S. Aureus (MRSA) and it is responsible for 20,000 deaths in the U.S. with 90,000 cases in total, which the MRSA Research Centre reports is more than the number of people dying from AIDS15. The study determined that MRSA from livestock has been 'repeatedly isolated from pigs' in Netherlands, Europe, Canada and the USA16. This is dangerous because it is readily transferred from animal to animal and animal to human. Moreover their results concluded that up to 48% of animals were found to have S. Aureus and 40% in pork meat14.
Pork is linked with cancer; for example, physicist and author Michael Greger, M.D. wrote 'cured meats such as bacon and ham are loaded with carcinogenic nitrosamine producing nitrates and should be avoided'17. He also warned that pan fried pork chops contain carcinogens. Moreover, in 2006 the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published findings that eating bacon five or more times a week can result in a 59% increased risk of bladder cancer18.
Other health concerns aside from cancer include liver failure from Hepatitis E19 and possible arsenic contamination. Arsenic is deliberately fed to pigs and is dangerous to humans20. Furthermore, a case study from Consumer Reports 2006 reported some serious findings concerning pork chops and ground pork. They found that ‘yersinia enterocolitica, a bacterium that can cause fever, diarrhea, and abdominal pain, was widespread’ and was found in 69% of the 240 tested pork samples21. They also described how they discovered salmonella, staphylococcus aureus and listeria monocytogenes in 3 to 7% of samples and enterococcus in 11%. One of the largest salmonella outbreaks in Germany came from people eating raw minced pork; ‘the outbreak was traced back to contaminated raw pork products’ in 201322. The presence of enterococcus indicates potential contamination from feces resulting in potential urinary tract infections23.
Dr. H. R. Gamble, from the Parasite Biology and Epidemiology Laboratory in the United States Department of Agricultural Research Service identified three parasites which pose a danger to public health through the consumption of raw or undercooked pork. These are Trichinella spiralis (a roundworm), Taenia solium (a tapeworm) and Toxoplasma gondii (a protozoan) which lead to a variety of problems such as abdominal pain, rashes, coughing and diarrhea.24 Regarding T. spiralis, Gamble notes that ‘prevalence in swine varies from country to country and regionally within countries’ and has become less dangerous in recent years. However, he reports that some methods of heating are not sufficient in inactivating the trichinae, especially heating with a microwave as the temperature is often uneven after cooking, so not all affected areas were dealt with. Likewise with frozen pork, they must be frozen for four days at -10 degrees Celsius before trichinae were killed25.
The larvae of T. spiralis are coiled inside the pig’s muscle cells. They are so small that a single gram of meat can contain more than a thousand of them. 26 Rosemary Drisdale, a clinical parasitologist, describes how twenty-four hours after eating the infested meat, the larvae invade the small intestines. Like mobile needles, they pierce through the lining, damaging tissue and excreting toxic waste products. Flu-like symptoms start to develop: fever, vomiting, diarrhea. The larvae in the meantime grow to worms, mate with each other and produce eggs. After six days, they turn into larvae that enter the bloodstream, damaging tissue and organs on their way. By the third week the larvae have done enough damage to cause breathing troubles and fluttering heartbeat. The parasites are particularly numerous around the eyes, the tongue and the jaw. After about a month, the fever, vomiting and diarrhea subside. Each larva has now occupied a muscle cell, coiled together, so they fit their home (see picture). They become dormant now, waiting to be eaten by the next host (in the case of a pig).14
T. Solium (cysticirosis) is a tapeworm larva found in the muscle tissue of pigs, often through visual inspection of the livestock. It is dangerous to humans because the larvae of the tapeworm can enter into the circulation and end up in vital organs including the brain. Other symptoms include nausea, diarrhea, constipation and abdominal pain. The infection of pork tapeworm larvae is called cysticirosis and can lead to muscle tissue damage, seizures, mental confusion and bizarre behaviour.
T. Gondii is a parasite. Dr. Gamble notes that ‘[r]ecent evidence suggests that a high prevalence rate in pigs infers that raw or undercooked meat is a significant source of infection’ with a particular danger to pregnant women; causing birth defects in any infected foetuses.27 Although pigs are not the only animal infected with this parasite, troublingly ‘all pork is potentially infected with T. gondii’. Cooking and freezing can kill the T. Gondii but there is no conclusive research about its presence in cured meats.
God tells us that there are certain animals not fit for human consumption that we should avoid. Pigs are one of those animals that are potentially harmful when consumed. They carry parasites and diseases such as tapeworms and roundworms, and their meat is being linked to increased risks of cancer. Based on what some pigs are fed, pork meat can lead to arsenic poisoning, and the meat itself can contain high amounts of toxins. There is a reason God calls the pig an unclean animal.
A Word on Modern Practices of Raising Cattle and other Clean Animals
Meat from clean animals is healthy, containing proteins, iron, zinc and vitamins as well as omega-3 fatty acids. These omega-3 acids are essential for our bodies and offer strong protection from vascular disease, by fighting clotting in blood vessels. They also slow the spread of breast cancers, lower blood pressure and relieve inflamed joints in rheumatoid arthritis patients.28
However, most animals raised for food nowadays never go outdoors, except when brought to the slaughterhouse. Caged for most of their lives, they are fed growth-promoting hormones, antibiotics and genetically-engineered feed. Never able to move around and weighing double what they normally would, their leg muscles and brittle bones are unable to hold their weight.
A word of warning: do not eat meat from animals that are raised that way. The meat may be much cheaper, but it is not fit for consumption!
Overview - Clean Land Animals
|chew the cud and have a divided hoof|
|Beef (cow, calf, ox, veal)||Gazelle||Moose|
|Caribou||Goat||Sheep (lamb, mutton)|
Unclean Land Animals
|Boar, pig, hog, bacon,||Coyote, dog, fox, hyena,||Cat, cheetah, cougar,|
|ham, lard, pork||jackal, wolf||leopard, lion, panther, tiger|
|Donkey, horse, mule,||Armadillo, badger, bear, beaver,camel, elephant,|
|onager, zebra||ferret, frog, gorilla, groundhog, guinea pig,|
|hippopotamus, kangaroo, llama, mole, monkey,|
|mouse, muskrat, opossum, porcupine,|
|rabbit (hare), raccoon, rat, rhinoceros, salamander|
|skunk, slug, snail, squirrel, wallaby, weasel,|
|Such reptiles as alligator, crocodile, lizard, snake,|
Parts of clean animals not to be eaten according to the Bible
In the previous chapter we talked about clean and unclean animals. This chapter describes that not all parts of even clean animals should be eaten.
The Bible makes mention of certain parts of the animal being “taken away” in the sacrificial process that the priest performed in the Old Testament. This was due to the fact that all such parts were unclean spiritually and/or nutritionally unfit for human consumption. The book of Leviticus (and other books in the Old Testament) describes how the priests ate the clean parts of the animal as part of the edible sacrifice, but burnt the rest of the animal, which was unclean for human consumption, as a burnt offering, which was unclean for human consumption. There are many parts which are repeatedly mentioned like the kidneys with the fat, the caul above the liver, the head, the rump, the innards etc. In this, the Israelites not only learned a spiritual lesson of obeying God, but, as we shall see, benefitted practically from avoiding to eat these parts.
'Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, Ye shall eat no manner of fat, of ox, or of sheep, or of goat'.
No animal fat is to be eaten. This is shown throughout Leviticus chapter 11. Toxins and parasites get stored in animal fat which render it unsafe to eat29. Consuming this fat increases the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease30, 31.
The ratios of stearic acid in the external or cover fat of beef and other animals are such that the acid can cause the platelets in blood to become sticky, and to form clots. This type of fat is one of the main causes of heart disease32.
Blood is not to be consumed.
'But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat.'
1 SAMUEL 14:33
'Then they told Saul, saying, Behold, the people sin against the LORD, in that they eat with the blood. And he said, Ye have transgressed: roll a great stone unto me this day.'
'For it is the life of all flesh; the blood of it is for the life thereof: therefore I said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall eat the blood of no manner of flesh: for the life of all flesh is the blood thereof: whosoever eateth it shall be cut off.'
Antibodies, bacteria, microbes, viruses and diseases exist in the blood in a manner which makes it very unsafe to consume and digest33. Blood also has a very high concentration of iron34. The human body struggles to deal with overdoses of iron, and cannot get rid of it easily, making it toxic to the digestive system35.
God has given us a symbolic and spiritual reason: that life is in the blood. He does not want us to consume it. That should be clear to any God-fearing Christian who takes God's word literally.
'It shall be a perpetual statute for your generations throughout all your dwellings, that ye eat neither fat nor blood.'
'And the priests, Aaron's sons, shall lay the parts, the head, and the fat, in order upon the wood that is on the fire which is upon the altar:...vs 12 And he shall cut it into his pieces, with his head and his fat: and the priest shall lay them in order on the wood that is on the fire which is upon the altar:'
The brain consists of 29% fat, so the reasons to not consume are the same as those found under “fat”36. This does not include the neck, as the neck contains muscle/meat and can be consumed. Consuming the brain can result in prion diseases (neurodegenerative conditions) such as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease37.
The eating of heart is not mentioned in the Bible in any prohibition. The heart, of course, is a muscle and would thus fall under edible body parts. Arguments against eating the heart are: it also is the organ most connected with the blood; much fat can be on the heart and would need to be removed if eaten38. Ultimately, however, there is no prohibition in the Bible. Heart is a good source of iron, zinc, selenium, and B vitamins, but especially CoQ1039.
There is no mention in the Bible of the prohibition of eating of the liver. In the Levitical sacrifice there are several scriptures mentioning the removal of the 'caul’ which translates to 'netting', or 'lobes' of fat above the liver. EXODUS 29:13, LEVITICUS 3:10, LEVITICUS 7:4
“And thou shalt take ... the caul that is above the liver”. This leads to a direct deduction that the liver itself was not considered in the same category as the other parts which were 'separated' and burned. Although the liver is an organ that removes toxins from the body, no toxins remain in the liver.40 The liver neutralizes toxins but does not store them. Liver contains many nutrients (including vitamin A, vitamin B12, choline, folate)41. Some people, however, consider this organ to be unfit for consumption because it is very difficult to remove all the blood from it.
Kidneys are grouped with fat. According to the scriptures, the kidneys were to be separated, burned and not consumed. This is logical considering the function of the kidneys, which are linked to the urinary system. The kidneys remove waste products from the blood. The removal process is very different from the liver: the waste products are brought through the blood (renal artery) to the kidneys; there they pass through filtering units called nephrons, before being passed out of the body with the urine. This means that parts of waste products and urine will almost always be present in the kidneys42. There is a reason why God said,
“And the two kidneys, and the fat that is on them… shall he take away” (to burn and not to eat) (LEVITICUS 4:9).
Clean and Unclean Birds and Insects
Here is what the Bible says regarding clean and unclean birds and insects:
And these are they which ye shall have in abomination among the fowls; they shall not be eaten, they are an abomination: the eagle, and the ossifrage, and the ospray, And the vulture, and the kite after his kind; every raven after his kind; and the owl, and the night hawk, and the cuckow, and the hawk after his kind, and the little owl, and the cormorant, and the great owl, and the swan, and the pelican, and the gier eagle, and the stork, the heron after her kind, and the lapwing, and the bat. All fowls that creep, going upon all four, shall be an abomination unto you. Yet these may ye eat of every flying creeping thing that goeth upon all four, which have legs above their feet, to leap withal upon the earth; Even these of them ye may eat; the locust after his kind, and the bald locust after his kind, and the beetle after his kind, and the grasshopper after his kind. But all other flying creeping things, which have four feet, shall be an abomination unto you.”
“Of all clean birds ye shall eat. But these are they of which ye shall not eat: the eagle, and the ossifrage, and the ospray, And the glede, and the kite, and the vulture after his kind, And every raven after his kind, And the owl, and the night hawk, and the cuckow, and the hawk after his kind, The little owl, and the great owl, and the swan, And the pelican, and the gier eagle, and the cormorant, And the stork, and the heron after her kind, and the lapwing, and the bat. And every creeping thing that flieth is unclean unto you: they shall not be eaten. But of all clean fowls ye may eat.”
These verses give us a list of birds and insects which are unclean, including a prohibition on eating their eggs. We can generalize that the forbidden birds are birds of prey, carrion eaters and some water fowl. We can also generalize these birds are at the higher end of the food chain; therefore they serve a purpose in balancing biology in nature. Most unclean birds are useful in eating sick animals, carrion, and by attacking pests43. In fact, when Laos had a rodent plague in April 2008, local barn owls were used to combat this problem. Rats contaminate food, damage structures and property, and transmit parasites and diseases to other animals and humans. These rats were causing ruthless crop damage causing 50-100% loss in expected rice production in 74% of families and over 50% loss in 43% of families who were producing maize. This caused a drastic decline in income and became a national issue.44 It is also interesting to note that many of the birds which are considered unclean are protected by national and international environmental and migratory acts and regulations because they are recognized to be vital in balancing different ecosystems. So even if we wanted to hunt and eat certain birds, we couldn’t because it would be illegal45. It is partly for this reason that God made these birds unclean – to maintain biological equilibrium. An additional reason is that the meat of certain birds may contain numerous germs, which if not cooked properly could be fatal. Let’s take a closer look at each group of unclean birds and why they could pose a potential risk if consumed.
Birds of prey and owls
Birds of prey hunt and feed on other animals, often sick and dead animals, as well as domestic refuse. They are extremely useful in ensuring that pests such as rats, mice, and locusts don’t get the upper hand.46
These birds are omnivores. They eat rubbish and relish the meat the large carrion birds leave on the carcasses.47
In all tropical countries, these birds are protected by the law because they are extremely important in keeping the environment clean48.
Storks, herons, ibises, and bitterns
They not only catch fish, but mice and locusts. Of the fish, they eat predominantly sick and dead specimens. In areas of infestations of mice, storks are found in large numbers.48
Bee eaters and hoopoes
They destroy locusts and other insects. Hoopoes look for food in rubbish.43
They are one of the best insect exterminators, therefore very important in balancing nature. But bats can transmit dangerous diseases, like rabies.43
There is some controversy whether the swan is clean or unclean. The KJV translates “tanshemeth” or “tinshemeth” as swan, while other translations say owl or water hen. In this instance, it may be a rare time where the King James Version provides an uncertain translation. The Strong’s Bible concordance translates “tinshemeth” as owl or chameleon. The Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia suggests that “swan” is a mistranslation, as does Leeser’s Old Testament English Translation of the Hebrew Bible, the Jewish Encyclopedia, and the Tanakh. Therefore, we will consider the swan a clean animal.
The birds which are not listed in Leviticus and Deuteronomy are considered clean and can be eaten. These birds include songbirds, doves, fowl, and ducks. Since these birds are mostly herbivores, eating them doesn’t disrupt the biological balance in nature.43
Let’s take a further look at the only insects which are clean. Insects that fly and hop are considered clean.
Locusts and grasshoppers
Grasshoppers and locusts are both herbivores and eat only grass and leaves. They consist of 50-75% protein. The intestines are stuffed with vegetable matter, which is rich in vitamins.49 Locusts can cause great famines. It is therefore very important to have animals which consume locusts, so that they do not cause devastating catastrophes. It is likely that it is also for this reason that God allows us to eat locusts.50 It is important however that if you want to eat the bugs that you raise them under hygienic conditions, as backyard insects could be full of pesticides. 51">http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052748703293204576106072340020728[...
Overview - Clean Birds
|Clean birds include: chicken, dove, duck, goose, grouse, guinea fowl, partridge, peafowl, pheasant, pigeon, prairie chicken, ptarmigan, quail, sagehen, sparrow (and othe songbirds), swan, teal, turkey.|
|Unclean birds are mainly birds of prey and scavengers. They include: albatross, bat (not a bird, but included here), bittern, buzard, condor, coot, cormorant, crane, crow, cuckoo, eagle, flamingo, glede, grebe, grosbeak, gull, hawk, heron, kite, lapwing, loon, magpie, osprey, ossifrage, ostrich, owl, parrot, pelican, penguin, plover, rail, raven, roadrunner, sandpiper, seagull, stork, swallow, swift, vulture, water hen, woodpecker.|
Clean and unclean seafood
The Bible distinguishes between two types of seafood. Those with fins and scales are clean whereas those that do not have these two characteristics are unclean and even described as an “abomination”.
“These shall ye eat of all that are in the waters: whatsoever hath fins and scales in the waters, in the seas, and in the rivers, them shall ye eat. And all that have not fins and scales in the seas, and in the rivers, of all that move in the waters, and of any living thing which is in the waters, they shall be an abomination unto you: They shall be even an abomination unto you; ye shall not eat of their flesh, but ye shall have their carcases in abomination. Whatsoever hath no fins nor scales in the waters, that shall be an abomination unto you.” (LEVITICUS 11:9-12)
“These ye shall eat of all that are in the waters: all that have fins and scales shall ye eat: And whatsoever hath not fins ye may not eat; it is unclean unto you.” (DEUTERONOMY 14: 9-10)
In the New Testament Jesus talks about “good” and “bad” fish in a parable on the kingdom of heaven:
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind: Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away” (MATTHEW 13: 47 + 48). As all the fish were freshly caught the bad fish could not possibly have been rotten fish, but might possibly have been unclean and were not meant to be eaten. One might wonder what exactly makes them unfit for being eaten?
Shellfish such as lobsters, crabs, crayfish and shrimp lack both fins and scales. They could best be described as the “clean up crew” of oceans, lakes, rivers, beaches and bays as they rid their surroundings of debris and carrion53.
Lobsters, for example, are "nocturnal foragers”.54 They are "bottom walkers" and "predatory scavengers"55 that "scavenge for dead animals" and other bottom-dwelling organisms and debris.56 They are usually caught in lobster pots baited with dead fish. Lobsters have long antennae and tiny hair-like sensors all over their bodies "that can detect specific chemical molecules in the environment (released by decaying organisms), which can help the lobster identify and locate food", even in the dark57. Lobsters have been observed to bury a dead fish and then dig it up later, at intervals, to eat a bit more of it.58
Crabs are referred to as "professional garbage hunters" and as "scavengers" that eat almost anything. The crab prefers dead fish, but will eat any carrion59. Common shrimp, a small, delicate relative of crabs and lobsters, live by day in the mud or sandy bottoms of bays and estuaries all over the world. However, they become active at night as predatory scavengers and are "bottom dwelling detritus feeders”, which means that they eat dead and decaying matter"60.
These animals were created with the purpose of cleaning bodies of water as well as beaches and shores.
Clams, oysters, mussels and scallops are also part of unclean seafood as they too have neither fins nor scales. Their specific role could probably be described as vacuum cleaners or filters. As stationary filter-feeding molluscs, they pump large amounts of water over their mucus-covered gills, trapping tiny pieces of food (silt, plant debris, bacteria, viruses), which they then eat61. As a result, "mussels and other animals feeding on microscopic particles are the ultimate scavengers of the sea"59.
Are there any risks associated with eating seafood without fins and scales?
Human pathogenic bacteria have been found at high levels in crabs and oysters. Though processing them will get rid of some of the bacteria, not all of them will die.62 The consumption of raw, pickled or undercooked crabs, crayfish, snails and shrimp carries a significant risk of parasitic infections like liver flukes. This is also true for raw or poorly cooked fish like sushi or sashimi, which can transmit several kinds of parasitic tapeworms and flukes.63Because of their method of feeding, clams, oysters, mussels and scallops collect and concentrate pathogenic viruses, heavy metals and nerve toxins produced by plankton.59 The American Food and Drug Administration has stated that "raw oysters, clams and mussels—so savored by gourmets—account for 85 percent of all the illnesses caused by eating seafood".64 Outbreaks of cholera, typhoid, hepatitis A, Norwalk virus, salmonella and paralytic shellfish poisoning are just some of the health problems frequently linked to the consumption of these molluscs.65 Notices have been published that pregnant women, the elderly and "individuals with immune systems weakened by certain diseases (cancer, diabetes and AIDS) should... avoid eating or handling uncooked shellfish"66.
Shellfish can be placed in a body of water that is contaminated with cholera bacteria, and they will purify the water. Shrimp, oysters, crab, scallops and mussels are particularly efficient at this. They filter large volumes of water every day. Sewage laden with chemicals, toxins and harmful bacteria, parasites and viruses become concentrated in those shellfish.67
Heavy metals are absorbed by all types of fish. As a general rule, however, clean fish contain a balanced level of detoxifying agents, which minimize the impact of heavy metals on human beings. Unclean species of seafood have these agents too, but at a much higher level, which makes the agents themselves toxic. Certain unclean species of fish, such as sharks, generally lack these counterbalancing agents 68.
The prohibition against eating scaleless fish also protects against the consumption of fish that produce poisonous substances in their bodies. A U.S. Navy manual comments, "All the important fish with poisonous flesh... lack ordinary scales.... Instead, these poisonous fish are covered with bristles or spiny scales, strong sharp thorns, or spines, or are encased in a bony box-like covering. Some have naked skin, that is, no spines or scales"69.
Catfish caught in rivers and streams are perhaps the most contaminated of all bottom-feeding fish because they are the first to ingest the industrial pollutants that sink to the bottoms of streams and rivers.
Many sea creatures listed as venomous (sharks, stingrays, catfish, scorpion fish, toadfish, etc.) do not have true scales70. Eels—nocturnal predatory scavengers that eat "almost any kind of food, dead or alive"—would also be considered unclean58. Eel blood contains a toxic substance "which can be dangerous if it comes "into contact with eyes or another mucous membrane"55.
Taking all of these facts into consideration it becomes clear that unclean fish and unclean seafood are not meant to be eaten as they were designed for a different purpose than landing on our plates.
The Benefits of Eating Clean Fish
Fish is the only food that directly supplies large amounts of the omega-3 fatty acids. These are called essential, because our bodies cannot manufacture these fats directly. We need to acquire them from food sources. Omega-3s have many health benefits including cutting the risk of heart attack and stroke, preventing cancer, reducing inflammation, improving blood sugar control and neurotransmitter communication. Alkylglycerols as well as selenium in the lipids of tuna and clean fish pulls out the mercury from its flesh. When we eat the fish, the alkylglycerols also remove mercury and other heavy toxic metals from our bodies 71.
We should, however, seek out fish from pure waters, rather than farm-raised salmon that has a higher risk of being contaminated with industrial pollutants if they are grown in waters near industrialized areas. Even the high-fat fish such as pompano, mackerel, salmon, and herring – if caught in polluted waters such as those common in the Northeast of America – can be home to fat-soluble pollutants such as pesticides, PCBs, and mercury. Salmon that is harvested off the coast of Alaska is much less likely to be polluted by industrial waste and PCBs than salmon from the northern Atlantic. The waters off Mexico, Argentina, and Chile are extremely pure, as are the seas surrounding New Zealand and Iceland.72
Also, because of so much mercury contamination in the sea, it is today wiser to eat smaller fish like sardines that are lower in the food chain. Big fish like tuna – in spite of their ability to remove mercury - tend to collect more mercury from pollution.
Overview - Clean Seafood
Clean fish have both fins and scales and include: albacore, anchovy, bass, bluefish, bonito, cod, crappie, drum, flounder, garfish, grouper, grunt, haddock, halibut, hardhead, herring, mackarel, minnow, perch, pickerel,pike, pikeperch, rockfish, salmon, shad, sheepshead, skipjack, smelt, sole, sucker, sunfish, tarpon, trout, tuna, yellowtail.
|Unclean fish include: albalone, bullhead, catfish, clam, crab, crayfish, dolphin, eel, lobster, mussels, octopus, oyster, paddlefish, scallop, sculpin, seal, shark, shrimp, squid, stickleback, sturgeon (caviar), swordfish, walrus, whale.|
Plants and mushrooms
In the first chapter of Genesis, God said:
“Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth and it was so” (GENESIS 1:11). Continuing in GENESIS 1:12 we read:
“And the earth brought forth grass and herb yielding seed after his kind and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind and God saw that it was good.” At the creation of man, notice what God stated humankind’s diet would be.
“And God said, Behold I have given you every herb bearing seed which is upon the face of the earth and every tree in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat [food]” (GENESIS 1:29). The categories of foods can be broken down as follows: fruits, vegetables, herbs, grasses, legumes, grains, and nuts. God created those foods to provide a perfect nutritional balance and help us maintain good health. God is an amazing Creator and He knew what we needed! Let’s take a closer look at each category of food that God has given us to eat.
Fruits and vegetables are a vital part of a healthy diet. They are rich in vitamins and minerals, phytochemicals, antioxidants, and fibre. These nutrients are what causes fruits and vegetables to “lower blood pressure, reduce risk of heart disease and stroke, prevent some types of cancer, lower risk of eye and digestive problems, and have a positive effect upon blood sugar which can help keep appetite in check”, which can be instrumental in weight loss maintenance. 73
Beans and legumes are low in fat; an excellent source of protein, dietary fiber, and a variety of minerals and vitamins, and phytochemicals.74 They are a source of carbohydrate and have a low glycemic index (GI), which means they are broken down more slowly so you feel fuller for longer. This makes them a particularly good food for preventing and managing diabetes75. The high content of fibre keeps your bowels healthy, as well as improving your blood cholesterol, the leading cause of heart disease.76 Phytochemicals help prevent cell damage and fight disease and aging.77
Grains are a good source of complex carbohydrates and key vitamins and minerals. They are naturally low in fat. Regular consumption of whole grains are linked with low risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and other health issues. No wonder grain is mentioned also in the Bible as a staple food (DEUTERONOMY 33:28; 2 SAMUEL 17:28-29; EZEKIEL 4:9; LUKE 6:10). The healthiest kind of grains are whole grains. This means that they haven’t had their bran and germ removed. Examples include brown rice, buckwheat, and whole wheat in bread.78
If it is possible and not too expensive for your budget, avoid products made with processed grains: cookies, cakes, pies, pastries, noodles, spaghetti and macaroni made with bleached flour or other processed items. The slogan, "The whiter the bread, the sooner you're dead" (Michael Pollen) is not far from the truth.
Avoid any product labelled "degerminated" or "denatured." These terms all mean that the product probably retains little of its original nutritional value.
So far, the foods we have discussed have all been low in fat. However, fat is an important part of a balanced and healthy diet. This is where nuts and seeds come in. They are full of healthy fats, specifically unsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids. Because of this nuts are very good for your heart. They lower the level of bad fats and cholesterol, improve the lining of your arteries, and may reduce the risk of blood clots.79
Herbs and spices have been used for centuries for various health concerns. The use of herbs and spices also encourages variety in food intake, especially fruits and vegetables, making food consumption more enjoyable. Herbs and spices are a healthy alternative to salt.80
What about Algae?
Algae are plant-like in that they use light as an energy source (by photosynthesis) for nourishment on top of all the minerals they get from the water surrounding them. Thus, they convert the inorganic into an organic material.
Seaweeds are plants belonging to the algae family. There are three types of seaweeds known as red, brown, and green with more than 10,000 species. They can grow in many types of seawaters from ice-cold poles to warmer equatorial waters, as long as there is sufficient sunlight for photosynthesis. Seaweeds have been useful for humans in many ways: as food, medicine, fertilizer, and industrial products. They are rich in vitamins and other nutrients.
Mushrooms are a seemingly controversial food. Should a Christian eat mushrooms or not? Mushrooms are not plants, so the Bible doesn’t comment on them one way or the other. Mushrooms are fungi, meaning that unlike plants, they do not use photosynthesis from light to get energy, instead growing from spores and gaining energy by converting and utilizing the material they grow on81.
Arguments against eating mushrooms
As mushrooms are fungi, produce spores and thus don’t fall into the category “seed-producing plants” of GENESIS 1:29, they should be considered unclean.
Another argument is that the most common materials mushrooms grow on are decaying plant matter, but they also can grow on decayed animal matter and dung82. Because they gain their energy from the material they grow on, they have been very effective in absorbing heavy metals from environmental pollutants and cleaning up sites.83 Mushrooms are the scavengers and recyclers of their ecosystems. As such, it can be dangerous to eat them.
Also, not all mushrooms are edible, in fact, some can be poisonous and even deadly. There are also some mushrooms which are psychoactive and can cause hallucinations.
Positive health benefits of mushrooms
Despite these facts, we believe that some mushrooms can be okay to eat. However, this is only the case if they are farm-grown and don’t come from the wild. The mushrooms that are sold in supermarkets are all grown on farms. There are strict regulations and inspection and enforcement agencies to ensure that the mushrooms are free of pathogens and are safe to eat. If properly handled, washed, prepared, and stored, there should be no reason that you would get sick from store-bought mushrooms. 84 People have been eating mushrooms for centuries and have been using them for medicinal purposes. Mushrooms are rich in B vitamins, minerals, fiber, vitamin D, and antioxidants.85 Recent research suggests that mushrooms (and mushroom extracts) may have powerful anti-tumour activity, for both breast and prostate cancer.86 Mushrooms also strengthen the immune system and protect the body’s cells from damage.87 (If you do choose to include mushrooms in your diet, it is strongly advised not to pick wild mushrooms.85)
What makes mushrooms so potent is that they absorb and concentrate whatever they grow in—good OR bad. Ultimately, opinion is divided concerning whether or not eating mushroom is healthy.
Plants as drugs
Although God did create plants and told us to freely eat of them, that doesn’t make all natural things good for us to eat. Take a look at tobacco, marijuana, opium, cocaine, psychedelic mushrooms, and alcohol. All these substances come from natural sources, but they all have negative health consequences and have a potential for addiction. Many of those substances are also illegal, so that should already be an incentive not to consume, inhale, inject, etc. these drugs.88 Christians are mandated to follow the laws of the land (MATTHEW 22:21; 23:2-3; ROMANS 13:1-7). The Bible also says that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 CORINTHIANS 6:19-20) and therefore it is our responsibility to take care of them. It is for these reasons that Christians should not partake in drugs, no matter what source they originate from.
The Bible says
“And God said, Behold I have given you every herb bearing seed which is upon the face of the earth and every tree in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat” (GENESIS 1:29). This means that we are not only allowed but are encouraged to eat a large selection and variety of fruits and vegetables, grains, seeds, and herbs! Science backs this up and shows that eating these foods can provide us with a well-balanced diet, which will keep us in good health.
Appendix – Study by Dr. David Macht89
In 1953, Dr. David Macht from Johns Hopkins University conducted a study on the toxic effects of animal flesh on a controlled growth culture. A substance was classified as toxic if it slowed the culture’s growth rate below 75 percent. The lower the growth percentage of the culture, the more toxic the flesh. Note that the flesh of animals and fish given to us by God for food are all non-toxic, but all forbidden animals lie in the toxic range.
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